Allan Massie

Allan Massie

Allan Massie is an author and journalist. He has written more than twenty novels, most recently the Bordeaux Quartet, crime novels set in France during the years of the German Occupation 1940-45. He reviews books for The Wall Street Journal, The Scotsman and The Spectator. He lives with his wife in the Scottish Borders, and is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Cultural Caviar

Neville Chamberlain

Harris Takes On ‘Munich’

Sep 29 2017

The other evening I chaired an event in Edinburgh at which Robert Harris was introducing his splendid new novel, Munich. It’s sure to be a


Who Can Say?

Sep 22 2017

Long before I started writing about politics, I learned one important lesson: What is said to be inevitable doesn’t necessarily happen. Way back in 1965

Environmental Snafus

Why Risk It?

Sep 15 2017

Twenty years or so ago I was doubtful about climate change and global warming. This was partly because I remembered that back in the 1970s

International Affairs

Engaging the Hermit Kingdom

Sep 08 2017

Writing about an international crisis a couple of days before publication risks making you look like a fool—okay, a bigger fool than usual. Politicians, of

Cultural Caviar

Out of Bounds?

Sep 01 2017

The young man at the supermarket checkout asked me if I would be watching the fight. “No,” I said, “more a media event than sport.”

Cultural Caviar

Panjshir, Afghanistan

History Lessons

Aug 25 2017

“History teaches us no lessons but we insist on trying to learn from it.” That’s the first sentence of a Spectator review of John Bew’s


Looking Backwards

Aug 18 2017

Few people will speak in favor of slavery now. It’s illegal in every country with any claim to being civilized. I doubt if even the

Cultural Caviar

Hitler’s Survival

Aug 11 2017

Robert Harris’ new novel, Munich, will be published in September. It’s too early to review it, but I’ve read a proof copy and can say


Swearing Up and Down

Aug 04 2017

What I take to be a very well-oiled revolving door has ejected Mr. Scaramucci from the White House before he had properly got in. I’m


Westminster, U.K.

The Shipbuilder’s Words

Jul 28 2017

In the first chapter of Shadows of Empire, a novel I wrote twenty years ago, an old shipbuilder and shipping magnate, in conversation with his


A Question of Courage

Jul 21 2017

John Lodwick was a British author"€”Anglo-Irish, really"€”who had an adventurous war, to put it mildly, wrote a dozen or so novels, and was killed in

International Affairs

Patience and Time

Jul 14 2017

In War and Peace Tolstoy has Russian generals urging the commander in chief Marshal Kutuzov to stand and fight Napoleon instead of continuing to retreat.

Cultural Caviar

In Defense of Al Jazeera

Jul 07 2017

It's probable that few of us in the West have much time for either Saudi Arabia or Qatar. There are exceptions, of course. Our governments


A Matter of Sovereignty

Jun 30 2017

The word "€œsovereignty"€ was bandied about during our E.U. referendum last year, and there were many who said that Edward Heath, the prime minister who


A Sobering Thought

Jun 23 2017

Drinking was great fun when we were young. There were few things that I enjoyed more. Like Terry Lennox in Raymond Chandler's most booze-sodden"€”and that's

Cultural Caviar

When the Almighty Delivers

Jun 16 2017

It's absurd to say that the terrorism sponsored by ISIS and al-Qaeda has nothing to do with Islam. Obviously it has. They tell us this

Cultural Caviar

Jimmy Connors

Racquet Royalty

Jun 09 2017

Next year it will be half a century since tennis went open, with the distinction between amateurs and professionals abolished. Previously it was a sport

Middle East Conflict

A War of Cultures

Jun 02 2017

Islamist terrorism is going to be with us for a long time; there will be more atrocities like the one in Manchester last week, and


CA Is Appropriate

May 26 2017

Anthony Horowitz, author of the very successful Alex Rider books (teen novels about a schoolboy spy) and the excellent TV series Foyle's War, has landed

British Politics

Timing Is Everything

May 19 2017

William Gladstone, the great Victorian Liberal leader, the most successful electoral politician of the age, believed that success in politics depended on right timing. This

Cultural Caviar

We Are All Mongrels

May 11 2017

Byron Rogers, a journalist whose work I always enjoy, has a nice story about some discovery relating perhaps to King Arthur that spawned a conference


Political Lightweights

May 05 2017

People often complain about the professionalism of politics today, but the truth is, at the top level, our politicians aren"€™t half professional enough. They lack


Days of the Clydes

Apr 28 2017

The Horseman by Tim Pears is one of the best novels I"€™ve read in a long time. The first part of a projected trilogy, it


Our Slippery Prime Minister

Apr 21 2017

"€œThe lady's not for turning,"€ famously declared Margaret Thatcher, and to her credit the Old Girl rarely did. Not so the second woman to become

Looking Back

War is Hell

Apr 14 2017

Thinking about Syria, I"€™ve been rereading The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944"€“45, Ian Kershaw's brilliant and comprehensive study of the German

International Affairs

Kim Jong-un

The Nuclear Gamble

Apr 07 2017

Harry Truman was in the White House and Donald Trump hadn"€™t yet been conceived when atom bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Truman was