Wilde's Last Stand
Scandal and Conspiracy during The Great War
In January 1918 the Imperialist newspaper made the startling claim that Britain was losing the war because the German secret service was blackmailing 47,000 ‘sexual deviants’ in the British establishment. This account reveals how the ensuing libel trial drew Oscar Wilde’s friends into a posthumous battle for his reputation, and illuminates a twilight world of MPs and dancing girls, drug clubs in London and transvestites in the trenches.
A History and Celebration of Swimming the River Thames
It is now illegal to swim in the Thames through London, where the busy river traffic and dangerous currents are more immediate dangers than the health threat from the water. However, once there were beaches, diving pontoons and swimming clubs along the capital's waterfront as well as along the river's 200-mile journey from Gloucestershire. This book celebrates the history of swimming in the Thames from recreational bathers and champion racers of past centuries to the wild swimmers of today.
When Sister Ruled
The Nursing Sister, A Caring Tradition
With its organizational roots in the care provided by religious orders, nursing was transformed and professionalized in the 19th century by Florence Nightingale, and the position of ward sister placed at the heart of hospital care. Drawing on first-hand accounts and anecdotes, When Sister Ruled examines how this pivotal role emerged and has evolved through two world wars, the creation of the NHS and significant social and technological changes to modern times.
The Science and Showbiz of Hypnosis
An Olivier award-winning performer, accredited hypnotherapist and the first ever artist in residence at the British Library, Christopher Green presents an illustrated history of hypnosis, covering both the reputable side of the subject – brain imaging, clinical trials, hypnotherapy etc – and the smoke and mirrors of stage ‘mesmerists’ and hypnotists. ‘I love hypnosis’, writes Green, ‘I don’t know of any other subject that is at once so erudite and yet so trashy’.
A History of Marriage
Marriage is at once the most public and most intimate of institutions, and one we generally assume has always taken its now familiar form – yet its long and complex history has included arranged marriages, dowries, child brides and same-sex marriages. This lucid, entertaining and impressively researched study asks what marriage meant to ordinary people 100 or 500 years ago, how long the average marriage lasted, and what were a couple’s alternatives to staying together.
Dinner with a Cannibal
The Complete History of Mankind's Oldest Taboo
In this thorough examination of human cannibalism, a palaeoanthropologist analyses the evidence, from ancient fossils to recent genetic findings, that marks us all as descendants of cannibals. Investigating when and why humans have eaten their own kind, she identifies cannibalism as an ancient, natural strategy used by early humans to survive periods of food scarcity, but also considers the religious and culinary contexts in which it has been practised in historical times.
Fat, Gluttony and Sloth PB
Putting the current obesity epidemic in historical perspective, this study explores fatness in art, literature and the history of medicine, from the Venus of Willendorf to Monty Python’s Mr Creosote. Starting with the medical understanding of obesity, the authors discuss topics such as the history of food and drink; fat people on show; diet drugs; the deadly sins of gluttony and sloth; and how the desirable body shape has changed over time.
The Woman Owner-Driver
The Complete Guide for Lady Motorists
The Hon. Mrs Victor Bruce (1895–1990) was a pioneering motorist, a racing driver in the 1920s and the first woman to be prosecuted for speeding. In this guide, first published in 1928, she gives advice on the art of driving and maintaining a car; the cost of motoring; and topics such as driving apparel, picnics, and driving abroad (almost essential to invest in a ‘peep-peep’ horn before crossing the Channel). This is a British Library reprint of the 1928 edition.
An Anthropology of Britain
What does it mean to live in Britain and to be ‘British’, and is an anthropology of Britain even a legitimate undertaking? Ranging across subjects as diverse as achieving collective identity on the Isle of Man, the London dance scene, leisure and change in a post-mining mining town, and Armenian and other diasporas, this volume of 15 essays establishes that an anthropology of Britain can set excellent standards of subtle ethnography and complex analysis.
The Best Days of Our Lives
School Life in Post-War Britain
To give a rounded picture of how children experienced school life in Britain during the 15 years following the Second World War, Simon Webb draws extensively on the testimony of people who were at ordinary primary, secondary modern or grammar schools. Beginning with the 1944 ‘Butler Act’ that replaced the old elementary schools and guaranteed free secondary education, the book covers topics including discipline, the introduction of the dreaded 11-plus, school buildings, the independent sector, and children’s books.
In this second, updated edition of a pioneering work in the social history of Britain and the Welfare State, Welshman explores the idea that an underclass has been successively reinvented since 1880, in Britain and the US. After discussing general ideas such as the undeserving poor and the lumpenproletariat, the study examines the continuities and differences in concepts ranging from the ‘social residuum’ of the 1880s, through the ‘problem family’ of the 1950s to today’s ‘troubled families’.
Moon Landings, The Kinks and the 1966 World Cup
Increasing disposable income, new technologies and social reform changed British life in the 1960s and made it an exciting time to be growing up. This round-up of 1960s culture describes what life was like for many British children, at home and at school, and recalls the entertainments that made the period so memorable, from books, comics, toys and TV programmes to pop music and fashion.
From Crimea to Afghanistan: the Real Lives of Women Behind the Men of Uniform
Through the centuries, army wives have had to contend with anxiety, separation, injury, bereavement, post-traumatic stress, and the struggle to maintain a normal home life in abnormal circumstances. Using interviews, letters and diaries, this remarkable history gives them a voice, sometimes for the first time. It traces their experiences from the Crimean War – the last in which wives followed their husbands to the front – to the new breed of independent women supporting their men through the war in Afghanistan.
The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones
Confronting the New Age of Threat
We have been alerted to the threat of cyberterrorism and nerve-agent attacks by hostile states, but the ability to wield robotic technology, the internet or biological agents as weapons is increasingly accessible to individuals and small groups as well as national governments. This thoughtful study explores how this possibility has created an entirely new security landscape, assesses how these new threats might be developed as technology advances further, and also discusses possible approaches to dealing with them.
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.
How have gay men and women lived, loved, and coped with prejudice through the ages? This chronological survey ranges from two men of ancient Egypt to the Cuban writer and dissident Reinaldo Arenas (1943–1990), taking in such celebrated figures as Sappho, Michelangelo and Oscar Wilde. With 128 illustrations, 56 in colour, it presents a rich tapestry of gay life from the unknowable relationships of the distant past to the frankest affirmations of modern sexuality. Slightly off-mint.
The Asian Mystique
Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls and Our Fantasies of the Exotic Orient
Race, sex, fantasy and power – these are the issues explored in this highly provocative book. Challenging the cultural and political stereotypes that are still prevalent in the West, Sheridan Prasso offers anecdotes and insights drawn from her extensive experience of the Far East. She combines a sensitive understanding and a strong sense of history in this account of Asian women and Western fallacies about them. Slightly off-mint.
The Black Carib Wars
Freedom, Survival and the Making of the Garifuna
The Garifuna, who live along the Caribbean coast of Central America from Belize to Nicaragua, trace their origin to the union of Carib Indians and escaped slaves on the island of St Vincent. The product of extensive research in the region, this book charts their remarkable history of struggle against French and British colonists, celebrating their resilience and the survival of a culture and a language that pre-date the arrival of Columbus.