RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewUsing the mutilation of faces, arms and genitals on the Parthenon’s decoration as one of her many, thunderingly memorable case studies, Nixey makes the fundamental point that while we lionize Christian culture for preserving works of learning, sponsoring exquisite art and adhering to an ethos of \'love thy neighbor,\' the early church was in fact a master of anti-intellectualism, iconoclasm and mortal prejudice. This is a searingly passionate book ... Nixey writes up a storm. Each sentence is rich, textured, evocative, felt ... Nixey delivers this ballista-bolt of a book with her eyes wide open and in an attempt to bring light as well as heat to the sad story of intellectual monoculture and religious intolerance.
Orhan Pamuk, Trans. by Ekin Oklap
PositiveThe Financial TimesIstanbul-born Orhan Pamuk uses his city’s creep as the topography for his new novel; unstable memory is its shifting landscape ... Saturated with sympathy and sense of place, the book charts a boy’s journey into manhood and Turkey’s into irreversible change ... Cem’s journey through experience and the earth digs into layers of psychology and history — but it is predominantly an excavation of our desire to shape our own life-stories ... The Red-Haired Woman is also the story of Cem and his society’s moral slide — justifying horrors by trying to escape what you have left undone, or by smothering the truths you want to forget ...it is above all a book of ideas. Pamuk’s work promotes the fact that we should always interrogate the past but never deny or bury it.
Christopher de Bellaigue
PositiveThe GuardianThe author has a keen eye for a story, and our companions as we follow his argument are those vivid heroes (and occasionally heroines) who had the vision and the guts to bring about reform ... As well as big history analysis there are delightful incidental details ... This book also elegantly offers a reminder that we are the stories that we tell about ourselves ... One question this book doesn’t fully answer – and it is a crucial one – is why this kind of liberality was followed by centuries of retrenchment ... Yet De Bellaigue has written a (beautifully illustrated) book that prompts an important conversation, and is extremely useful for our times. As well as introducing neglected histories and characters about which and whom we need to care, the work itself incarnates the essence of enlightenment.