Sara Wheeler

For ruthless inhumanity, the Bolsheviks were unbeatable

21 May 2022 9:00 am

Sara Wheeler describes the appalling brutality of the Russian Revolution and its far-reaching aftermath

A meditation on exile and the meaning of home

14 May 2022 9:00 am

What does home mean? Where your dead are buried, as Zulus believe? Or where you left your heart, as a…

The heartbreak left in the wake of the Terra Nova

12 March 2022 9:00 am

The story of the five women waiting at home for Captain Scott and his doomed polar party is naturally occluded…

The unfamiliar Orwell: the writer as passionate gardener

27 November 2021 9:00 am

This is a book about George Orwell’s recognition that desire and joy can be forces of opposition to the authoritarian…

A mighty river with many names: adventures on the Amur

11 September 2021 9:00 am

The Amur is the eighth or tenth longest river in the world, depending on whom you believe. The veteran travel…

A story of women and weaving – a new retelling of the Greek myths

4 September 2021 9:00 am

What are myths for? Do they lend meaning and value to this quintessence of dust? Like religion, perhaps they help…

The strangest landscapes are close to home

3 July 2021 9:00 am

This pleasant volume, the author announces in the introduction, is ‘not a nature book, or even a travel book, so…

Does William Barents deserve to have a sea named after him?

9 January 2021 9:00 am

Narratives of frozen beards in polar hinterlands never lose their appeal. Most of the good stories have been told, but…

Sybille Bedford — a gifted writer but a monstrous snob

7 November 2020 9:00 am

Sybille Bedford died in 2006, just short of 95. She left four novels, a travel book, two volumes of legal…

Iceland is bursting with cabinets of curiosities

18 July 2020 9:00 am

Competition is stiff among museums in Iceland. The Phallological Museum in Húsavík, devoted to the penis, stands tall in a…

Is it true that men navigate better than women?

29 February 2020 9:00 am

Some years ago I participated in a late-night Radio 3 show on exploration and travel. When I left the studio…

The exotic Silk Road is now a highway to hell

30 November 2019 9:00 am

This engaging book describes the Norwegian author’s travels round the five Central Asian Stans — a region where toponyms still…

Whatever happened to glasnost and perestroika?

26 October 2019 9:00 am

This is a timely book. It addresses the challenges of a fractious and fractured Europe. The first word of the…

Gales and Gaels — sailing solo from Cornwall to the Summer Isles

28 September 2019 9:00 am

This is the story of a solo voyage in a 31ft- wooden sailing boat called Tsambika. Philip Marsden pilots his…

The North Pole, from the star atlas of the French Jesuit priest and scientist, Ignace-Gaston Pardies, published in 1674

The unearthly powers of the North Pole

16 February 2019 9:00 am

Having spent too much of my life at both poles (writing, not sledge-pulling), I know the spells those places cast.…

Andrei Navrozov.

The gambler and the hooker: Awful Beauty, by Andrei Navrozov, reviewed

8 December 2018 9:00 am

This book — the title is from Pasternak —is billed as ‘literary fiction’. The narrator, a Russian gambler and drinker…

Sickness strikes in the clifftop monasteries of Meteora, and Stagg leaves the pilgrimage route

Staggering to Jerusalem — a journey from darkness into light

30 June 2018 9:00 am

Guy Stagg walked 5,500 km from Canterbury to Jerusalem, following medieval pilgrim paths, and he records the expedition in The…

Was there ever anything romantic about the Romany life?

9 June 2018 9:00 am

Damian Le Bas is of Gypsy stock (he insists on the upper case throughout his book). His beloved great-grandmother told…

Doris Lessing in her mid sixties

Doris Lessing: from champion of free love to frump with a bun

10 March 2018 9:00 am

‘I am interested only in stretching myself, in living as fully as I can.’ Lara Feigel begins her thoughtful book…

What makes this Bhutanese schoolgirl happy?

What makes a semi-police state happy?

16 December 2017 9:00 am

This charming collection of individual photographic portraits of Bhutanese citizens intentionally highlights the two central features of the kingdom today:…

Horatio Clare breaks the ice with the taciturn Finns

18 November 2017 9:00 am

In this slim travel book Horatio Clare voyages as a guest on the Finnish icebreaker Otso (Bear), ‘mostly in darkness,…

The Battle of Diu, India (1509), in which Lopes took part as a member of Francisco de Almeida’s victorious fleet

The greatest survival story

24 June 2017 9:00 am

This is the story of a 16th-century Portuguese knight and mariner who survived alone on a lump of volcanic rock…

A Kalash girl in traditional dress

The curse of the Yeti

29 April 2017 9:00 am

This book, according to its author Gabi Martínez, is ‘a non-fiction novel’. It tells the story of Jordi Magraner, a…

Up where the air is clear

19 November 2016 9:00 am

Robert Twigger’s father was born in a Himalayan hill resort and carried to school in a sedan chair. His son,…

Alone on a wide, wide sea

10 September 2016 9:00 am

Some years ago, when I stepped from an unstable boat onto Juan Fernández island, a friendly man took my bag…