Books

It’s being so cheerful that keeps me going

15 November 2003 12:00 am

When asked why he was always so incredibly cheerful, David Niven (Stowe, Sandhurst and the Silver Screen) used to reply,…

A continuation of empire by other means

15 November 2003 12:00 am

Melvyn Bragg’s superb new history of the English language is told as an adventure story, and rightly so. Brought to…

A charming toff of the turf

15 November 2003 12:00 am

John Oaksey is the archetypal English gentleman. He is a sweetheart, a star, the bravest of the brave, funny and…

Receipts and recipes

15 November 2003 12:00 am

The Pedant in the Kitchenby Julian BarnesGuardian Books, £9.99, pp. 96, ISBN 1843542390 ‘I haven’t cooked since the War,’ proclaims…

A new breed of heroes

15 November 2003 12:00 am

When aid workers, battling in distant places to bring some kind of comfort and safety to displaced and miserable people,…

The grand passion of a philosopher

15 November 2003 12:00 am

Abelard has been made to play many roles in French history. In 1796 Alexandre Lenoir created the first museum of…

So nice and yet so Nazi

15 November 2003 12:00 am

We are none of us, thank heaven, one-dimensional creatures easily and succinctly defined by a single characteristic. It is an…

Travelling far without finding home

15 November 2003 12:00 am

This unusual and nostalgic novel comes from a writer whose last work, The Transit of Venus, remains as startling and…

It’s the same the whole world over

8 November 2003 12:00 am

One has to ask the question: is this, intrinsically, an interesting subject? Personally, I would say not. Homosexual-ity, fairly clearly,…

Backing into the limelight

8 November 2003 12:00 am

The traditional boffin, as is well known, wore round specs and a white coat, tended to be rather bald, and…

Battling for Britain Prussian style

8 November 2003 12:00 am

During my first term at Oxford in 1938, when walking down the south side of the Christ Church quad, I…

The butler’s done it now

8 November 2003 12:00 am

In all the uproar of indignation surrounding the publication of this book, Paul Burrell’s riveting, hilarious and ultimately rather touching…

Plumbing the freezing depths

8 November 2003 12:00 am

Pretty soon after beginning his two-week descent into the Dantean world of the modern deep-sea North Atlantic trawler, Redmond O’Hanlon,…

The Marxist and the Methodist

8 November 2003 12:00 am

Even in his glory days Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, durable president of the Republic of China, had his critics. American liberals…

A girl’s own adventure

8 November 2003 12:00 am

Olivia Joules is born Rachel Pixley, a ‘normal schoolgirl, living with two parents in Worksop’. But after she is cruelly…

Airbrushing out and filling in

8 November 2003 12:00 am

If one ever wonders just how important memory is to our selfhood, consider patients in the later stages of Alzheimer’s…

Solving the Polish conundrum

1 November 2003 12:00 am

The Warsaw uprising of August 1944 was one of the most tragic episodes of the second world war, resulting in…

More honest than most

1 November 2003 12:00 am

It is a mark of the excellence of this memoir by the highest-ranking woman in American history, ex-Secretary of State…

From the sublime to the ridiculous

1 November 2003 12:00 am

Hah, that’s had you fumbling with your bi-focals, but no, there is no printing error. It is £375. The Gregynog…

Rocks and guts and bullocks

1 November 2003 12:00 am

Ted Hughes was the first living poet I loved. The same is probably true for countless kids who went to…

Shooting lions and lines

1 November 2003 12:00 am

It’s not fair to blame a book for its subject — a book by a decent fellow who delights in…

Getting both socks on

1 November 2003 12:00 am

Children, like dogs, need to be trained. After this promising start, Cassandra Jardine sets out to offer parents some practical…

A soldier breaks ranks

1 November 2003 12:00 am

Here’s a good rule of thumb: never read a book by a politician running for office. Whether it is George…

Dogged by ill fortune

1 November 2003 12:00 am

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has done Captain Scott’s memory some service. For the past two decades, since Roland Huntford’s devastating demolition…

A group of noble dames

25 October 2003 12:00 am

‘Lucy could have wished that Florence were not quite so ingenuous. One should not seize on a delicate implication and…