Simon Heffer

Does the Public Get What it Deserves?

Does the Public Get What it Deserves?

Of the twenty or so nonfiction books I have reviewed in the last year, only one or two stick in the memory for the right reasons. They had, for a start, a properly constructed argument or narrative. They were well researched and had something original to say. They complemented this with a lucid writing style. They included enough variation in tone to avoid monotony. They were what we used to call ‘well written’: words chosen correctly for the full weight of their meaning, and presented within a properly grammatical framework. They were the work of that rare author who knows a subjunctive or a gerund when he sees one; or who can write allusively without appearing pretentious or patronising. They are books for what we used to call ‘educated people’.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,
    • Domestic scandal, sexual abuse and serial killers are on the menu in April's crime round-up. revie… ,
    • What did Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, James Boswell and Edmund Burke all have in common? Clare Bucknell reveal… ,