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 Drawing on her unpublished papers, including six volumes of memoirs, this thrilling biography brings the poet, musician, artist and hostess vividly to life, and tells how she travelled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.
British Aristocrats in the American West 1830–1890
From the 1830s onwards, a succession of British aristocrats headed for the American West, taking with them their valets, their dogs – and their prejudices. This sparkling account describes the newcomers' experiences as they crossed the country to meet Native Americans, hunt buffalo and build cattle empires. Packed with lively incident and colourful personalities, it also charts their reception by Americans often less than pleased at the return of their former colonial overlords.
Memoirs and Reflections
Born in Moscow in 1971, Evgeny Kissin made his concert debut at the age of ten and is now internationally renowned for his interpretation of the classical and Romantic piano repertoire. In this collection of reminiscences he answers some of the questions that he is most often asked – about his childhood, his early teachers and his encounters with the world’s great musicians – and muses on topics including fame, inspiration and his favourite composers. Slightly off-mint.
The King and the Catholics
The Fight for Rights 1829
In 1780, the anti-Papist Gordon riots left 1,000 dead and London in flames; half a century later, Parliament passed the Catholic Emancipation Act. This narrative history charts the struggles that brought about that conclusion. It profiles the key players, including George III, a staunch opponent of emancipation; the political rivals Wellington and Peel; and the Irish campaigner Daniel O’Connell; and examines the conflict between the right to practise one’s religion and allegiance to the state.
Makers of the Modern World: Prince Saionji
A powerful statesman and inscrutable diplomat, Saionji led a delegation committed to achieving racial equality and international influence. Their lack of success and the Conference’s compromise – the granting of colonial territory – sowed the seeds of further conflict.Representatives of 32 nations attended the Paris Peace Conferences of 1919–1923; their common aim – to achieve a lasting peace – culminated in the Treaty of Versailles and the creation of the League of Nations, but what of the circumstances and aims of each nation? Focusing on individual countries’ delegates, this series examines what the representatives brought to the conference table, what they achieved in negotiation and the consequences of the peace treaties for their country. Slightly off-mint.
The United Kingdom, 1800–1906
From the Act of Union with Ireland in 1800 to the Liberal Party’s landslide victory in 1906, Cannadine breaks new ground in the history of the 19th century, exploring the ‘many contradictions of progress’ during the United Kingdom’s era of national greatness and imperial aggrandisement. He emphasizes how stable, parliamentary democracy was crucial to Britain’s success, but also explores the darker side of British life and the challenges facing a global power. Part of The Penguin History of Britain series.
The Greatest Siege in British History
During the Great Siege of Gibraltar (1779–83), the longest ever endured by the British, the powerful forces of Spain and France blockaded and assaulted the isle from land and sea. Thousands of civilians and soldiers experienced starvation, disease and deadly bombardment. Including maps and illustrations, this explores the story of the siege and its impact on life back home, while examining the argument that it ultimately cost the British the American War of Independence.
William Beckford's Fonthill
Architecture, Landscape and the Arts
Accused of having an affair with a boy, William Beckford (1760–1844) retired to his estate at Fonthill, Wiltshire, where he constructed a faux-medieval abbey to house his art and antiquities. This book draws on contemporary records to detail his grandiose building plans, and to tell how, having spent his inherited wealth, he was forced to auction both his collection and the building itself, whose huge Gothic tower came crashing down soon after the sale.
Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire
The Face Without a Frown
The inspiration for the film The Duchess and an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, Georgiana was famous for her charisma, love affairs, political connections, unusual marital arrangements and gambling debts. In her lifetime she became a fashion icon whose outfits and ostentatious accessories were widely imitated. This biography, which includes portraits of the main characters, draws on letters and contemporary accounts to paint a detailed picture of her scandalous life.
Nelson at Naples
Revolution and Retribution in 1799
One of the most inglorious events of Nelson’s career concerned the fate of the short-lived republic established in Naples by revolutionary France. Drawing on accounts by Nelson himself, Lady Hamilton and others, this book tells how, after being offered safe passage, the republicans were handed over to the besieging Royalists, from whom they received no mercy. It also investigates whether Nelson was personally guilty of this betrayal, or whether the orders came from London.
And the British
The Charge of the Light Brigade, Gordon’s Last Stand, Scott of the Antarctic: many of the best-known episodes in British history are tales of fortitude and calm in the face of disaster. This study of the ‘heroic failure’ tradition offers a reassessment of Victorian and Edwardian attitudes to soldiers and explorers, arguing that Britons’ enthusiastic celebration of such failures resulted from their desire to see the Empire as just, benevolent and moral.
The Conquest of Death
Violence and the Birth of the Modern English State
‘By the seventeenth century the detection, conviction, and punishment of illegitimate lethal violence were firmly and irrevocably tied to the central government.’ Matthew Lockwood’s study shows how definitions of legitimate and illegitimate violence were negotiated in coroners’ courts from the late 15th century and gradually gave government the power to enforce a monopoly of violence – a basic prerequisite of a modern state.