Books

Great Britain's Great War

Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman's magnificent history of the First World War tells the entire story of the war in one gripping narrative from the point of view of the British people.

'If there is one new history of the war that you might actually enjoy this is very likely it' The Times

'Lively, surprising and memorable' Guardian

'A procession of fascinating details' Prospect

'Paxman writes so well and sympathetically and he chooses his detail so deftly' The Times

'Clever, laconic and racy' Daily Telegraph


Life in Britain during the First World War was far stranger than many of us realize. In a country awash with mad rumour, frenzied patriotism and intense personal anguish, it became illegal to light a bonfire, fly a kite or buy a round of drinks. And yet the immense upheaval of the war led to many things we take for granted today: the vote, passports, vegetable allotments and British Summer Time among them. In this immensely captivating account, Jeremy Paxman tells the entire story of the war through the experience of those who lived it - nurses, soldiers, politicians, factory-workers, journalists and children - explaining why we fought it so willingly, how we endured it so long, and how it transformed us all.


'A profoundly personal and thought-provoking new analysis of the Great War' Mail on Sunday

'One is left with a better understanding of how the Great Britain that began the war became more like ordinary Britain by its end' Sunday Times

'A judicious mix between individual stories and the bigger picture ... engages the mind and emotions' Daily Telegraph

'Particularly good in showing how much a modern perspective distorts our understanding' Prospect

'Incisive, colourful. Paxman delves into every aspect of British life to capture the mood and morale of the nation' Daily Express

Jeremy Paxman is a renowned broadcaster, award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of seven works of non-fiction, including The English, The Political Animal and Empire.

Empire

Jeremy Paxman

From the bestselling author of The English comes Empire, Jeremy Paxman's history of the British Empire accompanied by a flagship 5-part BBC TV series, for readers of Simon Schama and Andrew Marr.

The influence of the British Empire is everywhere, from the very existence of the United Kingdom to the ethnic composition of our cities. It affects everything, from Prime Ministers' decisions to send troops to war to the adventurers we admire. From the sports we think we're good at to the architecture of our buildings; the way we travel to the way we trade; the hopeless losers we will on, and the food we hunger for, the empire is never very far away.

In this acute and witty analysis, Jeremy Paxman goes to the very heart of empire. As he describes the selection process for colonial officers ('intended to weed out the cad, the feeble and the too clever') the importance of sport, the sweating domestic life of the colonial officer's wife ('the challenge with cooking meat was "to grasp the fleeting moment between toughness and putrefaction when the joint may possibly prove eatable"') and the crazed end for General Gordon of Khartoum, Paxman brings brilliantly to life the tragedy and comedy of Empire and reveals its profound and lasting effect on our nation and ourselves.

'Paxman is witty, incisive, acerbic and opinionated . . . In short, he carries the whole thing off with panache bordering on effrontery' Piers Brendon, Sunday Times

'Paxman is a magnificent historian, and Empire may be remembered as his finest work' Independent on Sunday

Jeremy Paxman was born in Yorkshire and educated at Cambridge. He is an award-winning journalist who spent ten years reporting from overseas, notably for Panorama. He is the author of five books including The English. He is the presenter of Newsnight and University Challenge and has presented BBC documentaries on various subjects including Victorian art and Wilfred Owen.

The Victorians

Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman's unique portrait of the Victorian age takes readers on an exciting journey through the birth of modern Britain. Using the paintings of the era as a starting point, he tells us stories of urban life, family, faith, industry and empire that helped define the Victorian spirit and imagination.

To Paxman, these paintings were the television of their day, and his exploration of Victorian art and society shows how these artists were chronicling a world changing before their eyes. This enthralling history is Paxman at his best - opinionated, informed, witty, surprising - and a glorious reminder of how the Victorians made us who we are today.

On Royalty

Jeremy Paxman

In On Royalty Jeremy Paxman delves deep into Britain's royal past. What is the point of Kings and Queens? What do they do all day? And what does it mean to be one of them?

Jeremy Paxman is used to making politicians explain themselves - but royalty has always been off limits. Until now. He takes a long hard look at our present incumbents to find out just what makes them tick. Along the way he discovers some fascinating and little-known details. Such as:

how Albania came to advertise in England for a king

which English queen gave birth in front of 67 people

how easy it is to beat up future kings of England

and how meeting the Queen is a bit scary - whoever you are ...

No other book will tell you quite as much about our kings, queens, princes and princesses: who they are and what they're for.

'Paxman's book is everyhing that royalty is not allowed to be - witty, stylish, intelligent, pugnacious and political. The Times

'On Royalty is an absorbing, well-researched book, part serious enquiry, part rollicking anecdote' Evening Standard

'Action-packed and entertaining' Sunday Telegraph

Jeremy Paxman is a journalist, best known for his work presenting Newsnight and University Challenge. His books include Empire, On Royalty, The English and The Political Animal. He lives in Oxfordshire.

The English

Jeremy Paxman

In The English Jeremy Paxman sets out to find about the English. Not the British overall, not the Scots, not the Irish or Welsh, but the English. Why do they seem so unsure of who they are?

Jeremy Paxman is to many the embodiment of Englishness yet even he is sometimes forced to ask: who or what exactly are the English? And in setting about addressing this most vexing of questions, Paxman discovers answers to a few others. Like:

Why do the English actually enjoy feeling persecuted?

What is behind the English obsession with games?

How did they acquire their odd attitudes to sex and to food?

Where did they get their extraordinary capacity for hypocrisy?

Covering history, attitudes to foreigners, sport, stereotypyes, language and much, much more, The English brims over with stories and anecdotes that provide a fascinating portrait of a nation and its people.

'Intelligent, well-written, informative and funny...A book to chew on, dip into, quote from and exploit in arguments' Andrew Marr, Observer

'Bursting with good things' Daily Telegraph

Jeremy Paxman is a journalist, best known for his work presenting Newsnight and University Challenge. His books include Empire, On Royalty, The English and The Political Animal. He lives in Oxfordshire.

The Political Animal

Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman knows every maneouvre a politician will make to avoid answering a difficult question, but in The Political Animal he seeks an answer to just one: What makes politicians tick?

Embarking on a journey in which he encounters movers and shakers past and present, he discovers:

that Prime Ministers have often lost a parent in childhood

why Trollope is the politician's novelist of choice

that Lloyd George once hunted Jack the Ripper

how an Admiral's speech in parliament helped win WWII

Where do politicians come from? How do they get elected? What do they do all day? And why do they seek power? All these questions and many more are addressed in Paxman's thrilling dissection of that strange and elusive breed - the political animal.

'Lively, persuasive, excellent. Boisterous and funny, provocative and punchily written... an intelligent romp' Matthew Parris, Spectator

'Entertaining, informative, incisive and insightful' Andrew Rawnsley Observer

'One of the best primers on the vicissitudes of political life I have read Christopher Silvester, Sunday Times

Jeremy Paxman is a journalist, best known for his work presenting Newsnight and University Challenge. His books include Empire, On Royalty, The English and The Political Animal. He lives in Oxfordshire.

Shooting an Elephant

George Orwell (and others)

'Shooting an Elephant' is Orwell's searing and painfully honest account of his experience as a police officer in imperial Burma; killing an escaped elephant in front of a crowd 'solely to avoid looking a fool'. The other masterly essays in this collection include classics such as 'My Country Right or Left', 'How the Poor Die' and 'Such, Such were the Joys', his memoir of the horrors of public school, as well as discussions of Shakespeare, sleeping rough, boys' weeklies and a spirited defence of English cooking. Opinionated, uncompromising, provocative and hugely entertaining, all show Orwell's unique ability to get to the heart of any subject.

A collection of witty and incisive non-fiction, George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant includes an introduction by Jeremy Paxman in Penguin Modern Classics.

A Higher Form Of Killing

Jeremy Paxman (and others)

A Higher Form of Killing was first published to great acclaim in 1982. The authors have written a new Introduction and a new Epilogue to take account of the events that have happened since the early 1980s - including the break-up of the former Soviet Union and the black market that appeared in chemical and biological weapons, the acquisition of these weapons by various Third World states, the attempts of various countries like Iraq to build up arsenals of these weapons and, most recently, the use of these weapons in terrorist attacks. As the authors point out, the two generations since the Second World War lived with the threat of nuclear annihilation. Now a new generation must learn to live with weapons that are more insidious and potentially more devastating.

Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life

Jeremy Paxman

In Fish, Fishing and the Meaning of Life Jeremy Paxman has created the perfect literary catch for fellow angling enthusiasts in this rich and varied anthology.

Ten thoroughly entertaining themed chapters include 'Ones That Got Away', 'Ones That Didn't Get Away' and 'Fish That Bit Back'. Each is introduced by Paxman's own sharp, humorous observations and features both contemporary and historical writing about fishing in prose and verse, covering everything from tench tickling to piranha attacks. Some pieces are well known favourites, others are obscure, every one is a delight.

'A superb compilation because it roams from carp to cod, trout to tarpon and does not regurgitate the same old clippings. Paxman has clearly read widely and wisely in putting this together ... probably the definitive anthology of angling writing.' Keith Elliott, Independent on Sunday.

Jeremy Paxman is a journalist, best known for his work presenting Newsnight and University Challenge. His books include Empire, On Royalty, The English and The Political Animal. He lives in Oxfordshire.

Biography

Jeremy Paxman was born in Yorkshire and educated at Cambridge. He is an award-winning journalist who spent ten years reporting from overseas, notably for Panorama. He is the author of five books including The English. He is the presenter of Newsnight and University Challenge and has presented BBC documentaries on various subjects including Victorian art and Wilfred Owen.