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The Review - BOOKS
Published: 6 March 2008
In our ‘post-modern’ age, it’s time to write war out of the plot

After a long history of militarism, closer ties mean war within the European community is almost unthinkable, writes Bruce Kent

THIS is a most interesting and stimulating book, even though I had to say “Yes but” – and worse – at various stages and pages. ...> more
When Burton slugged it out with Sinatra
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Cruel memories from a once- idyllic country
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Bach as you’ve never heard him before
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Powerhouse of poetry notches up a quarter of a century
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Press delete and start again?- SOME years ago I joined with a small group of financial experts and marketing “wizards” to plan and promote the concept of launching ...>more

Are women crazy or does the world mould them into madness?
SCIENTISTS in the 19th century thought women had smaller brains than men and that giving ...>more

Keep a secret: the diary hasn’t had its day
AUTHOR Jacqueline Wilson is about to do something that would fill lesser mortals with dread. She is about to take the ...>more

The faces change, but it's the same old buzz
STAND in the middle of the road and close your eyes, says playwright Bernard Kops. He takes a deep breath and the ...>more

A reporter’s Bourne identity
- JONATHAN Freedland has viewed from a ringside seat some of the biggest events in international politics of the past couple of ...>more

Casting a fictional eye on history
- CAN you imagine Sigmund Freud being called on to help unravel the mystery behind a violent death? Or the true story finally...>more

Arch enemies of architecture -
IT has long been a question whether the Germans or the British did more damage to the cities of Britain in the 20th century. What ...>more

An insight into the Knights' club
THE Most Reverend and Rt Hon Rowan Williams may wish he had never made his comments on sharia but, though...>more

The explosion of new industry
AN ear-piercing screech split the air as the projectile flew upwards. It landed with a crash at the foot of the Highgate garden ...>more

Photo-chronicler of Israel
In 2004, the year of David Rubinger’s 80th birthday, his life was ripped apart by violence. He found the body of his partner ...>more

Is there no end to the vortex of decadence?
WE live in decadent days. Or do we?
* If decadence is defined as a lowering of morality or civilised culture, then...>more

Books sold to order (at knockdown prices)
IT may not be Waterstone’s, but for sheer interest and variety, book-lovers have chosen Jon Privett’s secondhand ...>more

One bard’s open letter to the Poets on the Underground triumvirate
DEAR Judith Chernaik, Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert, I jumped with joy when I first ...>more

A scary story, but will the NHS listen to it? -
THERE must have been occasions during Colin Ludlow’s hospital odyssey through bowel cancer and countless ...>more

Chancing upon a historical gem
- TRACKING down family histories has become a popular pastime, with a boom in resources available on the internet and popular ...>more

Journey to a world beyond time - READING India Russell’s new collection of poems is like walking through a large and rather overgrown garden, full of ...>more

Politics, power and the making of modern Italy - IN The Force of Destiny, a title taken from Verdi’s opera La Forza del Destino, Christopher Duggan concentrates...>more

The secret firebrand in Burns
SADLY, Robert Burns is marketed and branded down to the last penny. When the author Andrew O’Hagan interviewed a ...>more

An African Othello who shook the West End
- IF the critics are to be believed, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Othello – currently at the Donmar Warehouse – is incandescent...>more

A writer who shaped the modern world - BY any standards, John Stuart Mill was a major figure in Victorian Britain and a significant influence on the development of ...>more

White heart in the right place
FOOTBALL fans are a sentimental lot, and perhaps Spurs fans are more misty-eyed than most. We go gooey at almost anything. It’s ...>more

Delicious wit and English charm - THERE has been a flurry of excited adulation around the publication of Diana Athill’s new book. Part of it is due to the fact that ...>more

The danger and daring of Larry
- WE crowded in behind what was then the courtyard of St Martin-in-the-Fields for the start of a unique protest march. > more

Glass puts serial novel back in frame - READING of an adventure is much more respectable than having one,” the first instalment of GW Dahlquist’s 10-part ode... > more

Camden’s literary goldmine, but look who they left out - LISTS can be a mania. Yet they are created for our edification – and for fun. And what they don’t say can be... > more

How Fee dumped Tod by txt - ANDY Croft’s handicraft is stretched to the limit in this ambitious project – to produce a novel based on Hamlet, entirely in verse... > more

Did fiction lay the path for science? - SCIENCE fiction has always been serious literature’s unwanted brother. > more

An accidental path to stardom - TIME passes quickly when you’re talking with actress Miriam Karlin. > more

The Bard’s bent for bawdiness - IN 1598 William Shakespeare bought New Place, the best house in his native town of Stratford-upon-Avon. > more

The sole dread of folly - THEY used to meet on a quiet afternoon in a coffee shop in Flask Walk, Hampstead, run by a retired Spanish matador, and sit around drawing... > more

Won over by an idiot who’s interesting - MAYBE I wasn’t perhaps the best person to review the Russell Brand autobiography, My Booky Wook. > more

The gate to political wisdom - GERTRUDE Himmelfarb is an 87-year-old American ex- Trotskyite who is steeped in English literature and writes with an... > more

Things that go bump backstage - LONDON'S Theatreland is supposedly ­riddled with ghosts; the ubiquitous grey man; the restless spirit of a forgotten understudy... > more

When the Heath had a duel purpose - DAWN, a frosty Christmas Eve morning, December 1839: leaf-less trees stand quiet against an overcast sky. The pair wait... > more

Carving out science in Elizabethan London - THE best viewing platform to see a contemporary Tower of Babel from the temples of Mammon... > more

Capital crime and punishment
SAMUEL Johnson observed there was “in London all that life can afford”; a charming slogan which Geoffrey Howse’s... > more

Portrait of the poet as a young man
THERE is no doubt that Ezra Pound was one of the most important poets of the 20th century. > more

Terribly house and garden at number 7b
IT was in the 1950s that Michael Flanders and Donald Swann sang that “The garden’s full of furniture / And the... > more

Rumpole and the Casanova casebook
HE gave us Rum pole, that old rogue of a lawyer that millions of TV viewers fell in love with, because Rumpole... > more

Within these walls
- FORGET your castles and palaces full of antiquities – when it comes to finding out how people really lived, you can’t beat looking over... > more

A new inspector calls – in Ireland
- EVEN by the standards of crime novels, Paul Charles’s latest offering, The Dust of Death, has a gruesome opening. A Donegal...>more

The tenderness of wolves
- INTERVIEWED Ted Hughes at length in 1965 in The Queens pub on the corner of Regent’s Park Road, Primrose Hill. It was just two years ...>more

Why poetry was shelved for publishing
NOVELIST Dame Beryl Bainbridge has regrets that make you want to cry. She hates the way she treated her mother, Winnie...>more

Return of Rachel, 25 years on
RACHEL Waring is one of the oddest characters to grace contemporary literature. But author Stephen Benatar, whose novel Wish Her ...>more

Whitehorn’s memories are a woman’s own
- THE title of Kath arine Whitehorn’s book comes from a quotation by Jim Fiebig, the American gemstone jeweller. And it ..>more

Death of honest politics?
WHEN a young, highly talented and prolific political journalist falls seriously out of love with his favoured subject it must be cause for..>more

Has our great train network gone off track?
- CAPITALIST free market buccaneers of the 19th cen tury would have blushed at today’s “botched” free-for-all privatisation... > more

Dyspeptic observations from a tripper to the Hebrides - AN unusual product of the MacNeice centenary is the reissue, almost 70 years after its first publication... > more

After 40 years, we’re still on Radio 4’s wavelength - REVOLUTION and counter-revolution, baronial struggles, regional discontent, suicides and palace coups... > more

Freud for thought - MENTION Sigmund Freud and the image most of us have of the father of psychoanalysis is of a stern, serious-faced man with a beard, something... > more

A poet’s life after a loved one’s death - WHEN Dannie Abse lost his wife in a horrific car crash two years ago, the future looked bleak. > more

Home truths on wanderlust - Watch out for Michael Palin next time you are on Hampstead Heath. He won’t be jogging up Parliament Hill, as he used to do from his... > more

Stars and Stripes are flagging - IN common parlance, Eurasia is the land mass straddling Europe and Asia. > more

A dark history of crime in Soho - AUTHOR Paul Willetts’ biography of the Soho novelist and raconteur Julian Maclaren-Ross was many literary critics’ book of the year...>more

‘Demise of unions has set us back to 19th century’
- WORKERS of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your bling (elaborate and highly ostentatious jewellery ...>more

‘Lady Macbeth Cherie,’ flirty first lady of Downing Street
- OVERSHADOWED by the massive publicity surrounding the launch of Alastair Campbell’s diaries of ...>more

Tribute to Heath-Stubbs - NINE months after the death of the blind poet John Heath-Stubbs, a host of celebrated poets will congregate in St James’s Church... > more

How the young Joe went from peasant to Lenin’s fixer - STALIN, like Hitler, was an outsider. Born December 17 1877 as Josef Vissarionovitch Djugushvili... > more

An alternative agenda for Brown? - I’M at last convinced that history marches backward.In the 1880s the future Conservative Prime Minister Disraeli wrote... > more

The Guantanamo allotment – a distraction from torture
FOR a guy who has had razor blades taken to his penis for five months he retains a fantastic sense of ...>more

Women stay true to the ideals of the beautiful game
EVER dreamed you played for England? I have: about 600 times. Let me tell you, it was exhausting. Every ...>more

Red hot object of desire
Alan Bate' s Women in Love (1969) – a cinematic exercise, viewed by some as homo-eroticism, which still sexually disturbs...>more

Anger that lost its focus
COLIN Wilson an nounced in his early teens that he was a genius and has consistently insisted that to be true. Nevertheless, the ...>more

Poor sell: organism that’s to die for
MITOCHONDRIA are small components in our cells and there may be hundreds in each cell. Their function is to provide the ...>more

Poems for the child that lies within -
MIMI Khalvati was born in Tehran, grew up on the Isle of Wight, and trained at the Drama Centre in Kentish Town. She is a well-loved...>more

Jewel in the crown of the last White Rajah
IT is not generally realised that the British Empire was at its greatest extent after the Second World War... > more

Heavy tread into virgin territory
- THIS is half a book, and a remarkable novella as such – one that examines in detail all the elements of love and lust on a honey moon ...>more

In search of strangers -
THE novelist Evelyn Waugh once created a fictional young woman prone to travel, who would send back cryptic postcards from exotic places. ...>more

Thoughts for the day on a brave bishop -
HERE are many paradoxes that lie unsolved in this insightful biography of Richard Harries, the recently retired ...>more

A half life lost inside the Shelley closed circle -
POOR Fanny Wollstonecraft. We don’t even know what she looked like; only the off-hand remarks... > more

Letters from a poet’s heart
HE was small, modest, shy, the apologetic son of pathetically poor immigrants from Lithuania. The handful of books about... > more

Inside the mind of a lyrical iconoclast
LEAVING Shakespeare out we must sometimes ask: “Who is the greatest English poet?” In considering... > more

It was the best of times and the worst of times
CHRISTOPHER Barker is the son of the writer Elizabeth Smart and the notorious poet, George Barker... > more

The ‘celebrities’ who went back for more
WHAT is it that makes people so brilliantly brave and oblivious of danger when their country is engulfed by war... > more

Sixty, and still single
ON August 15, India will celebrate the 60th anniversary of independence from Britain. To the surprise and satisfaction... > more

One man’s comedy of terrors
IS it journalism or stand-up? The political activist Mark Thomas’s show blurs the boundaries to great effect... > more

Step-by-step guide to making a movie
MAKING a movie was once an elitist, prohibitively expensive activity that the average person could only dream of... > more

Republican Foot, the admirer of the Queen -
Vanessa, his terrier dog, regularly sat on the back seat of the chauffeur-driven car when Michael Foot left Whitehall... > more

Sir Sydney’s garden for the gardenless
THE party was a knees-up fit for the newly crowned king. Scantily clad satyrs danced around a fountain that had... > more

John Major’s ‘slush puppy for the very rich’
- PRIME ministers and cooking prove to be a recipe for disaster in Peter Gladwin’s entertaining new cookery book... > more

Thatcher’s children - AS someone who was a member of all Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinets, I was naturally fascinated to read Simon Jenkins’ book. > more

A pictorial history of St Joan’s theatre workshop -
A BLEAK November day in 1953 in Stratford, east London, heralded a momentous day in the theatrical and... > more

Pick up a Penguin, or a Bob Dylan...
- PETER Stothard is the former editor of The Times and the current editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He is also on the... > more

Michael’s fantasy island for kids and grown-ups
- IT is perhaps not surprising to find one of our greatest children’s writers has shared his home with hundreds of... > more

The last of the fierce, individual history boys
- THE last time I saw him he was hurrying down Hampstead Road looking more than ever like the White Rabbit in the... > more

Funnyman Griff’s journey to his past
- IT is remarkable how objective history is, says Griff Rhys Jones. “It is an obvious point,” he says, “but one which really came... > more

The women who are far from veiled
- IF you believe what you read then you probably imagine Arab women are quiet victims of oppressive, hopelessly... > more

Who’s ever heard of Mr Virginia Woolf? - THE only time I met the famous art critic Kenneth Clark (Lord Clark of Civilisation), he told me that for him there were... > more

The twelve days which shook Victor’s world - HUNGARY and Hampstead play a vital role in the life of Victor Sebestyen. It was in Budapest that he was born... > more

The enigma that was Katharine Hepburn - WE were sitting in the Californian sunshine, Spencer Tracy and I, in orange canvas chairs outside a Bel-Air mansion... > more

Send in the clowns – but no elephants - ONCE upon a time there was a circus, which had no performing animals apart from a duck who would quack to the sound... > more

Romeo and Juliet who fled the Nazis in a boat - MICHAEL Arditti did not set out to write a parable. But his new novel A Sea Change is more than just a love story. > more

A true free spirit of the Middle East - BOMBS over Beirut, bullets across Baghdad: Abdelrahman Munif must be wailing in his grave. > more

Victorian masses and leisure principle - THE consumer society, says Judith Flanders, starts here. With the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was launched, to the... > more

The dutiful daughter of our greatest writer - SHE was the third child of ten, the second daughter of England’s greatest novelist and social campaigner... > more
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