World War Two

Summer meant a rare opportunity to read something other than History. Carl Hiassen’s Double Whammy is extremely funny, though the context — competitive bass fishing in Florida — may seem unpropitious. Then there was David Goodis’s Black Friday and various short stories, all incredibly atmospheric, with ‘molls’ called Frieda and Myrtle in 1950s Philadelphia.

Then came the tidal wave of books on WW2. I’ve enjoyed Richard Overy’s brief account of the war’s immediate origins, though he is a bit kinder to Chamberlain than I would be. Andrew Roberts’s Storm of War is a vast, pacily written, panorama of the conflict, while Max Hastings’s Churchill and the Second World War is an important revisionist study which is particularly astringent on the British army and SOE among others.

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"