More from Books

No ordinary Joe

I can’t decide whom I distrust more in True Story: the author, a humane and thoughtful man, or his subject, Joe Longo, who butchered his wife and youngest son, then drowned his other children by tying them up in a sack and dropping them into a lake like unwanted kittens. True Story is written by

All the way from Folk to Electric

Faced with a choice on election night of staying in to watch the results coming in on the box or heading out to The Anvil, Basingstoke, to catch a live show by The Manfreds — featuring my old school contemporary Michael d’Abo on vocals, as well as his apparently ageless predecessor, Paul Jones — it

That old Southern charm

Lee Cotton is born to a black mother in a little Delta town in the 1950s, but has white skin. He grows up amid violent confrontation between white supremacists and the civil rights movement. Aged 16, he is beaten to death by the Ku Klux Klan. At this stage in the book, 50 pages in,

Being at home abroad

In ‘Thé-Dansant; Saturday Evening, La Ciudadela’ the English painter James Reeve shows elderly men and women dancing the danzon, a national passion in Mexico not unlike the two-step, where partners perform a series of intricate, angular passes and twirls requiring complete control of wrists, elbows, and little fingers. In Mexico City, where Reeve lives, well-off

Overpowered but not overawed

Researching her second book, I Didn’t Do It for You, Michela Wrong says she learned something that shocked her. Very often, no one around her had even heard of Eritrea, the nation in question, let alone anything of its agonising 100-year history. This cannot be true. A shrewd Africa correpondent for the Financial Times and

Not a matching pair

Horny black hills on red grounds and exposed roots clawing the air like scary glove puppets are typical of Graham Sutherland in his prime. Teeth and thorns, the odd crucifixion and Somerset Maugham perched on a rattan stool with a jaundiced tortoise look on his face are typical of him soon after, in the Forties,

More lonely than queer

Lord Rosebery was the great lost leader of Victorian politics. Today he is a forgotten figure, but in his time he was the most famous man in Britain. Precociously talented and a star orator, he could draw vast crowds and keep them spellbound. He was the heir apparent to Gladstone as leader of the Liberal

Remembering Douglas Johnson

Simon Hoggart writes:Douglas Johnson, who has died at the age of 80, was one of the most distinguished — and most entertaining — of the academic writers who have appeared in the columns of The Spectator. In fact, the word ‘academic’ has perhaps the wrong connotations, for in spite of Douglas’s great scholarship, few people