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

Rob Behrens, formerly chief executive of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, is reading David Cesarani's Disraeli: The Novel Politician (Yale University Press, 2016). "With ruthless application of text and context, Cesarani's book is a thrilling, important corrective to those who used Disraeli's endless ambiguities to legitimise their own pet causes. With toe-curling precision, Dizzy is acknowledged as a 'Jewish thinker', but nailed as a slippery opportunist, and a 'counterfeit squire' whose stereotypes of Jews turned them (us) into 'poster children of reaction'."

Sir David Eastwood, vice-chancellor, University of Birmingham, is reading James Abbott McNeill Whistler's The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (CreateSpace, 2015). "If you are going to make enemies, do it as Whistler did in this 1890 work: with language so sharp that it wounds deeply, and with phrases so memorable that any riposte is forgotten. I knew something of his wit. What I did not know was the profundity of his artistic judgements, and why these matter. The book delights and sometimes disturbs. I did not know it until now, but I should have done."

Mary Evans, centennial professor in the Gender Institute, London School of Economics, is reading Les Back's Academic Diary: Or Why Higher Education Still Matters (Goldsmiths Press, 2016). "This is a note not just about what I'm reading but about what two other family members have also read, with equal delight. …

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