Lead book review

Sam Leith

A horse ride from Buenos Aires to New York? No problem!

Aimé Tschiffely was what I have seen in other contexts called a ‘doublehard bastard’. In the middle of the 1920s, this Swiss-born schoolteacher at the age of 30 feared that he was getting stuck in a groove and that he wanted ‘variety’. So he set out on a solo horse-ride from Buenos Aires to New

More from Books


Might you not have found him a little exhausting, though? If, for example, you were his mother, not given to innovative thinking yourself, and had this youth (in 1920 the word teenager was not current), forever coming up with a new interpretation of Genesis or sketching plans for a contraption that must be at least

The opéra bouffe that was the Bretton Woods conference

There ought to be a comic opera about the Bretton Woods conference — Thomas Adès’s Powder Her Face, about Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, with its mordant libretto by Philip Hensher, should be the model. Everything about the conference was overdone. It was held in 1944 in the gargantuan Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire, which

A Pole’s view of the Czechs. Who cares? You will

When this extraordinary book was about to come out in French four years ago its author was told by his editor that it was likely to fail miserably. As Mariusz Szczgieł explains, the doubts were reasonable. No one was sure if anybody in the west would be interested in what a Pole had to say