Biography of a Town
Nicholas Blincoe draws on his own long experience of living in Bethlehem as he lovingly describes the past and present of this city located between hills and desert and suffused with history and myth. Taking the reader through its stone streets, monasteries, aqueducts and orchards, he tells how it developed from the little town of Biblical times to the overcrowded city of today, whose inhabitants are caught up in the intractable complexities and contradictions of conflict and occupation.
Notes from an English Gardener
Part horticultural memoir, part meditation on mental health, this volume follows the evolution of the beautiful garden Charlie Hart created from an untouched patch of meadowland in the grounds of his farmhouse in rural Essex. In the midst of grief and anxiety, his retreat into nature pulled him back from an impending breakdown, and here he celebrates the thrill of creation and the healing power of digging.
The Life of Paul Simon
From his childhood in Queens, New York, and Hey, Schoolgirl, the hit song recorded with his best friend Artie Garfunkel in 1957, to the release of Stranger to Stranger in 2016, Paul Simon has sustained one of the most interesting and successful careers in popular music. Peter Ames Carlin’s biography delves deep into the life and character of the artist responsible for the incomparable Bridge over Troubled Water (1970) and the solo album, Graceland (1986).
A Gentleman's Bedside Book
This compendium will surely provide ‘entertainment for the last 15 minutes of the day’ whatever your inclination: mathematicians can drift off to half a page of pi; motorists might mug up on the Luton, Croydon and Belgravia methods of washing a car; there’s a handy list of people you are not allowed to marry (CofE rules); and for literary types there are the rude bits from Samuel Pepys.
The Cold War, the Berlin Wall and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth
The backdrop to a tense standoff between American and Soviet tanks in 1961, Checkpoint Charlie was a symbol of Cold War oppression. Featuring interviews with the people who built the wall, the military and espionage personnel who manned the notorious border point, escapees and their families, this history reveals what everyday life was like for those directly affected by the East–West divide.
Ten Easy Ways to Avoid Being Misled by Numbers
Every day we are bombarded by numbers about politics, economics, health and the environment. This concise introduction by the BBC’s first head of statistics helps clarify the data and decide whether it presents a true picture. It explains the difference between a mean and a medium, correlation and causation, how to evaluate surveys and opinion polls, and the alarm-bell phrases to be wary of.
A Radiohead Compendium
Following the band from 1991 when Ronan Munro reviewed their gig at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford for the local music paper, to a Times Literary Supplement article in May 2016, this book is a compilation of interviews and articles on Radiohead. It includes reviews of the albums from Pablo Honey to the digital release of The King of Limbs and Thom Yorke’s work with Atoms for Peace.
Bring It On Home
Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin, and Beyond: The Story of Rock's Greatest Manager
After working as a film actor, Peter Grant found himself managing Led Zeppelin in the 1960s and, through a fierce determination to protect the musicians and improve their earnings and conditions, is credited with revolutionizing the profession.
75 Years of Doing Just About Everything
Acting in myriad roles, including Albert Perks in The Railway Children , various Carry On characters and a Fawlty Towers guest, singing ‘Right Said Fred’, fishing for trout, picking up his BAFTA award and jumping out of aeroplanes (as a paratrooper), Bernard Cribbins (b.1928) has had a busy 75 years. Using his conversational ‘Jackanory method’, he tells the story of his life in the Army, films, television, radio and on and off stage: ‘one long variety show’.
The Devil Aspect
Or, Where the Devil Hides
In 1934, in a Gothic Czechoslovakian castle used as an asylum, a young psychiatrist works to unlock the minds of six homicidal maniacs known as the ‘Devil’s Six’; while outside in Prague, a killer known as ‘Leather Apron’ is butchering victims. Can Dr Kosárek discover what links the killers?
Bring it On Home
Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin, and Beyond: The Story of Rock's Greatest Manager
After working as a film actor, Peter Grant found himself managing Led Zeppelin in the early 1960s and, through a fierce determination to protect the musicians and improve their earnings and conditions, is credited with revolutionizing the profession.
Agatha Raisin and the Dead Ringer
In Thirk Magna, the eccentric bell-ringers are preparing for a local bishop’s visit, while Agatha Raisin is involving herself with a charming lawyer and a missing heiress. This sets the scene for a typically quirky title in the late MC Beaton’s popular village mystery series.
More Than Just A Good Life
The Authorised Biography of Richard Briers
Richard Briers' comedic talent and acting pedigree was revealed to an international audience (and to his Hollywood co-stars) through Kenneth Branagh's films of the 1990s but he had long been established as a national treasure in Britain. This biography chronicles the early life and training of the actor (a contemporary of Peter O'Toole and Albert Finney at RADA) and relates anecdotes from his long career in theatre, television, film and radio.
The Forgotten Heroes of 1945
During the closing weeks of the Second World War, Allied High Command feared the Soviet Union’s domination of post-war Europe, and ordered the capture of superior Nazi military technology, and the scientists who developed it, before they fell into Soviet hands. This fast-paced story of Target-Force, an assembly of British regiments entrusted with the task, covers the brigade’s formation (inspired by Ian Fleming) and its missions, including the capture of the U-boat facility at Kiel.
The Sheep Stell
Memoirs of a Shepherd
Despite coming from a middle-class, academic family, Janet White dreamed of living and working somewhere wild and beautiful, ‘a place high and remote as a sheep stell, quiet as a monastery, challenging and virginal’. Here, she describes how she followed her ambition to be a farmer, from her first job as a dairymaid to owning her own sheep farm on a remote island in New Zealand. Originally published in 1991, and reissued with a new introduction by Colin Thubron.
Unusually for an elite sportsman, Mike Brearley has a reputation as an intellectual. His success as England cricket captain and his subsequent training as a psychoanalyst combine to make him a notably thoughtful commentator on the game. This collection of his essays covers his own experiences in Ashes battles and against the leading players of the 1970s and 1980s, discusses controversies and innovations, and evaluates cricket’s most significant players and commentators.
Jedburgh Justice and Kentish Fire
This investigation into the origin of phrases and sayings organizes them into 50 themed lists, each containing ten examples. There are ways of saying ‘dead’ – including ‘bought the farm’ and ‘pushing up daisies’ – and terms that use numbers, such as ‘forty winks’ and ‘dressed to the nines’. The expressions in the title derive from Jedburgh’s reputation for summary executions and the disruptive jeering of public speakers by the people of Kent.
Not The Whole Story
‘Suddenly, I am old…’ In this long-awaited memoir, the bestselling author of Land Girls and many other novels, short stories and plays looks back over her remarkable life. With characteristic compassion and nuanced observation, she recounts her eccentric childhood, the unconventional marriage of her film-star father and polyglot, party-loving mother, her time as a reluctant debutante, her first forays into journalism, and her successful career in advertising, film and television.
Death Comes to Lynchester Close
Lord Francis Powerscourt is approached by the Bishop of Lynchester, who has suspicions about the death of a Cathedral Close resident. When a prospective new tenant is poisoned, Powerscourt’s investigation uncovers a trail of corruption leading to the cathedral itself.
A Different Kind Of Weather
William Waldegrave was a key figure in Margaret Thatcher’s government. His elegantly written memoir recalls the quintessentially English upbringing that would shape his life and career. With unusual frankness and dark humour, Waldegrave charts the rise and fall of Mrs Thatcher, offering a rare glimpse of the narcotic effect of politics, and a unique insight into one of the most tumultuous eras of modern British history.
Slap and Tickle
The Unusual History of Sex and the People Who Have It
This irreverent guide takes a peek at a perennially fascinating subject. A romp through the biological mechanics and history of human intercourse is spiced up with intimate true stories, public scandals, censorship, sex toys, fetishes, and a concise glossary of filthy language. Eclectic, entertaining and original, it reveals everything you always wanted to know about sex – and quite a few things you probably didn’t. Sexually explicit.
The British Oak
Visiting trees with names like ‘The Monarch’ and ‘Old Knobbley’, Archie Miles’s well illustrated book combines profiles of 50 famous old oaks with an overview of the oak tree in British culture, society and economy. There are chapters on the history of the oak, its place in myth and folklore, art and literature, and its vital role in building and ship-building, but also in many smaller industries, from tanning and pannage (pigs foraging for acorns) to charcoal burning and fish smoking.
The Visitors' Book
In Francis Bacon's Shadow: The Lives of Richard Chopping and Denis Wirth-Miller
When the artists Richard Chopping and Denis Wirth-Miller died, their friend Jon Lys Turner inherited a vast archive of letters and diaries. These writings reveal a remarkable tale of talent and transgression, of a group of largely gay young men who pushed boundaries in their art and their relationships against a backdrop of wild nights in Fitzrovia; of artistic fame and week-long parties at their cottage in Wivenhoe, Essex; and, towering over it all, the brilliant, disturbing figure of Francis Bacon.
Going beyond the familiar stories of children in wartime, usually dominated by evacuation, Longden deals with children as active participants in the Second World War. He tells the stories of child soldiers who lied about their age to enlist, but also of the Royal Navy's 14-year-old boy buglers serving on battleships, teenagers in the Merchant Navy, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides helping victims of the bombing, and the children who stayed in the cities during the Blitz.
Martin Amis's life is itself the stuff of fiction. Son of one of the most popular novelists of the post-war era, he forged a groundbreaking style of writing that owes little to his father, or to anyone else. This absorbing biography offers the real Martin Amis – elegant, tortured, kind, aloof, loved by women and devoted family man. It evaluates the unique achievement and wide-ranging influence of his menacing novels, and discloses the autobiographical thread that runs through his work.