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Congo: The Epic History of a People by David van Reybrouck, book review

Like "genius" or "masterpiece", "epic" is a word that has suffered semantic inflation at the hands of over-eager book reviewers. But the Congo is a country that merits the word in all its original grandeur; epic landscapes, epic rivers, epic greed, epic s

Kolyma Diaries: A Journey into Russia's Haunted Hinterland review

Jacek Hugo-Bader has hitchhiked the length of the Road of Bones, on a pilgrimage to the land of gold and gulags The 2,025 km-long Kolyma Highway in the far east of Russia is known as the Road of Bones because the thousands of gulag prisoners who died buil

Book review: Fight or Flight by Martin Thomas

The British and the French weren’t so different after all when ending their empires.

Fight or Flight: Britain, France, and Their Roads From Empire - Martin Thomas

Although shattered by war, in 1945 Britain and France still controlled the world's two largest colonial empires, with imperial territories stretched over four continents. And they appeared determined to keep them: the roll-call of British and French polit

Odd Job Man - Jonathon Green

For thirty years Jonathon Green has been collecting slang - the indefinable language of the gutter, the brothel, the jail, the barroom - producing a succession of dictionaries, most recently the three-volume Green's Dictionary of Slang, that have been rec

From Pompeii: The Afterlife of a Roman Town - Ingrid D. Rowland

The calamity that proved lethal for Pompeii inhabitants preserved the city for centuries, leaving behind a snapshot of Roman daily life that has captured the imagination of generations, including Renoir, Freud, Hirohito, Mozart, Dickens, Twain, Rossellini

Trials of Passion - Lisa Appignanesi

This book journeys into the heart of dark passions and the crimes they impel. When passion is in the picture, what is criminal, what sane, what mad or simply bad? Brighton, 1870: A well-respected spinster infuses chocolate creams with strychnine in order

Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes by Svante Pääbobook - book review: 'Inquiry into ancient DNA reveals the secrets of our genes'

In Leipzig an international effort led by Svante Pääbo's team at the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology has produced a genome sequence for a Neanderthal woman who lived in Siberia 50 millennia ago.

Trials of Passion by Lisa Appignanesi, review

Crimes of passion become gripping case studies in this enthralling, gruesome history of 19th-century women, finds Miranda Seymour

From Pompeii by Ingrid D Rowland, review

The ruined town of Pompeii continues to cast a spell on those who visit it, finds Chloe Chard