Too Young to be a Mum
By Maggie Hartley
When sixteen-year-old Jess arrives on foster carer Maggie Hartley's doorstep with her newborn son Jimmy, she has nowhere else to go.Arriving straight from the hospital having just given birth, Jess is like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Scared, alone, and practically a child herself, she is overwhelmed with the responsibility of caring for a newborn without the support of a loving family or her beloved boyfriend. With social services threatening to take baby Jimmy into care, Jess knows that Maggie is her only chance of keeping her son.Maggie can see that Jess loves her boyfriend and wants to be a good mother to her son. Can Maggie help Jess learn to become a mum? Will the family ever be allowed to live together?
By David Render, Stuart Tootal
A gripping account of the Second World War, from the perspective of a young tank commander.In 1944, David Render was a nineteen-year-old second lieutenant fresh from Sandhurst when he was sent to France. Joining the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry five days after the D-Day landings, the combat-hardened men he was sent to command did not expect him to last long. However, in the following weeks of ferocious fighting in which more than 90 per cent of his fellow tank commanders became casualties, his ability to emerge unscathed from countless combat engagements earned him the nickname of the 'Inevitable Mr Render'.In Tank Action Render tells his remarkable story, spanning every major episode of the last year of the Second World War from the invasion of Normandy to the fall of Germany. Ultimately it is a story of survival, comradeship and the ability to stand up and be counted as a leader in combat.
Trenchard: Father of the Royal Air Force
By Russell Miller
Hugh 'Boom' Trenchard was embarrassed by being described as 'The Father of the Royal Air Force' - he thought others were more deserving. But the reality was that no man did more to establish the world's first independent air force and ensure its survival in the teeth of fierce opposition from both the Admiralty and the War Office. Born in Taunton in 1873, Trenchard struggled at school, not helped by the shame of his solicitor father's bankruptcy when he was sixteen. He failed entrance examinations to both the Royal Navy and the Army several times, eventually obtaining a commission through the 'back door' of the militia. After service in India, South Africa - where he was seriously wounded - and Nigeria, he found his destiny when he joined the fledgling Royal Flying Corps in 1912, where he was soon known as 'Boom' thanks to his stentorian voice. Quick to recognise the huge potential aircraft offered in future conflicts, he rose rapidly to command the RFC in France during the First World War despite handicaps that would have blighted conventional military careers: he was obstinate, tactless, inarticulate and chronically unable to remember names - yet he was able to inspire unflagging loyalty among all ranks. Despite his conspicuous distrust of politicians, he served as a successful Chief of the Air Staff for a decade after the war and then, at the personal request of the King, took over as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, which he reorganised and reformed. He never wavered in his belief that mastery of the air could only be achieved by relentless offensive action, or in his determined advocacy of strategic bombing. His most enduring legacy was the creation of the finest air force in the world, engendered with the spirit that won the Battle of Britain.
By Maggie Hartley
Evie and Elliot are scrawny, filthy and wide-eyed with fear when they turn up on foster carer Maggie Hartley's doorstep. Aged just two and three years old, this brother and sister have hardly set foot outside their own home. They have been prisoners, locked in a terrifying world of abuse, violence and neglect. Maggie soon realises that Evie and Elliot are lacking the basic life skills we all take for granted. The outside world terrifies them; the sound of the doorbell sends them into a panic that takes hours to abate. Gradually unlocking the truth of their heart-breaking upbringing, Maggie tells their shocking true story.From emotionally scarred and damaged little children, we see how - with warmth and dedication - Maggie transforms their lives. As this moving story unfolds, we share Maggie's joy when these children finally smile again, when they realise they do have a future after all.
Too Scared to Cry
By Maggie Hartley
A digital short story from author and foster carer Maggie Hartley. Also contains a sneak peek chapter from Maggie's highly anticipated debut memoir, TINY PRISONERS.Brothers Ben and Damien are shockingly quiet when they arrive on Maggie's doorstep. They don't shout or play like normal three and four year olds. They hardly dare make a sound, so much have they been conditioned to be 'seen and not heard' by their mother and controlling stepfather.More disturbingly, their little baby half-brother Noah is completely unresponsive. He doesn't play, he doesn't smile, he doesn't crawl - he doesn't even cry. In a state of blankness brought about by emotional neglect, poor baby Noah is disconnected from the world. Maggie has never seen such a young life so affected before. Yet with time, love and care, Maggie gradually unpicks what has caused this terrible void. She teaches the children to play and laugh and to not be afraid to make noise. We see Ben, Damien and Noah take steps towards a positive future and their journey reaches a happy conclusion when they are adopted by a loving family. With love and affection, they are no longer scared to be themselves. They are free to make their voices heard.
By Victor Sebestyen
The defining moment of the Cold War: 'The beginning of the end of the Soviet empire.' (Richard Nixon)The Hungarian Revolution in 1956 is a story of extraordinary bravery in a fight for freedom, and of ruthless cruelty in suppressing a popular dream. A small nation, its people armed with a few rifles and petrol bombs, had the will and courage to rise up against one of the world's superpowers. The determination of the Hungarians to resist the Russians astonished the West. People of all kinds, throughout the free world, became involved in the cause. For 12 days it looked, miraculously, as though the Soviets might be humbled. Then reality hit back. The Hungarians were brutally crushed. Their capital was devastated, thousands of people were killed and their country was occupied for a further three decades.The uprising was the defining moment of the Cold War: the USSR showed that it was determined to hold on to its European empire, but it would never do so without resistance. From the Prague Spring to Lech Walesa's Solidarity and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the tighter the grip of the communist bloc, the more irresistible the popular demand for freedom.
Terrible Beauty: A Cultural History of the Twentieth Century
By Peter Watson
A history of the twentieth century which covers all the ideas, people, great events, literary and artistic movements, scientific discoveries which have shaped the twentieth century.Terrible Beauty presents a unique narrative of the twentieth century. Unlike more conventional histories, where the focus is on political events and personalities, on wars, treaties and elections, this book concentrates on the ideas that made the century so rich, rewarding and provocative. Beginning with four seminal ideas which were introduced in 1900 - the unconscious, the gene, the quantum and Picasso's first paintings in Paris - the book brings together the main areas of thought and juxtaposes the most original and influential ideas of our time in an immensely readable narrative. From the creation of plastic to Norman Mailer, from the discovery of the 'Big Bang' to the Counterculture, from Relativity to Susan Sontag, from Proust to Salman Rushdie, and Henri Bergson to Saul Bellow, the book's range is encyclopedic. We meet in these pages the other twentieth century, the writers, the artists, the scientists and philosophers who were not cowed by the political and military disasters raging around them, and produced some of the most amazing and rewarding ideas by which we live. Terrible Beauty, endlessly stimulating and provocative, affirms that there was much more to the twentieth century than war and genocide.
Thicker than Water
Stories by Irish writers - including Maeve BinchyAn outstanding collection of twelve coming-of-age stories by Irish and Irish-American writers. Maeve Binchy's 'When Grania Grows Up' pinpoints the moment a girl who believed in happy families loses her innocent faith in people; Marita Conlon-McKenna writes of a teenage romance that triggers hostilities between Catholics and Protestants; the title story by Shane Connaughton deals with macabre humour with a teenage boy rumoured to have committed a murder; and Helena Mullkerns' 'Landlocked' is about an Irish girl waitressing in Texas and beginning to understand the complex dream of immigrant life.The authors include established writers and some exciting newcomers. In their very different ways each succeeds brilliantly in conveying the universal longing of the young to grow up, to love, and to start a new life.