Books

The neocon’s imperial burden

1 May 2004 12:00 am

‘They can’t like us a whole lot,’ was the report of one American soldier. ‘If we came into a village…

The mating game in Manhattan

1 May 2004 12:00 am

A publishing friend arrived with an armful of new books as a cadeau maison. I have to confess I picked…

Decline and fall of a Russian hero

1 May 2004 12:00 am

It was only by a hoax that Andre

Jumping for joy

1 May 2004 12:00 am

Jane Shilling is a Times journalist and single parent who lives in Greenwich with her 12-year-old son. One day, for…

The crushing burden of proof

1 May 2004 12:00 am

Anthony Kenny does not believe in the existence of God, but his disbelief is qualified and complex. He does not…

Dirty hands with green fingers

1 May 2004 12:00 am

The unpretentious title of this excellent, delicious book is clever. Does it mean ‘a modicum of garden history’ or, in…

Poets under surveillance

24 April 2004 12:00 am

Without a doubt, Moscow Memoirs is an extraordinary book, one of those literary memoirs that comes along once a decade.…

A voracious collector

24 April 2004 12:00 am

‘The only novelist now writing in English whose works are likely to stand as literary classics…who has the power, range,…

Rock and soul

24 April 2004 12:00 am

If you were a poet returning from war-ravaged Yugoslavia with a marriage on the rocks and credit-card companies after you,…

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…