Why Chechnya still feels like a battleground

A Russia without Putin and his puppets would be a better one for Chechnya. By Lorraine Courtney.

Polina Zherebtsova was just 14 when the bombs began falling on her city. She wrote everything down, filling dozens of diaries with raw stories of a city under siege and a teenage girl’s broken dreams. Her journals have just been published. They engage and shock. They also reilluminate a conflict that has largely fallen off the media map.

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia

T.E. Lawrence is brought magnificently to life in a new biography by Michael Korda. By Lorraine Courtney.

Peter O’Toole immortalised him as an enigma wrapped in Arab robes, galloping on a camel across the desert plains in David Lean’s epic film. Documentaries and no less than 56 biographies launched a thousand myths. But they still haven’t answered the question asked by one of Lawrence of Arabia’s many exasperated commanding officers, “Who is this extraordinary pipsqueak?”

Inside Russia's default

Lorraine Courtney reviews Martin Gilman's No Precedent, No Plan: Inside Russia's 1998 Default.

Back before the global economic slump, the IMF was hastily careering down the path towards irrelevance. But that was then. Now, it is back in town, right at the front line of bail-out packages, wrangling over government spending and tax reform.