Jonathan Parry

Jonathan Parry teaches 19th-century history at Cambridge.

Life on Sark: Life on Sark

Jonathan Parry, 18 May 2023

The quirkiest​ of the British Isles is a self-governing jurisdiction between Guernsey and France just over three miles long and less than two miles wide. Sark has its own parliament, its own taxes and its own traffic laws (permitting only tractors, bikes and horse-drawn vehicles). Its central, fertile plateau is protected by cliffs on almost all sides that rise to over three hundred feet....

‘Do dogs commit suicide?’ ‘Can monkeys smoke?’ ‘An electrical flying machine?’ Those who were intrigued by such matters in 1888 sought enlightenment from a new weekly magazine, Answers to Correspondents, which also explained ‘How to Cure Freckles’, ‘Terrors of Top Hats’, and ‘The Destiny of Lost Luggage’. The...

Napping in the Athenaeum: London Clubland

Jonathan Parry, 8 September 2022

This year​ marks the sixtieth anniversary of Anthony Sampson’s Anatomy of Britain, which gave a pioneering analysis of the ‘anonymous institutions’ that seemed to be running the country, and the relations between them. It was the most famous of several books published in the early 1960s exploring the idea of a British ‘Establishment’, as part of a...

If we see​ Anglo-French relations functioning in different ways in different geopolitical contexts – Atlantic, Mediterranean and domestic – this may provide some comfort as we confront the post-Brexit situation. The Brexiters’ shrill rejection of Theresa May’s deal with the European Union, which aimed at preventing costly trade friction and at preserving the integrity of the UK, led to the defenestration of most of the Conservative Party’s foreign policy experts: Ken Clarke, David Gauke, Oliver Letwin, David Lidington and Rory Stewart. With them went the liberal Tory realist tradition of foreign policy which had been a constant of British statecraft since it became a world power. Instead we are in the hands of Jacob Rees-Mogg, the minister for Brexit opportunities, who told us last autumn that ‘the French are always grumpy in October, the anniversaries of Trafalgar and Agincourt.’ The reality, however, is that two countries which share a long frontier and common pursuits have many reasons to co-operate day to day. 

To Serve My Friends

Jonathan Parry, 27 January 2022

Oliver Dowden​, the co-chairman of the Conservative Party, appeared twice on the Today programme late last year. First, on 15 November, he answered questions about his party’s handling of the corruption allegations against the MP Owen Paterson, and then again on 17 December, he discussed the loss of Paterson’s North Shropshire seat at the by-election necessitated by...

Swank and Swagger: Deals with the Pasha

Ferdinand Mount, 26 May 2022

The Ottoman regime allowed the British considerable latitude so long as they didn’t directly threaten Ottoman interests. The British themselves only slowly realised quite how lucky they were in having...

Read more reviews

What Gladstone did

G.R. Searle, 24 February 1994

This impressive study of Victorian politics is built around a challenging thesis: that Gladstone, far from being the creator of the Liberal Party, was in fact a maverick who stumbled into the...

Read more reviews

Sacred Crows

John Skorupski, 1 September 1983

The culture, of the first fifty years or so of this century – ‘Modernism’ – comes increasingly to be seen in historical perspective: as a period of the past with its own...

Read more reviews

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences