‘I Was Transformed’
Frederick Douglass: An American Slave in Victorian Britain
In the summer of 1845 Frederick Douglass, a young slave catapulted to fame by his bestselling autobiography, arrived in Liverpool for a two-year tour of Britain and Ireland. Drawing on a wide range of sources on both sides of the Atlantic, this absorbing history explores the ‘liberating sojourn’ that bought Douglass’s freedom, paid for by British supporters. It charts his return to the USA as an international celebrity, and his later life through the Civil War and its aftermath.
Mrs Miles's Diary
The Wartime Journal of a Housewife on the Home Front
In August 1939 a Surrey housewife began a war journal in which she recorded daily life on the home front. She tells of bombers overhead day and night, ration queues and the influx of evacuees. In 1947, she sent the diary to the Imperial War Museum with a letter describing herself as a housewife and a professional journalist; she was a naturally gifted writer whose diary gives a compelling account of wartime Britain.
A Powerful True Story
Returning to Ireland after 50 years, Gordon Lewis began to investigate the secrets of his childhood, only to be told not to go ‘digging up that old stuff’. Brought up in the 1950s in a secretive Catholic hostel for unmarried women, he had little idea of the hardships his mother had suffered, or her determination to keep her child, in defiance of an intolerant society.
This candid autobiography provides a unique insight into the lives of girls born into traveller communities in the 1970s. After spending her early years enjoying the freedom of the peripatetic life in Ireland, Roxy Freeman relocated with her family to England, where she encountered hostility, prejudice and sexual abuse.
Out of Time
1966 and the End of Old-Fashioned Britain
Peter Chapman was 18 years old in 1966, the year of Harold Wilson, the seamen’s strike, London ‘swinging’ to a soundtrack of Beatles and Rolling Stones, and England’s victory in the World Cup. Chapman, whose hopes of being a professional footballer had been dashed, but who would become an outstanding football journalist, gives a vivid picture of the lost world of Britain in the Sixties from the perspective of his world in Islington, north London.
The Lengthening War
The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode
Having lived in Germany for a time before the outbreak of the First World War, middle-aged, middle-class diarist Mabel Goode knew 'the enemy nation' as many Britons did not, which adds an extra dimension to her contemporary account of the years 1914–1916. She records enrolment, rationing, the collapse of domestic service and the growth of war work, the Zeppelin attacks over Yorkshire, the ever-mounting casualty lists and a growing disillusionment with a lengthening conflict.
Britain's Wartime Evacuees
The People, Places and Stories of the Evacuations Told Through the Accounts of Those Who Were There
The mass evacuations during the Second World War had a seismic impact on many hundreds of thousands of people – both those (mostly school-aged children) who were sent far away from their homes and families and those who had to accommodate and care for them. This illustrated study is based on interviews with evacuees from across the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar as well as contemporary newspaper coverage and official documents.
The Diaries of a Military Wife During the Second World War
While her husband was serving as a British Army captain, Evelyn Shillington travelled with him whenever she could. She kept a regular diary starting with their arrival home from Hong Kong in 1935, through the turbulence of the Second World War, to a stint in post-war Italy in 1946. As well as commenting on the political situation, the diaries include gossip, humour and even a meeting with Princess Elizabeth.
Britain's Best-Known Brand
As Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, the Queen is seen by many as a calm, reassuring presence in an era of restless change. But what of the institution she represents? This revelatory book takes a glimpse behind the scenes at the machinery that sustains the monarchy today: its constitutional role, its leadership of the Church of England, its finances. It also takes a clear-eyed view of its future, and the pressures that will face an heir to the throne. Slightly off-mint.
When They Call You a Terrorist
A Black Lives Matter Memoir
Patrisse Khan-Cullors was labelled a terrorist when, after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer in 2013, she co-founded the activist movement Black Lives Matter. In this account, she recalls the experiences that shaped her journey, including racism in her Los Angeles childhood and her arrest at the age of twelve.
Britain's Secret Army: The Munitions Women of World War II
With the outbreak of war in 1939, many factories were turned over to the war effort, while new ones were quickly built to manufacture munitions. Millions of women worked arduous shifts, day and night, dealing with dangerous materials, often after being forced to leave home and live in uncomfortable and unfamiliar surroundings. Based on extensive interviews, this book recounts the experiences of nine 'bomb girls', revealing the hardships that they endured and their often-unrecognized contribution to the Allied victory.
The 1984–1985 Miners' Strike in Nottinghamshire
'If Spirit Alone Won Battles' The Diary of John Lowe
This diary, kept by the chairman of the Clipstone Colliery strike committee, provides an emotional day-by-day account of events during the dispute that not only led to Lowe’s arrest but would also have a profound effect on the whole nation. Foreword by Dennis Skinner.
Lifting the Lid on Women's Lives
This social history examines the lives of late 19th- and early 20th-century women at home and at work through the changing appearance of the buttons that decorated and fastened their clothes. Lynn Knight explores the role of these accessories as emblems of security, identity and independence and explains how each example represents an era or a vanished way of life, from Victorian mourning attire to Biba’s large statement buttons of the 1970s.
Bombsites and Lollipops
My 1950s East End Childhood
Austerity Britain meant food shortages and few luxuries for most citizens, but Jacky Hyams was treated to black-market delicacies and lavish holidays thanks to her father's illegal betting activities. This memoir recalls the incongruity of that affluent lifestyle amid the slums of Hackney, and Jacky's progress from school in the East End to office jobs in the West End and entertainments in the Soho of the early 1960s.
Memories of a Rascal's 1950s Childhood
With a turbulent home life, the young Peter Stockley found adventure and a sense of belonging with his gang, ‘the Scallywags’. Free to roam Liverpool’s streets, they explored bombed-out houses, swam in rat-infested canals and hung on to the backs of speeding lorries. Although some of Stockley’s adventures had serious consequences, this nostalgic memoir tells his story with wit and humour. Slightly off-mint.
The Forgotten Children
Fairbridge Farm School and its Betrayal of Britain's Child Migrants
Between 1938 and 1974, thousands of British children were sent to Australia for a better life. Drawing on survivors’ testimonies, this exposé uncovers the grim reality that met them: inadequate education, poor quality food, and physical and sexual abuse.
Bandaging the Blitz
Phyll Macdonald-Ross was a trainee nurse at Hackney Hospital in London’s East End when war was declared in September 1939. Her memoir recalls the rigid discipline and hard work of nursing, and the harrowing experience of tending the injured and dying during the Blitz in London, but also friendship and mischief, and the beginning of a lifelong love affair. The story was presented in 2015, Phyll’s 95th year, by her grandson ID Roberts.
How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died Under Nazi Occupation
How did the women of Paris survive the grim years of German occupation – and how, in the aftermath of liberation, did they come to terms with their actions? This first in-depth account of the lives of ordinary women in the occupied city charts the experiences of collaborators and resisters, actresses and prostitutes, teachers and writers, Nazis and Jews, in an atmosphere where sex became currency and life-or-death decisions were faced every day. American-cut pages.
The Story of Civilian Volunteers in the First World War
The scale of support given by volunteers and charities during the First World War to troops, prisoners of war, refugees and the wounded is often overlooked. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children (but mainly women) from all backgrounds devoted time and energy to fundraising and practical help, many risking their lives on the front line. This history of their efforts, which involved the making and packaging of ‘comforts’, nursing, driving ambulances and entertaining, acknowledges their compassion and generosity.
A Nun's Story
The Deeply Moving True Story of Giving Up A Life of Luxury in A Single Irresistible Moment
Shirley Leach lived a life of comfort and privilege and her calling from God took her by surprise. Nevertheless, a few months later she became Sister Agatha, and her faith in this life-changing decision never faltered. At the age of 85, she recounts how her belief cost her her family but gave her life a deeper meaning.
Around the Village Green
The Heart-Warming Memoir of a World War II Childhood
In this memoir, the author recalls growing up with her coal miner father, mother and siblings in a Derbyshire village and describes how the outbreak of war and the nearby PoW camp and American base changed life for everyone.
A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall
When the USSR seized control of eastern Germany, Nina Willner’s mother escaped to the West, while her family remained in the East. Here Nina tells the story of how, as the Berlin Wall came down 40 years later, she rediscovered her lost family.
Octavia, Daughter of God
The Story of a Female Messiah and Her Followers
In the aftermath of the First World War, a group of Englishwomen came up with a solution to the world’s grief: a new religion. Led by Mabel Barthrop, whom they called Octavia and believed to be the daughter of God, they set about building a new Jerusalem in Bedford. Drawing on the group’s painstakingly preserved archive, this book charts the forgotten history of a utopian community that once had thousands of members and ministered to 10,000 people around the globe.