Your cart is empty
'The best book about the Windsors for decades' Petronella Wyatt The intimate biography of one of the most misunderstood women in British royal history. His charisma and glamour ensured him the status of a rock star prince. Yet Edward gave up the British throne, the British Empire and his position as Emperor of India, to marry his true love, American divorcee Wallis Simpson. So much gossip and innuendo has been levelled at Wallis Simpson that it has become nearly impossible to discern the real woman. Many have wondered why, when Edward could have had anyone he desired, he was smitten with this unusual American woman. As her friend Herman Rogers said to her in 1936 when news of her affair with Edward broke: 'Much of what is being said concerns a woman who does not exist and never did exist.' History is mostly perceived from the perspective of his-story. But what about her story? Anna Pasternak's new book is the first ever to give Wallis a chance and a voice to show that she was a warm, loyal, intelligent woman adored by her friends, who was written off by cunning, influential Establishment men seeking to diminish her and destroy her reputation. As the author argues, far from being the villain of the abdication, she was the victim. Anna Pasternak seeks to understand an unusual, deeply misunderstood woman, and the untenable situation she became embroiled in. Using testimony from their inner circle of friends, she presents a very different Wallis Simpson. With empathy, intimacy and thorough research, this book will make readers view her story as it has never been told before.
Historian and popular BBC TV presenter Ruth Goodman, author of How to Be a Tudor, offers up a history of Renaissance Britain - the offensive language, insulting gestures, insolent behaviour, brawling and scandal of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries - with practical tips on just how to horrify the Tudor neighbours. From royalty to peasantry, every age has its bad eggs, those who break all the rules and rub everyone up the wrong way. But their niggling, anti-social and irritating ways not only tell us about what upset people, but also what mattered to them, how their society functioned and what kind of world they lived in. In this brilliantly nitty-gritty exploration of real life in the Tudor and Stuart age, you will discover: - how to choose the perfect insult, whether it be draggletail, varlet, flap, saucy fellow, strumpet, ninny-hammer or stinkard - why quoting Shakespeare was very poor form - the politics behind men kissing each other on the lips - why flashing the inside of your hat could repulse someone - the best way to mock accents, preachers, soldiers and pretty much everything else besides Ruth Goodman draws upon advice books and manuals, court cases and sermons, drama and imagery to outline bad behaviour from the gauche to the galling, the subtle to the outrageous. It is a celebration of drunkards, scolds, harridans and cross dressers in a time when calling a man a fool could get someone killed, and cursing wasn't just rude, it worked! 'Ruth is the queen of living history - long may she reign!' Lucy Worsley
At the darkest moment of the year, when the nights seem endless and the days very short, comes that most joyful of festivals. Christmas is a truly magical season, bringing families and friends together to share the much-loved customs and traditions that over the centuries have come to surround this heart-warming and deeply symbolic occasion. Each family has their own personal traditions, and ways they celebrate the special day. Yet underneath the tinsel, fairy lights and wrapping paper are many long-standing traditions that we all know and love. Why do we drag a fir tree inside our house and decorate it? How long Santa has been delivering gifts to good children? What would Christmas be like without mince pies? We owe a lot to the Victorians. They transformed the way Britain celebrated Christmas in the 19th century and we continue with their traditions today. In 1848 a British confectioner by the name of Tom Smith came up with the idea of wrapping sweets inside a package that snapped when pulled apart. It was the Victorians that really centred Christmas round the family, with the eating of a Christmas dinner together, giving gifts and playing games. All these things have become central to a British Christmas Day.
Discover the hidden history of Britain through the stories of its 'lost' or abandoned places and buildings.
Portillo's Secret History of Britain presents a compelling and wonderfully evocative history of Britain through the stories of its 'lost' or abandoned places and buildings. The chapters cover a variety of historical themes: Crime and Punishment, Health and Medicine, Defence and Warfare, and Entertainment and Leisure. Using a combination of his own investigations and archive research, plus memories and quotations from the contributors he interviewed for the series, Michael Portillo explains what the buildings were used for and by whom, why they were abandoned, and what they can tell us about our past. For example:
* Learn what the ruins of London Road Fire and Police Station in Manchester reveal about the history of the emergency services in the last 100 years
* How Bradford's art deco Odeon cinema encapsulates a century of film-making and movie-going
With evocative text that brings each location vividly to life, Michael Portillo describes the building and its activities in its heyday and compares this past life with its faded grandeur or melancholic abandonment seen today. Filled with fascinating insights and observations, his narrative provides a compelling and original perspective on Britain's social and military history.
Portillo's Hidden History of Britain features deserted villages, abandoned prisons, closed-down cinemas, empty hospitals, derelict military bases, sewers and much more. Complementing the text are 16 pages of atmospheric and informative photographs.
Why did Asquith take Britain to war in 1914? What did educated young men believe their role should be? What was it like to fly over the Somme battlefield? How could a trench on the front line be 'the safest place'? These compelling eye-witness accounts convey what it was really like to experience the first two years of the war up until the fall of Asquith's government, without the benefit of hindsight or the accumulated wisdom of a hundred years of discussion and writing. Using the rich manuscript resources of the Bodleian Libraries, the book features key extracts from letters and diaries of members of the Cabinet, academic and literary figures, student soldiers and a village rector. The letters of politicians reveal the strain of war leadership and throw light on the downfall of Asquith in 1916, while the experiences of the young Harold Macmillan in the trenches, vividly described in letters home, marked the beginning of his road to Downing Street. It was forbidden to record Cabinet discussions, but Lewis Harcourt's unauthorised diary provides a window on Asquith's government, complete with character sketches of some of the leading players, including Winston Churchill. Meanwhile, in one Essex village, the local rector compiled a diary to record the impact of war on his community. These fascinating contemporary papers paint a highly personal and immediate picture of the war as it happened. Fear, anger, death and sorrow are always present, but so too are idealism, excitement, humour, boredom and even beauty.
The year was 1935: the twilight of the English aristocracy. It was a time of wealth and glamour; of lavish balls and evening gowns; of tiaras and a coronation. As personal maid to Lady Coventry, Hilda Newman had a unique insight into the leisured life of one of Britain's most noble families. In her fascinating memoir of life upstairs and down, Hilda takes us back to this period between the wars; a gilded era which would soon be dramatically changed by the Second World War. Transplanted from a tiny house with no bath or hot water to an eighteenth-century Neo-Palladian mansion, Hilda's life changed beyond recognition. But in a time when the very foundations of British society were being shaken to their core, the luxurious life of the country nobility couldn't last. The Second World War brought more turbulence with it, and Croome Court, where Hilda had lived and worked, became a haven for the Dutch Royal Family fleeing Nazi occupation, whilst also home to a top-secret RAF base. The lavish banquets and decadent parties had become a thing of the past. Hilda's story takes us back to a bygone era, showing us what life was really like in England's classic country manors of old - and uncovers the real lives of the people who occupied them, from wealthy lord to lowly servant.
'Wonderfully dramatic ... Probably the juiciest court scandal of the past 500 years' Christopher Hudson, Daily Mail 'A sordid yet fascinating story' Antonia Fraser, The Times In the autumn of 1615 the Earl and Countess of Somerset were detained on suspicion of having murdered Sir Thomas Overbury. The arrest of these leading court figures created a sensation. The young and beautiful Countess of Somerset had already achieved notoriety when she had divorced her first husband in controversial circumstances. The Earl of Somerset was one of the richest and most powerful men in the kingdom, having risen to prominence as the male 'favourite' of England's homosexual monarch, James I. In the coming weeks it was claimed that, after sending Sir Thomas Overbury poisoned tarts and jellies, the Somersets had finally killed him by arranging for an enema of mercury sublimate to be administered. In a vivid narrative, Anne Somerset unravels these extraordinary events, which were widely regarded as an extreme manifestation of the corruption and vice that disfigured the court during this period. It is, at once, a story rich in passion and intrigue and a murder mystery, for, despite the guilty verdicts, there is much about Overbury's death that remains enigmatic. Infinitely more than a gripping personal tragedy, the Overbury murder case profoundly damaged the monarchy, and constituted the greatest court scandal in English history.
Pitkin is proud to introduce the tale of one man's ascent from relatively humble origins to international legend. To many, Walter Raleigh was a pirate, traitor, scholar, coloniser, explorer, soldier, poet, adventurer, scientist, cartographer, botanist, fashionista and Favourite of a queen. He is credited with introducing tobacco and potatoes to England. Although not everything he did resulted in success, his exploits never lacked ambition or self-confidence. He left his mark on England, parts of Europe and America.
'This book gives a marvelous glimpse into a lost and luscious Victorian world, peopled not only with plants but with energetic, ambitious - and sometimes frankly bonkers - characters.' Lucy Worsley 'Not since Anna Pavord's The Tulip has a book so brilliantly captured the spirit of its subject. Kate Teltscher's Palace of Palms is a glorious headrush into Victorian history via one of the most iconic and beautiful glasshouses in the world. This is a bright, shining jewel of a book, a hedonists' delight and an escapists' antidote to the humdrum.' Amanda Foreman Daringly innovative when it opened in 1848, the Palm House in Kew Gardens remains one of the most beautiful glass buildings in the world today. Seemingly weightless, vast and yet light, the Palm House floats free from architectural convention, at once monumental and ethereal. From a distance, the crowns of the palms within are silhouetted in the central dome; close to, banana leaves thrust themselves against the glass. To enter it is to enter a tropical fantasy. The body is assaulted by heat, light, and the smell of damp vegetation. In Palace of Palms, Kate Teltscher tells the extraordinary story of its creation and of the Victorians' obsession with the palms that filled it. It is a story of breathtaking ambition, of scientific discovery and, crucially, of the remarkable men whose vision it was. The Palm House was commissioned by the charismatic first Director of Kew, Sir William Hooker, designed by the audacious Irish engineer, Richard Turner, and managed by Kew's forthright curator, John Smith, who battled with boilers and floods to ensure the survival of the rare and wondrous plants it housed.
A lively, authoritative biography of one of the towering figures in British history who became Prime Minister at the age of twenty-four, written by the youngest-ever leader of the Tory Party. Prime Minister in 1783 deeply underestimated and completely beleaguered. Yet he annihilated his opponents in the General Election the following year and dominated the governing of Britain for twenty-two years, nearly nineteen of them as Prime Minister. No British politician since then has exercised such supremacy for so long. brought about the union with Ireland, and directed, and was ultimately consumed by], the years of debilitating war with France. Domestic crises included unrest in Ireland, deep division in the royal family, the madness of the King and a full-scale naval mutiny. He enjoyed huge success, yet died at the nadir of his fortunes, struggling to maintain a government beset by a thin majority at home and military disaster abroad; he worked, worried and drank himself to death.Finally, his story is told with the drama, wit and authority it deserves
A refreshed reissue of the 1952 classic Treasure on Earth. A vivid and charming account of Christmas in an Edwardian country house. '... the weather did not matter. How could it, with a house full of delightful visitors and such a house to play in? There would be the Christmas tree with all its presents; games in the drawing room, music and dancing in the hall... and all the time everybody, particularly the grown-ups, happy, good-humoured, joking and jolly, ready at any moment to romp and play the fool.' Phyllis Sandeman, who was brought up at Lyme Park in Cheshire, recalls the celebrations, the theatricals, the relationships between family and servants, and her own childhood hopes and fears. The book contains lovely hand-drawn illustrations from Phyllis herself, showing opulent scenes of the house's architecture, the bustling kitchen during Christmas, as well as sketches of its inhabitants, including the family dog. A truly heart-warming Christmas story from a by-gone era.
Bestselling royal historian David Starkey's captivating biography is a radical re-evaluation of Henry VIII, the British monarchy's most enduring icon. Larger than life in every sense, Henry VIII was Britain's most absolute monarch - but he was not born to rule. In this brilliantly readable history, David Starkey follows the promising young prince - a Renaissance man of exceptional musical and athletic talent - as he is thrust into the limelight after the death of his elder brother. His subsequent quest for fame was as obsessive as that of any modern celebrity, and his yearning for a male heir drove him into dangerous territory. The culmination of a lifetime's research, David Starkey's biography is an unforgettable portrait of the man behind the controversies, the prince turned tyrant who continues to tower over history.
True-life recollections from the Channel Islanders who were the only British subjects to live under Nazi rule in WWII. 'An absolutely fascinating account of life under German rule in the Channel Islands during the war. As a Guernsey girl I grew up with these stories and recognise family and friends in these pages. Duncan Barrett has done a brilliant job of reflecting the peculiar challenges that existed for those living under occupation. It is an under-told story of an extraordinary time in recent British history.' - Sarah Montague, The Today Programme presenter. **The new book from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Sugar Girls** In the summer of 1940, Britain stood perilously close to invasion. One by one, the nations of Europe had fallen to the unstoppable German Blitzkrieg, and Hitler's sights were set on the English coast. And yet, following the success of the Battle of Britain, the promised invasion never came. The prospect of German jackboots landing on British soil retreated into the realm of collective nightmares. But the spectre of what might have been is one that has haunted us down the decades, finding expression in counterfactual history and outlandish fictions. What would a British occupation have looked like? The answer lies closer to home than we think, in the experiences of the Channel Islanders - the only British people to bear the full brunt of German Occupation. For five years, our nightmares became their everyday reality. The people of Guernsey, Jersey and Sark got to know the enemy as those on the mainland never could, watching in horror as their towns and villages were suddenly draped in Swastika flags, their cinemas began showing Nazi propaganda films, and Wehrmacht soldiers goose-stepped down their highstreets. Those who resisted the regime, such as the brave men and women who set up underground newspapers or sheltered slave labourers, encountered the full force of Nazi brutality. But in the main, the Channel Islands occupation was a 'model' one, a prototype for how the Fuhrer planned to run mainland Britain. As a result, the stories of the islanders are not all misery and terror. Many, in fact are rather funny - tales of plucky individuals trying to get by in almost impossible circumstances, and keeping their spirits up however they could. Unlike their compatriots on the mainland, the islanders had no Blitz to contend with, but they met the thousand other challenges the war brought with a similar indomitable spirit. The story of the Channel Islands during the war is the history that could so nearly have come to pass for the rest of us. Based on interviews with over a hundred islanders who lived through it, this book tells that story from beginning to end, opening the lid on life in Hitler's British Isles.
First published as The Scottish Folksinger in 1973, edited by Norman Buchan and Peter Hall, this book is a perfect introduction to the world of Scottish folk songs. Supported by the Traditional Music & Song Association of Scotland (TMSA). Enjoy discovering - or re-discovering - gems of the Scottish Folk tradition. A pocket-size guide to the very best Scottish folk songs, with the melodic line and guitar chords printed for each song. Arranged in themes, and with songs for all occasions and moods, they paint a picture of Scottish life and culture over a wide geographic area and historical period. * each song is presented with its melodic line and guitar chords * includes favourites such as Skyscraper Wean, Skinny Malinky Lang Legs, Wha'll be King but Charlie?, Jock Tamson's Tripe, Barbara Allan and Lamkin * a celebration in song of Scottish cultural heritage
From the author of 'Wartime' comes an outstanding history of the most sustained onslaught ever endured by Britain's civilian population - the Blitz. September 1940 marked the beginning of Nazi Germany's aerial attack on civilian Britain. Lasting eight months, the Blitz was the form of warfare that had been predicted throughout the 1930s, and that the British people had feared since Neville Chamberlain's declaration that Britain was at war. Images of Britain's devastated cities are among the most iconic of the Second World War. Yet compared with other great moments of that war - Dunkirk, the North African campaign, D-Day - the Blitz remains curiously unexamined. Apart from fragmentary accounts and local records, there is little in the way of a comprehensive account of the experience that so many British civilians went through - as well as the social, political and cultural implications of the bombardment. Designed to break the morale of the British population, the nightly bombings certainly did devastate. But, as Juliet Gardiner shows in this hugely important book, they also served to galvanise the nation; from those terrifying eight months, a new determination amongst people and politicians steadily emerged. Revealing, original and beautifully written, 'The Blitz' is a much-needed exploration of one of the most important moments in Second World War history.
From the playing fields of Eton via the horrors of the Western Front to the pinnacle of political power in 20th-century Britain - a brilliant collective biography of Harold Macmillan, Lord Salisbury, Oliver Lyttleton and Harry Crookshank. Harold Macmillan, Oliver Lyttleton, Bobbety Cranbourne and Harry Crookshank all arrived at Eton in 1906, all served on the Western Front in the same battalion of the Grenadier Guards and all served in Cabinet under Winston Churchill during World War II. They helped Churchill regain Downing Street in 1951 and once more joined his Cabinet as senior figures. These four men who were lifelong friends (and sometimes enemies), argued and fought their way up the political ladder for over forty years. The theme of Simon Ball's brilliant book is a race, willingly entered into by these four men, for power and glory. `Politics is not a flat race, it's a steeplechase,' as Churchill once told Macmillan. And through the collective biography, Ball presents an extraordinary portrait of political ambition and intrigue from World War II until Macmillan's resignation as Prime Minister in 1963, tracing the lives of his four protagonists through the trauma of the trenches, the Treaty of Versailles and the rebuilding of Europe after the Great War. Ball has based the book on years of original research in many archives and has had exclusive access to the Salisbury papers, closed to the public until 2022. The Guardsmen is a work of significant scholarship that presents a gripping account of British politics in the 20th-century.
Disraeli is one of the most fascinating men of the 19th century. This masterly biography, written by an outstanding popular historian, concentrates on his intriguing private life. Superb politician, orator, writer and wit, Benjamin Disraeli was - according to Queen Victoria - `the kindest Minister' she had ever had, who `reached the top of the greasy pole' [in his own words] despite considerable antisemitism. He enjoyed many scandalous affairs before marrying a widow twelve years older than himself - an extremely eccentric woman to whom he remained deeply and touchingly devoted for the rest of his life. Disraeli had never intended to be a politician. He had begun his astonishing career by working unenthusiastically in a lawyer's office; he had tried unsuccessfully to found a newspaper; he had written a novel which lay unproductively in the publisher's office. A conspicuous dandy, sprightly, attentive and witty, he was attractive to women, enjoying many liaisons until he contracted a venereal disease in a St James's Street brothel. He married in 1839. `Dizzy married me for my money,' Mary Anne used to say. `But, if he had the chance again, he would marry me for love.' They lived in a large country house, Hughenden Manor, near High Wycombe, which he bought with mostly borrowed money, and soon became one of the most gifted of parliamentarians and as celebrated as any politician in England. As an antidote to his grief at his wife's death in 1872 he threw himself back into the political life, becoming Prime Minister for the second time in 1874, displacing Gladstone much to the Queen's delight.
Courting the Virgin Queen
For more than half a century, Elizabeth I was pursued by kings, princes, and nobles from across Europe. During the marriage negotiations, romance blended with diplomacy as suitor after suitor endeavored to ally himself with her in the most intimate of treaties. Yet not one of these illustrious rivals managed to secure his quarry. Even Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester--the most persistent of all the suitors to the queen--never won her, though he was dearly loved by Elizabeth all her life.
Why did so many fail? Was Her Majesty haunted by the six marriages of her father, Henry VIII? Was her traumatic early love affair with Thomas Seymour, a man who was effectively her stepfather, to blame? Or was Elizabeth simply in love with the chase?
A fascinating chronicle filled with romance and intrigue, Josephine Ross's The Men Who Would Be King tells the riveting true story of the greatest hunt in history: the pursuit of the Virgin Queen.
Written by popular architectural historian Kathryn Ferry, Lacock (Wiltshire) unravels the long and complex history of a medieval abbey turned country home; focuses on one of the most revolutionary inventions of the last 200 years; and guides you through the streets of a village now well-known to millions of TV viewers and movie goers. There are few places with as much history and as many stories to tell. Featuring contemporary as well as some of the earliest-known photography, this 64-page souvenir guide is an engaging introduction to Lacock and the people who lived here. Floor plans help guide you through the complex of rooms, while the colourful birds-eye view shows abbey, museum and village and where to find any number of hostelries for refreshment.
Histories of the Unexpected not only presents a new way of thinking about the past, but also reveals the world around us as never before. Traditionally, the Tudors have been understood in a straightforward way but the period really comes alive if you take an unexpected approach to its history. Yes, Tudor monarchs, exploration and religion have a fascinating history... but so too does cannibalism, shrinking, bells, hats, mirrors, monsters, faces, letter-writing and accidents! Each of these subjects is equally fascinating in its own right, and each sheds new light on the traditional subjects and themes that we think we know so well.
On September 10, 1813, the hot, still air that hung over Lake Erie was broken by the sounds of sharp conflict. Led by Oliver Hazard Perry, the American fleet met the British, and though they sustained heavy losses, Perry and his men achieved one of the most stunning victories in the War of 1812. Author Walter Rybka traces the Lake Erie Campaign from the struggle to build the fleet in Erie, Pennsylvania, during the dead of winter and the conflict between rival egos of Perry and his second in command, Jesse Duncan Elliott, through the exceptionally bloody battle that was the first U.S. victory in a fleet action. With the singular perspective of having sailed the reconstructed U.S. brig Niagara for over twenty years, Rybka brings the knowledge of a shipmaster to the story of the Lake Erie Campaign and the culminating Battle of Lake Erie.
You may like...
Gill Knappett Paperback
Thomas Williams Hardcover (1)
Race in a Godless World - Atheism, Race…
Nathan Alexander Hardcover
Young Prince Philip - His Turbulent…
Philip Eade Paperback (1)
Victoria and Albert - A Royal Love…
Daisy Goodwin, Sara Sheridan Hardcover (1)
City of London - Secrets of the Square…
Paul D. Jagger Paperback
Rebel Prince - The Power, Passion and…
Tom Bower Paperback (1)
Blood and Fears - How America's Bomber…
Kevin Wilson Paperback (1)
Bloody Brilliant Women - The Pioneers…
Cathy Newman Paperback
Kick - The True Story of Kick Kennedy…
Paula Byrne Paperback (1)