The Story of Classic Crime in 100 Books
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) is the first book in Martin Edwards’s ‘tale of the unexpected’: the story of crime fiction in the first half of the 20th century. Chosen as examples of the genre’s achievements (or limitations) and arranged chronologically, the books are by both little-known authors and the usual suspects such as Edgar Wallace, Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith and Julian Symons, whose novel, The 31st of February (1950), ends the story and points the ‘way ahead’.
Six Minutes in May
How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister
Britain’s first land operation of the Second World War, the attempted invasion of Norway in April 1940, was a disaster. Just weeks later, Winston Churchill, the man blamed for the debacle, became Prime Minister. Ranging from the Arctic battlefields to the corridors of Westminster, this history charts the dramatic events and secret intrigues that would see Churchill oust Neville Chamberlain as premier and defeat his favoured successor, Lord Halifax, to lead Britain through the greatest challenge it had ever faced.
Ancient Egypt Transformed
The Middle Kingdom
Egypt’s Middle Kingdom (c.2030–1650 BCE) brought new developments in religious beliefs, political systems and artistic conventions. This volume comprises essays by an international team of scholars, covering such topics as the court and royal women, Egypt’s expanding relations with foreign lands and the themes of Middle Kingdom literature. Nearly 300 examples of the period’s art are featured; they demonstrate how artists were adapting older forms and iconography in work of great subtlety and originality.
Everyday Exercises to Stretch and Strengthen Your Posture
The hazards of a sedentary lifestyle can easily be avoided according to this manual, which explains the effect sitting has on the muscles, offers advice on posture and provides clearly illustrated exercises, most of which can be performed at a desk. Focusing on different sections of the body and featuring exercise sequences, readers are encouraged to work out their own routine – and make it habitual.
Long Live the King
The Mysterious Fate of Edward II
The brutal murder of Edward II with a red-hot poker at Berkeley Castle is perhaps the most infamous of all royal deaths – but is it true? A remarkable document discovered in a Montpellier archive more than a century ago claims that he escaped to Ireland before making his way to Italy, where he lived as a hermit. This historical investigation charts his reign and his downfall, before carefully evaluating all the evidence for and against his survival.
The Great Explorers
The achievements of 40 of the world’s greatest explorers are celebrated in this collection of essays, from the epic maritime voyages of 500 years ago to Gertrude Bell’s travels in Mesopotamia, and from Nain Singh’s Tibetan journey to Jacques Cousteau’s deep-sea dives. Written by a team of distinguished travel writers, historians and broadcasters and extensively illustrated with historic images, the selection follows the pioneers on land, at sea, across deserts and polar ice, and into space.
Lives in Letters
In chapters devoted to each monarch – Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I – this is a narrative account of the Tudor period, told through 42 letters and documents in the British Library’s collections. From Henry VII and Elizabeth of York’s autograph inscriptions in a prayer book, to a letter from Elizabeth I to James VI of Scotland in 1603, each item is illustrated in colour, fully transcribed and accompanied by a commentary setting it in historical context.
A Ruler and His Reputation
More than five centuries after his death, Richard III remains a compelling but divisive figure, the subject of myth and counter-myth. In this biography, Horspool ‘aims at neutrality’, focusing on contemporary accounts while also examining how competing narratives have created the ‘composite figure who is at once so familiar and so alien’. He ends with reflections on the enduring fascination with Richard and describes events surrounding the recent rediscovery and reburial of his body.
The King Who Had to Go
Edward VIII, Mrs Simpson and the Hidden Politics of the Abdication Crisis
Edward VIII’s relationship with the American divorcée Wallis Simpson created a constitutional crisis that ultimately cost him his crown. This behind-the-scenes account reveals how the crisis was kept secret from the public for six months while the police and MI5 tapped the king’s phones and investigated Mrs Simpson’s alleged Nazi sympathies, and how Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin outwitted Winston Churchill and seized the opportunity to conclude his own career with a theatrical flourish.
Witchcraft and Witch Hunting in the West
Why were witch hunts so prevalent in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, apparently a period of increasing confidence and rationality? This study explores the motivations – social, personal and political – behind accusations of witchcraft; contemporary beliefs about ‘assaults of Satan’; and connections between witch trials and the medieval persecution of heretics. The author also describes more recent responses to fears of satanic influence and identifies the lessons we can still learn about the need to re-examine our preconceived ideas.
Boots on the Ground
Britain and Her Army Since 1945
The British Army has been continuously employed, somewhere in the world, since 1945 – despite diminishing significantly in numbers. In this history of post-war Britain, former Chief of the General Staff Richard Dannatt examines affairs of state through the prism of the army's involvement, from managing the end of empire and the troubles in Northern Ireland to the Cold War, the Middle East and the emerging threats of the 21st century.
Eggs or Anarchy
The Remarkable Story of the Man Tasked with the Impossible: To Feed a Nation at War
Battling unscrupulous dealers, blockades and sinking ships, Minister for Food Lord Woolton was tasked with feeding the nation during the Second World War. Despite Churchill’s misgivings, Woolton – a working-class boy turned business tycoon – rose to the challenge, making a huge contribution to the war effort and improving the health of the nation to boot. Award-winning food writer William Sitwell draws on personal letters and diaries to reveal this previously untold story.
All Quiet on the Home Front
An Oral History of Life in Britain during the First World War
First published in 2003, this oral history used interviews with 100 people, then in their late nineties, who had lived through the First World War, not as combatants, but as children and young adults on the home front. Their words, along with letters, diary entries and the authors’ linking narrative, offer an unusual view of the war, from fears of the Kaiser’s ambition in the years before its outbreak, to the jubilation, readjustment and mourning following the Armistice.
Art and the War at Sea
Twentieth-century war at sea posed problems for artists: gone were the traditional naval confrontations; in modern, long-range battle the enemy could be invisible, in the sky or under the surface. Drawing on the National Maritime Museum’s outstanding collection of modern British art, this volume looks at how artists rose to the challenge of depicting the Navy and Merchant Marine at war. With over 160 colour reproductions, it discusses works by artists including Norman Wilkinson, John Everett, Eric Ravilious and Charles Wheeler.
A Guide to the Cosmos
Great paradigm shifts in physics have often resulted from an intuitive mind subjecting simple measurements to rigorous mathematics. This stimulating and stylish guide to the universe offers a route to understanding ostensibly complex cosmological concepts, including the age and distance of stars, Einstein’s theory of gravity and the stages of the Big Bang, via simple acts of observation, measurement and reasoning which, with the help of data from scientific instruments like the Hubble telescope, anyone can perform. Off-mint with a felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
6 Robots to Build and Decorate
Comprising six pages of cardboard press-outs, this activity book provides colourful robots that can be built without the use of glue or scissors. Each of the three models has a colour version to customize with the stickers provided, and a plain, white alternative so that readers can create their own designs.
A Portrait of Fashion
Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery
Featuring around 190 reproductions from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, this richly illustrated history examines the significance of the clothing used in portraiture over 600 years. From Henry VII’s squirrel-fur-lined coat to Queen Elizabeth II’s collar of Arctic fox, the authors explore the purpose and original context of the styles, fabrics and accessories chosen by each sitter, and examine the ways in which clothes can reflect class, status, personality and power.
Flourishing between 1920 and 1939, Art Deco has become one of the most widely influential and enduring styles of the 20th century. In this sumptuous, large-format volume, Norbert Wolf examines the intellectual and art historical backgrounds from which it emerged and, as well as discussing the vast range of works in Art Deco style, including architecture, painting and sculpture, stage design and ceramics, he looks at ‘parallel artistic worlds’ including the Bauhaus designers and figurative artists such as Picasso and de Chirico.
A History of Crete
The largest of the Greek islands has often been ruled by invaders attracted by its strategic position close to Europe, Africa and Asia. After describing the ancient Minoan civilization, this historical survey follows Crete’s fortunes through periods of occupation by powers from both west (Romans, Venetians, the Third Reich) and east (Byzantines, Ottomans), and illustrates how these experiences shaped Cretans’ fierce love of freedom as well as the traditional society and culture that continue to flourish today.
Hurricane Manual 1940
Less elegant than the Spitfire, the Hawker Hurricane was nevertheless a highly capable fighter throughout the Second World War, valued for its strength, manoeuvrability and stability when firing. This volume reproduces the advice to pilots and maintenance instructions from the Mk 1 Manual, issued in March 1939, with additional sections giving an insight into the Hurricane in action with excerpts from a squadron Operational Record Book and reproductions of official combat reports.
Mapping the City
Illustrated with more than 150 historic and modern maps, this large-format volume shows how cities developed and how they were visualized by individual cartographers, from an ancient plan on a Mesopotamian clay tablet to the pixelated images of today. Through the panoramas of Renaissance map-makers such as Braun and Hogenberg, the city plans of the 19th century and the schematic public transport diagrams of the 20th, Metropolis charts the increasing complexity of urban life and urban mapping.
Sixty Unusual Places to Explore
In his hugely successful Unseen London, photographer Peter Dazeley opened closed doors to reveal a hidden London; in this book his photographs and Mark Daly's text offer a fresh perspective on 60 of the capital's most intriguing places - all of them open to the public. The buildings range from the romantic extravagance of the restored St Pancras Renaissance Hotel to the Windmill on Wimbledon Common, and include historical homes, lesser-known institutions, places of worship, shops and unusual museums.