Back by Popular Demand
The Motorbike Book
The Definitive Visual History
From pioneering German machines of the 1890s to the 'whispering' MotoCzysz electric racer in 2009 and the 2014 Honda NM4 Vultus, this volume tells the story of two-wheeled grit and glory with more than 1,000 detailed photographs. Everything with an engine and two wheels is covered in chapters on iconic bikes such as the Indian Scout and Triumph Bonneville, profiles of the great marques, and surveys of every type of motorcycle, from scooters and mopeds to powerful touring bikes.
The Aircraft Book
The Definitive Visual History
The Wright Brothers mastered powered flight thanks to the invention of mechanisms to alter the lift of wings and a more efficient propeller design. Examining significant aircraft from these early breakthroughs through the rapid technical advances of the following decades to contemporary models and prototypes, this volume employs Dorling Kindersley's trademark style of using countless illustrations cut out against a white background to tell the story of flight in a way that is clear, concise and entertaining.
The Car Book
The Definitive Visual History
Conceived as an alternative to the 'bubble cars' popular in the 1950s, Alec Issigonis' revolutionary Mini established the pattern for the modern car with its front-wheel drive and transverse engine. This history of more than a century of evolution includes illustrated features exploring milestones in car design and engine development as well as profiling the great marques and presenting over 1,000 colour images of important cars, from Daimler's first petrol-engined vehicle of 1886 to modern hybrids.
The Train Book
The Definitive Visual History
Often associated with nostalgia for bygone local services, the history of the train is in fact a story of global, nation-changing consequence and technological innovation that continues to this day. Supported by hundreds of colour 'cut-out' images, The Train Book charts the development of locomotive design from Trevithick's 1803 tram engine to modern metro systems and high-speed trains; it profiles the railway pioneers and the most notable trains and, in a final section, explains how railways work.
The Definitive Biography
One of the most charismatic actors of his generation, Peter O'Toole (1932-2013) brought a dangerous edge to both his roles and his life. Drawing on exclusive interviews with colleagues and friends, this biography from the author of Hellraisers paints an intimate picture of a complex, much-loved man. From the mystery of his place of birth through his formative years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, it charts his celebrated performances, his turbulent relationships and his drunken antics.
Anatomy of a Dictator
As a dictator who came to power before the Second World War and outlasted his allies Hitler and Mussolini by decades, Francisco Franco is central to 20th-century European history, and his ghost still haunts modern Spain. This lucid biography examines the man, the dictator, and the Spain he forged, charting a childhood scarred by his country’s humiliating defeat in the Spanish-American War, and analysing an ideology based on nationalism, military discipline and the Catholic church.
Jesus the Wicked Priest
How Christianity Was Born of an Essene Schism
This book’s provocative thesis is that the Dead Sea Scrolls refer directly to Jesus, as the ‘wicked priest’ who opposed the rigid, militant views of the Essene movement. Revealing how Jesus’ message is presented in the Scrolls’ coded language, Vining explores the possibility that Christianity arose out of a schism resulting from the refusal of this ‘ultimate Reform Jew’ to follow Essene orthodoxy; his research also reopens doctrinal questions about reincarnation and the virgin birth.
The Ancestor's Tale
A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life
In a pilgrimage back through four billion years of evolution, Dawkins and Wong follow the history of our genes in search of the microbial beginnings of life. As they encounter other species – from chimpanzees to fungi and bacteria – they listen to each evolutionary ‘tale’, shedding light on such topics as speciation and extinction, and reveal how intimately humans are connected with all life on Earth. This revised and expanded edition takes into account a decade of new research.
Comic, Curious and Quirky
News Stories from Centuries Past
Rona Levin, of the British Library's Newspaper Archive, has tracked down an eclectic variety of stories, ranging in date from 1729 to 1930, which cover dastardly crimes, sexual scandals, animal antics and medical oddities. Some (such as the lady offended by seeing footballers' knees) reveal profound shifts in British society, while others (horsemeat fraud and doctors' poor handwriting) remind us that many things haven't changed.
Cream Teas, Traffic Jams and Sunburn
The Great British Holiday
In this funny, acutely observed and engaging social history, Brian Viner celebrates the British holidaymaker at home and abroad. A surprising recent phenomenon is the increase in holidays in Britain, while the holiday abroad appears to be in decline. From holiday flings to the hen night, from the 'full English' to the long-haul gap year, the minutiae of British holiday-making is examined here in all its glory.
The Servants' Story
Managing a Great Country House
This recreation of what it was like to live and work as a servant in a grand household during the mid 19th century is based on the Sutherland Collection, the papers of the Leveson-Gowers family, once the largest private landlords in the United Kingdom. While Trentham, their house in Staffordshire, stands in ruins, the family archive is extraordinarily intact, affording a detailed picture of the social structure, administration and working conditions within the highly complex community of Trentham.
The Best of Benn
Speeches, Diaries, Letters and Other Writings
Tony Benn (1925–2014) was not only a prominent, charismatic and principled politician, but also the pre-eminent diarist of his generation. This volume brings together a selection of his journalism, speeches and diary entries to highlight key moments in his career and to illustrate the range of issues on which he campaigned, such as workers' rights and the abolition of the death penalty, as well as his interest in the connections between Christianity and socialism.
Mrs Miles's Diary
The Wartime Journal of a Housewife on the Home Front
In August 1939 a Surrey housewife began a war journal in which she recorded daily life on the home front. She tells of bombers overhead day and night, ration queues and the influx of evacuees. In 1947, she sent the diary to the Imperial War Museum with a letter describing herself as a housewife and a professional journalist; she was a naturally gifted writer whose diary gives a compelling account of wartime Britain.
The West End Front
The Wartime Secrets of London's Grand Hotels
Partly thanks to their potentially bomb-resistant solidity, The Ritz, the Savoy, Claridges and the Dorchester became central to the cultural and political life of the country during the Second World War. This colourful history explores a remarkable period when cabinet ministers, military officials, exiled foreign dignitaries, journalists, spies, artists and chancers all used the hotels as meeting places, makeshift offices, temporary embassies and social centres.
The Treasures of Noël Coward
From the daring playwright of the 1930s and consummate filmmaker of the war years to the witty songwriter and cabaret performer of the 1950s and 1960s, Noël Coward's broad-ranging theatrical career was one of the most interesting and influential of the 20th century. This celebratory volume gives a resume of his life and achievements and includes a DVD of rare film footage and facsimiles of 21 personal documents including hand-written letters, publicity material, photographs, lyrics and song sheets.
Glasgow Boys Masterpieces of Art
From the 1880s to around 1914, a group of young painters based in Glasgow challenged the traditional art of the Scottish Academy, favouring instead the naturalistic ideas of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, and en plein-air painting. The realism and freedom of their portraits, informal scenes and landscapes was to revolutionize Scottish art. This book introduces the Glasgow Boys – among them James Guthrie, John Lavery, Arthur Melville, George Henry and David Gauld – and presents over 85 reproductions of their work.
The Complete Collection
'When Edward Bear said that he would like an exciting name all to himself, Christopher Robin said at once, without stopping to think, that he was Winnie-the-Pooh. And he was.' This slipcased set contains the four children's classics by AA Milne, all with their original line drawings by EH Shepard: Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six.
Dashing for the Post
The Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor
Handsome, spirited and erudite, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011)was a war hero and one of the greatest travel writers of his generation. He was also a spectacularly entertaining letter writer. This judiciously edited selection of his correspondence spans almost 70 years, and includes letters to Nancy Mitford, Diana Cooper, Lawrence Durrell and his lifelong companion Joan Rayner. They sparkle with his humour, zest for life, unending curiosity, lyrical descriptive powers – and his tendency to get into scrapes.
The River's Voice
An Anthology of Poetry
Since antiquity, rivers have given poets a rich source of metaphor and meaning, yet never before have they been under such environmental pressure. This anthology brings together more than 180 verses, from classics by Clare, Wordsworth and Tennyson to works by modern poets such as Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney and Carol Ann Duffy, celebrating the importance of rivers in our lives and imaginations.
Discovering Scotland's Lost Railways
Railway closures were underway in Scotland from the 1930s as remote lines built in the 19th century proved uneconomical. The 1963 Beeching Report recommended further cuts, and by the end of the 1960s large parts of the country were without a service. This exploration of forgotten railways, first published in 2009, traces twelve routes, mixing archive images of the lines in operation with contemporary photographs of what remains of the stations, bridges, signalling and other lineside equipment.
A Natural History of the Hedgerow
And Ditches, Dykes and Dry Stone Walls
From where I sit writing Postscript entries, I look out on an old Devon hedgerow and an ancient stone wall; John Wright's Natural History has rendered them both very much more interesting. The book covers the origins and history of such boundaries; the present condition of hedgerows and the need to preserve them; the amazing array of fauna and flora they support; and other ways of making boundaries, from movable hazel hurdles to dry stone walls (mine, I've learned, is the 'random rubble' type).
Behind the Legend
‘Frank Sinatra was like a flawed diamond’, writes Taraborrelli, ‘brilliant on the surface, imperfect beneath’. In a biography based on years of research and hundreds of interviews, he explores the singer’s torrid relationships, his Mafia connections and his friendship with the Kennedys, revealing a complex personality: a generous and loyal friend, but also a volatile, womanizing tough guy.
Do You Think You're Clever?
The Oxford and Cambridge Questions
How would you reduce crime through architecture? Why is there salt in the sea? Is feminism dead? Probably the stuff of nightmare if you are an Oxbridge candidate, but compulsive reading when your career doesn't depend on coming up with an answer, these are the questions asked at interviews for Oxford and Cambridge colleges. Ranging across disciplines from literature to physics, Farndon discusses 60 conundrums designed to separate the merely bright from the truly clever.
In this extraordinary vision of the feline world we encounter a 'circus cat secretly rehearsing Hamlet', an 'unusually repulsive cat startled by a gesture of affection' and 'the exhausted Persian cat contemplating the advantages of monogamy'... three of the weird and wonderful creatures captured by Searle's inimitable illustrative style and vivid imagination.
Essays, Afterword and Key
United and divided by a river, London is one of the few world cities to find its essence in two profoundly contrasting yet nearly touching urban environments. The Italian artist Matteo Pericoli travelled the 20-mile stretch of the Thames from Hammersmith Bridge to the Millennium Dome to draw both banks of the river. His 25-foot-long folding panorama is accompanied by essays by two of the city's foremost contemporary chroniclers, North Londoner Iain Sinclair and southside resident Will Self.
Warriors and Kings
The 1500-Year Battle for Celtic Britain
The charismatic leaders Boudicca, Caratacus, William Wallace, Owain Glyndwr and the legendary King Arthur all epitomize the resistance of British Celts to the fearsome military powers at whose hands they suffered oppression and injustice. This survey of British history focuses on the key moments when the Celts' determination to survive came to the fore, from the Roman invasion to the Act of Union passed by the Tudors, and considers the mythology and psychology that drove them.
The Englishman Who Posted Himself
and Other Curious Objects
In 1898, W Reginald Bray (1879–1939) purchased a copy of the Post Office Guide and began to study the regulations. Thereafter he started to experiment by sending strange objects through the post. He posted items including a turnip, seaweed and his Irish terrier, he posted himself more than once and he sent thousands of strange postcards and autograph requests. Illustrated with many of Bray's postal curios, this book explores the intriguing hobby of a rather eccentric Englishman.
Bomber Harris: His Life and Times
The Biography of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Harris, the Wartime Chief of Bomber Command
Sir Arthur Harris (1892–1984) remains one of the most controversial figures of the Second World War. As Commander-in-Chief of Bomber Command from 1942 to 1945 he made a significant contribution to the Allies’ ultimate success, but his reputation has been tarnished by the fierce controversy over the ‘area bombing’ of German cities. Henry Probert’s critical but sympathetic biography is the first to give a properly balanced account of a remarkably able and dedicated man.
The Life and Wars of SS Colonel Jochen Peiper
Jochen Peiper was adjutant to Heinrich Himmler in the early part of the Second World War, accompanying him to key meetings with the Nazi leadership. He later commanded a Panzer division on the Eastern Front and at the Battle of the Bulge, earning a fearsome reputation and later charges of war crimes. This biography of Peiper assesses his personality and military achievements and the controversies that saw him tried in 1946 and eventually murdered in 1976.
And the Wartime Honeytrap Spies
Marie Chilver, codenamed 'Agent Fifi', was used by the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War to test trainee agents' resolve: she befriended them in hotel bars to see if they would reveal their true identities. Compiled from information declassified in 2014, this book tells the story of the London-born Latvian seductress and of other women agents used as honeytraps, decoys, infiltrators and double agents by British spymasters Maxwell Knight and John Masterman.
Art Deco Master of Graphic Art and Illustration
The Russian emigre artist Romain de Tirtoff is best known by the phonetic French rendering of his initials: Erté – and for many, Erté is Art Deco. In the course of his long life he was key to the development of the style in the 1920s, and lived to see its revival in the 1970s. This elegant, sumptuously illustrated volume surveys his life and work, including his jewellery, furnishings, magazine covers for Harper's and his seminal sets for the Ziegfeld Follies.
How British Aristocrats Staked a Claim to 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.
Venice from the Water
Architecture and Myth in an Early Modern City
Renaissance travellers would arrive in Venice weary and sore from a long carriage ride over bumpy roads to find themselves transported with silken smoothness by gondola to an ethereal island metropolis. Illustrated with almost 200 colour photographs, engravings, maps, and paintings by artists from Carpaccio to Monet, this elegant volume explores the city's unique relationship with its lagoon, its use of water as architectural space reflecting the facades of its grand buildings, and its carefully nurtured mystique.
Posters, Illustrations and Fine Art from the Glamorous Fin de Siècle
Lavishly illustrated with around 170 reproductions, this celebration of Art Nouveau is in three parts, looking first at the movement as a whole – a design ethos that swept across Europe and America between the late 19th century and the First World War. Part two deals with the graphic arts, including the posters of Toulouse-Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha, while the final section explores the impact of Art Nouveau in the fine arts, discussing artists from Paul Gauguin to Gustav Klimt.
How have gay men and women lived, loved, and coped with prejudice through the ages? This chronological survey ranges from two men of ancient Egypt to the Cuban writer and dissident Reinaldo Arenas (1943–1990), taking in such celebrated figures as Sappho, Michelangelo and Oscar Wilde. With 128 illustrations, 56 in colour, it presents a rich tapestry of gay life from the unknowable relationships of the distant past to the frankest affirmations of modern sexuality. Slightly off-mint.
The Universe in Your Hand
A Journey Through Space, Time and Beyond
From the Big Bang to the end of our world billions of years later, one of Stephen Hawking's former graduate students takes the reader on a journey through the cosmos as it is currently understood by scientists. With humour and imaginative storytelling he brings to life the beauty of the universe and explains such mysteries as quantum mechanics and black holes without equations or graphs, in the belief that 'we can all understand this stuff'.
Atlas of The Human Body
This unusual and beautiful guide to anatomy is almost a work of art. Intricate, hand-drawn, cutaway illustrations take the reader inside the male body layer by layer, through the digestive, circulatory and nervous systems. Then a series of detailed drawings focus on key organs, bones and joints, while a doctor explains their function in clear and concise text. The whole volume is attractively presented with heavy stock, marbled endpapers, a fabric spine and covers of thick card. Age 7+
The English Village
History and Traditions
The former Northern Editor of the Guardian, Martin Wainwright has collected, 'like a magpie', facts about place names, festivals, ancient customs and recent history to offer a succinct but richly informative survey of the English village in its many aspects. In chapters on themes including the 'Big House', the church and the pub, village 'frolics', farming and dwellings, Wainwright reflects on the character of villages past and present and ends by looking to the future challenges and comforts of village life.
Abducting a General
The Kreipe Operation and SOE in Crete
One of the most celebrated travel writers of the 20th century, Patrick Leigh Fermor maintained a lifelong silence about his most famous exploit. In 1944, he and his fellow SOE officer Billy Moss, aided by local partisans, kidnapped the German commander of Crete, General Heinrich Kreipe, and spirited him away to captivity in Egypt. This gripping first-hand account, published after his death, includes Fermor's own intelligence reports, sent from caves deep within the island.
Henry V, the Man-at-Arms and the Archer
Agincourt is one of the most celebrated battles in English history, a victory that made Henry V a national hero and still resonates six centuries later. This title peels away the layers of myth to tell the human story through the eyes of key participants, from the king himself to a Somerset squire and an archer from Dorset. Drawing on historic accounts, it assesses the casualties and discusses the massacre of French prisoners that shocked contemporaries.
The Sword of Albion
Strong-minded yet vulnerable, ambitious yet insecure, Britain's greatest naval hero was a man in need of constant reassurance. Wellington thought him 'so vain and silly as to surprise and almost disgust me'. This second volume of Sugden's authoritative biography charts Nelson's life from 1797 to his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Drawing on letters and diaries, it interweaves his victories at the Nile and Copenhagen with his stormy relations with colleagues and his scandalous private life.
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 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.
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.
Diary of an Adventure
In 1880 a young medical student named Arthur Conan Doyle embarked on his first adventure as ship's surgeon aboard the Arctic whaler the Hope. The illustrated diary in which he recorded the action-packed voyage is published here for the first time in a beautiful facsimile edition. The volume also contains an annotated transcript, photographs of the ship and the young Conan Doyle on deck with its officers, two non-fiction pieces about his experiences, and two tales inspired by them.
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.
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.