Mussolini

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…

‘Statue (Double Check by Seward Johnson), New York, 11 September 2001’, 2001, by Jeff Mermelstein

Repo women

6 July 2017 1:00 pm

Aren’t you getting a little sick of the white cube? I am. I realised how sick last week after blundering…

Umberto Eco really tries our patience

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Colonna, the protagonist of Umberto Eco’s latest novel, is the first to admit he is a loser. A middle-aged literary…

Boccaccio and Petrach

The constant inconstancy that made Italians yearn for fascism

11 July 2015 9:00 am

This hefty volume is misleadingly titled. It is not an escapist sort of travel book, ushering the visitor around the…

Moura Budberg with two of her lovers, H.G. Wells and Maxim Gorky

The spy who loved (a lot): Moura Budberg’s life reads like a thriller — and may have been more interesting than she was herself

9 May 2015 9:00 am

Moura Budberg (1892–1974) had an extraordinary life. She was born in the Poltava region of Ukraine, and as a young…

Be different, be original: that’s what makes a popular politician

28 March 2015 9:00 am

I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like being a political leader. I find this difficult because I…

Ezra Pound in the early 1920s

Ezra Pound – the fascist years

18 October 2014 9:00 am

‘There are the Alps. What is there to say about them?/ They don’t make sense. Fatal glaciers, crags cranks climb,…

Coco Chanel, one of the ‘rackety celebrities’ of the 1920s, with Duke Laurino of Rome on the Lido

A Hello! magazine history of Venice

23 August 2014 9:00 am

When Napoleon Bonaparte captured Venice in 1797, he extinguished what had been the most successful regime in the history of…

Charles Scott Moncrieff (left) had a deep personal affinity with Proust (right). His rendering of 'À La Recherche du Temps Perdu' is considered one of the greatest literary translations of all time

Soldier, poet, lover, spy: just the man to translate Proust

16 August 2014 9:00 am

Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s Englishing of Proust — widely and immediately agreed to be one of the greatest literary translations…

The Italians who won the war – against us

10 May 2014 9:00 am

Italy entered the second world war in circumstances very similar to those in which it signed up for the first.…

Churchill reading in his library at Chartwell

Churchill was as mad as a badger. We should all be thankful

19 April 2014 9:00 am

Land sakes! Another book about Winston Churchill? Really? Give us a break, the average reader may think. Actually though, as…

Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon survive the Blitz in Mrs Miniver (1942).Churchill reckoned it was ‘worth six war divisions’ and Goebbels considered it an ‘exemplary propaganda film’, but to Lillian Hellman it was‘a piece of junk’

When Mussolini came knocking on Hollywood’s door

29 March 2014 9:00 am

John Ford was the first of the five famous Hollywood film directors to go to war. He went expecting to…