The Forgotten Years
Crowned at 25, Elizabeth I was guided for the first half of her reign by her advisors. Only at 50, with all prospect of marriage behind her, did she begin to wield power in her own right. Drawing on previously untapped archives, this groundbreaking biography provides fresh insight into the mature monarch: at once powerful and vulnerable, beset by conspiracies at home and invasion from abroad, and fiercely determined not merely to reign, but to rule.
Lawson Lies Still in The Thames
The Extraordinary Life of Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson
On 13 December 1659, Vice-Admiral Sir John Lawson (1615–1665) led 22 warships into the Thames and threatened to blockade London in defence of Parliament: in January 1660, Pepys began his diary, ‘Lawson lies still in the river’. This biography charts Lawson’s central role in the English Civil Wars and the Dutch wars, for which he received a gold chain from Oliver Cromwell, but also his vital contribution to the Restoration, rewarded by a pension from Charles II.
The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
The son of a blacksmith, Thomas Cromwell has long been reviled as a schemer who stopped at nothing in his quest for power. He ended up as Henry VIII's right-hand man, and exercised enormous influence during some of the most momentous events in the country's history. This biography from the Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces goes beyond the fiction of Wolf Hall to reveal the true story of this controversial, complex and fascinating figure. Slightly off-mint.
Lives that Shaped the Modern Age
The Renaissance began in northern Italy around 1400 with a rediscovery of classical antiquity and a new interest in our place in the natural world. As it spread across Europe it took many forms; more a state of mind than a fixed programme, it brought vast political, religious and social change. This superbly illustrated book focuses on 94 individuals – from Leonardo to Luther, and Catherine de' Medici to Copernicus – each of whom embodied and spread a facet of Renaissance culture.
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.
1517, Printing, and the Making of the Reformation
Martin Luther’s revolutionary ideas spread across Europe within just a few years of the day in 1517 when he posted his ‘theses’ on a church door. As this book shows, Luther’s success was far from accidental: a skilled communicator, he worked closely with Wittenberg’s printers to craft the distinctive pamphlets that made him the world’s first mass-media figure, boosted the newly emerging publishing industry and inspired others to disseminate their own writings. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Wife of Hugh Miller of Cromarty
As the editor of The Witness, embroiled in the religious controversy that led to the Disruption in 1843, Hugh Miller was a prominent figure in Edinburgh. This biography of his wife Lydia portrays her part in the marriage and her role in publishing Miller’s writings after his suicide in 1856.
Louis Philippe D'Orléans 1773–1850
Through revolution, the army, exile and a spell as a tutor in Reichenau, and finally as King of France, Louis Philippe led an extraordinary life, yet is one of the less well-known monarchs of Europe. Ann Allestree brings ‘an outrageous attraction for the man’ and a novelist’s flair to this biography of Louis Philippe from the age of 19, commanding his Dragoons, to his reign as a peaceful and compassionate king between 1830 and his abdication in 1848.
The Scandalous Lives of Courtesans, Concubines, and Royal Mistresses
From the hetaerae of ancient Greece to the demimondaines of 19th-century France, professional mistresses enjoyed freedom and power unknown to most women. This book explores their colourful lives, including Ninon de l'Enclos, who accepted 50,000 crowns to spend the night with Cardinal Richelieu – then sent another courtesan in her place; Marie Duplessis, inspiration to Dumas and Verdi; and La Belle Otero, mistress of Edward VII, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia. Off-mint and felt-tip mark on upper trimmed edge.
‘Hitler’s most famous victim’, Anne Frank was 15 when she died after unimaginable sufferings in Auschwitz and in the chaos of Bergen-Belsen during the final weeks before its liberation. Anne’s diary, kept while she was in hiding in Amsterdam, is perhaps the most famous testimony of Nazi oppression. This detailed biography, first published in 1998 and now updated with new material, traces Anne’s life from her birth in Frankfurt in 1929 to her death in mid March 1945.
The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva
Growing up in the Kremlin, Svetlana Stalin knew nothing of her father’s tyranny, but could not escape tragedy: her mother’s suicide, the loss of two brothers, and the exile of her lover to Siberia. With access to FBI, CIA and Russian state archives, this biography charts her growing awareness of Stalin’s crimes, her defection to the West, her struggle to escape his terrible legacy – and her horrified realization, with the rise of Putin, that ‘they haven’t changed a bit’.
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.
While awaiting execution after the Second World War, Rudolf Hoess, the SS commandant of Auschwitz, wrote a long account of his life and his management of the concentration camp. Jürg Amann has distilled Hoess’s memoir into this very different book. Where Hoess showed no remorse, Amann gives a chilling insight into Hitler’s Final Solution and its practitioners. With an afterword by Ian Buruma.
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.
Hitler's Violent Youth
How Trench Warfare and Street Fighting Moulded Hitler
Bob Carruthers combines his two previous books, Private Hitler’s War and Hitler’s Demons, into a single, revised volume which, drawing on the memoirs of Hitler’s former companion and business partner Reinhold Hanisch, as well as the intimate testimonies of his opponents Moritz Frey and Otto Strasser, examines the Führer’s commitment to resolving political problems through decisive acts of violence, a belief he nurtured as a young ideologue in the trenches of France and the beer halls of Bavaria.
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.
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 lower trimmed edge.
To Strive, to Seek, to Find
Tennyson was the most successful English poet of the Victorian age, adored by a vast readership that included the queen herself. Yet his success was neither the triumph of pure genius nor an accident of history – as this meticulous biography demonstrates, he skilfully crafted his own career. Charting his progress from Romantic radical to Poet Laureate, it shows how he transformed personal tragedy into poetry, and how he ultimately became a prisoner of the fame he so ardently desired.
Wellington's Dearest Georgy
The Life and Loves of Lady Georgiana Lennox
Georgiana Lennox met the Duke of Wellington at a ball organized by her mother on the eve of Waterloo. Using a wealth of unpublished material, this beautifully illustrated book charts an intimate friendship that lasted a lifetime.
Dr James Barry
A Woman Ahead of Her Time
Dr James Barry was, among other things, Inspector of General Hospitals, an army surgeon, and the first British Empire doctor to successfully perform a caesarean. Only at the end of his colourful life, in 1865, was the truth revealed: Dr Barry was in fact a woman – the UK’s first female doctor. Following ten years of detailed research, the authors have produced a fascinating biography – incorporating colour portraits – that dispels some of the myths surrounding this mysterious individual.
The Daughters of George III
Despite their unprepossessing parents, the six daughters of George III and Queen Charlotte were remarkably good-looking; commissioned to paint portraits of the children, Gainsborough was enraptured with the girls’ beauty. His paintings are among the illustrations in this first complete account of all six daughters: Charlotte, Princess Royal, later Queen of Württemberg (1766–1828); Augusta Sophia (1768–1840); Elizabeth, Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg (1770–1840); May, Duchess of Gloucester (1776–1857); Sophia (1777–1848) and Amelia (1783–1810).
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 Man, The Medievalist, The Connoisseur
The art dealer John Hunt (1900–76) helped to shape the medieval collections of museums around the world and was Sotheby’s principal advisor on medieval art. This biography reveals not only the extent of Hunt’s published work on archaeological and historical topics but also his cultural benefactions to Ireland, the adopted homeland where he spent the 1950s restoring the crumbling 15th-century Bunratty Castle. The final chapter covers the investigation into recent allegations that Hunt had links to the Nazis.
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.
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.
Dr Lachlan Grant of Ballachulish
General practitioner, researcher and activist Lachlan Grant influenced debate about social reform in rural Scotland in the early 20th century. The two parts of this book comprise a collection of essays examining a broad range of his interests, from the provision of healthcare in the Highlands and Islands to land reform and economic development, and a selection of his journalism, speeches and correspondence, including his evidence to the Dewar Committee in 1912.
When 20-year-old John Jacob Astor arrived in Baltimore from Germany in 1783, his ambition was to live comfortably from the sale of musical instruments. By the time of his death in 1848, he was the richest man in the United States. This absorbing, richly anecdotal history traces the fortunes of the dynasty he founded over five generations in the highest echelons of American and British society.
Aldous Huxley's Hands
His Quest for Perception and the Origin and Return of Psychedelic Science
On learning that her father, Howard Thrasher, once photographed Aldous Huxley’s hands, Symons set out to discover how the two men’s paths had crossed. Here she reveals what she learned from conversations with her father and from a cache of letters: how Huxley’s eclectic circle undertook pioneering experiments into the healing potential of psychedelic drugs, because of their belief in the importance of visionary, mystical experience and their hope that this research would benefit humankind.
German historian Peter Longerich judges Joseph Goebbels to be have been a narcissist, driven by insecurity; the likely result of his relatively lowly background and a deformity of his right foot that isolated him from contemporaries in childhood. This comprehensive biography, translated from the German, draws on Goebbels’ extensive diaries to chart his rise to the top of the Nazi party and attempt to understand the views and actions of one of Hitler's most zealous lieutenants. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Poet, priest, inspirational teacher and indefatigable traveller, Peter Levi (1932–2000) was one of the most romantic and complicated of 20th-century Oxford characters. Relating his poetic development to his intense emotional life, this absorbing biography charts his Catholic upbringing, his friendships with Cyril Connolly, Iris Murdoch, Patrick Leigh Fermor and Bruce Chatwin, his often contentious membership of the the Jesuit order (which he left to marry Connolly’s widow), and his tenure as Professor of Poetry at Oxford.
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.
Nelson's Right Hand Man
The Life and Times of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Fremantle
The 42-year naval career of Sir Thomas Fremantle (1765–1819) spanned a period when British naval power was crucial; his first experience of war was the American War of Independence, and he fought alongside his friend Nelson at Bastia, Tenerife, Copenhagen and, as captain of HMS Neptune, at Trafalgar. Drawing on personal letters and diaries, this biography paints a vivid picture of one of the Georgian navy’s greatest sea captains.
The Golden Warrior
The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia
Mythologized by his own writings and David Lean's film, TE Lawrence (of Arabia) is one of the enduring heroes of the First World War but the true nature of his personality and achievements has been subject to revisionism and counter-revisionism. This biography gives a full account of his life from his childhood and education to military leader, political advisor and writer, and attempts to adjudicate between rival interpretations to reveal the truth behind the legend.
Edith Cavell is honoured as a heroine executed by German firing squad in 1915 for helping Allied soldiers to escape, and for her words: 'Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness’. But who was she, and what shaped her? Tracing Cavell’s Norfolk upbringing, her life as a Victorian governess, and her decision to become a nurse, Souhami’s sympathetic biography creates a rounded portrait of a woman always driven 'to do something useful, something for people’.
From the Frontline
The Extraordinary Life of Sir Basil Clarke
Basil Clarke was an intrepid First World War correspondent and father of the public relations industry. This first-ever biography tells how he defied Kitchener’s ban on reporters in 1914 to live as an ‘outlaw’ in Dunkirk, reported from the Battle of the Somme and the Easter Rising, and caused a global scandal by accusing the government of failing to enforce its naval blockade of Germany, before going on to create Britain’s first PR firm.
The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo
Charles Deville Wells, Gambler and Fraudster Extraordinaire
Charles Deville Wells (1841–1922) became a household name in 1891, when his enormous gains at Monte Carlo’s roulette tables inspired the famous music hall song. But had he invented an ‘infallible’ gambling system, or was his success the result of extraordinary luck, or even clever fraud? This first biography of Wells uncovers details of his famous few days at the casino, as well as revealing the other exploits of ‘the man with 36 aliases’ who was Europe’s most wanted criminal.
Lenin the Dictator
An Intimate Portrait
‘First we must seize power’, Lenin told Trotsky in 1917. ‘Then we decide what to do with it.’ This compelling biography draws on long-suppressed documents to present a nuanced portrait of this complex, emotional man. It charts his long years in exile, his decisive seizure of power, and his intense relationships with his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and his lover, Inessa Armand, examining how this sensitive nature lover came to create a new kind of state.
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…
Hitler Was My Friend
As official 'court' photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann played a critical role in cultivating the Führer's public image; he was also a close personal friend of Hitler, with intimate access to his inner circle from 1923 to April 1945. First published in 1955, Hoffmann's memoirs, illustrated here with a selection of his informal photographs, offer a remarkable behind-the-scenes account of Hitler and the rise and fall of the Third Reich. With a new introduction by Roger Moorhouse. Translated by RH Stevens.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Complementing an Oscar-nominated documentary, this biography of Nina Simone (1933–2003) draws on previously unpublished material from her private diaries and the reflections of those who knew her best. It traces the legendary soul singer's struggles and successes, from her frustrated hopes of becoming a classical pianist to groundbreaking appearances at Carnegie Hall, her activities as a civil-rights activist and periodic visits to Africa in search of her 'secret self that is very black'.
Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters
An Eccentric Englishwoman and her Lost Kingdom
In one of the most bizarre episodes in British colonial history, the kingdom of Sarawak was ruled for generations by ‘white Rajas’, the Brooke family, with power of life and death over their Malay, Chinese and Dyak headhunter subjects. Philip Eade’s biography offers a glimpse into the wild and decadent world of Sylvia, the last Ranee, an extravagant writer and socialite who defied convention as she struggled to cling to power in the dying days of empire.
Setting the World on Fire
The Brief, Astonishing Life of St Catherine of Siena
St Catherine of Siena was Italy’s answer to Joan of Arc. Amid the war, plague and social unrest of the 14th century, she struggled with feckless clergy, rival popes and conniving cardinals to bring peace to warring factions. Blending meticulous research and vivid storytelling, this first modern, secular biography offers an intimate portrait of the fascinating and revolutionary woman who offered moral guidance to kings, queens and popes, and remains an inspiration to Catholics and feminists alike.
The Enlightened Mr Parkinson
The Pioneering Life of a Forgotten English Surgeon
In 1817, James Parkinson defined the disease that bears his name so precisely that it is still diagnosed today by recognizing the symptoms he identified. In this study, the story of Parkinson’s significant contributions to the Age of Enlightenment is told through his three passions – medicine, radical politics and fossils. The book restores a neglected pioneer to his rightful place in history and creates a vivid portrait of life as an ‘apothecary surgeon’ in Georgian London.