Book review

How to avoid bankers in your nativity scene

19 October 2013 9:00 am

With an eye to the blasphemy underlying some of the loveliest Renaissance painting, Honor Clerk will be choosing her Christmas cards more carefully this year

A badger eats, squats, thieves. But should we cull them?

19 October 2013 9:00 am

Lord Arran was responsible for the bill to legalise homosexuality and a bill to protect badgers from gassing and terrier-baiting.…

How to get old without getting boring

19 October 2013 9:00 am

When one notices the first symptoms of senile dementia (forgetting names, trying to remember the purpose of moving from one…

The Rothschilds, the Spenders, the Queen...

19 October 2013 9:00 am

The novelist David Plante is French-Québécois by ancestry, grew up in a remote Francophone parish in Yankee New England and…

Cat fight: tension mounts between the Great Powers in 1905 as Edward VII, Kaiser Wilhelm II and the French foreign minister, Théophile Delcassé, squabble over Morocco

What caused the first world war?

12 October 2013 9:00 am

In pre-1914 cosmopolitan society, everyone seemed to be related — ambassadors as well as monarchs. But increased militarisation was fast obliterating old family ties, says Jane Ridley 

Lucian Freud in his bedroom in Notting Hill, May 2011

Breakfast with Lucian, by Geordie Greig - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

According to the medical historian Professor Sonu Shamdasani, Sigmund Freud was not the best, nor actually the most interesting, psychoanalyst…

Clumsy and heavy, Goliath never stood a chance

12 October 2013 9:00 am

When we think of David and Goliath, we think of a young man, not very big, who has a fight…

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking, by Anya von Bremzen - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

The early 1990s in Russia were hungry years. At the time, I was a student, too idle to barter and…

‘The Goldfinch’ by Carl Fabritius, the theft of which is central to Donna Tartt’s new novel

Donna Tartt can do the thrills but not the trauma

12 October 2013 9:00 am

Donna Tartt is an expert practitioner of what David Hare has called ‘the higher hokum’. She publishes a long novel…

Landseer’s portrait of Queen Victoria riding in Windsor Home Park four years after the death of Prince Albert

Queen Victoria, by Matthew Dennison - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

When Prince Albert died in 1861, aged 42, Queen Victoria, after briefly losing the use of her legs, ordered that…

What a coincidence

12 October 2013 9:00 am

If you are going to read a novel that plays with literary conventions you want it written with aplomb. In…

A youthful portrait of the Dowager Empress

The Empress Dowager was a moderniser, not a minx. But does China care?

12 October 2013 9:00 am

For susceptible Englishmen of a certain inclination — like Sir Edmund Backhouse or George Macdonald Fraser — the Empress Dowager…

A Strong Song Tows Us, by Richard Burton - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

How minor is minor? ‘Rings a bell’ was more or less the response of two English literature graduates, now successful…

Darling Monster, edited by John Julius Norwich - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

It must have been awful for Diana and Duff Cooper to be separated from their only child during the war,…

England’s 100 best Views, by Simon Jenkins - review

5 October 2013 9:00 am

Sam Leith is transported by the finest scenery in England

The Sunflowers Are Mine, by Martin Bailey - review

5 October 2013 9:00 am

‘How could a man who has loved light and flowers so much and has rendered them so well, how could…

An Officer and a Gentleman, by Robert Harris - review

5 October 2013 9:00 am

The Dreyfus Affair, the furore caused by a miscarriage of justice in France in 1894, is a source of perennial…

Meeting the Enemy, by Richard Van Emden; 1914, by Allan Mallinson - review

5 October 2013 9:00 am

The Great War was an obscene and futile conflict laying waste a generation and toppling emperors. Yet here are two…

Guido Fawkes to Damian McBride: Who's spinning now?

5 October 2013 9:00 am

When Gordon Brown eventually became aware that his Downing Street was about to be engulfed in the Smeargate scandal, he…

In it together? Matthew d'Ancona's book on the coalition is a huge letdown, says Peter Oborne

5 October 2013 9:00 am

There are two ways of being a political journalist. One is to stay on the outside and try to avoid…

Anorexia, addiction, child-swapping — the Lake Poets would have alarmed social services

5 October 2013 9:00 am

The last time the general reader was inveigled into the domestic intensities of the Wordsworth circle was by Frances Wilson…

Stephen King isn't as scary as he used to be, but 'Doctor Sleep' is still a cracker

5 October 2013 9:00 am

Though alcohol withdrawal is potentially fatal, booze has none of the media-confected glitz of heroin (imagine Will Self boasting of…

Licensed to feel: The new James Bond fusses over furnishings and sprinkles talc

5 October 2013 9:00 am

First, an appalling admission: I have never read any of Ian Fleming’s Bond books. Nor have I read any of…

Making It Happen, by Iain Martin - review

5 October 2013 9:00 am

Fred Goodwin’s descent from golden boy of British banking to ‘pariah of the decade’ would be the stuff of tragedy…

Ruin near Kelso, Mojave Desert, California

Walking in Ruins, by Geoff Nicholson - review

5 October 2013 9:00 am

Geoff Nicholson is the Maharajah of Melancholy. The quality was there in his novels, it was there in his non-fiction…