Lead book review

Playing with fire — did QAnon start as a cynical game?

24 July 2021 9:00 am

The QAnon conspiracy theory may be absurd, but it can’t be ignored. It has already led to significant acts of violence, says Damian Thompson

The US tech companies behind China’s mass surveillance

17 July 2021 9:00 am

Tom Miller describes how Xinjiang became a laboratory for China’s mass surveillance system – built with the help of US tech companies

Oh! Calcutta! Amartya Sen’s childhood memories brim with nostalgia

10 July 2021 9:00 am

From Bengali schoolboy to citizen of the world – Amartya Sen’s autobiography is a joy, says Philip Hensher

The short, unhappy life of Ivor Gurney — wounded, gassed and driven insane

3 July 2021 9:00 am

Andrew Motion describes the inner turmoil of the neglected poet Ivor Gurney

How William Hogarth made Britain

26 June 2021 9:00 am

A new biography of William Hogarth pays dutiful homage to his satirical genius but does not challenge its predecessors, writes Philip Hensher

A divided city: the Big Three fall out in post-war Berlin

19 June 2021 9:00 am

Adam Sisman describes the toxic atmosphere in Berlin after the end of the second world war

The scandal of OxyContin, the painkiller that caused untold pain

12 June 2021 9:00 am

The Sacklers’ callous greed has unleashed a tsunami of pain, says Ian Birrell

Orcadian cadences: celebrating the reclusive poet George Mackay Brown

5 June 2021 9:00 am

Maggie Fergusson on the reclusive poet George Mackay Brown

An orange or an egg? Determining the shape of the world

29 May 2021 9:00 am

Simon Winchester follows the volatile French mission to Ecuador in 1735 to determine the shape of the Earth

Over the rainbow: D.H. Lawrence’s search for a new way of life

22 May 2021 9:00 am

Philip Hensher describes D.H. Lawrence’s restless search of a new way of life

The evolution of England — from ragbag kingdoms to a centralised state

15 May 2021 9:00 am

Alex Burghart describes England’s fitful development from a collection of warring kingdoms into a highly centralised state

Straight lines and grandiose schemes — Napoleon the gardener

8 May 2021 9:00 am

Not content with imposing his will on nations, Napoleon tried to subdue nature too, says David Crane

Why should art have ever been considered a male preserve?

1 May 2021 9:00 am

Sixty years ago, women were still excluded from the art history canon, says Laura Freeman

Two of a kind: Monica Jones proved Philip Larkin’s equal for racism and misogyny

24 April 2021 9:00 am

Monica Jones certainly proved Philip Larkin’s equal for racism and misogyny, says Andrew Motion

An unsuitable attachment to Nazism: Barbara Pym in the 1930s

17 April 2021 9:00 am

Vicars, tea parties and village fetes were a far cry from Barbara Pym’s early enthusiasms, Philip Hensher reveals

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

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

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

Jordan Peterson is the Savonarola of our times

20 March 2021 9:00 am

Philip Hensher feels he should be on Jordan Peterson’s side, but finds it a struggle

Edward Said — a lonely prophet of doom

13 March 2021 9:00 am

Even Edward Said would not have claimed to be ‘the 20th century’s most celebrated intellectual’. But neither was he ‘Professor of Terror’, says Justin Marozzi

Chips Channon’s diaries can read like a drunken round of Consequences

6 March 2021 9:00 am

Chips Channon was conceited, snobbish, disloyal, voyeuristic and wrongheaded – all qualities most helpful to a great diarist, says Craig Brown

Up close and personal: voices from the Great War, week by week

27 February 2021 9:00 am

As the Great War unfolds, voices we don’t usually hear describe with a terrible raw honesty the realities of their experience, says David Crane

The stuff of fiction: Elizabeth Bowen exploits her extra-marital affairs

20 February 2021 9:00 am

Lara Feigel tells of the passion, pain and sexual exploitation involved in Elizabeth Bowen’s affair with a young married scholar

The serious rows at Marvel Comics

13 February 2021 9:00 am

If Marvel characters seem dysfunctional, just look at their creators, says Dorian Lynskey

Imagining a future for John Keats — the novelist

6 February 2021 9:00 am

Keats is a much stranger poet than we tend to realise – who shocked his first readers by his vulgarity and gross indecency, says Philip Hensher