The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books
Young Columbus and the Quest for a Universal Library
Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son Hernando Colón dreamed of creating a universal library to rival his father’s achievement by bringing order to the vast amount of information that was becoming available in the burgeoning age of print. This biography follows Hernando on travels with his father in the New World; on visits to the great European figures of the age; and on his quest to assemble, organize and catalogue an unprecedented collection of 15,000 books, ephemera, printed images and music.
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.
Mary Queen of Scots
A Study in Failure
First published in 1988, when it provoked much controversy, Wormald’s classic study of Mary, Queen of Scots ‘as a queen rather than a woman of great misfortune’ differed sharply from the usual emotive responses to Mary’s story. Focusing on her reign, 1561–1567, and her actions as the ruler of a European kingdom, Wormald argues that the queen’s downfall was because of her way of dealing, or failing to deal, with the problems facing her as a Renaissance monarch. Foreword by Anna Groundwater.
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.
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.
Wallis in Love
The Untold True Passion of the Duchess of Windsor
Andrew Morton, author of Diana: Her True Story, turns his attention to Wallis Simpson, the twice-married divorcée who claimed the heart of Edward VIII, causing his abdication. Drawing on interviews, secret letters, diaries and previously unseen primary sources, Morton charts Wallis’s life, from falling in love with a female teacher as a teenager to ignoring the cries of her husband as he lay dying. While Morton makes plain Wallis’s disdain for the duke, it seems his devotion to her never wavered.
The Last Tsar
The fate of Tsar Nicholas II and his family has long haunted the public imagination. The autocratic ruler of one-sixth of the earth’s land area, he was responsible for mass imprisonment, pogroms and the shooting of demonstrators; yet photographs show him as a shy, gentle family man. This balanced and sympathetic history outlines the personal and political background that shaped his doomed reign, and could have overwhelmed a far abler ruler.
The Life and Works of Alfred Bestall
Illustrator of Rupert Bear
Alfred Edmeades Bestall (1892–1986) is best known as the illustrator of Rupert Bear's adventures from 1935 to 1965. This biography, written by his god-daughter, who inherited his early work, diaries and journals, reveals the true breadth of Bestall's work and reproduces artworks for Tatler and other magazines, book illustrations and watercolours as well as Rupert pictures. The second half of the book comprises Bestall's sketchbooks and journals from Wales, Egypt, the Middle East and Europe. Foreword by Sir Paul McCartney. Off-mint.
The Tautz Compendium of Less Ordinary Gentlemen
Patrick Grant, the director of the men’s clothing house E Tautz, presents profiles and photographic portraits of 81 men with nothing common but ‘uncommon-ness’. They are divided into four groups: the ‘Artists’ all made their living in the arts and include film directors, architects, writers and painters; the ‘Heroes’, who include Mohammed Ali and Ernest Shackleton, all achieved something outstanding by physical prowess or courage; the ‘Libertines’ lived life recklessly; and the ‘Stylists’, though not necessarily well-dressed, lived their lives with style.
The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles
Focusing on Prince Charles’s life since the death of Diana, and his frustration at not having commenced the job he was born to perform, journalist and investigative historian Tom Bower draws on interviews with 120 un-named royal insiders to present a portrayal of the future king. Revealing the prince to be a stubborn man who has difficult family relationships and struggles to win popularity, the author nevertheless remains positive in his vision of Charles as monarch.
The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
Groomed for a role that has never materialized, Prince Charles's unique life has been marked by frustration, from a lonely childhood and unhappy school life to the indignity of press mockery of his sincerely held opinions and public pronouncements. Researched with access to palace officials, friends and hundreds of primary sources this biography discusses his life and attitudes, including the saga of his marriage to Diana Spencer and his current status as the oldest heir-apparent in British history. American-cut pages.
Counting One's Blessings
The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
Drawing on the Royal Archives and the archives at Glamis Castle, the Queen Mother's official biographer presents a selection of letters written by Elizabeth to her family, friends and a circle of acquaintance that included Winston Churchill, Benjamin Britten and Ted Hughes. Covering all phases of her life – as Elizabeth Bowes- Lyon, Duchess of York, Queen Consort and Queen Mother – the letters illuminate a personality described by her grandson, Prince Charles, as 'wise, loving, with an utterly irresistible mischievousness of spirit'.
A Brief Life of the Queen
Although born with no expectations of the throne, once the crown was thrust upon her, Elizabeth II has proved herself singularly fit for the job. Drawing on interviews with advisors, friends and members of the royal family, this succinct biography traces the Queen's remarkable life from childhood, wartime and coronation, through the turbulent times of her children's marital difficulties, to becoming Britain's longest-reigning monarch.
Mikhail Piotrovsky and the Hermitage
This history provides an account of one of the world's greatest museums from its foundation by Catherine the Great to the present. It also profiles the current director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, who inherited the role from his father. Colour illustrations feature many of the museum's treasures.
Joanna Lumley is not only a star of stage and screen but a national treasure. Luckily her magpie instincts have preserved a hoard of memorabilia that make this illustrated memoir a visual feast, with photos from her Indian childhood to the present. There are souvenirs of her early modelling career, her celebrated roles in The New Avengers, The Pink Panther and Absolutely Fabulous and, of course, the causes about which she feels passionate. Felt-tip mark on upper trimmed edge.
Keeping the Barbarians at Bay
The Last Years of Kenneth Allsop, Green Pioneer
The writer and broadcaster Kenneth Allsop was one of Britain’s first television celebrities, but while he enjoyed the high life of fast cars and smart parties, he was also an accomplished naturalist and passionate conservationist. Drawing on his unpublished diaries and papers, this biography charts his last years, his struggles with constant pain after a form of tuberculosis, and his despair at the environmental challenges facing the world.
The Scandalous Life of Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey 1753–1821
One of the great beauties of Georgian society, Frances Villiers was clever, witty, charming – and vilified for her affairs, including one with the Prince Regent that enraged the country and threatened the monarchy. Through the letters of those who knew her, this first-ever biography pieces together the truth about her scandalous adventures, and dispels many of the myths that have surrounded her, to produce an intimate portrait of a life lived in defiance of convention.
The Prince Who Would Be King
The Life and Death of Henry Stuart
Henry Stuart, son and heir to King James I and VI, was a model Renaissance prince. Handsome, intelligent and athletic, he funded science and the arts, promoted exploration and modernized the army and navy – only to die of a mysterious illness at just 18. This absorbing biography charts his brief, brilliant life against the turbulent backdrop of the Thirty Years War and the Gunpowder Plot, and speculates what an England ruled by Henry IX might have become.
Poet, translator, novelist and writer of detective stories, Cecil Day-Lewis was a restless personality, forever driven to experiment and explore. This first authorized biography tells the private story behind the headlines: his Irish roots, his youthful communism and friendships with Auden and Isherwood, his travels, his many infidelities, and his appointment as Poet Laureate. In doing so, it reveals how the rich, many-faceted and often turbulent life of this handsome and charismatic man is reflected in his poetry. Slightly off-mint.
The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel
A tall, slim redhead, lacking curves, Lizzie was the antithesis of mid-19th-century beauty. Spotted working as a milliner’s assistant, she became a muse for the Pre-Raphaelites and – immortalized in Millais’s Ophelia – one of the most famous faces of her day. This biography takes us from her humble beginnings through her marriage to Rossetti and on to her ultimate tragic end, examining her own poetic and artistic abilities along the way.
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.
The Final Chapter
In July 1991, nine skeletons were exhumed near Ekaterinburg, Siberia. Were these the remains of Nicholas II and his family, executed by Bolsheviks 73 years earlier? This investigative history follows the efforts of DNA experts from Russia, America and the UK to establish the truth. Framed by an intimate account of the Romanovs’ last days, the narrative presents a cast of modern scientists and investigators determined to solve one of history’s most intriguing mysteries.
The Shadow Emperor
A Biography of Napoléon III
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (1808–1873) was a man driven by the desire to surpass his famous uncle, but his reign was marred by scandal and ended in humiliating defeat. Drawing on years of research, this definitive biography reassesses the achievements and failures of a ruler whose political, cultural and economic influence on France was immense, describing how he expanded the French empire, revolutionized banking and finance, developed the railway network, and oversaw the creation of the first department stores.
The Mitford Girls
The Biography of an Extraordinary Family
The six daughters of the eccentric Lord Redesdale and his wife Sydney have inspired many books, but this group biography is widely considered to be the finest. It skilfully weaves together the dramatic, often outrageous lives of the sisters: the novelist Nancy; Diana, who married Oswald Mosley; Decca, the communist; the lesbian horsewoman Pamela; the socialite Deborah; and Unity, the doomed admirer of Adolf Hitler.
Stalin's Romeo Spy
The Remarkable Rise and Fall of the KGB's Most Daring Operative
This biography of Dmitri Bystrolyotov, one of the Soviet Union’s most brilliant secret agents or ‘Great Illegals’, examines his methods – seduction, duplicity, determination (he crossed the Sahara twice) – and his eventual redemption during years of hard labour in a Gulag.
Young & Damned & Fair
The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard at the Court of Henry VIII
This biography of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, who was queen consort for just 16 months, sheds new light on her story by describing the world that surrounded her both above and below stairs, and includes maps, charts and colour illustrations.
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 Lives and Spies of MI5's Maxwell Knight
Based on recently declassified MI5 files, this is the story of one of Britain’s greatest intelligence operators, Maxwell Knight (1900–1968) or ‘M’. From 1923, when he was recruited for MI5 by Sir George Makgill, the book follows Knight’s career through infiltrating Communist and Fascist movements in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s, the Second World War and the Cold War, and examines his particular talent for recruiting and training special agents.
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.
The King Never Smiles
A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibol Adulyadej
When he died, King Bhumibol (1927–2016) was the world’s longest serving monarch, having reigned since 1946. Seen by his people as the living Buddha, he was hailed as the saviour of democracy after a coup in 1991. Subsequently, criticism of his lucrative links to business and the military was firmly suppressed. Defying the ban on investigating the monarchy, this 2006 biography profiles a shrewd political operator who veiled autocracy beneath an egalitarian public image.
A Good Face for Radio
Confessions of a Radio Head
As the host of Radio 4's PM for 15 years, Eddie Mair established a unique style, bringing deadpan humour to the programme alongside hard-hitting political interviews and serious news journalism. This collection of his weekly columns, which were published in the Radio Times between 2010 and 2016, reflects his idiosyncratic wit and mischievous tone, lampooning contemporary political events, poking fun at his fellow broadcasters and musing on the quirks of everyday life.
The Other Exile
The Remarkable Story of Fernão Lopes, the Island of Saint Helena and a Paradise Lost
Napoleon Bonaparte was not the first exile to end his days on St Helena. In the 16th century, the Portuguese conquistador Fernão Lopes set out to invade India, only to defect to the Muslim side and fight his own countrymen. This compelling biography tells the long-forgotten story of how he was captured and tortured before jumping ship en route to his homeland to live as a hermit on the uninhabited island for 30 years.
The Memoirs of Walter Bagehot
The Victorian Liberal writer and economist Walter Bagehot (1826–77) never wrote an autobiography, so Frank Prochaska has provided one for him. Drawing on Bagehot’s Collected Works and his own extensive research, he has woven together this ‘faux memoir’, often in the subject’s own words, to present an intimate portrait of the author of The English Constitution, from his Somerset childhood to the failing health brought on by overwork.
The Life and Times of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
John Wilmot’s life was short in years but long on scandal. Best remembered as the author of some of the most explicit verse in the English language, he had, by the time he died of syphilis at 33, ‘swived more whores more ways than Sodom’s walls’. This comprehensive biography reveals another Rochester: a devoted if inconstant husband and father, a courageous naval officer, and a poet of deep intellectual curiosity.
Mistress to the King
‘My great-grandmother was the mistress of your great-great-grandfather,’ Camilla Parker-Bowles once told Prince Charles. ‘So how about it?’ Camilla’s great-grandmother was Alice Keppel, and Edward VII was by no means the first rich, influential man she courted in her pursuit of wealth, power and status. In charting the irresistible rise of Mrs Keppel, this frank biography lifts the lid on a hidden world of scandal, decadence and debauchery beneath the respectable surface of the English aristocracy.
The Beauty of Her Age
A Tale of Sex, Scandal and Money in Victorian England
Yolande Duvernay was born in poverty in Paris in 1812. Under the control of her mother, she became a celebrated ballerina and mistress of a series of wealthy men. This intriguing tale of sex, money and power tells how she persuaded Stephens Lyne-Stephens, the richest commoner in England, to marry her. When he died, leaving her an annual income worth £6 million in today’s terms, his will was challenged in the Court of Chancery. But Yolande wasn’t beaten yet…
Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs
How did a peasant mystic exert a fatal hold over the tsar and tsarina of Russia? Day by day, week by week, this biography charts Rasputin’s progress from the Siberian village of Pokrovskoe, where he first began to attract followers, to the court in St Petersburg. New material from previously untapped archives paints a picture of his charisma, egotism and depravity, and the credulity of the imperial couple, against the epic backdrop of war and revolution.
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.
Hero of the Empire
The Boer War, a Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill
In 1899 the 25-year-old Winston Churchill scaled the fence of a PoW camp in Pretoria to make a perilous 300-mile escape across Southern Africa. This account of his journey to freedom is set within the context of his early years as a war correspondent, soldier and budding politician, and paints an intimate portrait of a young man keen to seek out danger -– he narrowly survived conflicts in Cuba, the Hindu Kush and Sudan – yet assured of his own long-term destiny. Off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
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.
The Ultimate Book of Impostors
Over 100 True Stories of the Greatest Phonies and Frauds
Kidnappers, murderers and conmen, pretenders to the throne and even an ex-Postmaster General (the infamous John Stonehouse)... Ian Graham presents a collection of impostors who were mostly up to no good, but some had good reason to pretend to be somebody else – warehouseman Marvin Hewitt stole a scientist's identity in order to teach physics, and ME Clifton James became Montgomery's double to fool Nazi intelligence officers.
Éamon de Valera
A Will to Power
The architect of Irish independence, Éamon de Valera is one of the most remarkable men in the country’s modern history, yet he remains a divisive figure. This meticulously researched biography charts his achievements without shying away from the limitations of his vision.