Michael Moorcock: “I think Tolkien was a crypto-fascist”
By Andrew Harrison - 24 July 11:57

Michael Moorcock revolutionised science fiction with symbolism, sex and psychoactive drugs. Now, at 75, he has invented another genre.

E L Doctorow in 2007. Photo: Getty
E L Doctorow and the limits of historical fiction
By Liv Constable-Maxwell - 24 July 11:45

What do J P Morgan, Sigmund Freud and Kim Kardashian all have in common with E L Doctorow? A hazy relationship between fact and fiction, that's what.

Army dreamer: Louis de Bernières. Photo: David Levenson/Getty Images
The great war of whimsy: on Louis de Bernières’s The Dust that Falls from Dreams
By Frances Wilson - 23 July 12:05

As in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières’s subject in this new novel is love and war.

Rip it up: Chuck Berry in 1958. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
It’s One for the Money: Tracing the history of theft in pop music
By Yo Zushi - 23 July 11:44

Does culture exist in a vacuum? This “love letter to creative thievery” would suggest not.

This book challenges the “reverse-Voltaires” of the internet. Photo: Getty
Mick Hume’s Trigger Warning: on free-speech heretics and reverse-Voltaires
By Caroline Criado-Perez - 23 July 11:40

There is an important and necessary book waiting to be written on this subject – but this isn't it.

The BBC needs more executives like the author of this book. Photo: Getty
Auntie under attack: life inside the BBC
By Robin Lustig - 23 July 11:34

This book paints a wonderfully accurate picture – sometimes painfully so – of the inner workings of the BBC: its high hopes and petty jealousies, its triumphs and disasters.

A lighthouse. Photo: Flickr/Dennis Jarvis
Sinister structures or homely beacons: why lighthouses stand firm as a cultural symbol
By Oliver Farry - 21 July 17:54

Though they are rarely operational these days, lighthouses remain culturally powerful and maintain a strong hold on the imagination. 

Illustration: Simon Pemberton for New Statesman
The internet is not a single entity - it's a whole new way of living
By Josh Cohen - 17 July 15:07

Psychoanalyst Josh Cohen untangles our complex "ways of being" in an overwhelmingly digital world.

Go Set a Watchman on sale at Books and Books in Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Harper Lee's fraught return to Maycomb County casts a stark light on both the past and present
By Erica Wagner - 16 July 16:19

How do we talk about Go Set a Watchman? Does its existence diminish To Kill a Mockingbird? How does it stand in relation to that text?

Copies of Go Set a Watchman. Photo: Getty
Why Go Set a Watchman is a much better novel than To Kill a Mockingbird
By Helen Laville - 16 July 13:06

Harper Lee's newly released novel may not win another Pulitzer, but it's far more honest and mature about the complexity of racism in the South.

Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya leads the New York City Marathon on November 3, 2013. Photo: Emmanual Dunand/AFP
Will there ever be a marathon time under two hours?
By Rose George - 16 July 9:47

Ed Caesar's new book asks if the record is breakable - and who could break it.

The causeway to Sunderland point. Photo © David Dixon
Mark Blacklock's 'I'm Jack' shows the dark side of the Northern psyche
By Ben Myers - 16 July 9:31

34 years after Peter Sutcliffe was arrested, this intriguing debut shows how deeply the Yorkshire Ripper is embedded in regional imagination.

Man of parts: Freeman seemed intent on keeping the compartments of his life separate. Photo: ITV/Rex features
From one Statesman to another: Peter Wilby on John Freeman
By Peter Wilby - 16 July 9:20

Former New Statesman editor Peter Wilby reviews a new biography of John Freeman.

Illustration by Neale Osborne for Lebrecht Music & Arts.
The global wonder of Danilo Kiš
By Chris Power - 16 July 8:45

Kiš abhorred nationalism and prized literature as a global language. 

The actual moon landings. Photo: NASA/AFP/Getty Images
This is how we walk on the moon: Benjamin Johncock's The Last Pilot
By Erica Wagner - 16 July 8:13

Despite the decades that have gone by, the early days of space exploration hold an enduring fascination.

Vivienne Westwood at a fashion event. Photo: Getty
Anarchy in Wonderland: Vivienne Westwood's anti-capitalist take on Alice's Adventures
By Liv Constable-Maxwell - 13 July 14:45

Vivienne Westwood's 150th anniversary edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland calls for an end to capitalism, and captures the book in an age of political mistrust.

India's Second World War: the history you don't hear about
By Simon Winchester - 09 July 15:35

As the British lost their grip on India, Punjabi and Bengali soldiers were still sent to the front lines of a European war.

Life sentence: a boy wanders through the Israeli-bombed Shejaiya quarter of Gaza City, October 2014. Photo: Ezz Al-Zanoun/Nur Photo/Rex
Living, working and dying: the literature of occupied Palestine
By Adam LeBor - 09 July 10:16

Once again, history has conspired against the Palestinians – but as these books show, they cannot be wished away.

Master of arts of war: a coloured engraving of Saladin, sultan of Egypt and Syria, by Gustave Doré. Photo: AKG-iamges/E.Viader/Prisma
Genghis and Saladin: the men who invented global terror
By Lucy Hughes-Hallett - 09 July 10:04

Saladin decapitated prisoners as ruthlessly as Isis does now - and Genghis Khan was brutal from childhood. But what can we learn from these men?

Lost and found: in Nell Zink’s fiction identities are fluid and words carry significant weight. Photo: Christian Jungeblodt/The Guardian
How Nell Zink's bizarre brilliance found her success at fifty
By Joanna Walsh - 09 July 9:52

After years of experimental exchanges with writer friends, she now drafts whole novels in weeks.

Life of a salesman: Richard Desmond in June. Photo: Graeme Robertson/The Guardian
Richard Desmond's autobiography is just a supersized OK! feature
By Helen Lewis - 09 July 9:35

Newspaper proprietors find it relatively easy to opt out of public life but Desmond is a salesman to the core.

View from the top: Sky with Ray Odierno (right) on a walkabout in al-Khalis, eastern Iraq, 2009. Photo: US Army/www.army.mil
Emma Sky: the woman who tamed the generals in Iraq
By John Simpson - 09 July 9:31

The Unravelling isn’t really the story of the US occupation of Iraq; it is about how one intelligent woman realised what was going on, and yet slipped into a Stockholm syndrome relationship with the people she worked with.

Michael Dobbs at the House of Cards Netflix screening, 2013. Photo: Getty
House of Cards creator Michael Dobbs: "I must have sold my soul"
By Anoosh Chakelian - 07 July 13:53

The man behind television's most masterful political operator reveals the inspiration for his story, gives advice to the PM on the powers of persuasion, and recalls his own real-life political dramas.

A highway patrol officer guarding shops from looters during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Photo: Peter Turnley/Corbis
Keeping it real: All Involved by Ryan Gattis
By Leo Robson - 02 July 9:29

This novel about the 1992 Los Angeles riots holds itself to a standard of verisimilitude – of the raw, unvarnished, authentic – that is is deeply immersive and deathly dull.

The rise and fall of Peg Plunkett, 18th-century courtesan and consummate memoirist
By Sarah Dunant - 02 July 8:49

If sex in the past – in the sense of what people did to each other, in or out of bed – is notoriously hard to pin down, the larger history of sexuality and society is most rewarding.

Backhand compliment: Roger Federer in 2014. Photo: Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
How Roger Federer made tennis beautiful again
By Simon Kuper - 02 July 8:43

This very enjoyable biography-cum-autobiography illuminates not just Federer’s place in tennis history but also the way in which the author converted his psychological problems into sporting fandom.

SRSLY #1: Grey Beginnings

In the first episode of the NS's new pop culture podcast, we discuss Grey by E L James, the new Amy Winehouse documentary, and why One Direction is actually the saddest music you will ever hear.

Harry Potter in his cupboard under the stairs.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: what can we expect from JK Rowling's new play?
By Anna Leszkiewicz - 26 June 11:10

J K Rowling announced on Twitter this morning that she will co-write a new Harry Potter stage play. 

Blood and honour: The Duel After the Masquerade (1857-59) by Jean-Léon Gérôme. Picture: © Walter Art Museum, Baltimore
Why are there so many duels in literature?
By John Mullan - 25 June 15:15

John Leigh's Touché: the Duel in Literature wears its learning lightly.

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