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Detail of Sodoma’s ‘Life of St Benedict’ (1505), showing an unusual example of badgers as pets

A badger eats, squats, thieves. But should we cull them?

19 October 2013
Badgerlands Patrick Barkham

Granta, pp.369, £18.99, ISBN: 9781847085047

Lord Arran was responsible for the bill to legalise homosexuality and a bill to protect badgers from gassing and terrier-baiting. One, he said, had stopped people badgering buggers; the other… Read more


Spirit of the wild water

15 September 2012
Otter Country Miriam Darlington Granta

pp.368, £20, ISBN: 9781847084859

I was sheltering in the dunes on a Hebridean beach, reading this book, when I happened to glance up and see an otter galumphing out of the machair and down… Read more


Saviours of the sea

18 February 2012
Demon Fish Juliet Eilperin

Duckworth, pp.320, 18.99

The last time we went out for lobster in Lyme Bay we found a dogfish in the creel.  A type of shark that roamed the seas before dinosaurs existed, a… Read more

Sting in the tale

20 August 2011
The Beekeeper’s Lament: How Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America Hannah Nordhaus

HarperPerennial, pp.288, 8.99

Bees in the City: The Urban Beekeepers’ Handbook Alison Benjamin and Brian McCall

Guardian Books, pp.247, 12.99

Bees are news. The advent of a sinister condition dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder has concentrated many minds on the future of the honey bee, not least in the US where… Read more


No man’s land

27 November 2010
Levant Philip Mansel

John Murray, pp.480, 25

The shores of the eastern Mediterranean, from the eastern Aegean to the delta of the Nile, constitute a region known as the Levant, from the French for the sunrise. The… Read more


In and out of favour in Iraq

25 September 2010
Late for Tea at the Deer Palace Tamara Chalabi

Harper Press, pp.414, 25

Nowadays the TV cameras make Baghdad look like a suburban car park, and for Tamara Chalabi, raised in England and Beirut on memories of pre-Saddam Iraq, the first encounter in… Read more


At Home in Turkey

3 December 2008
At Home in Turkey Solvi dos Santos and Berrin Torolsan

Thames & Hudson, pp.192, 24.95

If you can’t afford the airfare you might take this delicious guided tour instead. Exploring some of the best contemporary Turkish houses (or caves), the photographer, Solvi dos Santos, divides… Read more

In the footsteps of Herodotus

29 October 2008
The Man who Invented History Justin Marozzi

John Murray, pp.333, 25

The Man who Invented History, by Justin Marozzi When Kristin Scott Thomas told a saucy tale out of Herodotus in the film of The English Patient, sales of The Histories… Read more

A long and happy life

11 June 2008
Trying to Please John Julius Norwich

Dovecot Press, pp.384, 20

Jason Goowin reviews the memoirs of John Julius Norwich In 1957 John Julius Cooper (later Norwich) was keeping open house in Beirut, ‘the Clapham Junction of the world’s air routes’.Guests were given… Read more