Category Archives: anybody up there?

inventing God

Kyria said: Daddy, where did the world come from? To let her make up her own mind, I told her the two main western accounts: created in a week (say Christians and Muslims) and evolution. Hmm, she said, I’m not … Continue reading

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surpassing Solomon

“Solomon, I have surpassed you”; that is what the 6th century Byzantine emperor Justinian is supposed to have said when he first entered the church he had commissioned, Aya Sofia, the shrine of the Holy Wisdom. In this mosaic he, … Continue reading

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earth do not cover their blood

From the moment the bus stops, Auschwitz and Birkenau, 67 and a half years to the day after their liberation, are heaving with guided tour groups in a Babel of languages. The story goes on and on: three-and-a-half almost relentless … Continue reading

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The American Future

A curious title for what is a work of thematic history about America interspersed with passages of personal reminiscence, but Simon Schama’s book was written during the 2008 election, those days of surging hope when it seemed the US might … Continue reading

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Storms of My Grandchildren

This first book by James Hansen, the dean of American climate scientists and the man who introduced a mass audience to the concept of “global warming” in a Congressional hearing nearly a quarter of a century ago, was published right … Continue reading

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Byzantium by bus

And so, 30 years after I first conceived the ambition while turning right at Thessaloniki, I came not sailing but on a highway bus (aware, always, of the tyre-tracks of history) to Istanbul-Constantinople-Byzantium. The rain had cleared and we descended … Continue reading

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mosque heaven: Edirne

From Samothraki I took the ferry before dawn back to Alexandroupoli, arriving in brilliant, freezing sunshine. After 20 minutes, the bus to Orestiada turned inland into thick fog, passing through small towns among roads lined with white single-storey Thracian cottages … Continue reading

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