The New Tsar
The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin
In this epic, incisive biography, the former New York Times Moscow bureau chief charts Putin’s rise from abject poverty in Leningrad through the ranks of the KGB to his position as one of the most powerful and destabilizing leaders in the world today. Setting his domestic popularity against his ruthless authoritarianism and wars in Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine, the book answers a troubling question: Why does Russia still need a tsar?
Three Mothers (and a camel)
Notes to My Mother-in-Law and How Many Camels Are There in Holland?
Phyllida Law’s mother-in-law Annie was the family’s linchpin, so when she started to go deaf the only solution was to write down all the gossip. Then Law’s delightfully dotty mother, Mego, succumbed to dementia. In this gently humorous memoir, the author balances caring for Annie and Mego with her theatrical career and being a mother to her own daughters, the actresses Emma and Sophie Thompson.
Houdini and Conan Doyle
The Great Magician and the Inventor or Sherlock Holmes
In 1920, following a courteous correspondence, ardent Spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and sceptical showman Harry Houdini met for the first time. Two of the era’s most famous men, they became the public faces of debate about the possibility of bridging the gap between living and dead. Sandford draws on previously unpublished material in this account of the two men’s unlikely friendship, which turned to increasingly bitter enmity.
Liberty or Death!
The Life and Campaigns of Richard L Vowell
Inspired to fight against the Spanish Empire in South America in 1817, Englishman Richard Vowell distinguished himself in Simón Bolívar's war of liberation in Venezuela as part of a British Legion of volunteers. This book tells the story of the adventurer from his English childhood to his part in Bolívar's South American campaigns, service as Commander of Marines in the Chilean Navy and later years in Australia, where he was discharged from his job as a convict-camp administrator under strange circumstances.
The Life of Sir William Davenant
Sir William Davenant (1606–68), England’s second Poet Laureate and an influential impresario, narrowly escaped execution for Royalist activities during the Civil War and dared to revive theatrical performances in Cromwell’s London. He was also widely rumoured to be Shakespeare’s illegitimate son and said he wrote ‘with the very spirit’ of the Bard. This biography tells the story of Davenant’s eventful life backwards, culminating with a fresh examination of the evidence for his paternity.
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.
Britain's Liberal Imperialist
Thomas Macaulay has always inspired both admiration and hostility. One of the towering intellects of Victorian Britain, he played a major role in passing the 1832 Reform Act, and introduced English education to India. This insightful biography charts his rise from child prodigy to elder statesman, assesses his lasting influence as the architect of British 'soft power' and advocate of liberal interventionism, and goes beyond the stereotypes to reveal a difficult, complicated and very human man.
The Buccaneer King
The Story of Captain Henry Morgan
Henry Morgan (1635-1688) was the most successful of all the pirates of the Caribbean, amassing a fortune by pillaging towns on the Spanish Main and eventually becoming governor of Jamaica. This lively biography charts his colourful career, unpicking fact from fiction and addressing questions that perplex historians to this day: to what extent were his activities sanctioned by the government, was he driven by patriotism or by greed, and was he responsible for the torture of Spanish prisoners?
Harold and Jack
The Remarkable Friendship of Prime Minister Macmillan and President Kennedy
They seemed unlikely friends: the patrician English Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and the bullish, charismatic US President John F. Kennedy. Yet their friendship, which survived disagreements and estrangements, would shape the world. Based on previously unquoted papers and private letters between the leaders and their families, this insightful, informative book charts the emotional undercurrents of their relationship through such epochal events as the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, the building of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
A Voice from the Holocaust
In 1943, Rutka Laskier, a 14-year-old Jewish girl in the Polish town of Bedzin, hid her diary before she was deported to Auschwitz. Concealed for more than 60 years, her account – often compared to that of Anne Frank – offers a moving portrait of everyday adolescent joys and sorrows amid the horrors of Nazi occupation. Contemporary photographs of Bedzin and its ghettos bring to life Rutka’s world of hunger and fear of following neighbours and friends to the concentration camps.
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.
Weimar's Fallen Statesman
The achievements of Walther Rathenau (1867-1922), as a German and a Jew, were unprecedented. Having risen to leadership in the War Ministry during the First World War, Rathenau became Foreign Minister in the new Weimar Republic; but however successful, he was a Jew and a Republican and his assassination seemed inevitable. Volkov tells the story of Rathenau’s remarkable life in Imperial and Weimar Germany, in Berlin’s intellectual elite and in the complex world of German Jewry in the pre-Nazi era. American cut pages.
The Last Royal Rebel
The Life and Death of James, Duke of Monmouth
The eldest and most favoured illegitimate son of Charles II, born in exile just months after his grandfather’s execution, James, Duke of Monmouth (1649-1685) went from being adored at the royal courts of France and England, to exile following his claim to the English throne and, finally, execution after the defeat of his rebellion against James II at Sedgemoor. Anna Keay chronicles Monmouth’s life and reassesses the role of the much-loved ‘protestant duke’ in a dramatic period of English history. Felt-tip mark on upper trimmed edge.
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.
Diplomat, philosopher, historian, playwright and poet, Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was, in the words of Paul Oppenheimer, ‘the single most influential of all modern political thinkers’ for almost 500 years. This biography seeks to go beyond the mesmerizing theories of The Prince to explore the originality of Machiavelli’s thought, the practical realities of his work in 15th-century Italian diplomacy and government, and other achievements such as his innovative and hugely successful play about sex and treachery, Mandragola.
A Life of Spinoza
Margaret Gullan-Whur Expelled from the Jewish community of Amsterdam for heresy, Spinoza (1632-77) was eventually reviled by all religious authorities for holding fast to his conviction that reason, not revelation, was the way to find the truth of God or nature. Gullan-Whur shows how Spinoza’s central philosophical beliefs developed within the context of his life and focuses on the philosopher’s attempt to act solely through reason in the face of personal and national crises.
Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta
The youngest son of Henry II, John (1166-1216) became king on the death of his brother, Richard I, in 1199. He inherited a vast and possibly ungovernable dominion, extending across the Angevin empire in France as well as England, Ireland and Wales. In this biography, Morris draws on contemporary sources to describe a tyrannical and murderous reign that saw the loss of the French lands, the rebellion of the English barons and, despite the signing of Magna Carta, civil war.
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.
Joan of Arc
A Life Transfigured
This story of the peasant girl whose voices moved her to rally the French and their reluctant king against the English invaders in 1428 has fascinated writers from Shakespeare to Shaw. Was she a saint, a schizophrenic or, as her captors tried to prove, a demonically possessed heretic? Novelist and biographer Kathryn Harrison weaves together fact, folklore, artistic representations and centuries of scholarly interpretation to give us a heroine for our times. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Soldier, Diplomat, Ideologue of British India
Sir John Malcolm (1769-1833) is still highly regarded in India, which was his home for half a century and where he helped to transform the East India Company into an agent of imperial government. This biography by his modern-day kinsman explores Malcolm's humble Scottish origins, his years of military service, his influential books and the leading role he played in missions to Persia during the early years of the Great Game of diplomatic rivalry between Britain and Russia.
A Life of Contradictions
Matthew Dennison, the critically acclaimed author of The Last Princess, presents a concise 'selective portrait' of Victoria. Focusing on aspects of the queen's private and public worlds rather than attempting to capture a broad picture of her life and times, Dennison achieves an illuminating account of Victoria's mercurial character and her impact as a monarch - 'a woman of dizzying contradictions and myriad inconsistencies' who reinvented the monarchy and wrestled with personal reinvention. Felt-tip mark on upper trimmed edge and Slightly off-mint.
The Prophetic Statesman
Winston Churchill was one of the most remarkable statesmen in history, not least because he had an uncanny ability to predict future events. James Humes explores this extraordinary aspect of Churchill's character, from his schoolboy prediction of an epic military clash in Europe in 1914 to his thoughts on the Cold War in the 1950s; and he shows how intense study of history allowed Churchill to understand the course of events and predict the future - and rarely get it wrong.
The Mystery Man of the Franklin Expedition
Sir John Franklin's naval expedition set sail for the Arctic in 1845, only to disappear without trace. The greatest disaster in the history of polar exploration has been intensely investigated, but its third-in-command, James Fitzjames, remains an enigma. This first complete biography of the captain of HMS Erebus draws on unpublished letters and journals to reveal the scandal of his birth, his early exploits as an explorer, the source of his influence, and his plans for life after the expedition.
The Double Life of Fidel Castro
The Hidden World of Cuba's Greatest Leader
Fidel Castro (1926-2016) was a towering figure, the leader of Cuba's revolution and one of the world's last Communist strongmen; but his fiercely defended privacy meant that biographers could barely scratch the surface of his personal life. Here Juan Sanchez, once Castro’s bodyguard, but later persecuted by the regime, shares his intimate knowledge of this 'man of the people' who amassed vast personal wealth (partly through government-sanctioned drug-running) and enjoyed a lavish lifestyle including a luxury yacht and secret island marina.
Vaclav Havel was a man of dazzling gifts and versatility: a playwright turned politician, iconoclast, intellectual, human rights campaigner and the first post-Communist president of the nation he helped to free. Written by his former press secretary and long-time friend, this balanced and candid biography charts his privileged upbringing, his career as a writer, his imprisonment for his part in the Prague Spring of 1968, and his pivotal role in the Velvet Revolution that brought freedom to Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Spilling the Beans
The Autobiography of One of Television's Two Fat Ladies
Good-humoured, forthright and forging ahead at a rate of knots, Clarissa Dickson Wright (1947-2014) tells an extraordinary story - of formidable grandmothers and a beloved mother, legal distinction (as the youngest woman ever called to the Bar), alcohol addiction and sobering up with AA - all that and more before Two Fat Ladies 'changed my life'. First published in 2009, this 'feast of a memoir' (the Independent) brings the story up to her recent campaigns for the countryside.
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.
A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz
Published in Sweden as a novel, Goran Rosenberg's much-acclaimed book is based closely on his parents' lives, from the Lodz ghetto in Poland where they met in the early years of the Second World War, through incarceration in Auschwitz-Birkenau and the slave camps and transports of the final months of Nazi Germany, to a new life in Sweden. The book opens in 1947 as the father arrives at 'the Place' in Sweden, but the past has come with him.
A Story of Friendship and Betrayal
Ian Innes 'Tim' Milne and Kim Philby had been at school together and when Philby joined MI6 he immediately recruited Milne as his deputy. The treachery of his friend, revealed as the 'Third Man' of the Cambridge spy ring, was a painful blow to Milne, but his frank account of their long association, banned in 1979, is written without rancour and presents an insider's view of one of the most notorious spies of the 20th century.
Nancy Mitford (1904-1973) was the eldest and most famous of the Mitford sisters. A relentless tease, she wrote brilliantly satirical novels about her family and her social circle. This classic portrait was assembled by one of her closest friends from the letters she intended to use for her autobiography, and is an intimate account of her life filled with her wit, waspish humour and addiction to gossip.
The Spy Who Loved
The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville
In June 1952, in a seedy South Kensington hotel, a woman was stabbed to death by an obsessed admirer. Thus died one of the most daring and effective British agents of the Second World War. This well-researched, very readable book tells her extraordinary story. The daughter of a Polish aristocrat, Christine Granville was parachuted into occupied France to gather vital intelligence, narrowly escaping capture on several occasions thanks to the personal charisma that was to prove her final undoing. Slightly off-mint.
Master of the Field
As one of the key generals of the First World War, Douglas Haig increasingly attracted censure as the century progressed and the 'lions led by donkeys' view of the war became prevalent. This account of Haig's campaigns in 1917 and 1918 was written in 1953 by one of his key staff officers to counter the growing and, he felt, unjustified criticism. It offers an important insight from within the Field Marshal's inner circle. With a new preface by Haig's grandson.
The Life of Viscount Trenchard, Father of the Royal Air Force
Hugh Trenchard (1872-1956) had an unpromising start in life, failing the Army and Navy entrance exams, but found his metier when he joined the fledgling Royal Flying Corps in 1912. Nicknamed 'Boom' for his stentorian voice, he was obstinate and tactless, yet inspired unflagging loyalty in his men. And, as this fascinating biography makes clear, it was these very qualities that enabled him to create the Royal Air Force in the face of entrenched opposition from the older services.
Churchill Comes of Age
In 1895, Winston Churchill, aged 21, went on his first foreign adventure - to Cuba, where Spanish troops were engaged in suppressing rebellion. The episode is scarcely mentioned in biographies of Churchill, mainly due to political and linguistic barriers to research. Here, a Canadian historian of Latin America examines Churchill’s visit to the island - his first experience as a war correspondent - and the five months up to March 1876, when he wrote his last article on Cuba’s war of independence.
Witness to History
The Life of John Wheeler-Bennett
The historian Sir John Wheeler-Bennett (1902-1975) experienced first-hand many of the most pivotal events of the 20th century, and knew many of the political titans of the age. This first biography charts his life and career, recounting how he met Hitler and Hindenburg, and was one of the last people to interview Trotsky. His encounters with Churchill, Attlee and Truman as George VI's official biographer also make this essential reading for anyone interested in political history.
Napoleon in Power
Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the first truly modern politicians, skilfully crafting his image as a hero who dragged France back from the abyss and laying the foundations of a legend that endures to this day. This second volume of Philip Dwyer's magisterial biography charts his career from the Brumaire coup that catapulted him to power in 1799 to his downfall in 1815, revealing the complex man behind the myth and his brooding obsessions, propensity for violence and visionary ideas.
A Life of Contradictions
In his 'selective portrait' of Victoria, Matthew Dennison focuses on aspects of the Queen's private and public worlds rather than attempting a broad picture of her life and times. The result is an illuminating account of Victoria's mercurial character and her impact as a monarch: 'a woman of dizzying contradictions and myriad inconsistencies', who reinvented the monarchy and wrestled with personal reinvention.
The Man, His People and the Empire
Mahatma Gandhi was a man of apparent contradictions: a London-trained lawyer who wore the clothes of India's poorest, an apostle of non-violence who urged Indians to enlist in the First World War, and a champion of independence with an enduring affection for all things British. Drawing on family archives, this monumental biography by his grandson offers a complete and balanced account of Gandhi’s life, the development of his political and religious beliefs, and his complex relations with his family.
The Biography of a Writer
Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer as well as a politician, and throughout his life he was a writer of letters, speeches and legal arguments. This biography demonstrates how America's 16th president used language both as a vehicle to express complex ideas and feelings and as an instrument of persuasion and empowerment. It also offers an especially timely reminder that the careful and honest use of words is essential to a successful democracy. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Last Templar
This book claims that Columbus shared the Knights Templars' vision that Christians, Jews and Muslims should live together in peace in a New Jerusalem, and that his voyage across the Atlantic was intended to find a place where this heaven on Earth could be built. The author also argues that Pope Innocent VIII was the explorer's real father and supported his mission: 'The story has been corrupted, and now the time has come to set the record straight.'
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.
Sex, Science and Serendipity
More than half a century before his famous grandson, Erasmus Darwin was both renowned and viciously satirized for promulgating controversial scientific theories - albeit in long and sexually suggestive poems. Patricia Fara investigates why his ideas provoked such a vitriolic reaction and how he prefigured Victorian debates about faith and science. She also celebrates his championing of causes such as the abolition of slavery and the education of women.
A Tale of Three Cities
The Life and Times of Lord Daer, 1763-1794
Basil William Douglas, Lord Daer (1763-1794), left an indelible impression on everyone he met, including the poet Robert Burns and the radical Thomas Paine. This first-ever biography charts the life of this far-sighted progressive politician, his immersion in Scottish Enlightenment ideas, and his experiences in Edinburgh, London and Paris against the turbulent backdrop of revolution and war. And, as the Scots and English rethink their union, it shows the continuing relevance of Daer's political vision.
John Theophilus Desaguliers
A Natural Philosopher, Engineer and Freemason in Newtonian England
Although remembered now for his influence on the history of freemasonry and the formation of its Grand Lodge, John Theophilus Desaguliers (1683-1744) was also a prominent advocate and popularizer of Newtonian experimental philosophy. In this biography, Carpenter shows how Desaguliers, a Huguenot who came to London from La Rochelle in his youth, became a gifted orator, a purveyor of technical skills and a significant figure in the intellectual life of early 18th-century London.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
This is the first printed supplement to the Oxford DNB (2004) and includes entries on 819 men and women who shaped recent British history and who died between 2001 and 2004. The earliest person by birth date is the dancer and choreographer Dame Ninette de Valois (1898-2001), but the majority of subjects grew up in the interwar years. Among the notable figures in this supplement are Barbara Castle, John Peel, Francis Crick and Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. No jacket.
The Profligate Son
Fashionable Vice and Financial Ruin in Regency Britain
William Jackson was a charming, popular public schoolboy with the world at his feet - until his attempts to keep up with his Regency dandy friends set him at odds with his family and led to his ruin. This absorbing account draws on papers that have lain in the archives for two centuries to reveal how an appalled father charted his son's descent into a murky underworld of debt, disease, prostitution and crime, culminating in his transportation to Australia for fraud.
One of the world's foremost historians of China, Jonathan Spence presents a concise biography of Mao Zedong, deflating myths and showing how, through relentless energy and ruthless self-confidence, Mao was able to attain so much power and hold on to it for so long. Spence likens him to a 'Lord of Misrule', turning traditional Chinese society upside down in 'a long drawn-out adventure in upheaval'.
Newman's Unquiet Grave
The Reluctant Saint
Written in the wake of publicity about the beatification of John Henry Newman (1801-1890), Cornwell's highly acclaimed biography focuses not on arguments for and against sainthood, but on Newman's character and importance as a writer. The study includes chapters devoted to each of his major works - Idea of a University, the Apologia, The Dream of Gerontius and The Grammar of Assent - and aims to reveal Newman's 'genius for creating new ways of imagining and writing about religion'.