Books

When Khrushchev denounced Stalin: a turning point in Soviet history

10 June 2017 9:00 am

The Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party in February 1956 passed off entirely without incident. Speeches on the next five-year…

Stuart Hall in 1996

Stuart Hall, inventor of cultural studies, has much to answer for

10 June 2017 9:00 am

What’s this? An autobiography by Stuart Hall? Wasn’t he one of the guys who put the Eng. Lit. departments out…

The Brooklyn Bridge: a masterpiece of engineering and a unifying symbol after a divisive civil war

The Brooklyn Bridge — an engineering masterpiece and symbol of unity

10 June 2017 9:00 am

Before Brooklyn exceeded it in cool, Manhattanites spoke dismissively of BNTs. These were the Bridge ‘n’ Tunnel folk, the out-of-towners…

Thomas Keneally: writing the wrongs of the Catholic church

10 June 2017 9:00 am

This may seem an odd thing to say about a writer who’s been officially declared a National Living Treasure in…

Putting the guitar centre stage: skiffle king Lonnie Donegan in 1962

Nostalgia for skiffle – and the first stirrings of British pop

10 June 2017 9:00 am

‘It was easy, it was cheap, go and do it,’ sang the Desperate Bicycles on their self-funded debut single in…

Abbeyleix: the rescue of an Irish Georgian gem

10 June 2017 9:00 am

This large and splendid book is more in the nature of a grand illustrated guidebook than a historical monograph. Hundreds…

Schoolgirl days that mark you for life

10 June 2017 9:00 am

It’s not often that books make me laugh aloud. Even books I’m officially finding funny often do no more than…

Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) in the Faroes

Will most seabirds be extinct by the end of the century?

3 June 2017 9:00 am

Wherever seabirds are at home, so too is Adam Nicolson – and his understanding of them is almost uncanny, says Maggie Fergusson

The Gift of Patience: the pair reach safety in Maiduguri

Boko Haram’s massacre of the innocents

3 June 2017 9:00 am

The group of kidnapped women were terrified. They had been brought back to the camp as booty and were being…

Brava Bella Pollen

3 June 2017 9:00 am

I like Bella Pollen for her open-mindedness, self-deprecation and verve. Given her early success as a fashion designer — top…

The ancient Greeks are back with a vengeance

3 June 2017 9:00 am

Beyond the patricide and even the incest, the horror of the Oedipus myth lies in its insistence that our fates…

Arundhati Roy’s new big cause: the conflict in Kashmir

3 June 2017 9:00 am

Arundhati Roy has published only one previous novel, but that one, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize.…

Inside the Sagrada Família: Gaudí was fascinated by the shapes of shellfish and pebbles, the branches of trees and light on a spider’s web

Does it matter whether Gaudí’s masterpiece is ever finished?

3 June 2017 9:00 am

In his biography of Gaudí, published in 2001, Gijs van Hensbergen opined that ‘we should never try to finish the…

Providence Island, seen from Crab Cay

Pirates - and puritans - of the Caribbean

3 June 2017 9:00 am

In The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, Sue Townsend’s hapless teenage diarist, reeling from the news that Argentina has just…

Competitive sport is good for mind, body and soul

3 June 2017 9:00 am

‘Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that, mate,’ the Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios remarked to his opponent…

Stairhall, by Giuseppe Artari, at Schloss Augustusburg, Brühl

The white magic of stucco

3 June 2017 9:00 am

Some 30 summers ago we were staying at a famously beautiful villa outside Turin; our hostess was — indeed is…

Portrait of Hans Sloane by Stephen Slaughter (1736)

Hans Sloane collected everything – from acupuncture kits to zebras

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Hans Sloane’s passion for collecting led to the foundation = of the British Museum. But missing – until now – has been the man himself, says Jonathan Keates

My father, the gun-toting Catholic priest

27 May 2017 9:00 am

This is one of the most remarkable, hilarious, jaw-droppingly candid and affecting memoirs I have read for some time —…

Palmyra was one of the ancient world’s great entrepots, trading in myrrh, incense, ivory, pearls and silk

The lovely ruins of Palmyra were destroyed out of spite

27 May 2017 9:00 am

In the welter of Syrian bloodshed, why should we remember the death of a single man? Because he was the…

Jogging in winter with your shirt off will help you in the long run

27 May 2017 9:00 am

All animals, Scott Carney tells us, seek comfort. But human beings are a bit different. We don’t need to spend…

David Sedaris — doyen of deadpan drollery

27 May 2017 9:00 am

The bestselling humourist and New Yorker essayist David Sedaris is renowned for an almost hypnotic deadpan drollery and maybe especially…

‘Return of the Staghunt’ by Edwin Landseer, 1837 (from Highland Retreats)

The Highland dream — from picturesque cottage to fantasy castle

27 May 2017 9:00 am

As well as being a leading architectural historian Mary Miers is an editor at Country Life. For her latest book…

Colm Tóibín makes the most pitiless Greek myths seem poignant

27 May 2017 9:00 am

‘A shudder in the loins engenders there/ The broken wall, the burning roof and tower/ And Agamemnon dead’ intoned W.B.…

Maxwell Knight with his favourite pet, Goo the cuckoo

Maxwell Knight — a great spymaster and an honourable man

27 May 2017 9:00 am

I once asked Baroness Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, what she did to relax. Nailing me to the wall…

What exactly was the CIA up to in Laos in the 1960s?

27 May 2017 9:00 am

I once spent an evening, back in the mid-1980s, with William Colby, the legendary spy and director of the CIA.…