Books

Temples of culture under siege

27 December 2003 12:00 am

A couple of years ago, I was walking up Quincy Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts with Ivan Gaskell, a curator at…

A ruthless ally

13 December 2003 12:00 am

One of the paradoxes of our age is that the hereditary principle is in eclipse everywhere except the first great…

The elusive face of God

13 December 2003 12:00 am

The biographical note on the jacket of this magisterial book tells us that Professor Geza Vermes was born in Hungary…

Doing the state some service

13 December 2003 12:00 am

At university I had a tutor who would announce once a year, when the subject duly came round, ‘I’m too…

Bloody-minded and unbowed

13 December 2003 12:00 am

The head of history at a well-known English girls’ school was wont to say that she had learned nothing at…

How to shut up and listen

13 December 2003 12:00 am

Stuck for the bumper Christmas gift? Try Robin Holloway’s collected essays of music criticism. It is impressively big and will…

Animal funny farm

13 December 2003 12:00 am

Working in the Washington DC of 1982, I noticed that friends and colleagues cut Gary Larson’s drawings from the Washington…

The precious core of civilisation

13 December 2003 12:00 am

In 1989, two years before the Gulf war, I travelled to Baghdad to write an article on the Hanging Gardens…

Only one factor among many

13 December 2003 12:00 am

This is a fascinating book on a fascinating subject, written by a master of his craft as a military historian.…

Action man and teller of tales

13 December 2003 12:00 am

The other day I came on an old exercise book dating from the early 1940s in which my brother, then…

Pets’ corner in the studio

13 December 2003 12:00 am

This pleasant book, easy on the eye and (as importantly with art books) the thigh, has a pretty picture containing…

The age of innocent adventure

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Between antiquity and the 18th century, aside from a couple of Portuguese priests in Abyssinia, we have no record of…

Letting it all hang out

29 November 2003 12:00 am

For all of us who are paid to make jokes about pop music, Sting is a bit of a godsend.…

A season in hell

29 November 2003 12:00 am

When Philippe Labro, novelist, journalist, cineast, television producer and man about Paris, woke up one morning in 1999 at his…

Hunting the killer rhyme

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Twenty years ago Clive James’s poetry represented all that I most disliked about contemporary Englit. For a start it was…

The Dutch manipulator of the Pelvis

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Behind many great stars of stage and screen lurks a mysterious, sometimes sinister manager figure, minder or mastermind, whose precise…

Above and below blood temperature

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Who Killed Daniel Pearl?by Bernard-Henri Levy, translated by James X. MitchellDuckworth, £20, pp. 454, ISBN 0715632612 The last time Mariane…

Making it a just so story

29 November 2003 12:00 am

This new collection is, surprisingly for a little black book, decidedly unsexy. In fact, A. S. Byatt — unsurprisingly, perhaps,…

Sexing up American history

29 November 2003 12:00 am

This lovely little bluffers’ guide to the founders of the American Republic came out of a chat Gore Vidal had…

Beholding sundry places

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Here’s a Christmas present for anyone with a serious interest in travel. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an armchair aficionado…

Granny takes several trips

29 November 2003 12:00 am

Why, oh why, would a pleasant-looking, intelligent woman of 66, a retired English teacher with a grown-up son living in…

CHRISTMAS BOOKS 2

22 November 2003 12:00 am

Hugh Massingberd Surrounded by spin, mealy-mouthed political correctness and Orwellian ‘newspeak’, I longed for the absolute frankness demanded by the…

Hitler’s unbalanced Orangeman

22 November 2003 12:00 am

Lord Haw-Haw: The English Voice of Nazi Germanyby Peter MartlandThe National Archives, £19.99, pp. 308, ISBN 1903365171 Although I yield…

Their knavish tricks frustrated

22 November 2003 12:00 am

The Enterprise of England, the name given by His Most Catholic Majesty, Philip II of Spain, to the attempted overthrow…

Blood-brother and king-maker

22 November 2003 12:00 am

At a garden party in Kampala, Uganda, in 1994 I overheard Tom Stacey, a tall elegant figure, saying with some…