City of Lies
By Ramita Navai
Lying in Tehran is about survival. Welcome to Tehran, a city where survival depends on a network of subterfuge. Here is a place where mullahs visit prostitutes, drug kingpins run crystal meth kitchens, surgeons restore girls' virginity and homemade porn is sold in the sprawling bazaars; a place where ordinary people are forced to lead extraordinary lives. Based on extensive interviews, CITY OF LIES chronicles the lives of eight men and women drawn from across the spectrum of Iranian society and reveals what it is to live, love and survive in one of the world's most repressive regimes.
Churchill and Empire
By Lawrence James
A genuinely new biography of Churchill, focusing on his contradictory and lifelong relationship with the British Empire.One of our finest narrative historians, and journalist for the SUNDAY TIMES and LITERARY REVIEW, Lawrence James, has written a genuinely new biography of Winston Churchill, set within a fully detailed historical context, but solely focusing on his relationship with the British Empire. As a young army officer in the late 19th century, Churchill's first experience of the Empire was serving in conflicts in India, South Africa and the Sudan. His attitude towards the Empire at the time was the stereotypical Victorian paternalistic approach - a combination of feeling responsible and feeling superior. Conscious even then of his political career ahead, Churchill's natural benevolence towards the Empire was occasionally overruled for political reasons, and he found himself reluctantly supporting - or at least not publicly condemning - British atrocities.As a politician he consistently relied on the Empire for support during crises, but was angered by any demands for nationalisation. He held what many would regard today as racist views, in that he felt that some nationalities were superior to others, but he didn't regard those positions as fixed. His (some might say obsequious) relationship with America reflected that view. America was a former colony where the natives had become worthy to rule themselves, but - he felt - still had that tie to Britain. Thus he overlooked the frequently expressed American view that the Empire was a hangover from a bygone era of colonisation, and reflected poorly on Britain's ability to conduct herself as a political power in the current world order.This outmoded attitude was one of the reasons the British voters rejected him after a Second World War in which - it was universally felt - he had led the country brilliantly. His attitude remained Victorian in a world that was shaping up very differently. However, it would be a mistake to consider Churchill merely as an anachronistic soldier. He grasped the problems of the Cold War immediately, believing that immature nations prematurely given independence would be more likely to be sucked into the vortex of Communism. This view chimed with American foreign policy, and made the Americans rather more pragmatic about their demands for self-governance for Empire countries.Lawrence James has written a fascinating portrait of an endlessly interesting statesman - and one that includes tantalising vignettes about his penchants for silk underwear and champagne.
By Michael Grant
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, was also a scholar, murderer, lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony and one of the most remarkable women in history.The distinguished historian and classicist Michael Grant confirms that her reputation as a temptress was well-founded. However, by unravelling the sources behind the tangle of myth, gossip and invention he shows that the popular image of a wayward woman opting for a life of sensuous luxury and neglecting her affairs of state is far from the truth.A brilliant linguist and the first of her Greek-speaking dynasty who learned Egyptian, she was reputed to be the author of treatises on agriculture, make-up and alchemy. Her love affairs were carefully calculated to further her plans to restore her empire to its former greatness and she was a ruthless foe to all who stood in her way.But dead on her golden couch in the palace at Alexandria her life seemed to have ended in failure; her dreams of empire shattered; her lover Mark Antony a suicide himself and she a prisoner of her conqueror Octavian.An unforgettable portrait of an extraordinary queen and her stormy life.
By Clarissa Eden
A Memoir by Clarissa Eden, born a Churchill and a Prime Minister's wife at the age of 34.In 1955, at the astonishingly young age of 34, Clarissa Eden entered No. 10 Downing Street as the wife of the new Prime Minister, Anthony Eden. Born Clarissa Churchill in 1920, her uncle was the great Winston, and when she married the 55-year-old Eden, then Foreign Secretary, at Caxton Hall register office in 1952, there were crowds as big as the gathering that had cheered Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Wilding's wedding there six months earlier.A renowned beauty, she was at home with her mother's Liberal intellectual circle, and mixed in her youth with the pillars of Oxford's academic community - Isaiah Berlin, Maurice Bowra and David Cecil among them: according to Antonia Fraser, she was 'the don's delight because she was beautiful and extremely intellectual'. Her close circle of friends included some of the leading cultural figures of the twentieth century: Cecil Beaton, Evelyn Waugh, Orson Welles among them. Her observations and insights into these men and their world provide a unique window into the mid 20th century. As the spouse of the most important man in Britain, the hostess at No. 10 and Chequers, Clarissa Eden was inevitably privy to a multitude of top-level secrets. The Suez crisis and Eden's ill health meant that she shared just four years of Anthony's political life and eighteen months as Prime Minister's wife. This individual, discriminating and honest memoir is her first account of extraordinary times, intuitively edited by Cate Haste, co-author of The Goldfish Bowl.
Child of the Revolution
By Luis Garcia
Cuba, a land of cigars, hot nights, sultry music and romantic revolutionary heroes. But what was it really like to live in Fidel Castro's tropical paradise? With an evocative wide-eyed innocence, Luis M. Garcia takes us back to his Cuban childhood and his parents' dreams of escape.Child of the Revolution is a story about growing up in an extraordinary place at an extraordinary time, as the superpowers prepared to go to war over nuclear missiles installed on the tiny Caribbean island. It's a story set in a world of uncertainty and revolutionary upheaval, where a 10-year-old swears allegiance to Lenin, Marx and the mythical Che Guevara under swaying palm trees, with no idea of what it all means, except this is the only way to become a 'better revolutionary' - and get out of school early. It is also the story of brothers and sisters torn apart by politics and how a Cuban teenager and his family end up - by sheer accident ? - on the other side of the world.Warm, generous and gently amusing, Child of the Revolution stirs the heart and brings music to the soul.