Saddam hussein

Was I right about Iraq?

Back in March there was a glut of pieces about the 2003 Iraq war. The 20th anniversary seemed to much of the political and pundit class to be the perfect time to return to this scorched landscape. A number of people asked me to throw in my views and I failed, for two reasons. Firstly because, as some readers will know, I hate anniversaries and the lazy hook they provide to the news cycle. Secondly, because each time I sat down to try to write about those days I found myself unusually conflicted. Those of us who defended the war have spent 20 years filled with ‘if onlys’ The reason

Written in blood or bound in human skin: the world’s weirdest books

In 1791, Isaac D’Israeli — father of prime minister Benjamin — published his most famous work, the Curiosities of Literature, a collection of freewheeling mini-essays on whatever literary topics happened to tickle their author’s fancy: ‘Titles of Books’, ‘Noblemen Turned Critics’, ‘On the Custom of Saluting after Sneezing’, ‘Cicero’s Puns’. One of its joys is its capaciousness — completely unsystematic, yet seeming somehow to touch a little on everything. The book is long, but the essays are rarely more than a couple of pages, sometimes less. Nothing outstays its welcome and everything is delivered in D’Israeli’s trademark style — brisk, jovial, prodigiously knowledgeable; the voice of someone who has read