Observer

Ian Thomson first wrote for the Observer in 1999. Here is a selection of more recent reviews:

Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime review – the grisly evolution of swab justice
19 Oct 2014: Crime novelist Val McDermid charts the history of forensics and interviews crime scene investigators to get the maggots-and-all story, writes Ian Thomson

National Service review – a cultural history of postwar British call-up
24 Aug 2014: Richard Vinen shows how conscription emphasised the mirage of a nation’s importance on the world stage, writes Ian Thomson 6 comments

Future Days review – an absorbing history of Krautrock and 1970s Germany
17 Aug 2014: David Stubbs’s story of Can, Kraftwerk and Germany’s postwar generation is enthusiastic and well researched, writes Ian Thomson 15 comments

Blazing Star: The Life and Times of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester review – the wild man of the Restoration
20 Jul 2014: The Earl of Rochester’s highly candid poetry was mirrored by his anarchic life, says Ian Thomson 11 comments

The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson review – beneath the hyperbole is a good book
25 May 2014: This enjoyable, if sometimes wordy study of the Greek poet, is impassioned and wide-ranging, writes Ian Thomson 5 comments

Target: Italy review – Britain’s secret war against Mussolini
4 May 2014: Roderick Bailey’s pacy account of Britain’s undercover role in fomenting anti-Fascist activity in wartime Italy grips Ian Thomson

Lawrence in Arabia review – a great revolutionary gets his due
30 Mar 2014: Scott Anderson’s account of the Arab revolt and the life of TE Lawrence is both scholarly and highly readable, writes Ian Thomson 29 comments

Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! A World Without World War I by Richard Ned Lebow – review
19 Jan 2014:  Richard Ned Lebow imagines how European history would have unfolded if Archduke Franz Ferdinand had not been assassinated in 1914, writes Ian Thomson 17 comments

More Dynamite: Collected Essays 1990-2012 by Craig Raine; Cristina and Her Double: Selected Essays by Herta Müller – review
29 Dec 2013:  Craig Raine’s essays straddle the divide between high and low culture, while the Romanian-born Herta Müller deftly describes the horrors of Ceausescu’s rule, writes Ian Thomson 4 comments

Year Zero: A History of 1945 by Ian Buruma; The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945 by Richard Overy; Warsaw 1944: The Fateful Uprising by Alexandra Richie – review
26 Oct 2013: As these vivid accounts of wartime and postwar life show, peace didn’t end the pain, writes Ian Thomson 3 comments

The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words, 1000BCE-1492CE by Simon Schama – review
22 Sep 2013: Simon Schama’s panoramic history of Judaism pulls you in with an engaging mix of fact and anecdote, writes Ian Thomson 16 comments

The Rainborowes: Pirates, Puritans and a Family’s Quest for the Promised Land by Adrian Tinniswood – review
8 Sep 2013: Ian Thomson enjoys an engrossing study of two brothers’ ferocious commitment to Cromwell and the Puritan mission to colonise the New World 1 comment

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