Close But No Cigar
By Stephen Purvis
WINNER OF THE CRIME WRITERS' ASSOCIATION GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION 2017'In its tragic absurdity, Close But No Cigar reads like a Graham Greene story, with a cast of characters to make Hemingway proud' Daily TelegraphFor over a decade Stephen Purvis had been a pillar of Havana's expat community, one of many foreign businessmen investing in Cuba's crawl from Cold War communism towards modernity. But for reasons unknown to him he was also under State Security's microscope. One morning during the height of President Raúl Castro's purges in 2012, while his family slept, the unmarked Ladas of State Security arrived at his home and he was taken away into the absurd and brutal world of Cuban justice.In this engrossing memoir, Purvis recounts his fifteen-month ordeal. Accused at first of selling state secrets, he is taken to the notorious interrogation centre Villa Marista, where he endures brutal conditions designed by the KGB and Stasi to break the bodies and minds of spies and political prisoners, and resists the paranoia and incompetence of his jailers. Later, held in a maximum-security prison, he finds himself surrounded by a motley crew of convicts: people-smugglers and drug-runners together with a handful of confused businessmen also awaiting formal charges.From his arrest to his farcical secret trial and sudden release, Purvis exposes the madness of modern Cuba with wit, grit and a sharp eye for character. As tourists flock to Havana to marvel at a city frozen in time, he shows that despite reforms and international reconciliation the Castro regime remains a corrupt, dictatorial relic. Close But No Cigar is part thriller, part comedy and part morality tale, but most of all a true story that takes the reader into a dark side of a sunny place that remains an enigma.
Stiff Upper Lip
By Alex Renton
'A brave and necessary book' GUARDIAN'Shocking, gripping and sobering' SUNDAY TELEGRAPHNo other society sends its young boys and girls away to school to prepare them for a role in the ruling class.Beating, bullying, fagging, cold baths, vile food and paedophile teachers are just some of the features of this elite education, and, while some children loved boarding school, others now admit to suffering life-altering psychological damage. Stiff Upper Lip exposes the hypocrisy, cronyism and conspiracy that are key to understanding the scandals over abuse and neglect in institutions all over the world.Award-winning investigative journalist Alex Renton went to three traditional boarding schools. Drawing on those experiences, and the vivid testimony of hundreds of former pupils, he has put together a compelling history, important to anyone wondering what shaped the people who run Britain in the twenty-first century.
A Planet for the President
By Alistair Beaton
This is a story written over a decade ago.Before Fake News, or Alternative Facts, or even social media.It told the story of a not-too-distant future, which really was not too distant.*The President of the United States is facing a global catastrophe.The environment is in meltdown. People are dying. Americans are dying.Even he can't ignore it.There's hardly a corner of the world that isn't in crisis.And that's when he's persuaded of a truth his advisers hold to be self-evident: That it's time to think the unthinkable.The problem isn't power, or politics, or the planet, or the President.It's the People.*Hilarious and horrifying - this enormously entertaining satire has never been more razor-sharp, revelatory or relevant. What readers are saying about this hilarious, critically acclaimed novel:'For anyone who likes laughs and thrills in one package and who's been following recent developments in the White House this is an absolute must.' Amazon Reviewer, 5 stars'This political and satirical novel manages to be both thrilling and funny. And, given its prescience, scary too. The characters, the setting and the plot are fantastic and believable. A real page turner.' Amazon Reviewer,5 stars'A frighteningly plausible thriller, which imagines what might happen if the White House were finally to believe that something had to be done about global warming ... clever, funny and a really good read.' Amazon Reviewer, 5 stars'This thriller is packed with good jokes and tells a tale that is utterly credible. Parts were jaw-droppingly frightening and I wished I could have put it down but thesharp humour and pacey plot made me keep reading. It's a laugh and a chiller in one book.' Amazon Reviewer,5 stars
By Nikita Gill
A stunning collection of poetry on feminism, trauma, survival and empowerment.You cannot burn awayWhat has always been aflameWILD EMBERS explores the fire that lies within every soul, weaving words around ideas of feeling at home in your own skin, allowing yourself to heal and learning to embrace your uniqueness with love from the universe. Featuring rewritten fairytale heroines, goddess wisdom and poetry that burns with revolution, this collection is an explosion of femininity, empowerment and personal growth.
This is not a book about politics. It is a book about what makes us British, and what makes us European.Spend time with some of your favourite writers and artists in this truly unique collection spanning everything from art, language, food, music and movies, to war, literature, driving, nudity, geography, smoking and nature.Featuring pieces of exceptional quality from some of our most treasured novelists, historians, journalists, poets and artists, including: Jessie Burton, Richard Herring, Alain de Botton, Tom Bradby, Val McDermid, Matt Haig, Afua Hirsch, Lionel Shriver, Sarah Perry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Ian Rankin, Owen Jones, Mark Kermode, Robert Macfarlane, Chris Riddell, Former Prime Minister Jim Hacker and many more.A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the times we live in, our relationship with the continent, and ourselves.* * * * *INCLUDES PIECES BY:Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Tom Bradby, Jessie Burton, Ben Collins (aka The Stig), Colonel Tim Collins, Robert Crampton, Adam Dant, Alain de Botton, Kate Eberlen, Matt Frei, Nicci French, Simon Garfield, Jonathan Lynn writing as Former Prime Minister Jim Hacker, Matt Haig, Richard Herring, Jennifer Higgie, Afua Hirsch, Owen Jones, Oliver Kamm, Alex Kapranos, Mark Kermode, Hari Kunzru, Olivia Laing, Marie Le Conte, Amy Liptrot, Robert Macfarlane, Henry Marsh, Val McDermid, Ian McEwan, Hollie McNish, Kate Mosse, Jenni Murray, Sarah Perry, Ian Rankin, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Cathy Rentzenbrink, Chris Riddell, Andrew Roberts, Will Self, David Shrigley, Lionel Shriver, Sunny Singh, Ece Temelkuran, Rob Temple, Bee Wilson, Sarah Winman
By Parag Khanna
Which lines on the map matter most?It's time to reimagine how life is organized on Earth. In Connectography, Parag Khanna guides us through the emerging global network civilization in which mega-cities compete over connectivity and borders are increasingly irrelevant. Travelling across the world, Khanna shows how twenty-first-century conflict is a tug-of-war over pipelines and Internet cables, advanced technologies and market access.Yet Connectography also offers a hopeful vision of the future - beneath the chaos of a world that appears to be falling apart, a new foundation of connectivity is pulling it together.
No Room for Small Dreams
By Shimon Peres
In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century. Peres would go on to serve the new nation as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries. He was central to the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces and the defence industry that would provide the young nation with a robust deterrent power. He was crucial to launching Israel's nuclear energy programme and to the creation of its high-tech "Start Up Nation" revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political conventions helped save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history, among them the legendary Operation Entebbe. And yet, as important as his role in creating and deploying Israel's armed forces was, his stunning transition from hawk to dove - with its accompanying unwavering commitment to peace - made him one of the globe's most recognised, honored and admired statesmen.In his final work, Peres offers a long-awaited examination of the crucial turning points in Israeli history through the prism of having been a decision-maker and eyewitness. Told with the frankness of someone aware this would likely be his final statement, NO ROOM FOR SMALL DREAMS spans decades and events, but as much as it is about what happened, it is about why it happened. Examining pivotal moments in Israel's rise, Peres explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress, the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the liberating nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation. In doing so, he not only charts a better path forward for his beloved country but provides deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead - be it in politics, business, or the broader service of making our planet a safer, more peaceful, and just place.
What I Learnt
By Jeremy Vine
'Full of glorious examples of caller wisdom [with] laugh-out-loud anecdotes' Sunday TelegraphJeremy Vine has been presenting his BBC Radio 2 show since 2003 - it now attracts more than seven million listeners. He calculates he has taken more than 25,000 calls from his listeners on issues big and small: life, love, lollipop ladies and poisonous plants.But what have the callers told him? If you listen to Radio 4, Brexit was a shock. If you are on Radio 2 it would not have surprised you at all. Where Jeremy's callers once expressed a kind of resignation ('But what can you do?') or a gloomy rejoinder ('You have to laugh'), now they give him their views expecting to be heeded.Listener wisdom is far more valuable than most of what we hear from appointed spokespeople. What was the response when Jeremy asked: 'Have you ever been pecked in the eye by a gannet?' Which subjects are most likely to start pitched warfare between different sections of the audience? (Answer: old people using buses, old people NOT using buses, cellophane, or Tony Blair saying anything.)In a book punctuated by his own vivid stories and laugh-out-loud moments, Jeremy Vine explains what it's like to hit a button and hear - totally unvarnished and unspun - the voice of the so-called 'ordinary' person. And why we should take notice.
By Alex Perry
Taking the Great Rift Valley - the geological fault that will eventually tear Africa in two - as his central metaphor, Alex Perry explores the split between a resurgent Africa and a world at odds with its rise. Africa has long been misunderstood - and abused - by outsiders. Perry travelled the continent for most of a decade, meeting with entrepreneurs and warlords, professors and cocaine smugglers, presidents and jihadis, among many others.Opening with a devastating investigation into a largely unreported war crime in Somalia in 2011, he finds Africa at a moment of furious self-assertion. This is a remade continent, defiantly rising from centuries of oppression to become an economic and political titan: where cash is becoming a thing of the past, where astronomers are unlocking the origin of life and where, twenty-five years after Live Aid, Ethiopia's first yuppies are traders on an electronic food exchange. Yet, as Africa finally wins the substance of its freedom, it must confront the three last false prophets of Islamists, dictators and aid workers, who would keep it in its bonds.
Blood and Silk
By Michael Vatikiotis
'A lively and learned guide to the politics, personalities and conflicts that are shaping a dynamic group of countries' FINANCIAL TIMES'A fascinating and many-layered portrait of Southeast Asia' THANT MYINT-UThought-provoking and eye-opening, BLOOD AND SILK is an accessible, personal look at modern Southeast Asia, written by one of the region's most experienced outside observers. This is a first-hand account of what it's like to sit at the table with deadly Thai Muslim insurgents, mediate between warring clans in the Southern Philippines and console the victims of political violence in Indonesia - all in an effort to negotiate peace, and understand the reasons behind endemic violence.Peering beyond brand new shopping malls and shiny glass towers in Bangkok and Jakarta, Michael Vatikiotis probes the heart of modern Southeast Asia. Why are the region's richest countries such as Malaysia riddled with corruption? Why do Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines harbour unresolved violent insurgencies? How do deepening religious divisions in Indonesia and Malaysia and China's growing influence affect the region and the rest of the world?Vatikiotis tells the story of modern Southeast Asia using vivid portraits of the personalities who pull the strings, mixed with revealing analysis that is underpinned by decades of experience in the countries involved, from their silk-sheathed salons to blood-spattered streets. The result is a fascinating study of the dynamics of power and conflict in one of the world's fastest growing regions.
Outside the Asylum
By Lynne Jones
What happens if the psychiatric hospital in which you have lived for ten years is bombed and all the staff run away? What is it like to be a twelve-year-old and see all your family killed in front of you? Is it true that almost everyone caught up in a disaster is likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder? What can mental health professionals do to help? How does one stay neutral and impartial in the face of genocide? Why would a doctor support military intervention?Outside the Asylum is Lynne Jones's personal exploration of of humanitarian psychiatry and the changing world of international relief; a memoir of more than twenty-five years as a practising psychiatrist in war and disaster zones around the world. From her training in one of Britain's last asylums, to treating traumatised soldiers in Gorazde after the Bosnian war, helping families who lost everything in the earthquake in Haiti, and learning from traditional healers in Sierra Leone, Lynne has worked with extraordinary people in extraordinary situations. This is a book that shines a light on the world of humanitarian aid, and that shows us the courage and resilience of the people who have to live, work and love in some of the most frightening situations in the world.
By Anastasia Catris
'Winners aren't losers!'Can you spot the Donald?In an array of crowded scenes, from building a wall around Mexico to carving his face into Mount Rushmore, at a Trump wrestling match, a golf course in Scotland and having fun at a Tea Party rally, search for Donald J. Trump amongst the masses. With tons of in-jokes and bonus material to find (including Obama's birth certificate and his trademark toupee), plus cameo appearances from Sarah Palin and other high-flying pals, this book provides hours of fun for the haters (and lovers) of the all-American phenomenon that is TRUMP.A classic and fun gift book, tracking Trump around the world will be endless amusement for all the family.
By Gordon Corera
The computer was born to spy, and now computers are transforming espionage. But who are the spies and who is being spied on in today's interconnected world? This is the exhilarating secret history of the melding of technology and espionage. Gordon Corera's compelling narrative, rich with historical details and characters, takes us from the Second World War to the internet age, revealing the astonishing extent of cyberespionage carried out today. Drawing on unique access to intelligence agencies, heads of state, hackers and spies of all stripes, INTERCEPT is a ground-breaking exploration of the new space in which the worlds of espionage, geopolitics, diplomacy, international business, science and technology collide. Together, computers and spies are shaping the future. What was once the preserve of a few intelligence agencies now matters for us all.