The Week in Books

March 13, 2008

The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict by Joseph Stiglitz, chair, management board, Brooks World Poverty Institute, University of Manchester, and Linda Bilmes, lecturer in public policy, Harvard University. Allen Lane, £20.00, ISBN 9781846141287.

"The operating costs of the war in Iraq are now $12.5 billion a month; which rises to $16 billion if you include Afghanistan. Sixteen billion dollars is the annual budget of the UN and four times that of the WHO. It is more than three times what the US gives annually to Africa. It is two years' funding for the campaign to eradicate illiteracy worldwide."

Sam Leith, The Daily Telegraph

Light, Air and Openness: Modern Architecture between the Wars, by Paul Overy, senior research fellow in the history and theory of modernism, Middlesex University. Thames & Hudson, £24.95, ISBN 9780500342428

"Paul Overy's book comes to interesting conclusions as to why modernism remains so sure of itself. It is often taken as axiomatic, for instance, that the first world war ... stimulated the rise of what was a fledgling movement in Europe. This is true to the extent that wars accelerate the advance of technology. But Overy suggests that it has as much to do with late-19th-century notions of healthcare. In particular, he believes, the cult of the sanatorium led to the new architecture."

Hugh Pearman, The Sunday Times

The Ceremonial City: History, Memory and Myth in Renaissance Venice by Ian Fenlon, professor of historical musicology, King's College, Cambridge. Yale, £30.00, ISBN 9780300119374

"Supported by illustrative material of exceptional range and quality, The Ceremonial City captures an unequalled moment of synthesis between art, faith and politics as the clouds of war, plague and economic failure gather on the Venetian horizon."

Jonathan Keates, The Sunday Telegraph

Shakespeare's Poems edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones, research fellow in English, University of Oxford, and H.R. Woudhuysen, professor of English, University College London. Thomson, £9.99, ISBN 9781903436875 "This is an opportunity to revisit Shakespeare in guise as the poet he may have wanted to be when he started out, in the company of editors with erudition and patience ... Why, they ask, do academics in general ignore the poems, concentrating on the plays?"

Peter Porter, Times Literary Supplement

William and Lawrence Bragg, Father and Son: The Most Extraordinary Collaboration in Science by John Jenkin, emeritus scholar in the history and philosophy of science, La Trobe University. Oxford University Press, £35.00, ISBN 9780199235209

"It is a pity that Jenkin squeezes the entirety of the Braggs' post-1920 careers into two short chapters, and that he chooses to use his brief epilogue to quarrel with Hunter's recent interpretation of Lawrence's relationships with his parents."

Jeff Hughes, Nature.

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