Books

world-conflict

Why is the world crumbling in anger and terror?

21 January 2017 9:00 am

America’s global hegemony from 1944 onwards has led to a world now riven by hatred and terror, says Jonathan Steinberg

An elegant curiosity: Thomas Telford’s Pontycysyllte Aqueduct in north-east Wales, completed in 1805, is the longest and highest in Britain and a World Heritage Site

Thomas Telford: a man, a plan and 17 canals

21 January 2017 9:00 am

During David Cameron’s years as prime minister, an unobtrusive figure could be seen slipping out of the back entrance to…

Seema Biswas as Phoolan Devi in the 1994 film Bandit Queen

Wild warrior women — from the Wrestler Princess to the Bandit Queen

21 January 2017 9:00 am

Who is the least likely candidate for an animated princess movie? That’s the question former DreamWorks animator Jason Porath asked…

Hundreds of people march to demand an end to US trade policy that threatens countries accessing essential medications, Washington 1999 (Photo: Getty)

How we overcame Aids against all the odds

21 January 2017 9:00 am

This month, 30 years ago, I wrote a draft of what was to become soon afterwards the first comprehensive human…

Spouses having their first disagreement

Middle-class marriage — and an apologia for adultery

21 January 2017 9:00 am

What to make of this unexpectedly startling novel? Though you may be lured into a false sense of familiarity by…

Donald Trump keeps an eye on wife Melania at the polling station (Photo: Getty)

Siri Hustvedt’s thoughts on art, science and the human condition

21 January 2017 9:00 am

This past autumn has felt more uncomfortable than usual to be a woman looking at men looking at women. From…

SIS (Secret Intelligence Service or MI6) Building in London

There’s no spy like an old spy

21 January 2017 9:00 am

It is a chastening thought that Boris Johnson’s responsibilities now include MI6. Alan Judd’s latest novel is particularly interesting about…

Bob Dylan and Robbie Robertson at The Band’s ‘The Last Waltz’ concert in San Francisco in 1976

Reading Robbie Robertson's memoir is like stumbling into a name-droppers’ convention

21 January 2017 9:00 am

The recent spate of rock memoirs has proved one of the less rewarding sub- genres in the post-digital Gutenberg galaxy.…

Ronald Knox (Photo: Getty)

The piety and wit of Monsignor Ronald Knox

21 January 2017 9:00 am

During the second world war, while one brother was editing Punch as a national institution (‘Working with him was a…

Fanny Cornforth’s mouth comes under Kathryn Hughes’s scrutiny. The Pre-Raphaelite muse is seen here in Rossetti’s ‘The Blue Bower’

Why did Darwin grow a beard? And what was George Eliot so keen to hide?

21 January 2017 9:00 am

The fetishisation of the Victorians shows no sign of abating. Over the past 16 years, since the centenary of the…

(Photo: Getty)

Robert Olen Butler’s anguished hero is haunted by the wrong war

21 January 2017 9:00 am

At first glance, Robert Olen Butler’s Perfume River seems like an application for a National Book Award. Its protagonist, Robert,…

Author László  Krasznahorkai (Photo: Getty)

Beastly tales from Hungary

21 January 2017 9:00 am

The Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai has only lately become known to Anglophone audiences, through the masterly translations of George Szirtes…

Children in Rose Town in 2008, one of the poorest areas of Kingston, Jamaica , with one of the highest crime rates in the world

The hellish paradise of the Caribbean

21 January 2017 9:00 am

‘Short of writing a thesis in many volumes,’ Patrick Leigh Fermor wrote in his preface to The Traveller’s Tree, ‘only…

A chain of Harvard Observatory employees, photographed in 1918

The Harvard housewives who measured the heavens

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Marek Kukula tells how, in the late 19th century, Harvard Observatory began to rely on a number of women – ranging from graduates to housemaids – to analyse an explosion of scientific data

‘The Continuation of the Road from London to Aberystwyth’, from John Ogilby’s Britannia

The first British road atlas — a luxury fit for a king

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Given that he wrote and published some of the most stunningly handsome books of the 17th century, John Ogilby has…

'Soviet power does not punish, it corrects'  (Photo: Getty)

A year in the life of Ivan Chistyakov, Gulag guard

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Spare a thought for the poor Gulag guard: the rifleman standing in the freezing wind on the outside of the…

Anne, left, with Emily. Detail of Branwell’s group portrait of the Brontës. Though he painted himself out, his ghostly presence can be seen on the right

Was ‘the other Brontë’ the best of them all?

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Fans of the novels and poems written by the sibling inhabitants of Haworth Parsonage always have a Top Brontë. Fame-seeking…

Attractive female on the phone

Films, friendship and facets of truth

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Others goes straight to the head. Things start like this: with an article on a website called ‘Women and Film’,…

Author David Olusoga (Photo: Getty)

Britain’s black history has been shamefully whitewashed

14 January 2017 9:00 am

I have been researching and writing about black British history for over 30 years but never before have I been…

The Streatham portrait, thought to be the best likeness of Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey — a quintessential Tudor

14 January 2017 9:00 am

It is easy to see why the bare century of the Tudor dynasty’s rule has drawn so much attention from…

Soviet weapons: poison bullet projectors camouflaged to look like cigarette cases and miniature electric guns firing "dum-dum" bullets with poisoned coats (Photo: Getty)

Bogdan Stashinsky: the inspiration for The Man with the Golden Gun

14 January 2017 9:00 am

As I read the last chapter of this book, news broke that the Russian ambassador to Ankara, Andrey Karlov, had…

Bruce Springsteen gives a joyful, mind-clearing, soul-invigorating performance

If only Bruce Springsteen could write as well as he sings

14 January 2017 9:00 am

‘John, we need your autobiography.’ ‘I thought I’d express my life experience in song.’ ‘That’ll be fine.’ This would be…

horse in the mist

Tim Pears’s pastoral schmaltz would make perfect Sunday evening telly

14 January 2017 9:00 am

Set in rural England in 1911, Tim Pears’s latest novel tells of a friendship between 12-year-old Leo, a precocious carter,…

Dinah Craik, author of John Halifax, Gentleman, and a genuinely enjoyable writer

Women writers who deserve to be forgotten

7 January 2017 9:00 am

When resurrecting forgotten writers of the past, make sure they’re not neglected for good reason, says Philip Hensher

Jonathan Trott after winning the Royal London one-day cup final between Warwickshire and Surrey (Photo: Getty)

Cricket is Jonathan Trott's life – and it has made him suffer

7 January 2017 9:00 am

Frankie Howerd, the great, if troubled, comedian, was once asked whether he enjoyed performing. ‘I enjoy having performed,’ he replied.…