The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst
In 1968 Donald Crowhurst, an amateur sailor in an untested trimaran, amazed the public by taking the lead in the first solo round-the-world sailing race. Eight months later, his boat was found abandoned in mid-Atlantic. Based on interviews with family and friends, and Crowhurst’s logbook, this account of the stress that prompted him to deceive the world and suffer a mental breakdown formed the basis of the movie The Mercy, starring Colin Firth. Off-mint.
Constellation of Genius
1922 Modernism Year One
January 1922: TS Eliot is in Paris working on The Waste Land with Ezra Pound; in Hollywood, Douglas Fairbanks decides to film the story of Robin Hood; insulin is first successfully used to treat diabetes; and Vaughan Williams's Pastoral Symphony is premiered in London: month by month, Jackson presents that spectacular year through the diaries of writers, artists, anthropologists and actors, philosophers, playwrights, politicians and scientists at work during the heyday of modernism.
University mathematicians and chess champions were invited to work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War but problem solvers were also sought amongst the general public, most famously through a competition to solve the Daily Telegraph crossword in under 12 minutes. That puzzle and over 100 other tests of lateral thinking are included in this book which also tells the story of how Station X recruited its talented staff.
Maud Allan and the Myth of the Femme Fatale
In 1918 the dancer Maud Allan brought a libel case against Noel Billing MP for claiming in print that she was a lesbian. Drawing on a wealth of archival material, Wendy Buonaventura explores Allan’s controversial career, and examines the way the case embodied early 20th-century attitudes to ‘dangerous’ women, whose independence, freedom from convention, and erotic allure were seen as a threat to the fabric of society, and even a cause of the First World War.
The Secret Twenties
British Intelligence, the Russians and the Jazz Age
Beneath the glamour and hedonism of the Roaring Twenties lay a fear that Britain was under threat from the fledgling Soviet state, and that its agents were everywhere, gathering intelligence and fomenting unrest. Drawing on newly declassified documents, this book uncovers British intelligence’s largest peacetime operation, a spy hunt that cast its net over MPs, aristocrats, the Bloomsbury group, workers and trade unionists, bringing down a government and ending several eminent careers.
Fit Men Wanted
Original Posters from the Home Front
Recruitment posters were a key tool in getting men and women to enlist during the First and Second World Wars and public notices of all kinds were further used to inform and direct the population’s behaviour. This collection of 62 detachable facsimile posters ranges from the blunt ‘Men of Hull Get a Move On’ to the surprising ‘Attack With Your Wastepaper’ and ‘Sultanas are News’.
The Lost Revolution
Germany 1918 to 1923
‘Without an understanding of the defeat of the revolutionary movements of Germany after the First World War’, writes Chris Harman, ‘the Nazism that followed cannot be understood’. In this book he presents an in-depth study of the lost revolution in Germany, revealing its significance for the Russian Revolution and its lessons for future revolutionary struggle. International Socialism series.
1916: One Hundred Years of Irish Independence
The Easter Rising in April 1916 saw civilian deaths, the destruction of a large part of Dublin and the true beginning of Irish independence. Coogan's account of this turning-point in Irish history introduces the major players and the ideas that drove them, and vividly describes the events which they set in train. He also examines how the British government's mishandling of the aftermath had the effect of galvanizing popular support for the rebels.
Voices from the Holocaust
This collection of eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust, from Hitler's rise to power to the Nuremburg trials, draws on both Nazi and Jewish sources including political speeches and extracts from Anne Frank’s diary. Alongside survivors' tales of the death camps are stories showing how the situation in Germany deteriorated through the 1930s, and grim details of the massacres in Eastern Europe.
Death and Intrigue in the Promised Land
In February 1942, in a Tel Aviv flat, Assistant Superintendent Geoffrey Morton shot Avraham Stern dead. This first biography tells of Stern’s comfortable upbringing as a dentist’s son in small-town Poland, his emigration to Palestine and his commitment to the Zionist cause. It describes the terrorist attacks he organized against British targets, and his subsequent elevation as a martyr to the cause of Israel.
Passage Across the Mersey
Helen Forrester wrote vividly about her family's harrowing struggles in Depression-era Liverpool in her bestselling memoir Twopence to Cross the Mersey. Now, drawing upon her carefully kept papers and letters, her son Robert Bhatia recounts the surprising life she went on to live, initially in India, and later in Canada, and in doing so reveals his parents' touching love story.
Standing Up to Hitler 1935–1944
Even before the Second World War, senior German officers were seeking to save their country by overthrowing Hitler. Paddy Ashdown profiles opponents such as Admiral Canaris and draws on newly released files to reveal their repeated efforts to pass military secrets the Allies. He also consider whether half of Europe would have fallen under the Soviet yoke had Britain and the US heeded their attempts to negotiate a peace settlement in 1943. Slightly off-mint.
The Devil's Diary
Alfred Rosenberg and the Stolen Secrets of the Third Reich
Alfred Rosenberg was the principal ideologue behind the Nazi Party, whose ideas formed the theoretical basis for the Third Reich and the Holocaust. This book chronicles his rise to power, his relations with other leading Nazis, and his trial and execution. Its sources include Rosenberg’s own diary, which disappeared after his trial at Nuremberg and was only rediscovered 75 years later.
Securing the Narrow Sea
The Dover Patrol, 1914–1918
The men of the Dover Patrol, including many citizen volunteers, fought the longest continuous naval campaign of the First World War. It brought together a ramshackle assortment of vessels including trawlers, drifters, yachts and riverboats, and even airships, under controversial commanders who were often hampered by Admiralty infighting. This is a detailed account of their duties, from shore bombardment and barrage building to antisubmarine and escort tasks, culminating in the infamous Zeebrugge and Ostend raids.
The Great War
Through Picture Postcards
Picture postcards were the main way that troops and their families communicated during the 1914‒18 war, and the illustrations and slogans they displayed give us insights into their lives and attitudes. The more than 500 contemporary cards in this collection come from a variety of home fronts and theatres of war around the world. They demonstrate everything from patriotic propaganda and angry satire to startling images of mass graves, proud displays of new weapons and soldiers cheerfully posing in gas masks.
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 History of the Long Range Desert Group, 1940–1945
The brainchild of desert adventurer Ralph Bagnold, the LRDG carried out clandestine acts of sabotage behind enemy lines in the North African desert during the Second World War. This account of the British unit, which was among the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of special forces, details their formation and deployment in Libya and later activities in the Mediterranean, where they retrained as mountain guerrillas and fought alongside the notorious Partisans in the Balkans.
The Hawker Hurricane was designed and built to counteract the growing aerial power of the Axis nations in the 1930s. With its stable firing platform and robust construction, it played a vital role in the RAF’s success. This illustrated guide details the technical history and combat performance of the aircraft, which chalked up more kills than the better-known Spitfire in the battles over Britain and France.
Dressing the Decades
Twentieth-Century Vintage Style
From the Parisian haute couture houses of the 1900s, with their elite clienteles, unique garments and personal fittings, to the high-end designers and luxury ready-to-wear clothes of the 1990s, Emmanuelle Dirix traces the progress of high fashion through the 20th century. Using an exceptional collection of photographs and illustrations, she discusses significant stylistic changes, the social and economic background to fashions and, within each decade, focuses on three ‘looks’ and the work of three of the most representative designers.
The Battle for Peace
Yitzhak Rabin (1922–95) is remembered as the Israeli leader who came closest to achieving peace with the Palestinians. This biography explores his youth in British-ruled Palestine, his part in Israel’s war of independence, his rise to high office, and his assassination.
Makers of the Modern World: Chaim Weizmann
The Zionist Dream
The Zionist cause was peripheral to the European concerns of the Paris Peace Conference, yet Chaim Weizmann (1874–1952), future President of the State of Israel, ensured Zionist voices were at the centre of diplomatic negotiations crucial to the future of Palestine.
Makers of the Modern World: David Lloyd George
The energy of the ‘Welsh Wizard’ had sustained the British war effort and he went to Paris well-equipped to win the peace. This study investigates how far Lloyd George succeeded in his aims and estimates the immediate and long-term results of his negotiations. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: General Smuts
Jan Christian Smuts wrote of the Paris Conference, ‘Such a chance comes but once in a whole era of history – and we missed it’. Lentin surveys Smuts’ role in wartime and at the peace talks, describing him as ‘the most principled, level-headed and far-sighted’ of the delegates.
Makers of the Modern World: Pašić and Trumbić
The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
The delegates of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) – Pašić, the wartime Prime Minister of Serbia, and Trumbić, a Dalmatian Croat – had differing territorial objectives but were united in an ideal: unification and international recognition for Yugoslavia. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: Ion IC Brătianu
Ionel Brătianu went to Paris convinced that Romania had made the right alliances and sacrifices to earn a place at Conference and territorial reward; but Romania’s 1918 Bucharest Treaty with the Central Powers was held against him and his quest to modernize his nation. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: Ignacy Paderewski
After sketching the historical background to the Polish situation in 1914, this study focuses on Ignacy Paderewski, the internationally renowned pianist and nationalist who represented Poland in Paris and who contributed greatly to its emergence as an independent nation in 1919. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: WF Massey
New Zealand’s wartime Prime Minister, William Massey went to the Peace Conference to fight for his country’s interests, including recognition of its wartime sacrifice; a strong, united Empire and imperial preference in trade; and practical measures against future German aggression. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: Vittorio Orlando
Against history’s ‘default’ position on Italy’s First World War history – its poor military performance and unjustified demands at the Peace Conference – this study examines the country’s aims and actions through the career of its wartime leader Vittorio Emanuele Orlando. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: Maharaja of Bikaner
Over one million Indian soldiers fought for Britain during the War and at the Peace Conference India was classed as a ‘belligerent power with special interests’. This study focuses on the Indian princes’ representative, the ‘magnificent Maharajah’ Ganga Singh, and the emerging debate on Indian self-government. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: Mihály Károlyi and István Bethlen
Structured around the careers of two future Hungarian Prime Ministers, Károlyi and Bethlen, this volume shows how the punitive terms imposed by the Treaty of Trianon led Hungary to its future alliance with the Nazis, defeat and Soviet domination. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: Friedrich Ebert
Imperial Chancellor as of 9 November 1918, Ebert guided the German delegation from Berlin. Rejecting the Versailles Treaty demands for punitive reparations, war crimes trials and admission of war guilt, Ebert considered re-opening hostilities before finally agreeing to sign. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: Georges Clemenceau
David Robin Watson describes the political career of Georges Clemenceau and his negotiations with his allies and adversaries at the Peace Conference, during which, as Chairman, he made the dramatic presentation of the Versailles Treaty to the German delegation. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: Antonius Piip, Zigfrīds Meierovics and Augustinas Voldemaras
The Baltic States
The three Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) faced territorial threats from Germany, Russia and Poland in 1919, and their delegates played a crucial role in securing their independence during and after the Paris Conferences.
Makers of the Modern World: Eduard Beneš and Tomáš Masaryk
Tomáš Masaryk returned from exile to become first President of the Czechoslovak Republic in December 1918. If Masaryk was ‘the stallion of the Czechoslovak cause’, Eduard Beneš was its coolly logical and hard-working advocate, arguing for the nation’s right to independence.
Makers of the Modern World: Wellington Koo
The return of Shandong, once a German colony, then occupied by Japan, was the focus of China’s Peace Conference negotiations. When Japan’s claim was upheld, the Chinese delegate, the distinguished diplomat Wellington Koo, refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles.
Makers of the Modern World: Aleksandŭr Stamboliĭski
The victors dictated the peace settlement: there was virtually no negotiation for the defeated, and Stamboliĭski, Bulgaria’s new leader, had to accept the terms of the Treaty of Neuilly. This study examines his career and the agrarian political ideas that survived his murder in 1923.
Makers of the Modern World: Paul Hymans
During the War, German violation of Belgium’s neutrality made the country a symbol of the rights of small states. The Peace Conference was the diplomatic debut for both Belgium and its inexperienced and outspoken representative, fighting for a voice amid the Great Powers. Slightly off-mint.
Makers of the Modern World: Karl Renner
Jamie Bulloch’s study spans the whole career of Karl Renner, leader of the Austrian delegation to the Paris negotiations where, as heir to the defunct Habsburg Monarchy, the new Austrian Republic was obliged to pay for the damage wrought by the imperial regime.
The Battle of Arnhem
The Deadliest Airborne Operation of World War II
The bold Allied plan to defeat Germany quickly in September 1944 by capturing the bridges leading to the lower Rhine, was ultimately a failure and led to the complete destruction of Arnhem and cruel reprisals on the Dutch population for the remainder of the war. Anthony Beever’s account describes the airborne assault, its planning and aftermath, drawing on many overlooked and new sources from Dutch, German, Polish, British and American archives. Slightly off-mint.