Books

Isambard Wilkinson’s intimate memoirs: Travels in a Dervish Cloak, reviewed

30 September 2017 9:00 am

By his own admission, Isambard Wilkinson’s memoir of his experiences in Pakistan a decade ago as a foreign correspondent has…

Alice Waters shows the Prince of Wales around her ‘Edible Schoolyard’ garden in California

America’s celebrity chef par excellence, Coming to My Senses reviewed

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Though Alice Waters is not a household name here, that is precisely what she is in America — the best-known…

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…

The strange cases of Mr Justice McCardie

20 May 2017 9:00 am

Justice McCardie was anything but a conventional High Court judge. He left school at 15 and was called to the…

Tony Blair is top rotter in James Bloodworth’s The Myth of Meritocracy

11 June 2016 9:00 am

‘Your old man’s barking!’ I remember hissing indignantly at my then best friend Toby Young way back in the 1980s…

How we went from mere betting to gaming the world

7 May 2016 9:00 am

If I prang your car, we can swap insurance details. In the past, it would have been necessary for you…

A book that rattles like a pressure-cooker with anger, outrage, frustration and spleen

3 October 2015 9:00 am

‘You understand, Lenú, what happens to people: we have too much stuff inside and it swells us, breaks us.’ The…

Nixon with Kissinger and Donald Rumsfeld in 1969

Niall Ferguson's biography of Henry Kissinger is a masterpiece

19 September 2015 8:00 am

I have met Dr Kissinger, properly, only three times. First, in Cairo, in 1980, when, as a junior diplomat escorting…

William Waldegrave: too nice ever to have been PM

25 July 2015 9:00 am

‘Lobbying,’ writes William Waldegrave in this extraordinary memoir, ‘takes many forms.’ But he has surely reported a variant hitherto unrecorded…

Did Mrs Thatcher ‘do’ God? Denis thought so, and he should know, says Charles Moore

11 April 2015 9:00 am

As I swink in the field of Thatcher studies, this book brings refreshment. It is a welcome and rare. Far…

Another enemy within: Thatcher (and Wilson) vs the BBC

7 March 2015 9:00 am

In a ‘Dear Bill’ letter in Private Eye, an imaginary Denis Thatcher wrote off the BBC as a nest of…

Comforting domesticity: Alan Johnson with his stepdaughter Natalie and daughter Emma

Boy, can Alan Johnson write

27 September 2014 8:00 am

Alan Johnson’s first volume of memoirs, This Boy, is still in the bestsellers’ list, but the Stakhanovite postman has made…

The many lives of Richard Nixon

26 July 2014 9:00 am

Winston Churchill once said of politics that it’s ‘almost as exciting as war and quite as dangerous. In war you…

Was Roy Jenkins the greatest prime minister we never had?

29 March 2014 9:00 am

Roy Jenkins may have been snobbish and self-indulgent, but he was also a visionary and man of principle who would have made a good prime minister, says Philip Ziegler

Witnesses in the heart of darkness

29 March 2014 9:00 am

When presented with a 639-page doorstopper which includes 82 pages of closely-written sources, notes and index, most of us feel…

A dreadful warning: a fisherman paddles through a tide of toxic waste on the Yamuna river, against a backdrop of smog and high-rise construction

Lawlessness, corruption, poverty and pollution: the city where we're all headed

15 March 2014 9:00 am

India’s vast polluted capital, where brutality, corruption and ruthless self-seeking are endemic, could be the blueprint of the future, says Peter Parker

From Nasser to Mubarak — Egypt's modern pharaohs and their phoney myths

25 January 2014 9:00 am

Jonathan Rugman is foreign affairs correspondent for Channel 4 News.

Hope for one of the most turbulent, traumatised regions in the world

25 January 2014 9:00 am

John Keay’s excellent new book on the modern history of South Asia plunges the reader head first into some wildly…

The 'semi-detached' member of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet

18 January 2014 9:00 am

John Biffen was mentally ill. This is the outstanding revelation of Semi-Detached, a memoir which has been assembled from his…

Why is Doris Kearns Goodwin raking up old muck?

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Era are well-worn subjects for both professional and amateur historians, so it’s pertinent to ask…

When we dropped the Bomb by mistake

14 December 2013 9:00 am

In January 1976 New York’s late-lamented National Lampoon produced a bicentennial calendar as a contribution to the general rejoicing. For…

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…

Foreign Policy Begins at Home, by Richard N. Haass - review

6 July 2013 9:00 am

A year or so after the ‘liberation’ of Iraq, an unnamed senior Bush administration official (later revealed to be Karl…

Dark Actors, by Robert Lewis - review

6 July 2013 9:00 am

No book about Dr David Kelly could start anywhere other than at the end. Kelly is found, dead, in a…