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 works of Horace (65-8 BCE) reflect not only the politics, arts and religion of Augustan Rome but also more intimate themes of friendship, philosophy, love and sex. In this book about 'one of the very few poets who always leave one feeling wiser, better and more relaxed', fellow-poet Peter Levi reflects on his own enduring affection for Horace, combining personal responses with the insights of scholarship as he discusses key moments from the poems.
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.
Although by the 1760s an Anglican minister and the author of Amazing Grace, John Newton was in earlier life a somewhat errant seaman, Navy deserter, slave trader and for a time a slave himself in Africa. Compiling two separate collections of his writings, this volume reproduces Newton's own reports on his remarkable experiences and represents one of the few first-hand accounts of a seaman involved in the infamous Atlantic slave trade.
The Life and Times of Queen Elizabeth I
The novelist and biographer Elizabeth Jenkins (1905-2010) wrote her pioneering portrait of Elizabeth I in 1958, when it was highly acclaimed for its feminine perspective and penetrating psychological insight into the Queen's personal and political life. An abridged version of the biography is read here by Karen Archer. 3 CDs 3hrs 42mins
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.
The Daily Telegraph Military Obituaries
Harry Patch (1898-2009) became well known in his old age as the last surviving Tommy to have gone over the top in the First World War, but the obituaries of many of the other personnel included in this collection recall experiences that have been largely forgotten. Among the 100-strong selection are Dick Annand (1914-2004), who won the army's first Victoria Cross of the Second World War, and Clive Fairweather (1944-2012), who organized the SAS assault on London's Iranian embassy in 1980.
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.
The Real Hornblower
The Life and Times of Admiral Sir James Gordon GCB
It was while researching the Chesapeake Bay Campaign of 1814 that Bryan Perrett came across 'Captain Gordon RN' in CS Forester's Naval War of 1812 and began to see parallels between Gordon, who had commanded a diversionary force on the Potomac, and Forester's later fictional character, Horatio Hornblower. In this book, Perrett presents a full biography of Admiral Gordon and his long and extraordinarily distinguished career.
The Mistress of Paris
The 19th-Century Courtesan Who Built an Empire on a Secret
Painted by Manet, immortalized by Emile 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.
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.
An English King Made in France
Edward VII is thought of as a quintessentially English king, but his first love was always France. Using newly uncovered French sources, this irreverent history tells how young prince Bertie escaped his stifling mother Victoria by nipping over to Paris for a spot of je ne sais quoi. There he hob-nobbed with royalists and revolutionaries, had affairs with courtesans and can-can dancers, became the first guest to climb the Eiffel Tower - and used his charm to seal the Entente Cordiale.
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.
A Curious Friendship
The Story of a Bluestocking and a Bright Young Thing
In the winter of 1924, alone after the death of her beloved sister, Edith Olivier thought her life was over at 51. For Rex Whistler, a 19-year-old art student, it was just beginning. This dual biography traces the remarkable friendship that would transform their lives, bringing the young artist into contact with such influential figures as the Sitwells, Siegfried Sassoon and John Betjeman, and giving Edith the self-confidence to embark on a career as a writer.
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'.
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'.
The star of landmark movies including Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter and Sergio Leone's legendary Once Upon a Time in America, Robert De Niro is indisputably one of the greatest actors of his generation, famous for his total immersion in roles such as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. This biography from the author of Rat Pack Confidential follows the trajectory of De Niro's career as actor and director, but also examines the life of the man behind the many characters.
His Life, Thought, and Work
Marlon Brando (1924-2004) is remembered for his charismatic screen presence, rugged good looks and rebellious stance. Drawing on unpublished documents, letters, the actor's own library and interviews with friends and colleagues, this major biography presents a very different portrait of the fascinating private man: a civil-rights activist and intellectual who collected 4,000 books, rewrote scripts to sharpen his dialogue, loved the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and embraced other cultures and let them shape both his politics and his art.
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.
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.
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.
A Russian Life in Science
Born to a family of priests in provincial Russia, Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) made his home and professional life in imperial St Petersburg, suffered the destruction of his world during the Bolshevik Revolution, and successfully rebuilt his career in the 1930s. In this definitive biography, Todes reinterprets the physiologist's famous research on conditional reflexes and weaves his life, values and science into the tumultuous period of Russian history between the reigns of Tsar Nicholas I and Stalin.
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.
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.
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?
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.
The End of Glory
Illuminating the question of why Napoleon chose to gamble on total victory at the risk of utter defeat, this study focuses on the dramatic two years between the retreat from Moscow in 1812 and the Emperor's abdication in 1814. Price shifts away from the usual emphasis on Waterloo, to the conflicts of 1813; he examines the battle of Leipzig in particular; and explores the reasons why Napoleon rejected the offers of a compromise peace extended to him during that year.
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.'
The French Resistance Heroine Who Defied the Gestapo
For carrying out an audacious ambush to free her husband and other prisoners from a Gestapo van in 1943, Lucie Aubrac (1912-2007) is still hailed as a heroine of the French Resistance. This first full English-language biography tells her compelling story but also analyses the Aubracs' defence of inconsistencies in her account, which were exposed when the former head of the Gestapo claimed that the couple had become informers and betrayed their comrades.
A Plain Blunt Man
The traditional image of Mark Antony - a simple, hard-drinking but capable soldier duped and manipulated by Cleopatra's sharper wits - was created by the propaganda of his enemy Augustus and the hostility of early historians. This biography offers a fresh reappraisal of a pivotal figure in Roman history, focusing on his positive traits, such as personal courage, integrity and loyalty, and arguing that he had a precise political vision for the Roman world after the tumultuous decades of civil war.
Sir Martin Frobisher
Seaman, Soldier, Explorer
A pirate and privateer who looted countless ships, Martin Frobisher aided Francis Drake in a daring attack on the Spanish in the West Indies and played a key role in the defeat of the Armada. Yet despite his exploits, he remains a shadowy figure. This new biographical study focuses on Frobisher's three epic voyages to the Canadian Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage, creating a vivid and compelling picture of one of the great sea dogs of Elizabethan England.
How to Survive the Titanic
The Sinking of J Bruce Ismay
As the Titanic slid beneath the waves, its owner, J Bruce Ismay, jumped into a lifeboat and was rowed to safety. But if Ismay survived, his reputation did not. Condemned by an inquiry and vilified in the press, he became a guilt-ridden recluse. Drawing on his unpublished letters to Marion Thayer, with whom he had fallen in love on the voyage, this insightful, perceptive account unravels the reasons behind his jump and his struggle to live with its aftermath. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
WT Stead: Newspaper Revolutionary
When William T Stead died aboard the Titanic in 1912, he was the most famous Englishman on the ship. One of the inventors of the tabloid newspaper, his campaigning journalism launched military campaigns, exposed child prostitution and raised the age of consent. This collection of 13 essays recovers the extraordinary story of this advocate of world peace, campaigner for women's rights, radical, Christian, spiritualist, and key figure in the history of the British press.
The Adventures of Sir Samuel White Baker
The life of the explorer, naturalist, hunter, soldier, writer and colonial administrator Samuel White Baker (1821-93) reads like a novel by H Rider Haggard. Trow's gripping biography charts the extraordinary career of this energetic, multi-faceted Victorian. Drawing on official records and Baker's own prolific writings, it recounts his adventures in Africa and India, his devotion to his wife Florence, his ardent opposition to slavery, and his friendships with Henry Morton Stanley, John Speke, General Gordon, and Maharaja Duleep Singh.
The Scandalous Life and Times of WT Stead
Long before phone hacking and the Fake Sheikh, there was WT Stead. This gripping biography charts the life and career of a Fleet Street legend. It recounts his dramatic abduction of a 13-year-old girl to expose the evils of child prostitution, an exploit that earned him a prison sentence but changed the law, and records his death in the greatest news story of the era - the sinking of the Titanic.