Tears, tiffs and triumphs. One judge threatened to throw himself off a balcony, another provoked a punch-up, a third was chatted up in the taxi home by Saul Bellow … To mark the 40th anniversary of the Booker prize and the impending announcement of the 2008 shortlist, we asked a judge from every year to tell us the inside story of how the winner was chosen. — The Guardian

The culture war’s decisive battle has begun. In every war there is one decisive battle. This battle doesn’t end the war; a great deal of hard fighting lies ahead. But in retrospect it’s the moment when one side’s ultimate victory — and the other side’s ultimate defeat — were sealed. In our Civil War this decisive battle was Gettysburg. In World War II, it was Midway. Unexpectedly — perhaps even astonishingly — this year’s presidential campaign is shaping up as the decisive battle in the Culture War that’s been tearing apart our country for decades. — American Thinker

Piccadilly circus: New evidence about the murder of a Bulgarian émigré. His code-name was Piccadilly. An Italian-born Dane, he was one of the most mysterious figures of the cold war. According to Bulgarian secret-service files, he was the agent who assassinated Georgi Markov, code-named “Wanderer”, a Bulgarian émigré broadcaster who was poisoned in London in 1978. Destruction of documents and official obstruction seemed to have left the trail cold. But in a book being published on September 6th, Hristo Hristov, a Bulgarian investigative journalist, gives the results of searching 97 previously classified files, obtained after a three-year legal battle. They show details of training and payments to Piccadilly, and of the close links between the Bulgarian secret services and the Soviet KGB over the murder. — Economist

Damien Hirst: Bad Boy Makes Good. For more than a decade Damien Hirst has been one of the richest and most famous artists in the world. All the same, when you sit down with him, he still seems surprised by it. “I grew up with quite an impoverished background,” he says. “I didn’t see any possibility that I would ever get paid for doing anything 
 I enjoyed.” Hirst tells me this one rainy afternoon in July at one of his many studios. This one is in Stroud, a rural town in Gloucestershire, about two hours’ drive west of London. When he says this I think immediately about the bull in the next room, which I’m pretty sure he enjoyed coming up with, and very sure he’s about to be paid for. A lot, actually. — Time