Books

The great disrupter: how William of Occam overturned medieval thought

28 August 2021 9:00 am

Astonishing where an idea can lead you. You start with something that 800 years hence will sound like it’s being…

Interpreting for a dictator: Intimacies, by Katie Kitamura, reviewed

21 August 2021 9:00 am

If this is a cautious and circumspect novel, it’s because it involves a cautious and circumspect job: that of interpreter.…

Should the Duke of Windsor have been tried for treason?

21 August 2021 9:00 am

In Traitor King, Andrew Lownie shows how the Duke of Windsor — the former Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936…

Bad sports, from the ancient Greeks to the present

21 August 2021 9:00 am

Sports history, writes Wray Vamplew, is sometimes ‘sentimental, reactionary and built on the implicit assumption that the sporting past was…

Why did the Allies dismiss the idea of a German resistance movement?

21 August 2021 9:00 am

In 1928, a modest young lecturer from Wilwaukee, Mildred Harnack, née Fish, arrived in Berlin to begin her PhD in…

Fascist, anti-Semite and dupe: the dark side of G.K. Chesterton

21 August 2021 9:00 am

The Sins of G.K. Chesterton demands our attention because, as Richard Ingrams notes in his introduction, the literature on this…

Are the English exceptionally gullible?

21 August 2021 9:00 am

The word ‘hoax’ did not catch on till the early 19th century. Before that one spoke of a hum, a…

The history of transplants had many false starts

21 August 2021 9:00 am

On watching transplant surgery, I can give prosaic but essential advice: have a good breakfast. Each operation can last 12…

Margaret Thatcher vs everyone else: the making of the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement

21 August 2021 9:00 am

Diplomatic negotiations are rarely fully described by their participants in books, for two reasons. They are usually secret until much…

Glasgow gangsters: 1979, by Val McDermid, reviewed

21 August 2021 9:00 am

Like a basking shark, Val McDermid once remarked, a crime series needs to keep moving or die. The same could…

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

Hooray for Hollywood

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Real cities have something else, some individual bony structure under the muck. Los Angeles has Hollywood – and hates it.…

The poet with many lives

14 August 2021 9:00 am

This is an ingenious and infuriating book about an ingenious and infuriating writer. I first encountered Fernando Pessoa in the…

Keeping yourself angry, the Hare way: We Travelled, by David Hare, reviewed

14 August 2021 9:00 am

A character in David Hare’s Skylight claims she has at last found contentment by no longer opening newspapers or watching…

Oliver Cromwell: ruthless in battle – but nice to his men

14 August 2021 9:00 am

One of the first retrospective accounts of Oliver Cromwell’s early career, Andrew Marvell’s ‘An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from…

How we did the locomotion: A Brief History of Motion, by Tom Standage, reviewed

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Audi will make no more fuel engines after 2035. So that’s the end of the Age of Combustion, signalled by…

The roots of conflict: The Island of Missing Trees, by Elif Shafak, reviewed

14 August 2021 9:00 am

The Island of Missing Trees feels like a strange title until you realise how hard Elif Shafak makes trees work…

David Keenan, literary disruptor in chief

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Near to the heart of this wild and labyrinthine novel — on page 516 of 808 — a character in…

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

Nazis and Nordics: the latest crime fiction reviewed

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Social historians of the future may look back at the reading habits of this era and conclude that we were…

Borges: the man and the brand

14 August 2021 9:00 am

‘The story that Jay Parini recounts in Borges and Me is untrue,’ a recent letter in the TLS claimed, ‘and…

More than one bad apple: the sorry demise of English cider

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Can you imagine if, in the 20th century, wine producers in France had switched from a product made (almost) entirely…

It all started with Dracula

14 August 2021 9:00 am

The title of the journalist Paul Kenyon’s second book on crazy leadership, Children of the Night, leaves the reader in…

The musical gravy train: Leaving The Building, by Eamonn Forde, reviewed

14 August 2021 9:00 am

Musicians cast a long cultural shadow. Politicians may wield considerable power in their time, but although today’s young people are…

Lucy Ellmann is angry about everything, especially men

7 August 2021 9:00 am

Is Lucy Ellmann serious? On the one hand, yes, very. The novel she published before this collection of essays was…