Books

Author Dave Eggers (Photo: Getty)

David Eggers takes us to the ends of the earth

6 August 2016 9:00 am

In The Circle, Dave Eggers’s satirical dystopia about an insatiable Google-like conglomerate, there’s a scene in which drones hound a…

Frederick I, aka Barbarossa, in Goslar, Germany (Photo: Getty)

Frederick Barbarossa: the Teutonic King Arthur

6 August 2016 9:00 am

Hitler, ever seeking to emulate strong German hero types (especially if their Christian name was Frederick), unsurprisingly named his great…

Sir Walter Scott and some of his most famous creations, by E.F. Skinner

Scottish literature’s long and splendid history

30 July 2016 9:00 am

There is an immediate problem for anyone producing a guide to places in Scotland with literary connections: as Walter Scott…

Crime Scene Investigation

Prince George County, Maryland — among the meanest streets in America

30 July 2016 9:00 am

Quick tip, should you ever find yourself alone in the interview room at the police headquarters of Prince George’s County,…

afraid

How I survived my nightmare upbringing, by Ariel Leve

30 July 2016 9:00 am

All parents worry about the extent to which their children will expose their private weirdness to the world. They tell…

David Bowie, photographed in 1978

Starstruck by David Bowie — and sadly lost for words

30 July 2016 9:00 am

On 11 January 2016 Paul Morley was awoken by an urgent voicemail from the Today Programme. Could he talk about…

Author Jonathan Ames (Photo: Getty)

You Were Never Really Here: a thrilling hammer horror

30 July 2016 9:00 am

‘Joe lay in bed in his mother’s house. He thought about committing suicide. Such thinking was like a metronome for…

Human hand touching illuminated lightbulb on gray background

Is there no such thing as new science?

30 July 2016 9:00 am

Rupert Sheldrake had it coming. In A New Science of Life (1981), he argued that animals and plants have inherited…

Old Book With Bright Light

St Mark’s Gospel is as good as EastEnders

30 July 2016 9:00 am

More brides in Britain go down the aisle to Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ than to any other tune, Simon…

Just two of many controversial Games: Hitler’s racist jamboree in Berlin (above right); and the Stockholm Olympics, in which the brilliant Native American Jim Thorpe — sometimes regarded as the greatest athlete of all time — was stripped of his gold medals

The modern Olympics have always been a fiasco

30 July 2016 8:00 am

There’s nothing new about lying and cheating at the Olympics. Scandal has dogged the Games for well over a century, says David Horspool

Heath addresses a Tory party conference at Blackpool, while Margaret Thatcher looks on

Ted Heath: still a surly man of mystery

23 July 2016 9:00 am

Ted ‘Grocer’ Heath, as he will always be for me, was chosen by his fellow MPs to be their leader…

Mary Gaitskill (Photo: Getty)

The Mare: a story of longed-for children and what children long for

23 July 2016 9:00 am

How’s this for a heartwarming set-up­­? Forty-something recovering alcoholic and aspiring artist Ginger copes with the disappointment of being unable…

Cricket player hitting ball

It’s cricket, not football, that’s the beautiful game

23 July 2016 9:00 am

One day, many seasons ago, Jon Hotten was on the field when a bowler took all ten wickets. In his…

The lymphatic system of the human head, from a medical textbook of 1883

The enduring mystery of the human body

23 July 2016 9:00 am

It’s not unreasonable to expect that the anatomy syllabus for a medical degree should include breasts. Last year I performed…

Beach murder antique illustration

Murder most foul in Victorian Greenwich

23 July 2016 9:00 am

With the current political saga running in our heads, trumping all other stories, it has been hard to concentrate on…

Novelist Helen Oyeyemi (Photo: Getty)

The latest African authors take on globalisation

23 July 2016 9:00 am

In a Johannesburg mall, a listless and lonely IT worker chats with his dad about the bitter fruits of upward…

‘The Road to Siberia’ by Sergei Dmitrievich Miloradovich

Siberia: always a byword for despotism

23 July 2016 8:00 am

Owen Matthews on the horrific early history of the largest open-air prison in the world

The two victory towers at Ghazna, Afghanistan, with the citadel in the background. To the left are the remains of the tower commissioned by Sultan Masud III ibn Ibrahim (r. 1099–1115). The tower on the right was built on the orders of Bahram Shah (r. 1117–1157)

Conquest and vandalism in Central Asia

23 July 2016 8:00 am

When I first visited the complex of Buddhist cave grottoes, dating from the fifth to the 14th century, at Bezekilk…

Evelyn Waugh in the 1920s

50 years on, here comes Evelyn Waugh's nicer side

16 July 2016 9:00 am

It is 50 years since the death of Evelyn Waugh. Mark Amory wonders if there is anything we don’t know about him

Ancient worlds collide: Alexander and Porus at the Battle of Hydaspes, in what is now Punjab, painted by Charles Le Brun, 1673

Yes, classicists ignore the East – this books shows why

16 July 2016 9:00 am

Classics is a boastful subject. Even the name — classics — has an inner boast; as does the classics course…

Journalist Susan Faludi as she sits at a table, early 1990s (Photo: Getty)

What Susan Faludi learned from her dad Stefánie

16 July 2016 9:00 am

In 2004, after a 25-year estrangement, Susan Faludi’s father reappeared in her life via email. ‘I have had enough of…

Place your bets: a state lottery office in Naples, 1955 (Photo: Getty)

The Day Before Happiness jumps on the Neapolitan bandwagon

16 July 2016 9:00 am

Naples, ragamuffin capital of the Italian south, is reckoned to be a hive of pickpocketing and black-market manoeuvrings. (A Neapolitan…

Royal Marine commandos coming ashore on Juno Beach, 9 a.m., 6 June 1944. The Allies fixed a tidally perfect day to land using a Victorian music machine

The dizzying truth about tides

16 July 2016 9:00 am

The tour guides of Ephesus, in Turkey, have a nice party trick to wake up their dozing coach passengers. As…

Light at the end of the tunnel

A Field Guide to Reality plays superbly with mystery, trickery and scholarship

16 July 2016 9:00 am

‘Transparency,’ remarks Eliade Jenks, narrator of Joanna Kavenna’s fourth novel, A Field Guide to Reality, ‘is an aspiration. But wouldn’t…

Ocean Mist

Jenn Ashworth’s fourth novel charts a family’s struggle with sickness and loss over generations

16 July 2016 9:00 am

After a curtain-twitching cul-de-sac, a Preston shopping precinct, and the Church of the Latter-Day Saints brought to Lancashire, Jenn Ashworth…