No panacea for political ills: Why democracy is in trouble
By John Gray - 30 August 11:07

John Gray reviews Philip Coggan's <em>The Last Vote: the Threats to Western Democracy.</em>

Reviews Round-up: Atwood, Wolitzer and Danahar
By new-statesman - 28 August 11:56

The critics' verdict on Atwood, Wolitzer, Danahar and Ripley

Lip service: why vagina is the perfect word
By Helen Lewis - 28 August 10:06

The word “vagina” is medical enough to sound grown up and blunt enough not be cutesy. It is still jarring in normal conversation but you can mention it on the Six O’Clock News. Which, when you think about it, is close to what feminism should be like.

Readers in a library in Beijing.
Books in Brief: Svetlana Alpers, Paul Danahar and Meg Wolitzer
By Philip Maughan - 28 August 6:00

Three new books you may have missed.

Prison inmates playing football.
What Thatcher did for football: How a new generation of sports writers have embraced politics
By Anthony Clavane - 22 August 12:05

Margaret Thatcher hated football - and sport in general - but her legacy to the game was to turn a generation of sports writers, who had previously dodged any analysis of their sports' significance, onto politics.

Couple in bed.
"I want a fur coat and a villa and a cat": The art and agony of the English marriage
By Richard Davenport-Hines - 22 August 11:00

Using details from the huge Mass Observations archive at Sussex University, a new book "The English in Love" charts the changing meaning and reality of marriage since 1945.

Pope Francis with Mother and Child.
Band of Angels by Kate Cooper: The witty, flawed, brilliant and forgotten women integral to early Christianity
By Lucy Winkett - 22 August 10:20

Lucy Winkett, rector of St James's Piccadilly, praises the valuable work done by historian Kate Cooper remembering early Christian women who previously appeared as silent pastelled saints and virgins on church walls.

Renata Adler.
Renata Adler, Ben Marcus and David Shields: Pushing the limits of the American novel
By Leo Robson - 22 August 10:20

The "poster boy for the end of the novel" David Shields retains a list of 55 works he swears by - few of which are fiction, and fewer still contain much fictional content. But is his literary revolution on track?

Telling Tales by Amit Chaudhuri: The principle mode of our epoch isn't business, but business
By Deborah Levy - 22 August 10:20

Deborah Levy is charmed by Amit Chaudhuri's introspective and entertaining columns and essays, which range from busyness, to James Joyce and Kokata.

Oscar Wilde.
Victoria's Madmen by Clive Bloom: A 19th century wilder and richer, closer and more distant than we usually encounter
By Hannah Rosefield - 22 August 10:10

Victoria's Madmen: Revolution and Alienation collects a crowd of unorthodox men and women to help dismantle the myth of Victorian conformity and uniformity.

Elif Shafak.
Elif Shafak: Strength is our ability to accept and deal with our weaknesses
By Philip Maughan - 22 August 10:00

Turkish novelist Elif Shafak on motherhood, writing and our depleted understanding of postpartum depression.

Herbert Marcuse.
Secret Reports on Nazi Germany by Neumann, Marcuse and Kircheimer: Possible patterns of German collapse
By John Bew - 22 August 9:50

What do you get when you put three neo-Marxists from the Frankfurt School in the US's Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the CIA? Some of the best analysis of Nazi Germany ever written, says John Bew.

Jazzie B.
Sounds Like London by Lloyd Bradley: An intensive, lovingly written account of 100 years of black music in the capital
By Bim Adewunmi - 22 August 9:10

A serious music journalist, Lloyd Bradley's history of black music in the nation's capital is captivating and well crafted, writes Bim Adewunmi.

La Procure.
Books in Brief: Giovanni Frazzetto, Robin Blackburn and David Marsh
By Philip Maughan - 22 August 7:00

Three new books you may have missed.

"The art of the people": how comics got political
By Laura Sneddon - 21 August 11:34

"I think ideas are the real villains in politics and the world generally."

Carnival by Rawi Hage and Ballistics by D W Wilson: Dashboard existentialists
By Leo Robson - 15 August 11:00

Two Canadian novelists stretch and expand the fictional geography of their native land in their new books.

The Camelot delusion: John F Kennedy’s legacy 50 years on
By David Runciman - 15 August 10:30

Tears are cheap and so, to a certain extent, are words. Deeds are what counts and on that score Kennedy’s presidency was a mix of good and bad, says David Runciman.

Books in Brief.
Books in Brief: Andrew Davies, Robert Graves and Linda Porter
By Michael Prodger - 15 August 10:00

Three new books you may have missed.

Bill Shankly.
Red or Dead by David Peace: From football to the battle against age, the war against death
By Jonathan Wilson - 15 August 9:15

Bill Shankly transformed Liverpool football club from second-flight also rans into giants. His resignation, after 15 years in charge, remains a riddle.

The Pink Gang: the vigilantes in saris fighting for India's women
By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett - 15 August 8:20

Inside the movement that rescues young couples from arranged marriages and confronts violent husbands and corrupt policemen.

Hadrian's Wall.
Under Another Sky by Charlotte Higgins: They came, they saw, they conquered us
By Ruth Padel - 15 August 7:15

The study of Roman Britain is always political writes Charlotte Higgins in her well-considered, beautifully-written geographical survey of 400 years under Roman rule.

Bill Shankly.
Reviews round-up
By Jonathan Brick - 12 August 15:00

The critics' verdicts on Mendelson, Hawi and Peace.

An excerpt of Prophet, via
Comics review: If you like space oddities, Prophet is for you
By Cara Ellison - 10 August 12:59

Prophet volumes 1 & 2 by Brandon Graham et al is like being slingshotted through a tunnel populated with all the weird beasts of Mos Eisley whilst a rat gently knaws off your arm, says Cara Ellison.

Indian woman with sari.
In The Critics this week
By Bithia Large - 08 August 17:09

David Runciman on Kennedy's last 100 days, Rachel Bowlby on the changing nature of parenthood and Rachel Cooke on the Channel 4 drama Southcliffe.

The New York Review Abroad: A breathless journey around disparate worlds
By Tara Isabella Burton - 07 August 15:30

Tara Isabella Burton reviews a a hefty and often harrowing compendium of The New York Review’s foreign reportage over the past fifty years.

Inside the Science Museum library
Fiction Uncovered 2013 is no literary John Peel sessions
By Jonathan McAloon - 07 August 15:00

Do we need yet another self-serving literary prize list? The Fiction Uncovered 2013 list purports to give prominence to promising and innovative writers that have been overlooked elsewhere, but the many of the books it has selected are anything but, write

Curtis Sittenfeld.
Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld: A modern American fable about the danger of tempting fate
By Sarah Churchwell - 06 August 14:00

In her latest novel, Curtis Sittenfeld depicts the tedium of modern motherhood a little too well - a gamble she has taken before, but has consistently paid off.

Night time in New York.
The End of Night by Paul Bogard: Are naturally dark skies really an inalienable human right?
By Tom Fort - 06 August 12:30

Bogard's tirade against the loss of natural darkness to synthetic light is ultimately irrelevant. Unesco can whine all they want about light as "an inalienable human right" - but who is going to turn out their lights?

Judith Tebbutt.
A Long Walk Home by Judith Tebbutt: A story told with heroic self-control
By Jane Shilling - 06 August 12:00

The story of Judith Tebbutt and her husband David, who were captured in 2011 on the border between Kenya and Somalia, is all the fuller in book form, where the small, astonishing details filter through.

Liz Jones.
I expected to be irritated by Liz Jones's book, I hadn't expected to be bored
By Rosamund Urwin - 06 August 11:45

Liz Jones's autobiography, Girl Least Likely To, is so drenched in self-pity it becomes draining to read.