News and reviews

From Victims to Suspects reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement

Added on 10/01/2020

In September 2001, ten days after the terrorist attacks, the BBC’s world affairs editor was preparing to sneak into Afghanistan. John Simpson and his cameraman were smuggled into Taliban territory with the simplest of guises.


Why Liberalism Works extracted in The Economist

Added on 08/01/2020

Tyranny comes in many guises. Sometimes it is in the obvious form of dictators who act outside the law and terrorise people to perpetuate their rule. But in less odious and visible forms, it can refer to the ways that individuals may be oppressed…


Why Liberalism Works reviewed in the Times

Added on 03/01/2020

In 1974 a motorist in New Hampshire decided that he objected to the state motto, “Live Free or Die”. So he taped it over his number plate. He was arrested and spent 15 days in jail. Live free? Not so much.


Crossing the Rubicon reviewed in the Times

Added on 27/12/2019

Julius Caesar’s step of destiny in mid-January 49BC, the moment that triggered four years of civil war, the end of the Roman republic and a million political clichés, was not a sure-footed one. According to the colourful historian…


The Case for the Green New Deal reviewed in the Guardian

Added on 19/12/2019

Like many political neologisms, “Green New Deal” became de rigueur so fast that it had multiple variations, passionate disciples, critics and endless namechecks before anyone had said definitively what it meant.


The Best Books for Art Lovers This Year

Added on 19/12/2019

Anniversaries represent a golden opportunity for art books. In the case of 2019, there’s no question about the most substantial commemoration of the year, with the toweringly authoritative four-volume Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered…


Of Morsels and Marvels reviewed in the TLS

Added on 18/12/2019

Only stupid people like to cook.” A mother’s thoughtless insult, perhaps real, perhaps imagined, launches Maryse Condé’s latest memoir, Of Morsels and Marvels, first published in French as Mets et Merveilles in 2015.


John Ruskin An idiosyncratic dictionary reviewed in the TLS

Added on 13/12/2019

In 1927, Virginia Woolf described the breathtaking effect of Ruskinian prose as “full of fire and generosity and brilliance … We find ourselves marvelling at the words, as if all the fountains of the English language had been set playing …”


I’d Fight the World reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement

Added on 06/12/2019

The Light Crust Doughboys don’t sound like a band that changed America. And yet the Doughboys – named for their sponsor’s brand of flour that they advertised in the early 1930s – had legacies in both musical and political spheres.


Engineering the Eternal City reviewed in the London Review of Books

Added on 05/12/2019

In the last decades of the 16th century, Rome attracted visitors much as Moscow would in the 1920s and 1930s. Like Moscow, it was the centre of an international movement that sought to transform the world.


Hostile Environment reviewed in the Guardian

Added on 04/12/2019

From Winston Churchill to Windrush and Tony Blair to Brexit, this archival critique and collection of interviews is one of the most profound deconstructions of UK immigration policy that exists.


The Sunday Times Best Art Books of the Year 2019

Added on 01/12/2019

As Leonardo’s 500th anniversary year comes to an end, a spectacular late birthday present arrives in the shape of Bambach’s magnificent Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered. The price is undoubtedly eye-watering but this beautiful 4-volume work…