The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, January 2004 | Go to article overview
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The World of Paperbacks


New titles from PIMLICO are dominated by biographies led by Janet Browne's Charles Darwin: Voyaging and Charles Darwin: The Power of Place ([pounds sterling]12.99 each). These were highly praised on publication and give us portraits of both the man and the scientist. The second new biography is Curtis Cate's Friedrich Nietzsche ([pounds sterling]14.99) which shows that a thorough understanding of the life of superman's creator is essential to understanding his philosophy. The third biography is Frank McLynn's Bonnie Prince Charlie: Charles Edward Stuart ([pounds sterling]15.00), first published in 1988. This was the first scholarly biography of the Young Pretender and it is still arguably the best. A final new title from Pimlico is Roger Eatwell's Fascism: A History ([pounds sterling]12.50), a balanced, scholarly analysis and history, first published in 1995 and now appearing with a new introduction.

ARROW BOOKS, part of the Random house conglomerate, have brought out the latest instalment from the diaries of the grand old man of British socialism, Tony Benn's Free at Last! Diaries 1991-2001 ([pounds sterling]9.99), here selected and edited by Ruth Winstone. Arrow Books have also republished A. N. Wilson's The Victorians ([pounds sterling]9.99), published by Hutchinson in 2002.

JOHN MURRAY has brought out a paperback edition of the Collected Poems ([pounds sterling]12.99) by the late Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman. Because he was the most popular poet since Tennyson, Sir John's collected verse has sold over 2,000,000 copies in hardback and it is good to have a paperback edition available now. To accompany this Murray has also republished the long-awaited second volume of Bevis Hillier's biography of the poet: John Betjeman: New Fame, New Love ([pounds sterling]9.99) which is written with the same sympathy, humour and understanding as the first.

New titles from PENGUIN BOOKS include two studies of Russian life that were well received on their hardback publication, a new edition of Robert Service's A History of Modern Russia from Nicholas II to Putin ([pounds sterling]12.99) and, from a more intellectual approach, Orlando Figes' Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia ([pounds sterling]8.99). A third historical title is Spain's Road to Empire: The Making of a World Power, 1492-1763 ([pounds sterling]10.99) by Henry Kamen who writes with his usual lucidity and detachment. On the political front we have Jeremy Paxman's The Political Animal ([pounds sterling]7.99) in which the veteran television interviewer takes a sardonic look at those who become politicians and asks why they do so (other than for the good pensions they award themselves). From the political journalist, Matthew Parris, we have his autobiographical musings, Chance Witness: An Outsider's Life in Politics ([pounds sterling]7.99) in which he takes a wry look at himself and the world of politics. Two other titles, this time on the literary side, are Humphrey Carpenter's study of the 'antiestablishment' writers of the 1950s, The Angry Young Men: A Literary Comedy of the 1950s ([pounds sterling]8.99) which was highly praised in Contemporary Review, and, next, Christopher Ricks' Reviewery ([pounds sterling]9.99), a collection of fifty of Prof. Ricks' most important literary reviews from both sides of the Atlantic.

ROUTLEDGE has republished The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity ([pounds sterling]9.

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The World of Paperbacks
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