Biography

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…

'Diana Vreeland', by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart - review

9 March 2013 9:00 am

Over 80 and almost blind, Diana Vreeland was wheeled around a forthcoming costume exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, issuing instructions…

Journalist, novelist, patriot, spy

2 March 2013 9:00 am

When I was a new MI5 recruit, working in Leconfield House in 1970, there was a group of middle-aged men…

Hero or villein?

2 June 2012 8:00 pm

‘Not one word’, exclaimed Turgenev of Tolstoy, ‘not one movement of his is natural! He is eternally posing before us!’…

The pen was mightier than the brush

2 June 2012 7:00 pm

Of the making of books about the Pre-Raphaelites, it appears, there is no end. Like the Bloomsberries, most of the…

Going to the fair

28 April 2012 10:00 am

Why would anyone want to buy this dreadful book? The frightful Simon Cowell appears to have co-operated with the author,…

Hero of his own drama

17 March 2012 11:00 am

Sam Leith is enthralled by the larger-than-life genius, August Strindberg — playwright, horticulturalist, painter, alchemist and father of modern literature

Bookends: A life of gay abandon

17 March 2012 9:00 am

Sometimes, only the purest smut will do. Scotty Bowers’s memoir, Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex…

Godfather of rap

28 January 2012 10:00 am

At a funeral in New Orleans in 1901, Joe ‘King’ Oliver played a blues-drenched dirge on the trumpet. This was…

A feast of vanities

28 January 2012 10:00 am

The name of Savonarola slides off the tongue as if concocted for an orator’s climax. But when it came to…

A horrid story of intellectual corruption

14 January 2012 11:00 am

The death of a great author often causes interminable displays of corrosive envy. Heirs, acolytes, interpreters and academics resent one…

Bookends: An unreal world

31 December 2011 9:00 am

Even by Hollywood standards, Carrie Fisher is pretty crazy. She was born a Hollywood princess, and remembers her parents —…

Settling old scores

10 December 2011 10:00 am

As a boy, Brian Sewell was unimpressed by opera but enraptured by pantomime which, he reveals in Outsider, sowed in…

Forthright to a fault

3 December 2011 11:30 am

Her mother was Ellen Terry, the most admired actress of the day. Her brother was Edward Gordon Craig, the celebrated…