A watchman stands next to heaps of sacks filled with paddy at a wholesale grain market in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, Saturday. India's inflation dropped to a new multi-year low in October, helped by slower annual rises in food and fuel prices, intensifying pressure on the central bank to cut interest rates to encourage spending and investment needed to boost growth.
Once upon a time historical biographies were written by men and were mostly about (‘Great’) men: from Plutarch and Suetonius on the grandees of the ancient world, to Vasari on the artists of Renaissance Italy, Boswell on Johnson, Aubrey’s Brief Lives, Carlyle on Frederick the Great, Morley on Gladstone, Trevelyan on Garibaldi and Churchill on Marlborough. Many still are. I think of Ian Kershaw’s authoritative life of Hitler or Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Stalin, for example, or Jonathan Steinberg’s Bismarck and several recent (or imminent) books about Napoleon and various US presidents (not to mention the many biographies of leading cultural figures by Michael Holroyd, Richard Holmes, A.N. Wilson, Peter Ackroyd and others). No doubt the trend has been boosted by this year’s First World War centenary and the appearance of new studies of men associated with it: Guy Cuthbertson’s Wilfred Owen or the third and final volume of John Röhl’s biography of Kaiser Wilhelm. Historical biography