A Year in the Life of Plantagenet England
The year 1215 is remembered for King John’s reluctant granting of Magna Carta, but the famous meeting at Runnymede is just one episode in the year’s story of political, constitutional and religious upheaval. The author of The Hollow Crown here combines a narrative of high politics and civil war with the evidence for everyday life to show how these transformative months were experienced by people at different levels of English society.
The Throwaway Children
When Rosie and Rita’s father fails to return from the Second World War, ‘Uncle Jimmy’ moves in. Soon their mother, pregnant with his child, is persuaded to give up her little girls, not realizing it will be for good. Cast into a local orphanage, nine-year-old Rosie vows to look after her five-year-old sister, but will she be able to fulfil her promise once the pair find themselves shipped off to Australia? Off-mint.
Southern Cross to Pole Star
Tschiffely's Ride: 10,000 Miles in the Saddle from Argentina to Washington DC
In April 1925 an unassuming schoolteacher left Buenos Aires with two horses, to ride to New York. When he arrived two years later, he was greeted by a ticker-tape parade. His account of the journey, first published in 1933, tells how he traversed the Pampas, scaled the Andes, swam crocodile-infested rivers and escaped capture by revolutionaries. It has inspired generations of adventurers, including Robin Hanbury-Tenison, who provides the introduction to this new edition.
Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane
A Victorian Murder Mystery Solved
The brutal murder of Jane Clouson in Eltham, South London in 1871 became a press sensation, with the police investigation and trial keeping the public gripped and the accused's acquittal (largely due to legal rulings disallowing key evidence) causing outrage. This re-examination of the case and the subsequent libel trials fought by the prime suspect reviews the evidence in the light of 21st-century procedure and finally identifies the culprit of this long-unsolved killing.
Peace and War:
Britain in 1914
This discerning cultural history presents a portrait of a nation on the eve of war. While it details the social and political issues of the day, including the Ulster crisis, suffragettes, labour disputes and the anxiety of approaching war, it also highlights the nascent modernism of contemporary artists and poets, including Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis, who anticipated the end of the Edwardian era and the ‘cosy certainties’ that belied the social conflicts of a troubled Britain.
Ten Entrepreneurs Who Built Britain
Britain’s wealth and power was built not by kings and queens, soldiers and politicians, but by its entrepreneurs. Beginning with the Tudor merchants who created the first companies, this history charts the rise of British business through the careers of men such as Thomas Pitt, saviour of the East India Company, the financier Nathan Rothschild, the Quaker-capitalist George Cadbury, the imperial buccaneer Cecil Rhodes, and William Lever, philanthropist and creator of Britain’s first multinational.
Catherine the Great
Portrait of a Woman
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Robert Massie returns with a biography of Russia's greatest and most controversial empress, Catherine the Great (1729–1796). Massie describes how an obscure German princess travelled to Russia at the age of 14, and overcame the machinations of the feudal aristocracy, her scheming mother and her bullying husband to become the most powerful woman in the world.
The Life and Times of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
John Wilmot’s life was short in years but long on scandal. Best remembered as the author of some of the most explicit verse in the English language, he had, by the time he died of syphilis at 33, ‘swived more whores more ways than Sodom’s walls’. This comprehensive biography reveals another Rochester: a devoted if inconstant husband and father, a courageous naval officer, and a poet of deep intellectual curiosity.
A History in Ten Matches
From the flowering of Ferguson's Manchester United in the early 1990s to the last-gasp championship won by their now astronomically well-funded rivals, Manchester City, in 2012, this book charts the rise of the Premier League through ten milestone matches. Slightly off-mint.
The Most Dangerous Book
The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses
On 2 February 1922 the owner of the Parisian bookshop Shakespeare and Company collected the first copies of James Joyce's Ulysses. All hell broke loose: the Sunday Express denounced it as 'infamously obscene', while the Dublin Review warned that to read it was a sin against the Holy Ghost. This account tells the painful, exhilarating story of how Joyce's masterpiece was conceived, written, published, banned and burned before taking its place among the greatest works of world literature.
The Mad Sculptor
In 1937 Americans were devouring pulp fiction, while newspapers claimed that a wave of 'sex fiends' was engulfing the nation. So when three women were killed in a swish New York borough the murders became a tabloid sensation. This much-acclaimed title delves into the background of the perpetrator Robert Irwin, a failing sculptor with a history of precarious mental health, and follows his flight, capture and trial as well as the aftermath of the case.
Marked for Death
The First War in the Air
Unreliable and flimsy aircraft and insufficient training added to the grave dangers of aerial combat during the First World War, leading to the deaths of 50,000 airmen. Beyond the glamorous reputation of the first 'aces', here the author of Empire of the Clouds examines the harsh reality of the pilots' struggle, and reveals how equipment and tactics developed rapidly so that by 1918 air power was recognized as imperative to any military strategy. Silk marker.
The World's War
In a sweeping narrative of the First World War, Olusoga portrays not only the variety of peoples fighting on the Western Front, but also outlines the wider geography of the war – the African and Asian colonies, from Morocco to Bangkok, where the European empires recruited their non-European soldiers. He explores the experience and the sacrifices of those forgotten armies – some four million men – and exposes the shocking paraphernalia of the era's racial obsessions. Accompanied the BBC TV documentary. Off-mint.
A Story of Courage and Survival in Nazi-Occupied Poland
By the beginning of October 1939, when cosmopolitan Warsaw fell to German occupation, a young Zionist leader, Issac Zuckerman, had already been mobilizing the youngsters in the youth group that he led. Isaac's Army tells how the Jewish Resistance Force held out until the war's end and compellingly recreates a desperate time in Polish history, marked by the perseverance and heroism of those who battled to drive the Nazis from their city.