Pedlar's Guide to the Great Outdoors
A childhood spent outdoors led the authors of this inspiring book to offer their six children a similarly free upbringing in the Highlands of Scotland. Charmingly illustrated, this miscellany of all things outdoors includes sections on bird and tree identification, cloud spotting, treehouse building, survival tips, foraging, outdoor games and camping. For any family wishing to spend more time in nature and less time in front of a screen, this book is the perfect companion.
12th Hitlerjugend Panzer Division
Formed of volunteers from the Hitler Youth, with officers and NCOs from the Leibstandarte, the Hitlerjugend SS Division quickly emerged as an elite formation. It moved to Normandy in the spring of 1944, was declared operational on 1 June, and a few days later was fighting to frustrate Montgomery's invasion plans. Running time approx 100 min. DVD.
The first in a series of Special Operations programmes, this DVD uses archive film and revisits the exact locations to tell the story of the 1941 joint operation to seize the German Würzburg radar system sited on the cliffs of Northern France at Bruneval. One DVD; running time approx 105 min.
Defensive Battles on the Western Front
From the Channel to the Ardennes 1942-1945
This DVD covers three battles involving panzer and heavy artillery in the West: Operation Cerberus, a spectacular operation by the German Kriegsmarine in the English Channel; the Dieppe Raid; and the last major German attack - the Ardennes offensive. One DVD, running time approx 58 min.
Last Boat to Normandy
D-Day Landings – The Veterans' Accounts
For this film, the camera crew joins a band of D-Day veterans as they make the journey across the channel to revisit the Normandy beaches, pay respects to their fallen comrades, and share their memories of the D-Day landings and the fierce fighting of 6 June 1944. One DVD; running time approx 60 min.
8 Notecards with Envelopes
In Ravilious's The Westbury Horse, 1939, a train is visible steaming through the valley below Westbury Hill; in Train Landscape we are inside the carriage and the white horse can be seen through a window. These notecards feature reproductions of both watercolours – four of each picture, with plain envelopes.
Japan's Secret Fleet
This documentary traces the evolution of the Japanese fleet from the aftermath of the Battle of Tsushima in 1905, through the Kongo, Fuso, Hyuga and Nagato classes of ships to the Yamato – the largest battleship in the world during the 1930s and 1940s. The two DVD set also includes three short films on the Japanese Imperial Navy, the War in the Pacific and the US Navy. 2 DVDs; running time 136 min.
German Battle Units
The first half of this documentary traces the development and organization of the German army from the Versailles Treaty to the introduction of conscription in 1935. The second half concentrates on the army's Barbarossa campaign in the east and the battle for Stalingrad. Running time: 55 minutes. This DVD is from a series that uses original German film footage, with English voice-overs, offering the opportunity to see elements of the Second World War from a contemporary German perspective.
German Main Battle Lines
Focusing on the home front, this documentary includes extraordinary colour footage of pre-war Nazi Germany, then examines the impact of the war on German civilian life, including public information film on rationing and blackout precautions, and ends with the catastrophic results of the Allied bombing raids of 1943/4. Running time: 55 minutes. This DVD is from a series that uses original German film footage, with English voice-overs, offering the opportunity to see elements of the Second World War from a contemporary German perspective.
Sea Warfare in the North Atlantic
With German U-Boats patrolling the Atlantic shipping lanes day and night, the fight to protect Allied supply convoys became paramount, and as both sides fought for the upper-hand, the sea battles reached epic proportions by 1943. This DVD tracks some of these titanic clashes between the Allied navies and the German submarines. One DVD; running time 55 min.
Great Authors: Charles Dickens
Three DVD Set
This BBC box set explores Charles Dickens’s colourful life and work in three films: a drama-documentary presented by Dickens’s biographer, Peter Ackroyd; a dramatized narration of A Christmas Carol and a 1999 adaptation of David Copperfield, the most autobiographical of the novels, starring Bob Hoskins and Daniel Radcliffe. 3 DVDs total duration 8 hrs 30 min.
The Lady Elizabeth
The Lady Elizabeth is the daughter of Henry VIII, but disinherited and declared a bastard after the execution of her mother. How the young Elizabeth survives the savage world of Tudor politics, inherits the throne and becomes queen is the subject of Alison Weir's novel. It is read here by Emma Fielding. Abridged.
Rip Van Winkle
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Pride of the Village
This famous tale by Washington Irving (1783–1859) is set before and after the American Revolutionary War and tells of a Dutch villager who went wandering in the Catskill Mountains, fell asleep and awoke 20 years later – after the Revolution – to find the world much changed. Rip van Winkle and two more short stories are read here by Adam Sims. Unabridged.
The Greatest Books You'll Never Read
Bernard Richards's survey of unpublished masterpieces by the world's greatest writers spans Western literature from Virgil's Aeneid and its 57 truncated hexameters to García Márquez's We'll Meet in August, a novel in limbo during the author's final years. The book gives detailed, richly illustrated and anecdotal accounts of unfinished, never started or lost works, among them Shakespeare's lost play, the manuscripts in Hemingway's mislaid suitcase, and the unfinished novel found in the wreckage of the car in which Camus died.
Shakespeare for Grown-Ups
Everything You Need to Know About the Bard
Are you shaky about Shakespeare? Have you nodded off during The Winter's Tale? This handy guide will help you buff up on the Bard at one fell swoop before you are hoist with your own petard. Packed with facts, it charts his life and times, sums up the plot of each of his works in one sentence, explores the comedies, histories and tragedies, and offers helpful tips for watching the plays.
The Banned List
A Manifesto Against Jargon and Cliche
John Rentoul's polemical essay, which highlights annoyingly pretentious and hackneyed phrases, might make uncomfortable reading for those who exhibit a tendency to issue cast-iron guarantees while pulling out all the stops and proactively strategizing going forward. This is followed by the full 'banned list' of such objectionable locutions, which Rentoul has diligently compiled to save his fellow writers from annoying their readers.
An Utterly Exasperated History of Modern Britain
Or...60 Years of Making the Same Stupid Mistakes as Always
In the abridged audio version of his bestselling book, the follow-up to An Utterly Impartial History of Britain, John O'Farrell brings us bang up to date and defuses disaster with comedy as he surveys the bizarre events, ridiculous characters and stupid decisions that have shaped Britain since 1945. Read by the author.
Britain from the Air
Exploring Britain's architectural, industrial and spiritual heritage, this set of three documentaries on DVD uses spectacular, high-definition aerial photography to see the most important cathedrals, abbeys and churches, historic mills, harbours and bridges, domestic buildings and masterpieces by architects such as Wren, Vanbrugh and Adam from the air. The films are from the producers of the BBC's Wainwright Walks and narrated by Richard Mervyn. 3 DVDs: running time 52 minutes each. Slipcased.
The First World War in Poetry
The actor Rory Kinnear reads a selection of war poetry ranging from the early patriotic optimism of John Galsworthy to the suffering and disillusion of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. The CD features works by 24 poets, both soldiers and civilians, including Robert Graves, Ivor Gurney, Rudyard Kipling and Edith Nesbit.1 CD duration 76 min.
A Cornucopia of Puns, Anagrams and Other Curiosities of the English Language
Taking English speakers' most frequently used greetings as his starting point, Gyles Brandreth embarks on an entertaining journey through nonsense words, cryptic crosswords, spoonerisms, malapropisms, famous last words and candidates for the world's most powerful word – 'love', 'freedom' or 'money'? In this audio version, the book's text alternates with clips from the master raconteur's Word Power stage show, recorded live at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe. Unabridged.
A Miscellany of Very British Top Tens, from Politics to Pop
'Panther spotted in Devon' makes it to number two in the list of 'Recurring news stories' and The Doors are number one in 'Most overrated 1960s bands'. This collection of amusingly debatable lists from John Rentoul's Independent on Sunday column ranges from 'Lost positives' (such as ert, gorm and gusted) to 'Films panned as turkeys that are actually quite good'.
The 10 Best Games in the World
This ingenious and irresistibly colourful book, printed on thick card, contains everything you need to play ten games from different cultures and eras, including Barricade, invented in Germany in 1890; Patoli, which was played in Mexico around 200 BCE; and Jungle Chess, created in China in the fifth century CE. There are double-sided boards and counters to punch out; a die to assemble; clear rules explanations; and a note of how long each game takes to play. Age 8+ and not suitable for children under 3.
The 10 Best Games of All Time
This ingenious and irresistibly colourful book, printed on thick card, contains everything you need to play ten timeless classics, from Draughts, Ludo and Snakes and Ladders to Chinese Chequers, Nine Men's Morris, Solitaire and lesser-known treats such as Bizingo and The Goose Game. There are double-sided boards and counters to punch out; a die to assemble; clear rules explanations; and a note of how long each game takes to play. Age 8+ and not suitable for children under 3.
The Structure of Words
Understanding Roots and Smaller Parts of Words
This engaging and lively guide introduces the different elements that make up words, and teaches a range of techniques to improve both reading and writing skills by researching words' origins and history; identifying spelling rules and conventions; breaking words up into syllables; spotting common suffixes and prefixes; and using dictionaries effectively. Find Your Way with Words series. Age 11–12
Edge of Eternity
Ken Follett's epic The Century Trilogy follows the experiences of families across the globe during the 20th century's most tumultuous events, and this final novel explores the impact of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights movement and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Read by John Lee. Abridged.
Balkans, Greece and Crete 1941
Hitler's War Machine
Hitler’s decision to intervene in the Mediterranean theatre provided further proof of German military superiority, as they were able to swiftly take control of Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete in April and May of 1941. The footage on this disc shows the land, sea and airborne operations employed.
Hitler's War Machine: Hitler Triumphant June 1940
The Wochenschau newsreels had much to boast about in the summer of 1940, as the British had withdrawn from mainland Europe and Germany was ascendant on all fronts. Hitler was filmed strolling around Paris and returning to Berlin triumphantly as the conqueror of France.
Stuka: The Aircraft and the Aces
The Junkers Ju87, known as Stuka from the German Sturzkampfflugzeug ('dive bomber'), is one of the legendary planes of the Second World War, a symbol of the Third Reich's blitzkrieg. This DVD from Pen & Sword's World War II from Primary Sources series is a newsreel history of Luftwaffe operations throughout the war, with additional footage of veteran pilots' accounts and extracts from the original propaganda publications of the Luftwaffe. 1 DVD 60min
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Thomas De Quincey's powerful autobiographical study describes the psychological effects of his addiction to opium: childhood experience turning into dreams, at first euphoric, but becoming horrific as dependence on the drug deepened. Published in 1822, the book brought De Quincey literary fame and was an important influence on later writers. It is read here by Gunnar Cauthery. Unabridged.
Henry Fielding's bawdy and hilarious parody of Samuel Richardson's Pamela (1740) transforms the eponymous innocent virgin into a shameless slut and predatory social climber intent on marrying Squire Booby. The unabridged novel is read here by a cast led by Clare Corbett as Shamela. 2 CDs 1hr 30mins
On The Genealogy of Morals
This important work comprises three essays: Good and Evil, Guilt, Bad Conscience and Related Matters and What Do Ascetic Ideals Mean? Nietzsche (1844–1900) analyses the evolution of moral concepts in a critique of 'moral prejudices', specifically the morality of the Christian and Judaic traditions. The complete, unabridged work is read here by Duncan Steen.
The Vicar of Wakefield
‘A Book of Job transferred to 18th-century bourgeois England’, Goldsmith's tale begins with Charles Primrose, his wife and four children in their tranquil rural parish: an idyll to be shattered by bankruptcy, seduction and prison. Whether a story of suffering and fortitude or a satire of 18th-century life, the novel's appeal has never faltered. Read, unabridged, by Nicholas Farrell.
The History of Opera
From the origins of opera in the 16th century to the works of Britten and Birtwistle, this audio guide to the art form tells the story of its development across Europe. The text by the award-winning writer and librettist Richard Fawkes is read by actor Robert Powell and accompanied by more than 100 musical examples, including performances by some of the 20th century’s greatest singers. 4 CDs; running time 5hrs 17mins.
Jane Austen's first novel, Lady Susan is written in epistolary style and tells the story of the recently widowed Lady Susan Vernon, an intelligent and highly manipulative woman intent on procuring financially secure matches for herself and her daughter. The novel is read here by a full cast led by Harriet Walter.
Against a background of social stagnation, apathy and outmoded institutions, Dickens uses a gallery of vivid characters to show that it is individuals and their acts of kindness, love and generosity that can revitalize society. This Complete Classics unabridged edition of Little Dorrit is read by Anton Lesser. 28 CDs 35hrs 15mins
Probably Victor Hugo's best-known work, Les Misérables (1862) is set in Paris between 1815 and the Paris Rebellion in 1932. It tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who redeems his early crime by showing compassion, forgiveness and, ultimately, his courage on the rebels' barricades. This vast novel is presented here in an abridged version, read by Bill Homewood, with music by Berlioz and Honegger.
The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm
With a head full of brilliant ideas and wild inventions which never work out quite as planned, Professor Branestawm sets off with his friend Colonel Dedshott on a series of adventures involving wild waste paper, burglars and screaming clocks – among other disasters. First published in 1933, the unabridged classic tales of Branestawm are read here by Martin Jarvis. Age 7+