‘Influenced by Zen and eastern spirituality, Thomas Merton defined contemplation as seeking God, coming to know one’s true self, and learning one’s relationship to the world. He regarded contemplation as the highest form of awareness.’  Photograph:  Archive Photos/Getty Images

The Seven Storey Mountain, which recounts Thomas Merton’s spiritual odyssey from disbelief to faith, opens: “On the last day of January 1915, in a yea(...)

US attorney general Eric Holder speaking during the Human Rights Campaign’s 13th annual Greater New York Gala in the Manhattan borough of New York  last night. Photograph: Getty

US attorney general Eric Holder has announced widespread changes within the US justice department to benefit same-sex married couples, such as reco(...)

Always popular in central Europe, the enthusiasm for skiing among foreign tourists, including people from Britain and Ireland, has contributed to busier slopes

Hours after Michael Schumacher left his chalet last Sunday in the French ski resort of Méribel, the retired Formula One champion was once again front (...)

A 40-year-old man who swallowed more than 1kg of cannabis resin in a bid to smuggle it into Ireland has been jailed for a year by a judge who said there must be a deterrent for people trying to smuggle drugs into Ireland. Photograph: Collins.

A 40-year-old man who swallowed more than 1kg of cannabis resin in a bid to smuggle it into Ireland has been jailed for a year by a judge who said the(...)

From left:  First Minister Peter Robinson,  Steve Larson and Jim Umpleby of Caterpillar,  and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness during a visit to Chicago yesterday

Caterpillar, the US engineering group, is to invest £7 million and create 100 jobs in a new manufacturing project at its Northern Ireland operation.Ju(...)

Caterpillar shed more than 750 jobs in Northern Ireland last year, but announced today that it has plans to build new products which will create 100 positions. Photograph: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Manufacturing giant Caterpillar has announced a major £7 million (€8.2 million) investment at its factories in Northern Ireland. The firm, which last (...)

Former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave’s most vivid recollection of US president John F Kennedy’s 1963 visit to Ireland is of the excitement that gripped the country. “I remember driving up Dame Street and people were hanging out of windows to see him coming along as he was going up to the Castle.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Ireland’s venerable elder statesman, 93-year-old Liam Cosgrave, has a precise memory of the day US president John F Kennedy addressed a joint sitting (...)

Caroline Kennedy: the assignment would vault her into the kind of public life that her father and uncles pursued for decades. Photograph: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

President Barack Obama plans to name Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late President John F Kennedy, as the next US ambassador to Japan, a(...)

What's another year?
  • Books
  • February 26, 2013, 12:50

James T Patterson, author of this elegantly written and finely nuanced work on the US in the 1960s, is clearly no fan of Philip Larkin, or he w(...)