New and forthcoming

The Prime Minister of Paradise

John Jeremiah Sullivan

As a student working in the dusty archives of the Sewanee Review, John Jeremiah Sullivan came across an article entitled ‘Lost Utopia of the American Frontier’ and was immediately hooked on the dramatic story of a lost book, an alternative history of the South, a white Indian. It was a story he’d chase for the next two decades.

In 1735, a charismatic German lawyer and accused atheist named Christian Gottlieb Priber fled Germany under threat of arrest, bound for colonial South Carolina. In the Cherokee village of Grand Tellico, he created a Utopian society that he named Paradise.

For six years, Paradise was governed by a set of revolutionary ideas that included racial equality, sexual freedom, and a lack of private property, ideas which he chronicled in a mysterious manuscript he called Paradise.

Priber’s ideas were so subversive that he was hunted for half a decade and eventually captured by the British – making headlines across the world – and imprisoned until his death. The only copy of Paradise was apparently destroyed.

Now, in a rare combination of ground-breaking research and stunning narrative skill, award-winning writer John Jeremiah Sullivan brings that lost history vividly to life.

Alone Time

Stephanie Rosenbloom

Travelling with friends and family is usually thought of as a privilege. In theory, anyway. In practice, it's often about debating which sights to see, panicking over diminishing phone batteries and bickering over what to eat. 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. She uses people, places and things to illuminate the psychological arguments for alone time - and in doing so reveals that if you want to be better with others and happier with yourself, living a more enriched life, it's good to occasionally be alone.

This is a book about the pleasures and benefits of savouring the moment, examining things closely, using all the senses. It's about solitude being restorative, benefitting the mind and aiding creativity. Travelling alone means experiencing the sensual details of the world - patterns, textures, colours, tastes and sounds - in ways that are impossible when you're chattering with someone else or keeping half an ear on the pings and bleeps of our ever-present devices.

Through on-the-ground observations and anecdotes, and drawing on the thinking of artists, writers and innovators, Alone Time lays bare the pleasures and magic of going solo.

Ground Work

Tim Dee

We are living in the anthropocene – an epoch where everything is being determined by the activities of just one soft-skinned, warm-blooded, short-lived, pedestrian species. How best to live in the ruins that we have made?

This anthology of commissioned work tries to answer this as it explores new and enduring cultural landscapes, in a celebration of local distinctiveness that includes new work from some of our finest writers. We have memories of childhood homes from Adam Thorpe, Marina Warner and Sean O’Brien; we journey with John Burnside to the Arizona desert, with Tim Ingold to the Canadian Arctic; going from Tessa Hadley’s hymn to her London garden to caving in the Mendips with Sean Borodale to shell-collecting on a Suffolk beach with Julia Blackburn.

Helen Macdonald, in her remarkable piece on growing up in a 50-acre walled estate, reflects on our failed stewardship of the planet: ‘I take stock,’ she says, ‘During this sixth extinction, we who may not have time to do anything else must write now what we can, to take stock.’ This is an important, necessary book.

Walk Through History

Christopher Winn

'What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.' W. H Davies

Walking around London is one of life's great pleasures. There is a huge amount that you can only see on foot – but sometimes it is hard to know where to look.
This book takes the reader on a series of stimulating original walks through different areas of central London, focusing on one particular period of history, the Victorian, so ubiquitous that we take it for granted, and yet so astonishing and so far reaching in its variety, imagination, ambition and detail.

Discover...
..the remarkable 300-foot bell tower you never knew was there....
..the extraordinary fairytale house where the Mikado was inspired..
..the best Victorian loos in the world...
..a hidden chapel described by Oscar Wilde as 'the most delightful private chapel in London'...
..London's best preserved high class Victorian shop…
...an almost complete Victorian townscape boasting the world's oldest surviving mansion block...

Walk through History!

Piers of the Homeless Night

Jack Kerouac

'See my hand up-tipped, learn the secret of my human heart...'

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Stevie Smith; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outerspace.

The Full Montezuma

Peter Moore

Intrepid travel writer Peter Moore recently invited the new love of his life, a.k.a. the girl next door, to join him on a romantic sojourn through Central America. The trip would take them into an area of the world emerging from decades of civil war, an area racked with poverty, disease and natural disasters. Naturally, she jumped at the chance.

Over the next six months they battled hurricanes, mosquitoes, uncooperative border officials and over-sexed Mexican commuters, and along the way they learnt rather more about each other than they really wanted to... From Zapatista rebel heartlands in Mexico to a quiet game of cricket in Jamaica, from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Mitch in Honduras to breathtaking ancient Mayan sites and perfect golden Caribbean beaches, The Full Montezuma chronicles the highs and lows of one couple's journey into the unknown. Written with Moore's wicked sense of humour and his eye for the bizarre, and punctuated by a roll call of annoying habits - map-hogging, over packing, bite-scratching and over-zealous haggling - The Full Montezuma is hilarious, incisive and acutely observed, a cautionary tale for anyone planning to cross a continent with their significant other.

Are We There Yet?

David Smiedt

In 2003, David Smiedt began a journey of discovery around South Africa. As a child his parents had taken him on endless car journeys to teach him the history of their country and tell him about his relatives and the places they had inhabited. 30 years later, he sets out to retrace those journeys but it soon turns into a love letter to his native country.

This is a beautifully written travel book, with the most fantastic sense of smell, sight and sound. David also provides a real insight into the countries people describing how they have been shaped over the years by politics and migrants.

Scraps of Wool

Bill Colegrave

For more than forty years I have collected and read travel books... I marked passages that enthused me and so gathered a library that was annotated by triangular corner-folds and barely decipherable jottings. This was my own inadvertent wool-gathering...

Scraps of Wool is a celebration of travel writing, bringing together in a single volume passages that have enthralled generations of readers, encouraged them to dream of exploration and set off on journeys of their own.
Compiled by Bill Colegrave, its excerpts have been selected by today’s travel writers and journalists, who have revealed the books that influenced them: Dervla Murphy, Tony Wheeler, Rory MacLean, Pico Iyer, Jan Morris, Colin Thubron, Artemis Cooper, Sara Wheeler, Alexander Frater and many more.

Each of these scraps is a document of the writer’s passion for place – thick equatorial jungle, the soft ergs of the Sahara, Patagonian steppe – and each story, each memory will transport you to a different corner of the globe, and maybe even inspire you to plan your own great adventure.

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.

The Meaning of Rice

Michael Booth

'The next Bill Bryson.’ New York Times

In this often hilarious yet deeply researched book, food and travel writer Michael Booth and his family embark on an epic journey the length of Japan to explore its dazzling food culture. They find a country much altered since their previous visit ten years earlier (which resulted in the award-winning international bestseller Sushi and Beyond).

Over the last decade the country’s restaurants have won a record number of Michelin stars and its cuisine was awarded United Nations heritage status. The world’s top chefs now flock to learn more about the extraordinary dedication of Japan’s food artisans, while the country’s fast foods – ramen, sushi and yakitori – have conquered the world. As well as the plaudits, Japan is also facing enormous challenges. Ironically, as Booth discovers, the future of Japan’s culinary heritage is under threat.

Often venturing far off the beaten track, the author and his family discover intriguing future food trends and meet a fascinating cast of food heroes, from a couple lavishing love on rotten fish, to a chef who literally sacrificed a limb in pursuit of the ultimate bowl of ramen, and a farmer who has dedicated his life to growing the finest rice in the world… in the shadow of Fukushima. They dine in the greatest restaurant in the world, meet the world champion of cakes, and encounter wild bears. Booth is invited to judge the world sushi championship, ‘enjoys’ the most popular Japanese dish you have never heard of aboard a naval destroyer, and unearths the unlikely story of the Englishwoman who helped save the seaweed industry.

Sushi and Beyond was also a bestseller in Japanese where its success has had improbable consequences for Booth and his family. They now star in their own popular cartoon series produced by national broadcaster NHK.

In Patagonia

Bruce Chatwin (and others)

When Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia was published in 1977 it heralded the arrival of a startling new talent in British literature. Critics were surprised and spellbound by a story of an adventure which blurred the boundaries between travel writing, biography, history and memoir. All readers recognised its timeless quality – Auberon Waugh went as far as to call it ‘a classic’.

Forty years later, Chatwin’s first book continues to inspire generations of travellers and writers. This 40th anniversary edition celebrates the enduring status of In Patagonia and includes a host of material from the archive to recreate the book’s genesis and publication.

Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations

Simon Jenkins

The Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller

The perfect new gift from the bestselling author of Britain's 1000 Best Churches

It is the scene for our hopeful beginnings and our intended ends, and the timeless experiences of coming and going, meeting, greeting and parting. It is an institution with its own rituals and priests, and a long-neglected aspect of Britain's architecture. And yet so little do we look at the railway station.

Simon Jenkins has travelled the length and breadth of Great Britain, from Waterloo to Wemyss Bay, Betws-y-Coed to Beverley, to select his hundred best. Blending his usual insight and authority with his personal reflections and experiences - including his founding the Railway Heritage Trust - the foremost expert on our national heritage deftly reveals the history, geography, design and significance of each of these glories.

Beautifully illustrated with colour photographs throughout, this joyous exploration of our social history shows the station's role in the national imagination; champions the engineers, architects and rival companies that made them possible; and tells the story behind the triumphs and follies of these very British creations.

These are the marvellous, often undersung places that link our nation, celebrated like never before.