Christopher Hirst

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

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The Independent around the web

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: Now for Then, By Ben Hammersley

Though the cheeriness of the sub-title - "how to face the digital future without fear" - is a trifle misplaced, this guide in 64 byte-sized chunks is packed with enlightenment for the digitally baffled.

Book review: Thirst, By Steven Mithen

Who would think that a study of ancient hydraulic engineering could be so revelatory, so engrossing? Mithen shows that water meant not only survival but power.

Book review: Savage Continent, By Keith Lowe

"There is no morality… only survival." In cool, measured language, Lowe shows how the horror of World War II not only persisted long after the fighting but actually intensified. Soviet soldiers raped almost 200,000 German women.

Book review: Very Naughty Boys, By Robert Sellers

The highs of 'Life of Brian'; the lows of 'Cold Dog Soup'

Restaurant review: The Anvil, Main Street, Sawdon, North Yorkshire

"If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbour," runs the ancient Yankee saw, "though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door."

Book review: Sorry! The English and their Manners, By Henry Hitchings

Though packed with interest – the first citation of "please" in the OED is from 1774 – this exploration of a topic relevant to all (except hermits) tends to stray off course.

Book review: You Can't Read This Book, By Nick Cohen

As ardent as it is readable, this account of "censorship in an age of freedom" starts with The Satanic Verses, banned by states as varied as Sudan and apartheid South Africa, then moves on to the murder of Theo van Gogh "in Amsterdam, the city of Spinoza and Anne Frank".

Book review: The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable, By Carol Baxter

Reading his account of a real-life crime in 1845 is an experience close to time travel. Through impressive research and unshowy prose, Baxter whisks us back to the start of the modern age.

Book review: Thomas Becket, By John Guy

Acclaimed for narrative verve, this life scores with vivid descriptions of character and events. Henry II's "chief weakness was his temper… like a whirlwind".

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers