Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pyjamas
Popular Expressions – What They Mean and Where We Got Them
In this book from the Blackboard reference series, Judy Parkinson, author of I Before E (Except After C), presents an A-Z of popular expressions, their meanings and origins. With quotations from sources and anecdotes, she explains the facts - and sometimes theories - behind every saying, including who Methuselah was, how and why people were 'sold down the river' and the Shakespearean source of 'It's all Greek to me'.
A Nun's Story
The Deeply Moving True Story of Giving Up A Life of Luxury in A Single Irresistible Moment
Shirley Leach grew up surrounded by comfort and privilege, enjoying horse-riding, tennis and parties, and felt shocked when she received a calling from God to become a nun. Nevertheless, a few months later she had become Sister Agatha. Her faith in this life-changing decision never faltered, and at the age of 85, she looks back over her remarkable life.
Mikey Walsh was born into a family of Romany gypsies and brought up, with no formal education, in the isolated and fiercely loyal culture of the traditional gypsy community. This acclaimed autobiography tells the story of his childhood with a cruel and abusive father and how coming out as gay forced him to abandon his roots, educate himself and seek a new life.
My Husband and I
The Inside Story of 70 Years of the Royal Marriage
In this revealing portrait of Philip and Elizabeth, Ingrid Seward, one of the most respected writers on the royal family, addresses the question she is most frequently asked: What are the queen and prince really like? Focusing on their roles as parents and grandparents, including personal photographs, Seward covers their very different childhoods, doubts about their marriage and the experiences that have carried them through 70 years together.
A Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons
Between the Romans’ departure from Britain and the Norman Conquest, a distinct English identity developed, the legacy of which is still felt today. As Hindley tells the story of Anglo-Saxon England he highlights its cultural glories, such as Beowulf and the Lindisfarne Gospels, and its powerful women, from the war leader Æthelflæd to the abbess Hilda. He also shows how the centralized English bureaucracy helped create Europe’s first true ‘nation’.
The A–Z of Three-Wheelers
A Definitive Reference Guide
Chiefly associated with the cheap and unfashionable Reliant Robin or the quirky bubble cars of the 1950s, the three-wheeler has in fact been the platform for a variety of vehicles from runabouts and microcars to small vans and sports cars. This illustrated encyclopedia reviews hundreds of examples, from Cugnot's steam car of 1769 to Morgan's currently available '3 Wheeler', and includes production models and prototypes from major manufacturers as well as the eccentric experiments of enthusiastic individuals.
Impressionists in London
The EY Exhibition: French Artists in Exile 1870–1904
This finely illustrated catalogue to the Tate Britain and Petit Palais exhibitions of 2017–18 celebrates the numerous French artists who fled the Franco-Prussian War and Paris Commune of 1870–71 for exile in London. Here they absorbed London’s architecture, society and skylines into their socially conscious artworks. Stellar talents such as Monet and Pissarro feature alongside less well known artists including James Tissot, Charles-François Daubigny and Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux.
Bombsites and Lollipops
My 1950s East End Childhood
Austerity Britain meant food shortages and few luxuries for most citizens, but Jacky Hyams was treated to black-market delicacies and lavish holidays thanks to her father's illegal betting activities. This memoir recalls the incongruity of that affluent lifestyle amid the slums of Hackney, and Jacky's progress from school in the East End to office jobs in the West End and entertainments in the Soho of the early 1960s.
Giants of the Clyde
The Great Ships and the Great Yards
As late as the 1950s, one in seven of all seagoing vessels were built on the Clyde, the river being lined with famous yards. This book explains the rise and fall of Glasgow as the world's centre of shipbuilding and explores the many iconic vessels built there, from sailing ships such as Cutty Sark and mighty warships such as HMS Hood to the greatest luxury liners.
The Ships that Shaped the World
Designer John Willis Griffiths’s conclusion that a sailing ship built for speed required ‘a sharp flared hollow and concave bow’ and a stern designed for ‘minimal drag’, revolutionized shipping well into the 20th century. This erudite history of the clipper, the fastest of all merchant sailing ships, considers different designs, including Yankee, Australian and tea clippers, as well as their cargoes and trade routes, with a focus on the treacherous seas around Cape Horn.
When The Going Was Good
Between 1929 and 1935, Evelyn Waugh travelled widely and wrote extensively about his experiences. This collection brings together his accounts of a Mediterranean cruise, and his travels in Abyssinia, Aden, Zanzibar, Kenya, the Congo, Guyana and Brazil. Written with his characteristic dry wit and perception, these reports contain the seeds of his classic novels Scoop and Black Mischief.
Death Comes to Lynchester Close
Lord Francis Powerscourt is approached by the Bishop of Lynchester, who has suspicions about the death of a Cathedral Close resident. When a prospective new tenant is poisoned, Powerscourt’s investigation uncovers a trail of corruption leading to the cathedral itself.
Wallis in Love
The Untold True Passion of the Duchess of Windsor
Andrew Morton, author of Diana: Her True Story, turns his attention to Wallis Simpson, the twice-married divorcée who claimed the heart of Edward VIII, causing his abdication. Drawing on interviews, secret letters, diaries and previously unseen primary sources, Morton charts Wallis’s life, from falling in love with a female teacher as a teenager to ignoring the cries of her husband as he lay dying. While Morton makes plain Wallis’s disdain for the duke, it seems his devotion to her never wavered.
Audrey and Bill
A Romantic Biography of Audrey Hepburn and William Holden
Audrey Hepburn and William Holden met on the set of Sabrina in 1954 and began a sensational love affair that, although it was short-lived, marked a turning point in both their lives. This double biography reveals the workings of Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s, charting the rise to fame of the two stars and following their subsequent careers and private lives beyond the pivotal affair.
The New Science of Out-of-Body Experiences
One night in 1970, Susan Blackmore left her body. Aware of her surroundings – the music, the room, the people – her consciousness began an expansive journey beyond Oxford and out over the ‘astral plane’. Memories of this out-of-body experience (OBE) have driven Blackmore, now a respected psychologist, to explore the nature of OBEs, including their relationship to sleep disorders, dreams, drugs and near-death experiences, and to assess the historical literature and growing scientific research surrounding them. Slightly off-mint.
The Spitfire Manual
Before being let loose in a Supermarine Spitfire, fighter pilots would have to familiarize themselves with the 'Pilot's Notes' which comprehensively detailed the aircraft's equipment, controls and operation. These instructions are reproduced in this book together with examples of log books, combat reports and other contemporary training booklets advising on such skills as identifying enemy aircraft, estimating range and combat flying.
The Special Operations Executive's French Section and Free French Women Agents
Odette Sansom, one of the best-known female agents of Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE), was recruited when she responded to a request for photographs of the French coast. The snaps she sent included notes that showed her knowledge of France, alerting the department to her potential as a spy. Drawing on recently declassified documents, memoirs and mission reports, this book profiles 38 women sent out by the French section of the SOE between 1942 and 1944, detailing their recruitment, training and active service.
No Milk Today
From doorstep delivery and money collection to amorous liaisons and dog attacks, this nostalgic social history takes an affectionate look at a great British institution, examines the changes that have taken place over the years, and laments the demise of the industry. Rich with stories and reminiscences, the book documents and celebrates the figure who not only delivered milk but also acted as community worker, handyman and family friend.
Slap and Tickle
The Unusual History of Sex and the People Who Have It
This irreverent guide takes a peek at a perennially fascinating subject. A romp through the biological mechanics and history of human intercourse is spiced up with intimate true stories, public scandals, censorship, sex toys, fetishes, and a concise glossary of filthy language. Eclectic, entertaining and original, it reveals everything you always wanted to know about sex – and quite a few things you probably didn’t. Sexually explicit.
Britain's Railways in Wartime
The Nation's Lifeline
Victory in the two world wars would have been impossible without the railways: ‘everything that was grown, made or mined, had to be carried, and soldiers, sailors, airmen, and civilians also had to be carried.’ The scale of the task and dangers faced by the women and men of the railways were enormous, and this book, with its wealth of statistics and archival photography, pays tribute to the resourcefulness of railway staff, from cleaners and clerks to drivers and porters.
Leonardo da Vinci Drawings
Masterpieces of Art
A painter, inventor, architect, military engineer and musician, Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was also a prolific draughtsman and, as Susan Grange argues, ‘it is through his drawings that we can find the most direct access to his genius’. Her illustrated essay introducing the scope and depth of Leonardo’s drawings accompanies 85 full-page reproductions of his studies for paintings, inventions, maps, anatomical drawings and observations of the natural world. From the Masterpieces of Art series.
The Inner Life of Cats
The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
Though they have lived alongside us for millennia, cats remain inscrutable. This guide to feline nature and neuroses draws on the latest scientific research to decode their often-puzzling behaviour, and explain how we can better understand their thoughts, their actions, and what they are trying to communicate. Cutting-edge science is interwoven with the author’s account of how a black kitten named Augusta found her way into his heart. Off-mint.
Crime's Strangest Cases
Extraordinary but True Stories from Over Five Centuries of Legal History
Convinced that God would save him, John Lee was calm in the face of the executioner at Exeter Prison in 1885. His confidence proved well founded when three times the hangman's trapdoor failed to open, resulting in his reprieve. This collection of crime and punishment oddities ranges from a 13th-century ‘trial by battle’ to a phantom villain at Derby Magistrates Court in 2001.
Maths in Bite-sized Chunks
Chris Waring’s accessible guide is designed for anyone who is keen to overcome a fear of mathematics. Employing numerous examples, common-sense explanations, fascinating asides and clear diagrams, this volume breaks down seemingly inscrutable mathematical concepts into easy-to-follow steps, explaining simple arithmetic and number, ratio and proportion, algebra, geometry, statistics and probability. Reassuringly, Waring emphasises real-world applications of mathematical principles, championing the great mathematicians of history in the process.
Bandaging the Blitz
Phyll Macdonald-Ross was a trainee nurse at Hackney Hospital in London’s East End when war was declared in September 1939. Her memoir recalls the rigid discipline and hard work of nursing, and the harrowing experience of tending the injured and dying during the Blitz in London, but also friendship and mischief, and the beginning of a lifelong love affair. The story was presented in 2015, Phyll’s 95th year, by her grandson ID Roberts.
A Celebration of Beatrix Potter
Art and Letters by More Than 30 of Today's Favorite Children's Book Illustrators
Compiled for Frederick Warne & Co, Beatrix Potter’s original publishers, to celebrate her 150th anniversary, this book brings together contributions from 32 of today’s favourite children’s author-illustrators and excerpts from nine of Potter’s best-loved tales. Along with their new illustrations inspired by the stories of characters such as Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher and Squirrel Nutkin, the current generation of children’s writers share their thoughts on Beatrix Potter’s art and her influence on their work.
The Greatest Knight
The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power behind Five English Thrones
William Marshal (1147–1219) was the Lancelot of his era – a landless younger son who rose through the ranks to serve as right-hand man to five English monarchs, including Richard the Lionheart and his brother John. Drawing on contemporary evidence, including the sole surviving copy of a 13th-century biography, this compelling study resurrects a courageous warrior, tournament champion, wily politician and, ultimately, regent of the realm, against a rich tapestry of chivalry, grandeur and barbarity.
Happy Birthday Bagpuss
With Easy Projects to Make
Published to celebrate Bagpuss’s 40th birthday, this affectionate compendium includes a foreword by Peter Firmin, activities, board games and stories, with instructions for making sugar mice, a lavender-filled Madeleine, a beanbag Gabriel, and a knitted or pyjama-case Bagpuss.
Commandant Of Auschwitz
The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess
Rudolf Hoess was Commandant of Auschwitz from its construction in 1940 until late 1943, and supervised the murder of over three million Jews as part of the Nazis’ ‘final solution’. He was an expert in the administration of concentration camps and mass exterminations. Hoess wrote this autobiography in 1947 while in prison in Poland. He was tried, sentenced and hanged later that year. The autobiography and other documents are translated here by Constantine Fitzgibbon, with an introduction by Primo Levi.
History, Mystery and the Latest Discoveries
Discovered by chance by farmers in 1974, the mausoleum of the first emperor of China contained one of the wonders of the world: the Terracotta Army. Based on unique access to leading Chinese archaeologists, this book sets the clay warriors in the context of Chinese society 2,200 years ago, describes the latest discoveries at the vast and only partly excavated site, and hints at what may still be uncovered – including the imperial tomb itself.
Great Card Games for One
The card game that most of us know as Patience is properly known as Klondike, but there are various versions that can be played and many other solo card games of varying degrees of complexity. This book provides straightforward instructions for playing more than 100 one- and two-pack games from Flower Garden and Clock to Poker Solitaire and Diplomat.
Dr James Barry
A Woman Ahead of Her Time
Dr James Barry was, among other things, Inspector of General Hospitals, an army surgeon, and the first British Empire doctor to successfully perform a caesarean. Only at the end of his colourful life, in 1865, was the truth revealed: Dr Barry was in fact a woman – the UK’s first female doctor. Following ten years of detailed research, the authors have produced a fascinating biography – incorporating colour portraits – that dispels some of the myths surrounding this mysterious individual.
An Intimate Portrait of a Musical Legend
This biography of Dusty Springfield, one of the most celebrated pop stars of the 1960s, not only discusses her musical development and lasting legacy, but also delves beyond the professional persona to explore her somewhat troubled private life. Interviews with friends, lovers, employees and other confidants shed light on Springfield's relationships, addictions and struggles with her sexuality. Through it all, however, is the music that brought so much joy to so many.
Katharine Hepburn: A Personal Biography
A Scott Berg knew Katharine Hepburn for 20 years, during which time they shared many hours of private conversation – material, it was agreed, for a book to be published after the actress’s death. Covering details of her privileged background, her 50 years of stardom, her relationship with Spencer Tracy and her thoughts about other actors, interwoven with fascinating anecdotes, this is Hepburn’s life as she wanted it to be presented.
The Memoirs of Field-Marshal Kesselring
Arguably Germany’s most brilliant military commander, Albert Kesselring (1885–1960) served in the Artillery and was awarded the Iron Cross during the First World War. In the interwar years he worked on developing the Luftwaffe and was made Field Marshal in 1940. After launching the blitzkrieg on Poland, he commanded forces in France, the Battle of Britain, Russia, North Africa and Italy. Written during imprisonment, his memoirs were first published in 1953; they are reissued with a foreword by James Holland.
The Elements and the Architecture of Everything
This offbeat look at the innumerable chemical compounds constituting our world shuns the textbook format for a visual exploration of molecules and the array of materials they form, including sugars and soaps; oil and water; food additives and drugs; and perfumes and plastics. Photographs of everyday objects contrast with images of chemical powders and crystals to inspire, along with their explanatory captions, a real sense of chemistry in action.
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.
The Tragic Story of Henry VIII's Fifth Queen
Katherine Howard was little more than a child when she married Henry VIII, and just 18 when she was beheaded in the Tower of London. This sympathetic biography sheds new light on the life and death of a kind, intelligent young woman trapped in a web of sexual abuse, family ambition, religious conflict and political intrigue by those in positions of power.
The Bible for Grown-Ups
A New Look at the Good Book
Why do the creation stories in Genesis contradict each other? Did the Exodus really happen? In a discussion which ‘neither requires, nor rejects, belief’, Loveday brings a literary critic’s eye to the Biblical authors. Presenting insights from modern scholarship, he shows how to read their texts ‘with our brains in gear’, by viewing the Bible as a structure of the imagination rather than through modern concepts of ‘history’ and ‘truth’.