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.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling