Too Marvellous For Words!
Award-winning writer Julie Welch describes Felixstowe College as just like Malory Towers: her schoolgirl experiences there included pillow fights, midnight feasts and swotting for exams. This memoir of boarding-school life in the 1960s, however, covers topics Enid Blyton avoided, such as homesickness, anorexia and sex. Tracking down fellow boarders and an old teacher, Welch pieces together the school’s history and entertainingly documents her own part in its story.
As a child Portia Simpson was happiest outside – hunting birds’ nests, fishing in the river or racing pet snails – and in 2003 she became the first woman in Scotland to qualify as a gamekeeper and wildlife manager. In this memoir, she describes her entry into a profession traditionally dominated by men, gives an insight into the humour and camaraderie of the world of gamekeeping, and conveys the beauty of the Hebridean landscape in which she worked.
The Men Who Taught the World How to Beat England at Their Own Game
The legacy of the English coaches who taught the world how to play football is preserved in the informal word for manager used in Italy, Spain and South America: ‘Mister’. From pioneers such as Fred Pentland and William Garbutt, who helped shape the Italian and Spanish game in the 1920s, to more recent exports, such as Roy Hodgson, this volume traces the history of England’s football missionaries.
Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms
Journeys into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East
The minority religions of the Middle East continue to practise faiths and customs that preserve the last vestiges of great ancient empires. But today the turmoil in the region threatens the survival of their small communities. A former British diplomat here draws on his encounters with such groups as the Yazidis, Zoroastrians and Copts as he describes their history and explains why they have refused inducements to abandon their beliefs. Foreword by Rory Stewart.
Great American Railroad Journeys
Historical Companion to the BBC Series
In his popular TV travel series, Michael Portillo followed 19th-century railway guides, tracing the history and development of each destination since their original publication. This historical companion to the BBC series focuses on the railways of America, telling the story of the first pioneers, engineering mavericks and tycoons and how the railroad helped to shape the country before and after the Civil War, and into the 20th century.
Eggs or Anarchy
The Remarkable Story of the Man Tasked with the Impossible: To Feed a Nation at War
Battling unscrupulous dealers, blockades and sinking ships, Minister for Food Lord Woolton was tasked with feeding the nation during the Second World War. Despite Churchill’s misgivings, Woolton – a working-class boy turned business tycoon – rose to the challenge, making a huge contribution to the war effort and improving the health of the nation to boot. Award-winning food writer William Sitwell draws on personal letters and diaries to reveal this previously untold story.
An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
‘Nothing you do on this planet can ever truly prepare you for what it means to leave it.’ Mike Massimino has left it twice – aboard the space shuttles Columbia and Atlantis, on servicing missions to the Hubble Space Telescope. For most of us, his book is as close as we will get to blasting out of Earth’s atmosphere and going into orbit. Massimino’s entertaining, warts-and-all account describes life as an astronaut, from the first week of training to seven-hour-long space walks.
My Husband and I
The Inside Story of 70 Years of the Royal Marriage
In this revealing portrait of Philip and Elizabeth, Ingrid Seward, one of the most respected writers on the royal family, addresses the question she is most frequently asked: What are the queen and prince really like? Focusing on their roles as parents and grandparents, including personal photographs, Seward covers their very different childhoods, doubts about their marriage and the experiences that have carried them through 70 years together.
Blood and Sand
Suez, Hungary and the Crisis that Shook the World
This hour-by-hour account of 16 days in late 1956 juxtaposes the Hungarian Uprising and the Suez Crisis (or Second Arab-Israeli War) which, though thousands of miles apart, were both driven by Cold War tensions and threatened the precarious stability between the USA and USSR. Alex Von Tunzelmann’s tense narrative, which switches rapidly between locations (London, Tel Aviv, Washington, Budapest, etc.), describes the powerplay between protagonists, including Ben-Gurion, Eden, Eisenhower, Nasser and Nagy, which resulted in conspiracy, assassination and bloodshed.
Lives, Landscapes, Laments
In his introduction to this selection of his biographical articles, Mount concludes that language is a key constituent of Englishness, and that ‘the mongrel richness of the tongue generates an almost limitless individuality’. Proving his point, the 50 portraits he presents range from ‘old masters’ such as Shakespeare and Pepys, to ‘early moderns’ such as Rudyard Kipling, and modern writers, churchmen, politicians and those ‘in search of England’, among the latter, Pevsner, Betjeman and Ronald Blythe.
The Village News
The Truth Behind England's Rural Idyll
Over the course of the last century, the English village has often been declared dead or dying. In this volume, ex-BBC journalist Tom Fort sets out to discover whether these communities really are on their last legs. Fort approaches 6,000 years of history and his own experiences of rural life with wit, humour and entertaining observations, and concludes that ‘the village as a model for communal living is simply too strong to fail’.
Katharine Hepburn: A Personal Biography
A Scott Berg knew Katharine Hepburn for 20 years, during which time they shared many hours of private conversation – material, it was agreed, for a book to be published after the actress’s death. Covering details of her privileged background, her 50 years of stardom, her relationship with Spencer Tracy and her thoughts about other actors, interwoven with fascinating anecdotes, this is Hepburn’s life as she wanted it to be presented.
Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test & the Power of Seeing
A popular misconception of the controversial Rorschach test, which requires subjects to interpret a series of ten inkblots, is that there are no wrong answers. For professional psychologists, however, who still use the test on defendants, interviewees and patients, certain answers can point to worrying mental health issues. This absorbing ‘double biography’ of the Swiss psychiatrist and his inkblots reveals how modernist tendencies, coupled with clinical success, enabled Rorschach’s test to move from serious psychological practice into pop culture.
The Drugs That Changed Our Minds
The History of Psychiatry in Ten Treatments
Lauren Slater approaches this investigation into the discovery and development of mind-altering drugs and treatments from the perspectives of both a psychology PhD and her own experience as a patient ‘sustained on a serotonin booster for decades’. The book examines the scientists, the theory and the impact of drugs from chlorpromazine, which revolutionized the treatment of schizophrenia, through Prozac and MDMA (Ecstasy) to deep brain stimulation.
A Disenchanted Traveller's Guide
You don’t have to be Elvis Presley to take a walk down Lonely Street – the world, it seems, is full of lugubriously named places, from Disappointment Island in Australia to Misery (Elend) in Germany. Illustrated with hand-drawn maps, this quirky guidebook weaves a rich narrative of landscape, mythology and misadventure to explore the strange histories behind such tragic toponyms as No Place, County Durham; Massacre Island, Ontario; Suicide Forest in Japan and Doom Town, Nevada.
The Long Shadow
The Great War and the Twentieth Century
‘In Britain … 1914–18 has become a literary war, detached from its moorings in historical events.’ In this study, David Reynolds seeks to redress the balance and broaden our vision by demonstrating how the First World War shaped the 20th century at home and abroad, through the widening of the democratic franchise, the creation of states in Europe and the Middle East, and the establishment of an ‘international order’; and how it paved the way for another, greater conflict.
The World of a Seductive Genius
‘Love is three quarters curiosity,’ said Giacomo Casanova, whose name has become a byword for seduction. Though he was born in poverty in Venice, his intelligence, ambition and charm gained him entry to the courts of England, Russia and France – and to the beds of countless beautiful, aristocratic women. This biography exposes his life in rich, intimate detail, and paints a dazzling portrait of 18th-century Europe from serving girls to kings and courtiers.
Making Monte Carlo
A History of Speculation and Spectacle
Monaco was an obscure, impoverished principality until, in 1855, it legalized gambling, and Monte Carlo was born. Blending research, storytelling and scandal, this account describes how princes, profiteers and press agents created the first modern casino resort, how it flourished in the Belle Époque and how, after the First World War, it was reinvented for the Jazz Age. Its cast of characters includes Karl and Harpo Marx, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso and Cole Porter.
The Women's Institute Teatime Collection
Set up to encourage women to take a more active role in food production during the First World War, the Women’s Institute is still a leading authority on home cooking. This collection combines three previous publications – Celebration Cupcakes, Vintage Teatime (including recipes from the WI archives) and Chocolate Success – offering over 130 recipes from Christmas Bauble Cupcakes to Fat Rascals (scones first made in Elizabethan times) and Beetroot Chocolate Cake. Slightly off-mint.
Jeremy Bowen's first assignment as a war correspondent was in El Salvador and he went on to report from conflicts in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq and the Balkans before becoming the BBC’s Middle East correspondent. This account of his experiences gives an insight into the reality behind the headlines, the excitement of reporting from the front line and the danger and stress that led him to a personal crisis following a colleague's death in Beirut in 2000. Slightly off-mint.
The Life of Two Countries, England and Germany, in Many Stories
Two world wars have all but erased the memory that Britain and Germany were once the best of friends. This history charts three centuries of cooperation between allies bonded by blood, religion and culture. Wide-ranging and richly anecdotal, it also recounts the stories of individuals – from the royal family through writers and musicians to ordinary people working abroad – whose lives straddled two nations, and how their loyalties were put to the test after 1914.
The Year Modern Britain Was Born
The defining year in a decade of change, 1965 witnessed a social, political, artistic and technological landslide that shaped modern Britain. Blending meticulous research with biting satire, this lively history charts how the old order was laid to rest with Winston Churchill, and the new generation – artist Bridget Riley, filmmaker Ken Loach, radical psychiatrist RD Laing – forged a new world, while the Beatles received MBEs and Home Secretary Roy Jenkins ushered in the ‘permissive society’.
Formula One and Beyond
Being the son of Oswald Mosley and Diana Mitford perhaps persuaded Max Mosley to steer clear of politics. He rose to prominence instead through motor racing, first as a driver and team owner and then as an administrator, revolutionizing Formula One alongside Bernie Ecclestone. As well as his unusual childhood and life in F1, this autobiography also deals with his campaigning against media intrusion following a 2008 sex scandal.
The jacket assures us that ‘No dogs were harmed in the making of this book’, but some of them do look a bit apprehensive, some are loving it and the bull terrier is just humouring the odd photographer lady with the Frisbees and the wind machine (therein lies the trick). We dare you not to smile. No jacket.
The Art of Aardman
The Aardman studio made short animations for children's television, featuring a clay-modelled character called Morph, before the Oscar-winning films of Nick Park (including Wallace and Gromit) propelled the company into the feature-film business. This celebration of the studio's creations is introduced by its founders, Peter Lord and David Sproxton, and features early sketches, character studies, concept art, sets, puppets and film stills of productions including Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run and Flushed Away.
The Lynburn Legacy, Book 2
Sarah Rees Brennan’s Gothic fantasy returns to Sorry-in-the-Vale, the sleepy English town first encountered in Unspoken. It is a place of magic where Kami Glass and her friends must confront the sorcerer Rob Lynburn, who aims to return the town to the old ways. Young Adult.
In 1453, Luca Vero, a member of the secret Order of Darkness tasked with searching out signs of the end of the world, finds himself and his companions, including Isolde, in a small harbour town where a children’s crusade would seem to have found a miracle. This is the second book in the Order of Darkness series. Young Adult
The Kingmaker's Daughter
The Cousins' War
Daughter of the most powerful noble in 15th-century England, Warwick the ‘Kingmaker’, Anne Neville finds herself alone, widowed at 14, fatherless and stripped of her inheritance. Even when she marries Richard of Gloucester – the future Richard III – danger follows her.
Despite graduating from West Point last in his class, George Custer gained a reputation as a highly effective cavalry officer during the American Civil War. His famous 'last stand' came in 1876 when he was annihilated by a combined force of Indians at Little Bighorn. This colourfully illustrated introduction reviews Custer's career and examines how a humiliating defeat became one of the iconic moments in American history, not least because of its re-enactment in 'Buffalo Bill's Wild West' shows.
City of Sin
London and Its Vices
'If you do not want to dwell with evil-doers', wrote Richard of Devizes in 1180, 'do not live in London'. In her third exploration of the city's history, Catharine Arnold focuses on the sex trade, from slave girls brought to service Roman troops in first-century Londinium, through medieval stews, 18th century sex clubs and Victorian male brothels to infamous '60s call girls and the internet blogger 'Belle de Jour'.
The huge success of The Catcher in the Rye (1951) brought JD Salinger (1919–2010) lasting fame. But the attention made him increasingly reclusive and, though he never stopped writing, he published his last story in 1965. This companion to a 2013 documentary, co-written by its director, is an 'oral biography' that reveals the man inside the mystery by presenting the recollections of relatives, lovers, friends and colleagues in their own words, together with Salinger's private letters and more than 175 photos.