Book Reviews

Weekend Books – Forty Autumns: A Family’s Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall

Weekend Books – Forty Autumns: A Family’s Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall

“I was five years old when I learned that my grandmother lived behind a curtain.” The line that opens this book written by a former U.S. intelligence officer, Nina Willner is, of course, a reference to the Iron Curtain. Forty Autumns spans three generations of the author’s family living in East Germany and the United […]

Weekend Books — East West Street

Weekend Books — East West Street

Kapil Summan was greatly impressed by East West Street and spoke to the author about current threats to human rights. In The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee, scientist Jared Diamond cites 20 genocides since 1950, arguing that “genocide has been part of our human and prehuman heritage for millions of years”; that the […]

Weekend Books – Churchill and Ireland

Weekend Books – Churchill and Ireland

Churchill and Ireland Churchill’s close links to Ireland and his involvement in Irish politics have been somewhat underplayed in most biographies, a state of affairs that is remedied in Paul Bew’s concise but thorough book. Churchill, the arch-imperialist, had a contradictory attitude towards Ireland and its people. But his fondness for the country and its […]

Weekend Books – Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s

Weekend Books – Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s

Our ideas of Paris during the war may well have been shaped from the film Casablanca. “Well, Rick, we’ll always have Paris…” Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) says. But I would doubt few, if any of us, would have paused to consider what Paris actually meant for those living there in the period of the Second World War. […]

Weekend Books – Marshall Hall: A Law unto Himself

Weekend Books – Marshall Hall: A Law unto Himself

Scottish advocate Stephen O’Rourke is impressed with a new biography of the great barrister Marshall Hall. This life of ‘The Great Defender’ and Conservative MP Sir Edward Marshall Hall KC (1858-1927) is a fascinating read, beautifully written by another English silk, Sally Smith QC. Smith has researched every facet of Marshall’s life (as he was […]

Weekend Books – Trials: On Death Row in Pakistan

Weekend Books – Trials: On Death Row in Pakistan

Justice (terminally) delayed… In her excellent book Indian Summer, Alex von Tunzelmann recounts that Horace Alexander, a friend of Mahatma Gandhi’s, once wrote “I sometimes think our greatest crime against India was to turn all her best sons into lawyers.” The best of these lawyers, the more-British-than-Indian Lincoln’s Inn-trained Muhammad Ali Jinnah, an avowed secularist […]

Weekend Books – Highland Clearances

Weekend Books – Highland Clearances

Scottish lawyer Brian Inkster of Inksters Solicitors enjoys a fascinating account of the Highland Clearances but is angered at the parallels with the conduct of the Crofting Commission of today. In Set Adrift Upon the World: The Sutherland Clearances James Hunter masterly weaves together a fascinating account of the Sutherland Clearances. One that takes you […]

Weekend Books – David Hume

Weekend Books – David Hume

Professor Hector MacQueen of the University of Edinburgh writes for our sister publication, Scottish Legal News, about a new biography of the influential philosopher David Hume which he finds absorbing and worthy of the great man. Long ago I was introduced to the philosophy of David Hume (1711-76) by the late Neil MacCormick lecturing in the Jurisprudence […]

Confessions of a Barrister

Confessions of a Barrister

The gavel, a device never used in the English courts, features on the cover of Confessions of a Barrister – and is a harbinger of things to come. The book is an anonymised account of the trials and travails of criminal barrister, “Russell Winnock”, who called in 1999. But, the title notwithstanding, his “confessions” are few and far […]

The Last Communard

The Last Communard

It may surprise some readers that the last Communard of this title is not Jimmy Somerville, the shrill voice of the 1980s, but Adrien Lejeune who as a young free-thinker reluctantly took the side of the Commune revolutionaries when the people of Paris rose up against the reactionary French government that had capitulated to the […]