Books

Tom Tiddler’s ground

2 April 2005 12:00 am

For many people in the West, the Middle East is a source of perplexity and foreboding. Home to morose despotisms,…

Small-town screwballs and surprises

2 April 2005 12:00 am

In a 1925 essay, Freud unearthed an important linguistic truth about the concept of the uncanny (unheimlich). He noticed that…

Rumours of death somewhat exaggerated

26 March 2005 12:00 am

Geoffrey Wheatcroft is rarely dull in print and this book is no exception. It is a rattling good read, although…

Chekhov in the home counties

26 March 2005 12:00 am

Dorothy Whipple was once a highly regarded bestselling novelist and it is typical of the excellent Persephone books that they…

A season in Hell

26 March 2005 12:00 am

This sensitive, outspoken diary begins during the dark last days of the ‘dead little, red little army’, the British Expeditionary…

Hunting the French fox

26 March 2005 12:00 am

Which of the acts of courage does the title mean? In the Peninsular War, there were so many it’s hard…

Royal taste in reading

26 March 2005 12:00 am

Henry VIII is the first English monarch whose features everyone knows. The sharp little eyes in the massive head, the…

Sunset over the Boulevard

26 March 2005 12:00 am

Betsy Blair was born Elizabeth Boger in 1923 into a middle-class episcopalian family in New Jersey, her mother a teacher,…

A monumental mediaeval muddle

26 March 2005 12:00 am

The history of England in the 14th and 15th centuries has traditionally been regarded either as a corrupt aftermath (as…

An elegy for Yugoslavia

26 March 2005 12:00 am

The title of this charming book refers to the last summer the author spent in her native city of Belgrade…

The not so beautiful game

26 March 2005 12:00 am

Same rubbish, new wrapper. This is the criticism usually levelled at those big bad soccer clubs who put out a…

The lower slopes of the magic mountain

26 March 2005 12:00 am

The English don’t read German literature. This is not, I suggest, because of our vulgar prejudice towards the Germans for…

The King’s detective

26 March 2005 12:00 am

In 1850 when William Melville was born in Sneem, Co. Kerry, there was no British secret service. There was the…

Theatre of cruelty

19 March 2005 12:00 am

‘The Colosseum is the most famous and instantly recognisable monument to have survived from the classical world.’ In the 19th…

Policemen who didn’t keep the peace

19 March 2005 12:00 am

‘This book,’ notes Roméo Dallaire in his account of the 100 days of genocidal killing in Rwanda in 1994, ‘is…

The latest and the best

19 March 2005 12:00 am

For once the publisher’s blurb has it right. This is a ‘sweepingly ambitious’ project, written by a ‘towering and often…

Recording secrets under orders

19 March 2005 12:00 am

This book is a goldmine of once highly secret intelligence material: the diary kept, night by night, by the head…

End-of-term report on our masters

19 March 2005 12:00 am

The only good thing New Labour have done in office they did in their first week: the granting of independence…

A late run on the rails

19 March 2005 12:00 am

All of a sudden, there is a buzz about Cynthia Ozick. Although respected for many years as a writer of…

Memoirs of a genius

19 March 2005 12:00 am

Tom Maschler, son of a distinguished Jewish publisher, was born in Berlin in 1932 and came to England with his…

Dicing with death

19 March 2005 12:00 am

A book on Waterloo as short as this (the text proper is 100 pages, small format) tempts a rush to…

Profit without honour

12 March 2005 12:00 am

Early on in Piers Morgan’s memoir of his career as a tabloid editor, there is a very funny incident. It…

Lady into urban fox

12 March 2005 12:00 am

This is a thoroughly rotten book, a squelchingly well-researched period piece with sex, lust, over-ripeness and what one character calls…

The battle of Babel

12 March 2005 12:00 am

Apparently, this book is a work of ‘diachronic sociolinguistics’. Sensibly, the author doesn’t mention this disconcerting fact until the last…

Edinburgh still rocks

12 March 2005 12:00 am

Will Alexander McCall Smith’s readers remain loyal now that he’s not writing about Bots- wana, which he sees as an…