Wolves in the Lake District get everyone’s pheromones going


A review of The Wolf Border finds Sarah Hall’s wolves far sexier than her humans

Charles Dodgson

Stolen kisses and naked girls: there is much to wonder about in Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland

Books feature

‘A vision of innocence was not always the same as an innocent vision,’ remarks Robert Douglas-Fairhurst. He is referring to Alice’s discovery in Wonderland that ‘ “I say what I mean” is not the same as “I mean what I… Read more

From Tom Brown’s School Days, illustrated by Thomas Hughes

A rebellion among Rugby schoolboys proved perfect training for its ringleader in putting down a Jamaican slave-rising in later life


In a review of The Old Boys by David Turner, Eric Anderson reflects on how comprehensives created a golden age for Britain's independent schools


A lost American classic to rival anything by Faulkner


John Ehle's The Landbreakers contains one of the most frightening passages in American literature

Leonid Yakobson in Leningrad c. 1926

Leonid Yakobson: the greatest ballet genius you’ve never heard of


A review of Janice Ross’s Like a Bomb Going Off brings the neglected choreographer Leonid Yakobson firmly back centre stage

Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, Leslie Hore-Belisha , Secretary of State for War and Lord Hankey. Front Row, Lord Halifax, Foreign Secretary, Sir John Simon, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister, Sir Samuel Hoare, Home Secretary and Lord Chakfield, Co-ordination of Defence Photo: Getty

The knives come out of the cabinet in Churchill’s wartime government


As if fighting the Nazis wasn’t enough, Winston Churchill faced fierce dissension in his own ranks, as a review of Jonathan Scheer’s Minister’s of War reminds us

'Warning! Someone is listening' Photo: Getty

Baiting the trap with CHEESE: how we fooled the Germans in the second world war


Alan Judd recalls how an inventive MI6 agent continued  to bamboozle the Germans from prison in a review of Double Cross in Cairo by Nigel West

‘The Giantess’ by Leonora Carrington, currently on show at Tate Liverpool

A mad menage — and menagerie - in Mexico: the life of Leonora Carrington in fictional form


The crazy life of the rich young girl looking for a surrealist adventure makes for a sadly unexciting novel, says Cressida Connolly

Lesley Blanch in a bar in Menton in the south of France, in 1961Lesley Blanch in a bar in Menton in the south of France, in 1961

Lesley Blanch: a true original on the wilder shores of exoticism


Lesley Blanch was incapable of writing a bad or boring sentence, says Philip Ziegler, reviewing On the Wilder Shores of Love

Money making schemes in Sierra Leone

Things fall apart in Denis Johnson’s latest novel of madness and anarchy in Sierra Leone


Denis Johnson’s splendidly unreliable spy-narrator in The Laughing Monsters makes for an equally unpredictable, uproarious plot

Miranda July Photo: Getty

Miranda July may be a film director, performance artist, sculptor and designer — but she is no novelist


In a review of The First Bad Man by Miranda July Robert Collins enters a surreal world of sex and love and loneliness

Sir Michael Barber Photo: Getty
Although Keynes hated his appearance, he was much painted by the Bloomsbury Group, including by Roger Fry (above)

John Maynard Keynes: transforming global economy while reading Virginia Woolf


In a review of Universal Man by Richard Davenport-Hines, Matthew Walther finds the great economist practically perfect in every way

William Hogarth’s ‘Night’, in his series ‘Four Times of the Day’ (1736), provides a glimpse of the anarchy and squalor of London’s nocturnal streets

Dickens’s dark side: walking at night helped ease his conscience at killing off characters

Books feature

In England, walking about at night was a crime for a very long time. William the Conqueror ordained that a bell should be rung at 8 p.m., at which point Londoners were supposed to put their fires and candles out… Read more

The Babies Castle, a branch of Dr Barnardo’s at Hawkhurst, Kent in 1934

Love child or bastard: the lottery of being born on the wrong side of the blanket


In the Family Way by Jane Robinson comprises over 100 heartbreaking personal accounts of illegitimacy in the 20th century

Shots Fired At Santa Monica College

Black-on-black murder was ignored by the LAPD as ‘no human involved’ — until one of their number decided to get involved


Jill Leovy, author of Ghettoside, embedded herself for two years with the only effective police section on LA’s killing streets


The casual way in which Twitter can destroys lives shocks even habitual Twitterer India Knight


Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed makes for grim but gripping reading

Sir Winston Churchill and Earl Clement Attlee Photo: Getty

Most of Giles Radice’s Odd Couples can’t stand the sight of each other, but muck in together to reach the finishing line


Reading accounts of the New Labour years in Giles Radice’s Odd Couples is rather like touring an abattoir before the cleaners have been in

Cuckoo chick with wren parent

Until the last century it remained a total mystery how the cuckoo managed to hijack other birds’ nests


The ornithologist Mark Cocker is full of admiration for Nick Davies’s Cuckoo — as gripping as any detective story

Author Tom McCarthy Photo: Getty

Tom McCarthy is more interested in form than content — so don’t expect anything as traditional as a plot


Jonathan Beckman takes pleasure in Tom McCarthy’s agile thinking, even if Satin Island’s hero is just a tongue-tied initial


British colonialism is once again under attack in Aatish Taseer’s sprawling Indian epic


Bright bazaars and dark family secrets are temptingly on offer in Aatish Taseer’s The Way Things Were,

The Kinks in their Sixties heyday— Ray Davies is far right, next to his brother Dave

You Really Got Me, Ray Davies, confesses Andy Miller, lifelong fan of the Kinks


Andy Miller finds Johnny Rogan’s biography scrupulously fair,though Ray Davies himself remains an enigma

For his supposed involvement in a conspiracy against Nero, Seneca is ordered to commit suicide — as depicted in The Nuremberg Chronicle , 1493

Men behaving badly: Nero, Claudius and even Seneca could be intensely cruel to women — and fish


A review of a biography of Seneca by Emily Wilson shows the Roman empire at its rotten best


Monstrous, beautiful, damaged people make for tiresome company in Polly Samson’s The Kindness


It’s all to do with sperm motility in Polly Samson’s The Kindness. You can see it coming, as the actress said to the bishop

Patrick Gale Photo: Ulf Andersen/Getty

Life after Vera: Patrick Gale’s hero finds happiness towards the end of the Saskatchewan line


What prompted Patrick Gale’s great-grandfather to abandon his English family and up sticks suddenly to Canada? A Place Called Winter provides a convincing (fictional)answer


Stuck at K: we know very little about vitamins except that they’re good for us (in small quantities)


A review of The Vitamin Complex by Catherine Price points out our basic ignorance about some of the body’s essential nutrients

Henry Walter Bates supervises the capture of an alligator in the Amazon

All in the name of science: three young naturalists go on an Amazonian killing-spree


A review of Naturalists in Paradise by John Hemming describes how the naturalist Russell Wallace helped solve the problem of the origin of the species

G Division Attack

The Irish Times: read by the smug denizens of Dublin 4 and responsible for the Celtic Tiger property bubble


Mary Kenny is shocked that the Irish Times, once champion of the British empire, now feels it has to apologise for any Irishman who fought in the Great War