Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India, was so enthused by hydroelectric dams that he called them the ‘new temples of India’. In Unruly Waters, Sunil Amrith tells the initially inspiring but ultimately melancholy tale of how the inhabitants and colonists of Asia, and of India in particular, moved from being in awe of nature and the beneficent but often destructive power of the monsoon, to gaining an understanding of the water cycle that nourishes the planet, to eventually developing a hubristic belief that they could utterly control natural resources to their own advantage.
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'Only in Britain, perhaps, could spy chiefs – conventionally viewed as masters of subterfuge – be so highly regarded as ethical guides.'
In this month's Bookends, @AdamCSDouglas looks at the curious life of Henry Labouchere: a friend of Bram Stoker, 'loose cannon', and architect of the law that outlawed homosexual activity in Britain.
'We have all twenty-nine of her Barsetshire novels, and whenever a certain longing reaches critical mass we read all twenty-nine again, straight through.'
Patricia T O'Conner on her love for Angela Thirkell. (£)