The Making Of The British Landscape
By Nicholas Crane
How much do we really know about the place we call 'home'? In this sweeping, timely book, Nicholas Crane tells the story of Britain.The British landscape has been continuously occupied by humans for 12,000 years, from the end of the Ice Age till the twenty-first century. It has been transformed from a European peninsula of glacier and tundra to an island of glittering cities and exquisite countryside. In this geographical journey through time, we discover the ancient relationship between people and place and the deep-rooted tensions between town and countryside. The twin drivers of landscape change - climate and population - have arguably wielded as much influence on our habitat as monarchs and politics. From tsunamis and farming to Roman debacles and industrial cataclysms, from henge to high-rise and hamlet to metropolis, this is a book about change and adaptation. As Britain lurches from an exploitative past towards a more sustainable future, this is the story of our age.
The Mountain Between Us
By Charles Martin
A major motion picture starring Idris Elba and Kate WinsletWhat if your life depended on a stranger? On a stormy winter night, two strangers wait for a flight at the Salt Lake City airport. Ashley Knox is an attractive, successful writer, who is flying East for her much anticipated wedding. Dr Ben Payne has just wrapped up a medical conference and is also eager to return home. When the last outgoing flight is cancelled due to a forthcoming storm, Ben finds a charter plane that can take him around the weather front. And when the pilot says the single engine prop plane can fit one more, Ben offers the seat to Ashley. Then the unthinkable happens and the plane crashes into the High Uintas Wilderness - one of the largest stretches of harsh and remote land in the United States. Ben, who has broken ribs, and Ashley, who suffers a terrible leg fracture, along with the pilot's dog, are faced with a battle to survive. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, will they ever be the same again?
My Father's Wake
By Kevin Toolis
Death is a whisper in the Anglo-Saxon world. But on a remote island, off the coast of County Mayo, death has a louder voice. Along with reports of incoming Atlantic storms, the local radio station runs a thrice-daily roll-call of the recently departed. The islanders have no fear of death. They go in great numbers, often with young children, to wake with their dead. They keep vigil through the night with the corpse and share in the sorrow of the bereaved. They bear the burden of the coffin on their shoulders and dig the grave with their own hands. The living and the dead remain bound together in the Irish Wake - the oldest rite of humanity.For twenty years writer and filmmaker Kevin Toolis hunted death in famine, war and plague across the world before finding the answer to his quest on the island of his forebears. In this beautifully written and highly original memoir, he gives an intimate, eye-witness account of the death and wake of his father, and explores the wider history of the Irish Wake. With an uplifting, positive message at its heart, My Father's Wake celebrates the spiritual depth of the Irish Wake and shows how we too can find a better way to deal with our mortality, by living and loving in the acceptance of death.
Memoirs and Reflections
By Evgeny Kissin
Evgeny Igorevitch Kissin is a Russian-British-Israeli classical pianist. He first came to international fame as a child prodigy. He has been a British citizen since 2002 and an Israeli citizen since 2013. He has a wide repertoire and is especially known for his interpretations of the works of the Romantic era, particularly those of Frédéric Chopin, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Franz Liszt.The first two parts describe Kissin's childhood in Russia and his family's decision to live abroad after the attempted putsch at the Moscow White House. The third part consists mostly of his views of other pianists and conductors, as well as memories of people he met during his early years and career.Kissin writes about his parents, his sister, his grandparents and his teachers with tender affection and touching detail that gives his memoirs the transparency of water. Here are the things and the people and events that formed him, nurtured and challenged him, and the individuals who made him feel gratitude, amazement and awe. And, of course, it is infused with his lifelong engagement with making music, an obsessive love that captured him when he was young.The book throws a good deal of light on the life and attitudes of the mainly Russian Jewish intelligentsia, the problems of visas to America, Britain and other countries, and his views on performance of music, his own compositions in music and verse, and his personal approach to concerts. It also offers Kissin's philosophy of life and his understanding of human nature derived from meetings with learned people, books and his own day-to-day experience. He does not indulge in false modesty, but takes a realistic view of who he is in the eyes of the world.
By Wendy Moore
Medicine, in the early 1800s, was a brutal business. Operations were performed without anaesthesia while conventional treatment relied on leeches, cupping and toxic potions. The most surgeons could offer by way of pain relief was a large swig of brandy. Onto this scene came John Elliotson, the dazzling new hope of the medical world. Charismatic and ambitious, Elliotson was determined to transform medicine from a hodge-podge of archaic remedies into a practice informed by the latest science. In this aim he was backed by Thomas Wakley, founder of the new magazine, the Lancet, and a campaigner against corruption and malpractice.Then, in the summer of 1837, a French visitor - the self-styled Baron Jules Denis Dupotet - arrived in London to promote an exotic new idea: mesmerism. The mesmerism mania would take the nation by storm but would ultimately split the two friends, and the medical world, asunder - throwing into focus fundamental questions about the fine line between medicine and quackery, between science and superstition.
My Life with Wagner
By Christian Thielemann
'Idiosyncratic, humorous, enlightening and written by one of the finest conductors alive ... This is the book to buy if you are going to see Wagner or listen to him at home' LITERARY REVIEWOver a distinguished career conducting some of the world's finest orchestras, Christian Thielemann has earned a reputation as the leading modern interpreter of Richard Wagner. MY LIFE WITH WAGNER chronicles his ardent personal and professional engagement with the composer whose work has shaped his thinking and feeling from early childhood.Thielemann retraces his journey with Wagner - from Berlin to Bayreuth via Venice, Hamburg and Chicago. Next he takes each opera in turn, his appraisal illuminated by a deep affinity for the music, an intimate knowledge of the scores and the inside perspective of an outstanding practitioner. And yet for all the adulation Wagner's art inspires in him, Thielemann does not shy away from unpalatable truths about the man himself, explaining why today he is venerated and reviled in equal measure. The result is a richly rewarding read for admirers of a composer who continues to fascinate long after his death.
The Maker of Swans
By Paraic O’Donnell
'Compulsive reading . . . rich, strange, beautiful' Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk'A strange, new and captivating look at a magical realm . . . Lavishly entertaining' Independent'Enthralling . . . a literary feast' StylistThe world had forgotten Mr Crowe and his mysterious gifts. Until he killed the poet. He lived a secluded life in the fading grandeur of his country estate. His companions were his faithful manservant and his ward, Clara, a silent, bookish girl who has gifts of her own. Now Dr Chastern, the leader of a secret society, arrives at the estate to call Crowe to account and keep his powers in check. But it is Clara's even greater gifts that he comes to covet most. She must learn to use them quickly, if she is to save them all.
By Mark Mason
'FASCINATING' Daily Mail'FULL OF AMAZING FACTS' The QI ElvesEach of the United Kingdom's 124 postcode areas has a story to tell, an unexpected nugget to dust off and treasure. Mark Mason has embarked on a tour of the country, immersing himself in Britain's history on a roundabout journey from AB to ZE. On the lookout for interesting place names and unusual monuments, along the way he discovers what the Queen keeps in her handbag, why the Jack Russell has a white coat and how Jimi Hendrix got confused by the M1. At the same time Mason paints an affectionate portrait of Britain in the 21st century, from aggressive seagulls in Blackpool to 'seasoned' drinkers in Surrey. And his travels offer the perfect opportunity to delve into the history of the Royal Mail, complete with pillar boxes, posties and Penny Reds - plus Oscar Wilde's unconventional method of posting a letter. A playful mix of fact, anecdote and overheard conversation, MAIL OBSESSION pays homage to Britain's wonderful past and its curious present.
By Michael Coveney
'Coveney is the only writer who could get under Smith's skin, capturing her steeliness and vulnerability' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAYFrom her days as a star of West End comedy and revue, Dame Maggie's path has led to international renown and numerous accolades including two Academy Awards. Recently she has been as prominent on our screens as ever, with high-profile roles as the formidable Dowager Countess of Grantham in DOWNTON ABBEY, as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the HARRY POTTER movie franchise and as the eccentric Miss Shepherd in the film version of THE LADY IN THE VAN by Alan Bennett. Paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public and carefully guarding her considerable talent. Drawing on personal archives, interviews and encounters with the actress, as well as conversations with immediate family and dear friends, Michael Coveney's biography is a captivating portrait of the real Maggie Smith.
A Million Years in a Day
By Greg Jenner
'A wonderful idea, gloriously put into practice. Greg Jenner is as witty as he is knowledgeable' - Tom Holland'You will love Greg Jenner's jolly account of how we have more in common with our ancestors than we might think ... all human life is here, amusingly conveyed in intriguing nuggets of gossipy historical anecdote' - Daily MailEvery day, from the moment our alarm clock wakes us in the morning until our head hits our pillow at night, we all take part in rituals that are millennia old. In this gloriously entertaining romp through human history - featuring new updates for the paperback edition - BBC Horrible Histories consultant Greg Jenner explores the hidden stories behind these daily routines.This is not a story of politics, wars or great events, instead Greg Jenner has scoured Roman rubbish bins, Egyptian tombs and Victorian sewers to bring us the most intriguing, surprising and sometimes downright silly nuggets from our past.It is a history of all those things you always wondered - and many you have never considered. It is the story of our lives, one million years in the making.
By Ping Coombes
Malaysian food has long been the hidden jewel of South-east Asian cookery - it's a fusion of the Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures that make up Malaysia itself. In her debut book Malaysia Ping Coombes shares all the secrets and delights of this extraordinary cuisine.Drawing inspiration from her mother and from the late-night stalls and street markets in her hometown of Ipoh, Ping has put together over 100 delicious recipes that serve as a perfect introduction to the tastes and textures of Malaysian cooking. Chilli crab and caramel pork, spicy laksas and rendangs, satays and tangy sambals: these classic dishes are intensely satisfying to make, share and devour!Welcome to Ping's family table - and as Ping's mother would say, 'sek fan la!': come and eat!
By David Whitehouse
In The Moon David Whitehouse explains how our nearest celestial neighbor was created (and what moonrocks tell us of its earth-shattering origins), and how its existence may have been a crucial factor in mankind being here at all. Whitehouse discusses how man has related to it, worshipped it and blamed it for his own 'lunacy' - though can it really affect our behavior? He tells how the first person to look at the moon through a telescope was not Galileo, as is commonly believed, but an Englishman who knew Shakespeare and had a part in the Gunpowder Plot.While some of the story of the modern moon race may be known, the first moon race to map its surface has not been charted before, and is one of the most dramatic and unexpected stories in science. The recent discovery of ice hidden in the moon's polar regions opens up new possibilities for space travel that mean it is essential that mankind returns there if we are ever to journey to the rest of the solar system.
Margot at War
By Anne de Courcy
Margot Asquith was perhaps the most daring and unconventional Prime Minister's wife in British history. Known for her wit, style and habit of speaking her mind, she transformed 10 Downing Street into a glittering social and intellectual salon. Yet her last four years at Number 10 were a period of intense emotional and political turmoil in her private and public life. In 1912, when Anne de Courcy's book opens, rumblings of discontent and cries for social reform were encroaching on all sides - from suffragettes, striking workers and Irish nationalists. Against this background of a government beset with troubles, the Prime Minister fell desperately in love with his daughter's best friend, Venetia Stanley; to complicate matters, so did his Private Secretary. Margot's relationship with her husband was already bedevilled by her stepdaughter's jealous, almost incestuous adoration of her father. The outbreak of the First World War only heightened these swirling tensions within Downing Street. Drawing on unpublished material from personal papers and diaries, Anne de Courcy vividly recreates this extraordinary time when the Prime Minister's residence was run like an English country house, with socialising taking precedence over politics, love letters written in the cabinet room and gossip and state secrets exchanged over the bridge table. By 1916, when Asquith was forced out of office, everything had changed. For the country as a whole, for those in power, for a whole stratum of society, but especially for the Asquiths and their circle, it was the end of an era. Life inside Downing Street would never be the same again.
By Antonia Fraser
The childhood and early life memoir of Antonia Fraser, one of our finest narrative historians.Antonia Fraser's magical memoir describes growing up in the 1930s and '40s, but its real concern is with her growing love of history. A fascination that began with reading Our Island Story and her evacuation to an Elizabethan manor house at the beginning of the Second World War soon developed into an enduring passion, becoming, in her own words, 'an essential part of the enjoyment of life'.My History follows Antonia's relationship with her family: she was the eldest of eight children. Her parents Frank and Elizabeth Pakenham, later Lord and Lady Longford, were both Labour politicians. Then there are her adventures as a self-made debutante before Oxford University and a fortunate coincidence that leads to her working in publishing. It closes with the publication of her first major historical work, Mary Queen of Scots - a book that became a worldwide bestseller. Told with inimitable humour and style, this is an unforgettable account of one person's journey towards becoming a writer - and a historian.
Mrs Beeton's Homemade Sweetshop
By Isabella Beeton, Gerard Baker
As a nation, there is no denying that we have a sweet tooth - and classic treats such as sherbet fruit drops, Everton toffee, vanilla fudge and chocolate honeycomb, have stood the test of time. MRS BEETON'S HOMEMADE SWEETSHOP is a gorgeous and beautifully illustrated recipe book for the home cook, packed with delicious sweet treat ideas for any occasion.All of the recipes have been drawn from Mrs Beeton's original BOOK OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT meaning that we can all recreate a little bit of Victoriana in our own kitchens. Fully updated for the 21st-century kitchen and combined with sound, modern advice on how to source good food, plus detailed information on ingredients and equipment, this is the go-to mini book for any aspiring or experienced home cook.
Midnight in Europe
By Alan Furst
Paris, 1938. Democratic forces are locked in struggle as the shadow of war edges over Europe. Cristián Ferrar, a handsome Spanish lawyer in Paris, is approached to help a clandestine agency supply weapons to beleaguered Republican forces. He agrees, putting his life on the line.Joining Ferrar in his mission is an unlikely group of allies: idealists and gangsters, arms dealers, aristocrats and spies. From libertine nightclubs in Paris to shady bars by the docks in Gdansk, Furst paints a spell-binding portrait of a continent marching into a nightmare - and the heroes and heroines who fought back.
Meetings With Remarkable Trees
By Thomas Pakenham
Thomas Pakenham's beautifully illustrated, bestselling book of tree portraits.With this astonishing collection, Thomas Pakenham produced a new kind of tree book. The arrangement owes little to conventional botany. The sixty trees are grouped according to their own strong personalities: Natives, Travellers, Shrines, Fantasies and Survivors. From the ancient native trees, many of which are huge and immeasurably old, to the exotic newcomers from Europe, the East and North America, MEETINGS WITH REMARKABLE TREES captures the history and beauty of these entrancing living structures. Common to all these trees is their power to inspire awe and wonder. This is a lovingly researched book, beautifully illustrated with colour photographs, engravings and maps - a moving testimonial to the Earth`s largest and oldest living structures.
By Martin van Creveld
Martin van Creveld's Moshe Dayan tells the story of one man and of one people, to whom he was a figurehead - a symbol of their patriotism and their determination to survive. Born in a kibbutz in 1915, Dayan joined the Hagana when he was just fourteen, thus starting early a military career that saw him serve in every war fought in the Middle East from the War of Israeli Independence in 1948 to the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Twice he led his country's forces into smashing victories. Having planned and executed the one and directed the other, with his one eye he towers over them like Nelson over the Battle of Trafalgar.Skilled in battle, skilled in diplomacy, like many powerful public figures, Moshe Dayan's private life was far from mundane. The book quotes from little-known sources, including an account written by one of his mistresses, that reveal much about his character and his life away from the battlefield. This is an honest portrayal of both the private and the public figure, which seeks to understand a man whose contribution to the state of Israel in its developing years was immeasurable.
By John Hussey
John Churchill was born in 1650, the son of a defeated Cavalier captain, in a household which had been ravaged and rendered almost destitute by the English Civil War. Yet by the time of his death in 1722 he was among the richest men in the country, with a dukedom, a palace and a principality to call his own.His rise to power came through a combination of good luck, astute political manoeuvring, and a brilliance on the battlefield that made him easily the most successful general of his time. In this concise biography of the man and his military genius, John Hussey describes in detail the campaigns that made Marlborough famous: the 1704 campaign to save the Austrian empire, which culminated in the great victory of Blenheim, and the audacious invasion across Louis XIV's Ne Plus Ultra lines in 1711. These campaigns are put in the context of the times, to create a portrait of a man who is still celebrated as one of the world's greatest ever military commanders.
By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
'Fifteen years on, the remembrance of that day has returned to me. I have seen that boy wandering through the mist of the railway station, and the name of Marina has flared up again like a fresh wound. We all have a secret buried under lock and key in the attic of our soul. This is mine...'In May 1980, 15-year-old Óscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in the old quarter of Barcelona. For seven days and nights no one knows his whereabouts... His story begins in the heart of old Barcelona, when he meets Marina and her father German Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes Óscar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the fourth Sunday of each month. At 10 a.m. precisely a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman dressed in black, her face shrouded, wearing gloves, holding a single rose. She walks over to a gravestone that bears no name, only the mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings. When Óscar and Marina decide to follow her they begin a journey that will take them to the heights of a forgotten, post-war Barcelona, a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons; and a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets. Carlos Ruiz Zafón was born in Barcelona and is the author of seven novels including THE SHADOW OF THE WIND. He is one of the world's most read and best-loved writers. His work has been translated into more than 40 languages and published around the world, garnering numerous international prizes and reaching millions of readers. He divides his time between Barcelona and Los Angeles.