Biography

A Strong Song Tows Us, by Richard Burton - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

How minor is minor? ‘Rings a bell’ was more or less the response of two English literature graduates, now successful…

Music at Midnight, by John Drury - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

When John Drury, himself an Anglican divine, told James Fenton (the son of a canon of Christ Church) that he…

Wilkie Collins by Andrew Lycett - review

21 September 2013 9:00 am

In the outrageous 2010 press hounding of the innocent schoolteacher Christopher Jefferies over the murder of his young female tenant…

Uncle Bill, by Russell Miller - review

14 September 2013 9:00 am

Given the outcome of recent military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is pertinent to look for one particular quality…

Olivier, by Philip Ziegler - review

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Philip Ziegler is best known for his biographies, often official, of politicians, royalty  and soldiers. They include Harold Wilson, Edward…

Salinger, by David Shields - review

7 September 2013 9:00 am

This biography has somewhat more news value than most literary biographies. Its subject worked hard to ensure that. After 1965,…

Raymond Carr by María Jesús Gonzalez - review

31 August 2013 9:00 am

This is an unusual book: a Spanish historian writes the life of an English historian of Spain. In doing so,…

Land of Second Chances, by Tim Lewis - review

27 July 2013 9:00 am

This is a book about Rwanda. It’s a book about cycling. But it’s not, in the end, a book about…

Paul Nash, by Andrew Causey - review

22 June 2013 9:00 am

Andrew Causey opens his book on a slightly defensive note: Paul Nash, he says is often identified as Britain’s outstanding…

What Fresh Lunacy is This?, by Robert Sellers - review

22 June 2013 9:00 am

Midway through this startling book, Robert Sellers asks himself a question with such apparent seriousness I barked with laughter: ‘Was…

The Outsider, by Jimmy Connors - review

22 June 2013 9:00 am

As a teenager in the 1980s I liked Jimmy Connors. This meant parking my not inconsiderable jealousy that he’d once…

My last chance to follow in Napoleon’s footsteps

15 June 2013 9:00 am

St Helena, the island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on which Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and died, is…

Nijinski by Georges Barbier in ‘Le Festin /L’Oiseau d’or’ (1912)

Nijinsky, by Lucy Moore - review

15 June 2013 9:00 am

The first biography of Vaslav Nijinsky, which appeared in 1934, was written by his wife Romola with the help of…

The Frontman, by Harry Browne - review

8 June 2013 9:00 am

According to a story which Harry Browne accepts is surely apocryphal, but which he includes in his book anyway, at…

Byron’s War, by Roderick Beaton - review

1 June 2013 9:00 am

Although Lord Byron is hailed as a national hero in Greece, his legacy has been largely destructive, says David Crane

Z, by Therese Anne Fowler, Beautiful Fools, by R. Clifton Spargo, Careless People, by Sarah Churchill - review

1 June 2013 9:00 am

The Great Gatsby is one of those great works of literature, like Pride and Prejudice, that appeals as much to…

Everest, by Harriet Tuckey

1 June 2013 9:00 am

This book, as the subtitle explains, makes a bold claim: Griffith Pugh was the ‘unsung hero’ of the 1953 ascent…

Henry Cecil, by Brough Scott - review

1 June 2013 9:00 am

This is by far the best book on racing I have ever read. It combines a truly extraordinary story —…

The Devonshires, by Roy Hattersley - review

4 May 2013 9:00 am

Anne Somerset wonders why Roy Hattersley chose to write a history of a family he so clearly disapproves of

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, by Charles Moore, and Not for Turning, by Robin Harris - review

4 May 2013 9:00 am

It is a measure of Lady Thatcher’s standing that her death has been followed not only by the mealy-mouthed compliments…

The Spectator’s Notes

27 April 2013 9:00 am

The first volume of my biography of Margaret Thatcher was published on Tuesday. Since Lady Thatcher had stipulated that the…

The Spectator’s Notes

13 April 2013 9:00 am

It is strange how we are never ready for events which are, in principle, certain. The media have prepared for…

'Daphne du Maurier and Her Sisters: The Hidden Lives of Piffy, Bird and Bing', by Jane Dunn - review

9 March 2013 9:00 am

Victoria Glendinning lifts the curtain on the drama of three sisters

'O My America!', by Sara Wheeler - review

9 March 2013 9:00 am

You might not expect Sara Wheeler, the intrepid literary traveller, to be anxious about passing the half-century point. Surely a…

'Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England', by Neil McKenna - review

9 March 2013 9:00 am

Mick Jagger, the Danny La Rue of rock, impersonates a woman on the cover of the 1978 Stones album Some…