My Kingdom for a Horse – only $1.99 on Kindle

Buy it here. And here’s a sample Introduction Now is the winter of our discontent/Made glorious summer by this sun of York. As the historian Robert Tombs put it, no other country but England had, until the age of cinema, turned its national history into a popular drama, thanks to William Shakespeare’s series of plays. These seven histories chart the country’s dynastic conflict from 1399 to 1485, starting with the overthrow of the demented Richard II and… Read on

The Weekly Standard: Handing Britain To Jeremy Corbyn To Own the Libs

Me at the Weekly Standard. I wish I’d bothered to learn more poetry when I was younger so that I could think beyond Yeats’s done-to-death ‘Second Coming’ when musing British politics right now. Perhaps in 2018 it is better explained in meme form, as the dog in the burning house muttering ‘This is fine’, or the sweating man forced to choose between two buttons: ‘Renege on Referendum Promises’ and ‘Destroy the economy and Tory party’. After close to 200… Read on

‘The terrible things that happen when you put writers in charge’

Dictator Literature by Daniel Kalder. OneWorld Publishing, £10.99 Daniel Kalder is a very funny writer who specialises in Russian history and literature and has an eye for dark humour, the latter probably a necessity for the former. His latest book is a work of literary criticism with an unusual twist: studying the output of Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler and Mao, as well as some of the lesser tyrants of the 20th century. All were awful people; most were also awful… Read on

Hail, Emmanuel Macron, crowned of God, great and peaceful Emperor of the Romans!

From the Catholic Herald print edition, July 5, 2018 Last week France’s maddeningly young president Emmanuel Macron became the “first and only honorary canon” of the Basilica of St John Lateran while on a trip to meet the Holy Father in Rome. The title dates back to the 15th century but many French presidents, including François Mitterrand and François Hollande, have declined the honour, in consideration of the Republic’s often difficult relationship with Catholicism. Macron, however, seemed to be revelling… Read on

I’ve become a MAMIL (middle aged man in lycra)

At the ipaper Manchester is a similar size to the two cities considered the promised land of urban cycling, Copenhagen and Amsterdam (and its rainfall is actually no worse than the latter). Yet the Dutch and Danish cities weren’t always so cycle-friendly, but rather took a conscious decision to change. After the Second World War cars came to dominate Copenhagen, as across western Europe, and bike use fell significantly. The Danes didn’t like this, and resolved to adopt car-free… Read on

The Mistake that America keeps on making

Political Tribes by Amy Chua, Bloomsbury, 304pp, £14 Amy Chua, a lawyer and academic at Yale, is perhaps best known for her Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, about the joys of traditional Chinese parenting. The bestseller popularised the term “tiger mom” and inspired three separate television series. Married to a novelist and fellow academic, Chua could almost epitomise America’s liberal elite, and yet her ability to see both sides of identity conflict makes her an excellent popular narrator of… Read on

The Path of the Martyrs, ebook priced 99p

The Path of the Martyrs, ebook priced 99p

Over the last few years, on and off, I’ve been writing some beginner’s guides to medieval history. The main idea is that these are the sort of books I wish I’d had when I was younger, telling the story of English history in a light and not too complicated way but also trying to be funny about it (I was just too old for Horrible Histories, although I love the TV series, almost to the point of obsession)…. Read on

Is beauty the answer to the housing crisis?

At CapX, some suggestions for the next Tory mayoral candidate: Policy Exchange’s own polling showed people in Outer London are open to more housing, and since some 22 per cent of Greater London is Green Belt, that means a lot of homes. The next Tory mayoral candidate is under no pressure or expectation to win, so the party may as well go all-out for bold ideas, proposing a number of different housing developments on the outskirts of London, based… Read on

Your bargain of a lifetime

Well this week. Okay, today maybe. My young adult’s/beginner’s guide/Horrible-Histories-but-slightly-older book about the Norman Conquest is on special offer for just $2.38 or £1.79, depending on which part of the English-speaking world you live in. It’s short, easy to read and hopefully amusing, but you should at least finish it knowing more than when you started. Load it onto your Kindle before they push the price back up next week. If you’re suspicious of my… Read on

Everyone loses in the clash between liberalism and democracy

At CapX It seems odd that liberalism (in the older, wider sense) and democracy might be in conflict, like the scene in Superman 3 where Clark Kent fights his alter ego in a junk yard. The two once went together almost like a compound, with “capitalist” as the third crucial element. People spoke about fighting the Cold War in terms of defending democracy. It was what defined our way of life — and yet increasingly intellectuals in the centre… Read on