There is a tendency among the devoutly religious to venerate what to them seems “natural” – or God-given. But the story of religion is one of retreat in the face of science’s relentless advance.
In Damascus, the war seems to have receded, and Bashar al-Assad looks more comfortable than ever.
Both of the main parties see political advantage in going it alone if they win in 2015.
If prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, then punting is the oldest consumer activity. Yet it remains broadly unexamined, perhaps because the questions it raises are too uncomfortable.
Although IS is certainly an Islamic movement, it is neither typical nor mired in the distant past, because its roots are in Wahhabism, a form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia that developed only in the 18th century.
How did a hamlet in Belgium become immortalised in the names of streets, districts, parks and buildings all over Britain? These five books, published in anticipation of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, explain why.
Over the half-century of his career as a musician, Wyatt has belonged to no musical coterie; at his home in the market town of Louth in Lincolnshire, he has simply ploughed his own furrow.
Energetic and confident, the heir to the Sackville dynasty always felt comfortable in her own skin. Being Vita wasn’t the problem – patriarchy was.
David Goldblatt is one of a loose group of football writers, all of them men born in the 1960s, for whom the sport since the summer of either 1989 or 1990 has been a slightly poisonous let-down.
Roberts brings Bonaparte brilliantly to life as a military leader and public administrator of immense skill, energy and resourcefulness, yet one who was fatally flawed, writes Andrew Adonis.
Founded upon his experience of successfully negotiating with the IRA, the book is an enthralling, case study of the art, in which Powell carefully establishes his argument for why dialogue with terror groups is usually necessary.
Theroux’s lively imagination ranges from Hawaii to Alabama to the Amazon, and often portrays the disintegration of love and the disappointment when a promising sequel leads to bitterness.
Mozart was fond of “scatological smut” and found “the sound of rude words especially hilarious”.
Uglow’s subject is the everyday life of those who stayed behind, for whom the 22 years of conflict were experienced in terms of boredom, bad weather, missing fathers, sons or brothers, the price of bread, failed harvests, mourning, making money and, overwhelmingly, reading the newspapers.
There is a sense that, in recent years, novelists have formed part of a rearguard action in response to Richard Dawkins’s New Atheist consensus. Philip Maughan talks to Marilynne Robinson, Francis Spufford and Rowan Williams about God in literature.
Ed Smith’s weekly Left Field column.
Critic’s Notes by Mark Lawson.
I found it easy to keep my nostalgia in check. Tampering with evidence? Fitting up? Weird comments about “menopausal” shoplifters? No, thanks.
While it is no hardship to gaze upon ravishing images of the landscape as its autumnal glow vanishes under an icy crust, there’s not much to keep the intellect thrumming over the course of 196 minutes.
Down and Out by Nicholas Lezard.
The Drink Column.
Will Self On Location.
Telling Tales by Suzanne Moore.
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