Apologies necessary

An entertaining study of the role manners have played in English history. George Pendle reviews ‘Sorry! The English and their Manners’, by Henry Hitchings

A man of gifts

Artemis Cooper’s ‘Patrick Leigh Fermor’ is the perfect memorial to the war hero and author who led a filmic life, writes William Dalrymple

Childish Loves

The final volume of Benjamin Markovits’ Lord Byron trilogy unpeels the poet’s life

River of Smoke

The ravages of the opium trade unfold in Amitav Ghosh’s novel

A Long Lunch

A rich mix of anecdotes from Simon Hoggart’s four decades as a journalist


Tim Mackintosh-Smith follows Ibn Battutah across Africa, Spain and China

See the light

If Jesus reappeared in present-day New York, would we recognise him? AN Wilson reviews James Frey’s ‘The Final Testament of the Holy Bible’


Susie Boyt on Neil Jordan’s utterly convincing story of identity and loss


Philip Mansel delivers an accessible history of Smyrna, Alexandria and Beirut

Hand Me Down World

The life that is pieced together in Lloyd Jones’s series of ‘testimonies’ belongs to a young African woman


L R Fredericks asks if it is possible to know God’s mind