‘TRAVELLING is a very troublesome business,’ advised Charles Dickens’s Household Words magazine in 1852. According to the accounts drawn from letters, diaries and public sources in this compendium of facts, figures and travellers’ tales from the 19th century, he was right. What with the lack of cutlery, clean sheets, hot water for tea and baths, the constant threat of arrest, assault or robbery, the menacing presence of mustachioed foreigners and the state of the lavatories, it is surprising that the British ever embarked on foreign travel at all.
IN Iraq Saddam Hussein has been put to death, in circumstances as shocking and repulsive as the dictator himself. But who was he, really? Just before the invasion of Iraq, one of the US broadcast networks asked me to prepare this obituary.