The Spectator

22 September 2018

A wake-up call

More of us are addicted to our smartphones. But the fightback is beginning

Books

Mount Longdon, Falkland Islands, where members of the 3rd Parachute Regiment died in fighting on 11–12 June 1982

Lead book review

Helen Parr’s intimate portrait of the Parachute Regiment – Our Boys – captures the essence of modern Britain

An intimate portrait of the Parachute Regiment manages to capture the history of modern Britain – Rachel Seiffert loved it

The assassination attempt on Napoleon, in the Rue Saint-Nicaise, Christmas Eve 1800

Books

The history of Britain’s secret war on Napoleon is astonishing, inspiring and disturbing

Laws and sausages, we know, are better not seen in the making; and neither are ‘black ops’. Waterloo may have…

Wampanoag chief Metacomet (c.1639 - 1676) who, after years of tolerating the colonists in Massachusetts, finally rebelled against their continued encroachment upon his lands, in what became known as King Philip's War (he was called King Philip by the settlers)

Books

Good first novels without ends leave one wanting more

Novels today do not want to be done. Thank Anthony Burgess and John Fowles for this, most immediately, but alternate…

Lord Dyson, on right: there is a book to be written about the contribution that the offspring of Jewish refugees have made to English law

Books

Two legal big hitters consider the appropriate distribution of governmental power in Britain

Sir Stephen Sedley read English at Cambridge and Lord Dyson Classics at Oxford. Both switched to law and achieved high…

Books

Julie Burchill is bored by Robin Green’s account of her time at Rolling Stone – and says hippies still stink

The last time I saw a copy of the New Musical Express — the ferociously influential 1970s pop paper which…

Sons and haters: Henry II was much aggrieved by his acquisitive sons

Books

Two new books explore the triumphs and tribulations of an underrated king – Henry II

Poor old Henry II: once fêted as one of England’s greatest kings, he has long been neglected. Accessible books on…

The majority of sexual encounters in giraffes involve two males necking

Books

Humans are animals, and our extinction is inevitable – but we’re still pretty amazing

Ever since enlivenment of the primordial blob, before thoughts were first verbalised, all nature has always been motivated by a…

‘Achilles has a dispute with Agamemnon [following Briseis being taken away, and Achilles refusing to fight until she is returned]’, J.H. Tischbein, 1776, oil on canvas. (Bridgeman Images)

Books

Pat Barker travels to Troy, but finds herself diverted somewhere outside Ypres

Sing muse, begins The Iliad, of the wrath of Achilles. We are dropped straight into the tenth year of the…

Author Kate Atkinson attending the Costa Book Awards for her novel Life After Life

Books

Kate Atkinson’s new novel Transcription asks us how carefully we are paying attention

Transcription, Kate Atkinson’s 11th novel, sees her returning to the detective fiction she honed in her series about Jackson Brodie,…

A game of cricket on Tilford Green, Surrey, outside The Barley Mow

Books

My grandmother’s perfect pub – a memoir by Laura Thompson

As an emigrant from Scotland, I was taken aback by the weird foreignness of the south of England. Some of…

From Don Quixote to Alan Partridge, delusion lies at the heart of many lasting comic creations

Books

Paul Ewen’s Francis Plug is the saviour of comic fiction

Such was the perceived low standard of the 62 books recently submitted for the 2018 Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction,…