The Corner

Eppur si muove

My neighbor James Watson, co-discoverer, with Francis Crick, of DNA, has got into a bit of trouble on his book tour over in the U.K. He explains himself in today’s London Independent, here.

Watson’s book is reviewed in the current (Oct. ‘07) Literary Review. The reviewer is University of Cambridge zoologist Peter Lawrence. It includes this at the end: “Finally, it is interesting to compare Watson’s and Crick’s biographies. Crick’s What Mad Pursuit is dominated by ideas and viewpoints, James Watson’s book by events and facts.”

This is, by the way, an above-average issue of Literary Review. The lead-off essay, by Claire Harman, is first-rate. (Translation: I wish I had written it.) Sam Leith reviews Andrew Wilson’s biography of pop-novelist Harold Robbins, who, says Sam, “may actually have been the vulgarest man ever to have lived.” Taner Akçam’s book on the Armenian genocide gets a timely review. Max Hastings has a new war book out (Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944-45), and Paul Johnson gives his usual hyper-competent review of Jon Latimer’s book about the war of 1812, which, as PJ says, no British person has ever heard of. Much, much more. I know I go on a lot about how excellent Literary Review is; and I’ve had aggrieved emails from people who subscribed on my recommendation, only to find that some of the reviewers are—gasp!—left-wing. LR is more Right than Left, but it’s a literary magazine, not a political one. For straight conservatism, you have your National Review. For 60 pages of literate, witty, and interesting reviews of current books, get yourself a Literary Review subscription.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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