A Life of Love and Courage
Jane Haining left Scotland in 1932 to work at a mission school in Budapest. Based on church records and personal testimonies, this biography describes her work with orphans and tells how, after the outbreak of war, she stayed on to rescue Jewish children with the aid of the Swedish legation. In April 1944 she was betrayed and arrested and two months later, aged 47, died in Auschwitz.
The Last Tsar
The fate of Tsar Nicholas II and his family has long occupied the public imagination. The autocratic ruler was responsible for mass imprisonment, pogroms and the shooting of demonstrators, yet photographs show him as a shy, gentle family man. This history outlines the personal and political background that shaped his reign.
The Life and Loves of Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne 1751–1818
Elizabeth Lamb – ‘Lady M’ to her friend Lord Byron – was one of the brightest and most influential political hostesses of late Georgian London. Drawing on diaries, archives and letters, including her extensive correspondence with Byron, this biography reveals how she used her looks, charisma and wealth to climb socially, forging friendships with significant figures including Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, the Whig leader Charles James Fox, the playwright Sheridan and the future George IV, who became her lover. Editorial error: Family Tree not included. Slightly off-mint.
Three Extraordinary Women: Ida Nettleship, Sophie Brzeska and Fernande Olivier
This book explores the lives and achievements of three unconventional, creative women, and the sacrifices they made for the artists they loved. Fernande Olivier (1881–1966) was Picasso’s first love and muse; Sophie Brzeska (1873–1925) lived with the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, 19 years her junior, until he was killed in the First World War; and Ida Nettleship (1877–1907) bore five children to Augustus John while living in a ménage à trois with him and his mistress.
In a long career working for the BBC, ITN and Sky News, award-winning journalist Jeremy Thompson travelled the world to report on events including the Tiananmen Square massacre and the release of Nelson Mandela. His autobiography offers a glimpse behind the scenes in the newsroom and shares both poignant and amusing moments during assignments, from the Miners’ Strike to the election of Donald Trump.
Mark Twain's Notebooks
Journals, Letters, Observations, Wit, Wisdom, and Doodles
In addition to his 26 novels including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain was a prolific writer of newspaper articles, travelogues, letters and notebooks. Organized by topics such as writers and writing, family and friends, business and politics, this selection offers a glimpse into his busy life and wide-ranging interests, illustrated with photographs, engravings and his own humorous sketches. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
An Exile on Planet Earth
Articles and Reflections
In this collection of essays Brian Aldiss (1925–2017) reflects on the events of his life and how they were transmuted into the ‘metaphysical realism’ of his science-fiction stories. He describes his travels in 1960s Yugoslavia, examines his preoccupation with exile in an introduction to Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago, and imagines a meeting with Thomas Hardy.
Vladimir Nabokov, Edmund Wilson, and the End of a Beautiful Friendship
When Nabokov arrived in America as a penniless exile in 1940, Wilson was an acclaimed writer and critic who became his mentor. This account examines their close friendship and describes how it soured after the success of Lolita in 1955 brought Nabokov worldwide fame. Slightly off-mint with felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Private Heinrich Himmler
Letters of a Mass Murderer
After Himmler’s suicide in 1945, his letters were believed lost. Then, in 2014, they were discovered in Tel Aviv and authenticated by historians. Edited by his great-niece, they present a chilling glimpse into the mind of a mass murderer. His correspondence with his family presents a man whose life was governed by logic rather than empathy, and who considered his actions in the war to be a necessary and decent duty befitting the ‘great times’ he lived in.
But You Did Not Come Back
‘You might come back, because you’re young,’ Marceline Loridan-Ivens’s father told her as they were deported to concentration camps. ‘But I will not.’ Addressing this memoir to him, she recalls the events leading to their arrest in occupied France, her incarceration in Birkenau, and her lifelong struggle with these experiences, while warning of the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe today.
The Life of Henrietta Anne
Daughter of Charles I
Melanie Clegg offers a detailed biography of the youngest daughter of Charles I. Her prestige enhanced by her dramatic escape from parliamentary forces during the Civil War, the infant Henrietta Anne was cherished by the court in her mother's native France. As a young woman, her flirtatious reputation belied her political acumen, but the part she played in negotiating the Secret Treaty of Dover in 1670 was a notable high point in her short, at times controversial, life.
The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles
Focusing on Prince Charles’s life since the death of Diana, journalist and investigative historian Tom Bower draws on interviews with 120 anonymous royal insiders to present a balanced portrayal of the future king. The prince is revealed to be a well-meaning but stubborn man who has difficult family relationships and struggles to win popularity, despite extensive charitable work and his keen interest in and support for environmentally friendly projects.
The Life of Germaine Greer
With unprecedented access to her personal and professional archive at Melbourne University, this first biography of Germaine Greer in two decades records her difficult childhood in 1940s Australia, her simultaneous immersion in the worlds of academia and hippie counterculture, the international success of The Female Eunuch, and the more recent pronouncements that have angered many former admirers.
The Life and Death of Sherlock Holmes
When Arthur Conan Doyle wrote A Study In Scarlet in 1887 he couldn’t have known how enduringly famous Sherlock Holmes would become. Mattias Boström sets out to tell the story of the men and women who created an icon, bringing a scholar’s eye to the tale of the detective’s genesis, the stories’ initial wave of popularity and Holmes’s transformation into a screen role that is still being reinvented today.
The Traveller on the Hill-top
Mary Howitt: The Famous Victorian Authoress
Her Staffordshire Quaker upbringing gave Mary Howitt (1799–1888) material for the childrens’ stories that made her famous. It is explored here, as are her travels with her journalist husband William, and friendships with Byron, Wordsworth, Dickens and Hans Christian Andersen, whose work she translated.
A Personal Memoir
The close and abiding friendship of Robert Harling and Ian Fleming was forged during the Second World War, when Harling was Fleming’s deputy in the commando unit dubbed ‘Fleming’s Secret Navy’. Described by Fiona MacCarthy in her foreword as ‘a master of obfuscation’, Harling fictionalized his own life and inspired characters – even elements of 007 – in Fleming’s fiction. This memoir of his friend provides an entertaining portrait of the creator of James Bond, but also a revealing self-portrait of Harling.
The Authorised Biography of Nicol Williamson
John Osborne hailed him as ‘the greatest actor since Brando’; the New York Times called him ‘the terrible tiger of the English stage’. Nicol Williamson (1936–2011) was as renowned for his hellraising as for his Shakespearian heroes. This biography is based on the recollections of his family and fellow actors and follows his brilliant but chequered career, tracing the origins of his uncompromising and ultimately self-destructive genius in his tough Clydeside upbringing.
'Anger is Not About...'
'Anger is not about,’ wrote John Osborne in his final play. ‘It is mourning the unknown.’ In the 1950s and 1960s Osborne shocked and delighted British theatregoers, reflecting the unease of a changing nation, but by the 1980s he was out of step with his times. Drawing on interviews with friends and colleagues, this biography explores the rage at his provincial upbringing that fuelled his creativity, and the struggles with alcohol and debt that undermined it.
Deciphering a Memory
Although Jesus’ conversation with Pilate was a moment of enormous political and theological significance, the Roman governor of Judaea is a shadowy figure in the Gospel accounts. Schiavone takes the reader on a ‘journey within early Christian memory’ to investigate what can be learned from those narratives and their intersection with Judaeo-Roman historiography: who was Pilate, what was he thinking during his questioning of Jesus and how did he become a figure of such controversy and ambiguity? American-cut pages.
The Illustrated Biography
This detailed biography of Alexander Hamilton’s fascinating life focuses on the pivotal role he played in the development of the United States’ political and economic systems and frames his legacy in the context of both American and world history. It is illustrated with more than 200 paintings, photographs and excerpts from historical documents and the dust jacket unfolds to reveal a frameable map of Revolutionary-era New York.
The Sword of Albion
One of Britain's greatest naval heroes, Nelson was nonetheless insecure and needed constant reassurance. Wellington thought him 'so vain and silly as to surprise and almost disgust me'. This second volume of Sugden's biography recounts Nelson's life from 1797 to his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Drawing on letters and diaries, it weaves his victories at the Nile and Copenhagen with his stormy relations with colleagues and his scandalous private life.
Feminist, Pacifist, Traitor?
Emily Hobhouse (1860–1926) left Cornwall in 1895 to follow her instinct to alleviate suffering. In South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War, she worked tirelessly to help women and children in the British concentration camps; during the First World War she campaigned for peace and later set up a feeding programme for German children starving in Leipzig. Drawing on Emily’s memoirs and scrapbooks, Elsabé Brits tells the story of a woman dedicated to helping others, yet branded a traitor.
The Battle Over Oscar Wilde's Legacy
For years after Oscar Wilde’s death his two closest friends and former lovers, Lord Alfred Douglas and Robert Ross, fought for control of his manuscripts, and reputation, and argued over who was to blame for his downfall. Drawing on previously unpublished information, Oscar’s Ghost uncovers a bitter feud that involved stalking, blackmail, lawsuits, witness tampering and prison, and influenced the way we perceive Wilde to this day.
The Unauthorized Biography
In pursuit of the man behind the stories, this investigation of the life and times of Sherlock Holmes treats the character as a real person. Nick Rennison interweaves detailed period research with clues from Arthur Conan Doyle's tales to place the famous Consulting Detective at the heart of some of Victorian London's most notorious criminal investigations, noted historical events and intellectual social circles.
Through the Magic Door
Ursula Moray Williams, Gobbolino and the Little Wooden Horse
Ursula Moray Williams (1911–2006) wrote 68 children’s books – illustrating 30 of them – plus short stories, plays and poems. Best known for Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat, she only stopped writing at 76, and died aged 95. This biography explores how Ursula’s upbringing – an identical twin, raised in a ramshackle mansion in the woods – influenced her ideas, drawing upon family anecdotes and Ursula’s unpublished letters and diaries to create a vivid picture of her fascinating life.
The Epic Voyages of Maud Berridge
The Seafaring Diaries of a Victorian Lady
Maud Berridge (1844–1907) made five voyages with her husband, Master Mariner Henry Berridge, from Gravesend to Melbourne and back. One of these, on the clipper Superb, was a trip of 14 months, rounding both the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, and stopping off in Polynesia and San Francisco. Interweaving Maud’s diaries with contemporary reports and a modern commentary, her great-granddaughter has assembled an account of a Victorian captain’s wife’s adventures at sea.
Frances, Countess Lloyd George:
More Than a Mistress
Describing the 30-year relationship between British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and his mistress (and later wife) Frances Stevenson, here the author – the subject’s granddaughter – offers fresh insights into the complicated and often controversial relationship between the two, and shares extracts from their private papers and letters, and photographs from the family album. Slightly off-mint.
The Lost Pilots
The Spectacular Rise and Scandalous Fall of Aviation's Golden Couple
A pioneering flight from England to Australia in the 1920s earned Bill Lancaster and Jessie Miller international fame, but their lives unravelled a few years later when Lancaster was tried for murder. Their sensational story describes the financial and personal troubles that led to the death of Miller's lover and the desperate attempt by Lancaster to rebuild his reputation with a long-distance flight that resulted in disaster over the Sahara Desert.
Minister of Money
Henry Duncan, Founder of the Savings Bank Movement
A parish minister in Dumfriesshire, the Reverend Henry Duncan (1774–1846) was also a poet, novelist, geologist and social reformer. This biography explores the ways in which he fused the at-times antagonistic traditions of Presbyterianism and the Scottish enlightenment with his greatest achievement, that of the founding of the world's first community savings bank. Designed to help the ‘industrious poor’ save for times of hardship, the idea contributed to lifting many out of poverty.
Memories of a Bygone Age
Qajar Persia and Imperial Russia 1853–1902
The son of a provincial merchant, Prince Arfa rose to the heights of Iranian politics. His memoir, written shortly before his death in 1936, records the decline of the Persian Empire, and his time as Minister Plenipotentiary at the Russian court of Nicholas II.
A Secret Sisterhood
The Hidden Friendships of Austen, Brontë, Eliot and Woolf
Using letters and diaries, some previously unpublished, this biography uncovers the relationships that sustained four of the world’s greatest women writers: Jane Austen’s bond with the family servant and amateur playwright Anne Sharp; Charlotte Brontë’s admiration for her unconventional schoolfriend Mary Taylor; the decade-long transatlantic correspondence between George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and the highly charged friendship of Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield.
An Unfinished Life
At the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, Otis Redding’s set was one of the performances that made the festival legendary; by the end of the year he was dead, killed when his tour’s private plane crashed in Wisconsin. With the cooperation of the Redding family, friends and fellow musicians, Jonathan Gould presents a biography of ‘the king of soul’ and an appreciation of his immense contribution to popular music. Off-mint with felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge..
A Star of Life
A vicar’s daughter from Kent, Sybil Thorndike (1882–1976) became one of the most admired stage actresses of the 20th century. Drawing on hundreds of unpublished letters and interviews with colleagues, family and friends, this authorized biography records how she led the pioneering Old Vic company during the First World War while bringing up four children, her tireless commitment to feminism, socialism and pacifism, and her intense, often troubled relationship with her husband, Lewis Casson. Slightly off-mint.
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, the book charts his celebrated performances, his turbulent relationships and his drunken antics.
The Mistress of Paris
The 19th-Century Courtesan Who Built an Empire on a Secret
Painted by Manet, immortalized by Émile Zola in Nana and a connoisseur and collector of the arts, the Comtesse Valtesse de la Bigne was one of the most celebrated courtesans of 19th-century Paris. Catherine Hewitt's biography tells the story of this remarkable woman's journey from poverty and obscurity to the wealth, glamour and scandal of Parisian high society.
Expect Great Things
The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau
Kevin Dunn provides a portrait of an author whose writing was shaped by his sense of the mystical world. This biography presents Thoreau as a spiritual visionary, considering his metaphysical beliefs as key to an understanding of his life and work. Off-mint with felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Double Life of Fidel Castro
My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard To El Líder Máximo
Fidel Castro was the revered leader of Communist Cuba for half a century. In this revelatory memoir, Juan Sánchez, once Castro’s personal bodyguard and later persecuted by the regime, tells the story of his service, imprisonment and escape. He reveals the extent of Castro's vast personal wealth, which was partly amassed by government-sanctioned drug-running, and describes his lavish lifestyle, which included a luxury yacht and a secret island marina.
The Best Prime Minister We Never Had?
The Conservative politician Richard Austen ‘Rab’ Butler (1902–82) held three of the great offices of state and came close, on three occasions, to becoming Prime Minister. This biography examines his upbringing, education and political career and draws on his own papers and the testimony of his contemporaries to explore why, despite his formidable intellect and distinguished record as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the premiership ultimately eluded him.
An Outsider Inside No 10
Protecting the Prime Ministers, 1974–79
John Warwicker, a former Special Branch officer, tells the story of his six years in charge of security at No 10 Downing Street, protecting Prime Ministers Wilson, Callaghan and Thatcher during an era in which the Cold War and the IRA were ever-present threats.
Loyal to Empire
The Life of General Sir Charles Monro, 1860–1929
Charles Monro commanded divisions in France during the First World War and ordered the evacuation of Gallipoli in 1915 before being appointed Commander in Chief of India. This biography describes his contributions to the Army and the governance of the Empire.
An Elizabethan Assassin
Theodore Paleologus: Seducer, Spy and Killer
John Hall explores the myths and controversies surrounding Italian nobleman Theodore Paleologus, heir apparent to the throne of Byzantium, who in 1597 arrived in England to murder a traitorous compatriot, then remained in the pay of the Earl of Lincoln to sow misery among the English aristocracy until his death in 1636. The biography also scrutinizes Paleologus’s offspring, who fought one another in the English Civil War, and backs their father’s long-dismissed claim to the imperial throne.
A Clear Case of Genius
Room 40's Code-Breaking Pioneer
Admiral Sir Reginald ‘Blinker’ Hall (1870–1943) was the Director of Naval Intelligence throughout the First World War; Room 40 was his Admiralty HQ. In the 1920s he wrote an autobiography, but it was banned by government order. The parts that have survived, published here with commentary by Philip Vickers, give an absorbing account of Room 40's staff and their top-secret work, including the decryption of the Zimmermann telegram and the interception of Kaisermarine’s cypher system.
Composing an American Life
One of America’s foremost composers reflects on his life and times, from the marching bands of his 1950s childhood to his acclaimed 2005 opera Doctor Atomic. He also explains the interplay of tradition and innovation in his own compositional process and the work of fellow-musicians.
Between the Sheets
Nine 20th Century Women Writers and their Famous Literary Partnerships
In her accounts of nine 20th century women and their literary partnerships, Lesley McDowell gives each a role – Hilda Dolittle is the ‘Novice’ in her affair with Ezra Pound, Anaïs Nin the ‘Mistress’ of Henry Miller, Rebecca West ‘Mother’ of HG Wells’s child – but none of them is labelled ‘victim’. These women writers, McDowell argues, ‘chose their own fates knowingly’ to further their own poetic consciousness and literary ambitions.
A Ruler and His Reputation
More than five centuries after his death Richard III remains a compelling but divisive figure, the subject of myth and counter-myth. In this biography Horspool ‘aims at neutrality’, focusing on contemporary accounts while also examining how competing narratives have created the ‘composite figure who is at once so familiar and so alien’. He ends with reflections on the enduring fascination with Richard and describes events surrounding the recent rediscovery and reburial of his body.
Out of Time
1966 and the End of Old-Fashioned Britain
Peter Chapman was 18 years old in 1966, the year of Harold Wilson, the seamen’s strike, London ‘swinging’ to a soundtrack of Beatles and Rolling Stones, and England’s victory in the World Cup. Chapman, whose hopes of being a professional footballer had been dashed, but who would become an outstanding football journalist, gives a vivid picture of the lost world of Britain in the Sixties from the perspective of his world in Islington, north London.
The First Iron Lady
A Life of Caroline of Ansbach
History has forgotten Caroline of Ansbach, but in her lifetime she was compared to Elizabeth I and considered Britain’s cleverest queen consort. This magnificent biography charts the career of a highly intelligent, able woman who bolstered the unsteady reign of her husband, George II, acting as regent during his frequent sojourns in Hanover. With distinction and elan, she promoted science, music, literature and garden design; and, with cynical realism, wielded more power than any subsequent royal consort.
Great Scottish Lives
Obituaries of Scotland's Finest
From Sir Walter Scott in 1832 to Tam Dalyell in 2017, this selection of ‘Scotland’s finest’ from the obituary columns of The Times includes some of the world’s most notable writers, scientists, soldiers, explorers, philosophers and artists. Here, in over 100 obituaries, figures as diverse as Sir David Livingstone, Robert Louis Stevenson, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding, Sir Matt Busby and Robin Cook are judged by their contemporaries in articles that illustrate the social, cultural and political history of Scotland.
Enemy to Lifelong Friend
In many ways Winston Churchill and South African statesman Jan Smuts were opposites: one a privileged Englishman with expensive tastes, the other a temperate philosopher of far humbler origins. Yet in matters of state their politics, military judgment and vision of Empire intersected, making possible a friendship which not only endured for almost half a century, but which influenced the outcome of two world wars and the transition from Empire to Commonwealth, as this account of their relationship attests.
The Life and Music of Eric Clapton
Author of bestselling biographies of Lennon, McCartney and Jagger, Philip Norman describes how Eric Clapton became rock's premier virtuoso in the 1960s and 1970s and examines a turbulent private life that has included chronic substance abuse, a famous affair with George Harrison's wife and the freak death of his son at the age of four.
A member of various vocal groups in the late 1950s, Dusty Springfield switched to a blues-influenced style for her first solo record, I Only Want to Be With You, in 1963. These musical beginnings, her rise to be one of the leading stars of the 1960s, her later struggles with drink and drugs and her renaissance as a performer in the 1980s are all discussed in this revised and updated edition of the 1989 biography.
The Blue Touch Paper
In telling ‘the story of my apprenticeship’, David Hare (b.1947) recalls his life, from suburban childhood, through Cambridge University, tiny flats in Soho and years of trial and error as a young playwright, setting his experience against the political and cultural changes and uncertainties of post-war Britain, up to 1979, a watershed year for Hare and for the country.
The Unwelcome Visitor
Depression and How I Survive It
Soap actress and Loose Women regular Denise Welch has been frank about her struggles with alcohol, anxiety and depression. In this account she traces her experiences back to a post-natal depressive episode, discusses the difficulty of identifying ‘triggers’, and reveals how cathartic it was to speak about her problems on social media.
One Man's Odyssey Through the Lower Leagues of English Football
As a teenager, Ben Smith shared Arsenal training sessions with Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright, and looked set for a bright career, but spent his playing time with lower league teams such as Reading, Southend and Weymouth. This account alternates between his life in football, including his frustrations and low points, and his later experiences teaching and coaching.
Peggy and Me
The comedian, actress and writer had always viewed dog owners slightly askance – they talked obsessively about their pets, and their clothes and sofas were covered in hair. Then she got Peggy, a shih-tzu bichon-frise cross puppy, and discovered the joy and comfort of canine companionship amid life-changing crises, and its lessons in life, love, trust and friendship. Slightly off-mint
The Complete Scrimgeour
From Dartmouth to Jutland: 1913–16
Alexander Scrimgeour was just 19 when he was killed aboard HMS Invincible at the Battle of Jutland in 1916. The diaries he kept from 1910 until his death, along with his letters home, offer a personal account of Edwardian high society, his training at Dartmouth Royal Naval College, the build-up to war, and the conflict at sea. This enlarged edition is illustrated with maps and period photographs.
The Mystery of Charles Dickens
In this award-winning biography AN Wilson frames Dickens’s life as a series of mysteries in order to reflect his complex and seemingly contradictory character. Exploring key aspects, from his childhood poverty and failed marriage to his charitable work and love of public readings, the book assesses their influence on his writing and how they enabled him to create characters who were instantly appealing and continue to resonate.
The Classical School
The Turbulent Birth of Economics in Twenty Extraordinary Lives
Beginning with Jean-Baptiste Colbert championing mercantilism in the 1660s, senior Economist writer Callum Williams profiles 20 economic theorists up to Alfred Marshall in the 20th century. By exploring the lives of figures including Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx, he offers an insight into the personal and social circumstances that influenced their thinking, as well as an overview of how economics developed as a discipline.
The Churchill Who Saved Blenheim
The Life of Sunny, 9th Duke of Marlborough
When Charles Spencer Churchill (1871–1934) inherited Blenheim Palace in 1892, his huge ancestral home was in dire need of repair. Illustrated with historic photos, this biography focuses on his untiring efforts to restore it to its former glory.
Bicycles, Bloomers and Great War Rationing Recipes
The Life and Times of Dorothy Peel OBE
Dubbed the Nigella Lawson of her day, Dorothy Peel wrote novels and household books and devised recipes for the Ministry of Food during the First World War. This volume, put together by her great-great-granddaughter, is divided into two parts. The first tells of her life, with sections on parties, food and fashion and realities of war; the second includes recipes – Bacon Pudding, Potato Cheese, Feather Pie – from before, during and after the war, all tried, tested and adapted for today’s kitchen.
On the Trail of Mary, Queen of Scots
Roy Calley presents a visitor’s guide to the castles, palaces and houses associated with the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, from her birth in Linlithgow and early years in Stirling Castle to her execution at Fotheringhay. As well as telling Mary’s story through her many places of residence and captivity, Calley describes sites such as Notre-Dame in Paris, where she married Dauphin François in 1558 and Kirk o’ Field, the scene of Darnley’s murder in 1567.
The Ultimate Star
One of the grandest stars of the silent era, Gloria Swanson made a glorious comeback in Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard in 1950, playing a faded movie queen. This biography considers her achievements in films, providing a template for stardom in Hollywood's early days, examines her private life and separates the real Gloria Swanson from the tragic Norma Desmond, with whom she will always be associated. Slightly off-mint.
Sisters of Fortune
Marianne, Bess, Louisa and Emily Caton: 1788–1874
Arriving in Britain from Maryland after the Battle of Waterloo, the four Caton sisters took London society by storm. Based on unpublished letters, this glorious book charts their fortunes against a glittering backdrop of money, politics and power. It tells how each overcame prejudice to forge her own destiny: Emily managed their estates back home, Bess triumphed on the London stock market, Marianne married Wellington's brother, and Louisa became Duchess of Leeds and a friend of Queen Victoria.
Part of the Critical Lives series, this illustrated book explores the key moments in Genet’s life, where his political beliefs were most prominent. Genet’s championing of marginalized people was made clear in works such as Our Lady of the Flowers and The Screens and his provocative writing, theatre and film projects influenced numerous writers and directors.
Lenin remains to this day a colossal figure: the founder of the Bolshevik faction and one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. In this critically acclaimed biography, Robert Service – the first historian to have access to Communist Party archives after they were ‘unsealed’ – provides a complete portrait of Lenin, set in historical context.
The tragic life of Queen Marie Antoinette of France (1755–93) has fascinated and divided historians ever since her execution. Was her thoughtless interference in affairs of state the catalyst that provoked the French Revolution, or was she an innocent victim of the dangerous world of late 18th-century power politics? Antonia Fraser's detailed biography explores these contradictory assessments and offers the fullest portrait yet of the much-maligned ‘Austrian woman’, the doomed queen consort of Louis XVI.
Ludo and the Power of the Book
Ludovic Kennedy's Campaigns for Justice
For half a century, the journalist and TV presenter Ludovic Kennedy (1919–2009) exposed miscarriages of justice. This tribute by his friend Richard Ingrams focuses on four such cases, including that of Timothy Evans, whose wrongful hanging for the Rillingdon Place murders contributed to the abolition of the death penalty. The human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield provides an introduction.
Safe in Wartime Devon
Deposited with an aunt in Devon in 1939, Angela (12) and Hugh McBride (3) saw little of their parents for the next five years, moving between various boarding schools and lodgings and finally joining their family after the war on a posting to Australia. This record of their unusual experience is told as two separate memoirs, one by each of the siblings, highlighting their different perspectives on an eventful but unsettled upbringing.
A Farmer's Diary
A Year at High House Farm
Running a farm in Northumberland with 200 sheep, chickens, barley and wheat crops, and a micro-brewery and wedding venue operating from the outbuildings, requires many skills. Recording the work of the farm through the year, Sally Urwin gives an insight into the challenges, amusements and frustrations she encounters, from bringing in the harvest, lambing and sheep shearing to fixing dry stone walls and attending the village talent contest.
Professor Maxwell's Duplicitous Demon
The Life and Science of James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell’s famously challenging thought experiment in which a Demon controls a door between hot and cold gases, suggests that the second law of thermodynamics can be broken. In this very accessible biography, the Demon as a narrator helps Brian Clegg argue that Maxwell’s work in fields such as electricity and magnetism not only laid the groundwork for much modern physics, but put him on a par with Newton and Einstein.
Empress of the East
How a Slave Girl Became Queen of the Ottoman Empire
Roxelana, the 16th-century slave girl who became an Ottoman queen, is depicted as a woman who dealt with her situation with great common sense, ingenuity and ambition in this detailed social history. As Hurrem Sultan, consort and wife to Suleiman the Magnificent, she had to navigate the complexities of the harem, court life, and domestic and international rivalries, strengthening the role of women in Ottoman society in the process.
My Time as MI6's Top Spy Inside al-Qaeda
Aimen Dean was a bomb maker for al-Qaeda and was well respected in the organization, but grew sceptical of their philosophy and defected to become an MI6 agent. Recalling his life as a spy, which included meeting Osama bin Laden, the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and many other key figures, his extraordinary memoir provides a deep insight into the terrorists’ world. Off-mint.
Hitler's Jewish Smuggler
In June 1945, a charred body was discovered near Madrid. The man was identified as Mendel Szkolnikoff, a Russian Jew and one of the biggest black marketeers of the Occupation. Drawing on 6,000 boxes of archives in five countries, this first biography uncovers the shadowy deals that bought him prime real estate in Paris and the Riviera, the identity of his protectors, what happened to his vast wealth, and the mystery of his death.
Women I've Undressed
The name may not be well known, but Orry-Kelly’s designs clothed Hollywood stars for 30 years, winning him Oscars for An American in Paris and Some Like It Hot. Moving from Australia to New York in 1922, he started by painting murals, and rose to become head of the Warner Brothers’ costume department. His memoirs, discovered in a pillowcase, are presented with labelled photographs, costume designs and movie posters, and feature entertaining anecdotes about many of the stars he dressed.
In Conversation With
A biography in the form of interviews, this book explores the life and music of the celebrated tenor Jonas Kaufmann. In extended conversations with Thomas Voigt, Kaufmann discusses his work in opera, and particularly his relationship to Verdi and Wagner, the sacrifices of success, and the performance of lieder, which he describes as ‘the ne plus ultra of singing’. Foreword by Plácido Domingo.