Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Third Reich: A New History, Michael Burleigh

This is arguably the best one-volume general introduction to the Third Reich that currently exists in English.  Burleigh manages to tell a very familiar story with range, depth and empathy.  It is a magnificent achievement.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

I took my nom de net from this cult BBC comedy classic.  Originally broadcast in 1976-1979, it chronicled the nervous breakdown and subsequent improbable adventures of a middle-aged office worker.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Letters of the Law

English law has spawned not only a vast body of technical writing but also a body of what can more convincingly be called literature.  In this post, I want to survey some of the most outstanding examples of English legal literature.

Monday, 31 March 2014

The Hillsborough disaster

The new inquests into the Hillsborough disaster began today in Warrington.  They might just mark the beginning of the end of the process of uncovering the truth about an episode which has been obscured by deceit and disinformation for a quarter of a century.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

How We Invented Freedom, Daniel Hannan

This is a book by Daniel Hannan MEP, a well-known exponent of right-wing libertarian politics.  In it, he seeks to give historical colour to his political views.  He advances the thesis that democracy, freedom and capitalism form a specific inheritance of the English-speaking world, which he refers to as the "Anglosphere".

Monday, 26 August 2013

The Happiness Hypothesis, Jonathan Haidt

This has been described as a self-help book for people who don't read self-help books.  It might also be described as a popular science book for humanities graduates.  It is a readable but carefully documented discussion of ideas and insights in the field of positive psychology - the branch of psychology which seeks to promote human flourishing rather than merely to treat mental disorders.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt

Why do we hold the moral and political beliefs that we do?  Why are we frequently so certain of them, and why are others so certain that we are wrong?  These are the questions that psychologist Jonathan Haidt attempts to answer in this fascinating book.