At the time I read Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time I understood his explanations of astrophysics, but was quite unable to repeat them afterwards. Others have said the same. But physics is not easy – some minds can do it and others not; and however good the writer, the substance will not necessarily stick. Colin Tudge’s explanation of evolutionary botany, The Secret Life of Trees, definitely sticks.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
'The authors do not shrink from spelling out the scale of the killings when the Rhodesians made long-distance raids on guerrilla camps in Mozambique and Zambia.'
Xan Smiley on how Rhodesia became Zimbabwe.
'Thirkell was a product of her time and her class. For her there are no sacred cows, barring those that win ribbons at the Barchester Agricultural.'
The novelist Angela Thirkell is due a revival, says Patricia T O'Conner (£).