Back by Popular Demand
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 Third Horseman
Climate Change and the Great Famine of the 14th Century
William Rosen, author of the acclaimed Justinian’s Flea, examines one of medieval Europe’s most astonishing catastrophes, when exceptional summer rains, freezing winters, animal epidemics and the destruction of farmland through warfare reduced Europe’s total population by one eighth. He combines insights from modern economics and climate science to analyse the complex and interrelated forces that led to the Great Famine, tracing their centuries-long gestation and assessing their implications in the context of today’s changing climate.
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.
Wish You Were Here
The Lives, Loves and Friendships of the Butlin's Girls
'It was just a gorgeous place to be and there seemed to be laughter coming from everywhere!' From the 1930s until the growth of cheap air travel in the 1970s, Butlin's offered the British holidaymaker a rare taste of escape, magic and fun. Drawing on interviews with Redcoats, waitresses, chalet maids and other staff, this book tells the stories of seven girls who worked at Butlin's, vividly evoking the highs, lows, secrets and scandals of life in the world-famous holiday camps.
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.
Beauty in Desolation
Why do some cities, towns and villages fall into disuse and ruin? This book explores the world’s lost settlements: the remains of ancient Greek and Roman, Aztec and Inca cities, gold-rush ghost towns and abandoned Soviet troop stations, and sites devastated by natural or man-made disasters. The photographs capture the strange beauty of these deserted places, whether rusting industrial hulks or crumbling ruins disappearing, like the Khmer temples in Cambodia, under encroaching jungle.
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.
Beauty in Desolation
What is left when humanity has moved on? Across the world, ruined churches, derelict theatres, rusting fairgrounds, corroding factories, empty houses and dusty shops with nothing to sell are slowly being reclaimed by nature. The stunning photographs and thought-provoking text in this book explore the eerie afterlife of buildings abandoned through war, natural disaster, or economic change. From California to Chernobyl, from Antarctica to Japan, these forgotten places embody the melancholy beauty of dereliction.
The Greatest Knight
The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power behind Five English Thrones
William Marshal (1147–1219) was the Lancelot of his era – a landless younger son who rose through the ranks to serve as right-hand man to five English monarchs, including Richard the Lionheart and his brother John. Drawing on contemporary evidence, including the sole surviving copy of a 13th-century biography, this compelling study resurrects a courageous warrior, tournament champion, wily politician and, ultimately, regent of the realm, against a rich tapestry of chivalry, grandeur and barbarity.
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.
In Search of Human Origins
In his first, much-acclaimed book, Missing Links: The Hunt for Earliest Man (1981), John Reader gave a definitive account of palaeoanthropology, its breakthrough finds, frauds and controversial theories and the central role of fossils in the search for 'missing links' between humans and ape-like ancestors. This expanded and updated edition, reflects the exciting and significant advances of the last 30 years, including genetic discoveries and the identification of several new species of extinct hominid.
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.
Mr Digwell: A Year in the Garden
An Invaluable Resource for Every Gardener from Novice to Expert
Since the end of the Second World War, the cartoon gardener Mr Digwell has been dispensing horticultural advice to Daily Mirror readers, and he remains as popular as ever. This collection offers a comprehensive, month-by-month guide to a gardener’s tasks, from winter pruning through spring seed sowing and planting out to autumn lawn care. Clear, simple strip cartoons present up-to-date information on growing flowers, shrubs and vegetables in a reassuringly traditional manner.
Architecture and Ambition
Turner was a young man when he arrived in Salisbury in 1795, but already he had started to produce acclaimed watercolour studies of cathedrals, many of them undergoing restoration by the architect James Wyatt. Accompanying an exhibition at Salisbury Museum that examined the important commissions that resulted from Turner's contact with the region, this volume contains many rarely seen Turner works on architectural projects including William Beckford's eccentric Fonthill Abbey, Stourhead, buildings on the South Coast and Stonehenge.
Panoramas of Lost London
Work, Wealth, Poverty and Change 1870–1945
Following on from the bestselling Lost London 1870–1945, this astonishing book presents some 280 photographs originally commissioned by the London County Council to record streets and neighbourhoods on the threshold of redevelopment. Enlarged and cropped, the photographs reveal the built environment and life within it in extraordinary detail. They are, as Dan Cruickshank writes in his foreword, 'photographs which record not just the appearance of the building but also, in some uncanny way, its atmosphere, its grand but crumbling soul'
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.
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.
Clarice Cliff for Collectors
The distinctive ceramics produced by Clarice Cliff (1899–1972) at the Wilkinson and Newport potteries remain among the most popular collectables of the 20th century. This guide and reference for the enthusiast provides a useful introduction to the much-loved designer's world and key information on identifying her work. Over 500 pieces are illustrated and identified, and there is also practical advice on sourcing, storage, display and restoration.
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'.
The Warrior Queen
The Life and Legend of Aethelflaed, Daughter of Alfred The Great
Aethelflaed, the eldest daughter of Alfred the Great, is an enigmatic and almost legendary figure, a renowned warrior queen who fought the Danes and who struggled to be accepted as a female ruler of the Saxon Kingdom of Mercia. This study goes back to contemporary sources to explore the ‘Lady of the Mercians’ and reveals a skilled diplomat, and a shrewd, even ruthless leader, but also a patron of learning who used the poetic tradition to fashion her own reputation.
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 Lost Tommies
Throughout the First World War, in the village of Vignacourt near the Somme battlefields, a French couple dedicated themselves to photographing soldiers on leave from the front. But their collection languished forgotten in boxes in an attic until it was recently discovered by researchers, Coulthart among them. This handsome volume presents the most interesting of the 4,000 high-quality glass negatives and identifies the British and Commonwealth troops depicted, many of whom were gathering for the Battle of the Somme.
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.
In the Footsteps of Abraham
The Holy Land in Hand-Painted Photographs
The birthplace of three great Abrahamic faiths, the Holy Land occupies a unique status in history. In the 1920s Arie Speelman, a Dutch Christian, commissioned the hand-colouring of 1,200 black-and-white slides of the area. This book explains their background and reproduces a magnificent selection of these images, which were bequeathed to Amsterdam's Jewish Historical Museum. They offer a rare glimpse of towns, villages and landscapes before the onset of modernization, as Jesus might have seen them.
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 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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.