New and forthcoming

A Galaxy of Her Own

Libby Jackson

From small steps to giant leaps, A Galaxy of Her Own tells fifty stories of inspirational women who have been fundamental to the story of humans in space, from scientists to astronauts to some surprising roles in between.

From Ada Lovelace in the nineteenth century, to the women behind the Apollo missions, from the astronauts breaking records on the International Space Station to those blazing the way in the race to get to Mars, A Galaxy of Her Own reveals extraordinary stories, champions unsung heroes and celebrates remarkable achievements from around the world.

Written by Libby Jackson, a leading UK expert in human space flight, and illustrated with bold and beautiful artwork from the students of London College of Communication, this is a book to delight and inspire trailblazers of all ages.

Packed full of both amazing female role models and mind-blowing secrets of space travel, A Galaxy of Her Own is guaranteed to make any reader reach for the stars.

21st-Century Yokel

Tom Cox

21st-Century Yokel explores the way we can be tied inescapably to landscape, whether we like it or not, often through our family and our past. It’s not quite a nature book, not quite a humour book, not quite a family memoir, not quite folklore, not quite social history, not quite a collection of essays, but a bit of all six.

It contains owls, badgers, ponies, beavers, otters, bats, bees, scarecrows, dogs, ghosts, Tom’s loud and excitable dad and, yes, even a few cats. It’s full of Devon’s local folklore – the ancient kind, and the everyday kind – and provincial places and small things. But what emerges from this focus on the small are themes that are broader and bigger and more definitive.

The book’s language is colloquial and easy and its eleven chapters are discursive and wide-ranging, rambling even. The feel of the book has a lot in common with the country walks Tom Cox was on when he composed much of it: it’s bewitched by fresh air, intrepid in minor ways, haunted by weather and old stories and the spooky edges of the outdoors, restless, sometimes foolish, and prone to a few detours... but it always reaches its intended destination.

The book is illustrated with Tom’s own landscape photographs and linocuts by his mother.

Keep Smiling Through

Dame Vera Lynn (and others)

'I was just twenty-seven years old when I went to Burma. It was an experience that changed my life for ever. Up until that time I had not really travelled anywhere at all, apart from one touring visit to Holland with a band I was singing with before the war, and I had certainly never been in an aeroplane. But I wanted to make a difference, to do my bit.'

And she did.

Written with her daughter, Virginia Lewis-Jones this will be a powerful and life-affirming account of the time she spent with troops in wartime Burma. Based, in part on a diary she kept, alongside unpublished personal letters and photographs from surviving veterans and their families, it will explore why it was such a life-defining event for her and show how her presence helped the soldiers, airmen and others who heard her sing.

Icebreaker

Horatio Clare

'We are celebrating a hundred years since independence this year: how would you like to travel on a government icebreaker?'

A message from the Finnish embassy launches Horatio Clare on a voyage around an extraordinary country and an unearthly place, the frozen Bay of Bothnia, just short of the Arctic circle. Travelling with the crew of Icebreaker Otso, Horatio, whose last adventure saw him embedded on Maersk container vessels for the bestseller Down to the Sea in Ships, discovers stories of Finland, of her mariners and of ice.

Finland is an enigmatic place, famous for its educational miracle, healthcare and gender equality – as well as Nokia, Angry Birds, saunas, questionable cuisine and deep taciturnity. Aboard Otso Horatio gets to know the men who make up her crew, and explores Finland’s history and character. Surrounded by the extraordinary colours and conditions of a frozen sea, he also comes to understand something of the complexity and fragile beauty of ice, a near-miraculous substance which cools the planet, gives the stars their twinkle and which may hold all our futures in its crystals.

My Life, Our Times

Gordon Brown

As former Prime Minister and our longest-serving Chancellor, Gordon Brown has been a guiding force for Britain and the world over three decades. This is his candid, poignant and deeply relevant story.

In describing his upbringing in Scotland as the son of a minister, the near loss of his eyesight as a student and the death of his daughter within days of her birth, he shares the passionately held principles that have shaped and driven him, reminding us that politics can and should be a calling to serve. Reflecting on the personal and ideological tensions within Labour and its achievements – the minimum wage, tax credits, Bank of England independence and the refinancing of the National Health Service – he describes how to meet the challenge of pursuing a radical agenda within a credible party of government.
He explains how as Chancellor he equipped Britain for a globalised economy while swimming against the neoliberal tide and shows what more must be done to halt rising inequality. In his behind-the-scenes account of the financial crisis and his leading role in saving the world economy from collapse, he addresses the question of who was to blame for the crash and why its causes and consequences still beset us.

From the invasion of Iraq to the tragedy of Afghanistan, from the coalition negotiations of 2010 to the referendums on Scottish independence and Europe, Gordon Brown draws on his unique experiences to explain Britain’s current fractured condition. And by showing us what progressive politics has achieved in recent decades, he inspires us with a vision of what it might yet achieve today.

Riveting, expert and highly personal, this historic memoir is an invaluable insight into our times.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Robert Dallek

From the acclaimed author of John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life, the autobiography of one of America's greatest presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was the only American president ever to serve four terms. He came from the highest echelons of American society, and though progressively incapacitated by polio from the age of thirty-nine, never showed the slightest self-pity, refusing to allow the disease to constrain his ambition or his place in public life. During the Depression of the 1930s he became the foremost presidential champion of the needy, instituted the famous New Deal and brought about revolutionary changes in America's social and political institutions. Two years into the Second World War he persuaded Americans that it was their unavoidable duty to fight, and brought about a profound reversal in the country's foreign policy. During that titanic conflict he formed a unique friendship with Winston Churchill, and became the central figure in the Western Alliance.

Dallek attributes FDR's success to two remarkable political insights. First, more than any other president, he understood that effectiveness in American politics depended on building a national consensus and commanding stable long-term popular support. Second, he made the presidency the central, most influential institution in modern America's political system. In addressing the country's international and domestic problems, Roosevelt recognized the vital importance of remaining closely attentive to the full range of public sentiment around the decisions made by government-perhaps his most enduring lesson in effective leadership. In an era of national and international division, there could be no more timely biography of America's preeminent twentieth-century leader than one that demonstrates his unparalleled ability as a uniter and consensus maker.

God

Reza Aslan

In God, Reza Aslan sheds new light on mankind’s relationship with the divine and challenges our perspective on faith and the birth of religion.

From the origins of spiritual thought to the concept of an active, engaged, divine presence that underlies all creation, Aslan examines how the idea of god arose in human evolution, was gradually personalized, endowed with human traits and emotions, and eventually transformed into a single Divine Personality: the God known today by such names as Yahweh, Father, and Allah.

Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, God challenges everything we thought we knew about the origins of religious belief, and with it our relationship with life and death, with the natural and spiritual worlds, and our understanding of the very essence of human existence.

Animals Strike Curious Poses

Elena Passarello

Beginning with Yuka, a 39,000-year-old mummified woolly mammoth recently found in the Siberian permafrost, each of the sixteen essays in Animals Strike Curious Poses investigates a different famous animal named and immortalised by humans. Here are the starling that inspired Mozart with its song, Darwin’s tortoise Harriet, and in an extraordinary essay, Jumbo the elephant (and how they tried to electrocute him). Modelled loosely on a medieval bestiary, these witty , playful, provocative essays traverse history, myth, science and more, introducing a stunning new writer to British readers.

Young Hitler

Paul Ham

When Adolf Hitler went to war in 1914, he was just 25 years old. It was a time he would later call the 'most stupendous experience of my life'.

That war ended with Hitler in a hospital bed, temporarily blinded by mustard gas. The world that he opened his newly healed eyes on was new and it was terrible: Germany had been defeated, the Kaiser had fled and the army had been resolutely humbled.

Hitler never accepted these facts. Out of his fury rose a white-hot hatred, an unquenchable thirst for revenge against the 'criminals' who had signed the armistice, against the socialists who he accused of stabbing the army in the back and, most violently, against the Jews – a direct threat to the master race of his imagination – on whose shoulders he would pile all of Germany's woes.

But this was not all about the war; the seeds of that hatred lay in Hitler’s youth.

By peeling back the layers of Hitler's childhood, his war record and his early political career, Paul Ham's Young Hitler: The Making of the Führer seeks the man behind the myth. How did the defining years of Hitler’s life affect his rise to power?

More broadly, Paul Ham seeks to answer the question: Was Hitler a freak accident? Or was he an extreme example of a recurring type of demagogue, who will do and say anything to seize power; who thrives on chaos; and who personifies, in his words and in his actions, the darkest prejudices of humankind?

The Robin

Stephen Moss

No other bird is quite so ever-present and familiar, so embedded in our culture, as the robin. With more than six million breeding pairs, the robin is second only to the wren as Britain’s most common bird. It seems to live its life alongside us, in every month and season of the year. But how much do we really know about this bird?

In The Robin Stephen Moss records a year of observing the robin both close to home and in the field to shed light on the hidden life of this apparently familiar bird. We follow its lifecycle from the time it enters the world as an egg, through its time as a nestling and juvenile, to the adult bird; via courtship, song, breeding, feeding, migration – and ultimately, death. At the same time we trace the robin's relationship with us: how did this particular bird – one of more than 300 species in its huge and diverse family – find its way so deeply and permanently into our nation’s heart and its social and cultural history? It’s a story that tells us as much about ourselves as it does about the robin itself.

Auntie's War

Edward Stourton

On 15th October 1940 during the BBC Nine O’Clock News, a 500 pound bomb hit Broadcasting House. It crashed through two floors, killing seven. Listeners heard a muffled thud and a whisper, 'Are you alright?', but the duty newsreader continued the bulletin almost without a pause ...
The British Broadcasting Corporation is unlike any other British institution. Its story during the Second World War is our story. This was Britain’s first total war and the wireless brought it into every living room for the first time. And in those key moments of our collective memory – from Chamberlain announcement of War to D-Day - the BBC was a presence, sometimes playing a critical role and more than often defining how these events were passed on to us.
Auntie’s War is a love letter to radio. While these were the years when her sometimes bossy tones earned the BBC the nickname Auntie, they were also a period of truly remarkable voices: Churchill’s fighting speeches, De Gaulle’s exile broadcasts, JB Priestley, Ed Murrow, George Orwell, Noel Coward and Richard Dimbleby. Radio offered an incomparable tool for propaganda; it was how allies sent coded messages across Europe; it was home to ‘black radio’, a means of sending less than truthful information to the enemy. At the same time, eyewitness testimonies gave a voice to the everyman securing the BBC’s reputation as reliable purveyor of the truth.
Following the BBC’s wartime journey, Edward Stourton is a brilliant companion, sharp-eyed, wry and affectionate while investigating archives, diaries, letters and memoirs to examine what the BBC was and what it stood for. Recounting extraordinary stories and priceless anecdotes he has written much more than a portrait of a beloved institution at a critical time. Auntie’s War provides a vivid new perspective on the war; it also offers an incomparable insight into the broadcasting culture we still have today.

Enemies and Neighbours

Ian Black

A century after Britain's Balfour Declaration promised a Jewish 'national home' in Palestine, veteran Guardian journalist Ian Black has produced a major new history of one of the most polarising conflicts of the modern age.

Drawing on a wide range of sources - from declassified documents to oral testimonies and his own decades of reporting - Enemies and Neighbours brings much-needed perspective and balance to the long and unresolved struggle between Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land.

Beginning in the final years of Ottoman ruleand the British Mandate period, when Zionist immigration transformed Palestine in the face of mounting Arab opposition, the book re-examines the origins of what was a doomed relationship from the start. It sheds fresh light on critical events such as the Arab rebellion of the 1930s; Israel's independence and the Palestinian catastrophe (Nakba in Arabic) of 1948; the watershed of the 1967 war; two Intifadas; the Oslo Accords and Israel's shift to the right. It traces how - after five decades of occupation, ever-expanding Jewish settlements and the construction of the West Bank 'separation wall' - hopes for a two-state solution have all but disappeared, and explores what the future might hold.

Yet Black also goes beyond the most newsworthy events - wars, violence and peace initiatives - to capture thereality of everyday life on the ground in Jerusalem and Hebron, Tel Aviv,Ramallah, Haifa and Gaza, for both sides of an unequal struggle. Lucid, timelyand gripping, Enemies and Neighbours illuminates a bitter conflict that shows no sign of ending - which is why it is so essential that we understand it.

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