Books

In Dark Mirror, by journalist Barton Gellman, we have a ringside seat on the extraordinary few months which led to the Edward Snowden data breach

The way Amazon has profited from the Covid-19 crisis is simply another example of how — in just a quarter of a century — its tentacles have insidiously coiled themselves around virtually every aspect of our lives

Caroline Maclean’s Circles and Squares reads like a roll-call of the artistic great and good of the interwar years — whose enterprise stands in stark relation to the mess of their private lives

Jonathan Bate offers readers new to Wordsworth a gripping and perceptive account of a great poet in his prime — and the years in which the poet’s fame overtook a sadly diminished talent

“Until the 17th century, travel to and on the European continent was commonly the concern of missionaries and pilgrims. With time, it became codified, packaged; it could be visited and ticked off”

“For all that they purport to be intimate, on-the-hoof overflows of feeling and scatterings of snatched apercus, letters are usually just as artificial, laboured, and rehashed as essays, articles, or anything else that is written for public consumption”

“Half a century since their break-up, the Fab Four grimly reaped to the tiresome two, the Beatles go on. Documentaries and dramas continue to be made, interviews are bigged-up, and last year, as so often, the Beatles made the top 10”

“Some woozy sage slumped next to you catches your eye, cueing a directionless odyssey through time and space. The following morning, while drinking your coffee, you are at loss to say whether the man—it is most often a man—had really cracked some great mystery of the mind or was just five spliffs deep”

A chilling, compulsive investigation into online extremist groups

Karen Harvey’s book on the ‘rabbit-breeder’ Mary Toft teases out the painful emotional drama behind an 18th-century medical hoax