New and forthcoming

A Certain Idea of France

Julian Jackson

'Masterly ... awesome reading ... an outstanding biography' Max Hastings, Sunday Times

A life of the greatest French statesman of modern times

In six weeks in the early summer of 1940, France was over-run by German troops and quickly surrendered. The French government of Marshal Pétain sued for peace and signed an armistice. One little-known junior French general, refusing to accept defeat, made his way to England. On 18 June he spoke to his compatriots over the BBC, urging them to rally to him in London. 'Whatever happens, the flame of French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished.' At that moment, Charles de Gaulle entered into history.

For the rest of the war, de Gaulle frequently bit the hand that fed him. He insisted on being treated as the true embodiment of France, and quarrelled violently with Churchill and Roosevelt. He was prickly, stubborn, aloof and self-contained. But through sheer force of personality and bloody-mindedness he managed to have France recognised as one of the victorious Allies, occupying its own zone in defeated Germany. For ten years after 1958 he was President of France's Fifth Republic, which he created and which endures to this day. His pursuit of 'a certain idea of France' challenged American hegemony, took France out of NATO and twice vetoed British entry into the European Community. His controversial decolonization of Algeria brought France to the brink of civil war and provoked several assassination attempts.

Julian Jackson's magnificent biography reveals this the life of this titanic figure as never before. It draws on a vast range of published and unpublished memoirs and documents - including the recently opened de Gaulle archives - to show how de Gaulle achieved so much during the War when his resources were so astonishingly few, and how, as President, he put a medium-rank power at the centre of world affairs. No previous biography has depicted his paradoxes so vividly. Much of French politics since his death has been about his legacy, and he remains by far the greatest French leader since Napoleon.

A Crack in Creation

Jennifer Doudna (and others)

A handful of discoveries have changed the course of human history. This book is about the most recent and potentially the most powerful and dangerous of them all.

It is an invention that allows us to rewrite the genetic code that shapes and controls all living beings with astonishing accuracy and ease. Thanks to it, the dreams of genetic manipulation have become a stark reality: the power to cure disease and alleviate suffering, to create new sources of food and energy, as well as to re-design any species, including humans, for our own ends.

Jennifer Doudna is the co-inventor of this technology - known as CRISPR - and a scientist of worldwide renown. Writing with fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg, here she provides the definitive account of her discovery, explaining how this wondrous invention works and what it is capable of. She also asks us to consider what our new-found power means: how do we enjoy its unprecedented benefits while avoiding its equally unprecedented dangers?

The future of humankind – and of all life on Earth – is at stake. This book is an essential guide to the path that now lies ahead.

Alone Time

Stephanie Rosenbloom

Travelling with friends and family is usually thought of as a privilege. In theory, anyway. In practice, it's more often about debating which sights to see, panicking over diminishing phone batteries and bickering over what to eat. Not much joy in that. But alone you can do as you please. You can wander markets, relish silence, go to a park. Go to Paris. Why not?

In Alone Time, New York Times travel columnist Stephanie Rosenbloom travels alone in four seasons to four remarkable cities - Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York - exploring the sensory experience of solitude. Along the way she illuminates the psychological arguments for alone time, revealing that whether you recognize it or not, it's good to be alone now and then.

This is a book about the pleasures and benefits of savouring the moment, examining things closely, using all your senses to take in your surroundings, whether travelling to faraway places or walking the streets of your own city. Through on-the-ground observations and anecdotes, and drawing on the thinking of artists, writers and innovators who have cherished solitude, Alone Time lays bare the magic of going solo.

Don't Be a Dick Pete

Stuart Heritage

Stuart Heritage got where he is today by being decent, thoughtful, hardworking and kind. He is, in short, a model citizen. The favourite son.

His younger brother Pete is quick-tempered, peevish and aggressively pig-headed and, for a while, known to his friends as 'Shagger'.

But now, Stu has returned to his hometown to discover that Pete has taken his place.

Don’t Be A Dick, Pete is a hilarious examination of home and family; sons, fathers, fatherhood, sibling relationships and how hard it is to move on in a system that’s loaded with several decades of preconceived ideas about you.

Women are the Future of Islam

Sherin Khankan

The future of Islam is female

Named one of the BBC's 100 Women of 2016, and the subject of interviews in both The Times and the Guardian, Sherin Khankan is one of the very few female imams in the Western World. In addition she has founded the first mosque for women in Europe. In this urgent manifesto this remarkable woman challenges the idea that Islam should be defined by masculinity and conservatism.

In her revelatory book, she addresses urgent contemporary issues, such as the place for modern women in Islam, fundamentalism, radical Islamic groups, Islamic divorce, Sufism, and describes her own personal journey as a female Muslim activist.

Women Are The Future of Islam shines a feminist light on a gentler, more inclusive, more liberal - but also fully engaged - side of Islam that we rarely see in the West. It's an eye-opening, highly topical read.

Gigged

Sarah Kessler

*Financial Times Business Book of the Month*

The full-time job is disappearing. Today more workers than ever are going freelance – driving for Uber or cycling for Deliveroo, developing software or consulting for investment banks. Welcome to the gig economy.

In Gigged, Sarah Kessler meets the people forging this new world of unorthodox employment: from the computer programmer who chooses exactly which hours he works each week, via the Uber driver who is trying to convince his peers to unionise, to the charity worker who thinks freelance gigs might just transform the fortunes of a declining rural town.

Their stories raise crucial questions about the future of work. What happens when job security, holidays and benefits become a thing of the past? How can freelancers find meaningful, well-paid employment? And could the gig economy really change the world of work for ever?


Praise for Gigged

‘Essential reading for anyone who is interested in understanding the future of our economy and society.’ Ha-Joon Chang, author of 23 Things They Dont Tell You About Capitalism

‘Sarah Kessler’s wonderful book offers unprecedented illumination of the promise, and the peril, of the gig economy.’ Martin Ford, author of The Rise of the Robots

‘If you want to know how work is changing and how you too must change to keep up, you must read this book.’ Dan Lyons, author of Disrupted

‘Kessler’s timely book explores the personal, corporate and societal stories behind a massive tech-driven shift away from permanent office-based employment.’ Books of the Month, Financial Times

‘Deep reporting and graceful storytelling . . . Kessler’s analysis is both astute and nuanced.’ Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive

The Spanish Armada: A Ladybird Expert Book

Sam Willis

Part of the ALL-NEW LADYBIRD EXPERT SERIES.

____________

Why did the Spanish launch their Armada on England?

How did Francis Drake counter the Spanish threat?

And why were so many ships lost at sea?


In 1585 Spain was the most POWERFUL Empire in the known world.

As tensions between PROTESTANT England and CATHOLIC Spain rose . . .

SPAIN decided to INVADE ENGLAND.

And launched the SPANISH ARMADA

This raises the question: how did England manage to overthrow the Spanish invasion? Was it luck or judgement?

Discover the answers and more inside Sam Willis's Ladybird Expert - The Spanish Armada, the thrilling and accessible account that explains what happened, who the key figures were and the tactics, triumphs and failures on both sides . . .

Think Again

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong

A masterclass in how to understand each other from the inspiring philosopher who is teaching one of the most popular open online courses

Our personal and political worlds are rife with arguments and disagreements, some of them petty and vitriolic. The inability to compromise and understand the other side is widespread today. What can we do to change this? In Think Again philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong draws on a long tradition of logic to show why we should stop focusing on winning arguments and instead argue in a more constructive way.

Based on a hugely popular online course with more than a million followers around the world, Think Again explains how to analyse, evaluate and make better arguments while also spotting bad reasoning and avoiding certain fallacies. Through lively, practical examples from everyday life, politics and popular culture, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong offers brilliantly straightforward, wise advice that we can all use at work, at home and online.

Trans-Europe Express

Owen Hatherley

'A scathing, lively and timely look at the "European city", from one of our most provocative voices on culture and architecture today' Owen Jones

A searching, timely account of the condition of contemporary Europe, told through the landscapes of its cities

Over the past twenty years European cities have become the envy of the world: a Kraftwerk Utopia of historic centres, supermodernist concert halls, imaginative public spaces and futuristic egalitarian housing estates which, interconnected by high-speed trains traversing open borders, have a combination of order and pleasure which is exceptionally unusual elsewhere.

In Trans-Europe Express, Owen Hatherley sets out to explore the European city across the entire continent, to see what exactly makes it so different to the Anglo-Saxon norm - the unplanned, car-centred, developer-oriented spaces common to the US, Ireland, UK and Australia. Attempting to define the European city, Hatherley finds a continent divided both within the EU and outside it.

'The latest heir to Ruskin.' - Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'Hatherley is the most informed, opinionated and acerbic guide you could wish for.' - Hugh Pearman, Sunday Times

'Can one talk yet of vintage Hatherley? Yes, one can. Here are all the properties that have made him one of the most distinctive writers in England - not just 'architectural writers', but writers full stop: acuity, contrariness, observational rigour, frankness and beautifully wrought prose.' - Jonathan Meades

The Stopping Places

Damian Le Bas

*BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week*

'I needed to get to the stopping places, so I needed to get on the road. It was the road where I might at last find out where I belonged.'

Damian Le Bas grew up surrounded by Gypsy history. His great-grandmother would tell him stories of her childhood in the ancient Romani language; the places her family stopped and worked, the ways they lived, the superstitions and lores of their people. But his own experience of life on the road was limited to Ford Transit journeys from West Sussex to Hampshire to sell flowers.

In a bid to better understand his Gypsy heritage, the history of the Britain's Romanies and the rhythms of their life today, Damian sets out on a journey to discover the atchin tans, or stopping places – the old encampment sites known only to Travellers. Through winter frosts and summer dawns, from horse fairs to Gypsy churches, neon-lit lay-bys to fern-covered banks, Damian lives on the road, somewhere between the romanticised Gypsies of old, and their much-maligned descendants of today.

In this powerful and soulful debut, Damian le Bas brings the places, characters and stories of his to bold and vigorous life.

Fantasyland

Kurt Andersen


You’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts

Fantasy is the USA’s primary product. From the Pilgrim Fathers onward America has been a place where renegades and freaks came in search of freedom to create their own realities with little objectively regulated truth standing in their way. The freedom to invent and believe whatever the hell you like is, in some ways, an unwritten constitutional right. But, this do-your-own-thing freedom also is the driving credo of America's current transformation where the difference between opinion and fact is rapidly crumbling.

So how did we get to this weird pseudo-reality, where science and objective facts are dismissed in favour of opinions and wild speculation, or indeed, fantasies? The post truth, fake news, free-for-all mentality isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. If you want to understand Trump's America, how the lines between reality and illusion have become dangerously blurred, you have to go back to the very beginning and take a dizzying road trip across five centuries of crackpot delusion and make-believe from Salem to Scientology.

Fantasyland is a journey that connects the dots between crazed franchises of true believers – a rich freak show tapestry from Mormons to Flat-Earthers and satanic panic, new age quacks to anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists of every stripe, creationists to climate change deniers, UFO-obsessives to gun-toting libertarians, showmen hucksters from P T Barnum to Trump himself, all topped off with a dangerous dose of anti-government paranoia and pseudoscience. Along the way, New York Times bestselling author Kurt Andersen has created a unique and raucous history of America and a new paradigm for understanding our post-factual world.

The World As It Is

Ben Rhodes

*THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER*

'Intelligent, amiable, compelling and principled ... a classic coming-of-age story, about the journey from idealism to realism, told with candor and immediacy'
NEW YORK TIMES

This is a book about two people making the most important decisions in the world. One is Barack Obama. The other is Ben Rhodes.

The World As It Is tells the full story of what it means to work alongside a radical leader; of how idealism can confront reality and survive; of how the White House really functions; and of what it is to have a partnership, and ultimately a friendship, with a historic president.

A young writer and Washington outsider, Ben Rhodes was plucked from obscurity aged 29. Chosen for his original perspective and gift with language, his role was to help shape the nation’s hopes and sense of itself. For nearly ten years, Rhodes was at the centre of the Obama Administration – first as a speechwriter, then a policymaker, and finally a multi-purpose aide and close collaborator.

Rhodes puts us in the room at the most tense and poignant moments in recent history: starting every morning with Obama in the Daily Briefing; waiting out the bin Laden raid in the Situation Room; reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran; leading secret negotiations with the Cuban government; confronting the resurgence of nationalism that led to the election of Donald Trump.

This is the most vivid portrayal yet of Obama’s presidency. It is an essential record of the last decade. But it also shows us what it means to hold the pen, and to write the words that change our world.

Never miss a story...

Sign up to receive the Penguin newsletter