In the Critics this week

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In the Critics section of this week's New Statesman, Sarah Churchwell reviews Judith R Walkowitz's cultural history of Soho, Nights Out: Life in Cosmopolitan London. Taking a broad look at what became a melting pot of social identities, Walkowitz charts the history of an area once dubbed "the worst ... in the West End of London". Churchwell comments that "Nights Out is a history of cultural tourism, but Walkowitz is more interested in the people offering the tours that the people taking them". Although Walkowitz allows the stories of fops, flappers and fascists to "speak for themselves", Churchwell notes that "there are choices ... that one might dispute".

In the books interview, Simon Critchley discusses his new book The Faith of the Faithless with Jonathan Derbyshire, and talks "secularist dogmatism", Obama and the Occupy movement. Distancing himself from Dawkins and Hitchens, he comments, "We cannot decide a priori that we're not going to engage with religious questions, nor can we decide a priori that religious questions are going to be the answers to philosophical or political issues."

Laura Miller, this week's Critic at Large, adds to the feverish anticipation surrounding the fifth season of Mad Men, which returns to UK screens next week. Miller disassembles the golden formula of the show that has become synonymous with slick: "It specialises in a particular flavour of voyeuristic nostalgia: the chance to live vicariously through a period of acute uncertainty while nestled in the comforting knowledge of how it will all turn out".

Elsewhere in the critics section: Peter Wilby on Ed Smith's Luck: What it Means and Why it Matters; Sophie Elmhirst on Marilynne Robinson's When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays;Vernon Bogdanor on All Souls and the Wider World: Statesmen, Scholars and Adventurers by S J D Green and Peregrine Horden; Jonathan Derbyshire on The Missing Shade of Blue: A Philosophical Adventure by Jennie Erdal; Geoffrey Robertson on All the Missing Souls: a Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals by David Scheffer and Justice and the Enemy: Nuremburg, 9/11 and the Trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by William Shawcross. Plus, Ryan Gilbey on new Dardennes film The Kid with a Bike; Rachel Cooke on TV doc The Anti-Social Network,and Hunter Davis on football.

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