SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Stav Sherez

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December 22, 2016
South by Merlin Coverley, Oldcastle, £12.99 Why do we favour one direction and not the other? Why has the north, historically, always been prioritised over the south? This question marks the starting point for Merlin Coverley’s rich and detailed account of our cultural responses to the very notion of “south”. He begins by noting that
December 15, 2016
The Global History of Catholicism edited by James Hagerty, the Lord Brennan Educational Trust/Rowan Publishing How did a tiny Middle Eastern sect become the largest and most vibrant faith in the world? This is one of the fascinating questions that The Global History of Catholicism sets out to answer. As Eamon Duffy notes in his
June 16, 2016
Crusade and Jihad by Malcolm Lambert Profile Books, £20 “The past exerts its sway both to bane and to benefit,” says Malcolm Lambert half-way through his new study of religious war and, in particular, the entwined notions of crusade and jihad. Both terms are common currency these days, as likely to be heard from the
June 02, 2016
The great American writer's latest book presents death as deliverance from modern anxiety
June 02, 2016
Zero K by Don DeLillo Picador, £16.99 Don DeLillo has always been a writer obsessed by death. His major novels have all grappled with the finite nature of existence, but never has he tackled it so directly as he does in Zero K. The first line of the novel, “Everybody wants to own the end
April 07, 2016
In Praise of Forgetting by David Rieff Yale, £14.99 “Never forget” is one of the most famous directives of our time and yet one of the most ignored. The phrase was formulated in response to the Holocaust and its harsh imperative was meant to act as a preventative shield against this kind of atrocity ever
March 24, 2016
Apostle by Tom Bissell Faber and Faber, £20 “I have long believed that anyone who does not find Christianity interesting has only his or her unfamiliarity with the topic to blame,” Tom Bissell states boldly in the introduction to his literary search for the origins of Christianity. He is a gifted writer whose previous topics
March 10, 2016
Review: Small Town Talk by Barney Hoskyns, Faber and Faber, £20
March 10, 2016
Small Town Talk by Barney Hoskyns Faber and Faber, £20 How did a Republican-voting rural town in the Catskills become a magnet for disaffected hippies and its very name a metonym for the entire 1960s counter-culture? This is the question Barney Hoskyns, one of rock ’n roll’s most engaging chroniclers, sets out to answer in
December 10, 2015
The Ghosts of K2 by Mick Conefrey, Oneworld, £20 In the summer of 1996 a ferocious storm descended on K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, engulfing the many climbing teams spread out across its perilous ledges. By the end of August, 13 climbers were dead in what would prove to be the worst season in K2’s history.
September 24, 2015
The Gestapo by Frank McDonough (Coronet, £20). This year has produced a slew of important books relating to the Second World War, and this informative survey of the Gestapo is one of the best. The author tries to dismantle some of the common myths about Hitler’s secret police. He does so with style and intelligence.
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