Magazine article The Spectator

Books of the Year - JANE GARDAM

Magazine article The Spectator

Books of the Year - JANE GARDAM

Article excerpt

My first favourite book this year is Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick by Jenny Uglow (Faber, £20), a definitive biography with dozens of tiny, marvellous illustrations of Bewick; woodcuts reproduced with astonishing accuracy and beauty. The packed text revels in his times and the print and production are as fine as Bewick deserves.

Also biography, Georgina Howell's Daughter of the Desert: The Remarkable Life of Gertrude Bell (Macmillan, £20) is an absorbing account of the life of this terrifying, rather dowdy, eccentric genius who was one of the founders of Iraq.

Leonard Woolf: A Life by Victoria Glendinning (Simon & Schuster, £25) is saved from being another slice of Bloomsbury pie by Glendinning's scholarship and blessed lack of awe.

Woolf the colonial administrator in Ceylon is a revelation -- the opposite of the background husband who cherished Virginia. …

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