Reviews Roundup | 6 February
By New Statesman - 06 February 9:30

The critics' verdicts on Philip Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott, Sherill Tippins and Ray Jayawardhana.

How the west was lost: Frank Furedi’s First World War
By Richard Overy - 06 February 8:51

The Great War’s greatest legacy is uncertainty and a never-ending search for meaning.

Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem: A revolution in the head
By Helen Lewis - 06 February 8:47

This book forsakes the traditional linear structure for a series of episodes, zipping back and forth through the decades – and the revolutions.

What set Jack Nicholson apart? On the blinding, now fading, jack of hearts
By Antonia Quirke - 06 February 8:12

This relaxed, unoffical biography contains a between-the-lines longing not just for the subtler parts but for the genuine good times.

Staying power: the seemingly exceptional economics of Japan
By Felix Martin - 06 February 6:02

2013 was the year the world’s financial markets suddenly became interested in Japan again.

My grandfather’s Chekhovian death in the deep blue sea
By Frank Cottrell Boyce - 30 January 10:51

A seafaring Chekhov story dredges up some family history.

How Britain won Waterloo with biscuits, spies and the City
By Simon Heffer - 30 January 10:48

Banking on victory: Simon Heffer reviews three tomes on Britain’s war with Napoleon.

Robert Gates: memoirs of the “Soldier’s Secretary”, an old-fashioned realist
By John Bew - 30 January 10:29

The former US Secretary of Defense on what the president never knew.

Sonic Wonderland: a Scientific Odyssey of Sound by Trevor Cox
By John Burnside - 30 January 10:20

The end of sound? This sane and humane book looks at the maddening encroachment of noise into every part of our lives.

Beastly business: The Dig by Cynan Jones
By Philip Maughan - 27 January 16:00

Welsh novelist Cynan Jones has written a compressed, terse novel, which beautifully captures the sadness and brutality of rural life.

To be a true memorial, the stories we tell about the Holocaust must be the whole truth
By Sarah Ditum - 27 January 11:23

As much as we want to protect our children from the atrocities humans commit against each other, we must help them understand that nothing can bring back the dead or repair those who lived the horror.

The long roots of racial prejudice and American colonialism
By Joanna Bourke - 23 January 16:04

Francisco Bethencourt’s book <i>Racisms</i> explores the blood on the leaves left behind by centuries of racial discrimination, including the enduring spectre of Guantánamo Bay.

Michel Tournier's The Erl-King
Damaged goods: two new French novels, two tragic infants
By Jane Shilling - 23 January 15:38

Both of these remarkable novels are rooted in 19th-century realism, but they are profoundly subversive of its conventions.

Baroness Shirley Williams: the Liberal Democrat peer who defined British public life
By Vince Cable - 23 January 10:20

From early protests in Africa to a minister in Harold Wilson’s cabinet – no one alive has done so much to shape British social democracy.

No, Jane Austen was not a game theorist
By William Deresiewicz - 20 January 13:42

Using science to explain art is a good way to butcher both, and is intellectually bankrupt to boot.

Bad to the bone: John Gray on Italian fascist Curzio Malaparte’s lost masterpiece
By John Gray - 15 January 10:18

<em>The Skin</em>, published now in the first ever complete English translation, captures the delirium and cruelty of Europe in the Second World War in surreal and amoral prose.

The New Statesman partners with Cambridge Literary Festival
By Tom Gatti - 10 January 11:06

Relaunched festival includes the NS Debate on the motion "Young people have never had it so good".

Reading books does re-wire your brain, but so does everything else
By Ian Steadman - 07 January 17:25

Another day, another study misrepresented as causing our brains to change in some mysterious, irreversible way.

New Statesman
The reluctant patriot: how George Orwell reconciled himself with England
By David Aaronovitch - 06 January 10:00

Orwell discovered the values of a practical, gentle, empirical people who didn't kill each other because they disagreed over politics.

New Statesman
How I learned to stop worrying and love Amazon
By Nicholas Clee - 03 January 9:20

The online retailer has reshaped bookselling since it entered the trade in 1995. But Amazon’s aggressive and “anti-competitive” tactics, especially for selling ebooks, are raising hackles in an industry under stress. What is the future of the book busines

New Statesman
Re: Quin: An overdue study of the "experimental" novelist Ann Quin
By Juliet Jacques - 21 December 18:22

Too little has been written about the Brighton-born novelist, Ann Quin, whose writing ruptured middle class pieties.

Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann: The unique pomp and circumstance of a US presidential race
By Nicky Woolf - 12 December 14:40

Written by <i>Time</i>’s Mark Halperin and <i>New York Magazine</i>’s John Heilemann, this book is based on more than 500 in-depth interviews with everyone from junior advisers to the candidates, recorded on the condition of a strict embargo.

Detail from a lithograph by Edward Bawden.
Pox and the City: the complex life of Jonathan Swift
By Jonathan Bate - 12 December 13:44

Jonathan Bate reviews <em>Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World</em> by Leo Damrosch and explores the world behind works like <i>A Modest Proposal</i> and <i>Gulliver's Travels</i>.

Undisputed Truth: Mike Tyson’s autobiography
By Austin Collings - 12 December 12:14

Tyson's early life was characterised by incarceration and petty crime, but he lucked when he fell under the tutelage of boxing trainer Cus D’Amato.

Mary Poppins, PL Travers's most famous creation.
The strange life of the creator of Mary Poppins
By Valerie Grove - 12 December 12:00

PL Travers doesn't fit the stereotype of a children's author. In fact, she didn't even like children.

Enoch Powell's post-colonial empire state of mind
By Vernon Bogdanor - 12 December 11:54

Camilla Schofield's <i>Enoch Powell and the Making of Post-Colonial Britain</i> argues that Powell was a product of Britain's post-colonial history rather than a “timeless monster”.

Alan Bennett (left) and Jonathan Miller (right).
Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe
By Jane Shilling - 12 December 11:05

Nina Stibbe's letters, written to her sister while she was working for Mary-Kay Wilmers, the editor of the London Review of Books, may just be the best collection published this year.

Why do novelists love affairs between professors and students?
By Sarah L Courteau - 11 December 9:16

Teacher-student affairs have captured the minds of many writers, among them David Mamet, Jonathan Franzen, Philip Roth, Christopher Isherwood, J M Coetzee, Zoë Heller, and Susan Choi. What is the fascination?

The A-Z of northern fiction
By Frances Wilson - 05 December 8:22

From the bonny beck to the kitchen sink and Heathcliff to the angry young men, Frances Wilson explores the personality of writing from the north of England, while Philip Maughan asks how the land lies today.

Umberto Eco and why we still dream of utopia
By John Gray - 05 December 8:19

Visions of ideal societies have recurred throughout history but such societies were nearly always placed in an irretrievable past.