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Articles in OL Weekly

Book Review: Angelinetum and Other Poems

August 24th, 2016
marrasio

Doctor and poet Giovanni Marrasio’s verses receive an expert new edition from the Harvard’s I Tatti Library series

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Martinu’s Ariane

August 19th, 2016
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I am beginning to wonder if posterity will ever place Bohuslav Martinu where he justly belongs, as one who’s sound world is at once distinctive and entirely approachable, the mark of a great composer.

Book Review: America’s Snake

August 19th, 2016
cuddly

Snake expert Ted Levin argues in his captivating new book that the American rattlesnake is as misunderstood as it is miraculous.

Book Review: The Accidental Life

August 15th, 2016
accidental life

Veteran editor Terry McDonell writes a ribald memoir that’s half storytelling and half tips of the trade

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Schubert Leider

August 12th, 2016
DCD34170

It’s always a good sign when a pianist is named as the editorial force behind a lieder recital, giving the enterprise both objective distance and intellectual rigour, as it does in these Schubert leider.

Book Review: The Fifty-Year Mission

August 11th, 2016
star trek lives

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Star Trek gets a definitive oral history.

Book Review: Marked for Death

August 10th, 2016
marked for death

A gritty and gripping new history tells the story of the dawn of aerial warfare.

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko

August 9th, 2016
vasily stepanov

A crippled young man in a forgotten hospital has armored himself against the rotten hand he’s drawn in life – until he falls in love with a new patient.

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Bruno Walter chamber music

August 5th, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Bruno Walter chamber music

Like many other conductors, Bruno Walter tried his hand at composing. He was a famously reserved person, but does his music give anything away?

Book Review: Ghost Talkers

August 4th, 2016
ghosttalkers

The heroine of Mary Robinette Kowal’s enchanting new novel is doing her part for the WWI war effort – by debriefing the spirits of soldiers killed on the battlefield

Book Review: The Nix

August 4th, 2016
the nix

The life of the main character in Nathan Hill’s stunning debut novel is turned upside-down when the madwoman on the nightly news turns out to be his mother.

Book Review: Dawn of the Dog

August 4th, 2016
dawn of the dog

A new book takes a revisionist look at the evolutionary history of the dog.

Book Review: The Story of Egypt

August 3rd, 2016
Book Review: The Story of Egypt

A new book tells the history of ancient Egypt, from the mists of pre-history to the familiar tale of Cleopatra

Book Review: The Year’s Best Science Fiction

August 1st, 2016
year’s best sf 16

The latest entry in the epic “Year’s Best Science Fiction” series by editor Gardner Dozois features everything from Venusian monsters to telepathic food – with stops along the way for planetary warfare, quantum piracy, and the end of the world as we know it.

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Sibelius Symphonies

July 30th, 2016
sibelius367

The Minnesota Orchestra’s partnership with the Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä is a treasure of our times, especially when they play music of the frozen north.

Book Review: The Castle of Kings

July 28th, 2016
the castle of kings

A strong-willed young woman and a visionary young man navigate a 16th-century Germany in chaos in order to find their destiny

Book Review: Pound for Pound

July 27th, 2016
sticker

An emotionally and physically damaged young woman finds healing by helping some of the most unlucky dogs on Earth in Shannon Kopp’s touching new book

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – F.X. Mozart & Clementi piano concertos

July 22nd, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – F.X. Mozart & Clementi piano concertos

They’re not great (in fact they’re often mild and unoriginal), but the concertos of Muzio Clementi and Mozart’s son, Frances Xaver, are nonetheless worth your time.

Book Review: Frederick Barbarossa

July 20th, 2016
frederick barbarossa

The legendary life of the great Frederick Barbarossa is grounded in facts and records in a deeply impressive new biography

Book Review: Franz Liszt

July 18th, 2016
l

A new single-volume biography captures the oversized life of legendary composer and pianist Franz Liszt

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Polish Violin Concertos

July 16th, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Polish Violin Concertos

There used to be a truth, universally acknowledged across the record industry, that you could put out unfamiliar music with a famous artist or popular music with an unheralded performer but never attempt what Donald Rumsfeld might have called the unknown unknowns.

Book Review: Legible Religion

July 16th, 2016
l religion

How do you manage to have religion without scripture? As a fascinating new book demonstrates, inn this as in so many other seemingly impossible paradoxes, the ancient Romans found a way.

Book Review: Hitler’s Compromises

July 11th, 2016
hitler’s compromises

A brilliant new book explores the alternatives to brute force the Nazi regime often employed to get its way

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Songs without Words

July 8th, 2016
sww

They may grate in other instances, but period instruments are well suited to Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words, as this new recording demonstrates.

Book Review: Hitler’s Soldiers

July 6th, 2016
hitler’s soldiers

A big new history of the German Army during World War II takes a complex and multifaceted look at the men who fought for the Reich

Book Review: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

July 5th, 2016
perry1

A new dual biography of poet and translator accompanies a new illustrated edition of the famous Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Glazunov and Khachaturian violin concertos

July 1st, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Glazunov and Khachaturian violin concertos

Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto towers over all other Russian efforts in the genre, but these two by Glazunov and Khachaturian deserve a wider audience.

Book Review: Russia’s Path Toward Enlightenment

July 1st, 2016
russia’s path

Long before Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, Russian thinkers and writers were haltingly, passionately fashioning their own peculiar brand of Enlightment

Book Review: Melville in Love

June 27th, 2016
melville in love

Did an unconventional Berkshires beauty provide the inspiration for Herman Melville to write his great masterpiece? A new book thinks it would be lovely to think so.

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Lucas Debargue

June 24th, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Lucas Debargue

In an era replete with talented young competition winners, Lucas Debargue, who placed fourth in the 2015 Tchaikovsky Competition, stands out.

Book Review: Louis XVI

June 23rd, 2016
louisxvi

The glittering Bourbon king who lost his head to the Revolution gets a sumptuous newly-expanded biography

Book Review: Toward Democracy

June 22nd, 2016
toward dem

The long and constantly-unfinished process of democracy is given a sprawling examination in James Kloppenberg’s new book.

Book Review: The Cavendon Luck

June 19th, 2016
thecavendon luck

The Second World War closes in on the two families bravely struggling to keep Cavendon Hall alive.

Book Review: Commander in Chief

June 18th, 2016
commander in chief

In 1943, American President Franklin Roosevelt faced the strong-willed rivalry of his own nominal ally, Winston Churchill

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Shostakovich chamber music

June 17th, 2016
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These three Shostakovich chamber works span the composer’s whole career, and together they constitute a musical self-portrait with few equals.

Book Review: MacArthur at War

June 13th, 2016
macarthur at war

The mercurial, often infuriating Pacific Theater commander Douglas MacArthur is the subject of Walter Borneman’s terrific new book

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – All you need is Bach

June 10th, 2016
index

Cameron Carpenter is virtuosic, effervescent, totally in command of his pipes and sometimes quirky enough to make you rethink the piece from core principles. But does that approach work in Bach?

Book Review: The Bitter Taste of Victory

June 10th, 2016
the bitter taste of victory

Lara Feigel’s new book delves into the landscape of the apocalypse: Germany in the immediate wake of Allied victory.

Book Review: In Gratitude

June 7th, 2016
in gratitude

Novelist and essayist Jenny Diski faithfully chronicled her own dying from cancer. A new book collects her last and greatest literary work.

Book Review: Anatomy of Malice

June 5th, 2016
anatomy of malice

A gripping new book looks at a quartet of the worst Nazi war criminals to stand trial.

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – piano pieces by Feldman and Crumb

June 3rd, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – piano pieces by Feldman and Crumb

Steven Osborne takes on unexpected repertoire: the ascetic Morton Feldman and the extreme George Crumb.

Book Review: The Gene

June 3rd, 2016
the gene

A generous new book describes the history – and the momentous potential – of genetic research

Book Review: The Summer Dragon

June 1st, 2016
the summer dragon

In fantasy illustrator Todd Lockwood’s debut novel, a young woman from a family of dragon-breeders faces an ancient evil

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Anonymous Concertos

May 27th, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Anonymous Concertos

These six early-classical concertos are close to the best music of their time and yet the composers of these six concertos are unknown.

Book Review: Bach’s Major Vocal Works

May 27th, 2016
bach’s major vocal works

Some of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most glorious music is also some of the most intimidating to modern audiences; a new book introduces readers to the masses and oratorios of the master.

Book Review: The Risen

May 26th, 2016
the risen

The familiar story of the Spartacus rebellion gets a lavish new telling

Book Review: The Next Pandemic

May 25th, 2016
the next pandemic

A lively account of life on the front lines in the fight against the world’s worst diseases.

In Paperback: Manhattan Night

May 24th, 2016
manhattan nocturne

A terrific ten-year-old noir novel is given a new paperback edition on the occasion of its translation to the Hollywood screen.

Book Review: Otto Binder

May 23rd, 2016
otto binder

He helped to create some of the staple characters of the comic book world, and yet he’s unknown outside the industry. A spirited biography tells the story of Otto Binder.

Book Review: The Loney

May 22nd, 2016
loney

A violent, desolate stretch of the English coastline forms the setting for Andrew Michael Hurley’s much-heralded debut novel

An Interview with Whit Stillman

May 21st, 2016
l_f

Locke Peterseim talks with Whit Stillman, director of the critically acclaimed new Jane Austen movie “Love & Friendship”

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week: Vaughan Williams Symphonies

May 20th, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week: Vaughan Williams Symphonies

Vaughn Williams’ symphonies are too little played, and too rarely played well. The first disc of an exciting new cycle aims to change that.

Book Review: The Summer Guest

May 18th, 2016
the summer guest

A young woman’s diary of her friendship with Anton Chekhov raises the tantalizing possibility of a long-lost work by the master.

Book Review: Ice Station Nautilus

May 17th, 2016
ice station nautilus

Rick Campbell’s new novel features a fight to the death deep under the Arctic ice

Absent Friends: Darwyn Cooke

May 17th, 2016
newfront2

Editor Zach Rabiroff revisits the great masterpiece of the late Darwyn Cooke

Book Review: The Fireman

May 15th, 2016
the fireman

In Joe Hill’s new novel, a plague of spontaneous combustion is sweeping the world …

Darwyn Cooke

May 14th, 2016
cookesuperman

Darwyn Cooke

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Haydn: Violin Concertos

May 13th, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Haydn: Violin Concertos

A new release of an old recording prompts the question: Why are orchestra chiefs still afraid of Joseph Haydn?

Book Review: Saladin

May 13th, 2016
saladin

A lean and fast-paced new biography tells the story of the legendary sultan who took Jerusalem from the Crusaders

Book Review: The Genius of Birds

May 12th, 2016
the genius of birds

A stirring, eloquent new book makes a wide-ranging case for the brainpower of birds

Book Review: The Faith of Christopher Hitchens

May 11th, 2016
RNS-HITCHENS-QANDA a

A provocative new book sets out to study the faith of one of the country’s most famous atheists

Book Review: The End of Karma

May 8th, 2016
the end of karma

A clear-eyed look at the disaffected youth of India

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Beethoven: symphonies 4 and 5

May 6th, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Beethoven: symphonies 4 and 5

Just months before his death, Nikolaus Harnoncourt made his final attempt to faithfully render Beethoven’s scores into music. Norman Lebrecht assesses his valediction.

Book Review: Karl Doenitz and the Last Days of the Third Reich

May 6th, 2016
karl d

A new book looks at the little-known figure of Hitler’s chosen successor

Book Review: Prisoners of Hope

May 4th, 2016
prisoners of hope

A generation ago, President Johnson enacted a stunning array of social legislation, the full audacity of which has often been overshadowed by the other aspects of LBJ’s presidency. A new book shines a light on the Great Society.

Book Review: The First Nazi

May 3rd, 2016
first nazi cover

How much of the evil of Adolf Hitler can be traced to an infamous general of the First World War?

Discussion: Middlemarch for Book Clubs

May 2nd, 2016
lucyreadseliot

Open Letters Senior Editor Rohan Maitzen discusses her new ebook, Middlemarch for Book Clubs

The 70th Annual Edgar Awards

May 1st, 2016
The 70th Annual Edgar Awards

Crime columnist Irma Heldman attends the 2016 Edgar Awards, and reports on the winners and highlights

Book Review: Valiant Ambition

May 1st, 2016
valiant ambition

The infamous treachery of Benedict Arnold gets a vigorous and richly detailed new retelling by the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea.

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Mahler: 3rd symphony

April 29th, 2016
Mahler 3 cover 400 x 400

Mahler’s Third is a challenge of both organization and interpretation. Does Jaap van Zweeden’s new live recording deserve a place among the greats?

Book Review: Running with Rhinos

April 28th, 2016
running with rhinos

The heroic efforts to save the lives of the black rhinos of Zimbabwe are at the heart of a thrilling new book

Jenny Diski

April 28th, 2016
Jenny

Jenny Diski

Book Review: The Habsburg Empire: A New History

April 25th, 2016
the habsburg empire

A new history takes a thought-provokingly centralist look at the oft-chronicled Habsburg Empire

Book Review: Dear Princess Grace, Dear Betty

April 24th, 2016
dear princess grace

A noted feminist social critic looks back on her long friendship with the great Betty Friedan.

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – DG: The Mono Era

April 22nd, 2016
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The DG represented in this massive box of rarities is a label under post-War reconstruction, fascinating in its rigour and frugality.

Book Review: The President’s Book of Secrets

April 21st, 2016
president’s book of secrets

A fascinating new book presents readers with a bounty of stories surrounding the daily intelligence-services briefing given to US Presidents

Book Review: History and Presence

April 20th, 2016
history and presence

An invigorating new study of the real presence of the divine in the mundane workings of organized religion

Book Review: Waiting for the Past

April 19th, 2016
waiting for the past

The latest volume from deceptively erudite Australian poet Les Murray

Book Review: Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay

April 17th, 2016
selected millay

America’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay gets an elegant new Selected Poems volume

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Argerich and Barenboim

April 16th, 2016
cover170x170

Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim, born a year apart in Buenos Aires to Jewish mothers of Russian extraction, have left it until their mid-seventies to discover common ground.

Book Review: The Empire That Would Not Die

April 15th, 2016
empire that woudln’t die

Abandoned by the West and battered by the Islamic caliphate, the eastern Roman Empire shrank and withdrew but did not fall – a new history asks why

Book Review: The Fever of 1721

April 13th, 2016
the fever

When smallpox struck the city of Boston in 1721, battle lines were drawn over how to deal with it – and strange alliances formed

Book Review: Tales from the Long Twelfth Century

April 11th, 2016
tales from the long 12th

At the center of a lively, personality-driven new book about the twelfth century is the contentious family of King Henry II

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Lutoslawski: Concerto for Orchestra

April 8th, 2016
ALPHA232

Unlike most composers, Lutoslawski’s star has risen since his death. A new pairing of pairing of orchestral works shows why.

Book Review: Thoreau’s Wildflowers

April 8th, 2016
moser2

A lovely new volume offers a selection of Henry David Thoreau’s heartfelt writings about flowers

Book Review: The Whole Harmonium

April 6th, 2016
Book Review: The Whole Harmonium

A sympathetic new biography of the poet Wallace Stevens

Book Review: Dante – The Story of His Life

April 3rd, 2016
dante

A thorough new biography explores the life of the great Florentine poet in detail

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week: Pasternak and Scriabin

April 1st, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week: Pasternak and Scriabin

Out of Russia’s close-knit musical world, Ludmila Berlinskaya brings us Scriabin–and works from his son and the son of a man who painted him.

Imre Kertesz

March 31st, 2016
imre

Imre Kertesz

Book Review: Eruption

March 30th, 2016
eruption

Nearly 40 years ago, Washington State’s Mount St. Helens volcano erupted, killing 57 people and spewing hundreds of tons of molten ash into the atmosphere. A gripping new book tells the story.

Book Review: Pollination Power

March 27th, 2016
pollination power

Birds, bees, mice, bats – a wide array of animals are crucial to the pollination of the plants of the world. A stunning new book shows us their world.

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Beethoven, Britten, Haydn: British songs

March 26th, 2016
900131

Beethoven and Haydn scored Scottish and Welsh ballads for easy money; Britten set folk songs for tours of the front during World War II. Yet the results belie the music’s incidental origins.

Book Review: Baby Birds

March 25th, 2016
Book Review: Baby Birds

An enterprising bird-artist takes readers inside the nests of a dozen species

Book Review: Louisa

March 22nd, 2016
louisa

A smart and lively new biography of the wife of President John Quincy Adams

Book Review: John Quincy Adams – Militant Spirit

March 20th, 2016
jqa militant spirit

A smart and appealingly complex new biography of America’s contentious sixth president

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Debussy, Elgar &c: violin sonatas

March 18th, 2016
880040415923

A new album of rare quality features four works for violin and piano, all composed during World War I, all played flawlessly.

Book Review: The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe

March 18th, 2016
jwh

A new biography of Julia Ward Howe shows how much more there was to her story than the writing of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

Anita Brookner

March 15th, 2016
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Anita Brookner

Book Review: Everyday Renaissances

March 15th, 2016
everyday renaissances

An eye-opening new history sheds light on the book-lovers and book-collectors of Renaissance Venice

Book Review: Benjamin Franklin in London

March 14th, 2016
benfranklininlondon

A gripping new book chronicles the years and years iconic Founding Father Ben Franklin spent in the heart of the British Empire

Book Review: The Brazen Age

March 13th, 2016
the brazen age

A boisterous new history of New York City and America in the wake of the Second World War

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – British Clarinet Concertos Vol. 2

March 11th, 2016
CHAN 10891

Confiscated by US Customs during World War II, a reconstructed Britten concerto caps a disc of rare British music.

Book Review: High Dive

March 9th, 2016
high dive

A 1984 assassination attempt on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher forms the unlikely backdrop for Jonathan Lee’s US debut novel

Book Review: The Swimmer

March 8th, 2016
.

A preoccupation with endings characterizes the tenth collection from poet John Koethe

Book Review: The Rise of a Prairie Statesman

March 7th, 2016
rise of a prairie statesman

The first of a projected two-volume biography of Senator and Democratic Party standard-bearer George McGovern

Book Review: The Year of the Runaways

March 5th, 2016
yera of the runaways

A complex and moving novel about a trio of young men who leave their native India in search of work

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Mahler

March 4th, 2016
900143

Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s Mahler 1st is unlike any other – but does this young man’s Mahler miss the point? Norman Lebrecht investigates.

Book Review: The King’s Bed

March 2nd, 2016
the king’s bed

A lively new book gives readers a mistress-by-mistress recounting of the reign of Charles II

Book Review: Battle of the Atlantic

March 1st, 2016
battle atlantic

Atlantic shipping was the lifeline of Great Britain during the Second World War, and the Nazis knew it just as well as the Allies did. A thrilling new book recounts the sprawling, war-long Battle of the Atlantic

Book Review: Into the Heart of Our World

February 28th, 2016
into the heart of our world

A new book offers a fascinating look at a complex and turbulent alien world – the one beneath our feet

Book Review: The Vatican Princess

February 27th, 2016
vatican princess

A new historical novel joins the ranks of those trying to rehabilitate the reputation of poor Lucrezia Borgia

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Stephan and Magnard

February 26th, 2016
Magnard Stephan

A new album features two composers joined by tragic deaths on opposite sides of the First World War.

Book Review: The Boiling River

February 24th, 2016
the boiling river

A young explorer enters the Amazon in search of a legendary river that boils as it flows.

Book Review: Skeptic

February 20th, 2016
skeptic

Popular debater and science writer Michael Shermer’s latest book collects some of the columns he’s written for Scientific American

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Ivry Gitlis

February 19th, 2016
SWR19005CD

Ivry Gitlis lives on – and he’s a legend. Norman Lebrecht reviews the violinist’s newest.

Book Review: The Lightkeepers

February 18th, 2016
lightkeepers

Many kinds of violence haunt a remote California island chain when a nature photographer takes a one-year assignment there

Book Review: Strange Gods

February 17th, 2016
strange gods

Throughout human history, people have found reasons to change their religions – Susan Jacoby’s brilliant new book examines the phenomenon of adopting strange gods

Book Review: The Deep Sea Diver’s Syndrome

February 15th, 2016
deep sea diver’s syndrome

Popular French science-fantasy writer Serge Brussolo gets makes his debut appearance in English with a story of men and women who treasure-hunt in the dreams of other people

Book Review: The Perfect Bet

February 14th, 2016
adam kucharski

An illuminating new book takes readers inside the calculus of gambling

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Medtner/Rachmaninov

February 12th, 2016
Sudbin

“Something clicks in the opening track of this album in a way this listener seldom experiences, in concert or on record.” Yevgeny Sudbin plays Medtner and Rachmaninov. Norman Lebrecht reviews.

Book Review: Dog Run Moon

February 10th, 2016
callan wink

The debut short story collection from a Montana fly-fishing guide

Book Review: Apostle

February 8th, 2016
apostle

An author spends years traveling to the various final resting places of the Apostles – and comes back with an unsettlingly insightful new look at the early history of Christianity

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Dvorak/Janacek

February 5th, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Dvorak/Janacek

“There is nothing like a Czech string quartet.” Norman Lebrecht reviews the newest from the Wihan Quartet.

Book Review: The Annotated Lincoln

February 4th, 2016
the annotated lincoln

A big, gorgeous new anthology presents a virtual life of Abraham Lincoln as seen through his writings

Book Review: Exit Right

February 3rd, 2016
exit right

A brilliant new book takes an in-depth look at six American cultural figures who took a stand on principle – and then changed their minds

Book Review: The Good Liar

February 1st, 2016
the good liar

Nicholas Searle’s debut novel stars a canny old swindler who may or may not have found has final, perfect mark

Book Review: The Ex

January 30th, 2016
the ex

A name from a hotshot defense attorney’s past comes back to haunt her when she discovers her ex is a suspect in a triple homicide

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Manhattan Intermezzo

January 28th, 2016
Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Week – Manhattan Intermezzo

This week’s CD features concertos by Neil Sedaka and Duke Ellington keyboardist Keith Emerson, and the only weak point is Rhapsody in Blue. Norman Lebrecht explains.

Book Review: Lay Down Your Weary Tune

January 27th, 2016
lay down

An out-of-work musician is hired to ghost-write the memoirs of a legendary blues singer, but the legend hides some grim new realities

Book Review: Cosmosapiens

January 26th, 2016
cosmosapiens

A sweeping new overview of the sciences has big ambitions – and some odd sticking points

Book Review: The Lost Tudor Princess

January 23rd, 2016
lost tudor princess

The little-known matriarch of modern British monarchy, the headstrong niece of King Henry VIII, is the subject of an absorbing new biography

Book Review: Bull and Other Stories

January 22nd, 2016
bull and other stories

Misfits and battered believers fill the pages of Kathy Anderson’s wise and funny debut

David Hartwell

January 21st, 2016
david hartwell

David Hartwell

George Weidenfeld

January 21st, 2016
NPG P510(43); Arthur George Weidenfeld, Baron Weidenfeld by Nick Sinclair

George Weidenfeld

Book Review: Groundless

January 20th, 2016
groundless

Rumors and dark stories flew along the rutted dirt roads of colonial America, bearing tales that had virtually no basis in reality. A new book uses rumor to understand the rumormongers.

Michel Tournier

January 18th, 2016
michel tournier

Michel Tournier

Book Review: The Butcher’s Trail

January 16th, 2016
the butcher’s trail

In the wake of the strife and collapse of Slobodan Mlosevic’s Yugoslavia, a large group of war criminals had to be hunted down and delivered for trial. A riveting new book tells the story.

Book Review: Justifying Genocide

January 15th, 2016
justifying genocide

A powerful new book looks at the ideological connections between the Armenian Genocide and the Nazi death-camps that followed twenty years later

Book Review: Jakob’s Colors

January 14th, 2016
jakob’s colors

The Nazi slaughter of hundreds of thousands of European gypsies forms the grim backdrop to Lindsay Hawdon’s debut novel

Book Review: The Bands of Mourning

January 13th, 2016
the bands of mourning

In the latest novel from hyper-prolific Brandon Sanderson, the vast mythos of his “Cosmere” is further expanded

Book Review: George Washington’s Journey

January 12th, 2016
george washington’s journey

In his first term as president, George Washington packed up and went on long, rattling tours of the new United States, to see the people and let them see him. A new book follows along.

David Bowie

January 11th, 2016
bowie

David Bowie

Book Review: What Belongs to You

January 11th, 2016
what belongs to you

An American instructor in Bulgaria falls into a problematic infatuation with a rough-hewn rent-boy in Garth Greenwell’s debut novel

Book Review: The Norton Critical Lazarillo de Tormes

January 10th, 2016
norton lazarillo

The great Renaissance classic gets a spryly-translated new Norton edition

Book Review: Blood & Steel

January 9th, 2016
Book Review: Blood & Steel

In the third century, the Roman Empire teetered on the brink of implosion, with one man after another claiming power – and Harry Sidebottom’s “Throne of the Caesars” series transmutes it all into first-rate historical fiction

Book Review: Beyond Greek

January 8th, 2016
beyond greek

A provocative new book re-examines the startling power and, yes, originality of Roman literature

Book Review: The Happy Marriage

January 7th, 2016
the happy marriage

A bedridden famous painter reflects on his unhappy marriage – and his wife gets the last word

Book Review: Only the Stones Survive

January 6th, 2016
only the stones

In Morgan Llywelyn’s latest novel, the gods and goddesses of ancient Ireland take center stage

Book Review: The Lives of Frederick Douglass

January 5th, 2016
lives of fd

A stimulating new study of the autobiographies Frederick Douglass continued writing throughout his life

Book Review: The Gun

January 4th, 2016
the gun

A young man out for a nighttime walk in Tokyo finds a gun. Then he thinks about it all the time. Then he thinks about getting bullets for it. And then he thinks about firing it …

Now in Paperback: Doomed

January 3rd, 2016
true love

Now in paperback: a densely-packed graphic novel in which Superman slowly becomes his worst enemy

Book Review: The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories

December 26th, 2015
big book of sherlock

A legendary editor assembles the biggest collection of Sherlock Holmes parodies, pastiches, and homages ever collected in one volume

Book Review: “Forward, My Brave Boys!”

December 20th, 2015
james rains

A richly-detailed new history traces one Confederate volunteer infantry through the course of the Civil War

Book Review: The Day the Renaissance Was Saved

December 17th, 2015
the day the renaissance was saved

According to one historian, the battle commemorated in a lost painting by Leonardo Da Vinci was the little-known birth-moment of the Renaissance

Book Review: Reading The Tale of Genji

December 11th, 2015
reading the tale of genji

The Tale of Genji has been enthralling readers for a thousand years; a grand new book collects some of the varied critical responses it’s sparked over the centuries

Book Review: The Iran-Iraq War

December 2nd, 2015
the iran-iraq war

The brutal 1980s war between Iran and Iraq gets a definitive new history

Book Review: In Winter’s Kitchen

November 26th, 2015
in winter’s kitchen

A family from New Jersey moves to the wilds of Minnesota and learns a whole new way to think about food

Book Review: Augustine

November 24th, 2015
augustine lane fox

A sumptuous new book traces the long and complicated path St. Augustine took to reach his famous “Confessions”

Book Review: Battling the Gods

November 19th, 2015
battling the gods

The open, even evangelical atheism of the 21st century might be new, but as a sparkling-good new book demonstrates, atheism itself is as old as belief

Book Review: Russell Kirk

November 16th, 2015
russell_kirk7.indd

A big and colorful new biography of modern conservatism’s larger-than-life ideological godfather

Book Review: The Mystery of the Lone Wolf Killer

November 14th, 2015
Book Review: The Mystery of the Lone Wolf Killer

A penetrating – and bitterly timely – book about the 2011 killing rampage of Anders Behring Breivik

Book Review: The English and Their History

November 10th, 2015
the english and their history

A huge – and hugely enjoyable – new book details the long history of the English people

Book Review: London Fog

November 9th, 2015
Book Review: London Fog

For centuries, “pea-soup” fog was synonymous with the city of London; a lively new book tells its story.

Book Review: Great Soul of Siberia

November 8th, 2015
great soul of siberia

A stirring account of one wild family of critically-endangered Siberian tigers

Book Review: City on a Grid

November 6th, 2015
city on a grid

The in-depth story of how it came to be that the Bronx is up and the Battery’s down – the grid system of Manhattan!

Book Review: The Work of the Dead

November 2nd, 2015
the work of the dead

A fascinating new history details the changing job description of the dead-and-buried over the centuries

Book Review: The Annotated Poe

October 27th, 2015
annotated

A sumptuously illustrated and annotated new edition of the classic short works of Edgar Allan Poe

Lisa Jardine

October 25th, 2015
Picture shows  :  Professor Lisa Jardine

Lisa Jardine

Book Review: Magna Carta

October 24th, 2015
magna carta

A slim and intensely good new history of King John and the creation of the Great Charter

Maureen O’Hara

October 24th, 2015
maureen ohara

Maureen O’Hara

Book Review: Keeping An Eye On Art

October 22nd, 2015
keeping an eye on art

Novelist Julian Barnes takes readers on a tour of some of his favorite French artists

Book Review: Part of Our Lives

October 21st, 2015
part of our lives

A wonderful new book details the raucous past – and the complicated, vibrant present – of the public library in the United States

Book Review: Evolution – The Whole Story

October 19th, 2015
meg

A gorgeously-illustrated new book looks at the long and gaudy history of life on Earth

Book Review: After Hitler

October 18th, 2015
after hitler

A forensic and often quite moving new history of the last, desperate days of the Third Reich

Book Review: The German War

October 18th, 2015
the german war

A new book brings to life the experiences of ordinary Germans during the Second World War

Book Review: The Rise of Germany

October 16th, 2015
the rise of germany

An ambitious new work of history charts the rise to victory of Nazi Germany – and deflates a few treasured myths along the way

Book Review: In the Shadow of Edgar Allen Poe

October 13th, 2015
in the shadow of ea poe

A new anthology looks at the rich, creepy atmosphere that gave rise to the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe – and then was dominated by him as by no other author

Book Review: Xerxes

October 12th, 2015
xerxes

The great Persian King Xerxes gets a wonderfully sharp and detailed biography for Western readers

Book Review: Winston Churchill Reporting

October 12th, 2015
winston churchill reporting

While a young Winston Churchill was making history during the waning years of the Victorian Empire, he was also reporting on himself making history during the waning years of the Victorian Empire. A new book tells the old story.

Book Review: King John

October 11th, 2015
king john – morris

On the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, a spirited new biography looks at King John

Book Review: The Year of Lear

October 11th, 2015
the year of lear

A new book looks at one tumultuous year in the life of William Shakespeare

Book Review: Hell’s Foundations Quiver

October 10th, 2015
hell’s foundations quiver

In the latest of David Weber’s “Safehold” novels, Industrial-Age technology is coming to a quasi-Renaissance world, ready or not

Book Review: Cleopatra’s Shadows

October 10th, 2015
cleopatra’s shadows

An effective debut novel looks at the story of famous Cleopatra’s much less-famous sisters

Book Review: Napoleon – Soldier of Destiny

October 8th, 2015
napoleon broers

The first volume of Michael Broers’ new Napoleon biography follows its famous subject from obscure Corsican boyhood to the stage of world-wide fame.

Book Review: The Emperor of Water Clocks

October 8th, 2015
the emperor of water clocks

A grand and jauntily mythological new volume of poetry from Pulitzer Prize-winning Yusef Komunyakaa

Book Review: The Story of My Teeth

October 6th, 2015
books_storyofmyteeth__article-prose-260x

Valeria Luiselli’s The Story of My Teeth tells of the fantastical life of Gustavo “Highway” Sánchez Sánchez, the self-proclaimed best auctioneer in the world, and a great collector of teeth and their stories.

Book Review: 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories

October 3rd, 2015
100 years

A big new volume commemorates a century of “Best American Short Stories,” which began – as with all worthy things – in Boston a long time ago

Book Review: The Secret Chord

October 3rd, 2015
the secret chord

The author of such brilliant novels as “Year of Wonders” and “March” takes on the Biblical story of King David

Book Review: The Ville Rat

October 2nd, 2015
the ville rat

The odd couple military police sergeants Sueno and Bascom return in Martin Limon’s gripping new mystery set in 1970s Korea

Book Review: The Dogist

October 1st, 2015
pig

Armed with camera and tennis balls, a young photographer takes informal portraits of the dogs he meets. The Instagram sensation “The Dogist” is now a book.

Book Review: Quicksand

September 29th, 2015
quicksand

A failed writer seizes on a most unlikely inspiration for his great book: the catastrophically unlucky life of his best friend

Book Review: Islam and the Future of Tolerance

September 29th, 2015
islam harris

A polite conversation by two intellectuals about an explosive subject: the rise of militant Islamic groups throughout the world, and the world’s response

Book Review: I Ching

September 27th, 2015
i ching hinton

The ancient Chinese classic of divination gets a brisk new English-language translation

Book Review: Washington

September 27th, 2015
washington

The venerable sub-genre of the Washington, DC history gets a substantial new update

Book Review: Apollo in the Grass

September 25th, 2015
apollo in the grass

A revelatory new volume brings to English-language readers a selection of the verses of St. Petersburg poet Aleksandr Kushner

Book Review: Gallipoli

September 23rd, 2015
gallipoli

The new entry in Oxford University Press’ “Great Battles” series focuses on the long and potent afterlife of the Gallipoli campaign of the First World War

Book Review: Those We Left Behind

September 22nd, 2015
those we left behind

In the latest crime novel from Stuart Neville, two young killers are getting paroled – much too soon for the son of their victim

Book Review: Mary McGrory: The First Queen of Journalism

September 21st, 2015
mary running

From the McCarthy era to the Watergate era and beyond, Mary McGrory ruled the Washington press corps, as a wonderful new book details

Book Review: Gamelife

September 21st, 2015
gamelife

Growing up in suburban Illinois, author Michael Clune discovered the world of gaming – and nothing was ever the same again

Book Review: Killing the Messenger

September 20th, 2015
killing the messenger

In his new book, David Brock, foremost champion of the Clintons, comes to the defense of Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton

Jackie Collins

September 19th, 2015
jackie collins

Jackie Collins

Book Review: The Beautiful Bureaucrat

September 19th, 2015
beautiful bureaucrat

A slim new novel works hard at being clever, with mixed results. Justin Hickey reviews “The Beautiful Bureaucrat”

Book Review: A Strange Business

September 18th, 2015
a strange business

James Hamilton’s fascinating new book looks behind the glorious paintings of the Victorian era at the men who designed the frames, discovered the paint pigments, and heated the galleries

Book Review: The Murdstone Trilogy

September 17th, 2015
the murdstone trilogy

The author of several well-regarded but unprofitable novels about sensitive misfit boys turns to the industry’s top money-maker: epic fantasy. Disaster promptly ensues.

Book Review: Everland

September 17th, 2015
Book Review: Everland

In 2012, a trio of Antarctic explorers re-traces the path of a doomed expedition from 1913

Book Review: Voyage of the Sable Venus

September 16th, 2015
voyage of the sable venus

A stunning debut volume from poet and teacher Robin Coste Lewis

Book Review: Six Poets

September 16th, 2015
Bennett jacket 215052.indd

British literary icon Alan Bennett looks at six poets whose work has meant a great deal to him over the years

Book Review: Man of Destiny

September 15th, 2015
man of destiny

If a gushing new biography is any warrant, that’s the wrong Roosevelt up on Mount Rushmore.

Book Review: India at War

September 15th, 2015
india at war

When the Second World War erupted, the British Empire expected all its client states to do their duty for the Crown; but in India, as a sharp new book details, that duty was deeply complicated

Book Review: The Conquering Tide

September 14th, 2015
the conquering tide

The fierce, epic height of WWII’s Pacific War is the subject of Ian Toll’s gripping new volume

Book Review: A Little History of the United States

September 13th, 2015
little history of us

The latest volume in Yale University Press’s series of short histories is a quick yet authoritative overview of United States history

Book Review: Bosworth 1485

September 13th, 2015
bosworth dan jones

A taut new history of Richard III and the battle in which he lost everything – and the new Tudor dynasty gained everything

Book Review: Among the Bone Eaters

September 13th, 2015
marcus and willi

In the Ethiopian city of Harar, spotted hyenas roam the streets at night, cleaning up the day’s garbage better than any human crew could do. A fascinating new book tells the story.

Book Review: The Spirit of ’74

September 12th, 2015
spirit of 74

Long before the famous date of the Declaration, Boston was breaking the King’s Peace and warning other towns and colonies to do likewise – a lively new book tells the story

Book Review: The Double Life of Liliane

September 12th, 2015
the double life of liliane

National Book Award-winner Lily Tuck’s latest book attempts an experiment at dramatizing her memories of her early years

Book Review: Afghan Modern

September 12th, 2015
afghan modern cover

A Stanford history professor attempts to make a positive case for one of the most benighted countries on the planet

Book Review: Building Art

September 9th, 2015
building art cover

The world’s most famous architect gets his first full-length biography

Book Review: The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

September 9th, 2015
ministry cover

They slit throats; the bombed churches; they were none too mentally stable – and these were the GOOD guys

In Paperback: Walden’s Shore

September 7th, 2015
walden’s short

Now in paperback: a thorough – and thoroughly interesting – study of the actual physical dimensions of the little pond whose name Henry David Thoreau made immortal

Book Review: Ralph Waldo Emerson – The Major Poetry

September 7th, 2015
emerson poetry

A thorough new study of the poetry of the great transcendentalist writer Ralph Waldo Emerson

Book Review: Renishaw Hall

September 7th, 2015
ren

The great home of generations of the Sitwell family, Renishaw Hall, is the subject of Desmond Seward’s latest book

Book Review: The Storms of War

September 7th, 2015
storms of waruk

In historian Kate Williams’ new novel, a wealthy family in England confronts the realities of the First World War

Book Review: Monsters

September 7th, 2015
monsters

The bad science behind the Hindenburg was made tragically obvious by its explosion in 1937; a new book warns that other miracles of science may be equally dangerous

Book Review: Word by Word

September 7th, 2015
word by word

A new book assembles and studies the scattered writings of American slaves

Book Review: The Invention of Nature

September 6th, 2015
the invention of nature

The great German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt was fascinated by all of the natural world, and his work in studying it and writing about it has shaped our understanding ever since

Book Review: Black Earth

September 6th, 2015
black earth

A harrowing and contentious new assessment of the Nazi war on the Jews of Europe.

Book Review: I Can Give You Anything But Love

September 4th, 2015
i can give you anything but love

A witty, unsparing memoir from author and critic Gary Indiana

Book Review: A Clue to the Exit

September 4th, 2015
a clue to the exit

A sarcastic screenwriter learns he has only six months to live in this reprinted novel from Edward St. Aubyn from 2000

Book Review: The Desert and the Blade

September 3rd, 2015
the desert and the blade

In the latest chapter of S. M. Stirling’s “Emberverse” series, two courageous women embark on a quest for a supernatural sword

Book Review: Sorcerer to the Crown

September 3rd, 2015
sorcerer to the crown

In Zen Cho’s exuberant debut, the magic of Napoleonic-era England is slowly dwindling, and it’s up to the Sorcerer Royal to figure out why

Book Review: Snowden

September 2nd, 2015
snowden2

The life of infamous NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, in comic book form

Book Review: Self and Soul

September 2nd, 2015
self and soul

A spirited defense of humanist intangibles in a culture obsessed with material gain

Book Review: A River Runs Again

September 1st, 2015
a river runs again

The huge environmental problems facing India form the backdrop for Meera Subramanian’s fantastic first book

Book Review: The Gates of Evangeline

September 1st, 2015
the gates of evangeline

A mother grieving the loss of her own son investigates the 30-year-old disappearance of a powerful Southern family’s little boy in this haunting debut

Book Review: Mycroft Holmes

August 31st, 2015
mycroft holmes

A debut adventure starring the smarter older brother of Sherlock Holmes

Book Review: Chasing the Phoenix

August 30th, 2015
chasing the phoenix

Michael Swanwick’s terrific new novel features a con artist and a genetically modified dog-man seeking riches and power in a post-post-apocalyptic China

Book Review: Agents of Empire

August 30th, 2015
agents of empire

In the continents-spanning 16th-century clash between Venice and the Ottoman Empire, a crucial role was played by Albania – and by two families at the heart of events

Book Review: The Automobile Club of Egypt

August 30th, 2015
the automobile club of egypt

The celebrated author of “The Yacoubian Building” returns with another panoramic look at life in modern Egypt during a pivotal era

Book Review: The Daughters

August 29th, 2015
the daughters

In Adrienne Celt’s remarkably rich debut novel, an opera singer is worried that the birth of her daughter has robbed her of her singing voice

Book Review: The Trials

August 29th, 2015
the trials

In the wake of professional betrayal and global catastrophe, the heroes of Linda Nagata’s “Red” Trilogy are confronted by a new threat as the series barrels on

Book Review: Death in Florence

August 29th, 2015
death in florence

At the end of the 14th century, Lorenzo de’ Medici and the friar Savonarola began a series of clashes in palace and pulpit that would end up altering the course of the city’s history. A lively new book tells the story.

Book Review: Browsings

August 26th, 2015
Book Review: Browsings

Book critic Michael Dirda’s latest collection offers more personal musings on the subject he loves most

Classics Reissued: Salvaged Pages

August 25th, 2015
salvaged pages

A new edition of this collection of Holocaust diaries by young people captures the voices and the worries of the Nazis’ most innocent victims

Book Review: Bismarck

August 24th, 2015
bismarck ullrich

A newly-reprinted biography of the “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck is noticeably short – what kind of a job does it do?

Book Review: Beirut, Beirut

August 23rd, 2015
beirut, beirut

Bloomsbury publishes a lovely new English-language translation of Sonallah Ibrahim’s great novel about the Lebanese Civil War

Book Review: The Casualties

August 23rd, 2015
the casualties

You wouldn’t bet on a little street in Edinburgh – or its eccentric inhabitants – surviving a series of world-battering catastrophes, but that’s both the starting and the ending point of Nick Holdstock’s fascinating first novel

Book Review: After Nature

August 22nd, 2015
after nature

In his brilliant new book, Jedediah Purdy argues that humanity must face the collapse of nature using the three tools it knows best: politics, policy, and cold, hard cash

Book Review: Under Tiberius

August 20th, 2015
under tiberius

In a dusty Vatican archive, an ancient manuscript is found that could change the world. Or whatever.

Book Review: No. 4 Imperial Lane

August 20th, 2015
no. 4 imperial lane

The woes of empire and the decline of the aristocracy form the backdrop for Jonathan Weisman’s smart and moving debut novel, set in Thatcher’s England.

Book Review: The End of Tsarist Russia

August 19th, 2015
the end of tsarist russia

A powerful new book by one of our best historians examines from new sources the torturous path Russia took to the First World War

Book Review: Still Life Las Vegas

August 18th, 2015
still life las vegas

In this funny and touching debut, a young man’s search for his missing mother leads to unexpected discoveries amid the lights of Las Vegas

Book Review: The Madagaskar Plan

August 17th, 2015
the madagaskar plan

In an alternate history in which an undefeated Nazi Germany controls vast portions of Africa, a cast of old friends and enemies come together amid rumors of a devastating new kind of bomb …

Book Review: Latest Readings

August 16th, 2015
latest readings

Ailing cultural critic Clive James turns in what may very well be his final collection of essays. Robert Minto reviews.

Book Review: The Red

August 15th, 2015
the red

The hero of Linda Nagata’s nifty new series is hard-wired to his battle-armor … but is something else hiding in the connection?

Book Review: Moral Agents

August 14th, 2015
moral agents

A collection of profiles of eight pivotal American literary men of the 20th century – Robert Minto reviews

Book Review: Under Another Sky

August 14th, 2015
under another sky

Part history, part travel guide, part novel – a wonderful new book takes readers on a tour of Roman Britain

Book Review: Pedigree

August 14th, 2015
pedigree cover

Yale University Press publishes a 2005 memoir by the 2014 winner of the Nobel Prize for literature

Book Review: Ashoka in Ancient India

August 13th, 2015
ashoka in ancient india

The great ancient Indian emperor Ashoka gets a splendid new biography that attempts to divine the man at the heart of the legend

Book Review: The Poetry of John Milton

August 12th, 2015
poetry of john milton cover

A sumptuous new book studies the work of one of the English language’s greatest poets. Robert Minto reviews.

Book Review: Barbarian Days

August 12th, 2015
barbarian days cover

Veteran New Yorker writer William Finnegan has written a captivating memoir of surfing and growing up

Book Review: The Dinosaur Lords

August 10th, 2015
dinosaur lords cover

On the world of Paradise, the wars of dynasties are fought on battlefields by knights mounted on dinosaurs

Book Review: Voices in the Ocean

August 8th, 2015
voices in the ocean

A lively new book explores the minds and behaviors of many of Earth’s cetaceans

Book Review: The President and the Apprentice

August 7th, 2015
9780300181050

The settled opinion of historians has always been that President Eisenhower personally hated his vice president, Richard Nixon; a vigorous, unmissable new book tries to set that record straight

Book Review: Hirohito’s War

August 6th, 2015
hirohito’s war

A massive new history details the war in the Pacific Theater during WWII

Book Review: Where Are My Books?

August 5th, 2015
where 3

One by one, young Spencer’s books are disappearing at night – can he figure out where they’re going before they’re all gone?

Book Review: The Meaning of the Library

August 5th, 2015
the meaning of the library

A new book celebrating the library’s thousands of years of history and constantly-changing cultural role is filled with sharp essays

Book Review: Voltaire’s Revolution

August 4th, 2015
voltaire’s revolution

For the better part of a century, Voltaire waged a sometimes solitary battle against the iniquities of organized religion. A great new book brings together fresh translations of some of the philosopher’s most biting works.

Book Review: The Real Lives of Roman Britain

August 3rd, 2015
the real lives of roman britain

Archeological research has uncovered more than ever about the ordinary men and women who lived in Britain during the centuries of Roman occupation. A lively new book assesses what we know

Book Review: The Blooding

August 2nd, 2015
the blooding cover

Matthew Hawkwood, James McGee’s super-competent soldier-turned-spy, returns in another adventure, this time trapped in America during the War of 1812

Book Review: Brothers in Blood

August 1st, 2015
brothers in blood

In the latest Roman historical novel from old pro Simon Scarrow, two heroic legionaries are chasing an infamous local warlord in Britannia – and facing treachery from within their own ranks

Alan Cheuse

August 1st, 2015
alan cheuse

Alan Cheuse

Book Review: The Eagle in Splendour

July 30th, 2015
9781784531751.ashx

“How a Court LOOKS,” remarked a courtier to one of England’s more successful modern-day monarchs, “is at least as important as how a Court WORKS.” A re-issued study from Philip Mansel looks at form and function in the court of Napoleon Bonaparte

Book Review: For God and Kaiser

July 28th, 2015
for god and kaiser

“Austria,” quipped Talleyrand, “has the tiresome habit of always being beaten” – but Richard Bassett’s vigorous new history of the Imperial Austrian Army begs to differ!

Book Review: Braddock’s Defeat

July 27th, 2015
braddock’s defeat cover

A French army and a British army stumble upon each other in the wilderness of the New World, and their conflict changes the nature of the world’s biggest war

Book Review: Rome’s Revolution

July 27th, 2015
rome’s revolution

The epic change in ancient Rome from a Republic to an Empire hinged on one man: Julius Caesar. A new history tells the familiar story.

Book Review: The Two-State Delusion

July 27th, 2015
two-state delusion cover

A veteran state conflict analyst looks at the mother of such conflicts: the long strife between Israel and Palestine

Book Review: The Last Leaves Falling

July 25th, 2015
last leaves falling

A teenager in Kyoto tries to face the last months of his life as a samurai would – with a little help from his friends

Book Review: The Meursault Investigation

July 25th, 2015
meursault investigation

The famous bloody encounter at the center of Albert Camus’ novel The Stranger is re-imagined from a new perspective in Kamel Daoud’s widely-praised debut

Book Review: The Black Coat

July 23rd, 2015
black-coat-new-web

In the wake of Bangladesh’s bloody Liberation War, a hapless nonentity suddenly finds himself impersonating a beloved national leader

Book Review: Sicily

July 23rd, 2015
sicily

Veteran historian John Julius Norwich attempts to cram over 800 years of Sicilian history into 300 pages – and because he’s John Julius Norwich, he very nearly succeeds

Book Review: The Fall

July 22nd, 2015
the fall

Federal contractor Jack Taylor takes an unprecedented high-altitude space jump – but when he breaks the sound barrier and makes his landing, he finds himself in a different reality

E. L. Doctorow

July 21st, 2015
doctorow

E. L. Doctorow

Book Review: Last First Snow

July 21st, 2015
last first snow

In Max Gladstone’s latest “Craft” sequence novel, what looks like a straightforward neighborhood gentrification suddenly threatens to unleash the wrath of the gods themselves

Interview: Debut author Geoffrey Storm

July 20th, 2015
Interview: Debut author Geoffrey Storm

Debut author Geoffrey Storm started down the usual path – writing conferences, agents – but then decided to take the route so many new authors are taking and self-publish his first novel. He talks with Open Letters about that process.

Book Review: The Year’s Best Science Fiction, 2015

July 20th, 2015
Various-YearsBestSF32-Blog

The latest monumental anthology from Gardner Dozois of the best the sci-fi genre has to offer

Book Review: Beyond Words

July 18th, 2015
beyond words

In his beautifully-written new book, ecologist Carl Safina takes a broader look at the emotional and mental lives of nonhuman animals

Book Review: In a Dark Wood

July 16th, 2015
in a dark wood cover

A professor of Italian clings to Dante’s Divine Comedy when confronted with an unthinkable tragedy in his own life

Book Review: Joan of Arc

July 16th, 2015
joan of arc

The half-legendary Maid of Orleans gets a refreshingly wide-angled new history from Helen Castor

Book Review: The Quiet Man

July 15th, 2015
the quiet man cover

A memoir of the first President Bush, written by his former Chief of Staff

Book Review: Palimpsest

July 15th, 2015
palimsest cover

In a mere 200 pages on the history of writing, Matthew Battles takes readers from ancient China and Sumeria to Gutenberg to – oh my, are we out of time already?

Book Review: Wolves on the Hunt

July 14th, 2015
wolves on the hunt!

Far from the popular image of ravenous killing machines, wolves are actually surprisingly cautious predators who carefully weigh the risks they take, as a stunning new study illustrates

Book Review: Dark Orbit

July 14th, 2015
dark orbit cover

A distant planet crackling with “dark energy” holds mind-boggling secrets for the crew of humans sent to explore it

Book Review: Pretty Is

July 11th, 2015
prettty is cover

Years ago, two young girls were abducted and held for two months by a mysterious stranger; in the present, in Maggie Mitchell’s terrific debut novel, these women are now confronted with the suspicion that a part of their childhood ordeal is very much alive.

Book Review: Last to Die

July 11th, 2015
last to die

Military historian Stephen Harding tells the poignant story of the last soldier killed in World War II

Roger Rees

July 11th, 2015
roger rees

Roger Rees

Omar Sharif

July 11th, 2015
omar

Omar Sharif

Book Review: Time Salvager

July 10th, 2015
time salvager

In the future, a vast corporation sends operatives back in time to loot the past, and those operatives have one rule above all others: bring nobody back with you. When one of those operatives breaks that rule, Wesley Chu’s novel takes off

Book Review: The Lagoon

July 10th, 2015
lagoon cover

When enigmatic aliens plunge down in the ocean off the coast of Nigeria, three very different humans encounter them – and watch as the world is changed forever

Book Review: The Runes of Evolution

July 9th, 2015
the runes of evolution

Time and again in the history of life, environmental pressures and biological systems combine to produce the same adaptations in wildly different species and epochs. It’s called convergent evolution, and Simon Conway Morris has written its grand opera.

Book Review: The War at the Edge of the World

July 8th, 2015
war at the edge cover

A decorated Roman soldier accompanies a dangerous mission into barbarian territory in 4th century Britain