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America

23 August 2014

Worth the candle Sir: I was saddened by Charles Moore’s account of the Westminster Abbey candlelit vigil marking the centenary of the start of the first world war (The Spectator’s… Read more

Julian Assange speaks at the Ecuadorian Embassy where he has been holed up for two years Photo: Getty

Help! I've started to feel sorry for Julian Assange

23 August 2014

Poor Julian Assange. Call me a contrarian but I’m genuinely starting to feel sorry for the guy. He’s just made such a mess of his life, hasn’t he? And with… Read more

Conrad Black back on familiar territory at The Spectator on 3 July. Image: Alan Davidson

Andrew Roberts

5 July 2014

The former proprietor of this magazine, Conrad Black, is in London at the moment with his gorgeous wife Barbara, and I’ve got very bad news for those of his enemies… Read more

Elliot Rodger Photo: AFP/Getty

Elliot Rodger and the Hollywood ending

31 May 2014

I’ve found myself strangely drawn to the videos made by the 22-year-old assassin Elliot Rodger just before he went on his killing spree in his university town of Santa Barbara,… Read more

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Why I no longer want to live in America

10 May 2014

A few years ago I would have quite liked to live in America. I’m not sure now. For one thing, most of the things perfected by Americans (convenience, entertainment, technology,… Read more

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How to shop for the apocalypse

3 May 2014

 New York City An architect friend who usually designs Manhattan skyscrapers was recently asked to pitch for a far more interesting project. The client, a senior partner at Goldman Sachs,… Read more

Clinton Bush

Clinton vs Bush — again

26 April 2014

America is much less threatened by right-wing extremists than by the oligarchic rule of the two major political parties. The mainstream right, however, is wedded to the absurd notion that… Read more

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Lost Kerouac that should have stayed lost

15 March 2014
The Haunted Life: The Lost Novella Jack Kerouac, edited by Todd Tietchen

Penguin, pp.192, £20, ISBN: 9780141394084

In 1944, when he was 22, Jack Kerouac lost a manuscript — in a taxi, as he thought, but probably in Allen Ginsberg’s room at Columbia University — and it… Read more

Russian-Bear

Europe's 'new world order' is letting Vladimir Putin run riot

8 March 2014

If Vladimir Putin’s invasion and occupation of the Crimea brings to an end the Pax Americana and the post-Cold War world that began in 1989, what new European, or even… Read more

American beat poet Allen Ginsberg Photo: Getty

American Smoke, by Iain Sinclair - review

23 November 2013
American Smoke Iain Sinclair

Hamish Hamilton, pp.309, £20, ISBN: 9780241145272

If you have read Iain Sinclair’s books you will know that he is a stylist with a love of language. You will also know that he has opinions to express… Read more

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Celia Walden

16 November 2013

For a minute I just stood there with my back against the wall, staring at the credit card receipt. Then I slid down into a crouching position on the kitchen… Read more

‘Brown and Silver: Old Battersea Bridge’, 1859–63, by James McNeill Whistler

The painter of poetry

16 November 2013
An American in London: Whistler and the Thames Dulwich Picture Gallery

The famous court case in which Ruskin accused Whistler of ‘flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face’ continues to rumble through the public response to art in this… Read more

Signifying Rappers, by David Foster Wallace - review

14 September 2013
Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello

Penguin, pp.154, £8.99, ISBN: 9780880015356

Since his suicide, David Foster Wallace has made the transition from major writer to major industry. Hence this UK issue of a slender work of music history got up for… Read more

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer - review

31 August 2013
The Interestings Meg Wolitzer

Chatto, pp.480, £16.99, ISBN: 9780701188276

Thick, sentimental and with a narrative bestriding four decades, Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings feels above all like a Victorian novel, one which finds itself as comfortable in our time as… Read more

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While Britain stagnates, America is roaring back

29 June 2013

Predicting the decline of the United States has been in vogue since the birth of American hegemony. Sputnik, Vietnam, stagflation, budget deficits, trade deficits and even the end of the… Read more

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To Move the World, by Jeffrey Sachs - review

8 June 2013
To Move the World Jeffrey Sachs

Bodley Head, pp.230, £14.99, ISBN: 9780812994926

Jeffrey Sachs is the world’s best-connected development economist. An academic with highly developed communication skills, he has always managed to secure access to policy makers and to offer them advice.… Read more

SYRIA-CONFLICT

If there was ever a time to intervene in Syria, it has passed

4 May 2013

It is more than ten years since I first sat down with members of the Syrian opposition. Back then they included real moderates, but even these didn’t predict a bloodless… Read more

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Fall from grace

28 January 2012
Confidence Men Ron Suskind

HarperCollins, pp.528, 19.99

The Obamas: A Mission, a Marriage Jodi Kantor

Allen Lane, pp.368, 14.99

Barack Obama is not up to the job. That is Ron Suskind’s oft-repeated contention. The President, he states, compromised with, rather than curbed, failing American financial institutions, and has surrounded… Read more

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The original special relationship

3 December 2011
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris David McCullogh

Simon & Schuster, pp.560, 25

Of all the cities in all the world, Paris dominates the American imagination more than any other. Although Americans may admire Rome or London, more have enjoyed a love affair… Read more

After America: Get Ready For Armageddon by Mark Steyn

5 November 2011
After America: Get Ready For Armageddon Mark Steyn

Regnery Publishing, pp.424, 19.95

There are people sent to depress us, and prominent among them is Mark Steyn, whose speciality is apocalyptic predictions. Following his bestseller America Alone: The End of the World as… Read more

Music, moonlight and dahlias

3 September 2011
Extravagant Expectations Paul Hollander

Ivan Dee, pp.264, 16.95

The words that echoed constantly in the back of my mind as I read this book were from Paul Simon’s song ‘Train in the Distance’: ‘the thought that life could… Read more

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Day of reckoning

3 September 2011
The 9/11 Commission Report: The Attack from Planning to Aftermath Philip Zelikow

Norton, pp.544, 9.99

The Eleventh Day: 9/11 — The Ultimate Account Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan

Doubleday, pp.604, 20

No one could say that we didn’t have warning of these events in the most specific terms. A month before 11 September 2001, the President’s daily intelligence brief was headed… Read more

Lucky miss

9 July 2011
The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father Sally H. Jacobs

Public Affairs, pp.297, 20

In Dreams From My Father, his exploration of race and roots, Barack Obama recalled the tales heard in childhood about the man who gave him his name. His father, they… Read more

The call of the wild

19 February 2011
Bird Cloud Annie Proulx

Fourth Estate, pp.234, 16.99

Annie Proulx (pronounced ‘Pru’) began her writing career — quite late, in her fifties — as E.A. Proulx, to baffle misogynist editors; then she was E. Annie Proulx, until she… Read more

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Am I offending the wrong Americans?

8 January 2011

Q. Why did God give liberals annoying, whiny voices? A. So that even the blind could hate them. Q. Why did God give liberals annoying, whiny voices? A. So that… Read more