Review: David Abulafia

By Jane Liddell-King, July 25, 2011

"Human history," observes Professor David Abulafia in the introduction to his brilliantly panoramic, witty, wry and erudite book, "involves the study of the irrational as well as the rational. The roulette wheel spins and the outcome is unpredictable, but human hands spin the wheel."


Review: Childish Loves

By David Herman, July 25, 2011

By Benjamin Markovits
Faber & Faber, £14,99

Lady Caroline Lamb famously called Lord Byron "mad, bad and dangerous to know". How bad? How dangerous? These are the questions at the heart of Benjamin Markovits' trilogy about Byron. Perhaps the biggest surprise about Childish Loves is how different it is from the first two novels. How different and how much better.


Review: Scenes from Village Life

By David Herman, July 15, 2011

By Amos Oz
Chatto & Windus, £12.99

There's a moment in Oz's new book of short stories when a woman comes into the village library and asks for a book by "the Israeli writer that everyone was talking about." There's a long waiting list: she might have to wait two months. "Two months?" she says. "In that time he'll have written another book."'


Review: Chasing Shadows

By Jessica Mann, July 15, 2011

By Fred Burton and John Bruning
Palgrave Macmillan, £16.99

An unsolved murder leads quickly to spies and secret agents, assassination, terrorism, obstructive officials and a doggedly persistent investigator. But Chasing Shadows, through thrilling, is not a thriller. Written by an expert in terrorism and a military historian, it is a factual account of actual events.


The Story Of A Secret State

By Stanley Price, July 8, 2011

By Jan Karski,
Penguin Classics, £20

This book was dictated by Jan Karski to a bilingual (Polish-English) secretary in a Manhattan hotel room during the summer of 1944. It was published that November in the US and was an immediate best-seller. It is now published in the UK for the first time, a very worthy Penguin Classic.


A Forehead Pressed Against A Window

By John Nathan, July 8, 2011

Robert Rietti
Ari Scharf Publishing £12.50

Although more books are being published than ever before, it's not enough to write well and have led an interesting life for your memoir to end up in bookshops. You usually have to be famous, too, or at least have had a childhood mired in misery.


The Great Partnership: God, Science and the Search for Meaning

By Stephen Frosh, July 4, 2011

By Jonathan Sacks.
Hodder and Stoughton, £17.99

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks is an unusual type of public intellectual. He is an outstanding teacher, with enormous personal authority; a more than prolific author; a source of advice for leading politicians; a moralist, a biblical and talmudic scholar and a philosopher.


Review: The French Father

By Jennifer Lipman, July 4, 2011

Alain Elkann (trans:Alastair McEwen)
Pushkin Press, £8.99


Interview: Mark Thomas

By Brigit Grant, June 27, 2011

Sitting on the train reading comedian Mark Thomas's book, Extreme Rambling: Walking Israel's Barrier, I'm approached by a young woman who wants to know where to get it. "I'm a fan," she says, "and so is my brother, who lives in Israel. I think it will be interesting, not that there'll be any surprises. He is so pro-Palestinian."


An ancient question: how ripe is a ripe old age?

By Stephen Frosh, June 27, 2011

You're Looking Very Well
by Lewis Wolpert; Faber and Faber, £14.99

Is That All There Is?
by Julia Neuberger; Rider, £12.99

by Catherine Mayer; Vermilion, £12.99