His Conquests, His Empire, His Legacy
Although his name has become a byword for tyranny, Genghis Khan is also credited with creating the unified trade routes that brought the cultures of Europe, the Middle East and Asia into contact, as well as some enlightened lawmaking (by medieval standards). This account of the great conqueror explores the cultural background of the nomadic Mongolian tribes and analyses the Khan's personality as well as the events that saw him acquire and rule the largest contiguous empire in history.
An Infamous Mistress
The Life, Loves and Family of the Celebrated Grace Dalrymple Elliott
As a divorcee and courtesan, cast out by Georgian society and resident in Paris during the Reign of Terror, Grace Dalrymple Elliott (1754–1823) has a scandalous reputation: this biography sets her swashbuckling life in a broader context of family and society.
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.
A Dublin Memoir
Having been born in Wexford, the young John Banville found Dublin ‘all the more alluring’ and the novelist’s memories stretch back to childhood trips in the 1950s, when the city, although poverty-stricken at the time, held magical promise for a boy. In this combination of vignettes from his own past, his historical investigations of Dublin and Paul Joyce’s photographs, Banville asks ‘What transmutation must the present go through in order to become the past?’
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 Drawing on previously unpublished information, Oscar’s Ghost uncovers a bitter feud that involved stalking, blackmail, witness tampering, lawsuits and prison, and influenced the way we perceive Wilde to this day.
From the Mill to Monte Carlo
The Working-Class Englishman who Beat the Monaco Casino and Changed Gambling Forever
Joseph Jagger had worked for many years in the textile trade in Bradford when he made an extraordinarily bold trip to Monte Carlo, armed with borrowed money, a team of accomplices and a scheme to win big on the roulette wheel. This account of his life and historic winning streak describes how he managed to break the bank and walk away with a fortune, worth the modern equivalent of £7.5 million.
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.
A Cultural History
Édith Piaf (1915–1963) began her singing career on the streets of Pigalle in 1929; at her death in 1963, she had become an icon of French chanson. In this study, Looseley examines ‘the cultural phenomenon known as Édith Piaf’ and argues that it was a deliberate invention.
Baggage of Empire
Reporting Politics and Industry in the Shadow of Imperial Decline
The former BBC industrial editor Martin Adeney blends memoir and history as he surveys the ruins of great industries and the rise of Thatcherism to reveal how the long decline of the British Empire has shaped the nation.
A Life of Contradiction
In addition to giving an account of Dostoyevsky’s eventful life, this biography studies his main novels and stories, and sets out to demonstrate their lasting accessibility and relevance. Judith Gunn describes his struggles with deadlines, debt, epilepsy, gambling and imprisonment; examines the ways in which his themes and characters have been reinterpreted in television shows including Columbo and The X-Files; and explores the strong and enduring connection between his work and modern media.
Headline Britons: 1926–1930
Seen Through Seven Unique Figures of the Time
An outline of the major events of 1926–1930 – the return to the Gold Standard and the General Strike – introduces profiles of seven notable figures: Virginia Woolf, Radclyffe Hall, John Logie Baird, the car manufacturer William Morris, Ramsay MacDonald, Noël Coward and W Somerset Maugham.
Headline Britons: 1921–1925
Seen Through Six Unique Figures of the Time
Along with a sketch of the social and economic background and a timeline of events, this volume profiles the lives and achievements of Robert Baden-Powell, the fraudster Horatio Bottomley, Marie Stopes, David Lloyd George, Lord Reith and Bertrand Russell.
What Regency Women Did for Us
Women in early 19th-century England had few rights and little access to education. This volume tells the stories of twelve women who overcame these obstacles to achieve success in business, science and the arts. It profiles the lives and careers of Jane Austen and her contemporaries including Madame Tussaud, the fossil hunter Mary Anning and the astronomer Caroline Herschel, exploring their contacts, the society they lived in, and their lasting influence on the world.
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.
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 egotistical 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.
The Fortune Hunter
A German Prince in Regency England
Happily married, but insolvent, Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785–1871) and his wife Lucie devised a plan to save their beloved estate: they would divorce and Pückler would go to England to marry an heiress. Based on the prince’s letters reporting his progress to Lucie, this book is a blow-by-blow account of Pückler’s courtships, but also a portrait of Regency England through the eyes of an intelligent, observant and, at one point, lovesick fortune hunter.
Lady Fanshawe's Receipt Book
An Englishwoman's Life During the Civil War
In the mid 17th century, England was riven by bloody civil war. For Ann Fanshawe, married to a Royalist diplomat, it was a time of insecurity and danger. Throughout the turmoil, she kept a leather-bound book full of ink-stained receipts for everything from life-saving remedies to hot chocolate. That volume forms the basis for this account of her attempts to keep a household together in the face of adversity, and her passionate devotion to the Stuart cause.
Friends of Alice Wheeldon
The Anti-War Activist Accused of Plotting to Kill Lloyd George
Sheila Rowbotham’s 1986 play Friends of Alice Wheeldon dramatized the trial of a Derby socialist and feminist accused by an undercover agent during the First World War of plotting to kill the prime minister, Lloyd George. This new edition includes a carefully researched historical introduction that describes the interaction between workplace militants and anti-war activists, the intrigues of politicians and the intelligence agencies, and the campaign to clear Wheeldon’s name.
The Life and Choices of Lady Anne Barnard
Lady Anne Barnard lived at the heart of Georgian society – the Prince of Wales was a friend, and Walter Scott admired her verses – but her defiance of convention made her an outsider. Drawing on her unpublished papers, including six volumes of memoirs, this thrilling biography brings the poet, musician, artist and hostess vividly to life, and tells how she travelled to France to observe the Revolution, married an army officer twelve years her junior, and raised an illegitimate child.
The Grand Old Duke of York
A Life of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, 1763–1827
Although commander-in-chief of the British army during the Napoleonic Wars and a reformer responsible for transforming the British military, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany is remembered now as the bungling ‘Grand Old Duke’ of the nursery rhyme. This biography shows him to be far from incompetent; it offers a new assessment of Prince Frederick’s distinguished career as a general and administrator, a full account of his scandalous private life – and the origins of that nursery rhyme.
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.
Love and War on the Côte d'Azur
In 1925, Barry Dierks, a young American architect, and his lover Eric Sawyer bought land at Miramar on the Côte d’Azur and built Le Trident, their home and a spectacular showcase for Barry’s architecture. A year later, Somerset Maugham’s La Mauresque became the first of some 70 houses designed by Dierks for the Riviera’s rich and famous. This biography of Barry and Eric also tells of the glamorous inhabitants of the villas and the lifestyle of Jazz Age Côte d’Azur.
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 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.
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.