Before football, there was racing. What started out as the private amusement of a few aristocrats, when two young blades might challenge their best horses to a sprint, had, by the early nineteenth century, become part of a number of rakish activities that characterised the chaotic years of the pre-police age during the Regency. In Gentlemen and Blackguards, Nick Foulkes has taken the Derby of 1844, and the ensuing legal dispute over its outcome, as the focal point of a book that charts how racing spawned a gambling mania that swept through all levels of society.
Follow Literary Review on Twitter
'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 (£).
'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.