Duncan Wu

The irrepressible musical gift of Huddie Ledbetter

Huddie Ledbetter, better known by the prison moniker Lead Belly, was a musical genius born in the southern United States just as Jim Crow laws were starting to bite. He fell foul of an unapologetically racist legal system and ended up serving on a chain gang in 1915, later doing time in state penitentiaries in

Homage to Joseph Johnson, the radical 18th-century publisher

There’s no excuse for dullness, especially when writing about a life as eventful as Joseph Johnson’s, the publisher and bookseller who worked with Mary Wollstonecraft, Joseph Priestley, William Cowper, Erasmus Darwin and Wordsworth and Coleridge, among others. I opened this book expecting it to lift the veil on dinner with Joseph Johnson, but the title’s

Fascist, anti-Semite and dupe: the dark side of G.K. Chesterton

The Sins of G.K. Chesterton demands our attention because, as Richard Ingrams notes in his introduction, the literature on this author is (with a few notable exceptions) horribly flawed — littered with misconstruction, omissions of fact and interpretive errors designed to present him as ‘an innocent, uncomplicated man, blessed with almost permanent happiness and having