Lead book review

It was Bevin, not Bevan, who was the real national treasure

4 July 2020 9:00 am

Alan Johnson pays tribute to Ernest Bevin, a towering political figure too often forgotten

How do we greet one another today?

27 June 2020 9:00 am

Conversation is a fascinating subject, says Philip Hensher – but very few people get it right

Splashing the cash at VIP nightclubs is now the favourite recreation of the rich

20 June 2020 9:00 am

The spectacular extravagance of the VIP nightclub ‘experience’ could be the last bonfire of the vanities, says Lynn Barber

The history of Thebes is as mysterious as its Sphinx

13 June 2020 9:00 am

The Spartans were not the only Greeks to die at Thermopylae. On the fateful final morning of the battle, when…

The many rival identities of Charles Dickens

6 June 2020 9:00 am

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst explores the many rival identities of Charles Dickens

How kind is humankind?

30 May 2020 9:00 am

Are humans by nature really more puppy than wolf? Oren Harman tests the science

Where did birds first learn to sing?

23 May 2020 9:00 am

Fieldwork can move the most rigorous scientist to lyricism, as Mark Cocker discovers

The genuine polymath is still one in a million

16 May 2020 9:00 am

With unlimited information just a click away, everyone can pass as a polymath today, says Philip Hensher

A ‘loneliness pandemic’ could prove as dangerous as coronavirus

9 May 2020 9:00 am

Adrian Woolfson explains the essence of pandemics – and how we can expect many more of them

From ‘divine Caesar’ to Hitler’s lapdog – the rise and fall of Benito Mussolini

2 May 2020 9:00 am

Mussolini dreamed of a new Roman empire and dominion over the Mediterranean. Two decades later he was hanging by his feet in a public square, as Ian Thomson relates

Moscow rules in London: how Putin’s agents corrupted the British elite

25 April 2020 9:00 am

Putin’s corrupt cronies may change, but the paranoid world view they all share remains the same, says Owen Matthews

The cult of Sappho in interwar Paris

18 April 2020 9:00 am

Philip Hensher describes how Paris became a magnet for literary-minded lesbians in the early 20th century – where they soon caused quite a stir

Excess and incest were meat and drink to the Byrons

11 April 2020 9:00 am

Excess, incest and marital misery were in the blood. Frances Wilson uncovers several generations of infamous Byrons

Wordsworth may have been partially eclipsed by his fellow Romantics, but his life was far from dull

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Wordsworth’s reputation has been too long in decline, says Tom Williams. In the space of a decade he transformed English poetry, and his earlier works remain astonishing

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

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

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

Knowing Thomas Cromwell’s fate only increases the tension: The Mirror & the Light, by Hilary Mantel, reviewed

7 March 2020 9:00 am

In 1540, he, himself, Lord Cromwell fell victim to the king’s caprice. His execution brings to a close one of English literature’s great trilogies, says Mark Lawson

Rape has always been one of the deadliest weapons of war

29 February 2020 9:00 am

Nothing prepared Antony Beevor for this devastating exposé of the systematic use of rape in war and ethnic cleansing

Shades of the prison house: the ghosts of suicides fill our prisons

21 February 2020 10:00 pm

As an inmate, Chris Atkins discovered just how violent and chaotic prison life is. His diaries highlight a national scandal – and the dangerous incompetence of the Ministry of Justice, says Will Heaven

Unspeakably prolix and petty: will anyone want to read John Bercow’s autobiography?

15 February 2020 9:00 am

In his autobiography, John Bercow takes his peerage as a given. But that might be scuppered by accusations of bullying, says Lynn Barber

The real Calamity Jane was distressingly unlike her legend

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

Calamity Jane’s legend as brave frontierswoman, crack shot and compassionate nurse to the wounded was nurtured largely by herself. The truth, says Sam Leith, was dismayingly different

Was Dresden a war crime?

1 February 2020 9:00 am

Dresden defined the horror of war: revenge and cold-blooded murder. It still does, says Christopher Priest

How David Rosenhan’s fraudulent Thud experiment set back psychiatry for decades

24 January 2020 10:00 pm

In 1973, a social psychologist from Stanford perpetrated one of the greatest scientific frauds of recent history. Its consequences still resonate today, says Andrew Scull

Carrying on loving: Elizabeth Hardwick’s and Robert Lowell’s remarkable correspondence throughout the 1970s

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Since Robert Lowell’s sudden death in 1977 his critical reputation has suffered from the usual post-mortem slump. Interest in Lowell’s…