News and reviews

Putin v. the People reviewed in the Guardian

Added on 18/04/2019

One of the silver linings running through the dark clouds of their history is that Russians have developed a strong line in subversive political humour. In one joke, Putin asks Stalin: “Why is everything here so bad? What should I do?”

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The Princess Who Hid in a Tree featured in the Sunday Times

Added on 14/04/2019

This simple tale of the building of a church in Oxford by Frideswide, a princess who fled from marriage with King Algar of Mercia, is made special by the exceptional draughtsmanship and gorgeous colour of Alan Marks’s illustrations.

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Culture in Nazi Germany reviewed in the Sunday Times

Added on 14/04/2019

One of the most notorious quotations of the Nazi era is customarily attributed to Hermann Goering: “When I hear the word culture, I reach for my revolver.” In truth, the words were uttered by a character in a play by Hanns Johst.

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Nightingales in Berlin featured in the Observer

Added on 14/04/2019

Luscinia megarhynchos, the common nightingale, has been shunning the UK since the 1960s, during which time the population has slumped by 90%. The number of birds in Berlin, however, is on the rise.

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The Bodleian’s Typographic Firsts reviewed in the Spectator

Added on 13/04/2019

Among the many lost methods of making an illuminated book in the pioneering days of Renaissance printing, the way we once obtained powdered gold may be the most lamented: ‘In a pot place nine lizards in the milk…’

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Palaces of Pleasure by Lee Jackson reviewed in the Times

Added on 12/04/2019

During the mid-Victorian period a man called Sam Cowell almost single-handedly transformed light entertainment among the British masses. He was the star of the Canterbury Music Hall, the first purpose-built music hall in London.

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Matilda by Catherine Hanley reviewed in the Guardian

Added on 11/04/2019

In 1142 Empress Matilda escaped from Oxford Castle. Since it was a snowy December, the “Lady of the English” wrapped herself in a white fur cloak to blend into the landscape before skating down the frozen river Thames to freedom.

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Fruitmarket Gallery Bookshop wins Bookshop of the Year Award

Added on 10/04/2019

A Spokesperson for the Scottish Independent Retail Awards 2019 said: “These awards are now in their eighth year and are the leading celebration of the independent retailers who enhance our communities.”

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Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth wins Tolkien Society Best Book Award

Added on 07/04/2019

Many congratulations to Catherine McIlwaine for winning Best Book in the Tolkien Society Awards 2019. Lavishly illustrated with over 300 images, the book traces the creative process behind Tolkien’s most famous literary works.

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Amritsar 1919 reviewed in the Spectator

Added on 06/04/2019

Books such as Amritsar 1919 and The Patient Assassin are now more important than ever because they help us to understand why Indians — like so many other peoples around the globe — often have such bitter memories of British rule.

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Gilded Youth reviewed in the Guardian

Added on 06/04/2019

Brooke-Smith’s argument is that almost since the moment of their foundation, the country’s elite private schools have been a nursery for dissent and sedition, sometimes to the point of outright insurrection.

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A Massacre in Mexico reviewed in the LRB

Added on 04/04/2019

On the night of 26 September 2014, in the town of Iguala in the Mexican state of Guerrero, local police opened fire at several buses – some full of students, one carrying football players coming home from a match. Six people were killed.

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