Christopher Hirst

Christopher Hirst is an award-winning food writer and freelance journalist.

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Book review: The Light Garden of the Angel King, By Peter Levi

The inaccessibility of Afghanistan adds lustre to this poetic masterpiece about a visit in the inconceivably peaceful late Sixties.

Book review: The Big Screen, By David Thomson

The good, the bad and the mediocre stuff of cinema

WikiLeaks, By David Leigh and Luke Harding

This "new and updated edition" adds 33 pages to the 2010 original but few revelations.

Book review: The Story of Music, By Howard Goodall

Goodall's thesis begins with a 40,000-year-old flute. "It is from [such] dusty artefacts that Duke Ellington's horn section… would one day grow."

Book review: Bertie, By Jane Ridley

This monumental but deliciously readable life of Edward VII reveals that, as Prince of Wales, he was a complete nightmare. "Bertie" was so greedy that one courtier was said to have burned down his house so he didn't have to entertain the prince.

Book review: A Natural History of Ghosts, By Roger Clarke

Though rationalists may scoff at Clarke's encounter with a ghostly bouncing ball, he tackles the supernatural with gusto, intelligence and persistence.

Book review: Collected Ghost Stories, By MR James

The don and the damned: a master of terror returns

Book review: First Class, By Chris West

A "history of Britain in 36 postage stamps" could have been as fusty as the hobby from which it emerged but West's annotations are well-crafted and revealing.

Book review: Parthenon, By David Stuttard

This atmospheric account of Europe's greatest classical structure, built by Pericles in a mere 15 years after the Persians levelled Athens, suggests that it was a piecemeal construction with no masterplan.

Book review: Servants, By Lucy Lethbridge

Despite the enduring appeal of nobs and servants on TV, the reality is far more interesting.

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