Saturday 23 March 1996
The Trouble with Science by Robin Dunbar (Faber, pounds 7.99) This bad- tempered but stimulating polemic inists that science and empirical observation are basic to human life: we ignore them at our peril. Dunbar offers plenty of evidence, from the rescue of Apollo 13 to the failure of Norse colonies in Greenland. But the case is overstated. His assertion that the reaction against science began with 19th-century Romantics is dubious. Shelley, for one, adored it. Science has gained ground ever since this book appeared last year: there is no mention of the hugely inspiring Hubble photos.
Bosnia: A Short History by Noel Malcolm (Papermac, pounds 10) In this rich and fascinating work, Malcolm performs a prodigious feat in untangling arcane detail and debunking myth. The Serbs and the Croats were Slave tribes who arrived in the seventh century, but the basis of their animosity is economic (Christian peasants resenting Muslim landlords) rather than ethnic. In fact, for much of the period since 1878, the two peoples lived peacefully together. In a new epilogue taking the story to the end of 1995, Malcolm says that ethnic separation will ensure a ``much more troubled future''.
The Brendan Voyage by Tim Sevrin (Abacus, pounds 8.99) The idea that the Irish made it to America 400 years before the Vikings is a thrilling one. Putting his faith in the Navigatio, a medieval text which describes St Brendan's voyage to the Promised Land, explorer Tim Sevrin and four friends reconstructed the saint's tiny ox-hide boat and put the myth to the test. Sevrin's account of their terrifying journey across North Atlantic is unemotionally told, but the power of his story is undeniable. The book includes the text of the Navigatio and extensive design notes on the boat's construction. A real boy's own adventure.
Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Jeremy Clarkson to host BBC's Have I Got News For You despite Top Gear exit
A historian gave the most British look of despair when someone screwed up Richard III's birthday at his reburial
Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
Kay Burley 'bias' against Ed Miliband prompts 130 complaints to Ofcom
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'