Books

Timothy Leary — apostle of acid and, according to Richard Nixon, ‘the most dangerous man in America’

A strange vibration

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Among the many curiosities revealed in this book, few are more startling than the fact that at the height of…

Playing Stalin for laughs

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Christopher Wilson’s new novel is much easier to enjoy than to categorise. And ‘enjoy’ is definitely the right word, even…

The new age of the refugee

22 July 2017 9:00 am

After years of estrangement in a foreign land, what can immigrants expect to find on their return home? The remembered…

By Patten or design?

22 July 2017 9:00 am

My old friend Richard Ingrams was said always to write The Spectator’s television reviews sitting in the next-door room to…

Was the artist of Lascaux just desperate for peace?

Something in the water

22 July 2017 9:00 am

‘It was a shock, and an epiphany,’ says Fiona Sampson, to realise that many of her favourite places were built…

William Joyce — better known as Lord Haw-Haw: an ideological enthusiast for fascism

The infamous four

22 July 2017 9:00 am

Most books about British traitors feature those who spied for Russia before and during the Cold War, making it easy…

The cold grip of fear

22 July 2017 9:00 am

A screenwriter sits in a lovely rented house somewhere up an Alp in early December. The air is clear, the…

A choice of short stories

22 July 2017 9:00 am

It can’t be easy to switch between editing others people’s fiction and writing your own: how do you suspend that…

Nadar ascending aloft in his basket — in this case in his studio, recording the event for mass consumption

The first celebrity

15 July 2017 9:00 am

It’s quite a scene to imagine. A maniacal self-publicist with absurd facial hair takes off in what’s thought to be…

Lomasko gives a voice to the invisible and the unheard in her graphic novel, ‘Other Russias’

Beyond the pale

15 July 2017 9:00 am

You can tell everything you need to know about what Victoria Lomasko thinks of her homeland by the titles of…

Voices of exile

15 July 2017 9:00 am

During the military dictatorships of the 1970s, exile for many Latin American writers was not so much a state of…

An airborne early warning system leads fighter jets during a military parade in Beijing

China syndrome

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Every day on his way to work at Harvard, Professor Allison wondered how the reconstruction of the bridge over Boston’s…

Self’s obsessions

15 July 2017 9:00 am

This 600-page, single-paragraph novel shuttles back and forth across time between the perspectives of an elderly and confused psychiatrist, a…

On matters maritime

15 July 2017 9:00 am

The Greenland shark has to be one of the most fascinating creatures of which you’ve probably never heard. Growing sometimes…

Latest crime fiction

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Sand (Pushkin Press, £14.99) is set in 1972 and moves back and forth between a North African city…

Thoreau: the poet-naturalist and political radical

Taking the rough with the smooth

8 July 2017 9:00 am

In The Ambassadors, Henry James sends Lewis Lambert Strether from Boston to Paris to retrieve Chad Newsome, the wayward heir…

Mother Medea

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Medea’s continuing hold over spinners of tall tales from Euripides to Chaucer to Pasolini needs little explanation; she’s an archetype…

‘The Arrival of the Pilgrims Fathers’, 1864, Antonio Gilbert (oil on canvas)

Crossing the pond

8 July 2017 9:00 am

What led a person in 17th-century England to get on a ship bound for the Americas? James Evans attempts to…

Dark night of the soul

8 July 2017 9:00 am

As bombs fall everywhere in Syria and IS fighters destroy Palmyra, a musicologist in Vienna lies awake all night thinking…

Hot Spring

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Imagine if Kathy Lette — or possibly Julie Burchill — had written a feminist, magic-realist saga that sent four women…

McEnroe serving in a mixed doubles match with Steffi Graf at Wimbledon, 1999

Always the Superbrat

8 July 2017 9:00 am

John McEnroe’s father calls. In fact, he calls McEnroe’s manager’s phone, presumably because dad doesn’t have a direct line to…

Nello and Carlo Rosselli, photograph from a family album

In defiance of Il Duce

8 July 2017 9:00 am

The details of Mussolini’s fascism are perhaps not quite as familiar in this country as they might be. Even quite…

A woman of some importance

8 July 2017 9:00 am

It might seem unlikely that a Christian noblewoman could have had influence over a Muslim city in the 13th century,…

Something nasty in the woodshed

8 July 2017 9:00 am

I’ve diagnosed myself with early onset cottage-itis. It’s not supposed to happen for another decade, but at 29 I dream…

Doctor of humility

8 July 2017 9:00 am

Henry Marsh’s book Do No Harm (2014) was that rare thing — a neurosurgeon showing his fallibility in public and…