Books

Bob Dylan — from respected young songwriter to Voice of a Generation

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Bob Dylan didn’t just assimilate the Great American Songbook – he vastly increased its size and variety, says Andrew Motion

A written constitution is no defence against authoritarian government

10 April 2021 9:00 am

No one can accuse Linda Colley of shying away from big subjects. This one is as big as they come…

What does it really mean to feel English?

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Referring to the precarious future of the Union of England and Scotland, the authors of Englishness: The Political Force Transforming…

Sowing seeds of comfort

10 April 2021 9:00 am

If you had asked me a year ago how a pandemic-panicked world of stockpiles, curfews and social isolation would influence…

A celebration of friendship: Common Ground, by Naomi Ishiguro, reviewed

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Naomi Ishiguro began writing Common Groundin the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. The title refers to both Goshawk Common in…

The magnificent fiasco of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House

10 April 2021 9:00 am

John Ruskin believed the most beautiful things are also the most useless, citing lilies and peacocks. Had he known about…

Problem parents: My Phantoms, by Gwendoline Riley, reviewed

10 April 2021 9:00 am

Gwendoline Riley’s unsentimental fiction hovers on the edge of comedy and bleakness, and has drawn comparisons from Jean Rhys to…

Sleeping with the enemy: the wartime story of ‘La Chatte’

10 April 2021 9:00 am

The name ‘Carré’ immediately evokes the shadowy world of espionage. Ironically, however, few people today have heard of the real…

Anti-Semitism and the far left

10 April 2021 9:00 am

The comic David Baddiel has written a book which explains that much of the far left hates Jews. There are…

The dictator of the dorm: Our Lady of the Nile, by Scholastique Mukasonga, reviewed

10 April 2021 9:00 am

In the cloud-capped highlands of Rwanda, even the rain-makers sound like crashing snobs. When two teenage pupils from Our Lady…

The carnage of the Western Front was over surprisingly quickly

10 April 2021 9:00 am

This book does not mess about. It tells the story of the fighting on the Western Front between 1914 and…

Working remotely: five formidable female anthropologists

10 April 2021 9:00 am

I was first sent a version of Undreamed Shores: The Hidden Heroines of British Anthropology in June last year. I…

From temple to labyrinth — the art museum today

10 April 2021 9:00 am

At a certain point, the critic Robert Hughes once noted, at the heart of American cities churches began to be…

Philip Roth — most meta of novelists, and most honest

3 April 2021 9:00 am

Philip Roth was prepared to stare the soul resolutely in the face – and for that he can be forgiven most things, says David Baddiel

A new blossoming: David Hockney paints Normandy

3 April 2021 9:00 am

In 2018 David Hockney went to Normandy to look at the Bayeux Tapestry, which he had not seen for more…

Man about the house: Kitchenly 434, by Alan Warner, reviewed

3 April 2021 9:00 am

I have enjoyed many of Alan Warner’s previous novels, so it gives me no pleasure to report that his new…

Who was to blame for the death of Jesus?

3 April 2021 9:00 am

In 1866, the Russian historian Alexander Popov made an astonishing discovery. Leafing through a Renaissance Slavonic translation of the first-century…

Ceramic art has been undervalued for too long

3 April 2021 9:00 am

The use of ‘Ceramic’ rather than ‘Ceramics’ in the title of this book indicates Paul Greenhalgh’s passionate belief that ‘ceramic…

Small things misbehaving leads to the greatest question of all

3 April 2021 9:00 am

Helgoland is a craggy German island in the North Sea. Barely bigger than a few fields, it reaches high above…

Must we always be treated as infants by a monstrous regiment of scolds?

3 April 2021 9:00 am

What an awful title. Something we hacks are forever saying (along with ‘Make mine a double’ and ‘Is it still…

Journey to ‘the grimmest place in the world’

3 April 2021 9:00 am

Suffering from post-traumatic stress and the effects of government austerity measures, Paul Jones resigned as the head of an inner-city…

The making of a monster: Paul Kagame’s bloodstained past

27 March 2021 9:00 am

We have all become Paul Kagame’s useful idiots, says Nicholas Shakespeare

Bugsy Siegel — the gangster straight out of a Hollywood movie

27 March 2021 9:00 am

Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel was about as meta-gangsterish as a real life gangster could get. Born in the slums of Manhattan’s…

One of the lucky ones: Hella Pick escapes Nazi Germany

27 March 2021 9:00 am

Hella Pick is one of that vanishing generation of Jewish refugees who arrived in Britain on the eve of the…

The beauty of the ampersand and other keyboard symbols

27 March 2021 9:00 am

This is such a great idea: a book with one short essay per punctuation mark or typographical symbol. Of course,…