Justice for the blessed Premium

23 March 2017 | by Clare Dixon

Seeking Machiavelli Premium

23 March 2017 | by Hilary Davies
The author of this new study of Niccolò Machiavelli’s life, times and thought, Erica Benner, teaches at Yale University. In her preface, she draws our attention to what every close reader of Machiavelli immediately spots: namely, that it is very difficult to say with any certainty what political philosophy he is advocating.

An unnecessary rupture Premium

16 March 2017 | by Alexandra Walsham
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the bold protest against the trade in indulgences, when Martin Luther posted 95 Theses on a church door in Wittenberg. This possibly apocryphal historical event has become permanently etched in the Western imagination.

Fine bunch of yarns Premium

16 March 2017 | by Kathy Watson
With the very first line, this novel sets up its emotional world with remarkable efficiency. “The day I met Jean Culver was also the day I stopped drinking,” writes the narrator Kate Lambert. We know that Jean is going to be important. We know that Kate has suffered.

Chronicles of a vanished age Premium

16 March 2017 | by Caroline Jackson
Given the caution about meeting one’s heroes, should a similar warning attach to their biographies? Ever since the spectacular success of Good Behaviour, the extravagant, blackly comic novel which eviscerated the toxic double standards of Ireland’s Protestant Ascendancy, many have prized the work of Anglo-Irish novelist and playwright Molly Keane.

Catholics of a certain age Premium

09 March 2017 | by Michael Walsh
Towards the end of 1931, n Nottingham, 25-year-old Fr Frederick Hattersley ­undertook to prepare a young woman, Enid, for her marriage to a collier. The course of instruction over, he conducted the wedding ceremony.

Naked Russia Premium

09 March 2017 | by André Van Loon
Searing winters and scorching ­summers. Long days and nights ­discussing books, films or America with neighbours or friends in kitchens.

Fundamentalist dystopia Premium

09 March 2017 | by Clarissa Burden
In 1949, George Orwell published his dystopian novel 1984, depicting a bleak future with mandatory submission to the tyrannical cult of Big Brother, little or no personal life choice and dire punishments for anyone who breaks the rules.

The new Eve Premium

02 March 2017 | by Sarah Jane Boss
Two books about the Virgin Mary investigate the earliest history of devotion to her cult, and consider her alongside visionaries of the last century

Zola in London Premium

02 March 2017 | by Terry Philpot
When Emile Zola published “J’accuse…!”, his open letter to the French president concerning the Dreyfus affair, he hoped to provoke a prosecution for libel that would cause the notorious case to be re-examined.

Dormitory stories Premium

23 February 2017 | by Lucy Lethbridge
Boarding schools, as J.K. Rowling can attest, are an excellent means by which the writer of children’s fiction can dispose of parents.

Behold the man Premium

23 February 2017 | by Henry Wansbrough
The coincidence of and difference between these two small books, each aimed at the general reader, is in itself fascinating.

The world’s desire Premium

16 February 2017 | by Noonie Minogue
Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul are only three of many names for a city whose combination of sanctity with sensuous allure has seized the world’s imagination: the New Rome, the New Jerusalem, the “armpit of Greece”, the “bone in the throat of Allah”, the “World’s Desire”, Tsargrad and Miklagard.

An Irish century Premium

16 February 2017 | by Mary Kenny
John Bowman is a much-respected broadcast journalist in Ireland, the author of an award-winning book about De Valera and the Ulster question.

Holocaust legacy Premium

16 February 2017 | by Sue Gaisford
A young woman, Sally Brody, goes to visit her younger brother Steven in Brighton, at the start of this first novel by Miranda Gold. He lives in a seedy boarding house where she hopes to stay three days but, in the event, she goes back home to London the following morning.

Faith against the odds Premium

16 February 2017 | by Simon Scott Plummer
The story of Christianity in Japan is a gripping mixture of missionary zeal, political calculation, cowardice and heroism under persecution and, in numerical terms, ultimate failure.

Madness, creativity and power Premium

09 February 2017 | by Melanie McDonagh
This is an account of one of the most fascinating families in Victorian and Edwardian England: E.W. Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, his wife Minnie and their six children.

Eyewitness history Premium

09 February 2017 | by William Eichler
Describing the power vacuum left when a king dies and no one assumes the throne, the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci wrote: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

Jungle book Premium

09 February 2017 | by Nocholas Murray
Can fiction mend the world? Clearly that is the view of Peirene, hitherto acclaimed publishers of translated contemporary European fiction, now making a bold transition into fiction written in English with a new series Peirene Now!

Sins of the father Premium

09 February 2017 | by Paul Routledge
Brilliant, enigmatic John Beckett, a rising Labour star in the 1930s who turned to Oswald Mosley’s Fascists, was a hero from literature “looking for a Father Brown and eventually finding him”.

The father of the Holocaust? Premium

02 February 2017 | by Peter Marshall
In the reckoning after the Second World War, reproachful British and American commentators drew a straight line between Martin Luther’s hostility towards the Jews and the greatest crime of European history. Unrepentant Nazis acknowledged the connection.

Forgery or mystery? Premium

02 February 2017 | by Robert Carver
“I will prove to the world that the black magic of the Middle Ages consisted in discoveries far in advance of twentieth-century science,” proclaimed Wilfred Voynich to The New York Times in 1916.

Mango-yellow sunlight Premium

02 February 2017 | by Lynn Roberts
When Van Gogh was painting Félix Rey, the young hospital doctor who cared for him after the ear incident, he apparently declared, “there are only two colours, red and green”.

The boredom of nihilism Premium

02 February 2017 | by Patrick West
Gerard Reve, who died in 2006, is considered one of the greatest post-war Dutch authors and his debut novel, The Evenings, published in 1947, is regarded as a masterpiece in his native land and continues to be taught in schools.

Power writing Premium

25 January 2017 | by Denis MacShane
Is the political memoir dead? The answer is “No”, to judge from how many are published. But perhaps the market is going down. David Cameron got only a quarter of the advance that Tony Blair did for his memoirs.

My mummy the messiah Premium

25 January 2017 | by Peter Stanford
There is something fascinating and repellent in equal measure about those who claim to be the reincarnation of Jesus. As a case study in both the power of charisma and the damage done by collective religious delusion, Anne Hamilton-Byrne takes some beating.

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