More from Books

Beyond the call of duty

David Crane’s latest book is much more interesting than its title would lead you to believe. If you buy it hoping for a collection of stories of derring-do and British pluck, you won’t be wholly disappointed: you will indeed learn how Frank Abney Hastings, having got himself sacked from the Royal Navy for behaving like

It’s not all good manners

Lynn Barber’s interviews are one of the main reasons to subscribe to the Observer: on any Sunday when a piece of hers appears, it’s always the first thing to turn to, even — or make that especially — when she’s profiling someone unsympathetic. Not for nothing has she earned the nickname the Demon Barber. On

Dangerous liaisons | 27 June 2009

Surviving, by Allan Massie The Death of a Pope, by Piers Paul Read Coward at the Bridge, by James Delingpole Alcoholism, with its lonely inner conflict between escapism and conscience, is an inexhaustible subject for literature. The emotional agony of addiction is fascinating, as long as it is other people’s. Allan Massie, the illustrious Scottish

Modesty in words and work

Attlee’s Great Contemporaries: The Politics of Character, edited by Frank Field This book consists of a 50-page introduction in which Frank Field, shrewdly though large- ly in eulogistic vein, analyses the character and political principles of Clement Attlee, followed by 28 essays, many of them book reviews or articles first published in the Observer, in

Everyman’s voice

Frank O’Connor was once stopped on the road west of Kinsale by a man who said to him: ‘I hear you’re a famous writer. I’d like to be a famous writer too, but ’tis bloody hard. The comma and the apostrophe are easy enough, but the semicolon is the very divil.’ The man was wrong,