By Adrian Goldsworthy
Caesar Augustus schemed and fought his way to absolute power. He became Rome's first emperor and ruled for forty-four years before dying peacefully in his bed. The system he created would endure for centuries. Yet, despite his exceptional success, he is a difficult man to pin down, and far less well-known than his great-uncle, Julius Caesar. His story is not always edifying: he murdered his opponents, exiled his daughter when she failed to conform and freely made and broke alliances as he climbed ever higher. However, the peace and stability he fostered were real, and under his rule the empire prospered. Adrian Goldsworthy examines the ancient sources to understand the man and his times.
The Audacious Crimes of Colonel Blood
By Robert Hutchinson
'THE AUDACIOUS CRIMES OF COLONEL BLOOD is television mini-series material ... the clash of blades, the whizzing bullets and galloping hooves guarantee nonstop adventure.' Jonathan Keates, LITERARY REVIEWOne morning in May 1671, a man disguised as a parson daringly attempted to seize the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Astonishingly, he managed to escape with the regalia and crown before being apprehended. And yet he was not executed for treason. Instead, the king granted him a generous income and he became a familiar strutting figure in the royal court's glittering state apartments.This man was Colonel Thomas Blood, a notorious turncoat and fugitive from justice. Nicknamed the 'Father of all Treasons', he had been involved in an attempted coup d'état in Ireland as well as countless plots to assassinate Charles II.In an age when gossip and intrigue ruled the coffee houses, the restored Stuart king decided Blood was more useful to him alive than dead. But while serving as his personal spy, Blood was conspiring with his enemies. At the same time he hired himself out as a freelance agent for those seeking to further their political ambition.In THE AUDACIOUS CRIMES OF COLONEL BLOOD bestselling historian Robert Hutchinson paints a vivid portrait of a double agent bent on ambiguous political and personal motivation, and provides an extraordinary account of the perils and conspiracies that abounded in Restoration England.
Against The Law
By Peter Wildeblood
Peter Wildeblood's courageous memoir of the Montagu case, a landmark in the gay history of Britain and now the subject of a major BBC Two docudrama starring Daniel Mays and Mark GatissIn March 1954 Peter Wildeblood, a London journalist, was one of five men charged with homosexual acts in the notorious Montagu case. Wildeblood was sentenced to eighteen months in prison, along with Lord Montagu and Major Michael Pitt-Rivers. The other two men were set free after turning Queen's Evidence.In Against the Law, first published in 1955, Peter Wildeblood tells the story of his childhood and schooldays, his war service and university days, his career as a journalist, his arrest, trial and imprisonment, and finally his return to freedom. In its honesty and restraint it is eloquent testimony to the inhumanity of the treatment of gay men in Britain within living memory.Probably the first book on homosexuality to reach a mass audience in Britain, Against the Law had a direct influence on the Wolfenden Committee, whose Report in 1957 recommended that homosexual acts between consenting adults in private be legalised, proposals which were finally passed into law in 1967.
Antony and Cleopatra
By Adrian Goldsworthy
The epic story of one of the most famous love affairs in history, by the bestselling author of CAESAR.The love affair between Antony and Cleopatra is one of the most famous stories from the ancient world and has been depicted in countless novels, plays and films. As one of the three men in control of the Roman Empire, Antony was perhaps the most powerful man of his day. And Cleopatra, who had already been Julius Caesar's lover, was the beautiful queen of Egypt, Rome's most important province. The clash of cultures, the power politics, and the personal passion have proven irresistible to storytellers.But in the course of this storytelling dozens of myths have grown up. The popular image of Cleopatra in ancient Egyptian costume is a fallacy; she was actually Greek. Despite her local dominance in Egypt, her real power came from her ability to forge strong personal allegiances with the most important men in Rome. Likewise, Mark Antony was not the bluff soldier of legend, brought low by his love for an exotic woman - he was first and foremost a politician, and never allowed Cleopatra to dictate policy to him. In this history, based exclusively on ancient sources and archaeological evidence, Adrian Goldsworthy gives us the facts behind this famous couple and dispels many myths.
Alan Clark: A Life in his Own Words
By Alan Clark
Some of the most talked about books of recent years, Alan Clark's diaries provide a witty and irreverant insider's account of political life in Britain. Now in one volume.'From the moment the first scabrous and brilliant volume was published, people wanted more. Now they have it and they will not be disappointed... These diaries are not wonderful simply because they show a politician unafraid to say what he thinks, and refusing to suck up to those whom he represents. They are great because they show all sides of a man who was, within his complex personality, arrogant, sensitive, loyal, unfaithful, patriotic, selfish, selfless, and - at all times - completely Technicolour' Simon Heffner, DAILY MAIL
Alan Clark: The Biography
By Ion Trewin
The unknown life of Alan Clark, celebrated diarist, womaniser, Tory MP and controversial minister in Mrs Thatcher's governments.Celebrated diarist, famous womaniser, Tory MP and controversial minister - a castle-owning toff and lecherous cad to some, to others a colourful and life-enhancing figure - Alan Clark was politically incorrect before the term was invented. He is best remembered for his sensational diaries - but what of the man? Alan Clark rarely spoke about his upbringing, even to his family. Was it as unhappy as he hinted? Ion Trewin has had unrestricted access to extensive family papers (including twenty years of unpublished diaries). He has talked to politicians, to those who knew him at the prep school which burnt down, to friends at Eton and Oxford, and to some of the many women he found impossible to resist despite a loving marriage of forty-one years. From his struggles to teach himself to write to formidable historian and diarist, from his enthusiasm for Margaret Thatcher to the 'drunk at the Commons dispatch box' affair, ALAN CLARK THE BIOGRAPHY is a revealing and absorbing account of a remarkable and unforgettable man.
By Ben Macintyre, Anthony Head
Eddie Chapman: rogue, criminal, confidence trickster, hero to both sides and betrayer of all. At the start of the Second World War, Chapman was recruited by the German Secret Service. He was a highly prized Nazi agent. He was also a secret spy for Britain, alias Agent Zigzag.Agent Zigzag is the untold story of Britain's most extraordinary wartime double agent. Genuinely courageous, able to withstand withering interrogations from both sides, Chapman was a dashing, charming and fiercely intelligent man whose talents led to a single end: breaking the rules. He wore loud suits, drove fast cars, and had a woman in every port. Yet at the same time he was, in his own way, loyal to his lover and their child. This was a man who courted contradictions as much as he courted adventure. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero; the problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers, was to know where one ended, and the other began. In 1943, Colonel Tim Stephens of MI5 said of the story of Chapman: 'In fiction it would be rejected as improbable.' It is one of the most gripping untold stories of the Second World War.For information on the print book please see www.bloomsbury.com/benmacintyreRead by Anthony Head(p) 2007 Orion Publishing Group