How They All Admired Us Before We Fell Apart

Posted on by Tom Fleming

THE IDEA OF English or, rather different, British identity is currently an urgent matter. Europe threatens our political and economic dissolution and America our cultural. The first offers a regulated superstate; the second a deregulated globalisation. Neither offers the land we once knew and loved, nor the one we now know and love slightly less. […]

Travelling For Fun

Posted on by David Gelber

When is a travel book not a travel book? When it’s not just about travel, of course. The best travel writers show you more than the sights, and while the late Robert Tewdwr Moss’s book is a thoroughly inadequate guide to Syria, it is, perversely, a fine piece of travel writing.

In The Catacombs

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Three years ago, in a prize-winning book with the deceptively anodyne title The Discovery of France, Graham Robb took on the whole of France and effectively showed the extent to which ancient French tribal customs and regional convictions underlie the modern Republic created by Napoleon. Now, taking shelter beneath an equally unrevealing title and wishy-washy […]

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Tales From The Caucasus

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

To write a coherent account of the peoples of the Caucasus in 500 pages, even for an author with fluent Russian, is probably impossible. This is especially so when focusing on the Circassians and Chechens, whose languages few foreigners have tried to learn, let alone succeeded in mastering. What Oliver Bullough has in fact done […]

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Tips About Icebergs

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Cold is the new hot, judging by this avalanche of books on polar economics. Until recently the Arctic has languished in the southern imagination as a romantic hinterland of bergs and pack, a region that made headlines only when Santa mounted his sleigh. Now scarcely a day goes by without a media story relating a […]

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Trials of the Borderlands

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Ever since the United States assumed the mantle ‘leader of the free world’, in the acrid carnage of the Second World War, there has been a debate as to whether America is an empire in all but name, as Great Britain, France or even that mother of all empires, ancient Rome, had been before. If […]

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