The Spectator

20 January 2018

The great plastic panic

Packaging from petrochemicals is bad but what if the alternatives are worse?


Eva Braun dieted obsessively, but didn’t hold back on the pilfered champagne

Lead book review

Culinary cold war at the White House

The revolting food served by Eleanor Roosevelt not only depressed her husband but scandalised all Washington, according to Laura Shapiro

Four million bats stream from the Deer Cave every evening in Gunung Mulu National Park


Leeches, bats and toxic sap in Borneo’s Eden

We bled so much when the tiger leeches dropped off us, the camp looked like a bombsite’, says the explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison


An 80th birthday party causes no end of trouble in Barney Norris’s latest novel

Both Ireland’s Troubles and the anxieties of a 25-year-old anorexic unfold over a single day in Turning for Home


Ethnic cleansing and the horrors of Buczacz

The bloodbath involving former friends and neighbours in the East European border town in 1941 makes this atrocity especially shocking, says Omer Bartov

Mary Shelley: a major writer, with a heartbreakingly difficult life


Mary Shelley’s monstrous creation close up

Fiona Sampson traces Mary’s life from unmarried teenage mother to the author of one of the most enduring of all horror stories

A recruiting poster from 1917, establishing the Wrens


Getting women on board: the history of the WRNS

Though women had for centuries nursed and cooked for British sailors, it wasn’t until 1917 that they were officially recruited by the Royal Navy


Jenny Erpenbeck finds a novel way to tackle the migrant problem

Her thoughtful Go Went Gone sees the plight of refugees through the imaginative eyes of a retired academic in Berlin