Sam Leith

Sam Leith

Sam Leith is literary editor of The Spectator.

Ferdinand Mount: Big Caesars and Little Caesars

40 min listen

In this week’s Book Club podcast I’m joined by Ferdinand Mount who in his long career has been literary and political editor of this very magazine, as well as editor of the TLS and head of Margaret Thatcher’s Number Ten policy unit. We discuss his new book Big Caesars and Little Caesars: How They Rise and

Caitlin Moran: What about men?

52 min listen

My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is Caitlin Moran. Having written one of the bestselling works of popular feminism of the last 20 years – How To Be A Woman – she has turned her attention to the other half of the population with her new book What About Men? I asked Caitlin why she felt she

Tom Whipple: The Battle of the Beams

46 min listen

My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is Tom Whipple, science editor of the Times and author of the gripping new book The Battle of the Beams: The secret science of radar that turned the tide of the Second World War. He describes the ingenious technological, psychological and espionage battles that made electromagnetic warfare a decisive –

Laura Cumming: Thunderclap

50 min listen

My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is the art critic Laura Cumming. Her new book Thunderclap: A Memoir of Art and Life and Sudden Death talks about her fascination for the paintings of the Dutch 17th-century Golden Age, and in particular the entrancing work of the enigmatic Carel Fabritius. She tells me how her preoccupation

Andrew Pontzen: The Universe In A Box

53 min listen

My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is the cosmologist Andrew Pontzen. His The Universe In A Box: A New Cosmic History describes how we have learned to simulate first the weather, and then the universe itself – and how we discovered that those simulations don’t just mimic reality but allow us to learn new things

James Comey: Central Park West

32 min listen

My guest on this week’s Book Club podcast is the former FBI director James Comey, who is making his debut as a thriller writer with an engrossing police procedural, Central Park West. Jim tells me how he mined his own early career as a prosecutor in the southern district of New York to produce this world

Harry’s crusade: the Prince vs the press

31 min listen

This week:  Prince Harry has taken the stand to give evidence in the Mirror Group phone hacking trial which The Spectator’s deputy editor Freddy Gray talks about in his cover piece for the magazine. He is joined by Patrick Jephson, former private secretary to Princess Diana, to discuss whether Harry’s ‘suicide mission’ against the press is ill-advised.

Peter Turchin: End Times

48 min listen

In this week’s Book Club podcast I talk to Peter Turchin about his new book End Times: Elites, Counter-Elites and the Path of Political Disintegration. He proposes a scientific theory of history, mapping the underlying forces that have led to the collapse of states from the ancient world to the present day, and warns of very turbulent

Laura Freeman: Ways of Life

39 min listen

In this week’s Book Club podcast, I’m joined by the writer and critic Laura Freeman to talk about her book Ways of Life: Jim Ede and the Kettle’s Yard Artists. Laura’s book is the portrait of one of those figures who, without ever quite taking the spotlight themselves, was nevertheless hugely influential in kindling the love

In memory of Martin Amis

37 min listen

In this week’s Book Club podcast, we celebrate the life and weigh the literary reputation of Martin Amis, who died at the end of last week. I’m joined by the critic Alex Clark, the novelist John Niven, and our chief reviewer Philip Hensher – all of whom bring decades of close engagement with Amis’s work

Madeleine Bunting: The Seaside

48 min listen

In this week’s Book Club podcast my guest is the writer Madeleine Bunting, whose new book is The Seaside: England’s Love Affair. She tells me how the great seaside resorts came into their 19th century pomp, how abrupt was their mid-century decline, and of the terrible desolation that has succeeded the idyll of donkey rides, ices and

Shehan Karunatilaka: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida

38 min listen

My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is Shehan Karunatilaka, author of last year’s Booker Prize winner The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. Shehan tells me about writing a novel whose protagonist is dead on page one, about putting the chaos of Sri Lanka’s long civil war on the page, and about the importance of

Michio Kaku: Quantum Supremacy

57 min listen

In this week’s Book Club podcast my guest is the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku. In his new book Quantum Supremacy, Prof Kaku explains how – as he sees it – the advent of quantum computers is going to turn the world as we know it on its head. He explains the extraordinary possibilities and perils of the

Sam Leith, Lionel Shriver and Angus Colwell

23 min listen

This week: Sam Leith explains how he’s been keeping up friendships by playing online scrabble (00:55), Lionel Shriver questions Nike and Bud Light’s recent marketing strategy (06:52) and Angus Colwell reads his review of the V&A Dundee’s tartan exhibition (15:24).

Luke Jennings: #PANIC

40 min listen

My guest on this week’s Book Club podcast is Luke Jennings, the veteran reporter and novelist whose Codename Villanelle trilogy gave rise to the hit TV series Killing Eve. As his new thriller #PANIC is published he tells me how he found its inspiration after being drawn into the online fandom for Killing Eve, where he clashed with Phoebe Waller-Bridge… and

Frieda Hughes: A Magpie Memoir

40 min listen

My guest in this week’s Book Club podcast is the poet and artist Frieda Hughes, whose new book George: A Magpie Memoir tells the story of what caring for a foundling baby magpie taught her about life. She tells me about chaos, head-bouncing, magpie-poop, and how she managed to write about corvids without imagining her father Ted

Katja Hoyer: Beyond The Wall

50 min listen

In this week’s Book Club podcast, my guest is the historian Katja Hoyer, whose new book Beyond The Wall: East Germany 1949-1990 tells the story of four decades which are vital to understanding modern Germany, but which tend to be quietly relegated to a footnote in history. Born in the GDR herself, Katja tells me how much

Henry Dimbleby & Jemima Lewis: Ravenous

45 min listen

On this week’s Book Club podcast my guests are the former government food tsar Henry Dimbleby and his wife and co-author Jemima Lewis, to talk about their new book Ravenous: How To Get Ourselves and Our Planet Into Shape. They tell me about the perils and pleasures of working with your spouse, why exercise doesn’t make

Victoria Smith: Hags

46 min listen

My guest on this week’s Book Club podcast is the writer Victoria Smith, whose new book Hags: The Demonisation of Middle-Aged Women explains why one of the oldest forms of misogyny is seeing a vicious resurgence in our own age. She says some of the worst of it now comes from young women. She tells me why