Allan Massie

Dallying with Il Duce

Iris Origo's diary of the runup to Italy entering WW2 is a fascinating record which cuts through Fascist propaganda

Last days of hope and glory

The years 1880-1914 were just as much an Age of Improvement as an Age of Decadence

Bullying and Bluff on the Road to Referendum

In this unnecessarily long campaign, both nationalists and unionists have peddled negative and exaggerated arguments

Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggars Both

Book reviews of Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters translated & edited by Michael Hofmann and Three Lives, a Biography of Stefan Zweig by Oliver Matuschek, translated by Allan Blunden

Underrated: James Boswell

The biographer of Dr Johnson's gift to posterity was to establish the latter as one of English literature's towering figures

Overrated: Robert Burns

The mawkish cult of Rabbie distracts us from the beauty of the Scottish poet's exquisite verse

Bring on the Girls

Book review of A Man of Parts by David Lodge

Do the Times Require a Conyers Middleton?

He is an 18th-century deist with a message for today's aggressive atheists: religion has a social value, and saves us from the return to a Hobbesian state of nature

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"