The black sea

How a small town in Ukraine stopped the Russians in their tracks

The other day, John Simpson, He Who Cannot Be Removed From The BBC, tweeted something purportedly about Volodymyr Zelensky. What it was really about, though, was John Simpson – how many world leaders he had interviewed (200), over how long (more than 50 years), and who he most admired (Zelensky, Nelson Mandela and Vaclav Havel). It is difficult to imagine Andrew Harding, a veteran BBC foreign correspondent, tweeting something like that. He is a much more understated reporter, and less prone to foreground himself at the expense of his interviewees. He is just as likely to be on receive as transmit and understands that he is not the story. The

Bitter harvest – how Ukraine’s wheat has always been coveted

Publishers love books with ambitious subtitles such as ‘How Bubblegum Made the Modern World’, and this one’s, about American wheat remaking the world, was no doubt devised to appeal to readers in the United States. It is not really appropriate: for ‘American’, read ‘Ukrainian’. The focal point of Oceans of Grain lies very far from the vast wheat fields of North America. This is mainly a book about Ukraine and the Black Sea, and the importance of Ukrainian grain in world history. Its appearance during the current war is extraordinarily timely. Scott Reynolds Nelson insists that grain supplies have lain at the heart of millennia of conflict. He describes the