Nazis

Maggie Smith is miraculous as the ageing Nazi, Brunhilde Pomsel. Image: © Helen Maybanks

One of the most astonishing things I’ve ever seen in the theatre: A German Life reviewed

27 April 2019 9:00 am

It starts at a secretarial college. The stage is occupied by a dignified elderly lady who recalls her pleasure at…

A stubborn Conservative PM attempting to negotiate with Germany? Not Theresa May but Neville Chamberlain

13 April 2019 9:00 am

When lists are compiled of our best and worst prime ministers (before the present incumbent), the two main protagonists of…

Isaiah Berlin: an extreme liberal, who was reluctant to think that people act purely maliciously

Do we really need to read Isaiah Berlin’s every last word?

9 February 2019 9:00 am

This is a fascinating example of a small genre, in which the author decides at an early stage in his…

Have wildfires really got worse over the years?

17 November 2018 9:00 am

Hard bitten A British tourist died after contracting rabies from a cat bite in Morocco. Whatever happened to the prominent…

Wilhelm Furtwängler shaking hands with Hitler after a concert in 1939. Photo: Ullstein Bild/ Getty Images

The truth about Wilhelm Furtwängler

20 October 2018 9:00 am

The morning after the first night of Ronald Harwood’s Taking Sides in May 1995, I received a call from Otto…

Radio 4 treats its radio listeners as second-best in favour of those who listen to podcasts

13 October 2018 9:00 am

How very odd of Radio 4 not only to release The Ratline as a podcast before broadcasting it on the…

Landscape (North Friesland), 1920

Nolde was giddily optimistic about the Nazis – they rewarded him by confiscating his works

28 July 2018 9:00 am

The complexities of Schleswig-Holstein run deep. Here’s Emil Nolde, an artist born south of the German-Danish border and steeped in…

Claude Cahun, one of the real-life subjects of Rupert Thomson’s novel. Credit: Jersey Heritage

Never Anyone But You, by Rupert Thomson reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

In a 2013 interview with a Canadian newspaper, Rupert Thomson acknowledged the strange place he occupies in the literary world.…

The enigma of Enric Marco

11 November 2017 9:00 am

Enric Marco has had a remarkable life. A prominent Catalan union activist, a brave resistance fighter in the Spanish Civil…

Master of the dark art of interrogation: Alexander Scotland in 1945

The British interrogation methods that even Hitler found ‘ingenious’

2 September 2017 9:00 am

Hidden behind Kensington Palace, in one of London’s smartest streets, there is a grand old house which played a leading…

Those we despise most are the ones we have wronged

17 June 2017 9:00 am

There’s a moment in A Boy in Winter where a young Ukrainian policeman has to escort his town’s Jewish population…

The best way to celebrate the past? Uncork it

17 June 2017 9:00 am

I have been thinking about the Dark Ages. This has nothing to do with Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn. A…

The radio documentary that makes you think again about the Nuremberg Trials

27 May 2017 9:00 am

‘Hell is better than what I personally witnessed,’ says Ben Ferencz, who was one of the American troops sent in…

One that got away: a dog with his young owner after a night raid on Hendon, May 1941

Raining bombs on cats and dogs

13 May 2017 9:00 am

War Horse, by way of book and play and film, has brought the role of horses in war into the…

Rostock, in north Germany, joined the Hanseatic League in 1251. It has one of the oldest universities in Europe and was a major ship-building city for the Baltic

Germany’s history might have been as peaceful (and dull) as Switzerland’s

29 April 2017 9:00 am

Go into any high street bookshop and find the European history section. There’s usually a shelf or two on France…

‘SS-GB’ takes the commitment to the crepuscular a lot further than most

A drama set in Nazi-occupied Britain really shouldn’t be this dull: BBC1’s SS-GB reviewed

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Rival law-enforcement agencies arguing about which of them should investigate a murder has, of course, been a staple of crime…

Michael Chabon’s ‘faux-memoir novel’ is a simple song about love

11 February 2017 9:00 am

Michael Chabon’s back. He’d never gone away, of course — more than a dozen books in all — but it’s…

Why does sport work so well on radio?

21 January 2017 9:00 am

The purest form of radio is probably sports commentating, creating pictures in the mind purely through language so that by…

The full horror of the siege of Leningrad is finally revealed

31 December 2016 9:00 am

Stand aside, Homer. I doubt whether even the author of the Iliad could have matched Alexis Peri’s account of the…

The business of war — and espionage — is never gentlemanly

20 August 2016 9:00 am

A teenager in the second decade of the Cold War, my father was taught to play snooker by a KGB…

Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata strikes all the right notes

2 July 2016 9:00 am

Rose Tremain sets the true story of Police Captain Paul Grüninger, commander of the Swiss border force in Canton Saint…

A stylish Parisienne catches the eye of a German officer at the Auteuil races, March 1941

Keeping up appearances in 1940s Paris

2 July 2016 9:00 am

‘La France,’ as everyone knows, is female. Perhaps this is due to gendered assumptions about the beauty, cuisine and couture…

Making a stand: Archibald Leitch’s drawing for Goodison Park

From mass spectatorship to mass murder: a history of stadiums

25 June 2016 8:00 am

When it comes to mass spectatorship, we’re still living in the world the Romans made. Tom Wilkinson on the history of stadiums

How The Satanic Verses failed to burn

28 May 2016 9:00 am

This is a book which, as one eyes its lavish illustrations and dips into its elegant prose, looks as if…

How capitalism really works

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Deirdre McCloskey has been at work for many years on a huge project: to explain why the world has become…