Books

Greg Jenner’s survey of celebrities through the ages has a distinctly Horrible Histories feel

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Good writing about celebrity is scant. It has few poets, because it takes depth to go truly shallow (I’d nominate…

King Solomon’s lost city will remain lost forever

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Armageddon began as Har Megiddo, the Hill of Megiddo in northern Israel. The theological aspect is Christian. For Jews, ancient…

Male violence pulses through Evie Wyld’s The Bass Rock

28 March 2020 9:00 am

‘It’s a woman’s thing, creation,’ says Sarah,a girl accused of witchcraft in 18th-century Scotland, in one of the three storylines…

Nature fights back with tooth and claw as we persist in destroying it

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Where to turn in anxious and febrile times? One answer is to nature, or the ‘non-human living world’, which, despite…

From Liverpool’s Cavern to the world stage: how the Beatles became a global phenomenon

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Alan Johnson describes how four young men from Liverpool revived Britain, healed America and brought joy to millions

A love letter to San Francisco’s mean streets

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Recollections of My Non-Existence is the Rebecca Solnit book I have been waiting for. I was born four years after…

Even in the Swinging Sixties, Ray Davies was feeling nostalgic

28 March 2020 9:00 am

At first glance, nostalgia does not seem like a subject much suited to exploration via the medium of the pop…

What makes Thomas Piketty so sure he can save the world?

28 March 2020 9:00 am

The French economist, statistician and polymath Thomas Piketty sprang to fame in 2013 with a daunting tome, Capital in the…

To hell with hell: Bart Ehrman debunks the Christian belief in perpetual torment

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Here is a sobering thought for anyone involved in the world of finance. Those who charge interest when they lend…

Where would any writer be without a room of their own?

28 March 2020 9:00 am

If you seek out the home of an admired writer, you might find, as with Ernest Hemingway’s house in Havana,…

For Jews in Occupied France, survival was a matter of luck

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Late in his life, I asked my uncle René about his exploits in wartime France. What I knew was that…

The West is failing to rise to the challenge of coronavirus

26 March 2020 11:43 pm

Having apparently shaken off the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda machine is now in…

Gustav Mahler’s bid for greatness: the ‘Symphony of a Thousand’

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Gustav Mahler was a passionate enthusiast for the colossal in music. Even so, his mighty eighth symphony stands apart, says Philip Hensher

The mean streets of 1960s Soho: Bent, by Joe Thomas, and other crime fiction reviewed

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Brian De Palma brings his film director’s eye to Are Snakes Necessary? (Hard Case, £16.99), written in collaboration with the…

Until he discovered pop music, life was all Greek to Pete Paphides

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Pop music has always been, to those who love it, to some degree tribal or factional; fans like to carve…

How I became Miss World 1970

21 March 2020 9:00 am

‘Miss World 1970’ is the rather glorious title that Jennifer Hosten won. That was the year that the contest, then…

Jan Morris, at 93, meditates on what it means to be old

21 March 2020 9:00 am

‘I’m getting rather tired of me,’ begins Jan Morris in one of the diary entries in Thinking Again, almost certainly…

Violence and cross-dressing in post-bellum Tennessee: A Thousand Moons, by Sebastian Barry, reviewed

21 March 2020 9:00 am

It was perhaps a mistake to re-read Sebastian Barry’s award-winning Days Without End before its sequel, A Thousand Moons, since…

Master of disguise: the British genius who concealed whole Allied battle lines

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Early one morning in October 1874 a barge carrying three barrels of benzoline and five tons of gunpowder blew up…

Plumbing the mysteries of poltergeists

21 March 2020 9:00 am

This is a paranormal book — by which I mean it exists in a truly out of the ordinary netherworld…

As intricate as an origami sculpture: The Lost Future of Pepperharrow reviewed

21 March 2020 9:00 am

Steampunk, a shapeshifting and unpredictable genre, has a way of subverting the past, mischievously disordering the universe with historical what-ifs.…

A woman’s lot is not a happy one in: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 reviewed

21 March 2020 9:00 am

‘Buy pink baby clothes,’Kim Jiyoung, the protagonist of this bestselling South Korean novel is told at the obstetrician’s surgery. Jiyoung’s…

A dark journey into a fanatical underworld

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Two years ago, the counter-extremist analyst Julia Ebner decided she needed to delve deeper into the extremists trying to disrupt…

America’s love-hate relationship with Shakespeare

14 March 2020 9:00 am

Emma Smith examines the peculiarly disruptive effect of Shakespeare’s plays on American society over the centuries

The Renaissance in 50 shades of grey

14 March 2020 9:00 am

The Mediterranean-centred era spanning a century or so either side of 1492 is filled to the brim with stories. There…