A Quick Read

Here is a true story: A few weeks ago a reader sent me for signature a hardback first edition of my novel The Affirmation. This was published in May 1981 by Faber. It’s a scarce edition and this copy had … Continue reading

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BOMBER COUNTY – Daniel Swift (2010, Hamish Hamilton, £20, ISBN: 978-0241144176)

This is perhaps the best book I have yet read about the WW2 RAF Bomber Command campaign. There is almost none of the usual wartime stuff of bombs, bombers, dams, flak, Dresden, firestorms. Instead it is a book about abandoned … Continue reading

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JOHN TUNNARD: Inner Space to Outer Space – Simon Martin (2010, Pallant House Gallery, £19.95, ISBN: 978-1869827069)

John Tunnard (1900-1971) was a British abstract artist. He painted the cover for the Secker & Warburg hardcover edition of Guy Murchie’s Song of the Sky (1955). That painting is not included in this collection, but most of the rest of … Continue reading

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SPITFIRE WOMEN OF WORLD WAR II – Giles Whittell (2007, HarperPress, £20, ISBN: 978-0007235353)

The book is a tie-in with a TV programme, describing the small band of women flyers of the Air Transport Auxiliary, who delivered newly built aircraft from the factories to operational airfields. Of necessity, the young women were nearly all … Continue reading

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BERLIN AT WAR – Roger Moorhouse (2010, Basic Books, $29.95, ISBN: 978-0465005338)

One of the relatively untold stories of WW2 is what happened to the ordinary German civilians who suffered under the RAF air raids on the cities, what degree of ruination was caused and what the German authorities did about it, … Continue reading

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A calm summary of and argument for the science of global warming, the author’s position being basically that although mankind is obviously responsible for some of the greenhouse gases and pollution affecting the world, most of the problem arises from … Continue reading

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Almost right

To the launch and private view of the new exhibition at the British Library, ingeniously titled Out of This World. The atrium at the BL building was crowded with familiar faces. The catering staff were walking around with silver make-up … Continue reading

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Another damned label

General fiction, mainstream fiction, literary fiction … some of the more interesting writers around me (Mike Harrison, China Miéville) have hit on the idea of categorizing literary fiction as just another genre, intended as a kind of answer to a … Continue reading

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