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Dirty hands with green fingers

The unpretentious title of this excellent, delicious book is clever. Does it mean ‘a modicum of garden history’ or, in a Victorian sort of way, ‘a little volume’ of it? Either, for it is beautifully produced, would make you want to buy it but neither would prepare you for nearly 350 pages of entertaining, scholarly

The crushing burden of proof

Anthony Kenny does not believe in the existence of God, but his disbelief is qualified and complex. He does not believe that the existence of God can be proved through something like the five Thomist ‘proofs’: they depend too much on ‘outdated Aristotelian cosmology’. Further, he thinks that the traditional attributes of God such as

Jumping for joy

Jane Shilling is a Times journalist and single parent who lives in Greenwich with her 12-year-old son. One day, for no particular reason, she decides to take up riding lessons. She turns up at a livery stables at Rooting Street in Kent, an establishment run by a formidable lady named Mrs Rogers. Jane Shilling had

The mating game in Manhattan

A publishing friend arrived with an armful of new books as a cadeau maison. I have to confess I picked up Plum Sykes’s Bergdorf Blondes with a groan, expecting it to be bad, on the grounds that the young author was thin, beautiful, had an irritating name and should therefore be doomed to fail. A

The neocon’s imperial burden

‘They can’t like us a whole lot,’ was the report of one American soldier. ‘If we came into a village there was no flag-waving, no pretty young girls coming out to give us kisses as we march through victorious. ‘Oh, here come the fucking Americans again. Jesus, when are they going to learn?’ That was