The author of The Long View and the much-loved Cazalet Chronicles, Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923–2014) lived, worked and loved in literary circles. Her candid autobiography describes her marriages – to Peter Scott and Kingsley Amis – love affairs with Arthur Koestler and Laurie Lee (among others), other much-valued friendships and her years alone after leaving Amis. Slightly off-mint.
My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man
The actors who would create the iconic parts of Spock and Kirk in Star Trek were both 23 when they met on the set of The Man from UNCLE in 1964. In this affectionate biography, Shatner gives an account of Leonard Nimoy’s life and career from the perspective of their long friendship.
You Are Here
Around the World in 92 Minutes
During the 2,597 orbits he made on the International Space Station, astronaut Chis Hadfield took 45,000 photographs of the Earth. In this edited collection of images, Hadfield creates a single, ‘virtual orbit’ of our planet, capturing close-up detail of six continents. From the scorched-red ripples of the Australian outback to the pixelated farmland of California’s San Joaquin Valley, his work reveals visual patterns and abstractions created by climate, geological processes, farming, urbanization and, disturbingly, deforestation.
Behind the Legend
‘Frank Sinatra was like a flawed diamond’, writes Taraborrelli, ‘brilliant on the surface, imperfect beneath’. In a biography based on years of research and hundreds of interviews, he explores the singer’s torrid relationships, his Mafia connections and his friendship with the Kennedys, revealing a complex personality: a generous and loyal friend, but also a volatile, womanizing tough guy.
The Kamikaze Hunters
Fighting for the Pacific, 1945
The final effort of the Second World War against Japan is remembered as mainly an American affair, but the British fleet was there too and British airmen flying from carriers, mostly in leased American Corsair planes. This book recounts those last days of the Pacific War through the eyes of the Royal Navy pilots who flew hundreds of missions over Japan and in the face of desperate Japanese kamikaze attacks during the summer of 1945.
A Curious Friendship
The Story of a Bluestocking and a Bright Young Thing
In the winter of 1924, alone after the death of her beloved sister, Edith Olivier thought her life was over at 51. For Rex Whistler, a 19-year-old art student, it was just beginning. This dual biography traces the remarkable friendship that would transform their lives, bringing the young artist into contact with such influential figures as the Sitwells, Siegfried Sassoon and John Betjeman, and giving Edith the self-confidence to embark on a career as a writer.
The Birth of the Pill
How Four Pioneers Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution
In the winter of 1950, 71-year-old Margaret Sanger met the scientist Gregory Pincus in New York City. Their meeting would change the world. This gripping account tells how Pincus and Sanger, a lifelong campaigner for women’s right to control their fertility, developed the contraceptive pill, funded by the philanthropist Katharine McCormick and supported by a charismatic Catholic doctor, John Rock, who battled his own church to win public approval for the controversial new drug.
The Angel and the Cad
Love, Loss and Scandal in Regency England
Witty, wealthy and beautiful, Catherine Tylney Long was the most eligible heiress in England. Courted by royalty, she chose instead to marry William Wellesley, the charming but feckless and dissolute nephew of the Duke of Wellington. Combining archival research and the readability of detective fiction, this history unravels the story of a scandalous marriage that delighted the press and cartoonists of the day, and culminated in financial ruin and a landmark court case.
To End All Wars
A Story of Protest and Patriotism in the First World War
The First World War has been well documented, but one aspect has so far received little attention: the experiences of those who campaigned against it. This absorbing book tells the story of the men and women – feminists, trade unionists, aristocrats, philosophers – who endured vilification, arrest and imprisonment for the pacifist cause.
Caravans and Wedding Bands
Memories of a Romany Life
One of the last true Romany gypsies, Eva Petulengro (b.1939) recalled the happiness of her early life and its vanishing traditions in the bestselling The Girl in the Painted Caravan. In this sequel, written with her daughter, she remembers her eventful first years of marriage to a 'gorger' – non-Romany – in 1960s Brighton, including the birth of their four children, her booming career in astrology and the adventures of her wider family.
One Cello, Five Violins and a Genius
Described as 'works of art, bringing together utility and aesthetics in a way that no other object can quite match', about 600 instruments made by Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) survive today and they are the most highly prized in the world. In this much-acclaimed book, Tony Faber explores the genius of Stradivari through the 'life stories' and successive owner-musicians of six of his instruments: the Messiah, Viotti, Khevenhuller, Paganini and Lipinski violins and the Davidov cello.
England, Magna Carta and the Making of a Tyrant
No English king has had a worse press than 'Bad King John'. The youngest son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, John succeeded his brother Richard the Lionheart, only to squander his vast inheritance. However, in doing so he unintentionally laid one of the cornerstones of British democracy, in the form of the Magna Carta. This well-received biography disentangles truth from myth to present a rounded portrait of a complex and conflicted monarch.
The Assassination of the Archduke
Sarajevo 1914 and the Murder that Changed the World
On 28 June 1914 a shot rang out that changed the world; four years later, tens of millions were dead and four great empires lay in ruins. This compelling and sympathetic history sets the lives and deaths of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his beloved wife Sophie against the glittering imperial splendour of the Austrian court; it exposes the startling intrigue and incompetence behind their assassination; and follows the lives of their children, doomed to exile and loss.
The Wars Against Saddam
Taking the Hard Road to Baghdad
John Simpson spent over two decades reporting from Saddam Hussein's Iraq. This is his compelling account of his experiences. He examines the period leading up to the 1991 Gulf War, the increasing tyranny of the regime in the years that followed, and the controversial question of the country's weapons programme. He offers his frank assessment of George Bush and Tony Blair's decision to go to war in 2003, and traces its chaotic aftermath up to the capture of Saddam.
The History of England. Volume III
The 17th century was one of the most turbulent England had seen; at its centre stands the Civil War, the execution of Charles I and the despotic rule of Oliver Cromwell. This third volume of Peter Ackroyd's magisterial national history charts that era of revolution and religious conflict from the accession of James I to the exile of his grandson James II, and from the literary riches of Shakespeare and Milton to the often insecure lives of ordinary men and women. Slightly off-mint.
Amis & Son
Two Literary Generations
'Martin's spending a year abroad for tax purposes,' wrote Kingsley Amis. 'Twenty-nine, he is. Little shit.' Two of the most successful novelists of the past 50 years, Kingsley and Martin Amis are both known for savage wit and indifference to controversy. Tracing how they were formed by their upbringings, honed their craft, and influenced each other, this dual biography creates a candid portrait of a volatile but affectionate father-son relationship.
Volume 3 of the Cazalet Chronicle
Volume three of Elizabeth Jane Howard's absorbing saga opens in 1942, with the country at war and the Cazalet family in turmoil following Sybil's death and Rupert being posted as ‘missing’ in France. With a 'catch-up' Foreword for those who have not read volumes one and two.