Peter Stanford

Peter Stanford is a writer, editor, and presenter. He was formerly Editor of The Catholic Herald, and a regular contributor to the New Statesman.

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Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim, By John Guy

Sub-titles are usually where publishers try to hype up a book, or give its subject a headline-making spin. So Viking should be congratulated for their Ronseal-like directness – "what it says on the tin" – in tagging John Guy's biography of Thomas Becket as "a story retold". For the tale of the 12th-century Archbishop of Canterbury and the king who appointed him, but came to rue the day and saw him murdered in his cathedral, is even on the primary-school curriculum.

The Flight, By M R Hall

Fasten your seatbelts for a quality thriller

God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World, By Cullen Murphy

Television has been widely credited with making history fashionable again, with all those enthusiastic and engaging experts taking to the small screen. They have hauled what had become too often a subject constrained by the lifeless prose of academic books into the mainstream of public debate. Now there seems to be traffic the other way, for there is something televisual about God's Jury, an enormously enjoyable and very modern history of the Inquisition by Cullen Murphy, editor-at-large of Vanity Fair.

Reappraisal of Christian concepts: Michelangelo's creation story, in the Sistine Chapel

Christianity in Evolution: An Exploration, By Jack Mahoney

The relationship between Christianity and science has long been a fraught one, whether you go back to the persecution of Galileo by the Inquisition in the 17th century, the rejection of Darwin by the ecclesiastical bigwigs in the 19th, or the current stand-off between militant atheists among the scientific community, such as Richard Dawkins, and a Church that still has faith in miracles.

Santa: A life. By Jeremy Seal

A long sleigh-ride from Asia Minor to the mall

Black Christmas; zwarte piet

This is how Santa's little helpers dress in Holland. Anna Fox photographs a source of much liberal embarrassment

Fantasy groom

How do I look? If there's one thing more eye-catching than a room decorated with purple walls and faux-Georgian furniture, it's the man in leather trousers and flowing silk shirt behind it all. Meet Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, the handy dandy of daytime television

Books: Pop goes the historian

With his timely attack on the notion of `Britishness', Norman Davies is laying claim to membership of the band of superstar history- writers.

the essay: What a way to go

When Peter Stanford's mother died, his encounters with soft-selling undertakers and kitsch `chapels of rest' made him realise just how sanitised our approach to death has become

Books: From sex to sanctity

Peter Stanford finds the great killjoy guilty as charged
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Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy