New and forthcoming
In 1945, the American poet Ezra Pound was due to stand trial for treason for his broadcasts in Fascist Italy during the Second World War.
Before the trial could take place, however, he was pronounced insane. Escaping a possible death sentence, he was sent to St Elizabeths Hospital near Washington, DC, where he was held for over a decade.
At the hospital, Pound was at his most infamous, and most contradictory. He was a genius and a traitor; a great poet and a madman. He was also an irresistible figure and, in his cell on Chestnut Ward and in the elegant hospital grounds, he was visited by the major poets and writers of his time. T. S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, John Berryman, Charles Olson and Frederick Seidel all went to sit with him. They listened to him speak, and wrote of what they had seen. This was perhaps the world’s most unorthodox literary salon: convened by a fascist, held in a lunatic asylum, with chocolate brownies and mayonnaise sandwiches served for tea.
Pound continues to divide all who read and think of him. At the hospital, the doctors who studied him and the poets who learned from him each had a different understanding of this wild and most difficult man. Tracing Pound through the eyes of his visitors, The Bughouse tells the story of politics, madness and modern art in the twentieth century.
From Chatterton’s Pre-Raphaelite demise to Keats’ death warrant in a smudge of arterial blood; from Dylan Thomas’s eighteen straight whiskies to Sylvia Plath’s desperate suicide in the gas oven of her Primrose Hill kitchen or John Berryman’s leap from a bridge onto the frozen Mississippi, the deaths of poets have often cast a backward shadow on their work.
The post-Romantic myth of the dissolute drunken poet – exemplified by Thomas and made iconic by his death in New York – has fatally skewed the image of poets in our culture. Novelists can be stable, savvy, politically adept and in control, but poets should be melancholic, doomed and self-destructive. Is this just a myth, or is there some essential truth behind it: that great poems only come when a poet's life is pushed right to an emotional knife-edge of acceptability, safety, security? What is the price of poetry?
In this book, two contemporary poets undertake a series of journeys – across Britain, America and Europe – to the death places of poets of the past, in part as pilgrims, honouring inspirational writers, but also as investigators, interrogating the myth. The result is a book that is, in turn, enlightening and provocative, eye-wateringly funny and powerfully moving.
Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated foetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia, using tissue extracted from an aborted foetus from Sweden, produced safe, clean cells that allowed the creation of vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day wipe out homegrown rubella. The rubella vaccine and others made with those foetal cells have protected more than 150 million people in the United States, the vast majority of them preschool children. The new cells and the method of making them also led to vaccines that have protected billions of people around the world from polio, rabies, chicken pox, measles, hepatitis A, shingles and adenovirus.
Meredith Wadman’s masterful account recovers not only the science of this urgent race, but also the political roadblocks that nearly stopped the scientists. She describes the terrible dilemmas of pregnant women exposed to German measles and recounts testing on infants, prisoners, orphans and the intellectually disabled, which was common in the era. These events take place at the dawn of the battle over using human foetal tissue in research, during the arrival of big commerce in campus labs, and as huge changes take place in the laws and practices governing who 'owns' research cells and the profits made from biological inventions. It is also the story of yet one more unrecognized woman whose cells have been used to save countless lives.
With another frightening virus imperilling pregnant women on the rise today, no medical story could have more human drama, impact, or urgency today than The Vaccine Race.
It was one of the greatest prison breaks of all time, during one of the worst totalitarian tragedies of the 20th Century.
Xu Hongci was an ordinary medical student when he was incarcerated under Mao’s regime and forced to spend years of his youth in some of China’s most brutal labour camps. Three times he tried to escape. And three times he failed. But, determined, he eventually broke free, travelling the length of China, across the Gobi desert, and into Mongolia.
This is the extraordinary memoir of his unrelenting struggle to retain dignity, integrity and freedom; but also the untold story of what life was like for ordinary people trapped in the chaos of the Cultural Revolution.
'I was twenty-six years old and an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America. That’s all that most people knew about me. But beneath the surface, I was full of secrets: I was a drug addict, for one. A pillhead. I was also an alcoholic-in-training who guzzled warm Veuve Clicquot after work alone in my boss’s office with the door closed; a conniving and manipulative uptown doctor-shopper; a salami-and-provolone-puking bulimic who spent a hundred dollars a day on binge foods when things got bad (and they got bad often); a weepy,wobbly, wildly hallucination-prone insomniac; a tweaky self-mutilator; a slutty and self-loathing downtown party girl; and – perhaps most of all – a lonely weirdo. But, you know, I had access to some really fantastic self-tanner.'
By the age of 15, Cat Marnell longed to work in the glamorous world of women's magazines - but was also addicted to the ADHD meds prescribed by her father. Within 10 years she was living it up in New York as a beauty editor at Condé Nast, with a talent for 'doctor-shopping' that secured her a never-ending supply of prescriptions. Her life had become a twisted merry-go-round of parties and pills at night, while she struggled to hold down her high-profile job during the day.
Witty, magnetic and penetrating - prompting comparisons to Brett Easton Ellis and Charles Bukowski - Cat Marnell reveals essential truths about her generation, brilliantly uncovering the many aspects of being an addict with pin-sharp humour and beguiling style.
'New York's enfant terrible...Her talent has resided in her uncanny ability to write about addiction from the untidy, unsafe, unhappy epicentre of the disease, rather than from some writerly remove.' Telegraph
'I LOVE this book' Catriona Innes, Cosmopolitan Magazine UK
'Brilliantly written and harrowing and funny and honest' Louise France, Times Magazine UK
'Easily one of the most anticipated memoirs of the year...[Marnell's] got an inimitable style (and oh my god, so many have tried) and a level of talent so high, it's impossible not to be rooting for her.' NYLON
The first time the story of women's progressive politics over the past thirty years has been told - by someone at the forefront of the movement
Why does the political representation of women matter? And which hurdles - personal, political and societal - have been faced, fought and sometimes overcome in the past thirty years? From campaigning with small children to increasing the number of women in Parliament, bringing women's issues to the heart of the Labour Party and tackling a parliamentary culture with no consideration for family life, this frank, inspiring and politically charged book is a crucial account of the progress (and occasional setbacks) made in fighting to change the Labour Party, UK politics and the way the country has been governed since the 1970s.
Lucca K458 is a decorated and highly skilled military working dog who belonged to an elite group trained to work off-leash to sniff out deadly explosives. Her extraordinary skill and bond with dog handlers Chris Willingham and Juan Rodriguez resulted in a legendary 400-mission career. During this time, she served alongside both Special Forces and regular infantry, and became so sought-after that platoons frequently requested her by name.
Lucca the War Dog is the gritty and gripping account of Lucca's adventures on and off the battlefields, including tense, lifesaving explosives finds and rooftop firefights, as well as the bravery of fellow handlers and dogs she served with. But it's also the tale of a bond between Lucca and her handlers and how together they overcame the endless brutalities of war, including her own loss of a limb, and the traumas such violence can inflict.
Heartwarming and inspiring, Lucca the War Dog is a compelling portrait of modern warfare.
Xiaolu Guo meets her parents for the first time when she is almost seven. They are strangers to her.
When she is born her parents hand her over to a childless peasant couple in the mountains. Aged two, and suffering from malnutrition on a diet of yam leaves, they leave Xiaolu with her illiterate grandparents in a fishing village on the East China Sea. It’s a strange beginning.
A Wild Swans for a new generation, Once Upon a Time in the East takes Xiaolu from a run-down shack to film school in a rapidly changing Beijing, navigating the everyday peculiarity of modern China: censorship, underground art, Western boyfriends. In 2002 she leaves Beijing on a scholarship to study in Britain. Now, after a decade in Europe, her tale of East to West resonates with the insight that can only come from someone who is both an outsider and at home.
Xiaolu Guo’s extraordinary memoir is a handbook of life lessons. How to be an artist when censorship kills creativity and the only job you can get is writing bad telenovela scripts. How to be a woman when female babies are regularly drowned at birth and sexual abuse is commonplace. Most poignantly of all: how to love when you’ve never been shown how.
Henry III was a medieval king whose long reign continues to have a profound impact on us today. He was on the throne for 56 years and during this time England was transformed from being the private play-thing of a French speaking dynasty into a medieval state in which the king answered for his actions to an English parliament, which emerged during Henry's lifetime.
Despite Henry's central importance for the birth of parliament and the development of a state recognisably modern in many of its institutions, it is Henry's most vociferous opponent, Simon de Montfort, who is in many ways more famous than the monarch himself.
Henry is principally known today as the driving force behind the building of Westminster Abbey, but he deserves to be better understood for many reasons - as Stephen Church's sparkling account makes clear.
Part of the Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers in a highly collectible format
'Brilliant observations on the anthropology of power. You will laugh aloud and won't put it down' Daniel Kahneman
In this eye-opening exploration of the human weaknesses for power, Daniel Levin takes us on a journey through the absurd world of our global elites, drawing unforgettable sketches of some of the puppets who stand guard, and the jugglers and conjurers employed within. Most spectacular of all, however, are the astonishing contortions performed by those closest to the top in order to maintain the illusion of integrity, decency, and public service.
Based on the author's first hand experiences of dealing with governments and political institutions around the world, Nothing but a Circus offers a rare glimpse of the conversations that happen behind closed doors, observing the appalling lengths that people go to in order to justify their unscrupulous choices, from Dubai to Luanda, Moscow to Beijing, and at the heart of the UN and the US government.
Elon Musk is an inspirational role model for young entrepreneurs, breaking boundaries and revolutionising the tech-world. He is also the real-life inspiration for the Iron Man series of films, starring Robert Downey Junior. From his humble beginnings in apartheid South Africa, he showed himself to be an exceptionally bright child, and overcame brutal bullying to become the world’s most exciting entrepreneur, founding PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla and Solar City.
He has emerged as something of a superhero-like figure for today’s generation of children. He’s not only seen as an entrepreneur in the spirit of a Steve Jobs but as an inventor and bold thinker. He’s the guy offering children the possibility of a brighter, more exciting future and has come to symbolize innovation and optimism.
'Soaringly beautiful' Sunday Times Magazine
'Genuine and persuasive' Guardian
Alexandra Heminsley thought she could swim. She really did.
It may have been because she could run. It may have been because she wanted to swim; or perhaps because she only ever did ten minutes of breaststroke at a time. But, as she learned one day while flailing around in the sea, she really couldn’t.
Believing that a life lived fully isn’t one with the most money earned, the most stuff bought or the most races won, but one with the most experiences, experienced the most fully, she decided to conquer her fear of the water.
From the ignominy of getting into a wetsuit to the triumph of swimming from Kefalonia to Ithaca, in becoming a swimmer, Alexandra learns to appreciate her body and still her mind. As it turns out, the water is never as frightening once you're in, and really, everything is better when you remember to exhale.
'I was wowed and moved' Tracy Chevalier
Anne Brontë is the forgotten Brontë sister, overshadowed by her older siblings -- virtuous, successful Charlotte, free-spirited Emily and dissolute Branwell. Tragic, virginal, sweet, stoic, selfless, Anne. The less talented Brontë, the other Brontë.
Or that's what Samantha Ellis, a life-long Emily and Wuthering Heights devotee, had always thought. Until, that is, she started questioning that devotion and, in looking more closely at Emily and Charlotte, found herself confronted by Anne instead.
Take Courage is Samantha's personal, poignant and surprising journey into the life and work of a woman sidelined by history. A brave, strongly feminist writer well ahead of her time -- and her more celebrated siblings -- and who has much to teach us today about how to find our way in the world.
Praise for How To Be A Heroine
'Any woman with a remotely bookish childhood will find great pleasure in How to be a Heroine' Sunday Times
'Genius.... A fantastically inspirational memoir that makes you want to reread far too many books' Observer
'Not so much self-help as shelf-help... A truly brilliant read' Marie Claire
'Delightfully honest and warmly funny' Daily Mail
'The best kind of book: one that I gobbled up, wanting to go slow to savour it but unable to stop reading until it was all gone' Observer
Lion is the heartbreaking and inspiring original true story of the lost little boy who found his way home twenty-five years later and is now a major film starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara.
As a five-year old in India, I got lost on a train. Twenty-five years later, I crossed the world to find my way back home.
Five-year-old Saroo lived in a poor village in India, in a one-room hut with his mother and three siblings... until the day he boarded a train alone and got lost. For twenty-five years.
This is the story of what happened to Saroo in those twenty-five years. How he ended up on the streets of Calcutta. And survived. How he then ended up in Tasmania, living the life of an upper-middle-class Aussie. And how, at thirty years old, with some dogged determination, a heap of good luck and the power of Google Earth, he found his way back home.
Lion is a triumphant true story of survival against all odds and a shining example of the extraordinary feats we can achieve when hope endures.
'Amazing stuff' The New York Post
'So incredible that sometimes it reads like a work of fiction' Winnipeg Free Press (Canada)
'A remarkable story' Sydney Morning Herald Review
'I literally could not put this book down. Saroo's return journey will leave you weeping with joy and the strength of the human spirit' Manly Daily (Australia)
'We urge you to step behind the headlines and have a read of this absorbing account...With clear recollections and good old-fashioned storytelling, Saroo...recalls the fear of being lost and the anguish of separation' Weekly Review (Australia)
It is said that asphyxiation brings on a state of hallucinatory intoxication...in which case the 71 year old artist who lay in his sprawling Provencal villa died happy. In the early afternoon of Monday 4 October 1999, wracked with Parkinson's, and unable to paint because of a fall in which he had broken his wrist, Bernard Buffet calmly placed a plastic bag over his head, taped it tight around his neck and patiently waited the few minutes it took for death to arrive.
Bernard Buffet:The Invention of the Modern Mega-artist tells the remarkable story of a French figurative painter who tasted unprecedented critical and commercial success at an age when his contemporaries were still at art school. Then, with almost equal suddenness the fruits of fame turned sour and he found himself an outcast. Scarred with the contagion of immense commercial success no leper was more untouchable. He was the first artist of the television age and the jet age and his role in creating the idea of a post-war France is not to be underestimated. As the first of the so-called Fabulous Five (Francoise Sagan, Roger Vadim, Brigitte Bardot and Yves Saint Laurent) he was a leader of the cultural revolution that seemed to forge a new France from the shattered remains of a discredited and demoralized country.
Rich in incident Buffet’s remarkable story of bisexual love affairs, betrayal, vendettas lasting half a century, shattered reputations, alcoholism, and drug abuse, is played out against the backdrop of the beau monde of the 1950s and 1960s in locations as diverse as St Tropez, Japan, Paris, Dallas, St Petersburg and New York, before coming to its miserable conclusion alone in his studio.
This definitive biography of Queen Elizabeth II is the first all-round, up-close picture of one of the most fascinating, enigmatic and admired women in the world.
With exclusive access to the Queen's personal letters, close friends and associates, this intimate biography is a treasure trove of fresh insights on her public persona and her private life. It also explores her close relationships with her family, her children, and Prince Philip.
This book will transport you back to a moment nine decades ago when a young Princess Elizabeth first discovered her destiny. Here we see how over the years she has navigated through the political challenges and personal sacrifices ahead of her, to put the Crown, the Country and her unswerving sense of duty first.
There is so much more to our Queen than that which is reported, but in these pages we at last get to meet the leader, strategist, and diplomat; the daughter, wife, mother and grandmother - Elizabeth the Queen.
A stunning new colouring book that will take you through a year in the life of the English countryside.
Nearly 40 years ago, a rediscovered diary enchanted the nation. Edith Holden's 'Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady' from 1906 captured her observations on the English countryside's changing seasons, accompanied by exquisite illustrations of its flora and fauna.
Now, for the first time, Edith's work been turned into an beautiful colouring book.
Featuring black & white ink illustrations based on her paintings, alongside the original handwriting from the lost journal, this is a captivating colouring book that guides you through a year in the world of this truly remarkable Edwardian lady.
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