Articles in OL Weekly
The so-called ‘father of conservatism’ gets an aphoristic new biography from a very interested party.
The great diplomat and statesman John Hay is the subject of a riveting new biography
A scrupulously intelligent and lavishly illustrated new book examines the enormous impact one ancient text had on the whole of the Italian Renaissance
Is Rick Yancey’s latest teen-targeted sci-fi thriller mere filler for fans waiting on the next “Hunger Games” volume, or is there some meat on its bones?
Using castles and cunning, swords and statesmanship, guile and guts, they ruled England (and big chunks of France) for over two centuries – they were the Plantagenets, and they’re the subject of a boisterous new history
The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic brings forth a dazzling recording of Shostakovich’s “Leningrad Symphony”
The 17th century found itself caught between widespread social upheaval and natural catastrophes unprecedented in human history – an absorbing new history looks at the entire world four centuries ago … and of course glances at our own
That long-standing hotbed of world history, Europe, gets a big new dissection by one of our most engaging historians
A brilliant French study of Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” at last has an English translation
He was a young immigrant from Scotland who was inspired by one great man and inspired another, but in between, Alexander Wilson did the pioneering work of creating the American discipline of bird-study. A wonderful new book re-examines his legacy
Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s enigmatic and disturbing ‘Naive Music’ gets a new recording from pianist Elisaveta Blumina
It has become conventional wisdom to say that the first Gulf War was one of necessity, while the second was one of choice–but a collection of reflections challenges that maxim
The Hollywood actor and star of “Howl” produces a heavily-illustrated book of snippets and short stories, for reasons that are either unclear or all too clear, depending on whose Twitter you follow
At the heigh of the Second World War, they traveled to a custom-made town in the middle of nowhere and worked jobs they didn’t understand and were forbidden to question – and a year later, the U.S. had a working atom bomb. They were the girls of Atomic City, and their story finally gets told.
The southeastern coast of the United States is dotted all over with salt marshes, those magical places forever hovering between land and sea. A captivating new book – now in paperback – sings their praises and recounts their perils.
Norman Lebrecht reviews a remarkable recording of little-known piano music by Olivier Messiaen and Kaija Saariaho
A killer stalks a dark-fantasy alternate version of the Soviet Union in Peter Higgins’ fantastic debut novel
Rest in Peace
A gripping new book examines just what happened in the crucial interval between the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the outbreak of general hostilities – and reaches some unusual conclusions.
Hour of the Red God: A Detective Mollel Novel
By Richard Compton
Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013
Journalist Richard Crompton’s dazzlingly good debut mystery novel Hour of the Red God is set in 2007 against the …
In collaboration with Brazilian soloist Nelson Freire, Wunderkind Lionel Bringuier conducts the 2010 BBC Proms concert in a stirring new DVD release
One of the Man of Steel’s legendary illustrators from the 1970s and ’80s gets his work reprinted in a handsome hardcover volume
Ron Currie Jr. is not only the author of the new novel Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, he is also its protagonist.
One of our greatest living historians argues that far more unites humanity than divides it – but is anybody listening?
‘Darwin’ and ‘evolution’ are permanently linked in our minds, but like all other scientific thinkers, the great man stood on the shoulders of the giants who went before him, as a fascinating new history reminds us.
Open Letters Monthly mourns the death of Jonathan Winters, legendary comedian master of carefully-controlled chaos, and lifelong six-year-old.
An ordinary boy in our real world has a funny name – Clark Kent. Funny, that is, until he starts to develop the exact same superpowers as you-know-who
A family of Neanderthals navigate the dangers of the pre-historic world in DreamWorks’ latest animated feature
Norman Lebrecht reviews a new recording of Kossuth, a rare and distinctive turn by Béla Bartók into mainstream romanticism.
They’re history’s most villainous family, adept at blackmail, poison, murder, and sacrilege – they even have their own TV series! But is it possible there’s more bad press than bad people to the Borgia family? A fascinating new book takes the case back to the basics
The authoritative new biography – now in an enormous paperback – of the architect of Nazi Germany’s “Final Solution”
A splendid reissue of the definitive Marcel Proust biography attempts to show readers the jester, the critic, and the energetic editor in addition to the garrulous fop
The “George Washington of South America” was far more complex and interesting than his familiar tag-line suggests – as a big, fantastic new biography makes abundantly clear
Science fiction grand master Ben Bova sets his latest novel on the far side of the moon
In her latest bestseller, J. R. Ward’s two most loved (and lusted-after) bad-boy vampires finally get their turn in the spotlight
Open Letters Monthly mourns the death of indefatigable everyman movie critic Roger Ebert, who saw everything, mainstreamed a profession, and championed more than a few losing battles – including, ultimately, his own. Rest in peace.
A new book by a legendary scholar charts the journey of early Christianity from a charismatic cult to the official religion of an empire
Open Letters Monthly mourns the death of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, whose exquisite literary adaptations helped give new kinds of immortality to E.M. Forster and Henry James, and whose own fiction, delicate and sometimes dauntingly enigmatic, will …
A young Swedish girl travels to England and becomes a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I herself
She’s an icon, a cautionary tale, a baleful notoriety – she’s Anne Boleyn, who bewitched a king and drove him to remake a world, all for the sake of a dream she could never give him. A fascinating new book looks at the way all the ways history has made and re-made Henry VIII’s most infamous queen
An intelligent, sensitive Dominican novice finds herself at the heart of passionate conspiracies in the England of Henry VIII
The richest denizens of the Edwardian Era swan around in their finest stuff, immortalized by the likes of Sargent and Boldini, and a sumptuous new book from Yale University Press records it all
Jack Wolf’s risk-taking debut explores the boundaries of insanity and rationality
A neurosurgeon’s reflections on his time in a coma convince him that it held the secret to the universe.
In a novel that’s not as easy as it looks, a soldier comes home to his small Vermont town from Afghanistan – and to the young woman he left behind there.
In a welcome reprint, a brave but untried young 12th century knight must learn how to fight – and take a bride
The greatest sci-fi novel of all time is inaugurated into the Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classics library
David Halberstam’s 1968 profile of candidate Robert Kennedy gets a new reprint for a new generation
The barbaric custom of ‘honor killing’ is the hinge on which best-selling author Elif Shafak’s complex new novel turns
With the arrival of a new baby, a young Brooklyn couple say good-bye to sleep … and start making some very strange decisions.
A big new book looks at the long history of guerrilla warfare and centers its lessons on our own time.
In this historical novel, the Armenian community of Paris negotiates the arrival of the Nazis – and a young girl navigates her first romance
The most cherished nature classic since “Walden” gets the sparkling Library of America canonization
A young woman finds herself on a ship at sea with both her fiance and a mysterious man from her past, and it’s all like something you’d find in a book …
The greatest enemy of freedom is … democracy? Come get to know Scottish Enlightenment thinker Adam Ferguson, ladies and gentlemen!
A patrician family copes with all kinds of disappointment in Louisa Hall’s not-at-all-disappointing debut novel
Before the mad demi-titan Thanos arrives to menace movie theaters in 2015, he menaced the good guys in decades of comics – a new anthology collects some of the best of the bad guy
When Roman troops left Britain forever, the locals were forced to fend for themselves – and in Morgan Llywelyn’s latest historical novel, two cousins take two very different approaches to a world after Rome.
Youtube sensation Valentina Lisitsa has put out the finest recording of Rachmaninov’s piano concertos in decades. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
Director Sam Raimi takes on one of the greatest cinematic classics of ‘em all – with decidedly mixed results
Long, long before Canute and the Confessor, England was a fascinating place – the great archaeologist Barry Cunliffe tells the tale!
He revolutionized modern science, and then modern science left him behind. Now a glowing new biography introduces him to a new generation.
The old folk tale gets an sfx-laden kid-friendly modern retelling by one of Hollywood’s most successful directors
When examining the death of Cleopatra, it’s inevitable: sooner or later, you’re going to have to deal with asp-holes
He escaped from slavery, fought Rome, and became an immortal name – but what can we really know about Spartacus?
They guarded emperors, they served emperors, and occasionally they killed emperors – they were the Praetorian Guard
In his latest adventure, Mark Chadbourn’s swashbuckling Elizabethan adventurer Will Swyfte continues his battle against the supernatural forces of the Unseelie Court
A enormous storm is bearing down on Washington D.C., and the President and his staff are confronted with a group of people who say they can stop the hurricane – for a price
His repertoire was small, he was no barnstormer, and he gave up full-time concertizing in 1978. But Van Cliburn, who died yesterday at age 78, is to this day the most famous pianist America has …
In a hypnotizing new recording from Mirare, pianist Anne Quéffélec performs the soothing chillout music of Frenchman Erik Satie–don’t listen while driving.
Sarah Gristwood (author of the utterly delightful “Arbella: England’s Lost Queen”) charts the triumphs and tragedies of the seven key women in the Wars of the Roses
The horny, feckless narrator of Kultgen’s “The Average American Male” returns: married, with kids – and, of course, lusting after a co-worker
Six works by five living British composers for soprano saxophone – you’re shaking your head, but “The Coral Sea” is one of the musical delights of the year
John McClane rides again in the latest chapter of the “Die Hard” franchise
A new collection featuring the adventures of a decidedly off-beat version of Marvel’s resident Thunder God
The Angel – the Silver Scorpion – the Destroyer – the Black Marvel – the Blazing Skull: not exactly household names today, but in the dark days of World War II, they fought the forces of evil for the entertainment of a new kind of reader: comic book fans
“Houses, Churches, mix’d together – Streets, unpleasant in all Weather” – so wrote the poet about resolute, dissolute London, whose 18th century excesses are the subject of a grand new book
David Shields, author of the ‘manifesto’ “Reality Hunger,” is still unhappy with boring old books. In fact, he’s still writing books about how unhappy he is.
Unsure of what to do with her life, a woman turns an old stone house into an inn on the coast of Ireland, and strangers begin to gather …
In 1931 Naples, Commissario Ricciardi pursues the most desperate of criminals, driven by an absolute commitment to justice – and helped by a gift he alone possesses.
A new novel tells the story of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, famous author and wife of an even more famous jerk.
A profusely illustrated you-are-there look at the excavations into European prehistory
The Italian Renaissance of Michelangelo and Raphael was built by – and traumatized by – the constant tramping of hired armies. A provocative new study looks at the birth-price of the modern era
“Warm Bodies” is a zombie rom-com: but does boy meet girl, or EAT girl?
Domenico Scarlatti has always been overshadowed by his contemporaries Bach and Handel. A new recording of his solo sonatas brings his gorgeous music front and center.
There are delights of both language and story in Christine Schutt’s novel of connubial misery, Prosperous Friends. Greg Gerke reviews.
The great travel-adventure classic gets a pretty new reprint
The newest novel from the newest Chilean literary wunderkind
A new history of the Second World War focuses on the mid-level thinkers and technicians whose innovations made the grand strategies work
In Michael Dahlie’s new novel, an idle young millionaire ghost-writes a book for an arrogant Hollywood star
The works of Polish emigre Andrzej Panufnik course with passion and political subtext. Norman Lebrecht reviews a new recording of Symphonies 7 and 8.
She’s a master thief who wants to rob the world’s richest man; he’s a master assassin who wants to kill the world’s richest man – what happens when they run headlong into each other in a glass-and-steel death-trap?
The adorable little candy-seeking moppets from the folk tale are all grown up and exceedingly well-armed in “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”
A new history of World War I looks at twelve fragile moments, twelve turning points when small factors determined very large outcomes
Earth’s frozen, forbidding continent is the subject of Gabrielle Walker’s latest book
The death of a talented teenage artist spins his family and friends into turmoil in Manu Joseph’s incredibly accomplished second novel.
In the latest Ismail Kadare novel to be translated into English, an Albanian doctor invites the invading Nazis to an elaborate dinner at his house – but what exactly happens that night, to the strains of Schubert?
Until comparatively recently, historically speaking, mankind existed in small hunter-gatherer societies without states or agriculture. Best-selling author Jared Diamond’s latest book examines the possible up-side of those primitive edens.
Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti died of cancer at age 33, but left behind a treasure trove of adventurous, intellectually satisfying piano music. Norman Lebrecht reviews a new double-CD of Lipatti’s work.
DC Comics collects the 1980s adventures of the Man of Steel, as drawn by the legendary Gil Kane!
A generous anthology collects the work of one of the greatest travel-writers of our day
Marvel’s X-Men reprint series reaches some epoch-defining issues
In Lara Santoro’s new novella, an older woman falls head-over-heels into a physical passion for a younger man – with consequences that threaten to tear her life apart
Jacqueline du Pré’s performance of Elgar’s cello concerto is so legendary that few artists have dared to challenge it. Now Alisa Weilerstein does so, in an astonishing new recording. Norman Lebrecht reviews
The controversial new movie about the hunt for bin Laden – and the role torture might have played in that hunt
The rhetoric of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar might inflame you, it might make you mad – but does Garry Wills o’ershoot himself in his analysis of it all?
A new – and forgiving? – look at the ancient Jewish historian whose very name has been hated for two thousand years.
The legendary fantasy series at long last comes to its conclusion
A formidable York midwife must use all her skill and human insight to save the life of a friend accused of murder
The military crucible of the 20th Century gets a new hardcover history that can be read in one hour and fifteen minutes.
The first volume in a new fantasy series opens on a world where the everyday background magic on which everybody depends is beginning to flicker out …
One of the best – and certainly the most contentious – biographies of Alexander the Great gets an attractive new reprint
A talented novelist writes the story of his husband’s family’s experiences in war-torn Bangladesh – but is it life, or art?
In the future setting of this promising sci-fi debut, world-hopping humanity finds the last thing it expected: aliens!
The revered (and reviled) Superman director Richard Donner co-writes an epic story from the Man of Steel’s past
2013 gets off to a smashing start with Alexandre Tharaud’s wild new recording of the works of postmodernist composer Mauricio Kagel. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
In the night sky over Occupied France, two young men met in combat – this remarkable book tells their stories.
“I paint, I work, I am free of thought” said Cezanne, and his thoughtless paintings changed art forever. A cinematic new biography explores the man’s life and art.
On a lonely icebound fjord, the young daughter of a Viking king must solve a series of crimes – and find her destiny
It’s Tom Cruise starring as Lee Child’s super-tall, super-gritty action hero!
As this year winds to a close we take another glance at the still-worthy books that moved us in days of old.
The first part of director Peter Jackson’s long-awaited movie adaptation of “The Hobbit” is finally here
He put Christianity on the road to world domination – and he did a lot of other horrid things as well. He’s Constantine the Great, and he’s got a new biographer
Open Letters mourns the loss of Charles Rosen, pianist, scholar, teacher and critic.
In a rip-snorting new blood-and-swash history of the War of 1812, the men and their fighting ships take center stage
It’s been a bumper year for vocal recitals, but Norman Lebrecht has selected the best of the bunch–and the best album of 2012
The Oscar race for Best Actor gets a little bit more crowded with the performance of John Hawkes in Ben Lewin’s “The Sessions”
The official biographer of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother now gives us that most unlikely of things: a collection of her life-long correspondence
A new college-use edition of the King James Bible turns out to be that rarest of publishing phenomena: a true must-have masterpiece.
Historian Alison Weir’s latest novel features two young heroines, separated by 80 years but united by their fascination with one of history’s mysteries: the fate of the Princes in the Tower
The latest “Spectrum” arrives, full of worlds of wonder!
A boy and a tiger, trapped at sea – the best-selling novel “Life of Pi” gets a movie adaptation by Ang Lee
Peter Handke turns 70 today. One of his translators and frequent travel companions offers a tribute.
A compelling new recording of compositions for the viola da gamba, an ancestor of the cello, is just the antidote to predictable radio classical fare
Perfect for the dog-lover on your gift list: a great big new dog-themed anthology from the vaults of the New Yorker
Franz Kafka was eternally affianced but never married – maybe more in love with the concept of love than with any particular woman. A new novel intensely dramatizes the writer and his passions.
The embattled Turkish composer Fazil Say releases a symphony rooted in the sounds of his homeland. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
Trying to mind his own business, a man at a Yankees game refuses to stand for a singing of “God Bless America” – and all Hell breaks loose.
Santa Claus … the Easter Bunny … the Sandman … the Tooth Fairy … figures out of children’s story-time band together with Jack Frost to fight an evil that threatens childhood itself
The many natural worlds of India – and the variety of striking animals who inhabit those worlds – come alive in this enormous illustrated volume
The latest volume of travel-writing from novelist and memoirist Andre Aciman takes readers from Paris to Rome to Venice to New York and back
Fresh from the halcyon 1980s, the avenging murderer of mass murderers gets a fresh new reprint series
Dramatized in the pages of this brilliant book, the Nazi state’s embracing of accelerated war-production set a dark pattern for the entire world
Too little is known about the importance of Irish composer John Field on 19th century music. An exciting new CD brings his wide influence to light.
The calm-eyed gold-plated absolute rulers of ancient Egypt, the Pharaohs in all their splendor, are brought to life in a revealing new history.
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ legendary Ape Man gets a comprehensive visual tribute fit for the king of the jungle
The vast tapestry of Persian literary history gets a new – and decidedly problematic – overview from one of the subject’s greatest modern scholars
DC Comics’ fan-favorite super-team gets a definitive re-telling of its origin story – or at least provisionally definitive.
The warrior-clones in Steven Kent’s Clone Republic series can handle just about anything on the battlefield – but what if somebody starts tinkering with their programming?
the irrepressible novelist, lecturer, and historian takes us on a battle-filled, ale-soaked ransacking tour of England’s long pre-Tudor history
Two witty dialogues by a great Italian Renaissance humanist get a fresh Latin textual overhaul – and their very first English translation.
An ‘ice maiden’ social nobody accidentally meets a drunken young viscount at a party – and sparks (eventually, complicatedly) fly!
The words of Shakespeare have become a common literary language – but whose words did HE know? Why, the words of Thomas Cranmer, of course.
A thick masterwork of that maddening maven of the movie screen, Pauline Kael, gets a rock-solid reprint from Picador
The redoubtable WWII code-breaking sleuth Maggie Hope returns, this time to safeguard the young girl who will one day come to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II
A new series of paperbacks attempts to bring the boredom and terror of war home to young readers
The dynamic of beloved old video games gets a surprisingly nuanced treatment in the latest offering from Disney
An English traveller once described the Portuguese love ballad as ‘the most seducing, the most voluptuous music imaginable.’ A new CD reminds of us its delights.
Open Letters Monthly mourns Elliott Carter, whose gentle heart and endless good humor made him a warm glow of firelight in any room, and whose music was the brilliant, tangled sonogram of the 20th Century.
The ‘lost’ adventures of Marvel Comics’ original team of mutant superheroes, the X-Men
Japanese Rinpa-style artwork takes center stage in a stunning new book and exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
“It was the year in which the Civil War became a cataclysm, the federal government became a colossus, and the Confederacy came nearest to winning its independence …”
A generous collection of stories featuring John Mortimer’s immortal creation, wine-swilling judge-taunting criminal-defending barrister, Horace Rumpole of the Old Bailey
Time-bending? Gender-bending? Race-bending? “Cloud Atlas” drifts onto Mr. Anderson’s radar.
At the beginning of his career, the great scientist-explorer Tim Flannery literally sailed to the ends of the earth and back – here he sits down to tell some of those stories
In the opening volume of the “Toxic City” series, London is cut off from the rest of the world and filling up with super-powered mutants – two things which have been true on YouTube for some time now.
Jacques Barzun (1907 – 2012)
The celebrated South African author of “My Traitor’s Heart” publishes a collection of his rabble-rousing, fortifying New Journalism pieces
New for classical music lovers is an invigorating recording of the symphonies of Danish composer Carl Nielsen, as well as a trio of dazzling piano recitals. As always, Norman Lebrecht reviews.
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! With some ample assistance from comics legend Howard Chaykin
The burgeoning human population is encountering new and strange pathogens every day – how long until one of them becomes the next HIV … or Black Death?
The best-selling James Patterson novel, featuring his most popular recurring character, gets a big-screen adaptation
The new book by the great Peter Brown examines a deep conflict: Christ specifically orders Christians to be poor, but Christians would rather not be, thanks just the same.
The newly-born United States was a disorganized and largely bucolic hodge-podge until three clear-eyed financiers – all of them immigrants – worked to create a new and more monetized system
The great novelist tells the beguiling story of the man he became in order to escape a death sentence
Norman Lebrecht reviews a five-star recording from the extraordinary Finnish soprano Anu Komsi
Director Ben Affleck’s latest, “Argo,” is a real Hollywood movie about a fake Hollywood movie way back in the 1970s
To find their missing cousin, young heroes Daphne and Ivan must return to the magical land of Lexicon and confront yet more of its brain-teasing adventures.
Marvel’s resident thunder god-superhero Thor goes through some epic adventures in the latest volume of “Essential” reprints.
A new book authorized by the Kennedy Library provides some slices of living history: tapes and transcripts of President John F. Kennedy at work in the White House.
Hungarian Miklós Rózsa was one of the century’s greatest composers for film, but he also wrote the fine concertos given new life on this recording
Marsilio Ficino’s enormous commentary on the Parmenides of Plato receives a fantastic scholarly edition from – who else? – Harvard’s I Tatti Renaissance Library
Vultures, black cats, and a gigantic, unbeatable foe: it’s a week in the life of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!
Tim Burton’s new movie has a surprising amount of heart and soul
Homer’s Iliad gets a new and unconventional translation into sometimes very familiar language
Pete Dexter’s lean, harrowing novel of murder and ambition is coming to the big screen with a full complement of movie stars – and a new paperback edition of the book is a happy by-product.
The deeply unlikely pairing of pianist Glenn Gould and soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was deemed a flop when it took place in 1966–now some of the never-before-published recordings have come out, and they’re well worth the wait.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, featuring a thinly-veiled take on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology
A stark and powerful account of the killing regimes of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia – and of the blood-soaked stretch of middle Europe where those regimes did their work.
A slim, engaging new book tries to take an objective look at the popular question of Shakespearean authorship – if such objectivity is even possible.
The two Judge Dredds: For fans, Dredd is the hero of his own comic series; a futuristic lawbringer whose stories have been told in the weekly British comic anthology 2000 A.D. since 1977. In the …
Dog-torturer Michael Vick writes a triumphalist come-back memoir.
A Dickens-obsessed little Oregon town plays unwilling host to – what else? – a Dickens-themed murder in this captivating mystery debut
During World War Two, thousands of men left U.S. jobs in order to join the military – and thousands of women stepped in to fill those jobs … and in some cases join the military too. A fascinating new book looks at what magazine cartoons had to say about all this.
A careful and discerning new biography tackles that most daunting of all great Victorian novelists, George Eliot – with largely praiseworthy results.
Jon Lord, the founder of Deep Purple, brings out a concerto that fuses elements of classical music, rock, and ballad singing. Norman Lebrecht reviews the results.
Now in the U.S.: an epic, gore-spattered series about a roving band of Viking warriors!
Paul Anderson returns to the director’s chair for the new “Resident Evil” chapter – but does he still have that old zombie-fighting magic?
James Cameron’s ultimate twist on a shipboard-romance gets the luxury-liner treatment in a lavish new Blu-Ray set from Paramount
Young, vain, unfaithful Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife, regularly draws writers intent on finding heroism in her brief life & times; Carolly Erickson is the latest aspirant.
The meek and dutiful Jane Seymour, mother of Henry VIII’s long-sought male heir, takes center stage in a new historical novel about her life and times.
Tragedy haunted the earliest years of the new Tudor dynasty, and in this atmospheric new novel, a candle-maker and a courier are tasked with finding out why.
The ancient Greek historian Thucydides is virtually synonymous with the Peloponnesian War, but a new history gives the master a much-needed makeover
From the glory days of the late 1980s comes this new reprint-volume of the adventures of Marvel Comics’ imperious, headstrong super-merman, Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner!
A CD of piano recitals dubbed “The French Album” stars an English pianist and includes pieces by Bach and Liszt. Norman Lebrecht sorts out the confusion.
Belknap Press produces a big, attractive, and lovingly annotated edition of Jane Austen’s peak-of-her-career novel “Emma” – perfect for newcomers and those who know every line by heart.
A visually surrealistic new movie about the evils of marketing and advertising run amok.
In a slim new volume, one of our greatest masters of vibrant exegesis gives is the collected poetry of “the invisible poet of the world” – Jesus Christ.
One of our best popular historians sheds light on the caliphate of Harun al-Rashid, where learning and culture flourished at a time when the West was mired in filth and chaos.
The melodramatic first novel in a series set in a vampire-ridden steampunk version of Victorian London
Now in paperback: the most comprehensive, opinionated, and even-handed biography poor unlucky oath-breaking King Stephen is ever likely to get – or deserve.
Norman Lebrecht reviews a new recording of the music of Handel’s contemporary Bononcini–but which Bononcini are we talking about? In addition are three notable CDs for John Cage’s centenary.
A fast-paced teen fiction re-imagining of Peter Pan and Wendy and the Lost Boys and Neverland, with a few side-helpings of goth, “Buffy,” and a certain boy wizard
Hollywood Next Big Things – past, present, and future? – share screen-time in a gritty tale of the Prohibition-era South.
A comprehensive – and visually stunning – overview of the mighty Roman legions and the world they helped to shape.
An ambitious historical novel about the dark days of the emperor Domitian by the popular mystery author Lindsey Davis.
A lavishly illustrated biography of the Roman emperor Hadrian – now in bookstores in paperback – takes readers inside the world of an empire (and its ruler) undergoing one long identity crisis
Now in a bright yellow paperback: a generous helping of essays, provocations, and tirades by the late Christopher Hitchens.
Before the advent of modern times, every visitor to Venice approached the city slowly, from the water – and according to a visually-stunning new book, Venetians very much wanted it that way.
The ancient Roman architect Vitruvius influenced the Renaissance architect Alberti, who in turn influenced the architect Palladio and the humanist Barbaro – a strong new book traces the genealogy.
Glenn Gould would have turned 80 next month; his legacy is celebrated with a diverse and sometimes instrumentally daring homage
A new social history of Venice takes readers well beyond the myth and delves into the lives of the people – princes, merchants, women, immigrants – who brought the city to life
The Twilight film series will finally be coming to a close this fall, and with it the free rides of many of the young actors and actresses who made names for themselves in their roles …
Elizabeth I’s radical decision to remain unmarried gave hope to every aspiring suitor in the Western world – a new reprint marches us quickly through the usual suspects.
Lorenzo Valla, whose exposure of the “Donation of Constantine” was the opening salvo of modern humanism, spent years writing one long argument with Aristotle, now fully translated for the first time.
In one of Marvel Comics’ grandest recent story-arcs, the Avengers square off against the Norse god of fear and his mind-controlled hammer-wielding henchmen
DC Comics Classics Library
The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Life and Death of Ferro Lad
Jim Shooter (script)
Curt Swan (art)
Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore
Denny O’Neil (script)
Curt Swan (art)
DC Comics, 2009
The most common misconception about comic books is that they’re …
An emotionally stunning memoir about Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, where animals once fated for the slaughterhouse are given normal, happy lives
A Buffalo in the House, The Extraordinary story of Charlie and His Family
R. D. Rosen
Random House, 2007
Now out in paperback is R.D. Rosen’s entertaining and enormously moving A Buffalo in the House, the story of …
Wunderkind violinist Nicola Benedetti delivers her best album to date with this thoughtful selection of concertos and film themes
A creepy, touching stop-motion masterpiece from the creators of “Coraline”
Best-selling author Philippa Gregory’s new novel tells the story of Anne and Isabel Neville, the Wars of the Roses … and a certain misunderstood bad boy.
An engaging – perhaps a touch too engaging – new biography of fourth four-star general in U.S. history: Phil Sheridan
The passionate, complicated Bronte family is the subject of Juliet Barker’s massive, definitive biography, now given a sumptuous new edition
An accessible, well-researched new biography takes a largely approving look at America’s fourth president, James Madison.
Dr Seuss’ beloved children’s classic about environmentalism gets a less-than-lovable Hollywood remake
Jeremy Renner steps into Matt Damon’s action-shoes in the latest instalment of the “Bourne” series!
A magnificent multi-voiced celebration of the weird and wild career of that Jacobean jack-of-all-trades, Thomas Middleton
A lively new account of the bloodbath of Towton, one of the key battles of the Wars of the Roses
In the latest spin-off novel from the hit “Spartacus” TV series, a spectre of death is haunting our gladiators even when they’re not at work!
The daughter of Queen Elizabeth I’s chief of espionage has a mind of her own, and in addition to being a dutiful wife to Sir Philip Sidney, she has the makings of an intrepid intelligencer.
All the time-jaunts of the legendary U.S.S. Enterprise, contained – and explained – in one novel? Inconceivable!
The improbable star of Francine Mathews’ new WWII-era spy thriller: a thin, frail, relatively obscure ambassador’s son from Brookline, Massachusetts named Jack Kennedy.
A teeming new multi-volume box-set from Decca showcases the magisterial piano performances of Clifford Curzon
Now in paperback: Juliet Eilperin’s gripping and personality-filled study of sharks and the people who study them
Critics tend to scoff at remakes. To many, these copies represent the worst that Hollywood has to offer, blatantly repeating stories that were successful in the past, rather than risk trying anything new. As movie …
Legion of Super-Heroes: Hostile World
Paul Levitz (script)
Francis Portela (art)
DC Comics, 2012
The company-wide “New 52″ reboot that DC Comics has used to re-envision (and, they hope, revitalize) their comic book line is nearly a year old. …
Who knew that the avant-garde Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg wrote so many songs? They’re brought together in a revealing new four-disc collection.
Open Letters Monthly mourns Maeve Binchy, teacher, talker, gentle seanchai.
Codladh samh, old friend.
A sprawling new celebration of London in six centuries of verse!
A gorgeously-written new book on the vanishing black rhinos of south-western Africa
A new reprint delivers George R. R. Martin’s science fiction novel about 19th century American vampires!
For thirty hard-fought years, the King of England was also the King of France – new in US bookstores is a thrilling account of those years
Violas are the most overlooked of instruments, but not by Beethoven–an intriguing new release brings together his music for the violin’s deeper-voiced sibling
A magisterial new one-volume history of the Second World War
The novel’s greatest age gets a stunning, multi-voiced celebration
In a fog-enshrouded city, a tough PI takes on a case that changes everything.
16th Century Iran comes alive in a new novel
In the wake of today’s news from Connecticut, we are reposting a note written by our Executive Editor following the shootings in Aurora earlier this year.
Natalie Clein delivers an extraordinary performance of Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo, in a disc featuring other classic Jewish music. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
Aurochs run amok in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” John C. Anderson reviews.
A new book looks at the foremost weapon in war’s arsenal: food.
The bishops of Durham Cathedral were also secular princes who could settle legal disputes – and raise armies. A study now out in paperback gives the mighty cathedral and priory the history they deserve.
The latest adventure featuring freelance ‘sword jockey’ Eddie LaCrosse is – avast! – a rollicking pirate-yarn!
The latest volume of Marvel’s “Essential” reprint line!
Oliver Stone’s new movie about drugs, violence, sex, and savages!
A new one-volume history of the Second World War ends with the big question: could the bad guys have won?
A new – and sometimes unforgiving – military history of the Iron Duke!
The latest edition of the venerable science fiction anthology series!
The raucous 21st century update of the old TV series gets its Blu-Ray release!
“Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane tries his hand at live-action comedy!
We may never know with certainty what brought Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to cast the deciding vote to uphold the Affordable Care Act and salvage the chief accomplishment of Barack Obama’s presidency. But …
A thorough new book aims to give patients more power over their hospital experience
The amazing duo of Stefano Bollani and Riccardo Chailly return with the inter-war music of Ravel, Stravinsky, Kurt Weill, and Victor de Sabata.
An amiable new book lays out the neurology behind food and eating
Mash-up fiction come to the big screen in “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”!
Now on Blu Ray: the 15th Anniversary edition of the award-winning Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Evita”!
A wonderful new book explores not only the Pleistocene era but the IDEA of the Pleistocene
A slim, fantastic new book on dead bodies, decay, road kill, and circling vultures! Happy summer!
In his CD of the Week recommendation, Norman Lebrecht discovers the brilliant exception to a rule, an aria recital disc worth buying
A heartfelt debut novel about an innocent young woman who comes to the court of Henry VIII – except she’s Anne Boleyn’s cousin, so innocence isn’t going to last very long!
The big-screen adaptation of the hit Broadway play “Rock of Ages”
Now in English: a richly researched and deeply moving history of the capital of the Third Reich.
A fiery new book condemns the evils of hunting
In John Lanchester’s new novel, a posh London street is hit hard when the housing bubble bursts
“Ultimate Fighter” Urijah Faber talks about life and goals in a new book
Against all expectations arrives a fantastic new recording of Vivaldi’s sonatas, courtesy of L’Estravagante. Norman Lebrecht reviews.
A new novel tells the story of two women who played a very dangerous game for the biggest prize of all: the throne of England
Ridley Scott’s long-awaited sci-fi epic finally arrives!
A fine and fact-filled new account of the War of 1812
A stunning and insightful new book about the ways modern American presidents go to war, stay at war, and exit war.
DC Comics re-creates its entire line of superheroes – including the Caped Crusader himself, Batman
A sharp new work seeks to get at the gory reality behind the Hollywood images of warfare.
These rare recordings illuminate the valuable contributions of the Russian composer (and contemporary of Rachmaninov’s) Nikolai Medtner
Veteran writer Ed Falco pens a prequel to “The Godfather,” featuring the rise of a crime family – and the story of a vicious strongman named Luca Brasi.
Can the Peter Jackson/Lord of the Rings approach work with the Brothers Grimm? Mr. Anderson tells the tale!
The long-awaited next volume in the ongoing Legion of Super-Heroes reprint line is finally here!
Disaster movie or disaster of a movie? Horror movie or horrible movie? Mr. Anderson disambiguates!
Last week on NBC’s Meet the Press, Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, was asked to give his opinion about an advertisement the Obama campaign has been running. It was a cover story for days. It was a complete waste of everyone’s time.
The Artemis Quartet brings forth a brilliant recording of Schubert’s string quartets 13, 14, and 15 — that plus three notable new releases of the music of Shostakovich