Back by Popular Demand
We have a great deal of information on Geoffrey Chaucer's busy and eventful life - from the important offices he held while doing the king's business to his capture in battle and indictment for rape. In the first volume in his Brief Lives series, Peter Ackroyd shows that the real-life figure is often at odds with Chaucer's persona, presented in his literary works as a bookish and self-deprecating poet.
The Story of Coventry
The history of Coventry is often overshadowed by its bombing during the Second World War, but this richly illustrated account explores the city's whole heritage down the centuries, through records, architectural developments and anecdotes. Archive photographs in every chapter provide much to pore over, while the text concludes with comments on the challenges and opportunities that the 21st century will present.
The Lower Deck of the Royal Navy 1850-1939
The change from sail to steam in the Royal Navy was underway by 1850 and in the following decades the work and life of ordinary seamen changed radically as new jobs, servicing the engines and operating the sophisticated gunnery and communications systems, replaced the traditional lot of the sailor. This well-researched history chronicles the increasing professionalization and specialization of the lower deck as the Navy rapidly evolved and introduced many of the roles and practices which are familiar today.
A Very British Revolution
150 Years of John Lewis
From catering for Victorian mourners with 50 shades of black fabric in its first shop in Oxford Street in the 1860s, to 12 million YouTube viewings of its Christmas ad for 2013, this is a 150-year retailing success story. Jonathan Glancy looks back over John Lewis's history, describing its roots in drapery and fabrics, the radical partnership structure set up in 1929, its architecturally distinguished flagship stores, the success of the online store and its future plans - more shops.
The Times Concise History of the World
Based on the much-acclaimed The Times Complete History of the World, this authoritative history covers the whole story of humankind from its origins to the global economy and environment of today in 80 double-page spreads of text, maps and pictures. The Concise History avoids a Eurocentric approach, offering a worldwide view of history emphasizing change, expansion and contraction, and aiming to provide 'a sense of the past as a continuing process'. No jacket.
In Words, Pictures, and Music
The distinctive sound and powerful image of Johnny Cash (1932-2003) drew fans and collaborators and established him as one of the great icons of 20th-century popular music. This visual celebration charts his career from starting out at Sun Records, alongside the likes of Elvis, through the height of his fame in the 1960s and 1970s to his resurgence as an artist in his final years. The book also includes a CD containing 16 of his best-known hits.
Black's Medical Dictionary
The 42nd edition brings this reference work for 'the informed patient' up to date, with substantially revised or new entries on topics such as angioplasty, MRSA, stem cell research, monoclonal antibody drugs and human papillomavirus vaccine. The A-Z contains over 5,000 entries defining medical concepts and terms, and 10 appendices provide information on topics including basic first aid, common medical tests and procedures, vitamins and professional organizations.
Great Rivers of the World
A river is more than a waterway: it is a sustainer of life, a means of transport and a cultural signifier. All great cities and civilizations have grown up alongside rivers. This magnificent book charts the course of the 25 longest and most important on the planet from source to sea. Arranged by continent, they include the Rhine, the Danube, the Volga, the Amazon and the Nile, each illustrated by aerial photographs, panoramic views and a map. Slightly off-mint.
The Extraordinary Life of a Secret Agent's Wife
Eddie Chapman, the double agent known as Agent Zigzag, has been celebrated in print, film and television documentaries, but the life of his wife Betty was also far from conventional. Mrs Zigzag tells of her rise from humble origins to become the owner of a pioneering health farm, the guest of Middle Eastern royalty and the confidante of film stars and an African president - as well as the wife of a remarkably brave and loving, but often difficult man.
An estimated 20 per cent of the world's animal species can be found in Malaysia and the country has a network of reserves and protected areas, from the diverse environments of the vast Taman Negara National Park to the caves of Gunung Mulu. Written by local experts, this extensively illustrated volume examines the flora and fauna of rainforest, wetland, coastal and highland areas and considers its conservation in the country's three regions - Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia.
The Untold Story of World War Two's Most Daring Great Escape
The 'Warburg Wire Job' was an audacious escape plan by 40 British, Australian, New Zealand and South African POWs from Oflag VI-B in Warburg, Germany. With the camp lights fused, the prisoners laid scaling ladders constructed from bed boards over the high perimeter fence and 28 made it across. Mark Felton's history tells the story of the planning and execution of the breakout and the stories of the escapees' attempts to evade recapture and return home.
The Potter's Hand
In 1774, Josiah Wedgwood embarks on a 1,000-piece china service for Catherine the Great, sending his son Tom to America to buy clay. Swept up in the American rebellion, the young man falls for a Cherokee woman.... This thrilling novel explores the lives of one of Britain's great entrepreneurial families in a saga of love, ambition and opium addiction.
A Field Marshal in the Family
The hero of El Alamein and Normandy, Bernard Law Montgomery is remembered as one of Britain's greatest military leaders, but he also earned a reputation, among those who encountered him, for arrogance, tactlessness and egotism. This assessment of his achievements, written by his younger brother and first published in the 1970s, delves into Monty's distinguished ancestry, as well as his upbringing, to discover the factors that formed his singular character and equipped him for greatness.
Aristocrats: Power, Grace and Decadence
Britain's Great Ruling Classes from 1066 to the Present
For almost a millennium, Britain was governed by a small coterie of aristocrats whose power could make or break kings, forged an empire and created the world's first industrial nation. This colourful narrative history traces this network of interlinked families, examining its code of honour and public duty, its acquisitiveness and greed. It also demonstrates how, despite having relinquished much of its power, the aristocracy has shaped the nation, and continues to fascinate and appal in equal measure. Previously sold in Postscript in hardback edition.
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
or, The Murder at Road Hill House
Kate Summerscale re-opens the case of the gruesome Road Hill murder of 1860, but models her meticulously researched account on the country-house murder mystery - the genre inspired by the real murder and its investigation by Jonathan Whicher, one of Scotland Yard's very first detectives. 'The best whodunnit of the year - and it's all true' (Tatler). Slightly off-mint.
The Odd Couple
The Curious Friendship Between Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin
Amis was a husband, father and clubland boozer; Larkin a misanthrope who lived in self-imposed solitude. Yet from their first meeting at Oxford in 1941, the pair struck up a friendship that would last for more than 40 years. Drawing on letters, manuscripts and interviews, this richly humane study offers a glimpse into their cantankerous, controversial and often very funny private correspondence. In doing so, it also illuminates some of the finest novels and poems of the 20th century.
City of Sin
London and Its Vices
'If you do not want to dwell with evil-doers', wrote Richard of Devizes in 1180, 'do not live in London'. In her third exploration of the city's history, Catharine Arnold focuses on the sex trade, from slave girls brought to service Roman troops in first century Londinium, through medieval stews, 18th century sex clubs and Victorian male brothels to infamous '60s call girls and the internet 'Belle de Jour'.
A Prayer for Gallipoli
The Great War Diaries of Kenneth Best
Kenneth Best was awarded the Military Cross in 1918 for his services as a chaplain during the First World War. Posted to the Dardanelles, he witnessed at first hand the bitter fighting at Gallipoli and made it his business to share the hardships of the front line with the troops. His wartime diaries give a rare insight into the horrors of the Turkish front during the disastrous campaign of 1915.
The Dog that Survived the Titanic
and Other Amazing Animal Stories
Inspired by the incredible tale of Rigel, the Newfoundland dog that survived the Titanic disaster, this book is a celebration of animal antics. With over 500 stories including the cat that flew the world, the gorilla who learned sign language, the horse that drove a Cadillac and a dog arrested for skateboarding, this entertaining collection reveals the intelligence of our animal friends.
Daphne du Maurier
A Daughter's Memoir
Flavia Leng's memoir of her mother, the celebrated novelist Daphne du Maurier, is essentially the story of her own childhood and early teenage years at Menabilly, the house in Cornwall that was du Maurier's home and inspiration. Evoking the lives of the novelist, her family and illustrious friends, the book offers a new perspective on the novelist and her work.
The Irresistible Rise of a Political Celebrity
'We may feel we know the public Boris, but so much about this multi- layered character is not quite as it seems.' From the vantage point of a once close colleague, investigative journalist Sonia Purnell charts the remarkable rise of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson - just 'Boris' to most of us - and offers the first forensic account of just how he did it.
Holidays in Victorian England
Images of the Past
Margaret B was an ordinary middle-class English girl of the late Victorian era whose family made trips all over southern England. Their visits to places such as Brighton, Broadstairs, Exeter and Ilfracombe were recorded in Margaret's photographs. Accompanied by Thorburn's informative commentary, her pictures of the countryside and seaside, architectural splendours and quaint villages reveal the typical holiday for middle-class Victorians in an England untouched by cars and car parks.
Dragon of Legends
Press Out and Build Card Model
An awesome creature, 87 cm long (over 34 inches) with a fiery, scaly body and gold and purple wings, the Dragon of Legend is created from press-out card pieces that fold and slot together. There are easy-to- follow instructions, but this is an advanced model and adult help is required. While the adult is folding and slotting, children can read about dragons - real and mythical - in the excellent accompanying book, Dragon Lore.
The Chronicle of Opera
Derided by Dr Johnson as 'an exotic and irrational entertainment', opera has captivated audiences for four centuries. This handsome volume charts the historical development of the art form, with features on composers from Monteverdi to Britten, key works from The Magic Flute to Wozzeck, and legendary singers such as Maria Callas. The reference section includes a timeline, discography, biographies and a guide to further reading, and over 100 colour illustrations show the magnificence of many operatic productions.
Shakespeare's Common Prayers
The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizabethan Age
'See,' says Buckingham in Richard III, 'a book of prayer in his hand.' From its appearance in 1549, the Book of Common Prayer was known by heart by every literate person in England, including William Shakespeare. This engaging, elegantly written study traces the influence of its rhythms and metres, its ambiguities and controversies, on plays such as Measure for Measure, As You Like It, Hamlet and - above all - Macbeth, to create a dazzlingly original portrait of the playwright at work.
Animals and People in Scotland
This celebration of Scotland's enormously diverse range of fauna is arranged by habitats - from mountains, moors and bogs to the sea, but also devotes chapters to the habitats in which animals and humans interact closely, the farm, urban areas and the realm of myth. Imaginatively written and lavishly illustrated, the book offers a detailed yet informal natural and cultural history of creatures from common newts to Aberdeen-Angus cattle, and the role that animals have played in Scottish life since prehistory.
The English Seaside
To The Beach, 100 yds
Grand hotels and beach huts, piers and Punch and Judy, Second World War coastal defences and sand castles: Peter Williams's photographs reveal the tremendous diversity and vitality of the English seaside. Arranged as 42 topics, the photographs show the things we associate with traditional holidays beside the sea, such as deckchairs and fish and chip shops, but also focus on new artworks and architecture and the regeneration of our seaside towns.
Stanley Jones and the Curwen Studio
Stanley Jones is not only Britain's foremost printmaker, his 50-year association with the Curwen Press has played a vital role in the revival of lithography in Britain. This monograph charts his long and prolific career, explores his ideas and his influences, and is extensively illustrated with his own distinctive work in the medium, alongside that of artists he has worked with, among them Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Henry Moore, John Piper and Paula Rego.
The Great British Vegetable Cookbook
Written by Sybil Kapoor as 'a labour of love for both omnivores and vegetarians who, like me, are fascinated by the incredible array of vegetables that we have at our disposal in Britain throughout the year', this book is organized by season, from purple sprouting broccoli in spring to potatoes in winter. In between are 150 recipes using 50 featured vegetables on their own, in main dishes, in soup or cakes, as snacks, pickles or even - like Mrs Marshall's Cucumber - as ice cream.
Emperors, Kings and Queens
Spanning British and European, Scandinavian and Russian royal history since 1600, this volume profiles every monarch from Sigismund III, King of Poland (1587-1632) to Harald V of Norway (1991 to the present). As well as providing a portrait or official photograph, a brief biography and a succinct survey of the reign of each king, queen, tsar or emperor, the book traces their connections, marriages and feuds with other royal houses.
Selected Works of Virginia Woolf
This omnibus edition includes seven novels arranged chronologically - Jacob's Room, Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando, The Waves, The Years and Between the Acts - and two essays, A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas, Woolf's reply to a letter posing the question 'How are we to prevent war?' in 1938.
A Private Collection
The jewellery photographed for this magnificent book is the collection belonging to the women of one Russian family, with pieces ranging from traditional Azerbaijani earrings owned by the present collector's grandmother in the late 19th century to modern pieces by jewellers such as Cartier and Bulgari. Although there are breathtaking precious stones, not all the pieces are very valuable; beauty has been the collectors' criterion. The book is handsomely bound, with gilt-edged pages, a silk marker and slip-case. Off-mint.
The World's War
In a sweeping narrative of the First World War, Olusoga portrays not only the variety of peoples fighting on the Western Front, but also outlines the wider geography of the war - the African and Asian colonies, from Morocco to Bangkok, where the European empires recruited their non-European soldiers. He explores the experience and the sacrifices of those forgotten armies - some four million men - and exposes the shocking paraphernalia of the era's racial obsessions. Accompanied the BBC TV documentary. Off-mint.
Dorset Then and Now From The Air
Great strides were made in aerial photography and photographic interpretation during the Second World War and recognizing how useful these skills could be in peacetime, the government tasked the RAF with a comprehensive survey of Britain, which they completed in 1947. This book compares these 1940s pictures with modern ones for over 90 locations in Dorset, demonstrating notable changes, particularly in urban expansion, as well as some spots that have remained remarkably unchanged.
To War with Wellington
From the Peninsula to Waterloo
Using first-hand accounts written by generals, cavalrymen and foot-soldiers of the Duke of Wellington's army, Peter Snow conjures up the horror of the early 19th century battlefield as he tells the story of how Wellington led 'one of the most successful military enterprises in British history' through seven years of struggle to victory and the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.
The Great British Year
Wildlife through the Seasons
Instead of the usual four seasons, this magnificent survey of British wildlife looks at four three-month periods of transition between them. With stunning photography and engaging, informative text, it studies the ways in which animals and plants respond to subtle changes in day length, temperature and the weather as the seasons progress. There is also a behind-the-scenes look at the work of the BBC Natural History Unit, and lists of places to watch wildlife. Accompanied the BBC TV series. Off-mint.
Japan's renowned ukiyo-e ('pictures of the Floating World') were originally mass produced during the Edo period (1615-1868). In this volume, curator Catherine David 'seeks to delight and inspire the viewer with the variety and artistry of these prints'. She presents almost 400 full- or double-page reproductions, divided by themes: land- and city-scapes, including iconic views by Hokusai and Hiroshige; the natural world; entertainments, notably Kabuki; beauties and erotica, scenes from literature; children; and folk tales. One chapter is sexually explicit.
Catherine of Aragon
The Spanish Queen of Henry VIII
The woman Henry VIII 'divorced' is much overshadowed by Anne Boleyn, the woman who took her place, yet Catherine of Aragon was Henry's wife for 22 years. As queen regent she defeated the Scots at Flodden in his absence and she fought tenaciously against the divorce: the king had never met a tougher opponent on or off the battlefield. This compelling biography brings Catherine to the fore, stressing her intensity of character and approaching her life through her Spanish family as well as her Tudor in-laws. Slightly off-mint.
The Missing Ink
The Lost Art of Handwriting (and Why it Still Matters)
'Handwriting is good for us', argues Philip Hensher, 'It involves us in a relationship with the written word which is sensuous, immediate and individual'. In his witty and highly entertaining defence of handwriting, Hensher discusses teachers of handwriting, theorists and graphologists, goose quills, nibs and the Cristal Bic, and he makes a passionate case for continuing to scribble notes, write letters, chew Biros, and 'enhance the quality of our lives by going for the slow option'.
King Leopold's Ghost
A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa
In 1898, Edmund Morel, an employee of a Liverpool shipping line, was in Antwerp watching ships arriving from the Congo laden with rubber and ivory, but taking only soldiers, firearms and ammunition back to Africa. He realized that there was nothing traded for the Congolese goods: they had been produced by slave labour. Hochschild tells the horrific story of King Leopold's Congo and describes how Morel mobilized public opinion to combat slavery in the Belgian colony.
Edward Bawden and His Circle
The Inward Laugh
Edward Bawden (1903-1989) was one of a golden generation of artists born in the early years of the last century, studying under Paul Nash at the Royal College of Art along with Eric Ravilious and Douglas Percy Bliss, and later becoming the focus of a circle of artists in Great Bardfield in Essex. Yorke's lavishly illustrated study sets Bawden among his contemporaries and examines the enormous variety of media he worked in. With a foreword by David Gentleman.
History of a Nation
For much of the past millennium, Ireland was not an independent state, making it hard to separate Irish history from the history of the English in Ireland. This original and highly readable history redresses the balance by focusing on the one constant element, the Irish people, charting their development from prehistory to the present. 'Fact windows' in the text illuminate many fascinating aspects of Irish history, and a chronology gives a concise overview of political, cultural and religious trends.
Memories of Milligan
Creative, inspirational and often contrarian, Spike Milligan was one of Britain's best-loved comedians. In Memories of Milligan, his friend and manager Norma Farnes interviews those who knew him, including Eric Sykes, Denis Norden, Joanna Lumley, Michael Palin, Barry Humphries, Stephen Fry and Eddie Izzard. Rich in anecdotes and humorous exchanges, their recollections create an affectionate portrait of a brilliant man and the demons that drove him.
The Della Robbia Pottery
Named after the great Italian Renaissance ceramicist, the Della Robbia Pottery was founded by Harold Rathbone, the son of a Liverpool businessman. Embodying the principles of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts Movement, it produced uniquely beautiful tiles, vases and other wares for more than a decade. This lavishly illustrated book charts its history, explains its working methods, and includes a catalogue of its products, an A-Z of the pottery's artists, and a guide to its marks.
The Back Bible
This family reference book explains all the likely causes of back problems and advises on the best remedial action to take. It describes the physiology of the back and catalogues the possible afflictions to the neck, shoulders, middle and lower back; presents illustrated exercises designed to alleviate problems; and describes the various treatments available, including alternative therapies. Off-mint.
The Life and Love of Cats
Structuring his book around the mythical nine lives of cats, author and photographer Lewis Blackwell explores the feline mystery and magic that brings so much joy to cat-lovers, but he also asks: what do cats think of us? The text ranges from the history of cats - big and domestic - to their sense of smell, their healing powers and superstitions surrounding black cats, and accompanies 115 full-page and double-page cat portraits by leading animal photographers from around the world. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.