The True Story of the Inventors and Airmen Who Led the Devastating Raid to Smash the German Dams in 1943
On the night of 16 May 1943, Operation Chastise – the Dambusters Raid, as it became known – was undertaken by 19 Lancasters of 617 Squadron armed with Barnes Wallis's bouncing bombs. Their objectives were the great Mohne and Eder dams in Germany's industrial heartland. Meticulously researched, Holland's fast-paced narrative gives a full account of both the engineering ingenuity and the courage of the bomber crews that came together in one of the most daring actions of the Second World War.
The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
The son of a blacksmith, Thomas Cromwell has long been reviled as a schemer who stopped at nothing in his quest for power. He ended up as Henry VIII's right-hand man, and exercised enormous influence during some of the most momentous events in the country's history. This biography from the Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces goes beyond the fiction of Wolf Hall to reveal the true story of this controversial, complex and fascinating figure.
Drawing on his own youthful friendship with the novelist and hundreds of interviews with those who knew him, Andrew Turnbull recreates Fitzgerald’s itinerant childhood as his father sought work, his studies at Princeton, literary success, marriage to the troubled Zelda, and his struggle with alcoholism.
Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent and the Obsessions that Forged Modern Europe
As the Ottoman Empire reached its apogee and feudal Europe developed into national states, four dynamic rulers each shaped their domains – the English and French kings, the Holy Roman Emperor and the Sultan. With his characteristically colourful approach, Norwich discusses the achievements of these men and weaves their stories together to reveal how their relationships changed the continent. ‘Sometimes friends, more often enemies, always rivals, the four of them held Europe in the hollow of their hands.’
Conversations with and About Beckett
The American drama and cultural critic Mel Gussow (1933–2005) first met Samuel Beckett in Paris in 1978 and over the following ten years spoke informally with the playwright and with some of his collaborators, including the actor Billie Whitelaw and director Mike Nichols. In these candid conversations Beckett offers glimpses of his method of writing and, in Gussow’s words, ‘the extreme difficulty and urgency of his creativity’. Slightly off-mint.
The Best Minds of My Generation
A Literary History of the Beats
The poet Allen Ginsberg was a central figure in the ‘Beat Generation’ that revolutionized American literature in the 1950s, and in the 1970s he undertook a series of lectures on its history. Collected here, they form a discursive and revelatory first-hand account of the movement. Alongside Ginsberg’s thoughts on sex, politics, poetry and jazz are intimate portraits of the writers Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Neal Cassady. Slightly off-mint.
The Unauthorized Biography
In pursuit of the man behind the stories, this investigation of the life and times of Sherlock Holmes treats the character as a real person. Nick Rennison interweaves detailed period research with clues from Arthur Conan Doyle's tales to place the famous Consulting Detective at the heart of some of Victorian London's most notorious criminal investigations, noted historical events and intellectual social circles.
H is for Hawk
Helen Macdonald was devastated by her father’s sudden death. Already an experienced falconer, she set herself an awesome challenge to confront her grief: to rear and train a goshawk, a member of the species she had thought of as ‘things of death and difficulty: spooky, pale-eyed psychopaths that lived and killed in woodland thickets’. This award-winning book records how, with TH White’s The Goshawk as her guide, she dealt with bereavement by adopting Mabel and living alongside ‘the hawk’s wild mind’. American-cut pages.
A Study of Sexual Imagination
Drawn from Western erotic literature this compilation of readings, with commentary, aims to bring into the open sometimes quite shocking sex fantasies (‘psychological stimulants underlying “normal” sexual behaviour’) and thereby reduce sexual anxieties. First published in 1969. Off-mint. Sexually explicit.
The Collected Poems of Samuel Beckett
A Critical Edition
It was as a poet that Samuel Beckett launched himself in the little reviews of 1930s Paris, and as a poet that he ended his career. This volume is the most complete edition to date of his poetry and verse translations, and the first critical edition. The contents establish a definitive text and canon for the poetry, including previously unpublished material, with extensive commentary and notes placing each poem in context and identifying resonances across Beckett's work as a whole.
Smuggled out of North Korea, these seven short stories reveal the lives of ordinary people under the dictatorship of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il, including a mother whose son misbehaves at a rally, a disillusioned war hero, and a woman in trouble who meets the leader. American-cut pages.
Anatomy of a Song
The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop
This compendium of the popular Wall Street Journal column tells the stories of 45 hits by artists including Elvis, Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell and The Clash, based on interviews with the songs’ writers and performers. Off-mint.
The Garments of Court and Palace
Machiavelli and the World That He Made
Over the centuries, the ideal ruler as described by Machiavelli in The Prince has mostly been seen as a ruthless tyrant, but Philip Bobbitt argues that this is a misunderstanding arising from mistranslations, political agendas and interpreters overlooking Machiavelli’s earlier work. In his commentary on The Prince, Bobbitt presents Machiavelli as ‘the clear-sighted prophet of a new constitutional order with its basis in the union of strategy and law’.
The Great Silence
Britain from the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age
From the moment the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918 to the burial of the Unknown Soldier two years later, Britain struggled to come to terms with its bitter victory. Millions were bereaved, thousands physically or psychologically maimed, and soldiers returned to face unemployment and social unrest. Through the day-to-day experience of figures ranging from the King and Queen to ex-servicemen, this sensitive account evokes the uneasy silence that reigned between the Great War and the Roaring Twenties.
Black Hawk Down
A Story of Modern War
When 100 elite US soldiers were sent to capture a Somali military leader, their mission was supposed to take no more than an hour. Instead they were pinned down in the heart of Mogadishu, battling an enemy that numbered in their thousands. Mark Bowden’s acclaimed account captures the brutal reality of a contemporary combat engagement, and vividly describes the events that led to a downed Black Hawk helicopter and a devastating loss of life. Off-mint.
Echo's Bones was originally intended as an end-piece for More Pricks Than Kicks (1934); but although the publisher had requested the extra story, it was declared 'a nightmare' and remained unpublished. The story of Belacqua's resurrection in all its brilliant improbability is here edited, introduced and annotated by Mark Nixon.