Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Despite flunking out of Cheltenham Ladies’ College after one term, Ann Fleming, the wife of James Bond’s creator, was highly intelligent and not a little opinionated. She objected to Kingsley Amis writing the first posthumous James Bond novel because she felt he was a left-wing opportunist with little sympathy for 007’s patriotic core values.

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The Cruel Sea

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

There’s nothing like getting your boots on the ground. If you’re a writer or journalist chasing a difficult story, there’s no substitute for dropping what you’re doing, telling your wife or husband that you love her or him and will return with all sorts of exotic, possibly sparkling, presents, flying out there and getting on […]

Ship of Fools

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The Ship of Fools is never short of passengers or crew. In David Pryce-Jones’s brisk new polemic, he sketches a pageant of British men and women who regularly had a good word for dictators, left and right: from Tom Paine to Kim Philby; Joseph Priestley (the great eighteenth-century scientist who applauded the renovating qualities of […]

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Bombe Surprise

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

The problem with terrorism is that it initiates action but can never control the consequences. Politics is always more complicated than throwing a bomb or launching a plane into a building. If this is true of today’s terrorists, it is even truer of yesterday’s violent anarchists, those oddballs who caused considerable panic among right-thinking people […]

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Thrill of the Chase

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Adrian Tinniswood is a masterly writer of history with a gift for slamming his readers into the thick of the action, as he demonstrated in his fine book on the Great Fire of London, By Permission of Heaven. Now he has tackled a subject thick with smoke and bright with daggers: the Barbary pirates. It […]

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