Simon Courtauld

Dogged by ill fortune

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has done Captain Scott’s memory some service. For the past two decades, since Roland Huntford’s devastating demolition job — Scott bad, Amundsen good — was first published (also by Hodder & Stoughton) in 1979, ‘the world’s greatest explorer’ has dropped quite a few places in the league table. Fiennes may not have

Magnificent joint venture

One might think that Henry Kamen, having written books on Spain in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, on the Inquisition, on Philip II and on the War of the Spanish Succession, had just about done, not to say saturated, the period. But no – he has apparently not covered the Spanish empire to his

The Orwell of Notting Hill

Roy Kerridge is conservative in attitude, he loves the works of Kipling and he enjoys the company of those whom he describes as of the African diaspora but would rather not call blacks. His affection for that race may have originated with his West African stepfather; he has certainly spent much of his time in