Reviews

Ash and cod have long dominated foreigners’ notions of Iceland. While other countries’ ships fished the well-stocked seas, naturalists found the island’s glacial ice and volcanic fire fascinating. First-hand information was scarce; some even...

The concentration camp was an enduring and defining feature of the Third Reich. Internment camps have existed before and since, but only in Nazi Germany were they seen as such an important means of controlling and operating undesirables. The...

Writing a comprehensive history of Ancient Egypt is no easy task, especially when the author, as here, aims to create a more balanced story than that traditionally told, by ‘pushing back boundaries beyond limited time frames, beyond current...

There is a lot to like about this book. John Guy’s thesis is that Elizabeth’s biographers have tended to concentrate on her life up to the age of 50 rather than the latter part of her reign, which Guy characterises as ‘the forgotten years of war...

Mankind’s interaction with the honey bee, apis mellifera, and the magical properties of honey and beeswax, goes back well into the Mesolithic period. Wall paintings from Bicorp in Spain show a man harvesting honey from a wild colony; the...

There are a great many studies of the Holocaust, but few scholars have relayed as graphically or in as much detail as David Cesarani the crimes and cruelties committed by Hitler’s Third Reich against the Jews of Europe. Throughout Final...

The subject of this book is a difficult one, which is all too often ignored in discussions of sexual violence in wartime. Misra sets out to map the experiences of such violence from the perspective of victim and perpetrator, and the silences...

Ukraine has been the focus of world attention in recent years. In the wake of the Orange revolution (2004-05) and the Euromaidan protests (2013-14) – during which Kievans took to the streets to demand closer integration with western Europe – it...

There are certain fictional characters who take on an existence independent of their creators. Their lives and adventures are chronicled by a host of other authors and translated into other media: radio, television and film, in particular....

E.P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class was one of the most successful history books of the 20th century. At the time of its writing, Thompson had one book to his name – a largely unnoticed biography of William Morris –...

Gretchen E. Henderson approaches her topic through an impressive number of examples, spanning disciplines, mediums, usages, geographies and chronologies and including works of fine and popular art, architecture, mythology, cultural moments,...

In Terence Rattigan’s play, The Browning Version, a school teacher makes this case for studying the classics: ‘How can we mould civilised beings if we no longer believe in civilisation?’ Reading Tom Holland’s Dynasty, I wonder...

In 1953, while incarcerated in Spandau prison, Albert Speer replied to a letter from his daughter demanding to know how he could have served the odious Nazi regime; he wrote that ‘the immensity of the crime precludes any attempt at self-...

Mary Beard traces the history of Rome’s first millennium from its notional foundation by Romulus in 753 BC to Caracalla’s decision in AD 212 to extend citizenship to all free inhabitants of the Roman Empire. This is, by any standard, a grand...

Fashion Victims by Alison Matthews David is a beautifully illustrated, accessible and highly thoughtful study of how fashion has been responsible for death and injury through the ages. It takes a fascinating look at the poisons and...

Unfortunately for the hippies, posterity favours those who provide articulate accounts of themselves. Theirs, writes Rorabaugh, was a movement that appeared ‘suddenly’ in the mid-1960s without manifesto, produced no great literature and whose...