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 This first complete biography of the captain of HMS Erebus draws on unpublished letters and journals to reveal the scandal of his birth, his early exploits as an explorer, the source of his influence, and his plans for life after the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.
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.
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.
The Girl from Station X
My Mother's Unknown Life
As Anne Segrave approached old age and dementia, her daughter Elisa was faced with the daunting task of sorting through her mother's belongings and was astonished to find a cache of Second World War diaries that revealed an adventurous woman she barely recognized. This biographical account describes Anne's wartime adventures through Bletchley Park, Bomber Command and a newly liberated Germany, and includes many extracts from the original diaries.
For the BBC Radio 4 series Great Lives well-known people were invited to choose a person from history and discuss their life and achievements with an expert (usually a biographer). This book presents brief accounts of nearly 100 of the chosen 'great lives', arranged alphabetically from Alexander the Great to Edith Wharton, and introduced by short quotations from their champion and their expert. The programme's presenter, Matthew Parris, provides a foreword.
A Book of Secrets
Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers
Alice Keppel was mistress to both the Prince of Wales and Lord Grimthorpe; Grimthorpe's abandoned fiancee Eve Fairfax was sometime muse to Rodin; while his daughter Violet Trefusis became the lover of Vita Sackville-West. Transporting the reader from Yorkshire to Rapallo, this biographical tour de force follows an intimate web of connections though the undercurrents of Victorian and Edwardian society to bring to light this brilliant company of neglected women.
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.
Tigress of Forli
The Life of Caterina Sforza
Loved and vilified in equal measure, Caterina Riaro Sforza de' Medici bestrode Renaissance Italy: a strategist to match Machiavelli, a warrior to equal the Borgias, and a mother determined to maintain her family's honour. Set against a backdrop of glittering splendour and murderous intrigue, this compelling biography charts the life and accomplishments of the brilliant, charismatic and fearless countess, her turbulent years at the papal court, and the three marriages that ended in bloodshed and heartbreak.
The Heir Apparent
A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince
This richly entertaining biography chronicles the eventful life of Queen Victoria's firstborn son, the quintessential black sheep of Buckingham Palace, who matured into a wise and effective monarch. Known to familiars as 'Bertie', the future King Edward VII had a well-earned reputation for debauchery, and when he became king in 1901, expectations were low. A magnificent life of an unexpectedly impressive king, Jane Ridley's much-acclaimed study documents the remarkable transformation of a man - and a monarchy.
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.
A Brief History of the Private Life of Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II is now the longest-reigning British monarch. Her life has been exhaustively documented, but what of the woman beneath the crown? Who are her friends? How does she feel about the demands of duty? What are her hobbies? Examining her early life, the training she received, and her attitudes to national life, historian Michael Paterson offers a refreshing portrayal of Britain's figurehead.
A true English eccentric, Yorkshire squire Charles Waterton (1782-1856) talked to insects, fought with snakes, rode an alligator and lived like a monk. Long before such things were fashionable, he turned his family estate into a nature reserve, while his three-volume natural history and his Wanderings in South America became bestsellers in their day. This exuberant biography enthusiastically embraces its subject's originality and quirky humour to celebrate the indomitable spirit of a pioneering environmentalist.
Benjamin Hoadly, 1676-1761
Benjamin Hoadly, Bishop in turn of Bangor, Hereford, Salisbury and Winchester, was the most controversial churchman of the 18th century. His sermon on the nature of Christ's kingdom sparked off the Bangorian controversy which raged from 1717 to 1720, and he was a committed Whig, and a disciple of Locke. This study offers a fresh appreciation of Hoadly's life and work in 18th century religion, but also illuminates the thought of adversaries such as Charles Leslie and Henry Sacheverell.
A Boy at the Hogarth Press
In 1928, after a lacklustre school career, 16-year-old Richard Kennedy was given a job as office assistant at Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press. Forty years later, by then a successful illustrator, he wrote this charming and self-deprecating memoir. Illustrated with his own delightful sketches, it offers a unique glimpse into life in the chaotic office with its collapsing shelves, prowled by the giants of the Bloomsbury Group.
Apprentice War Lord
Louis Mountbatten's equivocal reputation as a war leader is typified by the contrast between his heroic actions as captain of HMS Kelly, the inspiration for the film In Which We Serve, and his masterminding of the disastrous raid on Dieppe in 1942. This analysis of his life examines the experiences that formed him, from his childhood among European royalty and naval apprenticeship up to these famous wartime engagements that preceded his appointment to South East Asia Command in 1943.