Books

A hiding to nothing

24 April 2004 12:00 am

The story of Hitler’s last days in his bunker has been told and retold many times, perhaps most famously and…

A tale of suspense

24 April 2004 12:00 am

This account of a public execution in Wales is a delightful book. Beautifully designed, it is by that rare bird,…

A roving ambassador for culture

24 April 2004 12:00 am

‘The pay was good, you had a nice house and you met some interesting people.’ Thus the late John F.…

A failed kiss of life

24 April 2004 12:00 am

For a writer or critic to describe something as ‘interesting’ is, of course, neither revealing nor interesting. Which is a…

Outposts of the imagination

24 April 2004 12:00 am

This novel, translated from the Afrikaans by André Brink, was offered to me for review with an apologetic note advising…

Dark deeds on the District Line

24 April 2004 12:00 am

In 1863, the London underworld was revolutionised — not the crime statistics, but the literal underworld, when the first underground…

Three founding fathers of the media

17 April 2004 12:00 am

We had all probably agreed by now that the whole memoir thing was getting out of hand, and a UN-negotiated…

What makes us unique?

17 April 2004 12:00 am

What does it mean to be human? The many possible answers to this question and their rejection form the cornucopian…

His cup runneth over

17 April 2004 12:00 am

Nick, the central character in Alan Hollinghurst’s wonderful new novel, is a young, alert middle-class boy with precociously refined aesthetic…

The foundering ship of state

17 April 2004 12:00 am

Henry Fairlie may have coined the phrase ‘The Establishment’ but it was Anthony Sampson who gave it flesh and blood.…

Led by donkeys

17 April 2004 12:00 am

The National Army Museum of the Crimean Warby Alastair MassieSidgwick & Jackson, £25, pp. 379, ISBN 070113904 The most extraordinary…

A rather ferocious person

17 April 2004 12:00 am

Christina became queen of Sweden because her heroic father Gustavus Adolphus had been killed in battle, winning glory in Germany…

To and from Russia without love

10 April 2004 12:00 am

My Ladybird book of The Story of Napoleon had two pages to illustrate 1812. Napoleon sits on a white horse…

The general and the particular

10 April 2004 12:00 am

‘Gays are cowardly.’ ‘Capricorns are self-confident.’ Both prop- ositions are (pace astrologers) simply untrue or, as the author puts it,…

A backward Nowhere

10 April 2004 12:00 am

There are hundreds of references to Molvania on the Web, and one airline shows passengers a video about the place,…

Home town blues

10 April 2004 12:00 am

A preliminary riffle through this novel is not all that encouraging. Three pages of spoof Acknow- ledgments (‘some of them…

At sea with oneself

10 April 2004 12:00 am

The Voyage Home is the third book I’ve read about Africa recently. Like the others it captures and distills the…

King of the charm offensive

10 April 2004 12:00 am

There could scarcely be a more delightful way to remind oneself of the British and French statesmen who created the…

Blood at the root

10 April 2004 12:00 am

If you were talking to a group of particle physicists and mentioned the word ‘fundamentalism’, they would assume that you…

A man of many names and faces

10 April 2004 12:00 am

If you’ll excuse the pun, Paul Delany’s biography of the man commonly dubbed ‘the greatest British photographer’ brings one thing…

A child of Qwertyuiop

10 April 2004 12:00 am

Employed by Reuter’s in the early 1930s, the author’s father introduced him at six years old to a typewriter. The…

A well-calculated risk

10 April 2004 12:00 am

Sir John Keegan’s account of the origins and conduct of the war in Iraq is at once striking for its…

One of the great Russians

10 April 2004 12:00 am

The Priest Who was Never Baptisedby Nikolai Leskov, translated by James MuckleBramcote Press, 81 Rayneham Road, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 8RJ,…

A leading light amidst the gloom

3 April 2004 12:00 am

Isaiah Berlin was a much-loved friend and a dominant influence on my thinking as an historian. His death in 1997…

All his world a stage

3 April 2004 12:00 am

As in the theatre, so in his letters: John Gielgud was a man of many parts, and acutely aware of…