Book review – History

The dangerous allure of the unseen. Students of the occult are alarmed by their own success in conjuring up the dead

An invisibility cloak? You might just be able to see it on the horizon...

9 August 2014 9:00 am

The best books by good writers — and Philip Ball is a very good writer indeed — are sometimes the…

Doctor Zhivago's long, dark shadow

5 July 2014 9:00 am

The banning of Dr Zhivago in the Soviet Union had unfortunate consequences for other fine 20th-century Russian novels, says Robert Chandler

Slaves planting cane cuttings in Antigua, 1823, by William Clark

Only tourists think of the Caribbean as a ‘paradise’

28 June 2014 9:00 am

A couple of years ago in Jamaica, I met Errol Flynn’s former wife, the screen actress Patrice Wymore. Reportedly a…

The cold, remote plateau of Vichy France where good was done

28 June 2014 9:00 am

It is with a heavy heart that I pick up anything to do with the Holocaust. Not because it’s wearisome…

‘The Final Advance of the Guard’ by Nicolas Toussaint Charlet

An old soldier sees through the smoke of Waterloo

21 June 2014 8:00 am

David Crane on an old soldier’s account of a 200-year-old battle that will never fade away

Robert Capa in Picture Post, featuring his Spanish civil war photo-journalism, December 1938

The Spanish Civil War hotel that Capa, Hemingway and Gelhorn called home

21 June 2014 8:00 am

In February 1924 the Hotel Florida, a ten- storey marble-clad building with 200 rooms, a glass-roofed atrium and red plush…

English tea-chests are thrown into Boston harbour, 16 December 1773

A Labour MP defends the Empire – and only quotes Lenin twice

14 June 2014 8:00 am

In a grand history of the British empire — because that is what this book really is —  you might…

A Pole’s view of the Czechs. Who cares? You will

14 June 2014 8:00 am

When this extraordinary book was about to come out in French four years ago its author was told by his…

Colonel James Tod, travelling by elephant through Rajasthan with his cavalry and sepoys (Indian school, 18th century)

From Scylax to the Beatles: the West's lust for India

7 June 2014 9:00 am

Peter Parker on the age-old allure of the Indian subcontinent

Edward VII, portrayed in the French press hurrying across the Channel to the delights of Paris

The Paris of Napoleon III was one big brothel – which is why the future Edward VII loved it

7 June 2014 9:00 am

Stephen Clarke lives in Paris and writes book with titles such as 1,000 Years of Annoying the French. Dirty Bertie…

When the English cricket team toured Nazi Germany – and got smashed

7 June 2014 9:00 am

Why have the Germans never been any good at cricket? This entertaining account of the MCC’s 1937 tour to the…

Appalling retributions and atrocities marked the end of the Free Republic of the Vercors. A French Resistance fighter is hanged in 1944

Reliving the most famous last stand of the French Resistance

7 June 2014 9:00 am

Published to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Vercors, perhaps the most famous stand of the French Resistance…

View of Baghdad in 1918

Baghdad's rise, fall – and rise again

31 May 2014 9:00 am

Ali A. Allawi on the fluctuating fortunes of Iraq’s fabled capital

Patrick Leigh Fermor as a major in the parachute regiment, October 1945

Patrick Leigh Fermor and the long, daft tradition of Brits trying to save Greece

31 May 2014 9:00 am

Twenty-odd years ago, while on holiday in the deep Mani at the foot of the Peloponnese, I got into conversation…

Three of the best: Edward Thomas (left), Wilfred Owen (above right) and Edmund Blunden

Look again – the first world war poets weren't pacifists

10 May 2014 9:00 am

The patriotism of the Great War’s finest poets was neither narrow nor triumphalist but reflected an intense devotion to an endangered country and to a way of life worth dying for, says David Crane

The Long Library at Blenheim Palace, converted into a dormitory for the boys of Malvern school in 1940

What most imperilled country houses in the 20th century was taxes and death duties, not requisition

26 April 2014 9:00 am

Servicemen used paintings as dartboards.   Schoolchildren dismantled banisters and paneling for firewood. Architects from the Ministry of Works acted like…

From Göring to Hemingway, via Coco Chanel – the dark glamour of the Paris Ritz at war

19 April 2014 9:00 am

In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen did a good job of showing how foolish it is to be obsessed by…

Silvia Pinal in Buñuel’s Viridiana

There was good art under Franco

12 April 2014 9:00 am

Everyone knows about the Spanish civil war, first battlefield in the struggle that broke out in 1936 and ended nine…

The diary that proves Anthony Seldon wrong about the first world war and the public schools

12 April 2014 9:00 am

In March 1915 the 27th Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, with an already distinguished political career behind him, took the…

The one-man spy factory who changed history

5 April 2014 9:00 am

With two new biographies of Kim Philby out, an espionage drama by Sir David Hare on BBC2, and the recent…

Witnesses in the heart of darkness

29 March 2014 9:00 am

When presented with a 639-page doorstopper which includes 82 pages of closely-written sources, notes and index, most of us feel…

‘A dandy aesthete with visions of sacrificial violence’

29 March 2014 9:00 am

Eschewing the biblical advertising of ‘the promised land’ or indeed ‘a land of milk and honey’, the Conservative colonial secretary…

Whistling is a bloody nuisance

29 March 2014 9:00 am

Paul McCartney says he can remember the exact moment he knew the Beatles had made it. Early one morning, getting…

Sweden’s warrior king Gustavus Adolphus inspired the English far more than their own effete, self-righteous Stuart monarchs

Can anyone make a good case for the Stuart kings?

15 March 2014 9:00 am

Historians have generally not been kind in their assessment of Britain’s first two Stuart kings. Their political skills are regarded…

Queen Victoria with the naughty bits put back

15 March 2014 9:00 am

Queen Victoria was the inventor of official royal biography. It was she who commissioned the monumental five-volume life of Prince…