Magazine article Times Higher Education

What Are You Reading?

Magazine article Times Higher Education

What Are You Reading?

Article excerpt

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

Sir David Bell, vice-chancellor, University of Reading, is reading Matthew D. Tribbe's No Requiem for the Space Age: The Apollo Moon Landings in American Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014). "Why did the Apollo moon landings fall out of favour so quickly? Matthew Tribbe provides an interesting explanation. He suggests that a mood shift from 'technocratic rationalism' to the mystical counter-cultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s was as important in ending the programme as the enormous cost. That and Nasa's failure to cultivate the public imagination, despite the magnitude of its achievements."

Peter Catterall, reader in history, University of Westminster, is reading Wendy Jones' Grayson Perry: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl (Chatto & Windus, 2006). "If the purest form of art expresses the inner person, then the art of Grayson Perry is expressed as much through his alter ego Claire as through his pottery. Cross-dressing became a means of coping with and transcending an oppressive home environment. It just shows how liberating and empowering it can be to express yourself by being someone else."

R. C. Richardson, emeritus professor of history, University of Winchester, is reading Simon Winchester's The Man who Loved China (Harper, 2008). "Written with characteristic panache, this well-researched study explores the lifelong fascination of the colourful Cambridge polymath Joseph Needham (1900-95) with China's centuries-long record as the home of invention. …

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