Enda O'Doherty

Whatever happened to the lively and apparently healthy democratic process in Central Europe, during the decade that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall? Answers are more likely to be found in economic circumstances, argues Enda O’Doherty, than supposedly innate tendencies to reaction.

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Go out to your local bookshop, advises Enda O’Doherty, and get in close with those Books You Haven’t Read, the Books To Read Next Summer and The Books To Fill Out Those Small Gaps That Are Still There On Your Shelves. Don’t come away empty-handed. They may not be there forever.

With German-bashing now firmly established as a European Volkssport, Dublin Review of Books editor Enda O’Doherty turns to the semi-barbarous German language; only to find that in the right hands, or expressed through the right vocal cords, German is indeed a very beautiful language.

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George Orwell is often credited with elevating political writing to an art. However, writes Enda O’Doherty, it might be useful to separate out the terms “political” and “writing”. For while his writing is undoubtedly of the highest order, the quality of his political judgment remains questionable.

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The deep historical roots of European culture may not lie in the geographical and political entity of today’s Europe. But it is precisely here that the feeling of belonging inspired by the best that has been thought and said (and sung and painted and danced) needs cultivating, argues Enda O’Doherty.