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.
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.
The Men Who Made the SAS
The History of the Long Range Desert Group
The Long Range Desert Group was the first British special forces unit of the Second World War, carrying out deep penetration missions in the North African deserts and beyond. Centred around the unit’s founder, Ralph Bagnold, who in the 1930s explored miles of desert in a Model T Ford, this history of the unit and its operations also recounts some of its most daring missions.
The World at the Brink
Never in the Cold War – not even during the Cuban Missile Crisis – did the world come nearer the brink than in 1983. That was the year of Reagan’s ‘Evil Empire’ speech and his Star Wars programme, when the Soviets shot down the Korean flight KAL 007, and a NATO exercise spooked a nervous Andropov into believing war had started for real. Drawing on hundreds of recently discovered documents, this book reveals how close we came to nuclear catastrophe.
From Aldershot to Aden: Tales from the Conscripts, 1946–62
Retaining conscription after the Second World War, Britain required all young men to serve for 18 months (and after 1950, two years) unless employed in an exempt trade. Through interviews with 27 men across all the services and throughout the period of National Service, this book characterizes the experiences that shaped a generation, from fighting in Korea, Malaya, Kenya and Egypt to whitewashing coal in the local barracks.
The Diamond Queen
Elizabeth II and Her People
In telling the life story of Elizabeth II, Andrew Marr is concerned with the influences on her and 'why she does what she does'. The result is a study of the monarchy that chronicles the Queen's pivotal role at the centre of state, which is largely hidden from the public gaze, and makes a strong case for the institution itself. Marr presents a vivid account not only of Elizabeth II, but also of the country she has reigned over for six decades.
True Tales from the Operators of Britain's First Jet Fighter – From 1944 to Date
‘I saw a V1 coming in south of Dover and caught up with it about three miles south of Canterbury. I was flying at 400mph and had no difficulty overtaking …’ This book features long-form interviews with over 40 veteran pilots of the beloved Gloster Meteor, the RAF’s first jet-powered aeroplane, which came into service in 1944 and played a significant role in the early stages of the Cold War, despite being alarmingly accident-prone.
'You've Never Had It So Good!'
Recollections of Life in the 1950s
With full employment, a boom in car sales, and washing machines making housework less of a chore, life in the 1950s certainly seemed better than ever before. Following a theme, such as family life, childhood or the rise of television, each chapter in this compendium brings together recollections of those who lived through the decade, remembering everything from sweet rationing to the meagre contents of a Christmas stocking, and how to find Indian spices.
The History Thieves
Secrets, Lies and the Shaping of a Modern Nation
From the Second World War to the ‘War on Terror’, Britain’s secret state has undertaken covert operations and amassed a vast amount of information on its citizens. Drawing on rigorous research and previously unseen material, this groundbreaking work of investigative journalism reveals how the security services have fought unreported wars abroad, forged links with terrorists in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, and used a cloak of secrecy to conceal illegal activities, hide official embarrassment and distort the historical record. Slightly off-mint.
Isaac and Isaiah
The Covert Punishment of A Cold War Heretic
David Caute tells the story of Isaiah Berlin’s bitter feud with Isaac Deutscher, not simply as Anglo-American liberal versus Leninist socialist, but as a complex ideological clash between two of the most politically influential intellectuals of the Cold War era.
Thatcher's Secret War
Subversion, Coercion, Secrecy and Government, 1974–90
Margaret Thatcher remains one of Britain’s most polarizing prime ministers. This provocative investigation sheds new light on the Iron Lady’s war against the ‘enemies within’: striking miners, trades unionists, anti-nuclear protestors, feminists, gay rights campaigners and poll tax protesters. Drawing on countless news reports, studies and personal recollections, it sifts the real conspiracies from the theories that flourished in a paranoid age, to chart the lasting effects of the growth of the secret state on British society.
The World According to Xi
Everything You Need to Know About the New China
China is rapidly becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and its leader, Xi Jingping, is enshrined in its constitution – an honour not seen since Chairman Mao. This succinct, accessible primer charts his rise to power and explains his world-view, his plans to eradicate poverty and extend his country’s global reach, his thoughts on China’s Communist legacy – and how far he is prepared to go to defend it.
The Broken Journey
A Life of Scotland 1976–99
The sequel to The Invisible Spirit, this second volume in Roy’s series on Scotland since the Second World War begins in 1976 and follows Scotland’s fortunes to 1999. Positive achievements such as the oil boom in Shetland and the cloning of Dolly the sheep are outweighed by setbacks and disasters – including Lockerbie, Piper Alpha, the Orkney child sex abuse scandal and the school shooting at Dunblane – on Scotland’s ‘broken journey’ to the end of the 20th century.
1956: The World in Revolt
In January 1956, the home of Martin Luther King, the leader of the Montgomery Improvement Association, was bombed; by December, the black citizens’ campaign had ended segregation on the city’s buses. In this survey of 1956, Simon Hall describes how frustration with the post-war order caused ordinary people across the world – in places as far-flung as Algeria, Eastern Europe, South Africa, Cyprus and Cuba – to speak out, take to the streets and sometimes die in the bid for greater freedoms.
Revolution in Hungary
The 1956 Budapest Uprising
In October 1956, the Hungarian people rebelled against their Soviet overlords; by 4 November, the revolt had been brutally crushed, leaving thousands dead and a quarter of a million in exile. Erich Lessing (b.1923) was the first Western photographer on the scene: accompanied by short essays on the revolution, the 150 images reproduced here capture the hope and despair of the short-lived uprising.
Churchill's Cold War
How the Iron Curtain Speech Shaped the Post War World
On VE Day, 8 May 1945, Winston Churchill was the victorious leader who had led Britain through five years of war. By VJ Day in August, he had been ejected from office and his great ally Franklin Roosevelt was dead. This absorbing history provides a month-by-month account of how Churchill, increasingly fearful of Stalin’s ambitions in Europe, became a voice in the wilderness once again, warning of the danger of Communism as he had warned against Nazism in the 1930s.
The Year Modern Britain Was Born
The defining year in a decade of change, 1965 witnessed a social, political, artistic and technological landslide that shaped modern Britain. Blending meticulous research with biting satire, this lively history charts how the old order was laid to rest with Winston Churchill, and the new generation – artist Bridget Riley, filmmaker Ken Loach, radical psychiatrist RD Laing – forged a new world, while the Beatles received MBEs and Home Secretary Roy Jenkins ushered in the ‘permissive society’.
The Year That Changed Britain
Few years have seen such seismic change as 1956. Khrushchev’s ‘secret speech’ exposed the crimes of Stalin and Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary, disillusioning loyal communists worldwide, while the debacle of Suez spelled the end of the British Empire. This entertaining social history charts the political and cultural events of that momentous year, which saw the emergence of rock ’n’ roll and commercial television while Osborne’s Look Back in Anger electrified the London stage.
Bobby on the Beat
Memories of a London Policeman in the 1960s
Honest, entertaining and packed with colourful stories, this memoir of the author’s time as a copper on the beat in Limehouse provides a real flavour of the life and crimes of London’s East End during the 1960s. Laced with tough cockney humour, it presents a rogues’ gallery of pickpockets, conmen, informants, gangsters and pimps, against a rich backdrop of docklands pubs, markets and cafés.
Smoke in the Valley
Austerity Britain 1948-51
Taking up the story in the summer of 1948 as the first post-war Olympics opened at Wembley, the second book of Kynaston's engrossing social history follows Labour through its second term (Attlee now being driven by his wife in a Humber instead the Hillman Minx). Quoting from a myriad first-hand accounts and contemporary documents, Kynaston gives an evocative account of British life, particularly in the key areas of industry, education and housing.
A World to Build
Austerity Britain 1945–48
Beginning with VE Day and describing the first months of peace and the first years of Attlee's government, up to the launch of National Insurance and the NHS on 5 July 1948, this first book of Kynaston's much acclaimed Tales of a New Jerusalem records the reactions of the British people to the austerity of the early post-war years and to wider events such as Hiroshima, the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia and the arrival of the Empire Windrush.
Books 3 and 4 (The Certainties of Place and A Thicker Cut), here bound in a single volume, continue Kynaston's extraordinarily evocative narrative, from an ailing King George VI opening the Festival of Britain and the Conservative victory that made Churchill once more Prime Minister, to the Suez crisis, Soviet action in Hungary and bus fares raised in Lowestoft to offset petrol rises. Slightly off-mint.
Bombs, Burnings and Bigotry
By August 1969, the two-year campaign for civil rights in Northern Ireland, under increasing attack from loyalist paramilitaries, exploded into rioting on the streets of Belfast. This book charts three days that changed the course of Northern Irish history and radicalized a generation of Catholic youth. It sets the events in their historical context, includes interviews with individuals from both sides, and with British Army officers, and asks how we can avoid the mistakes of the past.
The Deadly Legacy of India's Partition
Seventy years ago the British Raj was dissolved and the self-governing countries of India and Pakistan were born at midnight on 14–15 August 1947. But in the months surrounding Partition violence broke out between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, resulting in widespread ethnic cleansing that carved a gulf between the two countries with terrible consequences to this day. This book investigates how things went so very wrong, and left a toxic legacy of extremism, terror and nuclear proliferation.
The Call Up
A Study of National Service in Peacetime Britain
From 1947 until 1963 all healthy British men between 18 and 21 were expected to do 18 months' military service. With over 60 contemporary images and many first-hand accounts, this book provides insight into this formative experience. For some, it was a time of friendship and camaraderie, others experienced hardship and brutality; and although it often meant square-bashing at Catterick; there was also active service in Suez, Aden or Cyprus with around 600 killed in action or accidents.
Israel Since the Six-Day War
Tears of Joy, Tears of Sorrow
Israel's victory in the Six-Day War of 1967 gave the young nation new confidence, but not all of its consequences were beneficial. In the final volume of his acclaimed trilogy charting Israel's history, Leslie Stein provides a vivid account of the country's economic, social and political development over the past four decades, its military engagements, its relations with the Palestinians, the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, and the varying fortunes of migrants from Russia and Ethiopia.
Street Scenes of the Capital 1960–1989
Coming to London in the 1960s to work in advertising, the German-born Robert Hallman brought an outsider's perspective to his hobby of photographing the metropolis over the next three decades. This collection of his images includes period scenes of famous landmarks and British pageantry as well as reportage of London life, such as 1960s shopfronts, punks in the King's Road in the 1970s and street entertainers in Covent Garden in the 1980s.
Britain on the Brink
The Cold War's Most Dangerous Weekend, 27-28 October 1962
At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Britain was America's first line of defence, a vulnerable but unsinkable 'aircraft carrier' on which it based Strategic Air Command's first-strike nuclear capability. Jim Wilson gives an in-depth account of what this meant for Britain during the Cold War and at the moment when war was an imminent threat. In particular, the study explores the implications of the Soviet missiles trained on the UK and the response – and gamble – of Macmillan's government.
Building for Nuclear Confrontation 1946–1989
During the Cold War a complex infrastructure of defence installations was built across Britain in response to the threat from nuclear weapons. After 1989 many of these formerly secret sites were considered obsolete and abandoned. This volume reports the findings of a project to identify those most in need of preservation, with photographs (both archive and modern) of the buildings, Ordnance Survey images, cutaway diagrams, architectural plans and ephemera, while the detailed text explains their purpose and construction and the historical background.
The End of the Debutantes
Until 1958 the daughters of Britain's aristocracy would curtsey to the Queen, a rite of passage that formed the highlight of a season of society parties in an elaborate, strictly controlled mating game. Part memoir, part social history, this book interviews the surviving debutantes to show how this arcane, archaic ritual was finally swept away, opening up their lives in new and unexpected directions.
Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes
The Story of Women in the 1950s
What did it feel like to be a young woman in the 1950s? Virginia Nicholson examines the pressures under which women lived in a post-war culture characterized by sex discrimination, inhibition, conservatism and hierarchy, and in thrall to the ideals of marriage, home and the perfect wife. With the emphasis on real women's experience, she explores topics from coronation fever, through 'how to get your man' manuals, housework and paid employment to the pervasive fear of atomic war. Slightly off-mint.