SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
Books
February 11, 2016
Francis Phillips
Everyday Saints and Other Stories by Archimandrite Tikhon (trans by Julian Henry Lowenfeld) Pokrov Publications, £20 First published in Russia in 2011, this book, despite its unlikely title, has been consistently at the top of the country’s bestseller lists. This tells you something about Russia. Although officially atheist for more than 70 years following the
February 04, 2016
Staff writers
Agents of Empire by Noel Malcolm (Allen Lane, £30). This extraordinarily wide-ranging volume uses the forgotten tales of the Bruti and Bruni families to shed light on the complex relationship between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire during the early modern period. Members of these two families, from Venetian-held territories, served as secret agents, merchants,
February 04, 2016
James Butler
The Land of the Green Man by Carolyne Larrington IB Tauris, £20 Black Vaughan, still riding the countryside at night with his pack of howling, red-eyed hounds. Jenny Greenteeth, lurking in the weed-choked depths of ponds, on the look-out for heedless children. Fairies, knockers, bogarts and banshees. All find their place in Carolyne Larrington’s scholarly
February 04, 2016
Jonathan Wright
Ireland and Vatican II Edited by Niall Coll Columba Press, £14.99 In his introduction, editor Niall Coll observes that “many Irish Catholics are only beginning to awaken” to the full significance of Vatican II. Reception of the Council’s teachings has, he suggests, been slow: perhaps because Irish Catholics “have never stood out traditionally in terms
February 04, 2016
Jack Carrigan
God or Nothing by Cardinal Robert Sarah Ignatius, £12.99 I would bet that many Catholics in the West had not heard of Cardinal Sarah of Guinea before the family synod in October. Then his name kept cropping up, dispelling the disquiet many of us felt over the Church, when we heard his voice: strong, wise
January 28, 2016
Staff writers
Family and Life by Pope Francis (Alban Books, £9.99). These “pastoral reflections”, selected by the Pontifical Council for the Family, are taken from the years 1998-2013, when the Pope was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. They show how closely the Pope today echoes his past preaching. On topics such as abortion, raising children, divorce and same-sex
January 28, 2016
Charlie Hegarty
Hitler at Home by Despina Stratigakos Yale, £20 The author, an architectural historian, has chosen to make a detailed investigation of an aspect of Hitler’s life not much known about: his domestic arrangements in Munich, where he lived between 1920 and 1929; in the Chancellery in Berlin; and at the Berghof, a chalet in the
January 28, 2016
Patrick West
The Irish in Manchester: 1750-1921 by Mervyn Busteed Manchester University Press, £75 The mass influx of Irish into Britain in the middle of the 19th century provoked what journalists today would call a “moral panic”. Indeed, the inundation aroused fears that still resonate. Like modern-day Eastern Europeans, the Irish were accused of under-cutting the wages of
January 28, 2016
Jonathan Wright
The nub of Tim Whitmarsh’s argument is that “disbelief in the supernatural is as old as the hills”. This, Whitmarsh suspects, may come as a surprise to the New Atheists and their theistic sparring partners since both camps tend to regard atheism as a “modern invention”. For some, it is to be lionised as a
January 21, 2016
Staff writers
My Journey So Far by Andrew White (Lion Books, £14.99). Canon Andrew White is known as the “Vicar of Baghdad”. He is familiar to many as a courageous and faithful Christian witness in that troubled city. A man of reconciliation and peace, pastor to the only Anglican church in Baghdad, White has spent his life
January 21, 2016
Charlie Hegarty
60 Degrees North by Malachy Tallack Polygon, £12.99 The best travel writing is never just the outer journey to a particular place; it also always involves an inner journey, in which the writer, as Tallack puts it, travels “around the world in search of home”. Growing up on Shetland, the author decides on the original
January 21, 2016
Jonathan Wright
The Astronomer and the Witch by Ulinka Rublack OUP, £20 The postal service between southern Germany and the Austrian town of Linz was on spectacularly bad form during the last quarter of 1615. It took three months for a very important letter to reach Johannes Kepler. When it finally arrived on December 29, the contents
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