News and reviews

The Edwardians and Their Houses reviewed in the Literary Review

Added on 15/06/2020

Sir John Lubbock was an exemplary Edwardian Liberal. Growing up under the influence of Charles Darwin, who lived in the same village as him, he had a scientific mind. A truly good man and a philanthropist, he gave us bank holidays …

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The Clock Mirage reviewed in the Times

Added on 15/06/2020

Imagine completely empty space. It has no boundaries, but extends infinitely in every direction. Nothing moves in it, because there is nothing to move. When you have imagined that, consider this question. Does time exist …

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Sinews of War and Trade reviewed in Tribune

Added on 13/06/2020

Laleh Khalili’s new book looks at the importance of shipping in the Arab peninsula for global capitalism – from distributing the world’s oil to handling the world’s freight, via some of the world’s most exploited workers.

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How to Tame a Fox recommended in the New Scientist

Added on 09/06/2020

Do you like charming memoirs about people’s relationships with endearing animals? Do you like expansive, dramatic accounts of evolution in action? Do you like hard-nosed, laboratory-based studies of animal development?

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Precarious Partners reviewed in History Today

Added on 06/06/2020

In the West, the 19th century was a frenetic one for the horse, which became ubiquitous and democratised, fetishised and consumed in multiple senses. Industrialisation and urbanisation required an army of equids …

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Ornette Coleman reviewed in the Wall Street Journal

Added on 05/06/2020

When friends, family and admirers filled Manhattan’s Riverside Church to celebrate the life of Ornette Coleman, who died in 2015 at the age of 85, an opening procession was led by members of the Master Musicians of Jajouka.

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Finding Dora Maar in the Literary Review

Added on 01/06/2020

When her partner lost his leather-bound vintage Hermès diary, Brigitte Benkemoun helped him find a replacement on ebay. A few days later, the substitute arrived, looking much like its predecessor. Closer inspection revealed…

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It was the celebrity friendship of the early 20th Century

Added on 01/06/2020

It was 100 years ago that Harry Houdini, while on a UK tour, met Arthur Conan Doyle for the first time, at the author’s East Sussex family home. Their meeting had been preceded by a flurry of letters back and forth – 10 in two weeks…

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A definitive life of the inept but influential ruler

Added on 31/05/2020

In the early summer of 1953 the historian David Carpenter went to Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. He was six years old and his memories of the day are delicious — often literally so. Amid the pomp and pageantry…

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Botany, history and literature come together in this survey of flowers

Added on 31/05/2020

Blooming flowers. Add inverted commas, an exclamation mark, and follow it with a moan about reindeers and it might be Raymond Briggs’s curmudgeonly Father Christmas. It might also have been me until middle age.

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Alex S Vitale, author of The End of Policing, writes in the Guardian

Added on 31/05/2020

Every time protests erupt after yet another innocent black person is killed by police, “reform” is meekly offered as the solution. But what if drastically defunding the police is the best way to stop unnecessary violence and death…

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Ornette Coleman reviewed in The New York Times

Added on 29/05/2020

Most impressively, perhaps, she [the author] devotes a sizable section to Coleman’s cryptic and elliptical philosophy of music, which he called Harmolodics, without straining to defend it with academic triple-talk or dismissing it.

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