The Inside Story This Town By Mark Leibovich Penguin, pp.400, £17.99 Many books have been written about the corruption, venality and incestuousness that characterise Washington DC, but none has been as highly anticipated or amusing as This Town. Written by Mark Leibovich, the senior national correspondent for the New York Times magazine, it has been on the minds...

Germany's War on Barbie ‘I embrace Barbie because I’m not threatened by her,’ says my friend Pippa, an early 40-ish antiques dealer from London who lives in Berlin. We are standing inside the ‘Barbie Dreamhouse Experience’, a 2,500-square metre Barbie museum; a pink monstrosity erected last month in a parking lot near Alexanderplatz. Inside, one can bake imaginary cupcakes,...

The Shameful Treatment of the Man Behind the Enigma Code Alan Turing, the man who developed the Enigma code that saved the Allied war effort, was not merely disregarded by his country. A homosexual, he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ in 1952 and chemically castrated via forced oestrogen injections. Under unimaginable duress, he committed suicide. That it took until 2009 for the British government to...

The Monster at the Bar To the British tabloids, he was ‘the Pied Piper of paedophiles’, the UK’s ‘most wanted child abuser’. But we all knew him as Willem: the fat, jolly, occasionally lecherous Dutchman who was a mainstay of Prague’s expatriate gay community. If you visited one of the city’s same-sex watering holes before last August, when Czech police...

A Farewell to Facebook A political animal, I have no plans to stop opining about the issues of the day. Just don’t expect me to engage with you about them on Facebook.