Now All Roads Lead to France
The Last Years of Edward Thomas
A close friend of Robert Frost, the troubled English writer Edward Thomas (b.1878) became a poet in 1914 thanks to his encouragement, and after the outbreak of the First World War almost emigrated to New England to join him. Instead, partly inspired by Frost's The Road Not Taken, Thomas enlisted and died in 1917 at the Battle of Arras. This award-winning biography explores the final five years of his life, which he lost so soon after finding his vocation.
Defending the Rock
How Gibraltar Defeated Hitler
Gibraltar has been an indispensable naval fortress since 1704, yet in July 1940 it was threatened on four sides: by Vichy France, Nazi Germany, and fascist Italy and Spain. This riveting history of the Rock’s strategic importance during the War also explores the pre-war imperial incursions in the Mediterranean region, which would threaten Gibraltar as a wartime escape route and key link in the ‘steel chain of sea power’.
The West End Front
The Wartime Secrets of London's Grand Hotels
Partly thanks to their potentially bomb-resistant solidity, The Ritz, the Savoy, Claridges and the Dorchester became central to the cultural and political life of the country during the Second World War. This colourful history explores a remarkable period when cabinet ministers, military officials, exiled foreign dignitaries, journalists, spies, artists and chancers all used the hotels as meeting places, makeshift offices, temporary embassies and social centres.
This collection of 43 short tales by the current poet laureate encompasses faithful retellings of stories from around the world, including ‘Snow White’ and ‘The Pied Piper’, as well as new fairy tales created by Duffy herself. Beautifully presented, with decorative black-line illustrations, these sometimes gory stories involve witches, monsters and plenty of brave heroines. Age 9+
The Chosen Ones
In 1941, eleven-year-old Adrian Ziegler was sent to Am Spiegelgrund in Vienna, ostensibly a reform school for boys and girls and clinic for chronically ill children. Through Adrian’s experience, this novel examines one of the Nazis’ cruellest institutions. Translated by Anna Paterson.
The News from Waterloo
The Race to Tell Britain of Wellington's Victory
It took three days for the outcome of the battle of Waterloo to reach London. Described by Sir Tony Robinson as 'a fascinating eye-opener', this book draws on untapped records to reveal the story of how the momentous news was brought from the battlefield via feverish horseback journeys, a Channel crossing delayed by falling tides and a flat calm, and the final dash by coach-and-four from the Kent coast to a grand soirée in St James's Square.
A Life Like Other People's
This moving, affectionate, witty and often very funny memoir by one of Britain's best-loved writers tells of his parents' marriage and his own childhood in 1940s Leeds. It is filled with wry and poignant vignettes of Christmases with Grandma Peel and the lives and loves of his unforgettable aunties Kathleen and Myra. Tragically, it also recounts his mother's slow descent into depression and dementia as a long-buried family secret is finally brought to light. Taken from "Untold Stories".
A Rich and Curious History of Pirates, Castaways and Madness
Daniel Defoe's famous castaway has been etched into the popular imagination for three centuries – but what of his island? This book identifies the real place – Juan Fernández Island in the South Pacific – and charts its colourful and often violent history. Drawing on voyage journals, maps and illustrations, Andrew Lambert brings to life the voices of visiting sailors, scientists, writers and artists from the early encounters of the 1500s to the naval battles of the First World War.
Under the Tump
Sketches of Real Life on the Welsh Borders
Hay-on-Wye is world famous as ‘the town of books’. But when the travel writer Oliver Balch moved there, it was its people he was keen to read. With empathy and humour, he joins in the daily routines of his fellow residents; young farmers, elderly widows, mayors, hippies and publicans. What emerges is a captivating personal picture of country life in the 21st century.
Éamon de Valera
A Will to Power
The architect of Irish independence, Éamon de Valera is one of the most remarkable men in the country’s modern history, yet he remains a divisive figure. This meticulously researched biography charts his achievements without shying away from the limitations of his vision.