Lead book review

Those magnificent men and their stargazing machines

Where is science bred? Is it where the physical circumstances are right – clear skies for astronomy, for example? Where raw materials are abundant – coal for organic chemistry? Where minds freely meet? Where the enlightened patron rules? Violet Moller’s first book, The Map of Knowledge, examined the spread through the centuries of the ideas

More from Books

Second life: Playboy, by Constance Debré, reviewed

Playboy is part one of a trilogy that draws on the life of its author, Constance Debré. Part two, Love Me Tender, was published in Britain last year. The trilogy was inspired by Debré’s experience of leaving her husband, abandoning her career as a lawyer, and then losing custody of her child when she re-emerged

Why must we be in constant battle with the ocean?

I recently learned to dive in the bay of Dakar. It was exciting. I’d started learning in a Leeds swimming pool and though I knew the ocean would feel different, I didn’t expect it to feel comfortable. It shouldn’t. It is not my element, and humans have long since left it to the rest of

The ordeal of sitting for my father Lucian Freud

The frontispiece of this book is Lucian Freud’s portrait of his daughter Rose naked on a bed. Rose says that when her father asked her to sit, which she had long hoped he would do, she naturally assumed he would want her naked, but asked him not to paint her hairy legs. He, in turn,

Did the Duchess of Windsor fake the theft of her own jewels?

On 16 October 1946, the Duke of Windsor, the former Edward VIII, and his wife Wallis were visiting England for a short period. They were staying with their friends the Dudleys at Ednam Lodge in Surrey, and felt sufficiently comfortable not to store Wallis’s impressive collection of jewellery in the house’s safe room, but instead

When Stalin was the lesser of two evils

‘We are resolved to destroy Hitler and every vestige of the Nazi regime… Any man or state who fights against Nazism will have our aid.’ These words were spoken by Winston Churchill in a BBC radio broadcast to the nation from Chequers on the evening of 22 June 1941. Churchill detested Stalin – but he