First used in medieval Venice and prized for its manoeuvrability, the gondola evolved over the centuries into today's sleek, asymmetrical black boat. Illustrated with reproductions of views of Venice, Donna Leon's little book offers 'a new way to enter into the life of the city' through the stories of the gondola, its history, its makers and its songs. A CD of gondoliers' barcarole accompanies the book, recorded by Il Pomo d'Oro, with a special track by Cecilia Bartoli.
Travels through France and Italy
In 1763 Tobias Smollett left England for the Mediterranean in search of a climate that might restore his health. In this famous account of his travels, the cantankerous, perceptive and most learned Smelfungus described everything and criticized most of it – from the food and 'shockingly nasty' beds to the local inhabitants of Nice where he settled. With a foreword by Ted Jones and introduction by Thomas Seccombe.
Best-Kept Secrets of Paris
Visitors flock to Paris to marvel at its beauty and soak up its atmosphere; alongside world-famous sights such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and the Arc de Triomphe, the city offers an inexhaustible supply of lesser-known delights. This glorious visual celebration of its historical and architectural riches is arranged by area, exploring both popular attractions and quiet backwaters, tranquil parks and Bohemian cafés.
The Haunted Beauty
Isolated monastic settlements such as Skellig Michael off the coast of Ireland; the closed cities of the former USSR; enclaves of elites and ghettoes of minorities; Cold War bunkers; and places remote even today, such as the Berber towns of the Maghreb: with superb colour photographs, Julian Beecroft’s book is a pictorial tour of the world’s least visited places, inaccessible for reasons ranging from military secrecy and political paranoia to the sheer difficulty of getting there.
Not so much a guidebook as a guide to the spirit of the place, this stylish little volume is as smart and sassy as the city it celebrates, and mixes a historical perspective with an appreciation of high and low culture. A rich account of New York's development from Dutch trading post to world metropolis is followed by an exploration of its landmarks, communities, shops, bars and restaurants, offering valuable insight into the Big Apple. Cityscopes series.
Into the Kazakh Steppe
John Castle's Mission to Khan Abulkhayir (1736)
John Castle, an artist and adventurer of mixed English and Prussian descent, was commissioned by the Russian Empire to join an expedition to secure the region north of what is now Kazakhstan. His diary, translated here for the first time, recounts his perilous journey and contains descriptions of the peoples, places and customs he encountered. Castle’s own drawings depict the Khan, his yurt, and life on the steppe.
My African Journey
Winston Churchill toured the British territories in East Africa in 1907, when he was Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, and his account of the journey reflects his serious interest in Africa, beyond the natural beauties of the landscape and the thrill of big-game hunting. His thoughts on settlement, race and government and in particular the role of the railways provide an intriguing insight into early 20th-century imperialism and African history. First published in 1909.
Word, Symbol, Song
For more than a millennium, the peoples of West Africa have harnessed the power of words and images to build societies, communicate faith, and challenge injustice. Published to accompany a major exhibition at the British Library, this lavishly illustrated book explores the region’s written heritage and even older oral culture. Leading international scholars offer a unique insight into this rich tradition, and the current explosion of creativity in an array of media.
An Adventure History of Paris
Paris is one of the most alluring cities in the world; however well we know it, it never ceases to surprise. Reading this book, which retells its history through the lives of its inhabitants from Balzac to Baudelaire, Sartre to Sarkozy, is like stumbling upon a tiny restaurant frequented by eccentric locals. Robb is both a scholar and an adventurer, and from 250 years of urban history, he weaves a dazzling tapestry of fact and fantasy, memory and myth. Slightly off-mint.
Fifty Great Escapes
A Global Guide to Creativity
Discover the places that inspired the world’s greatest writers, artists and film-makers, from Gauguin’s Tahiti to Conan Doyle’s Dartmoor. Each entry includes colour photographs and practical travel advice, while a global directory lists 100 21st-century hotspots for budding artists.
A Disenchanted Traveller's Guide
You don’t have to be Elvis Presley to take a walk down Lonely Street – the world, it seems, is full of lugubriously named places, from Disappointment Island in Australia to Misery (Elend) in Germany. Illustrated with hand-drawn maps, this quirky guidebook weaves a rich narrative of landscape, mythology and misadventure to explore the strange histories behind such tragic toponyms as No Place, County Durham; Massacre Island, Ontario; Suicide Forest in Japan and Doom Town, Nevada.
A Cultural Guide
Ian Campbell Ross traces the history of Umbria from the Umbri people living there 1,000 years before Christ, to the present day, and offers an in-depth guide to the region’s cities and hill-towns, its ancient monuments and Renaissance art, and the glorious landscapes of ‘the green heart of Italy’.
Athens is an enigma: its Acropolis was settled more than 7,000 years ago, but the city below is less than 200 years old. For much of the intervening period, it dropped off the map altogether. This cultural guide gives an in-depth insight into the city's identity, tracing its origins, development and social history, and providing a lively introduction to its art, architecture, music and film.
Travels with John Steinbeck
In 1960 John Steinbeck and his dog Charley set out in their green pickup truck, travelling from New York to New Orleans to ‘see how the country looks and smells and sounds’. Half a century on, Dutch journalist and historian Geert Mak and his wife travel from Steinbeck’s home, retracing his journey through glistening suburbs, Midwestern prairies and rust-belt towns to see how Main Street, USA has changed, and what has become of the American Dream.
The Snow Tourist
A Search for the World's Purest, Deepest Snowfall
What is it about snow that leaves us spellbound? What draws us to play with it, sledge over it, and even risk our lives in it? In this finely woven blend of memoir, history and travelogue, self-confessed snow obsessive Charlie English wraps up warm and goes in search of the answers to these questions, from the Cairngorms to Vermont, from Chamonix to the Canadian Arctic.
Migrating with the Butterflies of Passage
Every autumn, the magnificent, bright-orange monarch butterfly migrates south from Canada to the warmer climes of Mexico and southern California. Driving a battered Honda Civic, Robert Pyle followed them on their epic 9,000-mile journey. Part road trip, part outdoor adventure and part natural history, his account overturns received theories about the butterflies’ biology, genetics and populations, and warns of the environmental threats they face from pesticides, logging and coastal development.
The Private Diaries and Sketches of Edward Norton, 1922–24
EF ‘Teddy’ Norton was a member of the record-breaking 1922 Everest expedition and leader of the ill-fated 1924 ascent, during which his fellow climbers Mallory and Irvine disappeared. His official account has become a classic, but his private diaries and sketches have never before been published. Edited by his grandson, they provide a gripping account of the triumphs and tragedies of these pioneering expeditions, alongside vivid colour sketches of the landscapes, plants, wildlife and people of pre-war Tibet.
Off the Map
Lost Spaces, Invisible Cities, Forgotten Islands, Feral Places, and What They Tell Us About the World
In the world of Google Earth, it is easy to believe that every inch of the planet has been mapped. Happily, this is not true. This book ranges the globe to celebrate the anomalies that still frustrate the cartographer: islands that never existed; abandoned settlements; a secret military town in Russia; and renamed cities whose old identity clings like a ghost. A rich evocation of the strangeness of place, and a must for all map-lovers.
The Longest Winter
Scott's Other Heroes
Captain Scott's Antarctic expedition of 1911–12 comprised a party focused on the pole attempt and a second group detailed to undertake scientific research. This book recounts the ordeal of the six men of the second expedition, who were forced to survive the winter in an improvised ice cave before making a perilous journey back to base camp, where they were finally rescued nearly a year after they had been stranded.
Cairo to Constantinople
Francis Bedford's Photographs of the Middle East
In 1862 the Prince of Wales invited photographer Francis Bedford to accompany him on a royal tour of the Middle East. The resulting images, which captivated the British public, document not only the ancient landscapes and iconic monuments of biblical times, including Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and Hebron’s Mosque of al-Khalil, but also the devastation caused by sectarian conflict, particularly in Damascus. As well as Bedford’s striking photographs, this collection includes a chronology and catalogue, plus essays by four Middle East specialists.
Paris is a legend among cities, with a mystique all its own. This superbly presented collection of more than 400 historic photographs and posters from the Mary Evans Picture Library charts the life of the city and its people through the 19th and 20th centuries. These richly evocative images show Paris in two world wars, and celebrate its street life and nightlife, its world-famous fashion, and its artists and writers from Matisse and Picasso to Camus and Colette.
The Bazaars of Istanbul
Like the city itself, Istanbul's bazaar quarter is a meeting of opposites: East and West, ancient and modern, beautiful and chaotic. This richly illustrated book takes the reader on a journey through a world filled with fascinating history and people. Separate sections explore the various parts of the Bazaar District, trace their long traditions of craftsmanship, and celebrate their merchandise: food, spices, jewellery, carpets, textiles, ceramics, leatherwork, books... The volume includes 30 traditional Turkish recipes.
A Grand Tour Through Time
This beautifully designed book takes the armchair traveller on a nostalgic journey through a bygone Europe from the 1920s to the 1980s, from St Mark’s in Venice to bustling Berlin. Belgian journalist Dirk Leyman’s extraordinary collection of vintage travel brochures, booklets, picture postcards and folding maps brings the heyday of carefree travel back to life. Stylish typography and eye-catching graphics celebrate a vanished world of Pullman cars and touring clubs, grand hotels and elegant spas.
A Cultural and Literary History
Utterly destroyed by fire twice over, in 1842 and 1943, Hamburg has shaken off a reputation as a drab, businesslike port to become a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with a thriving cultural scene. This erudite, informative guidebook charts the city's traumatic history, describes its landmark buildings and varied districts, from the elegant Alster to the notorious Reeperbahn, and explores literary and artistic associations, including Heinrich Heine and the Beatles.
Nanga Parbat 1970
Tragedy and Controversy
In 1970 a German-Austrian-Italian climbing team reached the 8,042-metre summit of Nanga Parbat, one of the highest peaks of the Himalayas. But triumph soon turned to controversy when two members of the team, Reinhold Messner and his brother Günther, decided to descend via the opposite face – a climb that claimed Günther’s life. This investigation draws on diaries, interviews, private conversations and books by team members to shed light on the brothers’ decision and reveal the story behind the story.
Tuscany is both the cradle of the Renaissance and a region of breathtakingly beautiful and richly varied landscapes, from the mountains of the north to the bare clay hills of the Crete Senese to the south. The 150 captivating colour photographs in this book show its many facets: the architectural wonders of Florence, Siena and Pisa, the vineyards of Chianti, the long, cypress-lined roads, the rocky coast, and the peaceful farms nestling amid rolling hills.
Innercities Cultural Guides
Martin Garrett traces Oxford’s history from Anglo-Saxon ‘oxen-ford’ to the present, with chapters on its architecture, ‘town and gown’, and writers and religion; and goes beyond the city to surrounding places of interest including Blenheim Palace and White Horse Hill.
The Caribbean and the World
From the moment Columbus gazed on the land he mistook for India, the islands of the Caribbean have been the subject of daydreams and fantasy. This absorbing book, the result of ten years’ travel, strips away the myths to reveal the real Caribbean, a region that has produced some of the world’s most influential artists, activists, writers, musicians and sportsmen, as its people speak for themselves about their home and its place in the world.
Ship of Death
A Voyage That Changed the Atlantic World
In the 1790s, a small British ship, the Hankey, set sail on a mission to establish a colony free from slavery. Drawing on archives from several continents, this book tells the little-known story of how an altruistic project had disastrous consequences that changed the course of history: the ship brought yellow fever to the Americas, causing tens of thousands of deaths, assisting the revolution in Haiti and prompting Napoleon to sell the Louisiana Territory to the United States.
Reliving the Life of Sir Francis Chichester
Famous for making the first solo circumnavigation of the globe in Gipsy Moth IV, Francis Chichester only took up sailing in his fifties to exercise the navigational skills he had developed as a pilot before the war. This biography traces his life from his childhood and schooling, through the fortune he built in New Zealand, his pioneering aviation in the 1930s, and his battle with cancer from the late 1950s, to the historic ocean voyages that made his name in the 1960s.
Royal Cities of the Ancient Maya
From the 3rd to the 13th centuries, while Europe was deep in the Dark Ages, the Maya of Central America were creating astonishing buildings and sculptures, and charting the movements of the stars. This magnificent volume pairs an absorbing, authoritative history of their rise and fall, political intrigues and armed conflicts, with stunning photos of their surviving legacy, including the magnificent temples at Uxmal, Tikal, Palenque and Chichén Itzá, where their final flowering was extinguished by the Toltecs.
The Shipwreck Cannibals
Captain John Deane and the Boon Island Flesh Eating Scandal
In August 1710, the Nottingham Galley was wrecked off the New England coast. By ordering his crew to eat their dead shipmates, its captain ensured that ten of them survived. But was he a hero or a bloodthirsty cannibal?