Anthony Daniels rss

Family commitments

15 December 2012
Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England Sarah Wise

Bodley Head, pp.496, £20, ISBN: 9781847921123

Twice in my career, in very remote places, I encountered lunatics who had been chained for many years to the wall or to posts in the ground. The reasons why… Read more

For richer, for poorer

30 June 2012
How Much is Enough? The Love of Money and the Case for the Good Life Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky

Allen Lane, pp.256, 20, ISBN: 9781846144486

It is an old-established truth, a truism in fact, that money does not buy you happiness — though, as the late Professor Joad pointed out, it does allow you to… Read more

Government health warning

3 December 2011
Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others James Gilligan

Polity Press, pp.180, 16.99

Few men are prepared to die for the right of others to say what they strongly disagree with; and most people’s faith in multiparty democracy is at best a lukewarm… Read more


The Brain is Wider Than the Sky by Bryan Appleyard

12 November 2011
The Brain is Wider Than the Sky Bryan Appleyard

Weidenfeld, pp.271, 20

With all the advances of science, we may be no nearer to understanding ourselves than before, says Anthony Daniels — but we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility outright Some years ago… Read more


Prince of war

10 September 2011

Why shouldn’t one of Liberia’s most infamous psychopaths become its president? Human rights are universal and indivisible, existing as they do in an unexplored metaphysical sphere in which the European… Read more

The mind’s I

28 May 2011
Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain David Eagleman

Canongate, , pp. 290,, pp.290, 20

The quasi-religious zeal with which certain popularising neuroscientists claim that man is no different, essentially, from the animals, and that consciousness is but an epiphenomenon, strikes me as distinctly odd.… Read more

Fear of the unseen

13 November 2010
The Mind's Eye Oliver Sacks

Picador, pp.288, 20

There was a time when detailed case histories, including direct quotations from patients’ accounts of their own experiences, formed a significant part of the medical literature. There was a time… Read more


28 April 2010

One of the advantages of not having a television and never listening to the wireless is that I haven’t the faintest idea what world-famous people, let alone most British politicians,… Read more

Don’t believe in miracles

28 October 2009

Irrationality, without which life cannot be lived, is profoundly irritating, especially in others. It is at its worst when those who are guilty of it try to sue those who,… Read more

Cries and whispers

23 September 2009
Strange Days Indeed Francis Wheen

Fourth Estate, pp.344, 18.99

The habit of dividing the past into centuries or decades might be historiographically suspect, but by now it seems unavoidable. And it is possible that, because we now expect decades… Read more


Whistling in the dark

18 March 2009
It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower Michela Wrong

Fourth Estate, pp.354, 12.99

It’s Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistleblower, by Michela Wrong Once, when I was crossing Mali by bus, it took three days to go 100 yards.… Read more

Nothing ever new out of Africa

28 May 2008
Dinner with Mugabe: The Untold Story of a Freedom Fighter who Became a Terrorist Heidi Holland

Penguin, pp.250, 17.99

When I was a young doctor working in what was still Rhodesia, I read a book by a nun who was also a political economist. She demonstrated that land reform… Read more

Running for shelter

12 March 2008
Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the Present Lisa Appignanesi

Virago, pp.541, 20

The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder Allan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakefield

OUP, pp.312, 17.99

It is questionable whether psychiatry as a whole does, or has done throughout its history, more good than harm. Certainly there are some patients who benefit from its ministrations; but… Read more

No simple solutions

21 November 2007
The Invisible Cure Helen Epstein

Viking, pp.320, 16.99

The epidemic of Aids among heterosexuals of which we were once warned by public health officials is now almost as forgotten as the global freezing of which the environmentalists in… Read more

Taking courage from the Dutch

12 September 2007
The Vaccinators: Smallpox, Medical Knowledge and the ‘Opening’ of Japan Ann Jannetta

Stanford University Press, pp.245, 28.95

Globalisation is not as new as we sometimes like to think. Within a mere five years of the publication in 1798 of Jenner’s tract about vaccination, Dr Francisco Xavier de… Read more

The commonsense approach

4 July 2007
Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance Atul Gawande

Profile, pp.273, 12.99

Medical advance has been startling in the past half-century. To give only one example, more or less at random: if the techniques of resuscitation and trauma surgery that were available… Read more

Kicking a man when he’s down

10 May 2007
Rumsfeld: An American Disaster Andrew Cockburn

Verso, pp.247, 17.99

The desire to wage war as if it were keyhole surgery is, after a certain fashion, a laudable one. It indicates that a government can no longer afford to treat… Read more

Virtually a kangaroo court

1 February 2007
Travesty: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice John Laughland

Pluto Press, pp.214, 14.99

When Slobodan Milosevic died, more than four years into his trial for war crimes, newspapers around the world said that he had cheated justice. It would have been more accurate… Read more

The case for the defence

2 November 2006
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 Andrew Roberts

Weidenfeld, pp.736, 25

Hubris is followed by nemesis, and the idea that the English-speaking peoples (that is, those who speak English as their native language) exert an economic, political, moral and cultural hegemony… Read more

Seeds of wisdom and dissent

31 August 2006
The Bloodless Revolution: Radical Vegetarians and the Discovery of India Tristram Stuart

Harper Press, pp.628, 25

George Orwell was deeply hostile to vegetarianism. Vegetarians were of ‘that dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruit-juice drinkers who come flocking to the smell of “progress”… Read more

Sorting out the selves

27 July 2006
Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny Amartya Sen

Allen Lane, pp.215, 14.99

There are few pleasures more reassuring than that of disagreement with some of the contents of a book that is closely argued, extremely well-written and clearly the work of a… Read more

Working into the night

25 May 2006
On Late Style Edward Said

Bloomsbury, pp.176, 16.99

Listing page content here The influence of an intellectual is not necessarily proportional to his merit. The late Edward Said was a prime example of this dissociation between influence and… Read more

Reports from discomfort zones

25 February 2006
Contact Wounds: A War Surgeon’s Education Jonathan Kaplan

Picador, pp.278, 17.99

South African doctors have a very good reputation. The excellence of their medical training is matched by the breadth of their clinical experience. For example, a young South African doctor… Read more

Murdering for diamonds

11 February 2006
A Dirty War in West Africa: The RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone Lansana Gberie

Hurst, pp.224, 16.99

It was at Freetown Airport, which even before the civil war could be reached only with some difficulty, that I learnt that there was such a product as Johnny Walker… Read more

Jaw-jaw about civil war

7 January 2006
War, Evil and the End of History Bernard-Henri Lévy

Duckworth, pp.371, 12.99

Bernard-Henri Lévy is possessed of a large fortune, great intelligence and film-star good looks (if now a little ageing). He therefore had the wherewithal to go through life like a… Read more