As a five-year-old in the Arab quarter of Jerusalem in the 1950s, Kai Bird overheard an elderly American heiress offering $1 million to anyone who could solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Nicklaus Thomas-Symonds’s study of Clement Attlee is a specimen of that now relatively rare but still far from endangered species, the ‘political’ biography.
The study of history is a subversive calling.
Among my guests last weekend as I read Lord Mandelson’s book was Ben, aged two and a half.
In June 1964, when Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment for acts of sabotage against the apartheid government of South Africa, he was, as photographs reveal, a burly, blackhaired man, with a handsome, pugnacious grin.
Maqbool Sheikh dreaded hearing a knock at the door of his home.
John Buchan’s Greenmantle remains a marvellous read, even if its plot is absurd.
In 1948, Poland’s new communist government was badly in need of legitimacy and desperate for international recognition. So they did what any self-respecting left-wing government would do, back in those days, in order to win a bit of respect; they held a cultural Congress.
In the past half century, much ingenuity and humdrum effort has gone into redefining Australia as a nation.
A word is missing from the subtitle of Jonathan Green’s shocking exposé: cowardice.
Though he was to live at Castle Leslie in Co. Monaghan, Sir John Randalph (later Shane) Leslie, cousin of Winston Churchill, was born at Stratford House, London, in 1885 though baptised at Glaslough with Lord Randolph Churchill as godfather.
In the late days of the Bush administration, it was fashionable among liberals to call George W. Bush the ‘worst’ president since the founding of the republic and to suggest that under his leadership America experienced its own version of the Dark Ages.
In the autumn of 1962, not more than a couple of weeks after the Cuban missile crisis and with our British fleet of nuclear-armed V-bombers still on high alert, a man called Gervase Cowell, then working in our Moscow embassy, received a phone call.
Why haven’t we heard of Phillis Bottome? In her 60-year career she published 33 novels, several of them bestsellers, short stories, essays, biographies and memoirs.
At the beginning of The Ask, Horace sits with Burke and proclaims that America is a ‘run down and demented pimp’.
For all of the nine years that he worked, first as official spokesman for Tony Blair and then as Director of Communications for the government, Alastair Campbell was obliged to defend a huge lie: that all was well at the heart of the New Labour project when, manifestly, it was not.
Of those prime ministers whom the old grammar schools escalator propelled from the bottom to the top of British society since the second world war, Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher were in many ways the most alike.
Above all, it is the inhuman scale of things which impresses the visitor to Moscow: the vastness of Red Square, the width of the uncrossable streets, the implacability of the traffic.
Peter Hitchens writes a stern column most weeks in the Mail on Sunday.
Norman Stone forsook the chair of modern history at Oxford university for Ankara after realising that the ‘conversation at high tables would generally have made the exchanges in the bus- stop in the rain outside seem exhilarating’.
In the opening chapter of The Dead Republic, the last novel in The Final Roundup trilogy, the narrator, Henry Smart, gives us a handy summary of the story so far.
Taming the Gods is an extended essay about the secular state, something which would until recently have been regarded as a non-issue by English-speaking readers.
Tony Judt is a vivacious and controversial historian.
If it wasn’t for the sheer misery of most of its luckless inhabitants, wouldn’t the world be a duller place without North Korea?
‘I was not an enthusiast about getting US forces and going into Iraq,’ Dick Cheney said in 1997, looking back on the First Gulf War.