The Spectator

21 July 2018

The rehabilitation of Assad

He’s back – with Russia’s army and America’s blessing


Adam Smith circa 1775; medallion by Tassie

Lead book review

Adam Smith analysed human behaviour, not economics, says Simon Heffer

Jesse Norman’s Adam Smith: What He Thought and Why It Matters reviewed

Kyoto’s Yasaka Pagoda and Sannenzaka Street with cherry blossom in the morning


‘T’ is for Trotskyite

Varlam Shalamov’s short stories of life in the Soviet Gulag leave an impression of ice-sharp precision, vividness and lucidity, as…

A man of many handles: Flann O’Brien in Dublin


A melancholy talent with a genius for send-up - Flann O’Brien was his own worst enemy

It is tempting to compare two highly intelligent, learned and gifted young Dublin writers, suffering under the burdensome, Oedipal influence…


Two valuable new books about technology that are a bummer to read

James Bridle's writing is unnecessarily convoluted, while Jaron Lanier's is too simple

‘Old Glory’ flowing through Natchez, Mississippi


Travel literature

Jonathan Raban was largely responsible for changing the nature of travel writing. Back in the 1970s when he began, the…