Strong family feelings

6 January 2010
Crown and Shamrock: Love and Hate Between Ireland and the British Monarchy Mary Kenny

New Island, pp.394, 19.99

Mary Kenny’s survey of Ireland’s relations with the British monarchy is characteristically breezy, racy and insightful, with a salty strain of anecdote. Mary Kenny’s survey of Ireland’s relations with the… Read more

Poisonous relations

30 December 2009
England’s Last War Against France: Fighting Vichy, 1940-1942 Colin Smith

Weidenfeld, pp.490, 25

‘The Axis powers and France,’ declared Marshall Pétain and Hitler at Montoire in October 1940, ‘have a common interest in the defeat of England as soon as possible.’ Why this… Read more

The actress and the orphan

22 April 2009
Ask Alice D. J. Taylor

Chatto & Windus, pp.342, 16.99

Ask Alice combines two narratives, one beginning in 1904 in the emptiness of the American Midwest, the other in the muffled stasis of Edwardian rural England. The first follows the… Read more


Order out of chaos

18 March 2009
The English Civil Wars, 1640-1660 Blair Worden

Weidenfeld, pp.192, 12.99

What got into them? For two decades in the middle of the 17th century, English- men transformed their world, overthrowing and eventually executing their king, abolishing bishops and the House… Read more