New and forthcoming

Three Minutes to Doomsday

Joe Navarro

It is 1988 and Florida-based FBI agent Joe Navarro divides his time between SWAT assignments, flying air reconnaissance, and working counter-intelligence. A body-language expert with an uncanny ability to “read” those he interrogates, Navarro is known as super-intense – an agent whose work ethic quickly burns out partners. He craves an assignment that will get him noticed by the FBI top brass but then again, as he’ll come to learn: be careful what you wish for . . .
It was while on a routine assignment – interviewing a ‘person of interest’, a former US soldier named Rod Ramsay with links to another soldier, Clyde Conrad, recently arrested in Germany as a traitor – that Navarro thought he smelled a rat. He noticed a tic in Ramsay's hand when Conrad’s name was mentioned. Not a lot to go on, but enough for Navarro to insist that an investigation be opened.
What followed was extraordinary – and unique in the annals of espionage detection - a game of cat-and-mouse played at the highest level: on one side, an FBI agent who must not reveal that he suspects his target; on the other, a traitor, a seller of his country’s secrets, whose weakness is the thrill he gets from sparring with his inquisitor.
To prise from Ramsay the full extent of the damage he had wrought, Navarro had to pre-choreograph every interview because Ramsay was exceptionally intelligent, with the second highest IQ ever recorded by the U.S. Army. It would become an interrogation that literally pitted genius against genius – a battle of wits fought against one of the most turbulent periods of the 20th century – the demise and eventual collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union - and the very real possibility that Russia's leaders, in a last desperate bid to alter history’s trajectory, might engage in all-out war. As Navarro was to learn over the course of nearly fifty exhausting and mind-bending interviews and interrogations, Ramsay had handed the Soviets the knowledge needed to destroy America and its western allies…

In Three Minutes to Doomsday, Joe Navarro tells this extraordinary story for the first time - a story of the exposure and breaking of one of the most damaging espionage rings in US history whose treachery threatened the entire world.

Shepherds and Butchers

Chris Marnewick

*THE GRIPPING NEW DRAMA AS SEEN ON NETFLIX*

South Africa, 1987. Apartheid. When Leon, a white 19-year-old prison guard working on death row commits an inexplicable act of violence, killing seven black men in a hail of bullets, the outcome of the trial - and the court’s sentence - seems a foregone conclusion.

Hotshot lawyer John Weber (played by Steve Coogan) reluctantly takes on the seemingly unwinnable case. A passionate opponent of the death penalty, John discovers that young Leon worked on death row in the nation’s most notorious prison, under traumatic conditions: befriending the inmates over the years while having to assist their eventual execution.

As the court hearings progress, the case offers John the opportunity to put the entire system of legally sanctioned murder on trial. How can one man take such a dual role of friend and executioner, becoming both shepherd and butcher? Inspired by true events, this is the story that puts the death penalty on trial and changes history.

Houses of Power

Simon Thurley

What was it like to live as a royal Tudor? Why were their residences built as they were and what went on inside their walls? Who slept where and with who? Who chose the furnishings? And what were their passions?
The Tudors ruled through the day, throughout the night, in the bath, in bed and in the saddle. Their palaces were genuine power houses - the nerve-centre of military operations, the boardroom for all executive decisions and the core of international politics. Houses of Power is the result of Simon Thurley's thirty years of research, picking through architectural digs, and examining financial accounts, original plans and drawings to reconstruct the great Tudor houses and understand how these monarchs shaped their lives. Far more than simply an architectural history - a study of private life as well as politics, diplomacy and court - it gives an entirely new and remarkable insight into the Tudor world.

Ring of Fire

Simon Hughes

Following the success of Simon Hughes’ Red Machine and Men in White Suits, books which depicted Liverpool FC’s domination during the 1980s and its subsequent fall in the 1990s, Ring of Fire focuses on the 2000s and the primary characters who propelled Liverpool to the forefront of European football once again. With a foreword by Steven Gerrard, this is the third edition in a bestselling series based on revealing interviews with former players, coaches and managers.

For Liverpool FC, entry into the 21st century began with modernisation and trophies under manager Gérard Houllier and development was then underpinned by improbable Champions League glory under Rafael Benítez. Yet that is only half of the story. The decade ended with the club being on the verge of administration after the shambolic reign of American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

In Ring of Fire, Hughes’ interviewees – including Jamie Carragher, Xabi Alonso and Michael Owen – take you through Melwood’s training ground gates and into the inner sanctum, the Liverpool dressing room. Each person delivers fascinating insights into the minds of the players, coaches and boardroom members as they talk frankly about exhilarating highs and excruciating lows, from winning cups in Cardiff and Istanbul to the political infighting that undermined a succession of managerial reigns.

Ring of Fire tells the real stories: those never told before by the key players who lived through it all.

Native Lands

Norman Davies

In 2012, Norman Davies set off on a global circumnavigation. Native Lands is his account of the places he visited and the history he found there, from Abu Dhabi to Singapore, the settlement of Tasmania to the short-lived Republic of Texas. As in Vanished Kingdoms, Davies's historical gaze penetrates behind the present to see how things became as they are, and how peoples came to tell themselves the stories which make up their identities. Everywhere, it seems, human beings have been travelling - pushing out others or arriving in terra nullius - since the beginning of recorded time. To whom is a land truly native? As always, Norman Davies has his eye on the historical horizon as well as on what is close at hand, and brilliantly complicates our view of the past.

The Time Traveller's Guide to Restoration Britain

Ian Mortimer

The past is a foreign country: this is your guidebook.

If you could travel back in time, the period from 1660 to 1700 would make one of the most exciting destinations in history. It is the age of Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London; bawdy comedy and the libertine court of Charles II; Christopher Wren in architecture, Henry Purcell in music and Isaac Newton in science — the civil wars are over and a magnificent new era has begun.

But what would it really be like to live in Restoration Britain? Where would you stay and what would you eat? What would you wear and where would you do your shopping? The third volume in the series of Ian Mortimer’s bestselling Time Traveller’s Guides answers the crucial questions that a prospective traveller to seventeenth-century Britain would ask.

How much should you pay for one of those elaborate wigs? Should you trust a physician who advises you to drink fresh cow’s urine to cure your gout? Why are boys made to smoke in school? And why are you unlikely to get a fair trial in court?

People’s lives are changing rapidly – from a world of superstition and religious explanation to rationalism and scientific calculation. In many respects the period sees the tipping point between the old world and the new as fear and uncertainty, hardship and eating with your fingers give way to curiosity and professionalism, fine wines and knives and forks. Travelling to Restoration Britain encourages us to reflect on the customs and practices of daily life – and this unique guide not only teaches us about the seventeenth century but makes us look with fresh eyes at the modern world.

First World War: 1917

Sarah Kilgarriff (and others)

From the Russian Revolution to America’s declaration of war and the lasting horror of Passchendaele, this unique collection of historic recordings contains the voices of those who were there.

Among the memorable voices in this compilation are Commander William Ibbett, who experienced the aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution at close quarters, Sir Edward Spears on the mutiny in the French Army and Royal Flying Corps pilots ­ whose life expectancy could be a low as a single day.

1917 was a year of decisive events. Germany raised the stakes at sea, America eventually declared war; the Nivelle offensive almost destroyed the French army; and, following two revolutions in February and October, Russian forces collapsed. For the Allies, despite their successes at Messines and Cambrai, the year was overshadowed by the losses at Passchendaele. Survivors recall their despair as men and horses drowned in mud: ‘a viscous, tenacious mud which smelt of death’.

In the Middle East, British fortunes changed with the capture of Aqaba and Jerusalem. General Allenby, Commander of the Palestine Campaign, recalls the vital, if unorthodox, feats of one officer in particular: Colonel TE Lawrence.

By December, troops on the Western Front were digging in for yet another winter. Victory now depended on the arrival of the Americans. Duration: 2 hours approx.

Familiar Stranger

Stuart Hall

"This is a miracle of a book" - George Lamming

'Sometimes I feel I was the last colonial'

This is the story, in his own words, of the extraordinary life of Stuart Hall: writer, thinker and one of the leading intellectual lights of his age. Growing up in a middle-class family in 1930s Jamaica, then still a British colony, Hall found himself caught between two worlds: the stiflingly respectable middle class in Kingston, who, in their habits and ambitions, measured themselves against the white planter elite; and working-class and peasant Jamaica, neglected and grindingly poor, though rich in culture, music and history. But as colonial rule was challenged, things began to change in Jamaica and across the world.

When, in 1951, a scholarship took him across the Atlantic to Oxford University, Hall encountered other Caribbean writers and thinkers, from Sam Selvon and George Lamming to V. S. Naipaul. He also forged friendships with the likes of Raymond Williams and E. P. Thompson, with whom he worked in the formidable political movement, the New Left, and developed his groundbreaking ideas on cultural theory. Familiar Stranger takes us to the heart of Hall's struggle in post-war England: that of building a home and a life in a country where, rapidly, radically, the social landscape was transforming, and urgent new questions of race, class and identity were coming to light.

Told with passion and wisdom, this is a story of how the forces of history shape who we are.

Carpe Diem Regained

Roman Krznaric

We’ve all heard the saying ‘seize the day’. It’s one of the oldest pieces of life advice in Western history, and its promise of radical aliveness has inspired us for centuries. But what does it really mean? And how can we use it to reinvent the art of living? In this age of distraction, carpe diem matters more than ever. It invites us to confront our mortality and live with greater passion, consciousness and intention – a life with no regrets.

But here’s the problem: carpe diem has been hijacked and reduced to the instant hit of one-click online shopping, and the idea of being in the here and now.

Carpe Diem Regained: The Vanishing Art of Seizing the Day is a sweeping cultural biography of carpe diem, and a call to seize back its true meaning. The book unveils five very different ways of seizing the day that humankind has discovered over the centuries, ones that we urgently need to revive, from the personal to the political. It explores not just the contributions of great thinkers through history, but also insights from the lives of seize-the-day pioneers including nightclub dancers, war photographers and committed revolutionaries, while drawing on everything from the neuropsychology of regret and medieval carnival rites to existentialism and early Japanese cinema.

In this thought-provoking and empowering book, leading popular philosopher Roman Krznaric unpacks the history, philosophy and modern-day applications of carpe diem while delivering a rousing call to action for anyone up for the daunting challenge of leading a meaningful life.

The Origins of Totalitarianism

Hannah Arendt

'How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? The short answer is that we, too, live in dark times' Washington Post

Hannah Arendt's chilling analysis of the conditions that led to the Nazi and Soviet totalitarian regimes is a warning from history about the fragility of freedom, exploring how propaganda, scapegoats, terror and political isolation all aided the slide towards total domination.

'A non-fiction bookend to Nineteen Eighty-Four' The New York Times

'The political theorist who wrote about the Nazis and the 'banality of evil' has become a surprise bestseller' Guardian

The Best Minds of My Generation

Allen Ginsberg (and others)

A unique history of the Beats, in the words of the movement's most central member, Allen Ginsberg, based on a seminal series of his lectures

In 1977, twenty years after the publication of his landmark poem 'Howl' and Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Allen Ginsberg decided it was time to teach a course on the literary history of the Beat Generation. Through this course, Ginsberg saw an opportunity to present a complete history of Beat Literature and also to record and preserve his own personal stories and memories, ones that might have otherwise been lost to history. The result was a deeply intimate, candid and illuminating set of lectures, which form the basis of this book. Compiled and edited by renowned Beat scholar Bill Morgan, and with an introduction by Anne Waldman, The Best Minds of My Generation presents the lectures in edited form, revealing the Beats as Ginsberg knew them: friends, confidantes, literary mentors, and fellow revolutionaries.

In The Best Minds of My Generation, Ginsberg gives us the convoluted origin story of the "Beat" idea, recounts anecdotes of meeting Kerouac, Burroughs, and other figures for the first time, elucidates the importance of music, and particularly jazz rhythms, to Beat writing, discusses their many influences - literary, pharmaceutical and spiritual - and paints a portrait of a group who were leading a literary revolution. A unique document that works both as historical record and unconventional memoir, The Best Minds of My Generation is a vivid, personal and eye-opening look at one of the most important literary movements of the twentieth century.

Out of China

Robert Bickers

The extraordinary and essential story of how China became the powerful country it is today.

Even at the high noon of Europe's empires China managed to be one of the handful of countries not to succumb. Invaded, humiliated and looted, China nonetheless kept its sovereignty. Robert Bickers' major new book is the first to describe fully what has proved to be one of the modern era's most important stories: the long, often agonising process by which the Chinese had by the end of the 20th century regained control of their own country.

Out of China uses a brilliant array of unusual, strange and vivid sources to recreate a now fantastically remote world: the corrupt, lurid modernity of pre-War Shanghai, the often tiny patches of 'extra-territorial' land controlled by European powers (one of which, unnoticed, had mostly toppled into a river), the entrepôts of Hong Kong and Macao, and the myriad means, through armed threats, technology and legal chicanery, by which China was kept subservient.

Today Chinese nationalism stays firmly rooted in memories of its degraded past - the quest for self-sufficiency, a determination both to assert China's standing in the world and its outstanding territorial claims, and never to be vulnerable to renewed attack. History matters deeply to Beijing's current rulers - and Out of China explains why.

Elizabeth

John Guy

History has pictured Elizabeth I as Gloriana, an icon of strength and power -- and has focused on the early years of her reign. But in 1583, when Elizabeth is fifty, there is relentless plotting among her courtiers -- and still to come is the Spanish Armada and the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. We have not, until now, had the full picture.

This gripping and vivid portrait of her life and times -- often told in her own words (and including details such as her love of chess and marzipan) -- reveals a woman who was insecure, human ('You know I am no morning woman'), and unpopular even with the men who fought for her. This is the real Elizabeth, for the first time.

The Sisters of Battle Road

J.M. Maloney

In 1939 Annie Jarman and her six young daughters were evacuated from their south London home and sent to the Sussex countryside to wait out the war. Refusing to be parted, they faced the unknown together, never imagining just how much their lives would change.

From the trials and tribulations of leaving London, the destructive horror of the Blitz and terrible family tragedy to dances, romances and the triumph of making a new life in the country, The Sisters of Battle Road is the compelling true story of six ordinary girls in extraordinary wartime circumstances.

Today, the six young girls – Mary, Joan, Sheila, Kathleen, Patricia and Ann – are six remarkable women who have lived to tell their tale of sisterhood and its unbreakable bonds in the shadow of World War Two.

A Stain in the Blood

Joe Moshenska

'A thrilling account' The Times

'As heroic as Digby himself, Moshenska has defied the tyranny of genre and made his own absorbing account' Observer

'A master storyteller. Full of exquisite details, but with the grandest themes... this is a gripping adventure story' Zia Haider Rahman

'A brilliant account of one of the seventeenth century's most dashing lives' Ruth Scurr

'Gripping and extraordinary' Ann Wroe

On the 16th of August 1628, five battle-scarred English ships sailed into the harbour of the Greek island of Milos. Dropping anchor, the 25-year-old captain banqueted with the local lord before sitting down to write an account of his journey – an account that would transform him entirely.

Sir Kenelm Digby was one of the most remarkable Englishmen who ever lived: a trusted advisor to the King, but the sworn enemy of the all-powerful Duke of Buckingham; a pioneering philosopher and scientist, but committed to the occult arts of alchemy and astrology; a friend not only of Ben Jonson, Thomas Hobbes and van Dyck, but even Oliver Cromwell. He was also widely known as the ‘son of a traytor and husband of a whore’: a man who witnessed his father’s gruesome execution for high treason as a Gunpowder Plotter, and the lover of the most celebrated beauty of the age, Venetia Stanley.

In an attempt to clear his name, and on a quest for personal glory, Digby assembled a fleet and set sail for the Mediterranean: a world of pirate cities and ancient ruins where people, ideas and exotic goods moved freely between languages and nations. His journey – encompassing fevers, mutiny, piracy, daring rescues and heroic sea battles – is a great and terribly overlooked adventure, and a prism through which to view England, and all of Europe, during one of the most pivotal periods in its history.

A Stain in the Blood is the story of an extraordinary life, and of a journey that helped to shape a nation. It is a revelatory first work of non-fiction by one of the brightest young writers and thinkers of today.

The Spy Who Loved Castro

Marita Lorenz

Few can say they’ve seen some of the most significant moments of the twentieth century unravel before their eyes. Marita Lorenz is one of them.

Born in Germany at the outbreak of WWII, Marita was incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp as a child. In 1959, she travelled to Cuba where she met and fell in love with Fidel Castro. Yet upon fleeing to America, she was recruited by the CIA to assassinate the Fidel. Torn by love and loyalty, she failed to slip him the lethal pills.

Her life would take many more twists and turns — including having a child with ex-dictator of Venezuela, Marcos Pérez Jiménez; testifying about the John G Kennedy assassination; and becoming a party girl for the New York Mafia, as well as a police informant.

Caught up in Cold War intrigue, espionage and conspiracy — this is Marita’s incredible true story of a young girl, turned spy.