The Double Life of Fidel Castro
My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard To El Líder Máximo
Fidel Castro was the revered leader of Communist Cuba for half a century. In this revelatory memoir, Juan Sánchez, once Castro’s personal bodyguard and later persecuted by the regime, tells the story of his service, imprisonment and escape. He reveals the extent of Castro's vast personal wealth, which was partly amassed by government-sanctioned drug-running, and describes his lavish lifestyle, which included a luxury yacht and a secret island marina.
Adventures of a Young Naturalist
The Zoo Quest Expeditions
In 1954 a young David Attenborough accepted a commission to travel the world in search of rare and elusive animals to add to London Zoo's collection. Filming his expeditions for the BBC television series Zoo Quest, he stayed with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia and armadillos in Paraguay. On his return, he recorded his experiences in this memoir, illustrated with black and white photographs, and published here with an introduction he added in 2017. Slightly off-mint.
Isabella of France
The Rebel Queen
Kathryn Warner, the biographer of Edward II, presents a compelling life of his wife Isabella of France, sister to the French king Charles IV, and one of the most notorious women in English history. Warner sets aside the stereotype of the 'she-wolf' to give a neutral study of the queen who rebelled. In 1326 Isabella, with her lover Roger Mortimer, forced Edward's abdication and ruled as regent to her son, Edward III, until her own deposition in 1330.
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 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.
The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton
Legendary spy chief James Jesus Angleton was the head of CIA Counterintelligence during the Cold War, which inspired his obsessive hunt for Communist moles. He played a significant role in major KGB defections, the obstruction of investigations into the JFK assassination and the first US forays into mass surveillance. This biography presents another side to him, showing an intriguing, reclusive figure whose friends included Ezra Pound, TS Eliot and members of the underground Washington gay scene.
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 Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939–45
First published in 1946, the pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman’s account of his survival in the Warsaw Ghetto inspired an Oscar-winning film. Reprinted with diary extracts by the German officer who saved him, it offers a picture of the claustrophobia and terror of ghetto life.
Letters, Speeches, Journals, and Poems
The United States’ 16th president was a gifted writer whose speeches are still quoted and much admired around the world. Among the items in this selection from his public and private writings are his drafts of the Gettysburg Address and jottings for other speeches, pages from his scrapbooks, letters and telegrams, a brief autobiography (‘Education, defective’) and poetry from his teenage years.
Ludo and the Power of the Book
Ludovic Kennedy's Campaigns for Justice
For half a century, the journalist and TV presenter Ludovic Kennedy (1919–2009) exposed miscarriages of justice. This tribute by his friend Richard Ingrams focuses on four such cases, including that of Timothy Evans, whose wrongful hanging for the Rillingdon Place murders contributed to the abolition of the death penalty. The human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield provides an introduction.
The Woman Before Wallis
Prince Edward, the Parisian Courtesan, and the Perfect Murder
Two decades before he abdicated the throne of England for the love of Mrs Simpson, Prince Edward was, in the words of Andrew Rose, 'embroiled – along with a 'Princess' and an Egyptian multi-millionaire – in a scandal which has been superbly airbrushed from history'. In this book Rose tells the full, previously hidden story of Edward's liaison with Marguerite Alibert in Paris during the First World War, and her subsequent trial for the murder of her Egyptian husband in the Savoy Hotel London.
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.
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.
Stranger in a Strange Land
Searching for Gerhom Scholem and Jerusalem
Gershom (born Gerhard) Scholem was one of the leading intellectuals of pre-war Germany, and a close friend of Walter Benjamin. In 1923 he emigrated to Palestine and became the world’s foremost scholar of the Kabbalah. This study traces the evolution of his ideas from his disillusionment with European materialism and his discovery of Jewish mysticism, to his unease at the politics of Israel, where he found himself ‘a stranger in a strange land’. Off-mint.
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 Prince of Wales and the Women He Loved
Known to his friends as Bertie, Edward, Prince of Wales, was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and heir to the throne. He was also a notorious womanizer whose affairs gave rise to scandal, divorce and suicide. This biography surveys the diverse gallery of women who became his lovers: the actresses Lillie Langtry and Sarah Bernhardt, the socialite-turned-socialist Daisy Brooke, the philanthropist Agnes Keyser, and Jennie Churchill, the wife of Randolph Churchill and mother of Winston.
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.
True Adventures of the Gentleman Commando Who Took on the Nazis
Robert de La Rochefoucald was a French aristocrat who was taught sabotage and combat skills by Britain's SOE before teaming up with the French Resistance to organize cells, blow up munitions factories and assassinate prominent Nazis. Drawing on family archives and wide-ranging historical documents, this account tells how he was captured and tortured for months, making two remarkable escapes, one of them from the hands of a firing squad.
The Mistress of Paris
The 19th-Century Courtesan Who Built an Empire on a Secret
Painted by Manet, immortalized by Émile 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.
The Incredible Story of the Most Audacious Gambler in History
The well connected and urbane Patrice des Moutis began putting his talent for mathematics to his advantage in the late 1950s, exploiting the French state-run Tiercé betting system so effectively that the rules were repeatedly changed to thwart him. This biography of the gambler reveals how dangerous underworld connections and allegations of illegal bookmaking and race fixing were increasingly catching up with him at the time of his apparent suicide in 1975.
In the Theatre of the Imagination
Quentin Blake is one of Britain’s best-loved illustrators, whose collaboration with Roald Dahl has made him world famous. Ghislaine Kenyon has known him for 20 years, and offers an intimate portrait of the artist and the man. We see him at work in his south London studio, and learn of his love of flying machines, of all things French, and of his lesser-known work for schools, hospitals and charities. The book is liberally illustrated with Blake’s inimitable sketches and paintings.
An Illustrated Life
This concise introduction to the life and work of Wilfred Owen (1893–1918) draws on manuscripts, artefacts and family photographs to describe his upbringing on the Welsh borders, his search for a profession and his military service, including his time at the Craiglockhart sanatorium where he met Siegfried Sassoon. Accompanied by some of his best-known poems, it explores the literary apprenticeship of the ‘poet’s poet’, and the growth of his reputation after his death just a week before the Armistice.
The Lost Pilots
The Spectacular Rise and Scandalous Fall of Aviation's Golden Couple
A pioneering flight from England to Australia in the 1920s earned Bill Lancaster and Jessie Miller international fame, but their lives unravelled a few years later when Lancaster was tried for murder. Their sensational story describes the financial and personal troubles that led to the death of Miller's lover and the desperate attempt by Lancaster to rebuild his reputation with a long-distance flight that resulted in disaster over the Sahara Desert.
The Shadow Emperor
A Biography of Napoléon III
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (1808–1873) was a man driven by the desire to surpass the achievements of 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 Grand Turk
Sultan Mehmet II – Conqueror of Constantinople, Master of an Empire and Lord of Two Seas
Aged just 21 when he conquered Constantinople in 1453, Mehmet II was known to Europe as a brutal tyrant, whose advancing Ottoman empire, reaching across Asia Minor to Hungary and Italy, led three Popes to call for Crusades. He was 'the present Terrour of the World', but as John Freely’s biography reveals, Mehmet’s court was filled with poets, astronomers, scholars and artists, and his military conquests brought Greco-Islamic science to the West at the dawn of the Renaissance. Slightly off-mint.
From the Mill to Monte Carlo
The Working-Class Englishman who Beat the Monaco Casino and Changed Gambling Forever
Joseph Jagger had worked for many years in the textile trade in Bradford when he made an extraordinarily bold trip to Monte Carlo, armed with borrowed money, a team of accomplices and a scheme to win big on the roulette wheel. This account of his life and historic winning streak describes how he managed to break the bank and walk away with a fortune, worth the modern equivalent of £7.5 million.
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.
Trotsky's Favourite Spy
The Life of George Alexander Hill
As part of a team of British agents charged with keeping Russia engaged in the First World War in 1917, George Hill (1893–1970) worked undercover with Trotsky. In the Second World War he became the link between Churchill’s Special Operations Executive and Stalin’s secret service, the NKVD. Drawing on the memoir by Hill’s daughter, Una Kroll, Peter Day’s book illuminates the shadowy world of early 20th-century espionage through the career of this multilingual merchant adventurer, soldier, diplomat and spy.
Marcel Krueger’s grandmother, Cäcilie Barabasch was from a farming family in what is now Poland but was then East Prussia. In the severe cold of January 1945, aged around 20, Cäcilie was ‘mobilized’ and taken by the Red Army to the Soviet labour camps in the Urals, where she remained for five years before returning to Germany. Marcel Krueger tells her story and his own, as he retraces her journey by road and rail across today’s Poland and Russia.
The Life of William Randolph Hearst
Long before his death in 1951, the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst was a legend. His ruthless power-broking made him the owner of 10 per cent of the US press and feared by presidents, while his massive wealth was spent on the creation of palatial homes, inspiring Orson Welles's classic film, Citizen Kane. This meticulously researched biography strips away layers of myth to create a nuanced and humane picture of the man and the demons that drove him.
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.
Too Marvellous For Words!
Award-winning writer Julie Welch describes Felixstowe College as just like Malory Towers: her schoolgirl experiences there included pillow fights, midnight feasts and swotting for exams. This memoir of boarding-school life in the 1960s, however, covers topics Enid Blyton avoided, such as homesickness, anorexia and sex. Tracking down fellow boarders and an old teacher, Welch pieces together the school’s history and entertainingly documents her own part in its story.
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.
A Life of Contradictions
In his 'selective portrait' of Victoria, 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 – ‘a woman of dizzying contradictions and myriad inconsistencies’ – and her impact as a monarch. Felt-tip mark on upper trimmed edge and slightly off-mint.
The Life and Loves of Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne 1751–1818
Elizabeth Lamb – ‘Lady M’ to her friend Lord Byron – was one of the cleverest and most influential political hostesses of late Georgian London. Drawing on diaries, archives and letters – including her extensive correspondence with Byron – this biography reveals how she used her looks, charisma and wealth to socialize with significant figures including Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, the Whig leader Charles James Fox, the playwright Sheridan and the future George IV, who became her lover. Slightly off-mint.
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 Man Who Was George Smiley
The Life of John Bingham
Spymaster, interrogator, investigator – the perfect inspiration for the perfect spy. This is the first full-length biography of the remarkable John Bingham, the heir to an Irish baronetcy who joined MI5 in 1940 and took part in many wartime missions. During the Cold War his skills became legendary and he shared his expertise with many novice spies including David Cornwell, who found literary fame as John le Carré and who based George Smiley on his mentor.
Life, Art and Civilisation
The youngest ever Director of the National Gallery, Kenneth Clark inspired a generation to appreciate the beauty of art and architecture through his groundbreaking TV series Civilisation. Yet his urbane, erudite public image concealed a troubled private life. Nominated Book of the Year by the Sunday Times, the Spectator, the Economist and the New York Times, this biography perceptively analyses the emotional and intellectual contradictions of a complex and charismatic figure.
The Revolutionary Life of Richard Doll
By the late 1940s, lung cancer had reached an unprecedented level in Britain; in 1950, the number of deaths (13,000) exceeded those from tuberculosis. That same year, a research paper by Richard Doll (1912–2005) concluded that smoking cigarettes was ‘a cause and an important cause’ of lung cancer. This biography describes Doll’s life and politics, his work in wartime, his immense contribution to epidemiology, and his long crusade against premature death and the tobacco industry.
Margot at War
Love and Betrayal in Downing Street 1912–1916
Margot Asquith was perhaps the most daring and unconventional Prime Minister's wife in British history. Stylish, witty and outspoken, she transformed 10 Downing Street into a glittering social and intellectual salon. Drawing on unpublished material from personal papers and diaries, this book recreates the emotional and political turmoil of the period when Herbert Asquith's government was beset by unrest from suffragettes, strikers and Irish nationalists, and the world was spiralling towards war.
Even during his lifetime, Julius Caesar was a legendary figure, not least because his own writings were carefully designed to enhance his image. Complementing Southern’s other engaging biographies of late-Republican figures, this new account of Caesar’s life and death sheds light on the man behind the legend through careful examination of contemporary sources. The book reveals how he surmounted each difficulty with ‘a combination of determination, quick thinking, opportunism and, more often than not, a certain amount of luck’.
Richard the Lionheart
The Crusader King of England
‘A king of England, but not an English king’: in this study of Richard I, Bartlett is careful not to judge the Lionheart’s twelfth-century kingship from a modern perspective. He emphasizes the importance of the Angevin dynasty, Richard’s immediate family relationships, particularly with his mother, the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine, and his brother John, and he sets the King’s crusading experience in perspective in a careful re-evaluation of one of medieval Europe’s great personalities.
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.
The Spy Who Knew Everyone
Guy Burgess (1910–1963) was an extraordinarily well-connected Russian spy within the British establishment, who managed to work for the BBC, MI5, MI6, the War Office, the Ministry of Information and Soviet Intelligence over a period of 15 years before going into self-imposed exile in Moscow in 1951. Drawing on newly released official files, the authors describe how Burgess used his contacts in the British political class and how, for a long time, he got away with it.
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.
The Kitchener Enigma
The Life and Death of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, 1850–1916
In popular perception, Lord Kitchener is inescapably associated with the famous 1914 recruiting poster. But what lay behind the moustache? This critically acclaimed biography, now fully updated, throws light on his Irish childhood, his years as a biblical archaeologist, his victory at Khartoum, his struggle with Lord Curzon for control of India, his critical role in the First World War, and his mysterious death at sea, revealing a caring nature at odds with his fierce public image.
Five Women Writers Who Changed the World
Examining the lives and careers of Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner and Virginia Woolf, this study identifies key similarities between their experiences and explores the ways in which each defied social convention. Lyndall Gordon concludes that a sense of disconnection from society allowed each of these writers the creative freedom to view her world with fresh eyes, and released a radical new voice to the world.
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.
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 in 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 biography charts his Catholic upbringing, his friendships with Cyril Connolly, Iris Murdoch, Patrick Leigh Fermor and Bruce Chatwin, his often contentious membership of the Jesuit order (which he left to marry Connolly’s widow), and his tenure as Professor of Poetry at Oxford.
Headline Britons: 1921–1925
Seen Through Six Unique Figures of the Time
Along with a sketch of the social and economic background and a timeline of events, this volume profiles the lives and achievements of Robert Baden-Powell, the fraudster Horatio Bottomley, Marie Stopes, David Lloyd George, Lord Reith and Bertrand Russell.
Headline Britons: 1926–1930
Seen Through Seven Unique Figures of the Time
An outline of the major events of 1926–1930 – the return to the Gold Standard and the General Strike – introduces profiles of seven notable figures: Virginia Woolf, Radclyffe Hall, John Logie Baird, the car manufacturer William Morris, Ramsay MacDonald, Noël Coward and W Somerset Maugham.
The First Iron Lady
A Life of Caroline of Ansbach
History has forgotten Caroline of Ansbach, but in her lifetime she was compared to Elizabeth I and considered Britain’s cleverest queen consort. This magnificent biography charts the career of a highly intelligent, able woman who bolstered the unsteady reign of her husband, George II, acting as regent during his frequent sojourns in Hanover. With distinction and elan, she promoted science, music, literature and garden design; and, with cynical realism, wielded more power than any subsequent royal consort.
While a junior reporter, Michael Parkinson played cricket for Barnsley and counted Geoffrey Boycott and Dickie Bird amongst his team mates. Detailing his rise from local journalist to national broadcaster, this memoir relates his experiences in the television industry over a 40-year period, including the infamous TV-am launch, and his thoughts about the many famous and influential people he interviewed on his long-running chat show and Desert Island Discs.
Jane Welsh Carlyle and Her Victorian World
A Story of Love, Work, Friendship, and Marriage
While Thomas Carlyle wrote great works of history, his wife looked after their Chelsea home, but professed to be happiest when ‘splashing off whatever is on my mind’. Jane Welsh Carlyle’s witty letters incorporated wry observations on London’s literati and made light of her unhappy marriage. Referencing 44 volumes of letters and journals, the author focuses her biography on the years 1843–49, the period of Jane’s ‘richest experience and development’.
The Final Roundup
Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant was a Somerset-born Australian bushman, drover and versifier, best known for the revenge killings he inflicted on prisoners of war when serving with the British Bushveldt Carbineers regiment during the Boer War. Morant was court martialled and executed for his crimes – wrongly, many have claimed – yet this fastidiously researched biography argues that, despite the romance surrounding Morant and his chaotic lifestyle, his actions in South Africa were ‘judged in proper and orthodox fashion’.
Tommy Sheridan: From Hero to Zero?
A Political Biography
Tommy Sheridan was the best-known socialist politician in post-war Scotland, leading his Scottish Socialist Party to an historic breakthrough in the 2003 elections. Handsome, articulate and charismatic, he was hailed as a voice for the voiceless and a fearless challenger of the establishment. Then, convicted of perjury, he lost it all. This well-researched biography charts his rise and fall, and probes the tragic flaws that brought about his downfall.
Bonker, Bounder, Beggarman, Thief
A Compendium of Rogues, Villains and Scandals
Arranged alphabetically from Jonathan Aitken to Oscar Wilde, this entertaining selection of miscreants from the pages of the Telegraph since the 1850s covers the whole spectrum of scandal, including adultery, espionage, fraud, cheating at the Olympics and selling sex for luncheon vouchers. The book reprints articles on 78 high-profile cases and encompasses a great diversity of swindlers, low-lifes, sleazy politicians and spies, but also two kings, a duchess and a US president.
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.