Books

The codes and codswallop surrounding Leonardo da Vinci

April 13, 2018 11:59 am

‘If you look at walls soiled with a variety of stains or at stones with variegated patterns,’ Leonardo da Vinci…

The changing face of war and heroism

April 13, 2018 11:55 am

On War and Writing by Samuel Hynes is hardly about war at all. There is little about combat here, or…

A hymn to self-loathing: Tibor Fischer’s How to Rule the World reviewed

April 13, 2018 11:55 am

Tibor Fischer has a track record with humour. His first novel, the Booker shortlisted Under the Frog, takes its title…

Give me Shakespeare’s Macbeth over Jo Nesbo’s any day

April 13, 2018 11:55 am

It must have seemed a good idea to someone: commissioning a range of well-known novelists to ‘reimagine Shakespeare’s plays for…

The enduring enigma of Nefertiti

April 5, 2018 10:55 am

Often dubbed the Mona Lisa of the ancient world, the bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti is as immediately recognisable…

1968 and the summer of our discontent

April 5, 2018 10:52 am

’68 will do as shorthand. Most of ’68, as it were, didn’t happen in 1968. It was, at most, the…

Why do the Japanese despise sex?

April 5, 2018 10:51 am

There are two sorts of people: those who can’t wait to grow up, and those who wish they never had…

How Christianity saw off its rivals and became the universal church

March 30, 2018 3:47 pm

It thrived by killing off the opposition, says Bart Ehrman. But it also appealed to Rome’s enslaved masses

Are the French right to be obsessed with their Gaulish ancestry?

March 30, 2018 3:38 pm

In Cultural Dementia, David Andress argues that if the West loses its sense of history it risks losing everything

Who knew that Arabic has more than 30 words for wine?

March 30, 2018 3:31 pm

You know you’re in good hands when the dedication reads: ‘To the writers, drinkers and freethinkers of the Arab and…

The Raven – bird of ill omen

March 22, 2018 5:16 pm

With bird books the more personal the better. Joe Shute was once a crime correspondent and is today a Telegraph…

From persecutor to preacher: the journey of St Paul

March 22, 2018 3:56 pm

Saint Paul is unique among those who have changed the course of history — responsible not just for one but…

Vive la Left Bank libération!

March 22, 2018 3:54 pm

We all have our favourite period of Parisian history, be it the Revolution, the Belle Époque or the swinging 1960s…

In 1968, even Boston was ankle-deep in LSD

March 16, 2018 10:55 am

‘And this is good old Boston/, The home of the bean and the cod,’ John Collins Bossidy quipped in 1910,…

How to make quantum physics fun

March 15, 2018 12:17 pm

We all know that physics and maths can be pretty weird, but these three books tackle their mind-bending subjects in…

Kevin Allocca glosses over YouTube’s terrifying power

March 15, 2018 12:04 pm

On 25 April 2005, Jawed Karim sent an email to his friends announcing the launch of a new video site…

The lost art of Roman winemaking

March 15, 2018 11:56 am

Taste has a well-noted ability to evoke memory, so it is curious how infrequently most wine writers mine their pasts…

Thomas Paine: spendthrift, scrounger and polemicist of genius

March 8, 2018 12:30 pm

‘We have it in our power to begin the world over again.’ Ronald Reagan made this most unconservative of lines…

Only an idiot would choose to live at any other time than the present

March 8, 2018 11:00 am

Steven Pinker’s new book is a characteristically fluent, decisive and data-rich demonstration of why, given the chance to live at…

Napoleon’s dazzling victories invited a devastating backlash

March 8, 2018 9:00 am

On 20 July 1805, just three months before the battle of Trafalgar destroyed a combined French and Spanish fleet, the…

How a 14th-century Arab thinker influenced Ronald Reagan

March 1, 2018 4:50 pm

  At a press conference in October 1981, Ronald Reagan quoted Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) in support of what is known…

The horror of Honduras

February 26, 2018 7:27 pm

The Spanish journalist Alberto Arce worked for Associated Press in Honduras in 2012 and 2013. After a year, he says:…

Franco’s deathly legacy

February 26, 2018 7:24 pm

Spanish restaurants in Germany are relatively rare, but not nearly as rare as biographies of General Franco. So when the…

Churchill was all in favour of a united Europe — as long as it didn’t include Britain

February 20, 2018 9:28 pm

Dr Felix Klos is an extremely personable, highly intelligent American-Dutch historian who has undertaken much archival research, worked extremely hard…

What do Walt Whitman, Jackson Pollock and Jimi Hendrix have in common?

February 14, 2018 12:23 pm

On 3 September 1968, Allen Ginsberg appeared on William F. Buckley’s Firing Line. Buckley exposed Ginsberg’s politics as fatuous —…