Your Royal Hostage
By Antonia Fraser
'We don't want to hurt her. We must remember that. All of us. She is after all innocent ... Well, isn't she?'As preparations for the royal wedding advance, a secret organisation is formulating plans that will have dangerous consequences. They need a gesture that will call attention to the rights and wrongs of those who have no voice of their own. And what better way than to target the royal bride?Meanwhile, Jemima Shore is grappling with the royal wedding in her own way - as a commentator. So she happens to be on hand when things go badly wrong...
Yeah, I Made it Myself
By Eithne Farry
A beautifully designed, fun, unintimidating and inspirational tour around the world of home-sewing, and generally messing around with bits of material. Perfect for fans of THE GREAT BRITISH SEWING BEE.YEAH, I MADE IT MYSELF is all about DIY fashion, aimed at women who are passionate about clothes, and would love to create something of their own, but who are unsure of how to get started. Farry isn't a fashion designer, or professional seamstress, but she can cobble together a DIY summer wardrobe faster than you can say pearl-two. She's made most of her own clothes for years, to much acclaim. When people learn that she makes her own clothes they say, 'I wish I could do that.' And her immediate response is, 'You easily could, I could teach you in a few hours.'For a few months, when she was a contributing editor at ELLE, she ran a featurette that showed how to make key catwalk accessories using stuff bought from the local haberdashery. The feature was very popular - the basic premise being 'If I can do it, anyone can.' The ideas are accessible and adaptable - it's all about creating an individual look, experimenting with ideas and laughing if it all goes a bit lopsided. Innovative, young designers provide insider tips. There are also inspirational, crafty tales from friends who've come up with their own easy-to-make designs, despite not having a fashion degree. YEAH, I MADE IT MYSELF is practical, with pom-poms.
By Kate Williams
The story of how Elizabeth II became queen.We can hardly imagine a Britain without Elizabeth II on the throne. It seems to be the job she was born for. And yet for much of her early life the young princess did not know the role that her future would hold. She was our accidental Queen.As a young girl, Elizabeth was among the guests in Westminster Abbey watching her father being crowned, making her the only monarch to have attended a parent's coronation. Kate Williams explores the sheltered upbringing of the young princess with a gentle father and domineering mother, her complicated relationship with her sister, Princess Margaret, and her dependence on her nanny, Marion 'Crawfie' Crawford. She details the profound and devastating impact of the abdication crisis when, at the impressionable age of 11, Elizabeth found her position changed overnight: no longer a minor princess she was now heiress to the throne.Elizabeth's determination to share in the struggles of her people marked her out from a young age. Her father initially refused to let her volunteer as a nurse during the Blitz, but relented when she was 18 and allowed her to work as a mechanic and truck driver for the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service. It was her forward-thinking approach that ensured that her coronation was televised, against the advice of politicians at the time.Kate Williams reveals how the 25-year-old young queen carved out a lasting role for herself amid the changes of the 20th century. Her monarchy would be a very different one to that of her parents and grandparents, and its continuing popularity in the 21st century owes much to the intelligence and elusive personality of this remarkable woman.
By Robert Hutchinson
Compelling account of the first 35 years of a magnificent and ruthless monarch.Henry became the unexpected heir to the precarious Tudor throne in 1502, after his elder brother Arthur died. He also inherited both his brother's wardrobe and his wife, the Spanish princess Katherine of Aragon. He became king in April 1509 with many personality traits inherited from his father - the love of magnificence, the rituals of kingship, the excitement of hunting and gambling and the construction of grand new palaces. After those early glory days of feasting, fun and frolic, the continuing lack of a male Tudor heir runs like a thin line of poison through Henry's reign. After he fell in love with Anne Boleyn, he gambled everything on her providing him with a son and heir. From that day forward everything changed.Based on contemporary accounts, Young Henry provides a compelling vision of the splendours, intrigues and tragedies of the royal court, presided over by the ruthless and insecure Henry VIII. With his customary scholarship and narrative verve, Robert Hutchinson provides fresh insights into what drove England's most famous monarch, and how this happy, playful Renaissance prince was transformed into the tyrant of his later years.
By David James Smith
Ruthless revolutionary; passionate womaniser; activist; hothead. Meet the young Mandela.Nelson Mandela has been mythologised as a flawless hero of the liberation struggle. But how exactly did his early life shape the triumphs to come? This book goes behind the myth to find the man who people have forgotten or never knew - Young Mandela, the committed freedom fighter, who left his wife and children behind to go on the run from the police in the early 1960s. But his historic achievements came at a heavy price and David James Smith graphically describes the emotional turmoil Mandela left in his wake.After meticulous research, and taking a lead from Mandela's trusted circle, the author discovers much that is new, surprising, and sometimes shocking that will enhance our understanding of the world's elder statesman. For the first time, we have evidence of a specific personal motivation for Mandela's fight against apartheid, and this book sheds light on the significant extent to which Mandela relied on white activists - a part of South African history the ANC has ignored or tried to bury. Sanctified, lionised, it turns out that Mandela is a human being after all, only too aware of his flaws and shortcomings. With unique access to people and papers, culminating in a meeting with Mandela himself, Smith has written the single most important contribution to our knowledge of this global icon.
By Simon Sebag Montefiore
Winner of the Costa Biography AwardWhat makes a Stalin? Was he a Tsarist agent or Lenin's bandit? Was he to blame for his wife's death? When did the killing start? Based on revelatory research, here is the thrilling story of how a charismatic cobbler's son became a student priest, romantic poet, prolific lover, gangster mastermind and murderous revolutionary. Culminating in the 1917 revolution, Simon Sebag Montefiore's bestselling biography radically alters our understanding of the gifted politician and fanatical Marxist who shaped the Soviet empire in his own brutal image. This is the story of how Stalin became Stalin.
By Paul Kriwaczek
A portrait of a civilisation which flourished within living memory and left an indelible mark on historyIn the 13th century Yiddish language and culture began to spread from the Rhineland and Bavaria slowly east into Austria, Bohemia and Moravia, then to Poland and Lithuania and finally to western Russia and the Ukraine, becoming steadily less German and more Slav in the process. In its late-medieval heyday the culturally vibrant, economically successful, intellectually adventurous and largely self-ruling Yiddish society stretched from Riga on the Baltic down to Odessa on the Black Sea.In the 1650s the Chmielnicki Massacres in the Ukraine by the Cossacks killed 100,000 Jews, forcing those that were left to spread out into the small towns (shtetls) and villages. The break-up of Poland-Lithuania - a safe haven for Jews in previous centuries - in the late 18th century further disrupted Yiddish society, as did the Russian anti-Jewish pogroms from the 1880s onwards, at the very time when Yiddish was producing a rich stream of plays, poems and novels.Paul Kriwaczek describes the development, over the centuries, of Yiddish language, religion, occupations and social life, art, music and literature. The book ends by describing how the Yiddish way of life became one of the foundation stones of modern American, and therefore of world, culture.