Books

Chopin’s Piano is an eclectic trip through 19th-century romanticism

12 July 2018 3:59 pm

The author writes knowledgeably and approachably about music and sympathetically about his cast of characters

Cease to strive! Now!

12 July 2018 3:42 pm

This academic study of idleness is very deep, way deep, so deep in fact as to be virtually unreadable.

‘President Pussy Grabber’ has his way with the GOP

12 July 2018 3:17 pm

A new book argues that Trump could destroy the Republican Party.

Why the Romanovs were doomed

6 July 2018 3:48 pm

There never really was a moment when the Russian royal family might plausibly have been rescued.

The spying game: when has espionage changed the course of history?

28 June 2018 4:33 pm

Andrew’s story is full of intriguing facts and pleasing anecdotes. But he does not quite engage with the broader questions he himself raises.

Has Tibet finally lost out to China?

28 June 2018 4:29 pm

Religion remains at the heart of Beijing’s determination to subdue and transform Tibet.

The electrifying genius of Nikola Tesla

28 June 2018 3:59 pm

Richard Munson’s ‘Tesla: Inventor of the Modern’ emphasises the duality of his subject.

A reply to my critics: Don’t fight racism with racism

22 June 2018 1:39 pm

Dear 2016 WriteNow mentees, Thanks so much for your open letter to me. It seems only good manners for me…

A Shout in the Ruins is a panorama of the Civil War and beyond

21 June 2018 2:35 pm

The second novel from Iraq War veteran Kevin Powers contains lots of gore, and the sort of casual violence that can be just as disturbing.

From Don Quixote to My Struggle — a survey of the novel in 160 pages

21 June 2018 2:10 pm

By the end of the book, you will feel as though you have read quite a bit of Javier Cercas’ fiction.

Death-defying acts and the dark side of the circus

21 June 2018 2:04 pm

Tessa Fontaine was convinced that her sick mother wouldn’t survive a trip to Italy with her stepfather. So she ran away to the circus.

The short step from good manners to lofty imperialism

21 June 2018 1:57 pm

In a world increasingly shaped by encounters with other cultures, the English started to form theories in which their own evolved behaviour resembled the pinnacle of possible civilisation.

The comic masterpiece of Donald J. Trump

20 June 2018 4:49 pm

Conrad Black explains how the President consistently and hilariously outplays his enemies, provoking and then exploiting the friction between him and them to raise himself to ever greater heights.

It’s the wreckage of alcoholism, not the road to recovery, that makes for enthralling reading

19 June 2018 1:17 pm

Leslie Jamison is aware of the problem. And one tries hard not to prefer her chapters on disaster to those that treat repair

The story of the last living survivor of the Atlantic slave trade is a high adventure

19 June 2018 1:08 pm

Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon, written in the 1930s, appears now in book form for the first time. It has been well worth the wait

Lionel Shriver and the rigging of the book market

15 June 2018 10:08 pm

Should the arts reflect the demographic make-up of their society, and be subject to quotas and affirmative action, in the…

American Histories, by John Edgar Wideman, reviewed

14 June 2018 6:05 pm

This new collection of John Edgar Wideman’s short stories comes across the pond as one of four handsomely packaged volumes…

Russia’s obsession with securing a warm-water port changed the history of Central Asia

14 June 2018 5:59 pm

In the 13th century, having overrun and terrorised Europe as far as Budapest, and in the process possibly bringing with…

When diversity means uniformity

10 June 2018 1:10 pm

I’d been suffering under the misguided illusion that the purpose of mainstream publishers like Penguin Random House was to sell…

Stormy weather: Florida, by Lauren Groff, reviewed

7 June 2018 12:33 pm

Over the past decade Lauren Groff has written three novels; she now returns to the short story form in this,…

The Tibetan Passion Book puts the Kama Sutra in the shade

7 June 2018 12:31 pm

The Tibetan artist and poet Gendun Chopel was born in 1903. He was identified as an incarnate lama, and ordained…

Speeding along the highway in America’s coolest cars

4 June 2018 6:20 pm

In a study of young people and cars, it is a shame that the key role of music is not more fully addressed.

‘Steer clear of that cave boy, James Dean, and grease ball, Elvis Presley’

31 May 2018 8:14 pm

Clancy Sigal’s posthumous autobiography is sex, guns and celebrity from start to finish.

The marvellous humanity of Meg Wolitzer

31 May 2018 8:06 pm

The author delicately slides from comedy to tragedy and back again, and from class to class.

You didn’t have to be mad to work for Tommy Nutter — but it helped

31 May 2018 7:43 pm

How an eccentric tailor took over Savile Row in the late 60s.

In my illness and old age, children give me hope

31 May 2018 7:27 pm

The War Horse author on how he got through his cancer treatment.

The Empty Quarter is a great refuge for lonely hearts

31 May 2018 7:17 pm

William Atkins uncovers the many guises of the desert with much imagination, insight and wit.

Did Ronald Reagan almost spark a nuclear war?

28 May 2018 8:18 pm

In 1983, Soviet spies skulked in our midnight streets to check the lights were out. The Kremlin, convinced the West…

The sacred chickens that ruled the roost in ancient Rome

28 May 2018 4:49 pm

Birds in the Ancient World is a consummation of all of Jeremy Mynott’s accomplishments.

How I became Peter Fallow

28 May 2018 4:20 pm

Arranging a dinner between Tom Wolfe and Christopher Hitchens led to my immortalisation in literature.