Issue: October 2013

Feud Of The Cold Warriors

Isaiah Berlin and Isaac Deutscher were the best of foes, as David Caute’s compelling presentation of a decades-long intellectual sparring match shows

The Making of the Mahatma

Dubious racial attitudes, an obsession with excrement and sexual eccentricities: Gandhi Before India reveals the unsavoury sides of the statesman’s character

Unreliable Lives of the Saints

Two new lives of St Augustine and Thomas Aquinas fail to straightforwardly present the legacies of these two hugely influential figures

Crying Wolf And Playing Chicken

David Runciman’s history of democracy occasionally succumbs to a Tocquevillian penchant for paradox, but his argument is brilliantly and convincingly delivered

More Ideas, Less Personality

A new edited collection of Italo Calvino’s letters appeals more to lovers of the Italian’s work than to the general reader, but is still deeply rewarding

Pynchon’s 9/11: Things Fall Apart

Thomas Pynchon’s new novel displays all the bravura imagination of the rest of his oeuvre, but sees the elusive writer finally coming to terms with the world

Folie à Dieu

A new short story

A New Cultural Revolution

China is in the grip of a piano passion, with superstar rivals and millions playing at home

Hope Is Where The Heart Is

Richard Curtis eschews his usual smugness and fakery in his latest feelgood feature, About Time

My Dieting Guide: Listen To Mother

Jacques Peretti’s BBC documentary exposes the diet industry but he misses the elephant in the room

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"