Books

The coal mining conundrum: why did the NUM fight so hard for its members’ right to suffer underground?

25 September 2021 9:00 am

Anyone with a grasp of the history of Britain knows that its once considerable power, and much of its still…

Flight into danger: Freight Dogs, by Giles Foden, reviewed

25 September 2021 9:00 am

Flying has always attracted chancers and characters to Africa. Wilbur Smith’s father so loved aviation he named his son to…

China and the WHO are given an easy ride in the Covid blame game

25 September 2021 9:00 am

Are you ready to relive 2020? That’s what Adam Tooze is offering as he tells the story of Covid-19 through…

The first patrons of Modernism deserve much sympathy and respect

25 September 2021 9:00 am

If Modernism is a jungle, how do you navigate a path through its thickets? Some explorers — Peter Gay and…

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

T.S. Eliot’s preoccupations in wartime Britain

25 September 2021 9:00 am

In her essay ‘A House of One’s Own’, about Vanessa Bell, Janet Malcolm says memorably that Bloomsbury is a fiction,…

Thoroughly modern Marie: Matrix, by Lauren Groff, reviewed

25 September 2021 9:00 am

It is 1158. A 17-year-old girl, born of both rape and royal blood, is cast out of the French court…

The war that changed the world in the early seventh century

18 September 2021 9:00 am

It was not a war to end all wars, writes James Howard-Johnston at the start of this illuminating and thought-provoking…

Only Iain Sinclair could glimpse Hackney in the wilds of Peru

18 September 2021 9:00 am

It seemed like a preposterous proposition. For decades, Iain Sinclair has been an assiduous psychogeographer of London, an eldritch cartographer…

How China’s economic revolution created billionaires overnight

18 September 2021 9:00 am

In the winter of 1992, the retired octogenarian Deng Xiaoping toured China’s southern coasts. From there he gave a spirited…

No Samuel Beckett play is set in stone

18 September 2021 9:00 am

It must have been shortly after my first performance of Not I in London in 2005 when Matthew Evans, the…

The secret life of Thomas Mann: The Magician, by Colm Tóibín, reviewed

18 September 2021 9:00 am

In a letter to Stephen Spender, W.H. Auden, who had married Thomas Mann’s daughter Erika sight unseen in order to…

Is there intelligent life on other planets?: Bewilderment, by Richard Powers, reviewed

18 September 2021 9:00 am

We open with Theo, our narrator, and Robin, his son, looking at the night sky through a telescope. ‘Darkness this…

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

Louis-Ferdinand Céline was lucky to escape retribution in 1945

11 September 2021 9:00 am

They rather like bad boys, the French. Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894-1961) is one, in a tradition that stretches from François Villon…

James Bond and the Beatles herald a new Britain

11 September 2021 9:00 am

The word ‘magisterial’ consistently attaches itself to the work of David Kynaston. His eye-wateringly exhaustive four-volume history of the Old…

All great fun: Mary Churchill dances through the war

11 September 2021 9:00 am

The famous photographic portrait by Karsh of Winston Churchill as wartime prime minster personifies heroic defiance and grim determination. His…

Chips Channon’s judgment was abysmal, but the diaries are a great work of literature

11 September 2021 9:00 am

It is often said that the best political diaries are written by those who dwell in the foothills of power.…

Irish quartet: Beautiful World, Where Are You?, by Sally Rooney, reviewed

11 September 2021 9:00 am

The millennial generation of Irish novelists lays great store by loving relationships. One of the encomia on the cover of…

Ahmad Shah Massoud was Afghanistan’s best hope

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Ahmed Shah Massoud was described as ‘the Afghan who won the Cold War’. While famous in France (he was educated…

America sees red: how fury prompted the slide into Trumpism

11 September 2021 9:00 am

After leaving college more than two decades ago, Evan Osnos landed a job on the Exponent Telegram, one of two…

Lost to addiction: Loved and Missed, by Susie Boyt, reviewed

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Ruth, the narrator of Susie Boyt’s seventh novel, is both the child of a single mother and a single mother…

Barça’s golden age and its ruling triumvirate

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Even against our better judgment we tend to imbue our sporting heroes with characteristics they may not possess. This can…

A mighty river with many names: adventures on the Amur

11 September 2021 9:00 am

The Amur is the eighth or tenth longest river in the world, depending on whom you believe. The veteran travel…

The view from the Paris bus — an appreciation of everyday life

11 September 2021 9:00 am

Many would say the commute was one thing they didn’t miss in lockdown. But when Lauren Elkin was ‘yanked out…