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Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
Almina Wombwell married the 5th Earl of Carnarvon in 1895. She brought with her a large dowry, as the daughter of banking tycoon Alfred de Rothschild. This is the story of her life at Highclere Castle, where Downton Abbey was filmed, and especially the ways in which the First World War affected the fates of the family and staff alike. The author, the current countess, draws on the extensive family archive to write this engaging and personal history.
Treasury of Aesop's Fables
'The Hare and the Tortoise', 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf' and 'The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs'… The popular children’s author and illustrator, Val Biro retells these and 13 more of the best-loved tales from Aesop in simple language for younger children, and with bold, colourful paintings full of amusing detail and expression.
The Norman Conquest
William the Conqueror's Subjugation of England
Did the Normans bring civilization to England and enable stronger links with continental Europe? Was William’s victory the result of supreme strategy – or just luck? As new discoveries have cast doubt on the traditional picture of 1066, Cole reassesses the evidence for the Conquest and its effects. Explaining the background to the invasion, she highlights the long development of English relations with Normans and Scandinavians; describing the aftermath, she considers how the conquerors crushed resistance and exploited the kingdom’s riches.
La Reine Blanche
Mary Tudor, A Life in Letters
The youngest surviving daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, Mary Tudor was married to the French king Louis XII, 34 years her senior, when she was just 18. Drawing on state papers and letters by Mary and others, this sympathetic biography tells how, when she found herself a widow just three months later, the intelligent, strong-willed young woman shaped her own destiny, married for love, and defied her overbearing brother, Henry VIII.
Tales of a Tiller Girl
My True Story of Dancing in Wartime London
In the early 1950s, after growing up in Battersea, dancing with the Italia Conti school on the West End stages of wartime London and performing through summer seasons in Blackpool and winter seasons in pantomime, Irene Holland won a coveted place in the Tiller Girls troupe at the London Palladium. Her very engaging memoir describes her passion for dancing and the thrill of achieving her ambition.
A Century On
Between 1899 and 1911, EH Wilson (1876–1930), the foremost plant hunter of his generation, travelled extensively in China. Initially searching for the dove tree, Davidia involucrata, he eventually collected and introduced many hundreds of plants into western gardens and arboreta. A century after Wilson, Flanagan and Kirkham, two modern-day plant hunters, retraced his routes to the high passes and exotic species of western China, often matching Wilson’s photographs of remarkable trees and landscapes with their own then-and-now images.
The Life and Legacy of a Hebridean Priest
The Catholic priest Father Allan MacDonald (1859-1905) was not only a much-loved champion of his Hebridean parishioners on Eriskay, but also an accomplished Gaelic poet and one of Scotland's greatest collectors of folklore. Hutchinson's beautifully written book recounts the life and work of this remarkable man against the richly evoked backdrop of an island landscape where myth and spirituality entwine.
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.
A Cruel and Shocking Act
The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination
Philip Shenon's book pieces together the compelling story of the most important, and most misunderstood, homicide investigation in 20th-century America: the Warren Commission inquiry and its conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to assassinate the President. Drawing on unprecedented access to surviving Commission staff and other key witnesses, Shenon reveals how much of the truth about the Kennedy assassination has not been told and how much evidence was 'shredded, incinerated or erased' before it reached the Commission. Off-mint.
Who Betrayed the Jews?
The Realities of Nazi Persecution in the Holocaust
In The Other Schindlers Agnes Grunwald-Spier wrote of the many unsung individuals who helped the Jews during the Nazi persecution; in this study she uncovers the individuals and groups who betrayed them. Quoting extensively from survivors' accounts, and in sometimes shocking detail, she examines betrayals made for ideology or greed, but also the 'commercial betrayals' by the railway companies who transported Jews and the industries that used forced labour, and the betrayals made in fear and desperation.
Some Sunny Day
Born in 1917, Dame Vera Lynn was 92 when she realized that her great age gave a better perspective (she wrote her first autobiography in her fifties) and she had to 'get everything down on paper in a final account'. Here then is the life of 'an ordinary girl from an ordinary family with a voice that you could recognize' – but also an embodiment of British spirit during the Second World War.
Vincent Van Gogh
‘I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.’ Numerous extracts from Van Gogh’s correspondence with his brother Theo run alongside a broad selection of his works in this highly illustrated volume, revealing much about the artist’s inner life, his hopes, health, travel plans and artistic intentions. While the letters run chronologically, the artwork dances between periods, the combination resulting in a moving visual account of a life lived through letters and art.
Britain in Pictures: ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s
(three volume set)
Compiled from The Press Association’s archives, these visual histories of Britain in the mid 20th century evoke the spirit of each decade through reportage photographs of prominent personalities, events and scenes of everyday life, arranged chronologically and accompanied by detailed captions. The three titles included in this set are: The 1940s (Read more...) The 1950s (Read more...) The 1960s (Read more...)
Catherine of Aragon
An Intimate Life of Henry VIII's True Wife
Catherine of Aragon has been remembered as a tragic figure, the woman Henry VIII divorced for want of a male heir. Amy Licence takes issue with this portrayal: her study presents neither a victim nor a divorcée, but a highly educated Spanish princess and a great humanist queen who, in the early years of her marriage, was Henry's advisor and his warrior. A portrait of a 'complex, passionate, unbreakable woman', the biography also upholds Catherine's unwavering conviction that her 'divorce' was invalid.
Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places
Bletchley Park and Blenheim Palace, Lindisfarne Priory, the Martyrs’ tree in Tolpuddle, and a water pump in Broadwick Street, Soho, are a few of the historically meaningful places that were nominated by the public and selected by Historic England’s experts for the Irreplaceable project. Arranged by ten themes, from science and discovery to protest, the book offers a richly illustrated, multi-faceted history of the country, explored through the landscapes and built environments around us today.
Soldier, Poet, Lover, Friend
Widely recognized as the foremost authority on Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967), Jean Moorcroft Wilson presents a single-volume biography of the poet, building on and adding to her earlier studies. Sassoon himself said that most people thought he died in the First World War; Wilson’s work traces his entire life, before, during and after the war, showing how his writings gained in intensity, and how his literary, artistic and musical friendships illuminate a significant segment of 20th-century cultural life. Slightly off-mint.
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 Lady Penelope
Passion and Intrigue at the Heart of the Elizabethan Court
A muse to poets and descendant of royalty, the golden-haired Penelope Devereux was celebrated in the court of her godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, for being as quick-witted as she was beautiful. This biography charts Devereux’s political ascendancy in the court, her unhappy marriage to nobleman Robert Rich, her involvement in the rebellion to overthrow Elizabeth, led by her brother, the Earl of Essex, and her doomed love affair with Charles Blount, which ultimately led to her downfall.
Ordeal by Ice
Ships of the Antarctic
The hazardous seas that surround Antarctica require ships of the utmost resilience. This book focuses on the design and construction of the actual vessels, from the Chinese fleet that first sighted the southern continent in the 15th century, through Captain Cook’s Resolution, to today’s automated whalers. Technical information, plans, photographs and paintings reveal the features that enabled these ships, whether purpose-built or adapted, to negotiate poorly charted waters and withstand the pressure of ice.
The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews
During the 1920s and 1930s, Frank Foley worked as Chief Passport Control Officer for the British Embassy in Berlin, a cover for his role as MI6 Head of Station there. As the Nazi administration increased its stranglehold over the country, Foley used his position to issue visas to countless Jews, allowing them to escape to Britain ‘legally’. This biography also recounts many of the escapes that Foley enabled.
All the Kremlin's Men
Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin
Drawing on hundreds of interviews with Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, the Russian journalist Mikhail Zygar presents a portrait of Putin, the ‘man who accidentally became king’ and the machinations of his court. Described as ‘a milestone’ by the Financial Times, the book covers the years 1999 to 2015, revealing the inner workings of the Kremlin and the power struggles of oligarchs and officials as it traces Putin’s metamorphosis from ‘Vlad the Lionheart’ to ‘Vlad the Terrible’.
Empire of the Clouds
The Golden Era of Britain's Aircraft
In 1945 Britain was the world's leading builder of jet aircraft, and in the decade that followed produced planes such as the Comet, Vulcan, Hawker Hunter and Lightning; but by the early 1960s aviation companies such as Avro and Vickers were either gone or struggling. This book fuses the author's memories of British aviation's heyday with tales of the legendary aircraft and test pilots and a rueful history of Britain's loss of self-confidence and power. Special illustrated edition.
The Cultural History of a Catastrophe
The sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 by a German U-boat, drowning nearly 1,200 civilian passengers, including 128 Americans, was greeted with jubilation by the German establishment and press. Although it resulted in America’s entry into the First World War, it also marked the beginning of a new kind of brutality in German warfare which, Willi Jasper argues in this erudite study, precipitated the totalitarian violence for which Germany became notorious.