Lead book review

Books of the Year I — chosen by our regular reviewers

13 November 2021 9:00 am

Reviewers choose the books they have most enjoyed reading in 2021 — and a few that have disappointed them

Yours disgusted, H.G. Wells: the young writer finds marriage insufferable

6 November 2021 9:00 am

After a wretched childhood, H.G. Wells was ruthless in making up for lost time, says Frances Wilson

Bright, beautiful and deceptively simple: the art of the linocut

30 October 2021 9:00 am

Charlotte Hobson describes the complicated relationship of two artists who championed simplicity

Has George III been seriously maligned?

23 October 2021 9:00 am

Americans regard George III as a power-crazed petty tyrant – but he was the very opposite, says Kate Maltby

Another haphazard Booker shortlist lacks literary competence

16 October 2021 9:00 am

Philip Hensher finds this year’s Booker shortlist more concerned with serious world issues than vivid characterisation

Pink for boys, blue for girls and a worldwide mania for mauve

9 October 2021 9:00 am

Honor Clerk explores the history of the world through colour, from the Stone Age to orbiting the Moon

The magic of manuscripts

2 October 2021 9:00 am

Nothing captures medieval life more vividly than a manuscript that has passed through many hands, says Jonathan Sumption

From salivating dogs to mass indoctrination: Pavlov’s sinister legacy

25 September 2021 9:00 am

Peter Pomeranzev describes the refinement of thought-control techniques over the past century – and the worldwide competition to employ them

Try forest bathing – by day and night – to ward off depression

18 September 2021 9:00 am

Anyone who spends time among trees senses how good that is for their physical and mental wellbeing, says Ursula Buchan

Most people who call themselves Caucasian know nothing about the Caucasus

11 September 2021 9:00 am

A magnificent new history of the Caucasus earns Peter Frankopan’s highest praise

A dutiful exercise carried out in a rush

4 September 2021 9:00 am

The final volume of Peter Ackroyd’s History of England feels like a dutiful exercise carried out in a hurry, says Philip Hensher

Hubris, blunders and lies characterised the war in Afghanistan from the start

28 August 2021 9:00 am

There was certainly no shortage of excellent advice about war in Afghanistan offered to many American leaders by many people over many years, says Justin Marozzi

W.G. Sebald’s borrowed truths and barefaced lies

21 August 2021 9:00 am

Why did W.G. Sebald risk his reputation by telling such strange, repeated lies, wonders Lucasta Miller

Churchill as villain – but is this a character assassination too far?

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Revisionist biographies of Churchill are nothing new but this one lays the hostility and contempt on with a trowel, says Andrew Roberts

An interest in the bizarre helps keep melancholy at bay

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Philip Hensher finds Robert Burton’s perception of the world and the human condition endlessly fascinating

The disappearing man: who was the real John Stonehouse?

31 July 2021 9:00 am

Craig Brown describes his various encounters with the MP who notoriously faked his own death in 1974

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