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Articles in OL Weekly

Book Review: Engineers of Victory

February 1st, 2013
engineers of victory

A new history of the Second World War focuses on the mid-level thinkers and technicians whose innovations made the grand strategies work

Book Review: The Best of Youth

January 31st, 2013

In Michael Dahlie’s new novel, an idle young millionaire ghost-writes a book for an arrogant Hollywood star

Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – Andrzej Panufnik

January 30th, 2013
Norman Lebrecht’s CD of the Week – Andrzej Panufnik

The works of Polish emigre Andrzej Panufnik course with passion and political subtext. Norman Lebrecht reviews a new recording of Symphonies 7 and 8.

Book Review: Money Run

January 30th, 2013
jack heath

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?

Guest Movie Review: Hansel & Gretel

January 29th, 2013

The adorable little candy-seeking moppets from the folk tale are all grown up and exceedingly well-armed in “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”

Book Review: The Making of the First World War

January 29th, 2013
the making of the first world war

A new history of World War I looks at twelve fragile moments, twelve turning points when small factors determined very large outcomes

Book Review: Antarctica

January 28th, 2013

Earth’s frozen, forbidding continent is the subject of Gabrielle Walker’s latest book

Book Review: The Illicit Happiness of Other People

January 27th, 2013
the illicit happiness of other people

The death of a talented teenage artist spins his family and friends into turmoil in Manu Joseph’s incredibly accomplished second novel.

Book Review: The Fall of the Stone City

January 26th, 2013

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?

Book Review: The World Until Yesterday

January 24th, 2013

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.

CD of the Week – Dinu Lipatti

January 23rd, 2013
CD of the Week – Dinu Lipatti

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.

Classics Reissued: The Gil Kane Superman

January 20th, 2013
gil kane superman 3

DC Comics collects the 1980s adventures of the Man of Steel, as drawn by the legendary Gil Kane!

Book Review: Access All Areas

January 19th, 2013
access all areas

A generous anthology collects the work of one of the greatest travel-writers of our day

Comics: Essential X-Men 11

January 18th, 2013

Marvel’s X-Men reprint series reaches some epoch-defining issues

Book Review: The Boy

January 17th, 2013
the boy

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

CD of the Week – Elgar, Carter: Cello Concertos

January 15th, 2013
CD of the Week – Elgar, Carter: Cello Concertos

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

Guest Movie Review: Zero Dark Thirty

January 15th, 2013
1134604 – Zero Dark Thirty

The controversial new movie about the hunt for bin Laden – and the role torture might have played in that hunt

New in Paperback: Rome and Rhetoric

January 13th, 2013
rome and rhetoric

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?

Book Review: A Jew Among Romans

January 12th, 2013
a jew among romans

A new – and forgiving? – look at the ancient Jewish historian whose very name has been hated for two thousand years.

Book Review: A Memory of Light

January 12th, 2013
a memory of light

The legendary fantasy series at long last comes to its conclusion

Book Review: The Midwife’s Tale

January 10th, 2013
midwifes tale

A formidable York midwife must use all her skill and human insight to save the life of a friend accused of murder

Book Review: World War Two

January 9th, 2013
world war two

The military crucible of the 20th Century gets a new hardcover history that can be read in one hour and fifteen minutes.

Book Review: Ice Forged

January 8th, 2013
ice forged

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 …

Classics Reissued: Alexander of Macedon

January 7th, 2013
alexander of macedon

One of the best – and certainly the most contentious – biographies of Alexander the Great gets an attractive new reprint.

Book Review: Scenes from Early Life

January 6th, 2013
scenes from early life

A talented novelist writes the story of his husband’s family’s experiences in war-torn Bangladesh – but is it life, or art?

Book Review: The Kassa Gambit

January 5th, 2013
the kassa gambit

In the future setting of this promising sci-fi debut, world-hopping humanity finds the last thing it expected: aliens!

New in Paperback: The Last Son of Krypton

January 4th, 2013
superman last son of krypton

The revered (and reviled) Superman director Richard Donner co-writes an epic story from the Man of Steel’s past

CD of the Week – Alexandre Tharaud plays Mauricio Kagel

January 2nd, 2013
CD of the Week – Alexandre Tharaud plays Mauricio Kagel

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.

Book Review: Perilous Moon

December 29th, 2012
perilous moon 2 – helmut bergmann

In the night sky over Occupied France, two young men met in combat – this remarkable book tells their stories.

Book Review: Cezanne

December 28th, 2012

“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.

Now in Paperback: Icefall

December 27th, 2012

On a lonely icebound fjord, the young daughter of a Viking king must solve a series of crimes – and find her destiny

Guest Movie Review: Jack Reacher

December 26th, 2012

It’s Tom Cruise starring as Lee Child’s super-tall, super-gritty action hero!

2011 in reading: revisitation

December 21st, 2012
2011 in reading: revisitation

As this year winds to a close we take another glance at the still-worthy books that moved us in days of old.

Guest Movie Review: The Hobbit

December 18th, 2012

The first part of director Peter Jackson’s long-awaited movie adaptation of “The Hobbit” is finally here

Book Review: Constantine the Emperor

December 17th, 2012

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

Charles Rosen, 1927-2012

December 16th, 2012
Charles Rosen, 1927-2012

Open Letters mourns the loss of Charles Rosen, pianist, scholar, teacher and critic.

Book Review: Ships of Oak, Guns of Iron

December 13th, 2012
ships of oak

In a rip-snorting new blood-and-swash history of the War of 1812, the men and their fighting ships take center stage

Norman Lebrecht’s Album of the Year

December 12th, 2012

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

Guest Movie Review: The Sessions

December 11th, 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”

Book Review: Counting One’s Blessings

December 11th, 2012
counting one’s blessings

The official biographer of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother now gives us that most unlikely of things: a collection of her life-long correspondence

Classics Reissued: The Norton Critical English Bible

December 9th, 2012
norton critical new testament

A new college-use edition of the King James Bible turns out to be that rarest of publishing phenomena: a true must-have masterpiece.

Book Review: A Dangerous Inheritance

December 8th, 2012
a dangerous inheritance

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

Book Review: Spectrum 19

December 7th, 2012
ArtOrder Challenge – Cory Godbey

The latest “Spectrum” arrives, full of worlds of wonder!

Guest Movie Review: Life of Pi

December 7th, 2012
life of pi banner

A boy and a tiger, trapped at sea – the best-selling novel “Life of Pi” gets a movie adaptation by Ang Lee

The Landscapes Through Which We Traveled

December 6th, 2012
Handke Zarko Visegrad most crno-belo

Peter Handke turns 70 today. One of his translators and frequent travel companions offers a tribute.

CD of the Week – Voyages-Reisen

December 5th, 2012
CD of the Week – Voyages-Reisen

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

Book Review: The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs

December 4th, 2012

Perfect for the dog-lover on your gift list: a great big new dog-themed anthology from the vaults of the New Yorker

Book Review: Kafka in Love

November 29th, 2012

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.

CD of the Week – Fazil Say

November 28th, 2012
CD of the Week – Fazil Say

The embattled Turkish composer Fazil Say releases a symphony rooted in the sounds of his homeland. Norman Lebrecht reviews.

Book Review: The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up

November 27th, 2012
the man who wouldn’t stand up

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.

Guest Movie Review: Rise of the Guardians

November 27th, 2012
APphoto_Film Review Rise of the Guardians

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

Wonders of the Indian Wilderness

November 26th, 2012

The many natural worlds of India – and the variety of striking animals who inhabit those worlds – come alive in this enormous illustrated volume

Now in Paperback: Alibis

November 26th, 2012

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

Comics: Nexus Omnibus Volume 1

November 22nd, 2012
nexus omnibus volume 1

Fresh from the halcyon 1980s, the avenging murderer of mass murderers gets a fresh new reprint series

New in Paperback: Cry Havoc

November 22nd, 2012
cry havoc

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

CD of the Week – The Irish Piano

November 21st, 2012
CD of the Week – The Irish Piano

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.

Book Review: The Pharaoh

November 19th, 2012

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.

Book Review: Tarzan – The Centennial Celebration

November 19th, 2012

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ legendary Ape Man gets a comprehensive visual tribute fit for the king of the jungle

Book Review: The World of Persian Literary Humanism

November 18th, 2012
the world of persian literary humanism

The vast tapestry of Persian literary history gets a new – and decidedly problematic – overview from one of the subject’s greatest modern scholars

Comics: Legion – Secret Origin

November 16th, 2012
legion secret origins

DC Comics’ fan-favorite super-team gets a definitive re-telling of its origin story – or at least provisionally definitive.

Book Review: The Clone Sedition

November 15th, 2012
the clone sedition

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?

Book Review: Foundation

November 15th, 2012
foundation – ackroyd

the irrepressible novelist, lecturer, and historian takes us on a battle-filled, ale-soaked ransacking tour of England’s long pre-Tudor history

Book Review: Dialogues of Pontano

November 14th, 2012
pontano dialogues vol 1

Two witty dialogues by a great Italian Renaissance humanist get a fresh Latin textual overhaul – and their very first English translation.

Book Review: Practically Wicked

November 14th, 2012
practically wicked

An ‘ice maiden’ social nobody accidentally meets a drunken young viscount at a party – and sparks (eventually, complicatedly) fly!

Book Review: Shakespeare’s Common Prayers

November 13th, 2012
shakespeare’s common prayrs

The words of Shakespeare have become a common literary language – but whose words did HE know? Why, the words of Thomas Cranmer, of course.

Classics Reprinted: 5001 Nights at the Movies

November 13th, 2012
5001 nights

A thick masterwork of that maddening maven of the movie screen, Pauline Kael, gets a rock-solid reprint from Picador

Book Review: Princess Elizabeth’s Spy

November 11th, 2012
Princess Elizabeth’s Spy

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

Book Reviews: Boys at War

November 8th, 2012
No title

A new series of paperbacks attempts to bring the boredom and terror of war home to young readers

Guest Movie Review: Wreck-It Ralph

November 8th, 2012
5Jane Lynch, Space Marine

The dynamic of beloved old video games gets a surprisingly nuanced treatment in the latest offering from Disney

CD of the Week – Portuguese Love Songs

November 7th, 2012

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.

Elliott Carter

November 6th, 2012
elliott carter

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.

Comics: X-Men – The Hidden Years, Volume 2

November 4th, 2012
x-men the hidden years vol 2

The ‘lost’ adventures of Marvel Comics’ original team of mutant superheroes, the X-Men

Book Review: Designing Nature

November 4th, 2012

Japanese Rinpa-style artwork takes center stage in a stunning new book and exhibit from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Book Review: Rise to Greatness

November 1st, 2012
rise to greatness

“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 …”

Now in Paperback: Forever Rumpole

November 1st, 2012
forever rumpole tp

A generous collection of stories featuring John Mortimer’s immortal creation, wine-swilling judge-taunting criminal-defending barrister, Horace Rumpole of the Old Bailey

Guest Movie Review: Cloud Atlas

October 28th, 2012

Time-bending? Gender-bending? Race-bending? “Cloud Atlas” drifts onto Mr. Anderson’s radar.

Book Review: Among the Islands

October 28th, 2012
among the islands – oct 2012

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

Book Review: London Eye

October 27th, 2012
london eye

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

October 26th, 2012

Jacques Barzun (1907 – 2012)

Book Review: The Lion Sleeps Tonight

October 25th, 2012
the lion sleeps tonight – oct 2012

The celebrated South African author of “My Traitor’s Heart” publishes a collection of his rabble-rousing, fortifying New Journalism pieces

CD of the Week – Carl Nielsen

October 24th, 2012
CD of the Week – Carl Nielsen

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.

Comics: The Shadow – Blood & Judgment

October 23rd, 2012
the shadow – blood and judgment

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! With some ample assistance from comics legend Howard Chaykin

Book Review: Spillover

October 22nd, 2012
Book Review: Spillover

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?

Guest Movie Review: Alex Cross

October 22nd, 2012

The best-selling James Patterson novel, featuring his most popular recurring character, gets a big-screen adaptation

Book Review: Through the Eye of a Needle

October 21st, 2012
through the eye of a needle – oct 2012

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.

Book Review: The Founders and Finance

October 20th, 2012
founders and finance

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

Book Review: Joseph Anton

October 18th, 2012
joseph anton

The great novelist tells the beguiling story of the man he became in order to escape a death sentence

CD of the Week – Anu Komsi

October 17th, 2012

Norman Lebrecht reviews a five-star recording from the extraordinary Finnish soprano Anu Komsi

Guest Movie Review: Argo

October 16th, 2012
6Affleck implemented the worst moustaches for this film

Director Ben Affleck’s latest, “Argo,” is a real Hollywood movie about a fake Hollywood movie way back in the 1970s

Book Review: The Ice Castle

October 14th, 2012
the ice castle

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.

Comics: Essential Thor Volume 6

October 12th, 2012
thor v absorbing man

Marvel’s resident thunder god-superhero Thor goes through some epic adventures in the latest volume of “Essential” reprints.

Book Review: Listening In

October 11th, 2012
listening in

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.

CD of the Week – Miklós Rózsa

October 10th, 2012

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

Book Review: Commentaries on Plato

October 9th, 2012
ficino 2

Marsilio Ficino’s enormous commentary on the Parmenides of Plato receives a fantastic scholarly edition from – who else? – Harvard’s I Tatti Renaissance Library

Comics: Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut

October 8th, 2012
nothing can

Vultures, black cats, and a gigantic, unbeatable foe: it’s a week in the life of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

Guest Movie Review: Frankenweenie

October 8th, 2012
6Boy and his dog, take two

Tim Burton’s new movie has a surprising amount of heart and soul

Book Review: The Iliad

October 6th, 2012
mccrorie iliad – oct 2012

Homer’s Iliad gets a new and unconventional translation into sometimes very familiar language

Now in Paperback: The Paperboy

October 4th, 2012
zac’s thespianism

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.

CD of the Week – Glenn Gould: The Schwarzkopf Tapes

October 3rd, 2012

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.

Guest Movie Review: The Master

October 2nd, 2012
6He must be sad about that shirt

Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, featuring a thinly-veiled take on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology

Now in Paperback: Bloodlands

September 26th, 2012

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.

Book Review: Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays?

September 24th, 2012
who wrote shakespeare’s plays

A slim, engaging new book tries to take an objective look at the popular question of Shakespearean authorship – if such objectivity is even possible.

Guest Movie Review: Dredd

September 24th, 2012
6No doors were harmed in the writing of this review

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 …

Book Review: Finally Free

September 24th, 2012

Dog-torturer Michael Vick writes a triumphalist come-back memoir.

Book Review: The Christmas Carol Murders

September 23rd, 2012

A Dickens-obsessed little Oregon town plays unwilling host to – what else? – a Dickens-themed murder in this captivating mystery debut

Book Review: Beyond Rosie the Riveter

September 22nd, 2012
cadet nurses

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.

Book Review: The Life of George Eliot

September 20th, 2012

A careful and discerning new biography tackles that most daunting of all great Victorian novelists, George Eliot – with largely praiseworthy results.

CD of the Week – Jon Lord

September 18th, 2012

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.

Book Review: Blood Eye (Raven, Book One)

September 18th, 2012
raven blood eye

Now in the U.S.: an epic, gore-spattered series about a roving band of Viking warriors!

Guest Movie Review: Resident Evil – Retribution

September 18th, 2012
8So which outfit is more ridiculous

Paul Anderson returns to the director’s chair for the new “Resident Evil” chapter – but does he still have that old zombie-fighting magic?

Blu-Ray Review: Titanic

September 17th, 2012

James Cameron’s ultimate twist on a shipboard-romance gets the luxury-liner treatment in a lavish new Blu-Ray set from Paramount

Book Review: The Unfaithful Queen

September 15th, 2012
unfaithful queen

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.

Book Review: I, Jane

September 15th, 2012
i, jane tp

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.

Book Review: Mistress of Mourning

September 15th, 2012
mistress of mourning

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.

Now in Paperback: Song of Wrath

September 14th, 2012
song of wrath

The ancient Greek historian Thucydides is virtually synonymous with the Peloponnesian War, but a new history gives the master a much-needed makeover

Comics: Namor Visionaries, Vol. 2

September 13th, 2012
the invaders

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!

CD of the Week – Stephen Hough

September 12th, 2012

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.

Emma: An Annotated Edition

September 11th, 2012
emma the annotated edition

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.

Guest Movie Review: Branded

September 10th, 2012
6I was hoping for WAY more of this

A visually surrealistic new movie about the evils of marketing and advertising run amok.

Book Review: The Poems of Jesus Christ

September 9th, 2012
poems of jesus christ

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.

Book Review: The Caliph’s Splendor

September 8th, 2012
the caliph’s splendor

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.

Book Review: Kiss of Steel

September 7th, 2012
kiss of steel

The melodramatic first novel in a series set in a vampire-ridden steampunk version of Victorian London

Now in Paperback: King Stephen

September 6th, 2012
king stephen

Now in paperback: the most comprehensive, opinionated, and even-handed biography poor unlucky oath-breaking King Stephen is ever likely to get – or deserve.

CD of the Week: Bononcini

September 5th, 2012

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.

Book Review: Reaper

September 4th, 2012
kd mcentire

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

Guest Movie Review: Lawless

September 3rd, 2012
6This might not end well

Hollywood Next Big Things – past, present, and future? – share screen-time in a gritty tale of the Prohibition-era South.

Book Review: Legions of Rome

September 3rd, 2012
the legions of rome

A comprehensive – and visually stunning – overview of the mighty Roman legions and the world they helped to shape.

Book Review: Master and God

September 3rd, 2012
master and god uk

An ambitious historical novel about the dark days of the emperor Domitian by the popular mystery author Lindsey Davis.

Now in Paperback: Hadrian

September 3rd, 2012
hadrian – empire & conflict

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 Paperback: Arguably

September 2nd, 2012
arguably tp – august 2012

Now in a bright yellow paperback: a generous helping of essays, provocations, and tirades by the late Christopher Hitchens.

Book Review: Venice from the Water

August 31st, 2012
venice from the water

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.

Book Review: Venice & Vitruvius

August 30th, 2012
venice and vitruvius

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.

CD of the Week – Homage to Glenn Gould

August 29th, 2012

Glenn Gould would have turned 80 next month; his legacy is celebrated with a diverse and sometimes instrumentally daring homage

Book Review: Venice – History of the Floating City

August 27th, 2012

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

Guest Movie Review: The Apparition

August 27th, 2012
6Technology, the replacement for thinking on your own

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 …

Book Review: The Men Who Would Be King

August 27th, 2012
the men who would be king

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.

Book Review: Dialectical Disputations

August 25th, 2012
dialectical disputations vol 2

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.

Now in Paperback: Fear Itself

August 23rd, 2012
cap speaks

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

From the Archives: DC Comics Classics Library

August 23rd, 2012
kryptonite nevermore

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 …

Book Review: The Lucky Ones

August 22nd, 2012

An emotionally stunning memoir about Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, where animals once fated for the slaughterhouse are given normal, happy lives

From the Archives: Buffalo in the House

August 22nd, 2012
buffalo, in the house

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 …

CD of the Week – Nicola Benedetti

August 22nd, 2012

Wunderkind violinist Nicola Benedetti delivers her best album to date with this thoughtful selection of concertos and film themes

Guest Movie Review: ParaNorman

August 20th, 2012
5I swear, it started as a lava lamp!

A creepy, touching stop-motion masterpiece from the creators of “Coraline”

Book Review: The Kingmaker’s Daughter

August 20th, 2012
the kingmaker’s daughter

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.

Book Review: Terrible Swift Sword

August 19th, 2012
terrible swift sword

An engaging – perhaps a touch too engaging – new biography of fourth four-star general in U.S. history: Phil Sheridan

Classics Reissued: The Brontes

August 17th, 2012
the brontes

The passionate, complicated Bronte family is the subject of Juliet Barker’s massive, definitive biography, now given a sumptuous new edition

Book Review: James Madison

August 16th, 2012
james madison

An accessible, well-researched new biography takes a largely approving look at America’s fourth president, James Madison.

Guest Blu-Ray Review: The Lorax

August 15th, 2012
the lorax and zac efron

Dr Seuss’ beloved children’s classic about environmentalism gets a less-than-lovable Hollywood remake

Guest Movie Review: The Bourne Legacy

August 14th, 2012
6We’ll see this face-off sometime in the future

Jeremy Renner steps into Matt Damon’s action-shoes in the latest instalment of the “Bourne” series!

Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Middleton

August 13th, 2012
oxford handbook of thomas middleton

A magnificent multi-voiced celebration of the weird and wild career of that Jacobean jack-of-all-trades, Thomas Middleton

Book Review: Fatal Colours

August 12th, 2012
Fatal Colours

A lively new account of the bloodbath of Towton, one of the key battles of the Wars of the Roses

Book Review: Spartacus – Morituri

August 10th, 2012

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!

Book Review: The Spymaster’s Daughter

August 10th, 2012
the spymaster’s daughter

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.

Book Review: Star Trek: Forgotten History

August 9th, 2012

All the time-jaunts of the legendary U.S.S. Enterprise, contained – and explained – in one novel? Inconceivable!

Book Review: Jack 1939

August 9th, 2012
jack 1939

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.

CD of the Week – Clifford Curzon

August 8th, 2012

A teeming new multi-volume box-set from Decca showcases the magisterial piano performances of Clifford Curzon

Now in Paperback: Demon Fish

August 6th, 2012
watson and the shark

Now in paperback: Juliet Eilperin’s gripping and personality-filled study of sharks and the people who study them

Guest Movie Review: Total Recall

August 6th, 2012
6Somehow I don’t think quotI didn’t do itquot will work

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 …

Comics: Legion of Super-Heroes – Hostile World

August 4th, 2012
element lad

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. …

CD of the Week – Arnold Schoenberg’s Songs

August 1st, 2012

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.

Gore Vidal

August 1st, 2012
Gore Vidal

For most of your long life, you looked to this uneasy translation with a mixture of dread and prurience, and now it’s upon you (“townsman of a stiller town,” from a poem you professed to …

Maeve Binchy

July 30th, 2012
maeve binchy

Open Letters Monthly mourns Maeve Binchy, teacher, talker, gentle seanchai.
Codladh samh, old friend.

Anthology Review: London – A History in Verse

July 30th, 2012
london a history in verse – hardcover

A sprawling new celebration of London in six centuries of verse!

Book Review: The Black Rhinos of Namibia

July 29th, 2012
the black rhinos of namibia

A gorgeously-written new book on the vanishing black rhinos of south-western Africa

Classics Reissued: Fevre Dream

July 27th, 2012
Fevre Dream

A new reprint delivers George R. R. Martin’s science fiction novel about 19th century American vampires!

Book Review: Conquest

July 26th, 2012
conquest – 2012

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

CD of the Week – Beethoven’s Viola

July 24th, 2012

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

Book Review: The Second World War

July 24th, 2012
the second world war

A magisterial new one-volume history of the Second World War

Book Review: The Nineteenth-Century Novel

July 23rd, 2012

The novel’s greatest age gets a stunning, multi-voiced celebration

Book Review: Three A.M.

July 22nd, 2012
3 am – march 2012

In a fog-enshrouded city, a tough PI takes on a case that changes everything.

Book Review: Equal of the Sun

July 21st, 2012
equal of the sun

16th Century Iran comes alive in a new novel

Century 16, Aurora

July 20th, 2012
pic 2

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.

CD of the Week – Ernest Bloch’s Hebrew Rhapsody

July 18th, 2012

Natalie Clein delivers an extraordinary performance of Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo, in a disc featuring other classic Jewish music. Norman Lebrecht reviews.

Guest Movie Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

July 16th, 2012

Aurochs run amok in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” John C. Anderson reviews.

Book Review: The Taste of War

July 15th, 2012
the taste of war

A new book looks at the foremost weapon in war’s arsenal: food.

Now in Paperback: The Last Divine Office

July 12th, 2012
the last divine office – paperback

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.

Book Review: Wake of the Bloody Angel

July 11th, 2012
wake of the bloody angel

The latest adventure featuring freelance ‘sword jockey’ Eddie LaCrosse is – avast! – a rollicking pirate-yarn!

Comics: Essential Spider-Man Volume 11

July 10th, 2012

The latest volume of Marvel’s “Essential” reprint line!

Guest Movie Review: Savages

July 9th, 2012
7Their next film together will obviously be about Luchadors

Oliver Stone’s new movie about drugs, violence, sex, and savages!

Now in Paperback: The Storm of War

July 8th, 2012
the storm of war

A new one-volume history of the Second World War ends with the big question: could the bad guys have won?

Book Review: Wellington’s Wars

July 5th, 2012
lawrence wellington

A new – and sometimes unforgiving – military history of the Iron Duke!

Anthology Review: The Year’s Best Science Fiction 29

July 5th, 2012

The latest edition of the venerable science fiction anthology series!

On Blu-Ray: 21 Jump Street

July 3rd, 2012
21 jump street blu-ray

The raucous 21st century update of the old TV series gets its Blu-Ray release!

Guest Movie Review: Ted

July 2nd, 2012
5Well, this is awkward

“Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane tries his hand at live-action comedy!

Roberts Saves POTUS and SCOTUS

July 1st, 2012
Roberts Saves POTUS and SCOTUS

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 …

Book Review: The Take-Charge Patient

June 28th, 2012
the take-charge patient – june 2012

A thorough new book aims to give patients more power over their hospital experience

CD of the Week: Sounds of the 30s

June 27th, 2012

The amazing duo of Stefano Bollani and Riccardo Chailly return with the inter-war music of Ravel, Stravinsky, Kurt Weill, and Victor de Sabata.

Book Review: The Omnivorous Mind

June 25th, 2012
the omnivorous mind

An amiable new book lays out the neurology behind food and eating

Guest Movie Review: Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

June 25th, 2012

Mash-up fiction come to the big screen in “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”!

Blu-Ray Review: Evita

June 24th, 2012
madonna evita

Now on Blu Ray: the 15th Anniversary edition of the award-winning Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Evita”!

Book Review: The Last Lost World

June 22nd, 2012

A wonderful new book explores not only the Pleistocene era but the IDEA of the Pleistocene

Book Review: Life Everlasting

June 21st, 2012
life everlasting

A slim, fantastic new book on dead bodies, decay, road kill, and circling vultures! Happy summer!

CD of the Week – Arias for Guadagni

June 20th, 2012

In his CD of the Week recommendation, Norman Lebrecht discovers the brilliant exception to a rule, an aria recital disc worth buying

Book Review: At the Mercy of the Queen

June 19th, 2012

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!

Guest Movie Review: Rock of Ages

June 18th, 2012
6They Wanna Rock

The big-screen adaptation of the hit Broadway play “Rock of Ages”

Book Review: Hitler’s Berlin

June 17th, 2012

Now in English: a richly researched and deeply moving history of the capital of the Third Reich.

Book Review: Exposing the Big Game

June 16th, 2012

A fiery new book condemns the evils of hunting

Book Review: Capital

June 15th, 2012
capital – june 2012

In John Lanchester’s new novel, a posh London street is hit hard when the housing bubble bursts

Book Review: The Laws of the Ring

June 14th, 2012
the laws of the ring

“Ultimate Fighter” Urijah Faber talks about life and goals in a new book

CD of the Week — Vivaldi’s Chamber Sonatas

June 13th, 2012

Against all expectations arrives a fantastic new recording of Vivaldi’s sonatas, courtesy of L’Estravagante. Norman Lebrecht reviews.

Book Review: Her Highness the Traitor

June 12th, 2012
her highness the traitor

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

Guest Movie Review: Prometheus

June 11th, 2012
7 Sorry dude, you’re too interesting to live

Ridley Scott’s long-awaited sci-fi epic finally arrives!

Book Review: The Weight of Vengeance

June 10th, 2012
the weight of vengeance – may 2012

A fine and fact-filled new account of the War of 1812

Book Review: Elusive Victories

June 9th, 2012
elusive victories

A stunning and insightful new book about the ways modern American presidents go to war, stay at war, and exit war.

Comics: The Court of Owls

June 8th, 2012
batman 1

DC Comics re-creates its entire line of superheroes – including the Caped Crusader himself, Batman

Book Review: The Last Full Measure

June 7th, 2012
the last full measure – march 2012

A sharp new work seeks to get at the gory reality behind the Hollywood images of warfare.

CD of the Week — Nikolai Medtner

June 6th, 2012

These rare recordings illuminate the valuable contributions of the Russian composer (and contemporary of Rachmaninov’s) Nikolai Medtner

Book Review: The Family Corleone

June 5th, 2012
the famiy corleone

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.

Guest Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

June 4th, 2012
6 The fairest of them all; seriously, I don’t get it

Can the Peter Jackson/Lord of the Rings approach work with the Brothers Grimm? Mr. Anderson tells the tale!

Comics: The Legion Archive, Vol. 13

June 3rd, 2012
legion 4

The long-awaited next volume in the ongoing Legion of Super-Heroes reprint line is finally here!

Guest Movie Review: The Chernobyl Diaries

June 2nd, 2012
5 There’s nothing creepier than Russian children

Disaster movie or disaster of a movie? Horror movie or horrible movie? Mr. Anderson disambiguates!

The Non-Event of the Month

May 31st, 2012

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.

CD of the Week: Schubert String Quartets

May 30th, 2012

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

Book Review: Midnight in Peking

May 28th, 2012
midnight in peking

In pre-war Peking, a young girl is brutally murdered, and an investigation is working against time as Japanese forces converge on the city. But the girl’s father wants justice, even if he has to find it himself.

Classics Reissued: The Mabinogion Tetralogy

May 26th, 2012
mabinogion tetralogy

A towering landmark of epic fantasy literature is re-issued in a pretty paperback!

An Interview with Kim Newman

May 25th, 2012
bloody red baron – march 2012

An interview with Kim Newman, author of the fantastic “Anno Dracula” series of novels!

New in Paperback: Bloody Red Baron

May 24th, 2012
bloody red baron – march 2012

In the sequel to Kim Newman’s great “Anno Dracula,” the evil Count wages war – the First World War, to be exact – with the living!

CDs of the Week: New Names at the Piano

May 23rd, 2012

The steady rush of talented new pianists can be overwhelming. Norman Lebrecht helps locate the gold from the dross.

Book Review: Of Moose and Men

May 21st, 2012
moose and man

The closest thing to a genuine ‘moose-whisperer’ finally gets around to writing the Bible on the species!

Movie Review: Battleship

May 21st, 2012
6We’re going to need a bigger boat

Can an enormous budget save an old, defunct board game about an old, defunct class of warship? Ask Mr. Anderson!

Book Review: The Taming of the Rogue

May 20th, 2012
amanda mccabe

A sensible young widow tries hard not to fall in love with a dashing young playwright in the latest offering from good old Harlequin Romances!

Book Review: Michelangelo

May 19th, 2012
Michelangelo jacket

The first volume in a magisterial new two-volume biography of the greatest Renaissance artist of them all!

Comics: Avengers Assemble, Volume 3

May 18th, 2012
avengers attack

the third and final reprint-volume of one of the greatest creative runs on Marvel Comics’ beloved title “The Avengers”

Book Review: HHhH

May 17th, 2012
Hhhh – april 2012

A popular French book about the daring assassination of a Nazi official in 1942 receives an English translation

CD of the Week – A Rush of Mieczyslaw Weinbergs

May 16th, 2012

Four new recordings celebrate the oft-forgotten Russian composer Mieczylaw Weinberg. Norman Lebrecht reviews.

Book Review: Overseas

May 15th, 2012

a lush new time-travel romance arrives just in time for summer

Movie Review: Dark Shadows

May 14th, 2012
well, what do you know? Apparently, blondes DO have more fun

The latest collaboration between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp is very nearly un-dead on arrival, according to our guest-poster, movie blogger John Anderson!

Book Review: The Romans Who Shaped Britain

May 13th, 2012
the romans who shaped britain

A lively new personality-driven look at the centuries of Roman rule in the British Isles

Book Review: Midstream

May 12th, 2012

The posthumous memoir of a beloved Southern writer

Book Review: My Two Moms

May 11th, 2012

The well-spoken son of a lesbian couple becomes a YouTube sensation – and an author.

Book Review: The Sounding of the Whale

May 10th, 2012
Book Review: The Sounding of the Whale

D. Graham Burnett, a young historian of science, produces a fantastic and important encyclopedic history of the long, torturous, often retrograde progress toward “Save the Whales.”

CD of the Week – Philip Glass’s 9th Symphony

May 9th, 2012

Philip Glass’s ninth symphony has some of the minimalist traits listeners will expect–but also a number of surprises

Book Review: The Confession

May 7th, 2012

In the latest Ian Rutledge mystery, a man walks into Scotland Yard, confesses to a long-ago murder, and shortly afterward is himself found murdered – and the game’s afoot!

Book Review: Star Trek: That Which Divides

May 6th, 2012
Star Trek That Which Divides

Kirk and crew must conduct a rescue mission on a planet that disappears every three years – and is set to vanish mighty soon!

Book Review: The Selected Letters of Charles Dickens

May 5th, 2012
selected letters of charles dickens

A heapingly generous helping of the letters of history’s most popular novelist

Comics: The Children’s Crusade

May 3rd, 2012

Not-quite-brothers search for their not-quite-mother in this colorful mini-series, now in a hardcover collection

CD of the Week – Rachmaninov’s 5th Piano Concerto

May 2nd, 2012

In a clever ploy to extend the copyright of Sergei Rachmaninov’s music, Alexander Warenberg has fiddled with the composer’s second symphony to create a so-called “fifth” piano concerto. Norman Lebrecht reviews the results.

Book Review: Farther Away

May 1st, 2012
farther away – feb 2012

The latest selection of reprints from one of America’s most-praised novelists

Now in Paperback: The Atlantic and Its Enemies

May 1st, 2012
the atlantic and its enemies – tp – march 2012

A big, pugnacious account of the post-WWII world

Now in Paperback: The Book of Deadly Animals

April 28th, 2012
the book of deadly animals – april 2012

a fact-filled compendium of killer creatures!

Book Review: The Uninvited Guests

April 27th, 2012
the uninvited guestss

A darkly dazzling new Edwardian novel to tempt fans of “Downton Abbey”

Comics: Essential Avengers Volume 8

April 26th, 2012
warlock strikes

the latest black-and-white omnibus collection of the adventures of Marvel Comics’ super-team par excellence, The Mighty Avengers

CD of the Week – Elgar Conducts Elgar

April 25th, 2012

Every conductor tries to locate the key to Edward Elgar’s famous compositions — a new release lets listeners hear how Elgar interpreted himself

Book Review: That Woman

April 24th, 2012
that woman – sebba – use

A new biography of Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom a King of England abdicated

Book Review: Dawn of Egyptian Art

April 23rd, 2012
babboon 3100 bc

A sumptuous catalogue of the earliest artwork from ancient Egypt

Book Review: Uncovering the Truth about Meriwether Lewis

April 22nd, 2012
uncovering the truth about meriwether lewis – feb 2012

a new book sifts the evidence for a few flash-point topics in the life of Meriwether Lewis

Book Review: The Weird

April 21st, 2012
the weird – april 2012

A gigantic new anthology of creepy, unbalanced, and openly threatening short fiction

Classics Reissued: The Marsh Lions

April 19th, 2012
zebras drinking

A new reprint of a classic book about a hardscrabble pride of lions in Kenya

CDs of the Week – Gustav Mahler

April 18th, 2012

A year after the centennial of his death, Gustav Mahler is still inspiring interesting performances. Norman Lebrecht listens to five newly released recordings.

Book Review: Elegy for Eddie

April 16th, 2012
elegy for eddie – april 2012

In the latest Maisie Dobbs novel, the clouds of war are gathering

Book Review: Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down

April 15th, 2012
rosecrans baldwin

A talented young novelist writes a nonfiction account of living and working in Paris!

Interview with Tom O’Rourke

April 14th, 2012
tom o’rourke1

First off, thanks for joining us – and congratulations on writing a fantastic book! Can you tell us a little about yourself? Writing is not, as it were, your day job, correct?
It’s good to be …

Book Review: West Briton Story

April 13th, 2012
west briton story tp

A novel of 6th century England, full of blood and mud and love and valor!

Interview with Elspeth Cooper

April 12th, 2012

An interview with author Elspeth Cooper!

CD of the Week – Henryk Mikolaj Górecki: Totus Tuus

April 11th, 2012

Music from the adventurous Polish composer Henryk Mikolaj Górecki finds a perfect match with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.

Now in Paperback: Berlin at War

April 10th, 2012
berlin at war

An exceptionally powerful history of Berlin’s rise and fall during the course of World War Two

Book Review: Songs of the Earth

April 7th, 2012
songs of the earth – march 2012

The valiant young hero of Elspeth Cooper’s debut novel must flee from a Church that condemns his growing energy-powers as evil …

Book Review: Mutants & Mystics

April 6th, 2012
mutants and mystics – april 2012

A new book explores the connections between superhero comics and the extraordinary beliefs of some of their creators

Book Review: Human Rights Watch World Report, 2012

April 5th, 2012
human rights watch world report 2012

The latest World Report of the Human Rights Watch draws a sobering – but still hopeful – picture of mankind in 2011

CD of the Week – Anton Rubinstein: Persian Love Songs

April 4th, 2012

19th-century Russian composer Anton Rubinstein has always been justifiably overshadowed by Tchaikovsky, but a new recording of his Persian music proves a surprising delight

An Interview with John Summers of The Baffler

April 2nd, 2012
anna and john photo

An interview with The Baffler‘s new Editor-in-Chief, John Summers.

The Baffler Returns

April 2nd, 2012
baffler 19 cover

The Baffler, an unapologetically radical journal that always punched above its weight, has had a troubled history. But a long-term publishing contract has rejuvenated it, and shown that an old formula is as relevant as ever.

Book Review: Love, Fiercely

April 1st, 2012
love, fiercely – march 2012

He was a taciturn, bookish heir to staggering wealth; she was a high-spirited nonconformist ‘new woman’ – and, in a lost era of privilege and social progress, they were very much in love.

Book Review: Empire of Shadows

April 1st, 2012
empire of shadows

A new book dramatizes the adventurous – and bloody – opening of the American West.

Book Review: The Crimes of Elagabalus

March 29th, 2012

A solid, enjoyable new biography of one of ancient Rome’s most notorious gay teen-emperors!

CD of the Week – Elgar’s Cello Concerto

March 28th, 2012

Norman Lebrecht spotlights a striking new recording of a piece that has eluded musicians for years, Edward Elgar’s cello concerto

Book Review: The Last Pre-Raphaelite

March 23rd, 2012
the last pre-raphaelite

A big new biography of Edward Burne-Jones, whose vivid and dreamlike artwork caught the sentimentality of his time and shaped it to immortal perfection.

CD of the Week – Brahms performed by friends and colleagues

March 21st, 2012

Arbiter Records gathers together some remarkable archival rarities of Brahms recordings. Norman Lebrecht reviews.

New Edition: The Barnes & Noble King James Bible

March 20th, 2012
resurrection of lazarus

A gorgeous new edition of the King James Bible arrives on bookshelves, packed with illustrations by Gustave Dore and, of course, some of the most beautiful poetry in the English language

Book Review: Heaven Cracks, Earth Shakes

March 18th, 2012
heaven cracks earth shakes

A perceptive new study of the effects a cataclysmic earthquake had on a tottering regime in China

Book Review: The Forest Unseen

March 17th, 2012
the forest unseen – march 2012

An enchantingly small focus creates a modern-day masterpiece of natural history

Book Review: Restless in the Grave

March 16th, 2012
restless in the grave – march 2012

The latest Kate Shugak murder mystery features small town Alaska, bush pilot sabotage, and one heck of a sexy state trooper!

Book Review: Tutankhamen

March 15th, 2012

Any new study of Tutankhamen faces an array of obstacles – some more familiar than others.

CD of the Week – Erik Chisholm: Piano Concertos 1 & 2

March 14th, 2012

Acquaint yourself with newly recorded Piano Concertos from the talented, eclectic, and little-known Scottish composer Erik Chisholm

Now in Paperback: The Hemlock Cup

March 12th, 2012
hemlock cup tp

Now in paperback: one of the best books ever written about the life and times of Socrates

Book Review: The Inquisitor

March 11th, 2012
the inquisitor

A new thriller features an implacable torturer-for-hire as its problematic protagonist.

Book Review: The Lost History of 1914

March 10th, 2012
the lost history of 1914

A new look at the outbreak of World War I reminds readers of the individual people involved – and presents some intriguing might-have-beens.

In Theaters: John Carter

March 8th, 2012
john carter of mars mm

The new movie “John Carter” has spawned a dozen reprints of the original Edgar Rice Burroughs stories – including the official Disney tie-in featuring both the screenplay novelization and the debut ERB novel

CD of the Week – Renée Fleming: Poèmes

March 7th, 2012

Renée Fleming sings “sensual French masterpieces” on a new album from Decca–but are the results as evocative as the billing?

Now in Paperback: A Princess of Mars

March 6th, 2012
this you gotta see

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ debut John Carter novel, “A Princess of Mars,” gets a vivid new comic book adaptation

Now in Paperback: The View From Lazy Point

March 5th, 2012

A paperback reprint of a modern nature classic

Now in Paperback: DC Universe Legacies

March 4th, 2012

A new paperback edition of the once-definitive history of DC superheroes

Breitbart at Rest

March 3rd, 2012

Andrew Breitbart, the brash, conservative media warrior, died a few days ago. He was by all accounts a wonderful husband, father, and friend – but should that matter?

Book Review: Reading for My Life

March 1st, 2012
reading for my life – feb 2012

A new anthology samples from a lifetime’s publications of a beloved critic

Book Review: History of a Pleasure Seeker

March 1st, 2012
history of a pleasure seeker

In Richard Mason’s latest novel, a handsome, articulate young man takes a job with a wealthy family as tutor for their troubled son

Book Review: Watergate

February 27th, 2012

Thomas Mallon’s latest novel dramatizes the Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon administration

Book Review: Enterprise

February 26th, 2012

a lean and pugnacious new history of the second-greatest fighting ship in United States history!

Classics Reissued: Illumination in the Flatwoods

February 25th, 2012
man and turkey

In conjunction with a recent PBS special, a classic book is re-issued: the story of a man who became the mother, father, and leader to an engaging group of wild turkeys

Book Review: Under the Moons of Mars

February 23rd, 2012
taylor kitsch

A new anthology of tales set in the exotic Mars of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter” novels!

CD of the Week – Debussy’s Clair de Lune

February 22nd, 2012

The great Natalie Dessay is at her best in this recording of Claude Debussy’s early piano suites

Book Review: The Frontiers of Imperial Rome

February 20th, 2012

The frontiers of ancient Rome – the limits by which it defined both itself and its enemies – stretched from the Tigris and Euphrates to the Irish Sea. In this muscular new study, those frontiers take center stage.

Now in Paperback: Avengers Assemble Vol. 2

February 18th, 2012
justice fumbles

The Earth’s Mightiest Heroes love, squabble, and fight killer robots in this latest reprint volume

Book Review: The Forest Laird

February 18th, 2012
the forest laird

A veteran historical novelist takes on that gigantic freedom fighter, William Wallace

Classics Reissued: Dr. Fu-Manchu

February 17th, 2012
the return  of dr. fu manchu – feb 2012

Everybody knows the name Fu-Manchu, but so few people have read the books that made that name famous! A great new series of reprints aims to correct that.

Book Review: Kiev 1941

February 16th, 2012
kiev 1941

In Hitler’s great gamble of attacking the Soviet Union in 1941, the legendary victories at Kiev weren’t so glorious as standard histories would have us believe – so says a new book on the subject

CD of the Week – John Cage’s Complete Piano Music

February 15th, 2012

A bursting box set contains all of the piano music from the iconoclastic American composer John Cage

Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Animal Ethics

February 12th, 2012

A massive collection of essays examining all aspects of animal rights.

Classics Reissued: What’s to Become of the Boy?

February 11th, 2012
heinrich boll

A pretty new reprint of the great German writers’ memoir of boyhood under the Nazis in Cologne.

Book Review: The Comedy is Finished

February 9th, 2012
comedy is finished

A series of fortunate events unearths a long-lost manuscript by the late great Donald Westlake! Too good to be true, or too true to be good?

Book Review: City of Fortune

February 8th, 2012
city of fortune

An intensely readable history of the wars that made – and then broke – the city of Venice as ruler of the seas.