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.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Margaret Thatcher, Charles Moore

This long-awaited and heavy tome was finally published in April, following the death of its subject.  Impressively detailed and meticulously researched, it is destined to become the standard Thatcher biography for a long time to come.  It recounts the story of the Iron Lady's life from her childhood to Britain's 1982 victory in the Falklands War.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Alexandra Kollontai - the lady in red

Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952) was a Russian revolutionary and radical feminist.  After 1917, she became the People's Commissar for Social Welfare, but she fell out with Lenin and spent most of the rest of her career working in Stalin's diplomatic corps.  Despite a revival of interest in her work in the 1970s, she is a largely forgotten figure today.