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The Independent Culture
The Day the War Ended by Martin Gilbert, HarperCollins, £20. Breathtaking, panoramic portrait of Europe in 1945. Review by Jan Morris, 6 May

Charles Darwin: Voyaging by Janet Browne, Jonathan Cape, £25. Authoritative and highly readable biography which uncovers the complex process of scientific creativity. Review by Peter Bowler, 29 April

A Summer Plague: Polio and its Survivors by Tony Gould, Yale £19.95. Gripping social history of the illness. Review by Howard Jacobson, 29 April