Lead book review

The name’s Sorge, Richard Sorge

Interviewed on the Today programme on 7 March, a former executive of the gigantic Chinese tech firm Huawei admitted: ‘It is the nature of humanity to spy, to conduct espionage.’ A gold-plated incarnation of this impulse is the tall, craggy-faced German journalist who was arrested in his pyjamas in his Tokyo house in October 1941.

More from Books

Finding his voice

The Parade, Dave Eggers’s eighth novel, is a slim, strange book, another unpredictable chapter in the career of this hard-to-pin-down author. Like his friend and sometime collaborator Jonathan Safran Foer, there’s the sense with Eggers that, after launching himself so spectacularly onto the literary scene with his debut, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, this

The sage of age

Ashton Applewhite is a leading American ‘inspirer’ on how to make the most of being over the hill. She has followers to whom she dispatches her inspiration by blog, YouTube, TED, magazine column and talk-show interview. This Chair Rocks first came into the world, three years ago, as a ‘networked book’. It now presents itself

Teebee or not Teebee

On the day that Tony Blair left the Commons chamber for the last time (to a standing ovation led by the leader of the opposition) I was moved from Education to Health and, a few days later, was to accompany the new prime minister on his first official engagement — to a hospital in Kingston-upon-Thames.

Time is the essence

Tessa Hadley is not the sort of writer to land the Booker Prize, which tends to reward writers from ‘anywhere’ rather than ‘somewhere’. Hadley labours under perceived limitations: she is distinctively British, writes about the middle classes, and turns out, as the puff on the back rightly says, ‘the quintessential domestic novel’. Those who are

The cult of Patrick

St Patrick’s Day, on 17 March, is now regarded as a prime opportunity for Irish politicians to travel abroad on a mission for ‘brand Ireland’. They fly off overseas, armed with the symbol of the shamrock, alerting their hosts to the shiny new liberal Ireland which is such a fabulous investment opportunity — and don’t