Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin: review

09 Nov 2010

…– a unique instance of human infamy. Nevertheless, this is the first book in English to explore both German and Soviet mass killings together. As a history of political mass murder, Bloodlands serves to illuminate the political sickness that reduced 14 million people to the status of non-persons. * Ian Thomson’s The Dead Yard…

Encounter: Essays by Milan Kundera: review

05 Sept 2010

To judge by the essays collected in Encounter, Milan Kundera is excited by pretty well anything of human concern, interest and puzzlement. …

Duke Ellington’s America by Harvey G Cohen and Thelonious Monk by Robin DG Kelley: reviews

09 July 2010

…(Round Midnight, Ruby, My Dear) is lovingly documented here. Ian Thomson’s The Dead Yard: a Story of Modern Jamaica won the Ondaatje Prize 2010 Duke Ellington…

The Long Road Home by Ben Shephard: review

25 Apr 2010

The Russian troops who liberated Auschwitz in January 1945 were profoundly disturbed, even revolted by what they saw . It was not just the …

The Kaiser’s Holocaust by David Olusoga and Casper W Erichsen: review

16 Aug 2010

…’s flair for narrative, provide a grimly readable history. If the comparisons between colonial Namibia and Nazism do not always quite convince, the book remains a vitally important addition to the ever-growing literature of atrocity and deserves to be read widely.


Berlin at War by Roger Moorhouse: review

08 Aug 2010

National socialism, with its ritual humiliation of Jews and other ‘asocials’, remains the defining moment in the history of the German …

Born Brilliant: The Life of Kenneth Williams by Christopher Stevens: review

31 Oct 2010

Kenneth Williams, with his nasal, camp-cockney inflections, was as corny as a whoopee cushion. Yet his death in 1988 at the early age of 62 …

The Death of the Adversary by Hans Keilson: review

20 May 2011

In 1977, Primo Levi, an Auschwitz survivor, wrote an article attacking films that he believed falsified the nature of Nazi violence. Tawdry …

Deep End: A deeply sexy film resurfaces

01 May 2011

…’s initiated into the adult world of sexual desire and, eventually, murder. It is a film of tart black comedy and striking visual poetry; a heady brew, as the great film critic David Thomson described it…

Mission to China: Matteo Ricci and the Jesuit Encounter with the East by Mary Laven: review

Murder, Dante-style

12 Jan 2004

In Victorian times, Dante was held up as a paragon of moral fortitude. His medieval epic of salvation and self-knowledge, The Divine Comedy, was …

Sexual Ealing

17 Aug 2002

Skin flicks, of the sort shown in cheesey dives, used to be associated with men in stained raincoats. Now hardcore is halfway respectable. …

Apr 2011

The Eitingons by Mary-Kay Wilmers: review

20 Dec 2009

Like Hitler before him, Stalin was wary of anyone who appeared ‘cosmopolitan’: Jews, in particular, were seen as a self-regarding, …

The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome By Roland Chambers: review

16 Aug 2009

Arthur Ransome, the sailing enthusiast, amateur angler and author of Swallows and Amazons, was a shadowy figure keen to protect his privacy. …

Review: Fifty Years of Carry On by Richard Webber

19 Sept 2008

Ian Thomson considers a phenomenon as British as fish and chips Outstandingly vulgar (but rarely crude), the 31 films in the Carry On series mingled end-of-the-pier postcard sauciness with a lewd music-hall banter…

Facing up to the Führer

03 May 2008

Ian Thomson reviews My Father’s Country: the Story of a German Family by Wibke Bruhns, tr by Shaun Whiteside; The Zookeeper’s Wife: a Forgotten Tale of Wartime Survival and Resistance by Diane Ackerman; and Clara’s War…

‘Like getting into bed with a smallpox victim’

29 Sept 2007

Ian Thomson reviews The Force of Destiny: a History of Italy since 1796 by Christopher Duggan Christopher Duggan, a distinguished Italophile and professor of Italian history, describes the Mafia as a grotesque parody…

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