the first world war

The wry humour of Franz Kafka

1 June 2024 9:00 am

A masterly new translation of his Diaries reminds us that Kafka wasn’t solely the prophet of a century of dehumanisation

The recklessness of George Mallory

18 May 2024 9:00 am

Having quarrelled with his adept former fellow climber, Mallory attempted Everest in 1924 seriously ill-equipped, and taking an inexperienced 22-year-old with him instead

They felt they could achieve anything together: two brave women in war-torn Serbia

20 April 2024 9:00 am

Vera Holme and Evelina Haverfield, lovers and fellow suffragettes, risked their lives as nursing staff in the first world war and exposed the absurdity of Edwardian homophobia

Longing for oblivion: The Warm Hands of Ghosts, by Katherine Arden, reviewed

2 March 2024 9:00 am

Arden’s novel spares us no details of trench warfare on the Western Front and the severely traumatised men dreaming of escape into amnesia

Looking on the bright side

7 October 2023 9:00 am

The Rochdale lass who sang her way from music hall to the silver screen encouraged a spirit of resilience and community in the interwar years, says Simon Heffer

A doomed democracy

26 August 2023 9:00 am

Despite its democratic ideals and artistic creativity, 1920s Germany lacked both the flexibility and social cohesion necessary for functional politics, says Frank McDonough

The making of a poet: Wilfred Owen’s ‘autobiography’ in letters

5 August 2023 9:00 am

How, between 1911 and 1917, Owen became the dazzling poet we know and love is the story told in Jane Potter’s new edition of his selected letters

Who needed who most? The complex bond between Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby

29 October 2022 9:00 am

Claudia FitzHerbert explores the complex bond between two remarkable writers in the interwar years

Lord Northcliffe’s war of words

30 July 2022 9:00 am

Andrew Lycett on the pugnacious British press baron dedicated to fighting the first world war through newsprint

War was never Sir Edward Grey’s métier

12 December 2020 9:00 am

This meaty but easily digested biography pivots around the events either side of that fateful evening of 4 August 1914…

A brutal education: At Night All Blood is Black, by David Diop, reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Alfa Ndiaye, a Senegalese soldier fighting for France in the trenches of the Great War, is consumed by bloodlust, which…

Never a dull sentence: the journalism of Harry Perry Robinson

29 August 2020 9:00 am

Is Boris Johnson a fan of Harry Perry Robinson? If he isn’t, he really ought to be. Reading this absorbing…

When Graves was wounded at High Wood on the Somme he was listed as dead. The sense of being a revenant probably affected him for the rest of his life. [Mary Evans Picture Library}

Ménage à quatre with Robert Graves

18 August 2018 9:00 am

‘I have a very poor opinion of other people’s opinion of me — though I am fairly happy in my…

Sexual tension and Siberian magic mushrooms

28 May 2016 9:00 am

On her arrival in Russia in 1914, Gerty Freely finds it refreshingly liberal compared to her native Britain: here servants…

T.E. Lawrence: from young romantic to shame-shattered veteran

16 April 2016 9:00 am

T.E. Lawrence is seen as a ‘metaphor for imperialism, violence and betrayal’ in the Middle East. But woeful Arab leadership has also been to blame for the region’s problems, says Justin Marozzi

A fairytale return for Graham Swift

20 February 2016 9:00 am

The opening of Graham Swift’s new novel clearly signals his intent. ‘Once upon a time’ tells us that this will…

Rex Whistler: ‘a desolate sense of loneliness amidst so much fun’

14 November 2015 9:00 am

When Hugh and Mirabel Cecil’s book In Search of Rex Whistler was published in 2012, the late Brian Sewell reviewed…

What drove Europe into two world wars?

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Sir Ian Kershaw won his knight’s spurs as a historian with his much acclaimed two-volume biography of Hitler, Hubris and…

Sebastian Faulks returns to the psychiatrist’s chair in Where My Heart Used to Beat

12 September 2015 9:00 am

There can hardly be two novelists less alike than Sebastian Faulks and Will Self, in style and in content. Faulks…

British troops go over the top on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme

The British army’s greatest catastrophe — and its most valuable lesson

5 September 2015 9:00 am

Peter Parker spends 24 hours on the bloodsoaked battlefield of the Somme, scene of the British army’s greatest catastrophe

The new Imperial Royal Austrian Light Infantry c.1820

The honour of the Habsburgs was all that mattered to the imperial Austrian army

20 June 2015 9:00 am

John Keegan, perhaps the greatest British military historian of recent years, felt that the most important book (because of its…

Edward Thomas: the prolific hack (who wrote a book review every three days for 14 years) turned to poetry just in time

23 May 2015 9:00 am

Edward Thomas was gloomy as Eeyore. In 1906 he complained to a friend that his writing ‘was suffering more &…

Carnage on the home front: revisiting a forgotten disaster of the first world war

9 May 2015 9:00 am

Philip Hensher on a little-known episode of first world war history when a munitions factory in Kent exploded in April 1916, claiming over 100 lives

The Irish Times: read by the smug denizens of Dublin 4 and responsible for the Celtic Tiger property bubble

21 March 2015 9:00 am

The most successful newspapers have a distinct personality of their own with which their readers connect. In Britain, the Daily…

He who must be obeyed: portrait of the Kaiser by Ferdinand Keller, 1893

Kaiser Wilhelm's guide to ruining a country

2 August 2014 9:00 am

The life of Kaiser Wilhelm II is also a guide to how to ruin a country, says Philip Mansel