More from Books

When men were blokes

Ever since David Steen joined Picture Post at the age of 15 he’s been photographing celebrities. This handsome collection of male portraits shows his range. At one end of the spectrum is the cheesy picture of Steven Spielberg with his foot in the mouth of an inflatable rubber shark. At the other, there is the

On the scent of the rose

The Gardens at Hampton Court Palaceby Todd Longstaffe-GowanFrances Lincoln, £25, pp. 208, ISBN 0711223688 The Gardens at Hatfieldby Sue Snell, with an introduction by the Dowager Lady SalisburyFrances Lincoln, £25, pp. 192, ISBN 0711225168 In 1979 the first major exhibition on the history of British gardening was staged at the Victoria & Albert Museum. It

Brillo boxes and marble nudes

Professor John Carey is at his most acerbic, combative and impassioned in this brilliant polemic, developed from lectures he gave at University College London last year. Just don’t expect the question proposed by the title to be satisfactorily answered: Carey doesn’t exactly contradict himself — he’s far too fly for that — but halfway through,

Birds in the hand

Penguin By Designby Phil BainesPenguin/Allen Lane, £16.99, pp. 255, ISBN 0713998393 Publishers do not make popular heroes. Who has heard of Humph- rey Moseley, who published the Caroline poets? Or Jacob Tonson, apart from Pope’s patronising verses? Thomas Hughes made Tom Brown’s School Days famous, but could not do the same for Daniel Macmillan. But

Putting the ghosts to rest

In 1976, the year of Mao’s death, I went back to China when the British foreign secretary Anthony Crosland paid an official visit there. Asked what he thought of Mao’s colossal experiment in social engineering, Crosland replied, ‘It’s revolting.’ If you’re puzzled by this reaction from Old Labour’s leading thinker, you should read the new