When it comes to krautrock, it’s impossible not to mention the war

In recent years, sensitive music critics have attempted to replace krautrock with kosmiche as the consensus term for the wild and wonderful music that exploded out of West Germany during the 1970s: Can, Neu!, Cluster, Faust. A word that literally translates as herb-rock, cooked up by glib Brits who had read too many war comics, lacks a certain gravitas, and nobody would describe Tangerine Dream or Kraftwerk as rock anyway. The Hamburg journalist Christoph Dallach opens his invigorating oral history with a spirited argument about the label, but sticks with it anyway. So krautrock it remains. In this story, it is impossible not to mention the war because no country

Why were masters of the occult respected but witches burnt?

It has long been acknowledged that alchemy, however bizarre its premises, is the fore-runner of modern chemistry, compelling a figure as rational as Sir Isaac Newton. Other aspects of Renaissance thought are harder to assimilate. In his study of five crucial figures of the 15th and 16th centuries, Anthony Grafton aims to demonstrate that astrology, angelology and conjuration were, if not central to the era’s world view, at least hard to extricate from its more respectable concerns. His first subject, Faust, is little more than a sideshow, but significant in establishing the magus as a not entirely respectable figure, from which ignominy Grafton seeks to rescue him. The four who