The London Review of Books

How do we know her?

Hillary Mantel displays her trademark historical insight, deftness of touch, and ability to create a sense of immediacy in this review of a 2017 book about the wealthy and influential 16th century noblewoman Margaret Pole.

Imperial Graveyard

This dissection of a biography of the prominent American diplomatic Richard Holbrooke deals with a complex figure (“an exceptional shit of a human being, even aside from the defects born of extreme ambition”) who served in the Balkans under Clinton and Afghanistan under Obama, and stood for a very particular vision of America’s place in the world.

Consider the Hermit Crab

A story marvelling at the hermit crab, possibly responsible for eating Amelia Earhart on an island in the West Pacific, a species of which the oldest “live to more than a hundred, and grow to be wider than three feet across: too large to fit in a bathtub, exactly the right size for a nightmare.”

Flight to the Forest

A story of a Swiss man who lived amongst the Penan in Sarawak, Malaysia – “one of the last populations of genuine nomads in the world”. Following run-ins with the Malaysian government and logging companies, and a brief repatriation to Switzerland, he returned to Sarawak undercover, only to go missing whilst trekking. Nearly 20 years later, he has never been found.