Travel writing

Is Nato ready for war with Russia?

38 min listen

Welcome to a slightly new format for the Edition podcast! Each week we will be talking about the magazine – as per usual – but trying to give a little more insight into the process behind putting The Spectator to bed each week. On the podcast: TheSpectator’s assistant foreign editor Max Jeffery writes our cover story this week, asking if Nato is ready to defend itself against a possible Russian invasion. Max joined Nato troops as they carried out drills on the Estonian border. Max joins us on the podcast along with historian Mark Galeotti, author of Putin’s Wars. (00:55)  Then: Lionel Shriver talks to us about the sad case of Jennifer Crumbley, the mum

The dark side of the Himalayas

How best to write a book about the Himalayas when Mount Everest has been reduced to just another tick-off on the bucket lists of the wealthy? We all remember the pictures of adventurous parka-clad westerners queuing up to scale the summit in 2019. The world’s most inaccessible and inhospitable areas have now become the target of an extreme form of charter tourism. Not even the outbreak of Covid stopped people forking out more than $10,000 to join the queue. In High, the Norwegian writer and social anthropologist Erika Fatland traverses the mountain range, straying from the well-trodden path of privileged tourism onto the Silk Road less travelled. It is not,

A poet finds home in a patch of nettles

Towards the end of a long relationship – ‘resolved to have a conversation about the Future, which meant Separating’ – Nancy Campbell’s partner suffered a stroke. Campbell’s life then became a hell of hospital visits, supporting and fearing for the brilliant Anna, an intellectual who worked with virus analysts in Moscow, reduced by brain insult and aphasia to a kind of infancy. Thunderstone is the story of Campbell’s response to this crisis. Her diary extracts jump from Anna’s stroke in 2019 and her slow healing, to Campbell’s own new life, which begins when Anna is strong enough to be encouraged to move on, from June to September 2021. Campbell is

A mighty river with many names: adventures on the Amur

The Amur is the eighth or tenth longest river in the world, depending on whom you believe. The veteran travel writer and novelist Colin Thubron reckons 2,826 miles the best estimate. In these pages he makes an arc-shaped journey from source to mouth: Mongolia to the Pacific via Russia and China. The author travels on horseback, buses, pontoon rafts, boats, trains and in taxis and the vehicles of strangers. Starting in late August, he breaks off in Khabarovsk, the largest city on the Amur (population 500,000), returning home to London when the river freezes. As book and journey progress, the Amur changes its name and gender. Mongolian horsemen know it