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Category Archives: review

Great Man history

On Andrew Roberts’ Churchill: Walking with Destiny. – For The Oldie

Intelligence review

‘For centuries before the Second World War, educated British people knew far more about intelligence operations recorded in the Bible than they did about the role of intelligence at any moment in their own history.’ Nowadays, one might think, few would even know that. But that’s where Christopher Andrew – Emeritus Professor of Modern and [...]

Litterary death match

In the Autumn of 2014, feeling somewhat down about his wordsmithing career, uncertain in his role as model for his two sons, and with one eye on the health of his own father, Toby Litt decided to take on the oft-postponed biography of great-great-great-grandfather William. An undefeated prize-fighter and winner of 200 belts in the [...]

M.O.’s m.o. – or; Everybody wants to be like Mike

A review of Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight. – For The Spectator

Everyman, I will go with thee, and be thy Bluffer’s Guide

Last weekend I played host to a particularly friendly cricket match – by which I mean that both teams had no clue what they were doing. The opposition, Rain Men, were captained by my friend and usual team-mate Simon, whose excuse was that he’d only played the game 263 times previously. The other captain was, [...]

Monty’s trouble

A footsoldier’s review of Antony Beevor’s Arnhem: the Battle for the Bridges, 1944. – For The Oldie

Cannon law

Review of Kim A Wagner’s The Skull of Alum Bheg: The Life and Death of a Rebel of 1857. – For The Spectator

Fair tradesmen

Review of a Norwegian book on loft conversions. (Standard.) – For The Spectator

Turning Japanese stomachs

Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima Penguin, 170pp, £8.99 . Born two years after the Great Earthquake of 1923, in ‘not too good a section of Tokyo’, Kochan is a sickly child, brought up by stultifying parents and a morbid grandmother. His first reliable memory is of the ‘night-soil’ man, and he immediately becomes [...]

An honest pisstake

Pissing Figures: 1280–2014 by Jean-Claude Lebensztejn (transl. Jeff Nagy) David Zwirner Books, 168pp, £11.95 . From a Cimabue cherub to Szydlowski/-lowska’s Lenin, simply everyone is pissing. In pen and ink, paint on canvas, plaster, wood, stone, polymer, block prints, engraving, chamber pots, aquatints, dishware, film, manuscripts, inlay, public statuary, trick-photography, and in a Japanese video [...]