Human Accomplishment

(Charles Murray) A subversive book which purports to rank the top 20 men and women (mostly men) in the arts and sciences on the basis of historiometry. Awash with Bell curves, Lotka curves, and arbitrary methodology, it fascinates but does not convince: one imagines  oneself drawing a silly graph on the blackboard and quoting J. Evans Pritchard.      

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The Minoans

Image courtesy of Eric Gaba

( by J. Lesley Fitton) For over 40 years Sir Arthur Evans had a patent on “Minoan” civilisation on Crete and tended to make it up as he went, albeit subconsciously. This rather sober book puts the pots and pans and ‘restored’ frescoes in a slightly less romantic context.

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The Lost One – A life of Peter Lorre

(Stephen Youngkin) Standard, almost obsessively detailed reference book on the whispering menace. Peter gets to stroll the green lanes of Paradise for his work in M, Mad Love, Crime and Punishment, Strange Cargo, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca and Beat the Devil. He gets censured for taking work away from actors of certain nations and ethnicities, e.g., Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Russian, Dutch and Irish (although we doubt the authenticity of that last one, from Beat the Devil).

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Darkness at Noon

November 17, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(Arthur Koestler) Koestler, like Solzhenitsyn, managed to humanise the Gulag and here he almost manages to explain the insanity of the Great Terror in this short but brilliant novel, in which a now discarded architect of the revolution decides to abandon his duty not to perish.

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The Trial

(by Franz Kafka) An offense to natural justice, this nightmare procedural (originally entitled ‘The Process’) has K finding all about how but nothing about why. Kafka’s famous novel interprets both the times and the inhumanity of the human condition.

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