This is a strange exercise. It is a commonplace book of quotations from great authors, assembled by the philosopher A. C. Grayling. The extracts from the great books, how- ever, are provided without attribution.
The King James Bible, while uniting the English-speaking world, gave birth to centuries of radicalism and Dissent. On its 400th anniversary, Philip Hensher examines the translation’s legacy
The papacy is in good shape and looks set to last another 2,000 years, says Paul Johnson; but too few popes in the past have been pious or clement or innocent
In a tour de force of 500 pages of text Simon Sebag Montefiore, historian of Stalin and Potemkin, turns to a totally different subject: the city of Jerusalem.
Where was God in the Holocaust? This question confounds even learned rabbis, so let’s not linger there.
The only thing I can remember about a Tesco advertisement on the television the other night is the line: ‘No rest for the wicked.’ It was meant ironically, of course.
Africa is the setting for several of V. S. Naipaul’s finest fictional stories — In a Free State, A Bend in the River, Half a Life.
The most striking thing about Piers Paul Read’s early novels was their characters’ susceptibility to physical decay.
John Henry Newman was an electrifying personality who has attracted numerous biographers and commentators.
Two hundred years ago Jeremy Bentham wrote a tract which purported to demonstrate that the Christian religion was in effect manufactured by St Paul and not by Jesus.
Half a century ago I read W. G. Hoskins’s book, The Making of the English Landscape, when it first came out. It was for me an eye-opener, as it was for many people.
For 30 years Alastair Crooke was ostensibly a British diplomat working in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Columbia and Pakistan.
The emperor Augustus was the original god/father.
Peter Hitchens writes a stern column most weeks in the Mail on Sunday.
Taming the Gods is an extended essay about the secular state, something which would until recently have been regarded as a non-issue by English-speaking readers.
Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials, is one the best works written in English in my lifetime.
Giles St Aubyn, in this long, scholarly book, sets out to chronicle the shifts in the Christian churches from the scientific revolution of the 17th century, and the Enlightenment of the 18th, to the apparent triumph of secularism in the 20th.
In 1564 a book was published calculating that there were 7,409,127 demons at work in the world, under the administrative control of 79 demon-princes.
Despite its prosaic title, this is a humdinging page-turner of a book, revealing in livid detail the scandal of how the Church of England jettisoned onto the market what the author describes as ‘perhaps the most admirable, desirable and ascetic body of domestic buildings ever built’.
In historical writing the Restor- ation era has been the poor relation of the Puritan one before it.
The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown
Set in the future, The Year of the Flood tells the story of the build-up to and aftermath of a pandemic known as the Waterless Flood, which all but eradicates the human race.
Surviving, by Allan Massie
The Death of a Pope, by Piers Paul Read
Coward at the Bridge, by James Delingpole
The Enemy of the Good, by Michael Arditti