Fear and loathing: Boris Karloff in The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932)
Sympathy for the Devil Doctor: tracing the evolution of Fu Manchu
By Yo Zushi - 04 December 10:00

A pantomime villain imbued with the sophistication of Moriarty, Fu Manchu captured the imagination of a public already accustomed to lurid, exaggerated tales of vice among Britain’s Chinese population.

National hero: reforming Australian politician Gough Whitlam and singer Little Pattie on the campaign trail in 1972. Photo: Getty
Return to Oz: Peter Carey struggles with his country’s memory
By Leo Robson - 04 December 10:00

Leo Robson reviews the double-Booker Prize-winning author’s new novel about Australian identity. 

William Stanley Moss, Leigh Fermor and Emmanouil Paterakis before the kidnap of General Kreipe. Photo: The Estate of William Stanley Moss
An awfully big adventure: William Dalrymple on Paddy Leigh Fermor's wartime exploits
By William Dalrymple - 04 December 10:00

Perhaps the most famous moment of resistance against the Nazis in Crete is the abduction of the Nazi commandant of the island by a team led by Paddy Leigh Fermor, later one of the great prose stylists and travel writers of our time.

Beached: the east coast after Hurricane Sandy. Photo: Peter Van Agtmael/Magnum
Older than yesterday: Richard Ford’s Let Me Be Frank With You
By Sarah Churchwell - 04 December 10:00

This fourth book in the Frank Bascombe series a volume that tempts the word “slight” but may deserve more. Like its narrator, it is easygoing, understated, articulate and occasionally surprising.

Kissing the Kaaba: Mecca may be tacky and inward-looking but it still attracts millions. Photo: Reuters/Hassan Ali
Las Vegas of Arabia: Ziauddin Sardar’s heartfelt biography of Mecca
By Zachary Karabell - 04 December 10:00

Mecca was the city of Sardar’s childhood dreams, the ideal Muslim polity of humility and submission to God, and a community of faith. Today, under Saudi rule, it has been “remade in the image of . . . wealth and imperial splendour”.

After-life: Göran Rosenberg with his parents in Sweden
A history of violence: A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz by Göran Rosenberg
By Thomas Harding - 04 December 10:00

The story of Rosenberg’s father David, and his struggle to construct a new life after surviving the Holocaust was first published in Sweden in 2012; since then it has sold over 200,000 copies and been translated into nine languages. But Rosenberg wonders if he has the ability to tell the story at all, given that he is writing it “much later” than the events described.

Soul survivor: Robert Wyatt in 2009
Rock bottom and back: the rough-edged career of Robert Wyatt
By Ian Thomson - 28 November 16:57

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.

Mother courage: Vita with her sons in 1924. Photo: Sasha/Getty Images
Between desire and dynasty: the dual identity of Vita Sackville-West
By Rachel Holmes - 28 November 16:55

Energetic and confident, the heir to the Sackville dynasty always felt comfortable in her own skin. Being Vita wasn’t the problem – patriarchy was.

Flashback: Gary McAllister and Paul Ince in 2000. Photo: Getty
Penalty kicking: A gloomy assessment of English football
By Leo Robson - 28 November 16:36

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.

A bicorne hat belonging to Napoleon awaiting auction in Paris in October. Photo: Getty
Boney’s bungles: Napoleon the Great by Andrew Roberts
By Andrew Adonis - 28 November 16:34

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. 

The go-between: Jonathan Powell in 2007, when Downing Street chief of staff. Photo: Getty
The enemy at my table: how Jonathan Powell talked to terrorists
By Anthony Loyd - 28 November 16:25

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.

View from the chair: one of Theroux's stories concerns a cursed dentist. Photo: merri/Flickr
Furies unleashed: the sinister short stories of Paul Theroux
By Jeffrey Meyers - 28 November 16:04

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.

Marilynne Robinson on goodness, fallibility and faith: “I’ve had atheists ask me to pray for them”
By Philip Maughan - 27 November 15:00

The American novelist Marilynne Robinson tells Philip Maughan why good characters are more interesting than bad ones and why a sense of our own fallibility keeps us sane.

Arms and the man: the personal kit that would have been carried by a British soldier in 1815
The unfinished battles of Waterloo
By Simon Heffer - 27 November 10:00

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.

Marching on his stomach: a volunteer in Thomas Rowlandson's Private Drilling (1798)
Faces in the crowd: as Napoleon roamed, the home front was feverish
By Frances Wilson - 27 November 10:00

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.

In the half light: biblical narratives, religious ritual and Christian art have a renewed appeal for baffled unbelievers
The books of revelations: why are novelists turning back to religion?
By Philip Maughan - 27 November 10:00

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.

How Eleanor Marx changed the world
By Rachel Holmes - 26 November 13:49

Eleanor braved the world to test what she’d learned from Marx and Engels at the family hearth.

A book maze at the Soutbank Centre in 2012. Photo: Getty
Ladybird stops branding books “for boys” and “for girls”, but this is only the start
By Glosswitch - 21 November 11:42

We can change what’s on the cover, but if the content of the book hasn’t changed, it still has the power to limit our children’s aspirations.

The book that flew: A hawk used for pigeon control in St Pancras station. Photo: Getty
Peregrines over Westminster, my bloody great beehive and the Samuel Johnson Prize
By Helen Macdonald - 20 November 10:00

The winner of this year’s Samuel Johnson Prize for her book H is for Hawk chronicles a life-changing week. 

Signs and wonders: Paul Nash's Landscape of the Megaliths, featured in Adam Thorpe's On Silbury Hill. Image: Lauren McLean/V&A Images
Books of the Year: NS friends and contributors choose their favourite reading of 2014
By New Statesman - 19 November 16:32

Including: Hilary Mantel, Rowan Williams, Grayson Perry, Alan Johnson, A S Byatt, Geoff Dyer, Alex Salmond, Kate Fox, William Boyd and Dave Eggers. 

"After Copernicus": a new poem by Olivia Byard
By Olivia Byard - 13 November 10:00

After such a hellish catastrophe,
what happens to the angels?
Do they tumble down thrones
and dominions like bankers
from tall windows?
           Or, wings torn,

Strange alliance: Ferrante's Neopolitan novels tell of a decades-long friendship between two women. Photo: Chloe Edwards/Millennium Images UK
In her secret life: who exactly is Elena Ferrante?
By Jane Shilling - 13 November 10:00

As Ferrante’s writing became conspicuous, so did her anonymity. Speculation gathered, not just about her identity but even her sex.

Looking to Europe: after the Second World War, Churchill became an advocate of the need to build European unity
“One man who made history” by another who seems just to make it up: Boris on Churchill
By Richard J Evans - 13 November 10:00

The book reads as if it was dictated, not written. All the way through we hear Boris’s voice; it’s like being cornered in the Drones Club and harangued for hours by Bertie Wooster.

West-side story: Fleetwood Mac
Excess all areas: the pageantry and farce of the Fleetwood Mac story
By Mark Ellen - 13 November 10:00

If you ever thought the laid-back vocals of “Dreams” sounded as if they had been recorded by a naked woman lying between satin sheets, then it’s entirely possible you were right.

Detail from an 1800 engraving of a bust of Euripides. Photo: Getty
Uncovering remarkable lives through my second-hand Classics books
By Josh Spero - 13 November 10:00

Every life has some incident or episode that is worth telling. And so it proved as I delved into my Classics books, writes Josh Spero. 

Mind your language: experimental psychologist Steven Pinker. Photo: Francesco Guidicini/Camera Press
A “mischievious” grammar: an encounter with the linguist Steven Pinker
By Tom Chivers - 13 November 10:00

There’s simply no reason to think that language (or society) is crumbling at all, says Pinker.

A cross is seen as the moon is illuminated by sunlight during a total lunar eclipse, 8 October 8, 2014. Photo: Getty
Christians in space: Michel Faber’s science-fiction “last book”
By Erica Wagner - 13 November 10:00

We are in a future that is mostly just like the present. This isn’t the world of The Jetsons: Peter and his wife Bea shop in Tesco, have a cat called Joshua, drive a regular old car and read the Daily Express.

Land of opportunity: the developed world has allowed the poor to get poorer while the super-rich flourish
Capitalism was supposed to signal the end of poverty. What went wrong?
By David Aaronovitch - 13 November 10:00

David Aaronovitch reviews new books about wealth and inequality by Linda Tirado, John Kampfner and Danny Dorling. 

Ali Smith: "The novel is a revolutionary force". Image: Rex
Ali Smith wins the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize for her novel “How To Be Both”
By Philip Maughan - 12 November 19:00

The £10,000 prize for experimental fiction has been awarded to the Scottish writer for her sixth novel which is “dizzyingly good and so clever that it makes you want to dance”.