The Real Guy Fawkes
Guy Fawkes is among British history’s most recognizable figures, burned in effigy every November to celebrate the Gunpowder Plot’s failure. His early life is less familiar though, and so this biography focuses on his youth as a Protestant in York and the motivations that led him to fight as a mercenary and to plan mass murder for the Catholic cause, asking whether he was ‘a fanatic, a fool, or a freedom fighter’.
The Forgotten Suffragettes
The long struggle for women's suffrage involved thousands of campaigners and activists from every walk of life. While some protested peacefully, others – exasperated with the government's indifference to their demands, burned down football stadiums or refused to pay their taxes. This compendium tells the stories of 48 lesser-known figures in the movement including the arsonist Edith Rigby, the Irish nationalist Mary Hayden and the Communist Ellen Wilkinson.
The Mistress of Mayfair
Men, Money and the Marriage of Doris Delevingne
Based on a pursuit of the finer things in life, the marriage of the socialite Doris Delevingne and the gossip columnist Valentine Brown was tempestuous from the start, rocked by affairs with famous figures including Winston Churchill and Diana Mitford. This volume, illustrated with contemporary photographs, charts their relationship during the 1920s and 1930s, offering new insights into the decadent, brittle world of the 'Bright Young Things'.
Lady Jane Grey
Nine Days Queen
As the great-niece of Henry VIII, Jane Grey was a pawn in the power game of Tudor politics. The dying Edward VI made Jane his heir and, on 6 July 1553, aged 16, she became queen. Her reign lasted nine days: when Mary Tudor claimed the throne, Jane was sent to the Tower and beheaded in 1554. In this compassionate biography, Plowden tells the story of a gifted, scholarly girl, doomed by her royal blood.
The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression
Shirley Temple and 1930s America
During the 1930s Shirley Temple became the biggest box office star in the world: this is the story of her film career, with a strong focus on the wider cultural and political impact of her movies. Supported by contemporary photographs and visual material, it also explores the way that huge merchandise sales boosted jobs and local economies, and how the cinema reflected the mood of the nation during the Depression and FDR’s New Deal.
The Corner Shop
Shopkeepers, the Sharmas and the Making of Modern Britain
Growing up in a Reading corner shop, the BBC television newsreader Babita Sharma was witness to a changing world and its impact on customers’ lives and opinions as well as the products they bought. In this volume, she links her recollections of shop life with the last fifty years of British history, reflecting on an institution that, despite the creep of supermarkets, online shopping and home delivery, has found a way to evolve and survive.
Emily Wilding Davison
The Martyr Suffragette
Emily Davison’s death beneath the king’s horse at the 1913 Derby has overshadowed the life that led up to it. Drawing on her own words and those of people who knew her, this biography records the formative experiences of this intelligent, resourceful and determined woman: an education thwarted by lack of money, work as a governess, and involvement in campaigns about the injustices faced by women that resulted in her imprisonment and force-feeding.
The Life and Choices of Lady Anne Barnard
Lady Anne Barnard lived at the heart of Georgian society – the Prince of Wales was a friend, and Walter Scott admired her verses – but her defiance of convention made her an outsider. Drawing on her unpublished papers, including six volumes of memoirs, this biography brings the poet, musician, artist and hostess vividly to life, and tells how she travelled to France to observe the Revolution, married an army officer twelve years her junior, and raised an illegitimate child.
A Mind at Play
The Brilliant Life of Claude Shannon, Inventor of the Information Age
One of the key thinkers of the computer age, Claude Shannon worked as a cryptanalyst during the Second World War and his contributions to digital circuit design and information theory in the 1930s and 1940s made modern computing possible. This biography explores his life, academic achievements and influential personal projects, such as a maze-solving mouse (one of the first experiments in artificial intelligence) and the first design for a chess-playing computer.
Billy Brown, I'll Tell Your Mother
The winner of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s ‘People’s Author’ competition recalls his adventures growing up in the close-knit neighbourhood of post-war Brixton, where reports of his mischief could be quick to reach his mother's ears. Nevertheless, he scoured bombsites and markets, selling everything from bricks to horse dung, amid spivs, barrow boys and new arrivals from the West Indies, and found himself in more scrapes than most.
A Survivor's Flight from Nazi-Occupied Vienna Through Wartime France
Literary editor of a Viennese newspaper, Moriz Scheyer was forced to flee the Nazis, only to be arrested when they invaded France. In this memoir, begun in hiding in a French convent in 1943 and found in an attic half a century after its author’s death, he recalls his incarceration in a concentration camp, escape, contact with the Resistance, and many threats to his life.
The Battle Over Oscar Wilde's Legacy
For years after Oscar Wilde’s death his two closest friends and former lovers, Lord Alfred Douglas and Robert Ross, fought for control of his manuscripts, and reputation, and argued over who was to blame for his downfall. Drawing on previously unpublished information, Oscar’s Ghost uncovers a bitter feud that involved stalking, blackmail, lawsuits, witness tampering and prison, and influenced the way we perceive Wilde to this day.
From the Mill to Monte Carlo
The Working-Class Englishman who Beat the Monaco Casino and Changed Gambling Forever
Joseph Jagger had worked for many years in the textile trade in Bradford when he made an extraordinarily bold trip to Monte Carlo, armed with borrowed money, a team of accomplices and a scheme to win big on the roulette wheel. This account of his life and historic winning streak describes how he managed to break the bank and walk away with a fortune, worth the modern equivalent of £7.5 million.
Some Sunny Day
A Nurse. A Soldier. A Wartime Love Story
When Madge stepped onto a troop ship headed for Burma in 1944, she knew that life as a military nurse would be challenging. In this memoir, written with the aid of journalist Robert Blair, she recalls her experiences, humorous as well as difficult; the friends she shared them with; and how, amid the trauma and tragedy, she also found true love.
The Life and Legacy of a Hebridean Priest
The Catholic priest Father Allan MacDonald (1859–1905) was not only a much-loved champion of his Hebridean parishioners on Eriskay, but also an accomplished Gaelic poet and one of Scotland's greatest collectors of folklore. Hutchinson's beautifully written book recounts the life and work of this remarkable man against the richly evoked backdrop of an island landscape where myth and spirituality entwine.
A Cultural History
Édith Piaf (1915–1963) began her singing career on the streets of Pigalle in 1929; at her death in 1963, she had become an icon of French chanson. In this study, Looseley examines ‘the cultural phenomenon known as Édith Piaf’ and argues that it was a deliberate invention.
Baggage of Empire
Reporting Politics and Industry in the Shadow of Imperial Decline
The former BBC industrial editor Martin Adeney blends memoir and history as he surveys the ruins of great industries and the rise of Thatcherism to reveal how the long decline of the British Empire has shaped the nation.
A Life of Contradiction
In addition to giving an account of Dostoyevsky’s eventful life, this biography studies his main novels and stories, and demonstrates their lasting accessibility and relevance. Judith Gunn describes the writer's struggles with deadlines, debt, epilepsy, gambling and imprisonment; examines the ways in which his themes and characters have been reinterpreted in television shows including Columbo and The X-Files; and explores the strong and enduring connection between his work and modern media.
Headline Britons: 1926–1930
Seen Through Seven Unique Figures of the Time
An outline of the major events of 1926–1930 – the return to the Gold Standard and the General Strike – introduces profiles of seven notable figures: Virginia Woolf, Radclyffe Hall, John Logie Baird, the car manufacturer William Morris, Ramsay MacDonald, Noël Coward and W Somerset Maugham.
Headline Britons: 1921–1925
Seen Through Six Unique Figures of the Time
Along with a sketch of the social and economic background and a timeline of events, this volume profiles the lives and achievements of Robert Baden-Powell, the fraudster Horatio Bottomley, Marie Stopes, David Lloyd George, Lord Reith and Bertrand Russell.
What Regency Women Did for Us
Regency society allowed women few rights and severely restricted their opportunities to study or pursue a career. Some women nevertheless overcame these obstacles to make their mark and this book explores the lives of 12 inspirational characters from astronomer Caroline Herschel and palaeontologist Mary Anning, to educational writer Jane Marcet and prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.
Feminist, Pacifist, Traitor?
Emily Hobhouse (1860–1926) left Cornwall in 1895 to follow her instinct to alleviate suffering. In South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War, she worked tirelessly to help women and children in the British concentration camps; during the First World War she campaigned for peace and later set up a feeding programme for German children starving in Leipzig. Drawing on Emily’s memoirs and scrapbooks, Elsabé Brits tells the story of a woman dedicated to helping others, yet branded a traitor.
Out of Time
1966 and the End of Old-Fashioned Britain
Peter Chapman was 18 years old in 1966, the year of Harold Wilson, the seamen’s strike, London ‘swinging’ to a soundtrack of Beatles and Rolling Stones, and England’s victory in the World Cup. Chapman, whose hopes of being a professional footballer had been dashed, but who would become an outstanding football journalist, gives a vivid picture of the lost world of Britain in the Sixties from the perspective of his world in Islington, north London.
Three Extraordinary Women: Ida Nettleship, Sophie Brzeska and Fernande Olivier
This book explores the lives and achievements of three unconventional, creative women, and the sacrifices they made for the artists they loved. Fernande Olivier (1881–1966) was Picasso’s first love and muse; Sophie Brzeska (1873–1925) lived with the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, 19 years her junior, until he was killed in the First World War; and Ida Nettleship (1877–1907) bore five children to Augustus John while living in a ménage à trois with him and his mistress.
An Infamous Mistress
The Life, Loves and Family of the Celebrated Grace Dalrymple Elliott
Scandalous mistress, prisoner during the French Revolution and reputed mother of the Prince of Wales’s child, Grace Dalrymple Elliott had little choice but to live off her wits and her beauty. This biography charts her adventures in London and Paris and sets her life against the social history of the Georgian era, exploring her far-flung family connections that extended to France, America, India and Africa.
The Fortune Hunter
A German Prince in Regency England
Happily married, but insolvent, Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785–1871) and his wife Lucie devised a plan to save their beloved estate: they would divorce and Pückler would go to England to marry an heiress. Based on the prince’s letters reporting his progress to Lucie, this book is a blow-by-blow account of Pückler’s courtships, but also a portrait of Regency England through the eyes of an intelligent, observant and, at one point, lovesick fortune hunter.
Friends of Alice Wheeldon
The Anti-War Activist Accused of Plotting to Kill Lloyd George
Sheila Rowbotham’s 1986 play Friends of Alice Wheeldon dramatized the trial of a Derby socialist and feminist accused by an undercover agent during the First World War of plotting to kill the prime minister, Lloyd George. This new edition includes a carefully researched historical introduction that describes the interaction between workplace militants and anti-war activists, the intrigues of politicians and the intelligence agencies, and the campaign to clear Wheeldon’s name.
The Life and Choices of Lady Anne Barnard
Lady Anne Barnard lived at the heart of Georgian society – the Prince of Wales was a friend, and Walter Scott admired her verses – but her defiance of convention made her an outsider. Using on her unpublished papers, including six volumes of memoirs, this biography explores the poetic, musical and artistic talents of the hostess, who travelled to France to observe the Revolution, married an army officer twelve years her junior, and raised an illegitimate child.
The Grand Old Duke of York
A Life of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, 1763–1827
Although commander-in-chief of the British army during the Napoleonic Wars and a reformer responsible for transforming the British military, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany is remembered now as the bungling ‘Grand Old Duke’ of the nursery rhyme. This biography shows him to be far from incompetent; it offers a new assessment of Prince Frederick’s distinguished career as a general and administrator, a full account of his scandalous private life – and the origins of that nursery rhyme.
Bicycles, Bloomers and Great War Rationing Recipes
The Life and Times of Dorothy Peel OBE
Dubbed the Nigella Lawson of her day, Dorothy Peel wrote novels and household books and devised recipes for the Ministry of Food during the First World War. This volume, put together by her great-great-granddaughter, is divided into two parts. The first tells of her life, with sections on parties, food and fashion and realities of war; the second includes recipes – Bacon Pudding, Potato Cheese, Feather Pie – from before, during and after the war, all tried, tested and adapted for today’s kitchen.
Love and War on the Côte d'Azur
In 1925 the young American architect Barry Dierks and his lover Eric Sawyer built Le Trident, a Modernist home at Miramar on the Côte d’Azur. Word of Barry’s talent spread, and the commissions that followed propelled them into the heart of Riviera society, with clients including Somerset Maugham and the Marquess of Cholmondeley. This biography recalls Barry and Eric’s time with their glamorous circle of friends, contrasting the lifestyle of the Jazz Age with the hardships that were to come under German occupation.
A Dublin Memoir
Having been born in Wexford, the young John Banville found Dublin ‘all the more alluring’ and the novelist’s memories stretch back to childhood trips in the 1950s, when the city, although poverty-stricken at the time, held magical promise for a boy. In this combination of vignettes from his own past, his historical investigations of Dublin and Paul Joyce’s photographs, Banville asks ‘What transmutation must the present go through in order to become the past?’
Isabella of France
The Rebel Queen
Kathryn Warner, the biographer of Edward II, presents a compelling life of his wife Isabella of France, sister to the French king Charles IV, and one of the most notorious women in English history. Warner sets aside the stereotype of the 'she-wolf' to give a neutral study of the queen who rebelled. In 1326 Isabella, with her lover Roger Mortimer, forced Edward's abdication and ruled as regent to her son, Edward III, until her own deposition in 1330.
Letters to the Midwife
Jennifer Worth (1935–2011) based her hugely successful books, Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to the East End, on her own experiences in the East End in the 1950s. This book contains letters from all sorts of people – from other midwives to lorry drivers – responding to the books and telling their own stories. There are also writings by Jennifer herself, a biographical introduction by family members and a foreword by Miranda Hart.
Margot at War
Love and Betrayal in Downing Street 1912–1916
Margot Asquith was perhaps the most daring and unconventional Prime Minister's wife in British history. Stylish, witty and outspoken, she transformed 10 Downing Street into a glittering social and intellectual salon. Drawing on unpublished material from personal papers and diaries, this book recreates the emotional and political turmoil of the period when Herbert Asquith's government was beset by unrest from suffragettes, strikers and Irish nationalists, and the world was spiralling towards war.
The Profligate Son
Fashionable Vice and Financial Ruin in Regency Britain
William Jackson was a charming, popular public schoolboy with the world at his feet, until his attempts to keep up with his Regency dandy friends set him at odds with his family and led to his ruin. This account draws on papers that have lain in the archives for two centuries to reveal how an appalled father recorded his son's descent into a murky underworld of debt, disease, prostitution and crime, culminating in his transportation to Australia for fraud.
The Scandalous Lives of Courtesans, Concubines, and Royal Mistresses
From the hetaerae of ancient Greece to the demimondaines of 19th-century France, professional mistresses enjoyed freedom and power unknown to most women. This book explores their colourful lives, including Ninon de l'Enclos, who accepted 50,000 crowns to spend the night with Cardinal Richelieu – then sent another courtesan in her place; Marie Duplessis, inspiration to Dumas and Verdi; and La Belle Otero, mistress of Edward VII, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia. Off-mint and felt-tip mark on upper trimmed edge.