Despite the idiotic sneer that such principles are “fashionable”, it is always the ideas of secularism, libertarianism, internationalism, and solidarity that stand in need of reaffirmation. Christopher Hitchens On 7th December last year, some twenty Muslim men stormed a book launch in Amsterdam and promptly declared a death sentence upon the book’s author. They unfurled … Continue reading You Can’t Read This Blog: Reviewing Nick Cohen
In the appendix to Richard Dawkins’ latest book – The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution – the author reproduces the results of Gallup’s 2008 poll sampling American popular opinion about evolution. An astonishing 44% of those polled identified the statement “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one … Continue reading REVIEW: “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution” by Richard Dawkins
I borrowed this book in a spirit of disappointment. Not, let me make it immediately clear, on my half of the exchange. The lender – a good friend of mine – had bought it under a slight misconception. He had had the impression that its author Robert Service, if not exactly entirely forgiving of communism, … Continue reading REVIEW: “Comrades” by Robert Service.
Can you review a book you failed to finish? The tome that prompted this question in me being Ray Coleman’s biography of John Lennon, originally published in two volumes during 1984, but updated and expanded in the late 90s. It has sat, unmolested, on my groaning shelf of Beatles’ literature for a full 12 years … Continue reading REVIEW: “Lennon: The Definitive Biography” by Ray Coleman.
As many of you will know, in the fifth and final season of The Wire the viewer is taken inside the busy newsroom of The Baltimore Sun. Unfortunately, the view is not a particularly inspiring one. The central figure of this fictionalised journal of record is one “Gus” Haynes, a thinly veiled portrait of the … Continue reading REVIEW: “Flat Earth News” by Nick Davis.
North Korea is the most dysfunctional state on earth. As this bizarre country began life as a Soviet client, it is often referred to as ‘the last Stalinist state’. Yet while it is true that Stalin helped Kim Il Sung establish and maintain a ruthless totalitarian regime on the Soviet model, it is also true … Continue reading Unnecessary Strangers: A Review of “The Aquariums of Pyongyang” by Kang Chol-Hwan.
“Thanks to the many people on the left who’ve kept the spirit of resistance alight, including those who will violently disagree with chunks of this book.” So writes Mark Steel in the acknowledgements at the end of his little memoir; words I thought fitted this reader exactly. I’ve long had a soft-spot for Mark Steel. … Continue reading REVIEW: “What’s Going On?” By Mark Steel.