Tag Archives: religion

no more next day

Seven weeks now since they took Bowie’s passport and shoes, and with them a fair number of, umm, older people’s youthful sedatives too (boo! death comes to everyone. boo-hoo…) In return: a scary and intriguing answer to a question that probably … Continue reading

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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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The First Muslims: History and Memory

This book by Asma Afsaruddin, who is Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at Indiana University is, on the face of it, a history of the earliest Muslims, in particular the Rashidun Caliphs (the four immediate successors to the … Continue reading

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Prague: two Sarajevo moments

somwehere in an old building at Prague castle, to my surprise, there was a window with a notice on it saying: this is where the Defenestration of Prague happened. The what? Took me back to when I was 17 and … Continue reading

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Dresden: the Saxon one percent

Upstairs in the Royal Palace of the Kings of Saxony is a spectacular collection of Ottoman weaponry, from the days when the Turks had Hungary and threatened Vienna. Downstairs, the so-called Green Vault: two floors of unbelievable and unnecessary trinkature … 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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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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