Simon Heffer - Author

About the Author

Simon Heffer was born in 1960. He read English at Cambridge and took a PhD at that university in modern history. His previous books include: Moral Desperado: A Life of Thomas Carlyle, Like the Roman: The Life of Enoch Powell, Nor Shall My Sword: The Reinvention of England, Vaughan Williams, the highly successful Strictly English and A Short History of Power. In a career of nearly 30 years in Fleet Street he has written columns for and held senior positions on the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator.

Featured books by Simon Heffer

High Minds The Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain

High Minds The Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/08/2014

Simon Heffer's new book forms an ambitious exploration of the making of the Victorian age and the Victorian mind. Britain in the 1840s was a country wracked by poverty, unrest and uncertainty, where there were attempts to assassinate the Queen and her prime minister, and the ruling class lived in fear of riot and revolution. By the 1880s it was a confident nation of progress and prosperity, transformed not just by industrialisation but by new attitudes to politics, education, women and the working class. That it should have changed so radically was very largely the work of an astonishingly dynamic and high-minded group of people - politicians and philanthropists, writers and thinkers - who in a matter of decades fundamentally remade the country, its institutions and its mindset, and laid the foundations for modern society. It traces the evolution of British democracy and shows how early laissez-faire attitudes to the lot of the less fortunate turned into campaigns to improve their lives and prospects. It analyses the birth of new attitudes to education, religion and science. And it shows how even such aesthetic issues as taste in architecture were swept in to broader debates about the direction that the country should take. In the process, Simon Heffer looks at the lives and deeds of major politicians, from the devout and principled Gladstone to the unscrupulous Disraeli; at the intellectual arguments that raged among writers and thinkers such as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, and Samuel Butler; and at the 'great projects' of the age, from the Great Exhibition to the Albert Memorial. Drawing heavily on previously unpublished documents, he offers a superbly nuanced insight into life in an extraordinary era, populated by extraordinary people - and how our forebears' pursuit of perfection gave birth to modern Britain.

Other books by Simon Heffer

The Age of Decadence Britain 1880 to 1914

The Age of Decadence Britain 1880 to 1914

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/09/2018

`A riveting account of the pre-First World War years . . . The Age of Decadence is an enormously impressive and enjoyable read.' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times `A magnificent account of a less than magnificent epoch.' Jonathan Meades, Literary Review The folk-memory of Britain in the years before the Great War is of a powerful, contented, orderly and thriving country. She commanded a vast empire. She bestrode international commerce. Her citizens were living longer, profiting from civil liberties their grandparents only dreamt of, and enjoying an expanding range of comforts and pastimes. The mood of pride and self-confidence is familiar from Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance marches, newsreels of George V's coronation and the London's great Edwardian palaces. Yet things were very different below the surface. In The Age of Decadence Simon Heffer exposes the contradictions of late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain. He explains how, despite the nation's massive power, a mismanaged war against the Boers in South Africa created profound doubts about her imperial destiny. He shows how attempts to secure vital social reforms prompted the twentieth century's gravest constitutional crisis and coincided with the worst industrial unrest in British history. He describes how politicians who conceded the vote to millions more men disregarded women so utterly that female suffragists' public protest bordered on terrorism. He depicts a ruling class that fell prey to degeneracy and scandal. He analyses a national psyche that embraced the motor-car, the sensationalist press and the science fiction of H. G. Wells, but also the Arts and Crafts of William Morris and the nostalgia of A. E. Housman. And he concludes with the crisis that in the summer of 1914 threatened the existence of the United Kingdom - a looming civil war in Ireland. He lights up the era through vivid pen-portraits of the great men and women of the day - including Gladstone, Parnell, Asquith and Churchill, but also Mrs Pankhurst, Beatrice Webb, Baden-Powell, Wilde and Shaw - creating a richly detailed panorama of a great power that, through both accident and arrogance, was forced to face potentially fatal challenges. `A devastating critique of prewar Britain . . . disturbingly relevant to the world in which we live.' Gerard DeGroot, The Times `You won't put it down . . . A really riveting read.' Rana Mitter, BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking

The Age of Decadence Britain 1880 to 1914

The Age of Decadence Britain 1880 to 1914

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/09/2017

`A riveting account of the pre-First World War years . . . The Age of Decadence is an enormously impressive and enjoyable read.' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times `A magnificent account of a less than magnificent epoch.' Jonathan Meades, Literary Review The folk-memory of Britain in the years before the Great War is of a powerful, contented, orderly and thriving country. She commanded a vast empire. She bestrode international commerce. Her citizens were living longer, profiting from civil liberties their grandparents only dreamt of, and enjoying an expanding range of comforts and pastimes. The mood of pride and self-confidence is familiar from Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance marches, newsreels of George V's coronation and the London's great Edwardian palaces. Yet things were very different below the surface. In The Age of Decadence Simon Heffer exposes the contradictions of late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain. He explains how, despite the nation's massive power, a mismanaged war against the Boers in South Africa created profound doubts about her imperial destiny. He shows how attempts to secure vital social reforms prompted the twentieth century's gravest constitutional crisis and coincided with the worst industrial unrest in British history. He describes how politicians who conceded the vote to millions more men disregarded women so utterly that female suffragists' public protest bordered on terrorism. He depicts a ruling class that fell prey to degeneracy and scandal. He analyses a national psyche that embraced the motor-car, the sensationalist press and the science fiction of H. G. Wells, but also the Arts and Crafts of William Morris and the nostalgia of A. E. Housman. And he concludes with the crisis that in the summer of 1914 threatened the existence of the United Kingdom - a looming civil war in Ireland. He lights up the era through vivid pen-portraits of the great men and women of the day - including Gladstone, Parnell, Asquith and Churchill, but also Mrs Pankhurst, Beatrice Webb, Baden-Powell, Wilde and Shaw - creating a richly detailed panorama of a great power that, through both accident and arrogance, was forced to face potentially fatal challenges. `A devastating critique of prewar Britain . . . disturbingly relevant to the world in which we live.' Gerard DeGroot, The Times `You won't put it down . . . A really riveting read.' Rana Mitter, BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking

Simply English An A-Z of Avoidable Errors

Simply English An A-Z of Avoidable Errors

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2015

In his best-selling Strictly English Simon Heffer explained how to write and speak our language well. In Simply English he offers an entertaining and supremely useful A-Z guide to frequent errors, common misunderstandings and stylistic howlers. What is the difference between amend and emend, between imply and infer, and between uninterested and disinterested? When should one put owing to rather than due to? Why should the temptation to write actually, basically or at this moment in time always be strenuously resisted? How does one use an apostrophe correctly, ensure that one understands what alibi really means, and avoid the perils of the double negative? With articles on everything from punctuation to tabloid English to adverbs and adjectives, Simply English is the essential companion for anyone who cares about the language and wants to use it correctly.

High Minds The Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain

High Minds The Victorians and the Birth of Modern Britain

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/08/2014

Simon Heffer's new book forms an ambitious exploration of the making of the Victorian age and the Victorian mind. Britain in the 1840s was a country wracked by poverty, unrest and uncertainty, where there were attempts to assassinate the Queen and her prime minister, and the ruling class lived in fear of riot and revolution. By the 1880s it was a confident nation of progress and prosperity, transformed not just by industrialisation but by new attitudes to politics, education, women and the working class. That it should have changed so radically was very largely the work of an astonishingly dynamic and high-minded group of people - politicians and philanthropists, writers and thinkers - who in a matter of decades fundamentally remade the country, its institutions and its mindset, and laid the foundations for modern society. It traces the evolution of British democracy and shows how early laissez-faire attitudes to the lot of the less fortunate turned into campaigns to improve their lives and prospects. It analyses the birth of new attitudes to education, religion and science. And it shows how even such aesthetic issues as taste in architecture were swept in to broader debates about the direction that the country should take. In the process, Simon Heffer looks at the lives and deeds of major politicians, from the devout and principled Gladstone to the unscrupulous Disraeli; at the intellectual arguments that raged among writers and thinkers such as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, and Samuel Butler; and at the 'great projects' of the age, from the Great Exhibition to the Albert Memorial. Drawing heavily on previously unpublished documents, he offers a superbly nuanced insight into life in an extraordinary era, populated by extraordinary people - and how our forebears' pursuit of perfection gave birth to modern Britain.

Vaughan Williams

Vaughan Williams

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/06/2014

A tweedy purveyor of folklore; too many larks ascending and too much Linden Lea: no composer's work has ever been more cruelly stereotyped than that of Ralph Vaughan Williams. The truth could hardly have been more different: that folksy feel masked the highest sophistication, that countrified air the most audacious experimentation. If, unlike his Germanizing contemporary Elgar, Vaughan Williams did indeed open the way to a distinctively English Music, his was an Englishness which owed nothing to narrow-mindedness or lack of artistic enterprise. Fifty years after his death in 1958, Vaughan Williams' reputation is greater than ever before and there is a resurgence of interest in his music. Re-issued to coincide with this anniversary, Simon Heffer's perceptive book lends weight to the increasingly compelling case for Vaughan Williams' recognition as the most important English composer of the twentieth century. 'A vivid and appealing picture of an irresistibly likeable figure ... I enjoyed this little book enormously.'Spectator 'An affectionate, accurate and shrewd account of Vaughan Williams' life ... the author's astute commentary on it betokens close and knowledgeable acquaintance.' Sunday Telegraph

Like the Roman The Life of Enoch Powell

Like the Roman The Life of Enoch Powell

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/06/2014

There were few more controversial British politicians of the twentieth-century than Enoch Powell. There were few more brilliant, and yet, whilst being an MP for thirty-seven years, his ministerial career lasted a mere fifteen months. His influence however was enormous not least as a harbinger of Thatcherism. There was much more to him though: he was a Professor of Greek at the age of twenty-five: a brigadier at the age of thirty-two: he was also a poet, biblical scholar and devoted family man. The word 'definitive' is hackneyed but in describing this biography it can be used legitimately. Not only was Simon Heffer able to interview Enoch Powell he was also given access to Powell's massive private archive. 'In future, anyone who want to study Enoch Powell will start here'. Bruce Anderson, Spectator First published in 1998, this biography has been out of print for a number of years. Demand for it however remains constant and Faber Finds is happy to meet that demand.

Nor Shall My Sword

Nor Shall My Sword

Author: Simon Heffer Format: eBook Release Date: 01/12/2012

Should England be independent from Scotland? May 1999. The Scots have their first opportunity in 300 years to elect their own parliament. In 2014 that referendum will finally take place. To many in England, the continuing rise of Scottish nationalism causes unease. Scotland could well choose to leave the United Kingdom. In this provocative polemic, Simon Heffer argues that England must let Scotland go. The lessons of trying to coerce Ireland should have been learnt: there is nothing to be gained by pressing the Scots to stay against their will. Heffer argues that an English parliament could begin to concentrate solely on the needs of the English people. There could be economic gains and greater financial accountability in favour of the English taxpayer. If the English would abandon their sentimental attitude to a country that feels little towards them, says Heffer, they could be happier, richer and more cohesive. The Scots believe that independence and nationalism can lead to freedom and self-confidence for Scotland: why not the same for England?

A Short History of Power

A Short History of Power

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/05/2012

From Macaulay in the 19th century to Fukuyama in the late 20th, historians have often been lulled into thinking that things can only get better. Such belief in progress, argues leading political commentator Simon Heffer, may be typical of times of plenty, but it ignores a less palatable truth: that, since the beginnings of recorded history, the major events in international relations can be attributed to a single cause, the desire by rulers to assert or protect their power. Taking a panoramic view from the days of Thucydides up to the present, Heffer offers a fourfold analysis of the motive forces behind the pursuit of power: land, wealth, God and minds. If we understand these forces, he contends, we can more clearly understand why history is destined to repeat itself.

Moral Desperado A Life of Thomas Carlyle

Moral Desperado A Life of Thomas Carlyle

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/01/2012

'A brilliant and scholarly biography of an extraordinary figure.' Lord Blake, Country Life 'A fresh, engaging, conscientious account of one of the great Victorians.' Michael Foot, London Review of Books 'A thorough and convincing account of 'the sage''. Peter Ackroyd, Times Thomas Carlyle was the most influential man of letters of his day, and his vivid account of the French Revolution remains one of the classic histories. Even George Eliot, no admirer, wrote: 'It is an idle question to ask whether his books will be read a century hence; if they were all burnt as the grandest of Suttes on his funeral pyre, it would only be like cutting down an oak after its acorns have sown a forest.' Simon Heffer draws upon previously unavailable papers to reassess a magnificent, defiant and often lonely individualist whose idiosyncratic and passionate books brought him universal fame.

Strictly English The correct way to write ... and why it matters

Strictly English The correct way to write ... and why it matters

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2011

Be in no doubt: the beer was drunk but the man drank the beer. We must avoid vulgarities like 'front up'. If someone is 'fronting up' a television show, then he is presenting it. Simon Heffer's incisive and amusingly despairing emails to colleagues at the The Daily Telegraph about grammatical mistakes and stylistic slips have attracted a growing band of ardent fans over recent years. Now, in his new book Strictly English, he makes an impassioned case for an end to the sloppiness that has become such a hallmark of everyday speech and writing, and shows how accuracy and clarity are within the grasp of anyone who is prepared to take the time to master a few simple rules. If you wince when you see different than in print, or are offended by people who think that infer and imply mean the same thing, then this book will provide reassurance that you are not alone. And if you believe that precise and elegant English really does matter, then it will prove required reading.

Great British Speeches

Great British Speeches

Author: Simon Heffer Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2011

50 speeches from every period of British history from the medieval era to the present and a fascinating dip-in history title that will both inspire readers and give them a greater understanding of British history. The speechmakers are: King Henry V; Queen Elizabeth I; King Charles I; Oliver Cromwell; Earl of Shelburne; Edmund Burke (3); Charles James Fox (2); William Pitt (2); Warren Hastings; William Wilberforce; R.B. Sheridan; Robert Peel; Charles Grey; Thomas Carlyle; Lord Palmerston; John Bright (2); Benjamin Disraeli; William Gladstone; James Campbell-Bannerman; F.E. Smith; David Lloyd George (2); Stanley Baldwin; King Edward VIII; King George VI; Winston Churchill (4); Aneurin Bevan; Harold Macmillan (2); Hugh Gaitskell (2); Nigel Birch; Harold Wilson; Enoch Powell (2); Michael Foot; Margaret Thatcher (2); Neil Kinnock; Geoffrey Howe; Charles Spencer; Tony Blair.

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