Blog Profile / The Spectator: Books

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Archived Since:March 30, 2015

Blog Post Archive

Today’s pirate gold is the Patagonian toothfish

Catching Thunder describes a thrilling sea chase across the Southern Ocean to prevent the illegal poaching of this endangered species

In 1968, even supercilious Boston was ankle-deep in LSD

The stately Jamesian city was then home to acid-addled groupies and the acoustic sound of Astral Weeks

Who is monitoring the 200 million videos available daily on YouTube?

Kevin Allocca tells us everything about the website’s upsides — but nothing about political propaganda or the extremist clips that go viral

A nightmare scenario in the city of dreaming spires

Brian Martin’s new novel revolves around the scandals lurking at the heart of a respectable Oxford college

Quantum physics made fun

Clifford V. Johnson adopts the graphic novel approach, while Philip Ball decides which myths need busting

Frankenstein’s monster is more frightening than ever

A vengeful ghoul, stitched together from the body parts of the dead, appears in Baghdad in Ahmed Saadawi’s prize-winning novel

What did the Romans ever do for us when it comes to viticulture?

We don’t know how their wine tasted, or even which grapes they planted. But Nina Caplan still muses on what their influence might have been

Lucy Mangan has enough comic energy to power the National Grid

In her delightful memoir of childhood reading she admits to a deep distrust of Babar’s obsession with smart suits

Our gallant second world war pigeons have been unjustly ridiculed

Gordon Corera unravels the workings of Operation Columba, the secret pigeon service that could turn around a drop in just 36 hours

Napoleon’s dazzling victories invited a devastating backlash

The second volume of Michael Broers’s biography covers the glory years of 1805–1810; but the triumphs contained within them the seeds of defeat

Thomas Paine: spendthrift, scrounger and polemicist of genius

As a cosmopolitan citizen of the world and pioneering opponent of religious superstition, Paine fits perfectly within the modern narrative

Why I now find listening to Beethoven nauseating

Stephen Bernard describes how much of literature and classical music are soiled pleasures for him, as a result of his schoolmaster’s abuse

The CIA, the Vietnam deserters and the aptly named Operation Chaos

Matthew Sweet feels lost in a surreal dream as he attempts to unravel the complex espionage project inaugurated by President Johnson

Only an idiot would choose to live at any other time than the present

On average, we’re healthier, wealthier and happier than ever before, says Stephen Pinker, a firm believer in reason, science and humanism

The spectacular suicide mission of the world’s greatest battleship

Jan Morris’s follows the Yamato’s final days in April 1945, as the pride of the Japanese fleet met her inevitable end at Okinawa

Jessie Greengrass’s Sight is unashamedly philosophical

A pregnant mother’s reflections are intercut with stories of psychoanalysis and empiricism in an exceptional debut novel

The miseries of diplomatic life: heat, bedbugs and endless cocktail parties

Lulah Ellender follows her grandmother’s life abroad through the obsessive lists she made — including of the things that worried her most

Every day is mother’s day for writers: most have strong feelings about their mothers, though not always of love

Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, Philip Larkin, Walt Whitman, Robert Lowell and Shakespeare are among the sons featured in Dale Salwak’s miscellany

Shadows of the past are ominously present in a trio of memorable first novels

Danny Denton, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Emma Glass explore the dramatic effects of past deeds on their characters’ lives

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