New and forthcoming
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.
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.
The story of Catholicism in Britain from the Reformation to the present day, from a master of popular history - 'a first-class storyteller' The Times
Throughout the three hundred years that followed the Act of Supremacy – which, by making Henry VIII head of the Church, confirmed in law the breach with Rome – English Catholics were prosecuted, persecuted and penalised for the public expression of their faith. Even after the passing of the emancipation acts Catholics were still the victims of institutionalised discrimination.
The first book to tell the story of the Catholics in Britain in a single volume, The Catholics includes much previously unpublished information. It focuses on the lives, and sometimes deaths, of individual Catholics – martyrs and apostates, priests and laymen, converts and recusants. It tells the story of the men and women who faced the dangers and difficulties of being what their enemies still call ‘Papists’. It describes the laws which circumscribed their lives, the political tensions which influenced their position within an essentially Anglican nation and the changes in dogma and liturgy by which Rome increasingly alienated their Protestant neighbours – and sometime even tested the loyalty of faithful Catholics.
The survival of Catholicism in Britain is the triumph of more than simple faith. It is the victory of moral and spiritual unbending certainty. Catholicism survives because it does not compromise. It is a characteristic that excites admiration in even a hardened atheist.
History does not repeat, but it does instruct.
In the twentieth century, European democracies collapsed into fascism, Nazism and communism. These were movements in which a leader or a party claimed to give voice to the people, promised to protect them from global existential threats, and rejected reason in favour of myth. European history shows us that societies can break, democracies can fall, ethics can collapse, and ordinary people can find themselves in unimaginable circumstances.
History can familiarise, and it can warn. Today, we are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to totalitarianism in the twentieth century. But when the political order seems imperilled, our advantage is that we can learn from their experience to resist the advance of tyranny.
Now is a good time to do so.
The haunting history of the Soviet-Afghan War from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2015
- A new translation based on the updated and expanded text -
From 1979 to 1989 Soviet troops engaged in a devastating war in Afghanistan that claimed thousands of casualties on both sides. While the Soviet Union talked about a 'peace-keeping' mission, the dead were shipped back in sealed zinc coffins. Boys in Zinc presents the honest testimonies of soldiers, doctors and nurses, mothers, wives and siblings who describe the lasting effects of war. Weaving together their stories, Svetlana Alexievich shows us the truth of the Soviet-Afghan conflict: the killing and the beauty of small everyday moments, the shame of returned veterans, the worries of all those left behind. When it was first published in the USSR in 1991, Boys in Zinc sparked huge controversy for its unflinching, harrowing insight into the realities of war.
AS HEARD ON BBC RADIO 4
'Fabulous, timely, a marvellous achievement' Spectator
'A richly resonant work which recasts our understanding of the Elizabethan era' Daily Telegraph
In 1570, after plots and assassination attempts against her, Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope. It was the beginning of cultural, economic and political exchanges with the Islamic world of a depth not again experienced until the modern age. England signed treaties with the Ottoman Porte, received ambassadors from Morocco and shipped munitions to Marrakech in the hope of establishing an accord which would keep the common enemy of Catholic Spain at bay. This awareness of the Islamic world found its way into many of the great English cultural productions of the day - especially, of course, Shakespeare's Othello and The Merchant of Venice. This Orient Isle shows that England's relations with the Muslim world were far more extensive, and often more amicable, than we have ever appreciated, and that their influence was felt across the political, commercial and domestic landscape of Elizabethan England.
Although he styled himself 'His Highness', adopted the court ritual of his royal predecessors, and lived in the former royal palaces of Whitehall and Hampton Court, Oliver Cromwell was not a king - in spite of the best efforts of his supporters to crown him.
Yet, as David Horspool shows in this illuminating new portrait of England's Lord Protector, Cromwell, the Puritan son of Cambridgeshire gentry, wielded such influence that it would be a pretence to say that power really lay with the collective. The years of Cromwell's rise to power, shaped by a decade-long civil war, saw a sustained attempt at the collective government of England; the first attempts at a real Union of Britain; the beginnings of empire; a radically new solution to the idea of a national religion; atrocities in Ireland; and the readmission to England of the Jews, a people officially banned for over three and a half centuries. At the end of it, Oliver Cromwell had emerged as the country's sole ruler: to his enemies, and probably to most of his countrymen, his legacy looked as likely to last as that of the Stuart dynasty he had replaced.
The Islamic Enlightenment: a contradiction in terms?
The Muslim world has often been accused of a failure to modernise, reform and adapt. But, from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day, Islamic society in its Middle Eastern heartlands has in fact been transformed by modern ideals and practices, including the adoption of modern medicine, the emergence of women from purdah and the development of democracy.
Who were the scholars and scientists, writers and politicians that brought about these remarkable changes? And why is their legacy now under threat?
Beginning with the dramatic collision of East and West following Napoleon’s arrival in Egypt, and taking us through 200 tumultuous years of Middle Eastern history, Christopher de Bellaigue introduces us to key figures and reformers; from Egypt’s visionary ruler Muhammad Ali to brave radicals like Iran’s first feminist Qurrat al-Ayn and the writer Ibrahim Sinasi, who transformed Ottoman Turkey’s language and literature.
This book tells the forgotten story of the Islamic Enlightenment. It shows us how to look beyond sensationalist headlines to foster a genuine understanding of modern Islam and Muslim culture, and is essential reading for anyone engaged with the state of the world today.
*THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER*
The Sixties ended a year late – on New Year's Eve 1970, when Paul McCartney initiated proceedings to wind up The Beatles. Music would never be the same again.
The next day would see the dawning of a new era. 1971 saw the release of more monumental albums than any year before or since and the establishment of a pantheon of stars to dominate the next forty years – Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Rod Stewart, the solo Beatles and more.
January that year fired the gun on an unrepeatable surge of creativity, technological innovation, blissful ignorance, naked ambition and outrageous good fortune. By December rock had exploded into the mainstream.
How did it happen? This book tells you how. It's the story of 1971, rock’s golden year.
SPECTATOR BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016, GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016
'Authoritative, expansive and incisive...helps restore India to the global twentieth century' Sunil Khilnani
Between 1939 and 1945 India changed to an extraordinary extent. Millions of Indians suddenly found themselves as soldiers, fighting in Europe and North Africa but also - something simply never imagined - against a Japanese army threatening to invade eastern India. Many more were pulled into the vortex of wartime mobilization.
Srinath Raghavan's compelling and original book gives both a surprising new account of the fighting and of life on the home front. For Indian nationalists the war has tended to be seen as a distraction from the quest for national independence - but Raghavan shows that in fact the war lay at the very heart of how and why colonial rule ended in South Asia.
By seeing the Second World War through Indian eyes, Raghavan transforms our understanding of the conflict - with famous battles such as those in North Africa and Iraq reinterpreted, as well as fascinating and little known campaigns such as the destruction of Italian northeast Africa. Time and again, it was Indian troops that made Britain into a global power and, as the war came to an end, it was the Indian army that fought the final battles which marked the end both of the Japanese empire, and of the British.
THE SUNDAY TIMES AND ECONOMIST BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016
'A definitive study of the amorphous state that lasted a thousand years ... The Holy Roman Empire deserves to be hailed as a magnum opus' Tom Holland, Daily Telegraph
'Engrossing ... staggering ... a book that is relevant to our own times' The Times
'Masterly ... If, like most people, you know little more about the Holy Roman Empire other than Voltaire's bon mot - "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire" - then this is the book for you' Daniel Johnson, Sunday Times
'A history that helps us understand Europe's problems today ... interesting and provocative, makes the complex understandable' Christopher Kissane, Guardian
A great, sprawling, ancient and unique entity, the Holy Roman Empire, from its founding by Charlemagne to its destruction by Napoleon a millennium later, formed the heart of Europe. It was a great engine for inventions and ideas, it was the origin of many modern European states, from Germany to the Czech Republic, its relations with Italy, France and Poland dictated the course of countless wars - indeed European history as a whole makes no sense without it.
In this strikingly ambitious book, Peter H. Wilson explains how the Empire worked. It is not a chronological history, but an attempt to convey to readers why it was so important and how it changed over its existence. The result is a tour de force - a book that raises countless questions about the nature of political and military power, about diplomacy and the nature of European civilization and about the legacy of the Empire, which has continued to haunt its offspring, from Imperial and Nazi Germany to the European Union.
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.
On 15 April 1989, the world witnessed one of the worst football disasters in history occur at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield. 96 people were crushed to death and another 766 injured in a tragedy that was later admitted to have been exacerbated by police failures.
Hillsborough Voices does justice to the memory of all those who died and for all those left behind. From the tragic events of the day to what unfolded in the hours, days and eventually years that followed, the book will interweave the voices of those who were there with the families and friends of those who died, and all those who have played key roles in the long search for the truth.
The author, Kevin Sampson, has a long history with Hillsborough. Not only was he there as a fan to witness the horror first-hand, he also helped organise the Hillsborough benefit concert at Anfield and has close connections with the justice campaign. He has conducted exhaustive and exclusive interviews both with people who have become familiar public figures and those who will be telling their heart-rending personal stories for the first time – to bring us the full story.
The book will be fully endorsed and promoted by the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and will carry the official HJC logo.
SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR IN THE TELEGRAPH AND EVENING STANDARD
'[The] centenary will prompt a raft of books on the Russian Revolution. They will be hard pushed to better this highly original, exhaustively researched and superbly constructed account.' Saul David, Daily Telegraph
'A gripping, vivid, deeply researched chronicle of the Russian Revolution told through the eyes of a surprising, flamboyant cast of foreigners in Petrograd, superbly narrated by Helen Rappaport.' Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The Romanovs
Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St Petersburg) was in turmoil. Foreign visitors who filled hotels, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps. Among them were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, governesses and volunteer nurses. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women’s Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareava.
Drawing upon a rich trove of material and through eye-witness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold, Helen Rappaport takes us right up to the action – to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened.
What makes a hit a hit? In Hit Makers, Atlantic Senior Editor Derek Thompson puts pop culture under the lens of science to answer the question that every business, every producer, every person looking to promote themselves and their work has asked.
Drawing on ancient history and modern headlines - from vampire lore and Brahms's Lullaby to Instagram - Thompson explores the economics and psychology of why certain things become extraordinarily popular. With incisive analysis and captivating storytelling, he reveals that, though blockbuster films, Internet memes and number-one songs seem to have come out of nowhere, hits actually have a story and operate by certain rules. People gravitate towards familiar surprises: products that are bold and innovative, yet instantly comprehensible.
Whether he is uncovering the secrets of JFK and Barack Obama's speechwriters or analysing the unexpected reasons for the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, Thompson goes beyond the cultural phenomena that make the news by revealing the desires that make us all human. While technology might change, he shows, our innate preferences do not, and throughout history hits have held up a mirror to ourselves.
From the dawn of Impressionist art to the future of Snapchat, from small-scale Etsy entrepreneurs to the origin of Star Wars, Derek Thompson tells the fascinating story of how culture happens - and where genius lives.
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