Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Books
17 February 2021updated 13 Sep 2021 10:45am

NS Recommends: New books from Eliot Higgins, Matthew Kneale, Jane Smiley and Sam Mills

We are Bellingcat by Higgins, The Rome Plague Diaries by Kneale, The Strays of Paris by Smiley and Chauvo-Feminism by Mills.

By New Statesman

We are Bellingcat by Eliot Higgins

Digital vigilantism – using information available online to distinguish fact from fiction – has become a mainstay of modern journalism. And there is no group doing it more reliably than Bellingcat, the collective of internet intelligence agents. For the first time ever its founder, Eliot Higgins, tells the story of how the group came to be, uncovering the truth behind stories such as Syria’s chemical weapon usage and the downing of flight MH17. We are Bellingcat is an account of real events yet reads like a thriller, with the truth waiting to be discovered online.

Bloomsbury, 272pp, £20

The Rome Plague Diaries by Matthew Kneale

The novelist Matthew Kneale has lived in Rome for 18 years and his response to the news of Italy’s first Covid lockdown was to unburden himself by writing a long email to family, friends and even people he’d lost touch with years ago. As the days passed, compiling his reports on daily life became a habit. He detailed how Trastevere – his part of Rome – was faring, mused on past Roman plagues, on pasta recipes, on the stuff of life great and small. Collected here, his wry and questioning meanderings lace an ordeal with charm.

Atlantic, 304pp, £14.99

The Strays of Paris by Jane Smiley

The latest novel from the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres (1991) details a set of heart-warming friendships that develop on the streets of Paris. Runaway racehorse Paras and eight-year-old Étienne form an unlikely gang with a stray dog, a raven and a couple of ducks. Together they find themselves unburdened by the constraints they once lived by, and discover a new kind of life, built on kindness and understanding. The Strays of Paris – aimed at adults though containing a childlike whimsy – is absorbing and warming.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Pan Macmillan, 272pp, £16.99

Chauvo-Feminism by Sam Mills

“A chauvo-feminist is the abusive man who hides in plain sight,” writes Sam Mills in this short, sharp study of feminism after #MeToo. “Chauvo-feminism” is a neat term describing a careful kind of misogyny; the man who publicly champions women – in a tweet, on a T-shirt – only to treat them differently behind closed doors. Mills provides case studies, some familiar (Eric Schneiderman, Aziz Ansari), some unknown (“R”, a British academic who targets Mills), through which she examines concepts such as gaslighting, public shaming and the cult of charisma. In doing so, she exposes the cruelties of the “charming” man and his cynical politics, and asks why he gets away with it.

The Indigo Press, 144pp, £7.99

Content from our partners
What I’ve learned from more than fifty years of making watches
New Statesman and the Webb Memorial Trust Essay Competition

[see also: NS Recommends: New books from Fiona Sampson, Samira Shackle, Stella Duffy and Steven Hall]

This article appears in the 17 Feb 2021 issue of the New Statesman, War against truth