Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate)
Thomas Cromwell was an extraordinary man living at a time when extraordinary qualities were beginning to count even in common men like himself, the son of a Putney blacksmith. Continue reading “Fanfare for the common man”
‘Calvinist’ has become a dirty word, used to describe especially dour people. We have forgotten that John Calvin was not only a severe Christian but also a key figure in the intellectual making of the modern world.
Beat the Booze, by Edmund Tirbutt and Helen Tirbutt
Britain’s apparently pathological relationship with alcohol is an increasingly prominent concern in the media. We are told that far too many people are drinking far too much, leading to antisocial behaviour and lost work days in the short term, and addiction and chronic disease in the long term. Politicians propose everything from better education to steeper prices as a means of weaning us off the bottle.
Credit and Blame, by Charles Tilly (Princeton University Press)
Gang Leader for a Day, by Sudhir Venkatesh, Cop in the Hood, by Peter Moskos, Homicide, by David Simon
The Terror Dream, by Susan Faludi (Atlantic Books 2008)
How an unloved system survives by default, and how its would-be critics condemn us to more of the same