New and forthcoming

The Bughouse

Daniel Swift

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.

Hit Makers

Derek Thompson

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.

No Wall Too High

Xu Hongci (and others)

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.

The Rituals of Dinner

Margaret Visser

This is the book on the way we eat.

Solidifying her standing as a preeminent observer and scholar of everyday life, Margaret Visser takes on the sweeping history of table manners, from the civilizations of ancient Greece and medieval Europe to the way that technology has altered, and continues to alter, our behaviour over dinner.

She writes of everything from cultural idiosyncrasies around preparation and consumption, to the surprising origins of tableware - forks took eight centuries to become common utensils, the plate began as a four-day-old slice of bread. Blending folklore, history, and humour, this is a feast of fact and observation on one of our most primal rituals: the meal.

History of the Russian Revolution

Leon Trotsky (and others)

'The greatest history of an event I know' - C.L.R. James

Regarded by many as among the most powerful works of history ever written, The History of the Russian Revolution offers an unparalleled account of one of the most pivotal and hotly debated events in world history. This book presents, from the perspective of one of its central actors, the profound liberating character of the early Russian Revolution.

Originally published in three parts, Trotsky's masterpiece is collected here in a single volume. It is still the most vital and inspiring record of the Russian Revolution ever published.

The Rise And Fall of British Naval Mastery

Paul Kennedy

Paul Kennedy's classic naval history, now updated with a new introduction by the author

This acclaimed book traces Britain's rise and fall as a sea power from the Tudors to the present day. Challenging the traditional view that the British are natural 'sons of the waves', he suggests instead that the country's fortunes as a significant maritime force have always been bound up with its economic growth. In doing so, he contributes significantly to the centuries-long debate between 'continental' and 'maritime' schools of strategy over Britain's policy in times of war. Setting British naval history within a framework of national, international, economic, political and strategic considerations, he offers a fresh approach to one of the central questions in British history. A new introduction extends his analysis into the twenty-first century and reflects on current American and Chinese ambitions for naval mastery.

'Excellent and stimulating' Correlli Barnett

'The first scholar to have set the sweep of British Naval history against the background of economic history' Michael Howard, Sunday Times

'By far the best study that has ever been done on the subject ... a sparkling and apt quotation on practically every page' Daniel A. Baugh, International History Review

'The best single-volume study of Britain and her naval past now available to us' Jon Sumida, Journal of Modern History

Africa's Long Road Since Independence

Keith Somerville

'A superb book...genuinely innovative' Jack Spence OBE, King's College London

Over the last half century, sub-Saharan Africa has not had one history, but many. Histories that have intertwined, converged and diverged. They have involved a continuing process of decolonization and state-building, conflict, economic problems but also progress and the perpetual interplay of structure and agency.

This new view of those histories looks in particular at the relationship between territorial, economic, political and societal structures and human agency in the complex and sometimes confusing development of an independent Africa. The story starts well before the granting of independence to Ghana in 1957, but the book also looks at Africa in the closing decades of the old millennium and opening ones of the new. This is a book, too, about the history of the peoples of Africa and their struggle for economic development against the global economic straitjacket into which they were strapped by colonial rule and decolonisation. The importance of imposed or inherited structures, whether the global capitalist system, of which Africa is a subordinate part, or the artificial and often inappropriate state borders and political systems is discussed in the light of the exercise of agency by African peoples, political movements and leaders.

Henry III (Penguin Monarchs)

Stephen Church

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

Age of Anger

Pankaj Mishra

'Urgent, profound and extraordinarily timely...throws light on our contemporary predicament, when the neglected and dispossessed of the world have suddenly risen up to transform the world we thought we knew' John Banville

How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world - from American 'shooters' and ISIS to Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media? In Age of Anger, Pankaj Mishra answers our bewilderment by casting his gaze back to the eighteenth century, before leading us to the present.

He shows that as the world became modern those who were unable to fulfil its promises - freedom, stability and prosperity - were increasingly susceptible to demagogues. The many who came late to this new world or were left, or pushed, behind, reacted in horrifyingly similar ways: intense hatred of invented enemies, attempts to re-create an imaginary golden age, and self-empowerment through spectacular violence. It was from among the ranks of the disaffected that the militants of the 19th century arose - angry young men who became cultural nationalists in Germany, messianic revolutionaries in Russia, bellicose chauvinists in Italy, and anarchist terrorists internationally.

Today, just as then, the wider embrace of mass politics, technology, and the pursuit of wealth and individualism has cast many more millions adrift in a literally demoralized world, uprooted from tradition but still far from modernity - with the same terrible results

Making startling connections and comparisons, Age of Anger is a book of immense urgency and profound argument. It is a history of our present predicament unlike any other.

The Holocaust

Laurence Rees

This landmark work answers two of the most fundamental questions in history - how, and why, did the Holocaust happen?

Laurence Rees has spent twenty-five years meeting survivors and perpetrators of the Third Reich and the Holocaust. Now, in his magnum opus, he combines largely unpublished testimony with the latest academic research to create the first accessible and authoritative account of the Holocaust in over three decades. Rees argues that whilst hatred of the Jews was always at the epicentre of Nazi thinking - and the Holocaust was the most appalling crime in history - what happened cannot be fully understood without considering the murder of the Jews alongside other Nazi plans to kill millions of non-Jews as well. He also reveals the inner machinations of the Nazi state and shows how there was no single "decision" to start the Holocaust; instead, a series of escalations cumulatively created the horror.

Through a chronological, intensely readable narrative, featuring the latest historical research and enthralling eyewitness testimony, this is the compelling story of humanity's lowest point.

Independence or Union

T M Devine

'Deserves to be read by everyone interested in the future of the United Kingdom' Andrew Marr, The Sunday Times

There can be no relationship in Europe's history more creative, significant, vexed and uneasy than that between Scotland and England. From the Middle Ages onwards the island of Britain has been shaped by the unique dynamic between Edinburgh and London, exchanging inhabitants, monarchs, money and ideas, sometimes in a spirit of friendship and at others in a spirit of murderous dislike.

Tom Devine's seminal new book explores this extraordinary history in all its ambiguity, from the seventeenth century to the present. When not undermining each other with invading armies, both Scotland and England have broadly benefitted from each other's presence - indeed for long periods of time nobody questioned the union which joined them. But as Devine makes clear, it has for the most part been a relationship based on consent, not force, on mutual advantage, rather than antagonism - and it has always held the possibility of a political parting of the ways.

With the United Kingdom under a level of scrutiny unmatched since the eighteenth century Independence or Union is the essential guide.

Ravenspur

Conn Iggulden

Witness the rise of the Tudors in the stunning conclusion to Conn Iggulden's powerful retelling of the Wars of the Roses.

'An utterly compelling page-turner full of historical facts. A fascinating read' Sun

England, 1470. A divided kingdom cannot stand.

King Edward of York has been driven out of England. Queen Elizabeth and her children tremble in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey. The House of Lancaster has won the crown, but York will not go quietly.

Desperate to reclaim his throne, Edward lands at Ravenspur with a half-drowned army and his brother Richard at his side. Every hand is against them, every city gate is shut, yet the brothers York go on the attack.

But neither sees that their true enemy is Henry Tudor, now grown into a man. As the Red Dragon - 'the man of destiny' - his claim to the throne leads to Bosworth Field and a battle that will call an end to the Wars of the Roses . . .

'A tough, pacy chronicle of bloody encounters, betrayals and cruelties. Superb' Daily Mail

'Iggulden is in a class of his own when it comes to epic, historical fiction' Daily Mirror

'Superb, fantastic, extraordinary' Sunday Express

Elizabeth the Queen

Sally Bedell Smith

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.

Dadland

Keggie Carew

Winner of the Costa Biography Award
The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller

Keggie Carew grew up under the spell of an unorthodox, enigmatic father. An undercover guerrilla agent during the Second World War, in peacetime he lived on his wits and dazzling charm. But these were not always enough to sustain a family.

As his memory began to fail, Keggie embarked on a quest to unravel his story once and for all. Dadland is that journey. It takes us into shadowy corners of history, a madcap English childhood, the poignant breakdown of a family, the corridors of dementia and beyond.


‘OH THIS BOOK. Beautiful and fierce and brave. Memory and war and family and loss and, well, wow’ Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk

Debriefing the President

John Nixon

A riveting, revealing and news-making account of the CIA's interrogation of Saddam, written by the CIA agent who conducted the questioning.

In December 2003, after one of the largest, most aggressive manhunts in history, US military forces captured Iraqi president Saddam Hussein near his hometown of Tikrit. Beset by body-double rumors and false alarms during a nine-month search, the Bush administration needed positive identification of the prisoner before it could make the announcement that would rocket around the world.
At the time, John Nixon was a senior CIA leadership analyst who had spent years studying the Iraqi dictator. Called upon to make the official ID, Nixon looked for telltale scars and tribal tattoos and asked Hussein a list of questions only he could answer. The man was indeed Saddam Hussein, but as Nixon learned in the ensuing weeks, both he and America had greatly misunderstood just who Saddam Hussein really was.
Debriefing the President presents an astounding, candid portrait of one of our era’s most notorious strongmen. Nixon, the first man to conduct a prolonged interrogation of Hussein after his capture, offers expert insight into the history and mind of America’s most enigmatic enemy. After years of parsing Hussein’s leadership from afar, Nixon faithfully recounts his debriefing sessions and subsequently strips away the mythology surrounding an equally brutal and complex man. His account is not an apology, but a sobering examination of how preconceived ideas led Washington policymakers—and Tony Blair's government —astray. Unflinching and unprecedented, Debriefing the President exposes a fundamental misreading of one of the modern world’s most central figures and presents a new narrative that boldly counters the received account.

Henry VI (Penguin Monarchs)

James Ross

Succeeding to the throne at the age of only nine months, Henry VI had a turbulent reign: he inherited a war with France and, in time, found himself at war with his own nobles. James Ross surveys this eventful life, including Henry's deposition at the hands of Edward IV and his eventual return to the throne.

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