Christopher Hirst

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

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Book review: Servants, By Lucy Lethbridge

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

Book review: The Crooked Timber of Humanity, By Isaiah Berlin

Berlin is a mystery. You encounter the ecstatic cover puffs (TLS: "often self-mocking… full of gaiety and amusement") and then the serpentine pontifications inside and you wonder if you've been reading the same book.

Book review: Hollywood Left and Right, By Steven J Ross

Tinseltown's most radical put the glitz into politics

Book review: Very Naughty Boys, By Robert Sellers

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

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: 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: 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.

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: Eminent Elizabethans, By Piers Brendon

From Jagger's priapism to Charles's princely charms

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".

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