Sophie Donelson: house Beautiful Style Secrets
Published by Abrams 19th September 2017
From the country's most popular interior design magazine comes a stylish,
in-depth look at what it takes to make any room beautiful. House Beautiful Style
Essentials: What Every Room Needs is an inspiring and hardworking handbook that
shows readers how to create the rooms of their dreams by revealing what every
room needs. Chapters like Every Room Needs a Hiding Place provide clever ideas
for storage and organisation, while sections like Every Room Needs Something
Shiny give examples of how reflective surfaces can enhance and enlarge any
space. Simple yet elegant advice from some of the biggest names in the interiors
world is paired throughout with stunning photography of the best and most
beautiful rooms featured in the magazine. From a room's overall look and colour
down to its smallest details, House Beautiful Style Essentials provides tips,
tricks, and secrets on how to cultivate a comfortable home and uncover the
potential of every living space.
Regular readers of the glossy magazine House Beautiful (my wife included, although she gets her copies second-hand from car boot sales!) will already be aware of what to expect from this magnificent book. Crammed with ideas for transforming your home in terms of decorating, soft and hard furnishing, the photographs are brilliant, the narrative superb, and the idea that this is a coffee table book must be dispelled immediately - it's a text book, full of inspirational ideas and beautiful illustrations. Inspirational in the extreme!
Hugh Hefner: The Complete Playboy Centrefolds
Published by Chronicle Books 12th September 2017
With the first centrefold, the radiant Marilyn Monroe, Hugh M. Hefner
masterminded a cultural icon: Playboy’s Playmate of the Month. This stunning
volume contains all 734 nude centrefolds from 1954 to 2016, as well as an intro
from Hefner and essays from literary luminaries, including Dave
Hickey, Robert Coover, and Maureen Gibbon, amongst other. Updated to
include an essay by Elisabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation), this
collector’s edition captures the entire cultural and aesthetic arc of the
Pplayboy magazine was a ground-breaker, a pioneer, a celebration of the female form, together with interviews, articles, book reviews etc., but it will be remembered chiefly for its sensational photographs of the cream of beautiful women prepared to reveal most, and later on, as we graduated to the 21st century, all of their charms. The photography is stunning, simply stunning, and the girls who populated the centrefolds, are, without exception, beautiful. This is celebration of the nude female which exudes class - like a gallery of nude paintings by old masters, it's a collection of amazing photographs that is simply without parallel in the modern world. A book to be treasured.
Matthew Lewis: The Wars of the Roses In 100 Facts
Published by Amberley 15th August 2017
The Wars of the Roses were a series of brutal conflicts between rival
branches of the Plantagenet family – the Lancastrians and the Yorkists. The wars
were fought between the descendants of Edward III and are believed to stem from
the deposition of the unpopular Richard II by his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, who
became Henry IV. The wars were thought to have been fought between 1455 and
1487, and they saw many kings rise and fall as their supporters fought for their
right to rule.
The Wars of the Roses in 100 Facts covers this dangerous
and exciting period of political change, guiding us through the key events, such
as the individual battles, and the key personalities, such as Richard, Duke of
York, and the Earl of Warwick, known as 'the Kingmaker'. Matthew Lewis takes us
on a tour through the Wars of the Roses, fact by fact, in easy-to-read,
bite-size chunks. He examines some of the most important aspects of this period,
from the outbreak of the conflict at the First Battle of St Albans, to Henry
VI's insanity, and the character of Richard III and his final defeat at the
hands of Henry Tudor.
The latest in Amberley's superb "100 Facts" series looks this time at the Cousins' War, the Wars of the Roses. Nothing here we didn't know already, it's simply the way the facts are presented that is ground-breaking. Absolutely fantastic, the series should win an award of some kind.
Matthew Lewis: Richard, Duke of York, King By Right
Published by Amberley 15th August 2017
Richard, 3rd Duke of York is frequently used to recall the colours of the
rainbow with the mnemonic ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’, wrongly
believed to be the Grand Old Duke of York who had 10,000 men, or mistaken for
his youngest son, Richard III.
The son of a traitor, he inherited a
dukedom aged four, became the wealthiest man in England at thirteen and later
rebelled against his king, and if he is remembered, it is as a man who ignited
the Wars of the Roses. Further eclipsed by two of his sons, who would become the
mighty warrior Edward IV and the recently rediscovered Richard III, he is an
ancestor of the Tudor monarchs and fifteenth great-grandfather to Queen
Elizabeth II, yet the man himself is obscured from view.
pushes aside the veils of myth and legend to challenge the image of Richard as a
man whose insatiable ambition dragged a nation into civil war, revealing a
complex family man with unparalleled power and responsibilities. The first
person ever recorded to use the Plantagenet name, he pushed the political
establishment to its limits, dared to fight back and was forced to do the
Following on from Amberley's superb "100 Facts", Matthew Lewis takes an in-depth look at the life and career of Richard III. Amberley's history books are among the best in the world and this latest offering, covering one of the most famous/infamous characters in our history is packed with new information and analysis of how his life impacted on the people he lived among. Absolutely fascinating.
Book of the Month - Stephen McGann: Flesh and Blood - A History of my Family in Seven Maladies
by Simon and Schuster 27th July 2017
His family survived famine-ravaged Ireland in the 1850s. His ancestors
settled in poverty-rife Victorian Liverpool, working to survive and
thrive. Some of them became soldiers serving on the Western
Front. One would be the last man to step off the SS Titanic as it sank
beneath the icy waves. He would testify at the inquest. This is their
story. Stephen McGann is Doctor Turner in the BBC hit-drama
series Call the Midwife. Flesh and Blood is
the story of the McGann family as told through seven maladies –
diseases, wounds or ailments that have afflicted Stephen’s relatives over the
last century and a half, and which have helped mould him into what he now
perceives himself to be. It’s the story of how health, or the lack of it, fuels
our collective will and informs our personal narrative. Health is the
motivational antagonist in the drama of our life story - circumscribing the
extent of our actions, the quality of our character and the breadth of our
ambition. Our maladies are the scribes that write the restless and mutating
genome of our self-identity.
Flesh and Blood combines
McGann’s passion for genealogy with an academic interest in the social
dimensions of medicine – and fuses these with a lifelong exploration of drama as
a way to understand what motivates human beings to do the things they do. He
looks back at scenes from his own life that were moulded by medical malady, and
traces the crooked roots of each affliction through the lives of his ancestors,
whose grim maladies punctuate the public documents or military records of
his family tree. In this way he asks a simple, searching question: how have
these maladies helped to shape the story of the person he is today?
This is not an autobiography, although there are plenty of autobiographical details in it. It is the story of Stephen McGann's family, from their earliest origins in Liverpool, through to their present-day lives in the UK as members of one of the finest and most watchable acting families in the country. The McGanns have become a dynasty in the same way as the Redgraves and the Richardsons, for example. At the moment, Stephen is probably the most in the spotlight because of the extraordinary runaway success of Call The Midwife. His brother Paul was briefly Doctor Who, but I remember him best of all as Luther's ex-wife's partner. The other two brothers are equally successful in their own way, but it is Stephen who has written this latest book, and although it is not related to Call The Midwife per se, one can't help but think of it whilst reading Flesh and Blood because we know that Stephen has already written Dr Turner's Casebook, itself one of the best books associated with the TV series. In Flesh and Blood we learn a great deal about his family, and the combination of "Who Do You Think You Are" and autobiography is an extraordinary triumph. Stephen combines his specialist knowledge of medicine with his other passion, his family. For me, the most fascinating part of Stephen's story was, well, everything - I've been a passionate supporter of Liverpool Football Club since I became interested in football following England's World Cup triuph in 1966. Stephen's love of the club is legendary. His marriage to Heidi Thomas, who created Call The Midwife, is an extraordinary tale of a growing, all-consuming love with which I can readily identify, having been happily married myself for 51 years. To use an interest in the genealogy of one's family in order to tell its story, and to tell it from the point of view of the various maladies that have afflicted the family through the ages is nothing short of inspired, and the end result is this fantastic book that transcends the autobiography genre and takes it to stellar heights. One of the best-loved acting dynasties is laid bare in a book you simply will not be able to put down once you have opened it. Simply fantastic, the best nonfiction book I have read for several years.
Fred Kerr: Steam At Work
by Pen and Sword 30th July 2017
The author, Fred Kerr, was introduced to the world of industrial railways in
1956 when his parents moved from Edinburgh to Corby in Northamptonshire, where
the local steelworks offered a mix of locomotives from several manufacturers.
When steam traction finished on BR in August 1968, Fred's interest in railways
continued with diesel and electric traction, whilst retaining a passing interest
in industrial locomotives through his visits to the heritage lines which were
initiated in the post-Beeching era. When the author converted to digital
photography in 2001, he visited many heritage lines as he sought to gain
experience in the digital world. When he looked back after a decade of digital
photography, he noted that industrial locomotives were still at work on many
heritage lines throughout the UK. He also noted that during the 1960s the effort
to preserve main-line steam traction had overlooked the availability of
industrial locomotives, leading to the scrapping of many locomotives with both a
story to tell and an incomplete working life. The result is a book that pays
tribute to industrial locomotives which are still at work by detailing the
manufacturers of these work-horses and the locomotives which they built;
identifying their working lives where possible; showing their entry into
preservation and paying tribute to those heritage lines which appreciated the
value of these unsung heroes of the Industrial Revolution by buying the 'scrap'
locomotives then restoring them to working order.
Some people are fascinated by passenger steam trains, but there is another world of steam railways, that of freight. Fred Kerr's amazing memoir showcases some of the most iconic and finest of their time. One wonders if doing away with steam was the best thing when looking through these amazing pictures.
Michael A Vanns; The Severn Valley Railway
Published by Pen and Sword 17th July 2017
The Severn Valley Railway has long been considered by many to be Britain's
premier heritage railway. That reputation was earned early thanks to the quality
of locomotive and carriage restoration, the careful refurbishment of stations
and the standard of service offered to visitors. As with all heritage railways
it has had to adapt to changing expectations over the years whilst attempting to
keep the original aims of railway preservation at the heart of everything it
does. This guide traces the history of the original Severn Valley Railway from
the early plans of the 1840s, through its days when operated by first the Great
Western Railway and then British Railways. The last chapter looks at the
challenges and the achievements of the preservation era and the whole narrative
should be of interest to anyone keen to know more of the story of a national
There are so many heritage railways in the UK now - it seems that steam railway travel is becoming alost as popular now as it was during its heyday. This superb book reveals the Severn Valley Railway in all its glory - I can't argue as to its being the finest; we have our own North Norfolk Railway here in Sheringham, and the trains are always, without exception, crowded, and they have started to regularly cross the road to the mainline. This book is a reminder of how things used to be, and how many people would like them to be once more. Stunning!
Villager Jim's Garden Wildlife
by Pen and Sword 20th June 2017
Birds, bees, and a whole host of other flora and fauna that share Villager
Jim s garden in the tiny Peak District village of Foolow, are featured in this
stunning book of photographs. Bobbin Robin is just one of the regular visitors
to the garden; she and her friends have a huge social media audience, with tens
of thousands of viewers. Open up the book to see the daily goings on of these
wildlife friends in some of Jim s very best pictures taken in this beautiful
setting. They illustrate the close relationship Jim has formed with some of the
regular wildlife visitors to his garden. His quirky captions capture the mood
and spontaneous character of each individual shot and are an essential element
of what makes Villager Jim s pictures so special.
We've been following Villager Jom for ages on Facebook, and always been impressed with the quality of his images and their subject matter. This new book, published by Pen and Sword, is a triumph of wildlife photography, of a huge variety of garden birds, together with wild and domestiacted animals in Jim's "garden", which looks to be fairly substantial! A stunning book, a brilliant reminder of how you should always keep your camera handy...
Emma Jolly: Tracing Your British Indian Ancestors
by Pen and Sword 5th June 2017
Tracing Your British Indian Ancestors Tracing Your British Indian Ancestors
gives a fascinating insight into the history of the subcontinent under British
rule and into the lives the British led there. It also introduces the reader to
the range of historical records that can be consulted in order to throw light on
the experience of individuals who were connected to India over the centuries of
British involvement in the country.
I'm pretty sure we don't have any links to India in our ancestral family tree, but if we did, this new volume in Pen and Sword's groundbreaking series would be invaluable! An essential addition to the collection.
Gill Blanchard: Tracing Your House History
by Pen and Sword 5th June 2017
Anyone who wants to find out about the history of their house - of their home
- needs to read this compact, practical handbook. Whether you live in a manor
house or on a planned estate, in a labourer's cottage, a tied house, a Victorian
terrace, a twentieth-century council house or a converted warehouse - this is
the book for you. In a series of concise, information-filled chapters, Gill
Blanchard shows you how to trace the history of your house or flat, how to gain
an insight into the lives of the people who lived in it before you, and how to
fit it into the wider history of your neighbourhood. A wealth of historical
evidence is available in libraries, archives and record offices, in books and
online, and this is the ideal introduction to it. Gill Blanchard explores these
resources in depth, explains their significance and directs the researcher to
the most relevant, and revealing, aspects of them. She makes the research
process understandable, accessible and fun, and in the process she demystifies
the sometimes obscure language and layout of the documents that researchers will
come up against.
All of the houses in which I've ever lived, right from 1946, have been fairly modern, so there would be no history attached to them. My wife's first family house, in Kilburn, could have turned up some secrets, had anyone been interested during the time she lived there. This is an excellent reference work, another superb addition to Pen and Sword's brilliant series.
Richard Larn: The Islesof Scilly In The Great War
by Pen and Sword 1st June 2017
The Isles of Scilly, five inhabited islands 24 miles west of Land's End, were
of low priority to the War Department when the First World War was declared.
With no manufacturing capability, no industry other than flower growing and
agriculture, no electricity or gas, no mains water supply, no wireless station,
and a population of only 2,000, the islands did have one feature in their favour
- their location. Sitting at the cross roads of six major shipping routes,
Scilly had been a recognised 'ship-park' since 1300AD, where sailing ships
anchored to safetly awaiting a suitable wind, to re-victual, pick up water or
effect repairs. The Admiralty sought to make it a harbour for the Channel Fleet
in the mid-1800s, and in 1903 spent GBP25,000 defending the islands with 6-inch
gun batteries, only to take them away seven years later. When, in 1915, German
U-boats moved from the North Sea into the Western Approaches, sinking large
numbers of merchant vessels, Scilly was chosen to become a Royal Navy Auxiliary
Patrol Station, and over time was sent 20 armed trawlers and drifters as
escorts, mine-sweepers, mine-layers or anti-submarine vessels, along with 500
Royal Navy personnel.In 1917 Tresco Island became a Royal Naval Air Station,
with 14 flying boats and over 1,000 personnel. The islands were suddenly at the
forefront of the submarine war. This book details Scilly's contribution to the
war effort, with attention to its civilian population, the heartbreak of losing
forty-five of its sons, and the trauma of countless seamen rescued from
I really know very little about the Isles of Scilly other than that Harold Wilson once holidayed there whilst he was Prime Minister (I thnk), and that Elineor Brent Dyer relocated her Chalet School during the war years - or was that the Channel Islands? In any case, this is a stark reminder of how important these islands were at the outset of what was to become the world's first global war. Some brilliant illustrations and a remarkable narrative that informs and educates us all. Superb.
Gerry Van Tonder: Nottinghamshire's Military Legacy
by Pen and Sword 17th July 2017
Two years after landing on English soil in 1066, William of Normandy erected
a strategic castle at Nottingham, thereby creating an enduring military nexus
through to the modern era. On 22 August 1642, in his endeavours to quash
Parliamentarian insurrection in the Midlands, King Charles raised his standard
over Nottingham Castle, a rallying call to all Royalists to support their
monarch. Loyalty to the Crown was, however, divided, and before long
Parliamentarian forces garrisoned the castle. Late in the eighteenth century, a
town troop of Yeomanry was raised in Nottingham, the foundation of the future
South Notts Yeomanry. The yeomanry assisted regular troops by helping restore
peace during the so-called Bread Riots of 1795, at a time when many of the town
s men had been committed to military duty during the French Revolutionary Wars.
Five troops of the town s yeomanry were again called up for service during the
civil unrest of the Luddite Riots of 1811. This pattern of service continued
over several decades. Evolving into a regiment, the yeomanry were repeatedly
deployed against civil dissenters the Nottingham Riot, and the Reform Bill and
Chartist Riots.After seeing combat during the Peninsula Wars in 1815, in the
latter half of the 1800s, the 59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot formed
part of a British invasion force into Afghanistan from India, to curb Russian
interventionism in this remote and desolate region. The outbreak of war in
distant South Africa in 1899 placed enormous strain on Britain s military
capability. From Nottingham and other county towns, regiments of yeomanry,
Hussars and Sherwood Rangers were dispatched to the hostile environment of the
African veld. Nottingham s sons then answered a call to arms in their thousands,
only to also perish in their thousands on the Godforsaken soils of France and
Flanders during the holocaust that was the Great War. Through the Second World
War to the present, Nottingham s military units underwent successive phases of
metamorphosis from infantry to anti-aircraft and searchlight formations,
followed by the relatively recent absorption into a regional entity: the Mercian
Regiment. Today, Nottingham s castle and surrounds bear the symbols of a rich
and diverse military legacy symbols of remembrance, of tribute, and of a tableau
of military pride from ancient times.
This remarkable account of Nottinghamshire's military heritage may come as no surprise to its citizens, but does to me - I know some parts of the city by virtue of having relatives there, but nothing of its military history, and this fine book is something of a revelation, the nature of which I shall not hesitate to share with those same relatives the next time I see them. Essential reading for enthusiasts and citizens of the county, of course.
Ian Baxter: Auschwitz Death Camp
by Pen and Sword 30th April 2017
Auschwitz Death Camp The concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was the site
of the single largest mass murder in history. Over one million mainly Jewish
men, women, and children were murdered in its gas chambers. Countless more died
as a result of disease and starvation. Auschwitz Death Camp is a chilling
pictorial record of this infamous establishment. Using some 250 photographs
together with detailed captions and... Ian Baxter has produced a
fine selection of highly illustrated books in the Images of War Series mainly
covering Axis Forces in WW2. He is a dedicated collector of rare images and an
expert in his field. He lives near Chelmsford, Essex.
That chilling first sentence of the description of this book might put some people off, and might enthuse others to read on. For anyone who still needs to know the full horrors of Nazi atrocities, this book will satisfy their curiosity as to the part played by Auschwitz death camp in Poland. Chilling indeed.
Sarah Read & Jennifer Evans: Maladies and Medicine
by Pen and Sword 30th July 2017
Maladies and Medicine offers a lively exploration of health and medical cures
in early modern England. The introduction sets out the background in which the
body was understood, covering the theory of the four humours and the ways that
male and female bodies were conceptualised. It also explains the hierarchy of
healers from university trained physicians, to the itinerant women healers who
travelled the country offering cures based on inherited knowledge of homemade
remedies. It covers the print explosion of medical health guides, which began to
appear in the sixteenth century from more academic medical text books to cheap
almanacs. The book has twenty chapters covering attitudes towards, and
explanations of some of, the most common diseases and medical conditions in the
period and the ways people understood them, along with the steps people took to
get better. It explores the body from head to toe, from migraines to gout. It
was an era when tooth cavities were thought to be caused by tiny worms and
smallpox by an inflammation of the blood, and cures ranged from herbal potions,
cooling cordials, blistering the skin, and of course letting blood. Case studies
and personal anecdotes taken from doctors notes, personal journals, diaries,
letters and even court records show the reactions of individuals to their
illnesses and treatments, bringing the reader into close proximity with people
who lived around 400 years ago. This fascinating and richly illustrated study
will appeal to anyone curious about the history of the body and the way our
My bedtime read at the moment is the Poldark series, set in the late 18th century, and one of the principal characters is the young doctor, Dwight Enys. Some of the practices used by his older colleagues in the same profession would make your stomach churn, and those same practices are adequately described in this superb teatise on medical treatments and ailments by authors Sarah Read and Jennifer Evans. This is an essential piece of social history that may literally have you in stitches - if you haven't yet discovered the new BBC comedy Quacks, now is the time... and this is a wonderful book to fill you in on all those arcane practices as we started to develop modern methods of medical practice. Absolutely fascinating!
Christine Jordan: Gloucester's Military Legacy
by Pen and Sword 17th July 2017
From the establishment of Gloucester as a Roman colonia, a colony of retired
military veterans, the city has held a strategic position, being close to the
easiest crossing over the River Severn and into Wales. The Romans began building
the city's defences, including the city walls and bastions, which were further
enhanced by the great warrior Aethelflaed and which would become invaluable in
the Siege of Gloucester during the Civil War in 1643. These walls would be
destroyed by Charles II as a punishment for the city's role in the conflict. In
the twelfth century, Gloucester's first motte and bailey castle was built and
used by a number of kings as a garrison to prepare attacks against the Welsh and
the Irish. The formation of what would become known as 'The Glorious Glosters',
in 1782, led to a number of notable military campaigns, including the battles of
Alexandria, Quatre Bras, the Second Boer War, including the Siege of Ladysmith,
both World Wars and the Korean War. Christine's book will take you on an
historic journey, uncovering on the way the city's military legacy.
Gloucester is my home town, and although I don't believe I ever visited the barracks, I do remember my father having many drinking acquaintances amongst the men who were stationed there. This lovekly book delves deep into Gloucestershire's military history, describing various campaigns in which the Gloucestershire infantry were involved. A magnificent memoir.
Jonathan Brown: The Railway Preservation Revolution
by Pen and Sword 30th June 2017
A ride on a steam train is a popular family outing. More than 100 heritage
railways cater for that demand, capturing the spirit of nostalgia while
preserving the engines and equipment of past days of rail travel. Their
interests even extend to the modern era of 1960s-70s diesels. Those heritage
railways themselves have a long pedigree, back to 1951, when a group of
enthusiasts saved the Talyllyn Railway in mid-Wales from closure. They ran this
railway as volunteers, out of their love of the little trains and a desire to
keep it going. Their example was followed by many more preservation societies
who preserved and restored branch lines, country lines and industrial lines for
our enjoyment now. Six decades have passed, and we are now beginning to realise
what an impressive history the heritage railway movement has. This book traces
that history, from the humble beginnings the hopes and ambitions of the pioneers
on the different railway projects. There were times of failure and frustration,
as some fell by the wayside, but others have made it through times of adversity
to become the major heritage businesses of today.
This superb book reinforces the notion that the people of this country, together with our tourist friends from all over the world, can see the benefits of reviving and maintaining the various heritage railways that now run in our little country. There is an appetite for nostalgia that was never satisfied so well as with a journey on a steam railway. Magical.
Christine E Hallett: Nurses of Passchendaele
by Pen and Sword 30th June 2017
The Ypres Salient saw some of the bitterest fighting of the First World War.
The once-fertile fields of Flanders were turned into a quagmire through which
men fought for four years. In casualty clearing stations, on ambulance trains
and barges, and at base hospitals near the French and Belgian coasts, nurses of
many nations cared for these traumatised and damaged men. Drawing on letters,
diaries and personal accounts from archives all over the world, Nurses of
Passchendaele tells their stories - faithfully recounting their experiences
behind the Ypres Salient in one of the most intense and prolonged casualty
evacuation processes in the history of modern warfare. Nurses themselves came
under shellfire and were vulnerable to aerial bombardment, and some were killed
or injured while on active service. Alongside an analysis of the intricacies of
their practice, the book traces the personal stories of some of these
extraordinary women, revealing the courage, resilience and compassion with which
they did their work.
The two books I have so far read and reviewed on Passchendaele concentrated on military involvement and engagements. This superb book looks at the part played by the nurses, their courage under fire, their determination to help, and their compassion. Uplifting and inspiring.
Terry Crowdy: Donald Dean VC
by Pen and Sword 31st May 2017
Donald Dean lied about his age to enlist in the Queen's Own Royal West Kent
Regiment and serve on the Western Front, where he worked his way up from Private
to acting Captain. It was in the last weeks of the war, late in September 1918,
that he won his VC for leading a platoon in the determined defence of a
recently-captured and isolated trench against repeated German counterattacks. In
one of these attacks, the Germans actually broke into the trench, forcing Dean
to break off a radio call for artillery support with the words 'The Germans are
here, goodbye!' Refusing to be overrun, he personally killed four of the Germans
before they were finally evicted. Dean also served in World War II, witnessing
the fall of France in 1940 and claimingto be the last Brit to get out of
Boulogne. His frank account of the evacuation challenges some cherished
conceptions and is very critical of the conduct of the Irish Guards in
particular. He went on to fight in Madagascar, Sicilya nd the Italian mainland.
Donald Dean died in 1985.Military historian Terry Crowdy has edited Dean's
letters and diaries, never previously published, adding additional notes and
material from official reports to give the reader context. The result is a
moving, often amusing and inspiring portrait of a little-known hero of two world
This is an amazing account of a young man who lied about his age to enlist for service in WW1, retelling his exploits from diary entries and letters home. An extraordinary man, a true, unassuming hero with an appetite for life and danger that seems to me to be unsurpassed. Ranks alongside such military heroes as Douglas Bader...
Stephen Wade: Tales From The Big House - Normanby Hall
by Pen and Sword 30th June 2017
Tales from the Big House: Normanby Hall tells the story of a place known
perhaps today mainly as the home where Samantha Cameron grew up, but
historically it has been the seat of the Sheffield family, whose most famous
member was arguably the Duke of Buckingham in the seventeenth century. As with
most country houses, the Hall was used as a military hospital in the Great War,
and in the Second World War there were military personnel based there again. It
stands just a few miles from the great steelworks on the Brigg Road, which have
always defined Scunthorpe, so it played its part in the history of steel-making
also. The book includes biographies of the famous but also tells of the lives of
the ordinary people who kept the house and the estate going, from the
gamekeepers to the gardeners, and the cooks to the stable hands. All this is set
against the social background through the centuries of its existence, up to the
sale of the Hall to Scunthorpe Borough Council in 1964. The lives familiar to
us today from Downton Abbey and similar family sagas are at the heart of
Stephen Wades history. But along the way, the reader will meet such characters
as Sir Berkeley Sheffield, model railway enthusiast, Walter Brierley, architect,
Thomas Sumpter, the schoolmaster, John Fletcher, machine-maker, and perhaps most
charismatically of all, Lady Arthur Grosvenor, an expert on gypsy caravans.
It will come as no surprise to my many friends and readers of Books Monthly that I am no fan of the Camerons; it is the house and its history and its stories in which I was chiefly interested, and I tried to ignore the fact that Samantha Cameron was involved with it. This is the other side, the very pricate side of Downton Abbey, a fascinating look at people with pedigrees far longer than hers, and with far more interesting lives and stories to be told than hers.
Sarah Seaton: Childhood and Death in Victorian England
by Pen and Sword 30th June 2017
In this fascinating book, the reader is taken on a journey of real life
accounts of Victorian children, how they lived, worked, played and ultimately
died. Many of these stories have remained hidden for over 100 years. They are
now unearthed to reveal the hardship and cruel conditions experienced by many
youngsters, such as a travelling fair child, an apprentice at sea and a trapper.
The lives of the children of prostitutes, servant girls, debutantes and married
women all intermingle, unified by one common factor death. Drawing on actual
instances of Infanticide and baby farming the reader is taken into a world of
unmarried mothers, whose shame at being pregnant drove them to carry out
horrendous crimes yet walk free from court, without consequence. For others,
they were not so lucky. The Victorian children in this publication lived in the
rapidly changing world of the Industrial Revolution. With the introduction of
the New Poor Law in 1834 the future for some pauper children changed but not for
the better. Studies have also unearthed a religious sect known as the Peculiar
People and gives an insight into their beliefs. This book is not recommended for
those easily offended as it does contain graphic descriptions of some child
murders, although not intended to glorify the tragedies, they were necessary to
inform the reader of the horrific extent that some killers went to. This book
will appeal to anyone with an interest in the social history of the Victorian
The scandalous way in which poorer people's lives impacted on their children and their brief, unhappy lives is brought into stark reality in this amazing social history bySarah Seaton.
Nigel McCrery: The Coming Storm
by Pen and Sword 17th July 2017
The outbreak of the Second World War came towards the closing stages of the
1939 cricket season. Hitler permitted us almost to complete an exceptionally
interesting season, Sir Home Gordon, wrote in the Cricketer magazine, When shall
we see the stumps pitched again? As the West Indies touring team cancelled their
last five matches and sailed home before the U-boat threat developed, the
treasures at Lord s, including the Ashes, were sent to a secret location for
safe-keeping. The Marylebone Cricket Club cancelled its tour to India - England
played under the MCC banner then. During the ensuing conflict twelve test
cricketers (five English, two South Africans, one Australian and one New
Zealander) perished together with 130 first class players. In this superbly
researched sequel to Final Wicket, covering cricketing fatalities during The
Great War, this book reveals each man's career details, including cricketing
statistics, and the circumstances of death. There is also a brief history of the
game during the War. Arguably the period between the two world wars was the
golden age of cricket, and this book honours those who made it so only to die
serving their countries in a different way.
It seems only fitting that the gentlemen's game and how it was affected by the outbreak of the Second world War should get its own special treatment by way of this superb book by Nigel McCrery. The war was an inconvenience to the cricketing fixture lists, of course, but Nigel's book reminds us that there were many cricketers, some of them notable, who saw service and died. The game inevitable recovered in the postwar years but this is a colourful and fascinating account of the impact of the war on the national game.
Philip Matyszak: Sparta - Rise of a Warrior Nation
by Pen and Sword 30th March 2017
Their contemporaries were fascinated by the Spartans and we still are. They
are portrayed as the stereotypical macho heroes: noble, laconic, totally
fearless and impervious to discomfort and pain. What makes the study of Sparta
so interesting is that to a large extent the Spartans lived up to this image.
Ancient Sparta, however, was a city of contrasts. We might admire their physical
toughness and heroism in adversity but Spartans also systematically abused their
children. They gave rights to citizen women that were unmatched in Europe until
the modern era, meanwhile subjecting their conquered subject peoples to a
murderous reign of terror. Though idealized by the Athenian contemporaries of
Socrates Sparta was almost devoid of intellectual achievement. Philip Matyszak
explores two themes: how Sparta came to be the unique society it was, and the
rise of the city from a Peloponnesian village to the military superpower of
Greece. But above all, his focus is on the Spartan hoplite, the archetypal Greek
warrior who was respected and feared throughout Greece in his own day, and who
has since become a legend.The reader is shown the man behind the myth; who he
was, who he thought he was, and the environment which produced him.
Essential contribution to the literature of the ancient world - I don't think I would even have known where to find Sparta! The people of Sparta were enlightened in many respects, lacking in others. Author Philip Matyszak uncovers some surprising facts about the Spartans that make this a fascinating read!
Eve Menezes Cunningham: 365 Ways To Feel better
by Pen and Sword 30th May 2016
This book will transform your life. Radical self-care in easy baby steps,
what's not to love? Suzy Greaves, Psychologies Editor 'Eve has done a remarkable
job of pulling together 366 daily steps to help you live a happier, healthier,
freer and more fulfilled life. Let her be your inspiring guide for your year ~
Nick Williams, best-selling author of fourteen books including The Work We Were
Born To Do It s hard to imagine a more useful book than the one you re holding
in your hands ~ Barbara J. Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job
'Rich, extensive content covering a wide range of holistic principles and
practices made very attainable for anyone to use. A wealth of options for
managing being human' ~ Gill Fennings-Monkman MBE, Past Chair of BACP Coaching
This is a fabulous book. So very well thought out, planned and executed and with
a wonderful accessible yet respectful style. Buy yourself this book and sit down
and devour it in the way that suits you best. Then buy a copy for someone else ~
Debra Jinks, co-author of Personal Consultancy: A Model for Integrating
Counselling and Coaching If living a happy, loving and healthier life is of
interest to you then pick up this book. Something here for everyone ~ Steve
Ahnael Nobel, author of The Prosperity Game A book that many will find of value
~ Gladeana McMahon, Chair Emeritus, Association for Coaching UK and author of
books including Resilience: A Practical Guide Eve Menezes Cunningham is a
journalist, accredited psychosynthesis counsellor, integrative coach-therapist,
clinical supervisor, yoga therapist, NLP (neuro linguistic programming) Master
Practitioner, accredited and certified Advanced EFT (emotional freedom
technique) Practitioner, crystal therapist and Chair of BACP Coaching.
I haven't read this one yet - I leafed through it to see if there was anything I could do immediately to ameliorate my sufferings, and nothing jumped out at me, I have to say. I reserve judgment until I've had longer to digest the contents!
Stuart Reid: The Battle of Plassey 1757
by Pen and Sword 30th May 2017
Britain was rapidly emerging as the most powerful European nation, a position
France long believed to be her own. Yet with France still commanding the largest
continental army, Britain saw its best opportunities for expansion lay in the
East. Yet, as Britain s influence increased through its official trading arm,
the East India Company, the ruler of Bengal, Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah, sought to
drive the British out of the sub-continent and turned to France for help. The
ensuing conflict saw intimate campaigns fought by captains and occasionally
colonels and by small companies rather than big battalions. They were campaigns
fought by individuals rather than anonymous masses; some were heroes, some were
cowards and most of them were rogues on the make. The story is not only about
Robert Clive, a clerk from Shropshire who became to all intents and purposes an
emperor, but also about Eyre Coote an Irishman who fought with everyone he met,
about Alexander Grant a Jacobite who first escaped from Culloden and then,
Flashman-like was literally the last man into the last boat to escape Calcutta
and the infamous Black Hole. The fighting culminated in Robert Clive's
astonishing victory at Plassey where just 3,000 British and sepoy troops
defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah s Franco-Bengali army of 18,000 in the space of only
forty minutes. The victory at Plassey in 1757 established Britain as the
dominant force in India, the whole of which gradually come under British control
and became the most prized possession in its empire. Few battles in history have
ever had such profound consequences.
One of my best-loved books when I was a nipper was With Clive In India - I have to confess that not a single word of that book has permeated my brain to the extent that I could relate anything about Clive and how he and his 3,000 troops defeated a far larger army of 18,000 and thereby became a legend. A timely reminder, then, from Stuart Reid!
Simon MacDowall: The Goths
by Pen and Sword 19th July 2017
In the late 4th century, pressure from the Huns forced the Goths to cross the
Danube into the Roman Empire. The resultant Battle of Adrianople in 378 was one
of Rome s greatest defeats. Both western (Visigoth) and eastern (Ostrogoth)
branches of the Goths had a complex relationship with the Romans, sometimes
fighting as their allies against other barbarian interlopers but carving out
their own kingdoms in the process. Under Alaric the Visigoths sacked Rome itself
in 410 and went on to establish a kingdom in Gaul (France). They helped the
Romans defeat the Hunnic invasion of Gaul at Chalons in 451 but continued to
expand at Roman expense. Defeated by the Franks they then took Spain from the
Vandals. The Ostrogoths had a similar relationship with the Eastern Roman Empire
before eventually conquering Italy. Adrianople, the events of 410 and the
Ostrogoths long war with Belisarius, including the Siege of Rome, are among the
campaigns and battles Simon MacDowall narrates in detail. He analyses the arms
and contrasting fighting styles of the Ostro- and Visi- Goths and evaluates
their effectiveness against the Romans.
At the time, the Roman empire and its army must have seemed invincible. The Goths were a race that simply would not accept defeat, and in this fascinating account of their history, author Simon MacDowall opens our eyes to their strengths and weaknesses, and looks at the various campaigns that built them into the fearsome fighting machine they ultimately became.
Daniel Tammet: Every Word Is A Bird We Teach To Sing
by Hodder & Stoughton 24th August 2017
From the bestselling author of Born on a Blue Day and Thinking in
Numbers, a delightful and eclectic exploration of language, and what it can
teach us about ourselves and our lives. Why is the name 'Cleopatra' not allowed in Iceland? Why do clocks 'talk' to
the Nahua people of Mexico? And if we are what we eat, are we also what we say?
These are just some of the questions Daniel Tammet answers in Every Word is a
Bird We Teach to Sing, a mesmerising new collection of essays investigating
the intricacies and profound power of human language. Tammet goes back in time to explore the numeric language of his autistic
childhood; he looks at the music and patterns that words make, and how languages
evolve and are translated. He meets one of the world's most accomplished lip
readers in Canada, learns how endangered languages like Manx are being revived
and corresponds with native speakers of Esperanto in their mother tongue. He
studies the grammar of the telephone, contemplates the significance of
disappearing dialects, and also asks: will chatbots ever manage to convince us
that they are human? From the art of translation to the lyricism of sign language, Every Word
is a Bird We Teach to Sing is a fascinating journey through the world of
words, letters, stories and meanings, and an extraordinary testament to the
stunning range of Tammet's literary and polyglot talents.
I am normally fascinated by books about words, their origins and their place in our world, but I have to confess that I found this one a little dry...
Emma Blomfield: Home - The Elements of Decorating
by Hardie Grant 10th August 2017
Home acts as a friendly, room-to-room guide to creating a look you
love and a space you are proud to show off – without breaking the bank or
starting from the ground up. With beautiful but hard-working illustrations, Emma demystifies the five
elements of decorating – needs and wants, colour and pattern, shape and size,
placement, and lighting – and shows how easy it can be to apply them to each
room in your house. Whether you’re refreshing your look, moving in, organising
your home office, decorating a nursery or creating an outdoor oasis, Emma’s
tried-and-tested advice will inspire and guide you. With original illustrations, clever floorplans, practical decorator’s tips
and styling 101s, Home is a timeless handbook for anyone who
has ever doubted their decorating ability, or craved a helping hand through the
A fascinating look at the principles and practices involved in decorating; choosing complimentary colours etc., this is a practical guide to enhancing and decorating your home. Emma Blomfield takes us on a journey that enables us to make the right choices and end up with a realisation of our dreams.
Nick Wotherspoon: Lawrie Bond - Microcar Man
by Pen and Sword 30th June 2017
Once a common sight on Britain's roads, few people today seem to have heard
of the Bond Minicar not a diminutive, gadget laden conveyance for the fictional
007 character, but a popular, practical, motorcycle-engined, three-wheeler that
in the post-war austerity period, gave tens of thousands of people affordable
personal transport at a time when conventional vehicles were beyond the reach of
the average household. Yet whilst the later, mostly imported, 'Bubble cars' have
remained in the public eye, it is largely forgotten that the first of the
post-war 'Microcars' to go into significant production was the British designed
and built Bond. Equally enigmatic seems to be the designer of this vehicle,
Lawrence 'Lawrie' Bond a prolific automotive design genius, with a penchant for
weight-saving construction techniques. He was responsible for a wide range of
two, three and four wheel vehicles; from ultra-lightweight motorcycles and
scooters, such as the Minibyke, Lilliput and Gazelle, as well as his other
Microcars the stylish Berkeley and perhaps less-than-pretty Opperman Unicar and
finally to his later work, including the innovative, but troubled Bond 875 and
styling the Equipe GT sportscar. Here the story is told in full, covering all
Lawrie's innovative designs and the various vehicles that bore his name, all in
prolifically illustrated detail, together with his passion for motor racing,
which resulted in a number of technically acclaimed racing cars, some of which
can still be seen competing is historic racing events today.
A truly inspirational story of a pioneer in the automotive industry = Bond was responsible for a number of amazing car designs - I've never been that fond of three-wheeled vehicles personally, but this history of Lawrie Bond's amazing designs is inspirational and fascinating, almost larger than life!
Kevin McLean: Crossing The River Kabul
by Potomac Books 1st June 2017
Baryalai Popal sees his Western-educated professors at Kabul University
replaced by communists. He witnesses his classmates "disappearing." The
communist takeover uproots Popal from his family and home. Thus begins Crossing
the River Kabul, the true story of Popal's escape from Afghanistan and his
eventual return. Popal fled his country following the Russian invasion of
Afghanistan in 1980. After being imprisoned as a spy in Pakistan, he managed to
make his way to Germany as a refugee and to the United States as an immigrant.
Twenty years later he returned to Afghanistan after 9/11 to reclaim his houses,
only to find one controlled by drug lords and the other by the most powerful
warlord in Afghanistan. Popal's memoir is an intimate, often humorous portrait
of the vanished Afghanistan of his childhood. It is also the story of a father
whose greatest desire is to see his son follow in his footsteps, and a son who
constantly rebels against his father's wishes. Crossing the River Kabul is a
story of choice and destiny, fear and courage, and loss and redemption.
An amazing true story of a real life escape from a repressive regime via the river Kabul. Full of heartwarming and realistic anecdotes, of a man with a titally fatalistic approach to life.
Sarah Morris & Natalie Grueninger: In The Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII
by Amberley 15th July 2017
This book provides a fresh perspective on the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives
by embarking on a journey through the manors, castles and palaces in which their
lives were played out. This journey traces their steps to the Alhambra in Spain,
childhood home of Katherine of Aragon; to the very room at Acton Court where
Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII publicly dined; through the cobbled grounds of
Hampton Court Palace, which bore witness to both triumph and tragedy for Jane
Seymour; into the streets of Düsseldorf in Germany, birthplace of Anne of
Cleves; among the ruins and picturesque gardens of St Mary’s Abbey in York where
Catherine Howard and Henry VIII rested at the pinnacle of the 1541 progress; and
to Gainsborough Old Hall in Lincolnshire, where Katherine Parr lived as
daughter-in-law of the irascible Sir Thomas Brough.
Each location is
described in a fascinating narrative that unearths the queens’ lives in
documents and artefacts, as well as providing practical visitor information
based on the authors’ first-hand knowledge of each site. Accompanied by an
extensive range of images including timelines, maps, photographs and sketches,
this book brings us closer than ever to the women behind the legends, providing
a personal and illuminating journey in the footsteps of the six wives of Henry
We may have reached saturation point when it comes to the examination of the life and wives of Henry VIII but this splendid book is different; it takes you on a journey to all of the houses where those six wives lived and were brought up. A real winner from Amberley,this is a superlative way of looking at the life and times of siz of the most famous women in British history.
Terry Breverton: Owen Tudor - Godfather of the Tudors
by Amberley 15th July 2017
‘The Welsh habit of revolt against the English is an old-standing madness …
from the sayings of the prophet Merlin they still hope to recover their land.
Hence, they frequently rebel … but because they do not know the appointed time,
they are often deceived and their labour is in vain.’ (Vita Edwardi
The appointed time, it turned out, was 1485. For generations,
the ancestors of Welshman Owen Tudor had fought Romans, Irish Picts, Vikings,
Saxons, Mercians and Normans. His uncles had been executed in the Glyndwr Welsh
War of Independence. Owen fought for Henry V in France and entered the service
of Henry’s queen, Catherine of Valois. Soon after the king’s death he secretly
married her, the mother of the eight-month-old Henry VI. Owen and Catherine
would have two boys together. Henry VI would go on to ennoble them as Edmund
Earl of Richmond, and Jasper Earl of Pembroke, but upon Catherine’s death Owen
was imprisoned. Escaping twice, Owen was thrown into the beginnings of the Wars
of the Roses with two of his sons. It would be Edmund’s son, Henry Tudor, who
would take the English throne as Henry VII.
When Jasper led the
Lancastrian forces at Mortimer’s Cross in 1461, the ageing Owen led a wing of
the defeated army, was captured and executed. Without his earlier secret
marriage for love, there would have been no Tudor dynasty.
A brilliant study of the man who founded the Tudor dynastyin the years after the Cousins' War. One never tires of reading about this most turbulent time in British history. Beautifully written and illustrated.
Kev Darling: British Military Jets
by Amberley 15th July 2017
The end of the Second World War provided little rest for air forces and the
aircraft industry. Both sides now had to put enormous energy into research and
development to gain an edge. For the British aircraft industry it meant
producing aircraft quickly, and on tight budgets: for Bomber Command to carry
Britain’s new nuclear deterrent, and for Fighter Command to defend the
This book examines the RAF’s British-made combat jet aircraft of
this turbulent and frightening period, up to the cancellation of TSR-2 and the
end of the British aircraft industry as it then was. The great names, Hunter,
Vulcan, Lightning, Harrier, are considered alongside less well known types, and
the story of each key aircraft is told from development to operational
This book is part of the Britain’s Heritage series, which provides
definitive introductions to the riches of Britain’s past, and is the perfect way
to get acquainted with British military jets in all their variety.
A timely reminder that Britain once led the world in the design and manufacture of military jet fighter aircraft - having been born and grown up in Brockworth, Gloucester, just a few hundred yards from the factory where they made the Gloster Javelin, I can readily relate to this superb book.
Alan Weeks: They Were There On The Western Front 1914-1918
by The Book Guild 28th July 2017
This book comprises diaries, memoirs and letters from 100 people, during the
First World War - made up of British, Australian, American and French officers
and other ranks, covering infantry, cavalry, artillery (including the machine
gun corps and its founder), engineers, service personnel, medical and labour
corps. There are marines, despatch riders, stretcher bearers and cooks, and many
non-combatants - doctors, nurses, French liaison officers, priests and
Winston Ramey: Invasion Airfields Then And Now
by After The Battle 1st August 2017
Following the success of Operation `Overlord', the Supreme Commander General Eisenhower
wrote that `on the morning of June 9 I was able to announce that for the first
time since 1940, Allied air forces were operating from France, and that within
three weeks of D-Day, 31 Allied squadrons were operating from the beach-head
bases'. In their forecasts for the first three months following D-Day, the
planners plotted the number of the advanced landing grounds that would be
required in Normandy to support the Allied air forces up to September 1944.
Using maps and aerial photographs, individual sites were surveyed and plans
drawn up so that when each location was captured, either US Aviation Engineers,
the Royal Engineers or RAF Airfield Construction Wings, could move in without
delay to begin work to build them. This book tells the story of every airfield
that became operational by D+90, explaining the methods used to construct them
and the units that flew from them. The vast majority of the temporary airstrips
have now been returned to the farmland from which they came, but by using
engineers' plans from the period and modern aerial photographs, we have
portrayed the sites in true After the Battle fashion: as they were then and as
they are today.
This is a subject that is often largely ignored - the construction and maintenance of spearhead landing strips and facilities as the allies began the push into the enemy territory following Operation Overlord. This is a fascinating retelling of the trials and tribulations, and of the methods employed by the engineers who were there and made it all possible. An amazing tribute to the men and women who were involved. A splendid book.
John Rigby-Jones: Best Love To All - The Letters and Diaries of Captain Eric Rigby-Jones
by Helion 15th June 2017
Best Love to All is an account of the experiences of the author's grandfather
as a young officer on the Western Front with the Liverpool Pals. Based on his
unpublished letters and diaries, it covers his participation in the battles of
Arras and Ypres in 1917, with the Fifth and Second Armies during the great
German Spring Offensive of 1918, and in Brussels after the armistice. Eric
Rigby-Jones is one of the many unsung heroes of the war and, were it not for his
own account, his bravery would now be forgotten. He was awarded the Military
Cross and Bar for his actions on the first and last days of the Spring
Offensive. Invalided home, he was presented with his medals by the King at
Buckingham Palace a week after his 21st birthday. Eric would go on to become a
leading industrialist in Ireland after the war, founding his company, Irish
Ropes, in the disused British cavalry barracks in Newbridge, Co Kildare in 1933.
The book is well-researched and draws heavily on battalion war diaries
and other memoirs. Unlike many books based on personal diaries it sets Eric's
own detailed, vivid, and often humorous accounts within their broader military,
political and social context, and highlights the many close ties that bound the
officers and men of the Liverpool Pals together. It also introduces a wide range
of characters including Lord Derby, the Secretary of State of War and ‘King of
Lancashire', who was instrumental in creating the Pals; his younger brother,
Brigadier Stanley, who commanded them; Johnny Douglas, the England cricket
captain, who was Eric's battalion commander; Brigadier Robert White, who sent
Eric on a suicide mission in March 1918 and who had been tried and jailed for
his part in the Jameson Raid in 1895; and Aidan Chavasse, the youngest son of
the Bishop of Liverpool and brother of the double VC-winner, Noel Chavasse, who
was killed during a Pals' trench raid at Ypres.
The book is aimed at the
general reader and will appeal in particular to those who are interested in the
history of Liverpool and the Pals battalions and in Eric's later career. However
it also includes new details and perspectives, as in Eric's own account of the
German spring offensive, which will make it of interest to the specialist
reader. The book is well-illustrated and includes numerous photographs and
documents from the author's family albums as well as his own photographs of the
battlefields where his grandfather fought.
The Liverpool Pals' Battalion is but one of many formed during the early years of the First World War, yet it is quite possibly one of the most famous. John Rigby-Jones's grandfather's letters and diaries are put to good use in this fascinating book about a group of young men with a common camaraderie and background.
Tim Topps: The Umzindusi Letter
by Troubador 21st March 2017
An explosive revelation about who actually shot Lord Erroll. An explanation of the famous murder case. A cast of characters including Winston Churchill and Lord Baden-Powell. The shooting of Lord Erroll in the famous ‘Happy Valley’ murder case in 1941 has never been explained. It has sparked a host of wild rumours and theories, several books, and a film with a ridiculously wrong ending. Living in Kenya as a child in the late 1930’s, Tim knew several of the people who would be involved in the affair. It is only now, over 75 years later, that the truth seems to be emerging due to his most recent researches. A “Wartime Necessity”, reluctantly ordered by Churchill as he became Prime Minister, has always been seen as a possible answer to this mystery. Tim’s unique inside knowledge extends the link between Churchill and this event in an unexpected dimension, which has never before been revealed until this book. Tim unfolds the story exactly as it developed, from initial shock through to tentative suspicions, then to final discoveries and the only piece of positive proof that has not been destroyed: an oblique message from Winston to his grandfather. After authoring several stories this time Tim is not writing fiction. On balance Tim is convinced this is the true explanation of the famous murder. How about you?
An amazing story involving Lord Baden Powell and Winston Churchill, both involved, it seems, in a scandal of the 1940s and a mystery which until the publication of this fascinating book, has never been solved. Tim Topps is the writer's nom de plume, and the book is soemthing of a revelation which you will want to read for yourself. Fascinating!
James Turner: Instruments Of Battle
by Casemate 17th August 2017
Instruments of Battle examines in detail the development and role of the
British Army's fighting drummers and buglers, from the time of the foundation of
the army up to the present day. While their principal weapon of war was the drum
and bugle (and the fife), these men and boys were not musicians as such but
fighting soldiers who took their place in the front line.
The origins of
the drum and bugle in the Classical Period and the later influence of Islamic
armies are examined, leading to the arrival of the drum and fife in early Tudor
England. The story proper picks up post-English Civil War and the drum's period
of supremacy through much of the eighteenth century army; certain myths as to
its use are dispelled. The bugle rapidly superseded the drum for field use in
the nineteenth century until developments on the battlefield consigned these
instruments largely to barrack-life and the parade-ground. But there are
surprising examples of the use of the bugle in the field through both World Wars
and the story is brought up to most recent times and relegation to an almost
exclusively ceremonial role.
This is all set against a background of
campaigns, battles, changing tactical methods and the difficult processes of
command and control on the battlefield. Interwoven is relevant comparison with
other armies, particularly American and French. The wider roles of drummers,
especially, as battlefield heralds, as adjuncts to recruiting and dispensers of
punishment are considered, as well as the other roles they and buglers assumed,
out of practicability, on the modern battlefield. Stories of the drummers and
buglers themselves provide social context to their place in the army.
The hitherto forgotten story of the development of the regimental band, mainly drummers and buglers. A rare piece of social history.
Tom Guttridge: Behind The Wire - Everyday Life as a POW
by Amberley 15th August 2017
When rifleman Tom Guttridge returned from war in the early summer of 1945, he
brought home not only vivid memories of the battlefield and his five years in
prisoner-of-war camps, but a unique collection of photographs obtained from his
German captors by trading items from Red Cross parcels. The photos included
battlefield scenes of Calais, where Tom was captured in May 1940 after fighting
to hold up the German advance during the evacuation of Dunkirk, and pictures
illustrating both the horrors and the lighter side of daily life in the three
PoW camps where he spent most of the war – Stalag VIII B and the Delbruick Shaft
in southern Poland and Stalag 383 in Bavaria, Germany. Together with his written
memories, the pictures provide a rare visual insight into life in PoW camps,
including daily chores, funerals and celebrations, camp entertainment and
football matches between former professional players.
It is thanks to the efforts of POWs such as Tom Guttridge that we have such a complete and absorbing picture of the way British POWs were treated in Nazi occupied Europe. Films like The Great Escape entertain - books like Tom's Behind The Wire tell the true, fascinating story.
Theron Humphrey: Maddie Lounging On Things
by Abrams Image 12th September 2017
Maddie the coonhound has captured the hearts and imaginations of dog lovers
all around the world. Maddie Lounging on Things follows Maddie's adventures at
play and at rest as she accompanies her owner, Theron, from Utah to Illinois to
Mexico and everywhere in between. From cross-country trips sleeping in cars and
cheap motels to visiting family near and far, Maddie finds a way to settle in
for a nap in any set of circumstances. This collection highlights Maddie's
snuggly, cuddly side, as she curls up in unexpected places, belly flops onto
sofas all over the country, and nestles herself into the lap of her much-loved
owner. These sweet, touching, and oftentimes silly photos will be absolutely
irresistible to Maddie's fans and dog lovers just getting to know her.
Any dog lover will find this beautiful book amusing and heartwarming. Maddie, photographed in hundreds of different poses, sometimes with other dogs, soetimes with people - what's not to love!
Thomas V Renahan: Struggle For Iraq
by Potomac Books 1st June 2017
The Struggle for Iraq is a vivid personal account of the Iraqi people's fight
for democracy and justice by an American political scientist. Thomas M. Renahan
arrived in southern Iraq just three days before the capture of Saddam Hussein in
2003; later he worked in Baghdad through the dark days of the country's
sectarian violence and then in Iraqi Kurdistan. One of the few Americans to
serve in all three major regions of Iraq, he spearheaded projects to develop
democratic institutions, promote democracy and elections, and fight corruption.
With inside accounts of two USAID projects and of a Kurdish government ministry,
this engrossing and cautionary story highlights efforts to turn Baathist Iraq
into a democratic country.
Renahan examines the challenges faced by the
Iraqi people and international development staff during this turbulent time,
revealing both their successes and frustrations. Drawing on his on-the-ground
civilian perspective, Renahan recounts how expatriate staff handled the
hardships and dangers as well as the elaborate security required to protect
them, how Iraqi staff coped with the personal security risks of working for
Coalition organizations, and the street-level mayhem and violence, including the
assassinations of close Iraqi friends. Although Iraq remains in crisis, it has
largely defeated the ISIS terrorists who seized much of the country in 2014.
Renahan emphasizes, however, that reconciliation is still the end game in Iraq.
In the concluding chapters he explains how the United States can support this
process and help resolve the complex problems between the Iraqi government and
the independence-minded Kurds, offering hope for the future.
The book description says it all. I'm afraid I'm not sufficiently educated in Middle Eastern history to be able to comment, but it seems to be a comprehensive look at the situation in Iraq as they take back the lands seized by the so-called Islaminc State.
Quintin Barry: Far Distant Ships
by Helion & Co., 15th July 2017
Throughout the long drawn out war at sea during the French Revolutionary and
Napoleonic Wars, it was a cardinal principle of British naval strategy to
blockade the port of Brest, the largest and most important of the French naval
bases that threatened the security of the British Isles. It was a strategy that
had been perfected by Sir Edward Hawke during the Seven Years War of 1756 -
1763, when it culminated in the stunning victory of Quiberon Bay. The American
naval historian A.T. Mahan memorably summed up the contribution of the Royal
Navy to the ultimate defeat of Napoleon when he wrote: ‘Those far distant,
storm-beaten ships, upon which the Grand Army never looked, stood between it and
the domination of the world.'
There were many aspects to the blockade of
Brest, but always at its centre was the need to frustrate French attempts at the
invasion of Britain or Ireland. Most famous of these, of course, was Napoleon's
intricate combination that led to the campaign of Trafalgar, in the course of
which his invasion plans disintegrated. But there were many other offensive
moves which it was the blockading fleet's duty to prevent. Inevitably, there
were great sea battles when the French ventured out, though fewer than might
have been expected. For many months at a time the British fleet was at sea off
Brest facing the considerable dangers of wind and weather without encountering
There were many remarkable leaders who came to the fore
during the long years of war; Howe, Bridport, St Vincent, Cornwallis and Keith
were among those who led the Channel Fleet. Nelson described his captains as a
‘band of brothers', but this was by no means a description that could be applied
to the quarrelsome, self willed and argumentative group of men who held the
destiny of the Royal Navy in their hands, whether at sea or around the boardroom
table at the Admiralty.
Drawing on the official and personal
correspondence of those involved, this book traces the development of British
naval strategy, as well as describing the crucial encounters between the rival
fleets and the single ship actions which provided the press with a constant flow
of news stories for its readers.
Some of the preconceptions on which this book is based may have been overtaken by events of the past few days, which reveal Admiral Lord Nelson to have been a white supreacist, and an outspoken advocate for the continuation of the slave trade...
Susan Duxbury-Neumann: What Have The Germans Ever Done For Us?
by Amberley 15th August 2017
By the second half of the nineteenth century, Germans had formed the largest
immigrant group in England and Wales after the Irish, peaking at over
The German immigrants pursued many trades in Britain. It has been
recently discovered that German pork butchers, a result of chain migration of
Swabian peasant farmers and pig-breeders, opened butcher’s shops in most towns
and cities in Great Britain, providing factory workers with cheap and tasty
'take-away' meals. The sugar industry was mostly in German hands until the
mid-nineteenth century. Although the work was difficult and dangerous,
sugar-baking was a major employer and exploiter of lower-class Germans, but
almost extinct by the end of the century. Other main occupations were waiters
(later restaurant owners), merchants, office clerks, watch makers and musicians.
Female migrants found employment in German-owned businesses or came to be
married or work as 'nannies' and teachers. German customs, guilds and cultural
societies were founded according to class and religion.
With the outbreak
of the First World War, a paranoid hatred of everything German resulted in
internment and deportation and a complete wipe-out of the German population in
Great Britain. This book tells the intriguing story of German migration to Great
Britain, and explores what happened to the migrants in that tense early
My wife has German Huguenot ancestry in her family, with n ancestor acquiring a public house in Oxford during the 19th century. Germans were on the receiving end of some major trauma following the end of WW2, something this fascinating book manages to put into some kind of perspective. The butcher in my home village was Italian, but that was because there was an Italian POW camp at the back of our house in the form of nissen huts, and many of the prisoners would have remained in Britain after the war. Susan's book provides a fascinating socio-economic history of the Germans in Britain that is crying out to be read. Our oldest rivals in terms of soccer, of course, but that's just one small aspect of their integration into our society. A very readable book.
The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its sixteenth year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email and I'll let you know where to send it.