Geoffrey Wheatcroft is the author of The Controversy of Zion, The Strange Death of Tory England, and Yo, Blair! (October 2016)

IN THE REVIEW

Tony Blair’s Eternal Shame: The Report

George W. Bush and Tony Blair at a joint press conference at Hillsborough Castle, near Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 2003

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry

by a Committee of Privy Counsellors chaired by Sir John Chilcot

Not the Chilcot Report

by Peter Oborne
The Chilcot report coyly says that “the widespread perception”—meaning the correct belief—that Downing Street distorted the intelligence about Saddam’s weaponry has left a “damaging legacy,” undermining trust and confidence in politicians. It is not fanciful to see the Brexit vote, the disruption of the Labour Party, and the rise of Donald Trump among those consequences, all part of the revulsion across the Western world against elites and establishments that were so discredited by Iraq. How could it have happened?

Churchill: Great and Mean

Winston Churchill and his daughter Sarah laying bricks at their house in Chartwell, Kent, September 1928

No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money

by David Lough

Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill

by Sonia Purnell
In 1930, Winston Churchill published My Early Life, which remains his most likable and authentic book. At its end he comes forward to September 1908 when, without mentioning Clementine Hozier by name or his proposing to her at his ancestral home of Blenheim Palace, his last line tells us in …

Walpole: The House & the Letters

Horace Walpole’s country house, Strawberry Hill, in the nineteenth century

Strawberry Hill and Horace Walpole: Essential Guide

by John Iddon

Strawberry Hill: Horace Walpole’s Gothic Castle

by Anna Chalcraft and Judith Viscardi
“It is a little play-thing-house,” Horace Walpole wrote to Henry Seymour Conway in June 1747, “and is the prettiest bauble you ever saw. It is set in enamelled meadows, with filigree hedges.” Six years later he was able to tell his friend Sir Horace Mann, the lifelong British resident in …

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The Rural Vision of Ravilious & Friends

Eric Ravilious: Two Women in a Garden, 1933

There is a palpable mood of nostalgia in England at present. This may have been expressed politically in Brexit, but it is also visible in the popular taste for “heritage” and lost worlds. In particular, Britain is awash with books and films about World War II, which all these painters lived through and which became part of their artistic legacy. The England that Ravilious and Bawden evoked so powerfully reflected neither reactionary sentiment nor aimless aesthetic ideals. Their rural vision was not about an escapist rural retreat or nostalgic nationalism, but about a precious common heritage, something worth fighting for.

Loving the Vicious Race

Chris Froome during the Vuelta a España race, August 27, 2016

Even those with no interest in bike racing might try watching the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta a España, which starts on August 19, on television: they are the best possible travelogues, with aerial shots of three countries ravishingly beautiful in different ways, landscape of mountains and valleys, meadows and vineyards, castles, cathedrals and churches, great cities and pretty little towns. It might make even the most zealous Brexiter or American Firster warm a little to the glories of Europe.

The Queen and the Camera

Count de Montizon: The Hippopotamus at the Zoological Gardens, Regent’s Park, 1852

Photography, and Queen Victoria’s interest in it, emerged into public light with the Great Exhibition of 1851, partly Prince Albert’s brainchild. Many of the astonishing six million people who visited the exhibition in Hyde Park saw photographs for the first time, a number of which can be seen at a new exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum and in the handsome accompanying book by Anne M. Lyden, both called “A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography.”

Downing Street Liars’ Club

One of the best traditions of English public life is the official inquiry, sometimes parliamentary, sometimes judicial. What gives inquiries their value isn’t the conclusions they come to, which can be perverse or distorted by partisanship, but the evidence they hear and place on record. And so with the Leveson inquiry into the press. Whatever recommendations Lord Justice Leveson eventually makes, we have been spellbound by the testimony he has heard. To add a certain amusement value, the last few weeks have been notable for utterly contradictory testimony from different witnesses, several of them present or former leaders of the country. Someone is being economical with the truth, or just lying.

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