Great Britain

In brief: The World Before Us; Cunning Women; When Time Stopped – reviews

Tom Higham
Viking, £20, pp296

It is received wisdom that humanity is descended from the Neanderthals, and that they were the only prehistoric humanoid race. As archaeology professor Tom Higham convincingly argues in this fascinating and deeply researched book, this is a simplification of the facts that verges on the misleading. Instead, Higham draws on new information to describe a previously unknown race of humans – the Denisovans – and their contemporaries, an eclectic variety of beings who include, wonderfully, a tiny island-dwelling race known as “the hobbits”. Higham conveys the thrill of archaeological discovery eruditely and accessibly.

Elizabeth Lee
Windmill, £14.99, pp368

In 1620s Lancashire, Sarah Haworth and her family are believed to be “cunning”, a euphemism for witches. Their neighbours publicly shun them while privately seeking their counsel and medical expertise. Yet the Pendle witch trials, organised by the zealous forces of the patriarchal law, seek to expose anyone “other”, and so Sarah and those she loves are confronted with a terrifying reckoning. Elizabeth Lee’s debut novel is timely in its depiction of hysteria and persecution, and beautifully evokes a historical period poised between dark ignorance and long-overdue enlightenment.

Ariana Neumann
Scribner, £8.99, pp353

Ariana Neumann’s memoir is based around a simple but vital question: how far can we really know our own families? When her father, Hans, died, he left behind a collection of papers that led her to discover his past as a Czechoslovakian Jew, and the extraordinarily resourceful manner in which he escaped the deportation and murder that befell most of his family. Neumann’s father presented himself as a willing collaborator, while taking care to sabotage the German war effort from within. This fascinating and moving book is a fine testament to him.

Football news:

Griezmann spoke with Hamilton and visited the Mercedes boxes at the Spanish Grand Prix
Barcelona feels that Neymar used it. He said that he wanted to return, but extended his contract with PSG (RAC1)
Aubameyang to the Arsenal fans: We wanted to give you something good. I am sorry that we could not
Atletico did not lose at the Camp Nou. Busquets' injury is the turning point of the match (and the championship race?)
Verratti injured his knee ligaments in PSG training. Participation in the Euro is still in question
Neymar's contract in one picture. Mbappe wants the same one
Manchester United would like to sign Bellingham in the summer, not Sancho. Borussia do not intend to sell Jude