Books

Who is laughing at whom?

12 June 2004 12:00 am

Doctor Johnson’s excellent recipe for cucumber: ‘a cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then…

Theirs not to reason why

12 June 2004 12:00 am

Stanley Milgram was an academic psychologist at Yale who achieved a brief moment of fame in the early 1960s as…

Lost and found in lonely places

12 June 2004 12:00 am

Patricia Tyrrell has self-published two novels, both of which were shortlisted for major prizes. The Promised Land was runner-up for…

Much more than a sporting event

12 June 2004 12:00 am

The Ancient Olympicsby Nigel SpiveyOUP, £17.99, pp. 264, ISBN 0192804332Olympics in Athens 1896: The Invention of the Modern Olympic Gamesby…

When the Eighties had to stop

5 June 2004 12:00 am

The Eighties, you might say, didn’t end on time. The speculative financial boom in the United States and elsewhere, which…

An ersatz Boston Brahmin

5 June 2004 12:00 am

The ‘campaign biography’ has become a familiar enough phenomenon in any American presidential year. So it should be said straight…

One rung below greatness

5 June 2004 12:00 am

Actors’ biographies, once a comparative rarity and usually ghosted and bowdlerised, spring forth every season. They are often pruriently, dubiously,…

Seduced by the scent of a mystery

5 June 2004 12:00 am

Visits from the Drowned Girl starts out with a gripping idea as old as crime fiction: the bystander. Benny Poteat…

What happens when things go wrong

5 June 2004 12:00 am

Only someone with the strongest self-control can resist looking, however furtively, at people with deformities. This is not very creditable…

The Fran and Jay show

5 June 2004 12:00 am

When I married Tony Parsons in the late 1970s, he immediately took me to live in a town called Billericay…

What feats we did that day

29 May 2004 12:00 am

Stalin’s admirers wanted it sooner, to help our Soviet allies. Others wanted it sooner, to give us a chance of…

Just a wee drap of paranoia

29 May 2004 12:00 am

When James Kelman’s novel, How Late it Was, How Late, won the Booker Prize in 1994, Rabbi Julia Neuberger, one…

The crown that fitted perfectly

29 May 2004 12:00 am

Professor Preston has done his subject proud. This is a better biography than his 1,000-page indictment of Franco, not only…

Taking matters seriously

29 May 2004 12:00 am

For a critic as seriously intelligent as James Wood, a discussion about the nature of comedy is, inevitably, no laughing…

Only a moderately intriguing adventurer

29 May 2004 12:00 am

John Bierman, the co-author of a recent book on Alamein, had doubts about writing this biography of Lazlo Almasy, the…

The last of a noble line

22 May 2004 12:00 am

The new, 107th edition of Burke’s Peerage comes in three massive volumes. It is likely to be the last in…

When Auntie was young and carefree

22 May 2004 12:00 am

Stephen Potter, author, radio writer and producer (1900-69, floruit 1940s and 1950s), is an instantly recognisable name, as his son…

A thick Celtic mist

22 May 2004 12:00 am

Areview copy of Shade comes with two pages of admonitory blurb about what an important film-maker Neil Jordan is. This…

Different heavens, same hells

22 May 2004 12:00 am

Now in his late eighties, Bernard Lewis is one of the last representatives of a once venerable scholarly type, the…

A short-lived royal adventure

22 May 2004 12:00 am

Jason Tomes’ excellent book charts the rise and fall of Albania’s only king. Of perhaps greater interest is the story…

The race of the thoroughbreds

22 May 2004 12:00 am

I read every page, every line of this very long book with sustained interest and pleasure. It is a collective…

A charming but alarming city

22 May 2004 12:00 am

In the summer of 2001 Sofka Zinovieff accompanied her husband, Vassilis — first met when he was press officer to…

One man’s Mexican dream

22 May 2004 12:00 am

The author of a weighty tome on a 16th-century attempt to create a Utopia in Mexico might well expect to…

The five stages of a downhill descent

22 May 2004 12:00 am

After defeating two fascist powers in a world war, the citizens of the democratic West have gradually come to throw…

Both lion and donkey

22 May 2004 12:00 am

Richard Holmes wrote this book 20 years ago when he was a humble lecturer at Sandhurst, long before his splendid…