News and reviews

Arabs is a ‘thoroughly remarkable’ 3,000-year history of the region

Added on 21/07/2019

Entire libraries could be filled with books written about the birth of Islam, the Umayyad and Abbasid rules, the Mongols and the ­Mughals. But Mackintosh-Smith further complicates the task of documenting Arabian history…

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One of three books you need to read this July

Added on 20/07/2019

Not just tools for orientation, maps have been bound up with knowledge, identity and power throughout history. Written by Jerry Brotton and Nick Millea Talking Maps highlights the changing role of maps.

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Lois Dodd unveils her first UK exhibition at Modern Art

Added on 19/07/2019

“Not everybody seems to see the world that they’re living in […] and it’s such a kick, really, seeing things.” So says the 92-year-old artist Lois Dodd, who is the subject of a new exhibition at Modern Art in Clerkenwell.

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How mindfulness privatised a social problem

Added on 17/07/2019

In 2008, while forcibly evicting tenants from a concrete high-rise, Southwark Council pulled off a remarkable feat of complacency. Every flat in the development that replaced the Heygate Estate would be sold to foreign investors…

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Fabulosa! recommended summer reading in the Observer

Added on 14/07/2019

Fabulosa! The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language by Paul Baker is a compelling history of the linguistic lengths to which gay people had to go to hide in plain sight within an aggressively homophobic culture.

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Jerusalem: City of the Book reviewed in the Spectator

Added on 13/07/2019

The bearded figure clad in white robes and wandering barefoot through the streets of Jerusalem is not, in fact, the messiah. But neither is he a very naughty boy.  Rather, he is a middle-aged man from Texas in need of a shower…

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Alberto Manguel writes about Fabulous Monsters in Prospect

Added on 13/07/2019

Because my father was a diplomat, my childhood was spent travelling from place to place. The bedrooms in which I slept, the words spoken outside, the landscapes around me constantly changed. Only my library remained the same.

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Insurgent Empire – a superb study of anticolonial resistance

Added on 11/07/2019

Statues of great white Englishmen are not very popular these days. Since 2016, campaigners have been trying to “decolonise” Britain’s history by removing memorials to imperialists such as Cecil Rhodes and the slave-trader Edward Colston.

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New York Times reviews Phenomenal Nature: Mrinalini Mukherjee

Added on 11/07/2019

It’s been a while since I was startled by contemporary sculpture, enough to make me wonder “How on earth did someone even think to do this, never mind do it?” That was my reaction to Phenomenal Nature: Mrinalini Mukherjee.

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Nightingales in Berlin reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement

Added on 09/07/2019

The author of Why Birds Sing (2005) takes a personal journey through music and birdsong, loosely circling the celebrated nightingales of central Berlin as he pursues the notion of the “perfect sound”.

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Financial Times reviews Stop Mugging Grandma

Added on 03/07/2019

Class used to predict how people would vote in Britain. In 1974 if you were working class you were three times more likely to vote Labour than Conservative. Now the distribution of votes by class is almost even.

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A mind-bending history of mescaline reviewed in the Economist

Added on 29/06/2019

Mescaline is the drug that launched the modern fascination with hallucinogens. It is also the hallucinogen for which there is the earliest evidence of human use. At Chavin de Huantar, a temple complex in the Peruvian Andes…

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