Heroes and villains

4 March 2009
The Spice of Life John Jolliffe

Brunton Books, Brunton House, Embleton, Alnwick, NE66 3HQ, pp.191, 15.95

This book falls into two distinct parts. The first is the author’s account of his own life until he left Oxford in disgrace. John Joll- iffe, the son of Lord… Read more

Time out in Tuscany

4 February 2009
The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy Rachel Cusk

Faber, pp.219, 16.99

In the spring of 2006, Rachel Cusk and her husband decided to take their two small daughters out of school and spend three months, a season, exploring Italy. She felt… Read more

Perfectly unreliable

28 January 2009
Ticks and Crosses: Personal Terms 4 Frederic Raphael

Carcanet, pp.221, 18.95

Memoirs? No one writes them any more. If you wish to distinguish yourself from the sweaty masses, you are far better off publishing a diary, or notebook, call it what… Read more

Behind the fighting lines

28 January 2009
Memories of an SOE Historian M. R. D. Foot

Pen & Sword, pp.208, 19.99

M. R. D. Foot confesses that he has always endeavoured to follow Whistler’s counsel, ‘Not a day without a line’. His written output is impressive and his judgments severe on… Read more

The misery of an intellectual

7 January 2009
Reborn: Susan Sontag, Early Diaries, 1947-1964 David Rieff (editor)

Hamish Hamilton, pp.318, 16.99

Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son’s Memoir David Rieff

Granta, pp.179, 12.99

Reborn: Susan Sontag, Early Diaries, 1947-1964, edited by David Rieff Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son’s Memoir, by David Rieff Susan Sontag, who died in 2004, was one… Read more

The spice of danger

26 November 2008
From the Front Line: Family Letters & Diaries, 1900 to the Falklands & Afghanistan Hew Pike

Pen & Sword, pp.237, 19.99

From the Front Line: Family Letters & Diaries, 1900 to the Falklands & Afghanistan, by Hew Pike ‘Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier,’ reckoned… Read more