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The Cut Out Girl

Bart van Es (Author)

An astonishing, moving story of a young girl's struggle for survival during war

'Luminous, elegant, haunting - I read it straight through' Philippe Sands, Author of East West Street

The last time Lien saw her parents was in the Hague, where she was collected at the door by a stranger and taken away to be hidden from the Nazis. She was raised by her foster family as one of their own, but a falling out after the war put an end of to their relationship. What was her side of the story, Bart van Es - a grandson of the couple who looked after Lien - wondered? What really happened during the war, and after? So began an investigation that would consume and transform both Bart's life and Lien's. This is an astonishing portrait of a young girl's struggle to survive war, and her powerful, tumultuous and painful ties with her foster family.

'Remarkable, deeply moving' Penelope Lively

'An awe-inspiring account of the tragedies and triumphs within the world of the Holocaust's "hide-away" children, and of the families who sheltered them' Georgia Hunter, author of We Were the Lucky Ones

'Harrowing and beautiful' The Bookseller

Auschwitz

Sybille Steinbacher (Author)

At the terrible heart of the modern age lies Auschwitz. In a total inversion of earlier hopes about the use of science and technology to improve, extend and protect human life, Auschwitz manipulated the same systems to quite different ends. In Sybille Steinbacher's terse, powerful new book, the reader is led through the process by which something unthinkable to any European in the 1930s had become a sprawling, industrial reality during the course of the world war. How Auschwitz grew and mutated into an entire dreadful city, how both those who managed it and those who were killed by it came to be in Poland in the 1940s, and how it was allowed to happen, is something everyone needs to understand.

Red Famine

Anne Applebaum (Author)

Winner of the Duff Cooper and Lionel Gelber prizes

In 1932-33, nearly four million Ukrainians died of starvation, having been deliberately deprived of food. It is one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the twentieth century. With unprecedented authority and detail, Red Famine investigates how this happened, who was responsible, and what the consequences were. It is the fullest account yet published of these terrible events.

The book draws on a mass of archival material and first-hand testimony only available since the end of the Soviet Union, as well as the work of Ukrainian scholars all over the world. It includes accounts of the famine by those who survived it, describing what human beings can do when driven mad by hunger. It shows how the Soviet state ruthlessly used propaganda to turn neighbours against each other in order to expunge supposedly 'anti-revolutionary' elements. It also records the actions of extraordinary individuals who did all they could to relieve the suffering.

The famine was rapidly followed by an attack on Ukraine's cultural and political leadership - and then by a denial that it had ever happened at all. Census reports were falsified and memory suppressed. Some western journalists shamelessly swallowed the Soviet line; others bravely rejected it, and were undermined and harassed. The Soviet authorities were determined not only that Ukraine should abandon its national aspirations, but that the country's true history should be buried along with its millions of victims. Red Famine, a triumph of scholarship and human sympathy, is a milestone in the recovery of those memories and that history. At a moment of crisis between Russia and Ukraine, it also shows how far the present is shaped by the past.

Curiocity

Henry Eliot (Author) , Matt Lloyd-Rose (Author)

'The most ingenious, informative, inimitable, individual, innovative, insightful, inspiring, instructive, intelligible, intoxicating, intricate guide to the great city that I have ever seen. Bravo!' Philip Pullman

Curiocity is a London book unlike any other. Its 26 chapters weave together facts, myths, stories, riddles, essays, diagrams, illustrations and itineraries to explore every aspect of life in the capital. At the heart of each chapter is a hand-drawn map, charting everything from thecity's islands and underground spaces, to its erogenous zones and dystopian futures. Taking you from Atlas to Zones, via Congestion, Folkmoot, Pearls and Xenophilia, Curiocity will transform the way you see London.

'The greatest book about London published in modern times ... an illuminated manuscript for the 21st century city' Londonist

'Here is something different ... the literary equivalent of Sir John Soane's Museum ... quite breathtaking' The Times Literary Supplement

'Remarkable ... a nerdy Londoner's paradise ... an exquisite 450-page cross between an encyclopaedia and an artwork' Evening Standard

'Utterly extraordinary' Tom Holland

'However well you think you know London, you will discover something newon virtually every page, and the things you know well will be seen completely differently' The London Society

William III & Mary II (Penguin Monarchs)

Jonathan Keates (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

William III (1689-1702) & Mary II (1689-94) (Britain's only ever 'joint monarchs') changed the course of the entire country's history, coming to power through a coup (which involved Mary betraying her own father), reestablishing parliament on a new footing and, through commiting Britain to fighting France, initiating an immensely long period of warfare and colonial expansion.

Jonathan Keates' wonderful book makes both monarchs vivid, the cold, shrewd 'Dutch' William and the shortlived Mary, whose life and death inspired Purcell to write some of his greatest music.

George V (Penguin Monarchs)

David Cannadine (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

For a man with such conventional tastes and views, George V had a revolutionary impact. Almost despite himself he marked a decisive break with his flamboyant predecessor Edward VII, inventing the modern monarchy, with its emphasis on frequent public appearances, family values and duty. George V was an effective war-leader and inventor of 'the House of Windsor'. In an era of ever greater media coverage - frequently filmed and initiating the British Empire Christmas broadcast - George became for 25 years a universally recognised figure. He was also the only British monarch to take his role as Emperor of India seriously. While his great rivals (Tsar Nicolas and Kaiser Wilhelm) ended their reigns in catastrophe, he plodded on.

David Cannadine's sparkling account of his reign could not be more enjoyable, a masterclass in how to write about Monarchy, that central - if peculiar - pillar of British life.

Henry VIII (Penguin Monarchs)

John Guy (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

Henry VIII's reign transformed the physical and spiritual landscape of England. Magnificent, tyrannical, a strong ruler, a 'pillager of the commonwealth', this most notorious of kings remains a figure of extreme contradictions: a devout traditionalist who oversaw a cataclysmic rupture with the church in Rome; a talented, charismatic, imposing figure who nevertheless could not bear to meet people's eyes when he talked to them. In this revealing new account, John Guy explores how Henry himself understood the world and his place in it - from his sheltered and increasingly isolated upbringing and the blazing glory of his accession; to his desperate quest for recognition, fame and an heir, and the terrifying paranoia of his last, agonising, 54-inch-waisted years - and in doing so casts new light on his choice of wives and ministers, his impact on the European stage, and his extraordinary legacy.

Henry II (Penguin Monarchs)

Richard Barber (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

Henry II (1154-89) through a series of astonishing dynastic coups became the ruler of an enormous European empire. One of the most dynamic, restless and clever men ever to rule England, he was brought down both by his catastrophic relationship with his archbishop Thomas Becket and his debilitating arguments with his sons, most importantly the future Richard I and King John. His empire may have ultimately collapsed, but in Richard Barber's vivid and sympathetic account the reader can see why Henry II left such a compelling impression on his contemporaries.

Richard Barber has written for Penguin The Penguin Guide to Medieval Europe, The Holy Grail and Edward III and the Triumph of England. He is a major figure in medieval studies, both as a writer and as a publisher.

Edward VI (Penguin Monarchs)

Stephen Alford (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

Edward VI, the only son of Henry VIII, became king at the age of nine and died wholly unexpectedly at the age of fifteen. All around him loomed powerful men who hoped to use the child to further their own ends, but who were also playing a long game - assuming that Edward would long outlive them and become as commanding a figure as his father had been.

Stephen Alford's wonderful book gives full play to the murky, sinister nature of Edward's reign, but is also a poignant account of a boy learning to rule, learning to enjoy his growing power and to come out of the shadows of the great aristocrats around him. England's last child monarch, Edward would have led his country in a quite different direction to the catastrophic one caused by his death.

William I (Penguin Monarchs)

Marc Morris (Author)

Part of the Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

On Christmas Day 1066, William, duke of Normandy was crowned in Westminster, the first Norman king of England. It was a disaster: soldiers outside, thinking shouts of acclamation were treachery, torched the surrounding buildings. To later chroniclers, it was an omen of the catastrophes to come.

During the reign of William the Conqueror, England experienced greater and more seismic change than at any point before or since. Marc Morris's concise and gripping biography sifts through the sources of the time to give a fresh view of the man who changed England more than any other, as old ruling elites were swept away, enemies at home and abroad (including those in his closest family) were crushed, swathes of the country were devastated and the map of the nation itself was redrawn, giving greater power than ever to the king.

When, towards the end of his reign, William undertook a great survey of his new lands, his subjects compared it to the last judgement of God, the Domesday Book. England had been transformed forever.

Edward VII (Penguin Monarchs)

Richard Davenport-Hines (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

Like his mother Queen Victoria, Edward VII defined an era. Both reflected the personalities of their central figures: hers grand, imperial and pretty stiff; his no less grand, but much more relaxed and enjoyable. This book conveys Edward's distinct personality and significant influences. To the despair of his parents, he rebelled as a young man, conducting many affairs and living a life of pleasure. But as king he made a distinct contribution to European diplomacy and - which is little known - to London, laying out the Mall and Admiralty Arch.

Richard Davenport-Hines's book is as enjoyable as its subject and the age he made.

Elizabeth II (Penguin Monarchs)

Douglas Hurd (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

Elizabeth II is the longest-serving monarch who ever sat on the English or British throne. Yet her personality and influence remain elusive. This book, by a senior politician who has spent significant periods of time in her company, and is also a distinguished historian, portrays her more credibly than any other yet published.

Douglas Hurd was a politician, biographer and novelist who served in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, as Minister for Europe (1979-83), Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1984-85), Home Secretary (1985-89) and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1989-95). His previous books include his Memoirs, Robert Peel: A Biography and, with Edward Young, Choose Your Weapons: The British Foreign Secretary - 200 Years of Argument, Success and Failure.

Charles I (Penguin Monarchs)

Mark Kishlansky (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

The tragedy of Charles I dominates one of the most strange and painful periods in British history as the whole island tore itself apart over a deadly, entangled series of religious and political disputes. In Mark Kishlansky's brilliant account it is never in doubt that Charles created his own catastrophe, but he was nonetheless opposed by men with far fewer scruples and less consistency who for often quite contradictory reasons conspired to destroy him. This is a remarkable portrait of one of the most talented, thoughtful, loyal, moral, artistically alert and yet, somehow, disastrous of all this country's rulers.

Richard II (Penguin Monarchs)

Laura Ashe (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

Richard II (1377-99) came to the throne as a child, following the long, domineering, martial reign of his grandfather Edward III. He suffered from the disastrous combination of a most exalted sense of his own power and an inability to impress that power on those closest to the throne. Neither trusted nor feared, Richard battled with a whole series of failures and emergencies before finally succumbing to a coup, imprisonment and murder.

Laura Ashe's brilliant account of his reign emphasizes the strange gap between Richard's personal incapacity and the amazing cultural legacy of his reign - from the Wilton Diptych to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Piers Plowman and The Canterbury Tales.

Victoria (Penguin Monarchs)

Jane Ridley (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

Queen Victoria inherited the throne at 18 and went on to become the longest-reigning female monarch in history, in a time of intense industrial, cultural, political, scientific and military change within the United Kingdom and great imperial expansion outside of it (she was made Empress of India in 1876). Overturning the established picture of the dour old lady, this is a fresh and engaging portrait from one of our most talented royal biographers.

Jane Ridley is Professor of Modern History at Buckingham University, where she teaches a course on biography. Her previous books include The Young Disraeli; a study of Edwin Lutyens, The Architect and his Wife, which won the 2003 Duff Cooper Prize; and the best-selling Bertie: A Life of Edward VII.

Edward VIII (Penguin Monarchs)

Piers Brendon (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

'After my death', George V said of his eldest son and heir, 'the boy will ruin himself in 12 months'. From the death of his father in 1936 to the constitutional crisis provoked by his proposal to the then-married American socialite Wallis Simpson and his subsequent abdication, Edward VIII reigned for less than year. In choosing the woman he loved over his royal birthright, Edward fulfilled his father's prophecy and instigated the monarchy's most significant upheaval of the twentieth century. Retitled 'Duke of Windsor' and essentially exiled, Edward has remained a controversial figure ever since. Through his correspondence with, amongst other confidants, Winston Churchill, Piers Brendon traces Edward's tumultuous life in this superb, pacey biography.

Edward III (Penguin Monarchs)

Jonathan Sumption (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

Edward III ruled England for fifty years. He was a paragon of kingship in the eyes of his contemporaries, the perfect king in those of later generations. Venerated as the victor of Sluys and Crécy and the founder of the Order of the Garter, he was regarded with awe even by his enemies. But he lived too long, and was ultimately condemned to see thirty years of conquests reversed in less than five. In this gripping new account of Edward III's rise and fall, Jonathan Sumption introduces us to a fêted king who ended his life a heroic failure.

Jonathan Sumption is a former history fellow of Magdalen College Oxford. He is the author of Pilgrimage and The Albigensian Crusade, as well as the first four volumes in his celebrated history of the Hundred Years War, Trial by Battle, Trial by Fire, Divided Houses and Cursed Kings. He was awarded the 2009 Wolfson History Prize for Divided Houses.

Edward I (Penguin Monarchs)

Andy King (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

Edward I (1272-1307) is one of the most commanding of all English rulers. He fought in southwest France, in Wales, In Scotland and in northern France, he ruled with ruthlessness and confidence, undoing the chaotic failure of his father, Henry III's reign. He reshaped England's legal system and came close to bringing the whole island of Great Britain under his rule. He promoted the idea of himself as the new King Arthur, his Round Table still hanging in Winchester Castle to this day. His greatest monuments are the extraordinary castles - Caernarfon, Beaumaris, Harlech and Conwy - built to ensure his rule of Wales and some of the largest of all medieval buildings.

Andy King's brilliant short biography brings to life a strange, complex man whose triumphs raise all kinds of questions about the nature of kingship - how could someone who established so many key elements in England's unique legal and parliamentary system also have been such a harsh, militarily brutal warrior?

Athelstan (Penguin Monarchs)

Tom Holland (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

The formation of England happened against the odds - the division of the country into rival kingdoms, the assaults of the Vikings, the precarious position of the island on the edge of the known world. But King Alfred ensured the survival of Wessex, his son Eadweard expanded it, and his grandson Æthelstan finally united Mercia and Wessex, conquered Northumbria and became Rex totius Britanniae.

Tom Holland recounts this extraordinarily exciting story with relish and drama. We meet the great figures of the age, including Alfred and his daughter Æthelflæd, 'Lady of the Mercians', who brought Æthelstan up at the Mercian court. At the end of the book we understand the often confusing history of the Anglo-Saxon kings better than ever before.

Charles II (Penguin Monarchs)

Clare Jackson (Author)

The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback

Charles II has always been one of the most instantly recognisable British kings - both in his physical appearance, disseminated through endless portraits, prints and pub signs, and in his complicated mix of lasciviousness, cynicism and luxury. His father's execution and his own many years of exile made him a guarded, curious, unusually self-conscious ruler. He lived through some of the most striking events in the national history - from the Civil Wars to the Great Plague, from the Fire of London to the wars with the Dutch.

Clare Jackson's marvellous book takes full advantage of its irrepressible subject.

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