By Jerold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler JR Books, £18.99
Bnei Sakhnin may just be the club that disproves the old cliché that football, the World Cup notwithstanding, is "only a game".
For Sakhnin's largely Arab-Israeli supporters, the fortunes of the club mean much more than 90 minutes on a Saturday. For Bnei Sakhnin's rise has become equated with its fans' identity, self-esteem and desperate wish to be accepted as equals.
Christopher Hitchens is a quintessential product of the 1960s. A student revolutionary and anti-Vietnam protester, his polemical targets have included Henry Kissinger and Mother Theresa. But 9/11 changed him utterly, leading him to break with his erstwhile comrades, and support the Iraq war against what he calls "Islamofascism".
Nikolaus Pevsner was the most celebrated architectural historian of his generation. Born in Leipzig in 1902, he settled in Britain at the age of 31. He became the pre-eminent cataloguer and critic of England's architectural heritage. As Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge from 1949 to 1955, and in his teaching at Birkbeck College, he embodied a concern for Englishness.
With my own experience of laboratory life confined to the dissection of an unfortunate frog during double biology 30 years ago, a novel about medical research did not immediately spark my Bunsen.
As appreciative as I am of the remarkable efforts of - in particular - medical scientists, 344 pages of test-tube division and the splaying of rodent organs was strictly Lancet or BMJ material --- or so I thought.
When David Cameron’s Jewish great-great-grandfather, Emile Levita, pitched up in Britain from Germany in 1850s, he wasted no time in transforming himself into a proper English gentleman. He bought a grouse moor, married out, and sent his four sons to Eton. The redoubtable hero of Natasha Solomons’s delightful debut novel has similar ambitions, but encounters a number of weird and wonderful obstacles along the way, including a giant woolly pig.
Literary fame seldom arrives in reverse order. But Irène Némirovsky's popularity exploded with the release in 2005 of her last, unfinished work, Suite Française, depicting both the barbarity and tenderness of what she calls "the war of 1940". It has been followed by a steady stream of her earlier works.
Palestine Betrayed is a detailed riposte to the version of the Israel-Palestine conflict that places the blame solely at Israel's doorstep. Efraim Karsh, Professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King's College London, charges the younger generation of Palestinian historians with avoiding an academic exploration of the Naqba and instead offering a tale of lament and tears.
By Eshkol Nevo (Trans: Sondra Silverston) Chatto & Windus
Eshkol Nevo's first, impressive novel, Homesick (2008), was on the Israeli bestseller list for 60 weeks and won two major prizes. His second, World Cup Wishes, is better still. Starting as an entertaining read about male friendship, it gets darker and more interesting, until it reaches a powerful and moving climax.