PositiveThe Irish Times (IRE)This is a fascinating little book. If, like me, the author’s novels are not to your taste, Dickens & Prince might just be your favourite of all his works.
RaveThe Irish TimesCraig Brown’s One Two Three Four: The Beatles In Time is equal parts social history, oral history, memoir and conventional pop biography. Its scope is kaleidoscopic ... Brown is a veteran journalist and prolific author, but it’s his irreverent wit, honed over years of working at Private Eye, that distinguishes this book ... One Two Three Four: The Beatles In Time is, at 650 pages, a hugely entertaining, gloriously unpretentious, sprawling mosaic of a book.
PositiveThe Irish Times (IRE)Sala’s story is the soul of the book, the melancholy fable that haunts its quieter moments, but the star of the show is her brother Alex. Larger than life, gregarious, resourceful, passionate, tough, quick to anger, this was a man who worked himself – and his siblings – out of near destitution, ending up as a regular patron of the most elegant nightclubs of Paris, a gifted couturier and an even more gifted hustler ... House of Glass is not always a comfortable read for the modern European. Freeman is measured but blunt in her assessment of how sovereign nations threw their Jewish citizens under the Nazi bus ... In this regard, House of Glass is not just an epic personal odyssey; it’s an indictment of official history and a nuanced investigation into the nature of Jewish identity. As literature, it’s exhaustively researched, with a prose style that weighs in somewhere between professionally scrupulous and unfussily buffed. Sometimes it’s as well to be educated as entertained.
PositiveThe Irish TimesWhite’s book, a 700-plus page exploration of how the CIA, the British Secret Intelligence Service (aka MI6) and the Kremlin weaponised literature from the 1930s until Glasnost, serves as a historical prologue to everything from Netflix’s The Great Hack to Peter Pomerantsev’s This is Not Propaganda. It may also grant some retrospective solace to the novelist or poet who despairs of literature’s declining role as a change agent in an age of memes replacing tomes. If nothing else, Cold Warriors testifies as to how seriously East and West once took books ... Cold Warriors is a surprisingly accessible and compulsive read, not least because of its cast list: George Orwell, Arthur Koestler, Boris Pasternak, Graham Greene, Anna Akhmatova, John le Carré, Mary McCarthy, Andrei Sinyavsky, Václav Havel, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Gioconda Belli and many more ... The cold war is a heavyweight subject, but Cold Warriors is a heavyweight book. History has rarely seemed as compelling, and as pertinent, as through the lens of White’s journey through this icy age.