Books

Timothy Leary — apostle of acid and, according to Richard Nixon, ‘the most dangerous man in America’

Whatever became of the summer of love?

22 July 2017 9:00 am

The original hippy message was innocent and pure – before the summer of love turned to the winter of exploitation, says Mick Brown

What does it really mean to be British today?

22 July 2017 9:00 am

After years of estrangement in a foreign land, what can immigrants expect to find on their return home? The remembered…

Was the artist of Lascaux just desperate for peace?

The magic of limestone country

22 July 2017 9:00 am

‘It was a shock, and an epiphany,’ says Fiona Sampson, to realise that many of her favourite places were built…

Stalin’s sickbed is a strangely enjoyable scenario

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Christopher Wilson’s new novel is much easier to enjoy than to categorise. And ‘enjoy’ is definitely the right word, even…

William Joyce — better known as Lord Haw-Haw: an ideological enthusiast for fascism

Four enemies within: Britain’s fascist traitors

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Most books about British traitors feature those who spied for Russia before and during the Cold War, making it easy…

Chris Patten: ‘wearing red feathers (and a Hula-Hula skirt)’

22 July 2017 9:00 am

My old friend Richard Ingrams was said always to write The Spectator’s television reviews sitting in the next-door room to…

Hints of The Shining in Daniel Kehlmann’s haunting novella

22 July 2017 9:00 am

A screenwriter sits in a lovely rented house somewhere up an Alp in early December. The air is clear, the…

The latest short stories have a bleak take on romance

22 July 2017 9:00 am

It can’t be easy to switch between editing others people’s fiction and writing your own: how do you suspend that…

Nadar ascending aloft in his basket — in this case in his studio, recording the event for mass consumption

The first modern celebrity – Nadar’s life fêted

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Sam Leith considers the breathtaking career of Nadar – the heroic self-publicist who took 19th-century Paris by storm

A South American masterpiece reissued: Zama reviewed

15 July 2017 9:00 am

During the military dictatorships of the 1970s, exile for many Latin American writers was not so much a state of…

The final instalment of Will Self’s neo-modernist trilogy

15 July 2017 9:00 am

This 600-page, single-paragraph novel shuttles back and forth across time between the perspectives of an elderly and confused psychiatrist, a…

An airborne early warning system leads fighter jets during a military parade in Beijing

Can China and America avoid war?

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Every day on his way to work at Harvard, Professor Allison wondered how the reconstruction of the bridge over Boston’s…

Lomasko gives a voice to the invisible and the unheard in her graphic novel, ‘Other Russias’

A graphic novel full of populist anger, Other Russias reviewed

15 July 2017 9:00 am

You can tell everything you need to know about what Victoria Lomasko thinks of her homeland by the titles of…

Shark Drunk is a work of meditation and wonder

15 July 2017 9:00 am

The Greenland shark has to be one of the most fascinating creatures of which you’ve probably never heard. Growing sometimes…

Latest crime fiction reviewed

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Sand (Pushkin Press, £14.99) is set in 1972 and moves back and forth between a North African city…

Thoreau: the poet-naturalist and political radical

The two sides of Henry David Thoreau

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Dominic Green considers two new books on Henry David Thoreau examining the dual nature of his character, aesthetic and politics

East haunts West in a musicologist’s dark night of the soul

8 July 2017 9:00 am

As bombs fall everywhere in Syria and IS fighters destroy Palmyra, a musicologist in Vienna lies awake all night thinking…

McEnroe serving in a mixed doubles match with Steffi Graf at Wimbledon, 1999

John McEnroe’s book too far

8 July 2017 9:00 am

John McEnroe’s father calls. In fact, he calls McEnroe’s manager’s phone, presumably because dad doesn’t have a direct line to…

A Christian noblewoman with clout in medieval Turkey, Tamta’s World reviewed

8 July 2017 9:00 am

It might seem unlikely that a Christian noblewoman could have had influence over a Muslim city in the 13th century,…

‘The Arrival of the Pilgrims Fathers’, 1864, Antonio Gilbert (oil on canvas)

Why the English sailed to the new world, Emigrants reviewed

8 July 2017 9:00 am

What led a person in 17th-century England to get on a ship bound for the Americas? James Evans attempts to…

Nello and Carlo Rosselli, photograph from a family album

The struggle against Mussolini, A Bold and Dangerous Family reviewed

8 July 2017 9:00 am

The details of Mussolini’s fascism are perhaps not quite as familiar in this country as they might be. Even quite…

Intensely imagined and executed, Medea revisited

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Medea’s continuing hold over spinners of tall tales from Euripides to Chaucer to Pasolini needs little explanation; she’s an archetype…

Be careful what you wish for: in the country, no one can hear you scream

8 July 2017 9:00 am

I’ve diagnosed myself with early onset cottage-itis. It’s not supposed to happen for another decade, but at 29 I dream…

A feminist, magic-realist trip through the Arab Spring: Women Who Blow on Knots reviewed

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Imagine if Kathy Lette — or possibly Julie Burchill — had written a feminist, magic-realist saga that sent four women…

Admissions: confessions of a neurosurgeon with humility

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Henry Marsh’s book Do No Harm (2014) was that rare thing — a neurosurgeon showing his fallibility in public and…