Colin Shindler - National Service - Little, Brown Book Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Paperback
    More information
    • ISBN:9780751546200
    • Publication date:23 May 2013
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9780748126002
    • Publication date:10 May 2012

National Service

From Aldershot to Aden: tales from the conscripts, 1946-62

By Colin Shindler
Read by Gordon Griffin

  • Downloadable audio file
  • £P.O.R.

A groundbreaking look at life as a conscript during Britain's postwar National Service, as told by the men who served.

Permission to speak, Sah!

In the aftermath of the Second World War, over two million men were conscripted to serve in Britain's armed services. Some were sent abroad and watched their friends die in combat. Others remained in barracks and painted coal white. But despite delivering such varied experiences, National Service helped to shape the outlook of an entire generation of young British males.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the end of National Service, historian Dr Colin Shindler has interviewed ex-conscripts from all backgrounds and ranks, spanning the entire period of peacetime conscription, and captured their memories in this engrossing book. From them, we experience the tension of a postwar Berlin surrounded by Russians, the exotic heat and colour of Tripoli in 1948, the brief but intense flashpoint of the Suez Crisis, and the fear of the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. But we also hear about the other end of the scale, the conscripts who didn't make it outside the confines of their barracks, or in one case, beyond his home town.

In National Service we see the changing face of British society across these pivotal years, which spans everything from the coronation of Elizabeth II, to the birth of rock 'n' roll, to the beginning of the end of the Empire. The stories within these pages are fascinating. And they deserve to be told before they are lost forever.

Biographical Notes

Colin Shindler is an author, broadcaster and Affiliated Lecturer in History at Cambridge University.

For twenty years he was a Bafta award winning television writer and producer being responsible for the series Lovejoy and the motion picture Buster starring Phil Collins and Julie Walters for which he wrote the screenplay.

In recent years he has written a series of books on British and American social history and written and presented documentaries for BBC Television and written plays for BBC Radio Four. He lectures in British and American cultural history with an emphasis on the impact of both sport and film on twentieth century society.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781405516877
  • Publication date: 10 May 2012
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Hachette Audio
PublicAffairs

Shakespeare and the Resistance

Clare Asquith
Authors:
Clare Asquith

Abacus

The Edwardians

Roy Hattersley
Authors:
Roy Hattersley

Edwardian Britain is the quintessential age of nostalgia, often seen as the last long summer afternoon before the cataclysmic changes of the twentieth century began to take form. The class system remained rigidly in place and thousands were employed in domestic service. The habits and sports of the aristocracy were an everyday indulgence. But it was an age of invention as well as tradition. It saw the first widespread use of the motor car, the first aeroplane and the first use of the telegraph. It was also a time of vastly improved education and the public appetite for authors such as Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and E. M. Forster was increased by greater literacy. There were signs too, of the corner history was soon to turn, with the problematic Boer War hinting at a new British weakness overseas and the drive for Votes for Women and Home Rule for Ireland pushing the boundaries of the social and political landscape. In this major work of history, Roy Hattersley has been given exclusive access to many new documents to produce this magisterial new appraisal of a legendary age.

Abacus

Borrowed Time

Roy Hattersley
Authors:
Roy Hattersley

Called an uneasy peace, the twenty years between the wars were a time of turmoil - Britain saw a general strike and the worst economic crisis in its history, armed rebellion in Ireland and open revolt in India, a Prime Minister's resignation and the King's abdication. Crisis followed crisis until Britain was engulfed in the Second World War - a catastrophe that could have been foreseen, possibly even prevented. But there were also moments of triumph: England regained the Ashes and Britain ran to glory in the 'Chariots of Fire' Olympic Games; the BBC was born and became the envy of the free world; there was a renaissance in poetry, sculpture of genius, and cinema lightened the darkness for millions. However it is the politicians who failed who have really come to personify the interwar years - in particular Ramsey MacDonald and Stanley Baldwin. Both prime ministers were better men than history allows. And Winston Churchill? Right or wrong, success or failure, he is the irrepressible force in what he called the 'years for the locusts to eat'. Hattersley's assessment of this doomed era is illuminating, entertaining and bold.

Abacus

Primitive Rebels

Eric Hobsbawm
Authors:
Eric Hobsbawm

Social agitation is as essential a part of public life today as it has ever been. In Eric Hobsbawm's masterful study, Primitive Rebels, he shines a light on the origins of contemporary rebellion: Robin Hood, secret societies, revolutionary peasants, Mafiosi, Spanish Civil War anarchy, pre-industrial mobs and riots - all of which have fed in to our notions of dissent in the modern world.Coining now familiar terms such as 'social banditry', Primitive Rebels shows how Hobsbawm was decades ahead of his time, and his insightful analysis of the history of social movements is critical to our understanding of movements such as UK Uncut, Black Lives Matter and the growing international resistance to Donald Trump's presidency.Reissued with a new introduction by Owen Jones, Primitive Rebels is the perfect guide to the revolutions that shaped western civilisation, and the bandits, reformers and anarchists who have fought to change the world.

Little, Brown

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker

Roger Hutchinson
Authors:
Roger Hutchinson
Little, Brown

England's Cathedrals

Simon Jenkins
Authors:
Simon Jenkins
Abacus

Bloody Victory

William Philpott
Authors:
William Philpott

1 July 1916: the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The hot, hellish day in the fields of northern France that has dominated our perception of the First World War for just shy of a century. The shameful waste; the pointlessness of young lives lost for the sake of a few yards; the barbaric attitudes of the British leaders; the horror and ignominy of failure. All have occupied our thoughts for generations. Yet are we right to view the Somme in this way?Drawing on a vast number of sources such as letters, diaries and numerous archives, Bloody Victory describes in vivid detail the physical conditions, the combat and exceptional bravery against the odds but it also, uniquely, captures how the Somme defined the twentieth century in so many ways. This is an utterly gripping new analysis of one of the most iconic campaigns in history.

Little, Brown

Viva la Revolucion

Eric Hobsbawm
Authors:
Eric Hobsbawm

In his autobiography Interesting Times: A Twentieth Century Life, published in 2002 when he was eighty-five years old, the historian Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012) wrote that Latin America was the only region of the world outside Europe which he felt he knew well and where he felt entirely at home. He claimed this was because it was the only part of the Third World whose two principal languages, Spanish and Portuguese, were within his reach. But he was also, of course, attracted by the potential for social revolution in Latin America. After the triumph of Fidel Castro in Cuba in January 1959, and even more after the defeat of the American attempt to overthrow him at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961, 'there was not an intellectual in Europe or the USA', he wrote, 'who was not under the spell of Latin America, a continent apparently bubbling with the lava of social revolutions'. The Third World 'brought the hope of revolution back to the First in the 1960s'. The two great international inspirations were Cuba and Vietnam, 'triumphs not only of revolution, but of Davids against Goliaths, of the weak against the all-powerful'.

Little, Brown

Breakdown

Taylor Downing
Authors:
Taylor Downing
Robinson

A Brief History of the Amazons

Lyn Webster Wilde
Authors:
Lyn Webster Wilde

'Golden-shielded, silver-sworded, man-loving, male-child slaughtering Amazons,' is how the fifth-century Greek historian Hellanicus described the Amazons, and they have fascinated humanity ever since. Did they really exist? For centuries, scholars consigned them to the world of myth, but Lyn Webster Wilde journeyed into the homeland of the Amazons and uncovered astonishing evidence of their historic reality.North of the Black Sea she found archaeological excavations of graves of Iron Age women buried with arrows, swords and armour. In the hidden world of the Hittites, near the Amazons' ancient capital of Thermiscyra in Anatolia, she unearthed traces of powerful priestesses, women-only religious cults, and an armed, bisexual goddess - all possible sources for the ferocious women.Combining scholarly penetration with a sense of adventure, Webster Wilde has produced a coherent and absorbing book that challenges preconceived notions, still disturbingly widespread, of what men and women can do.

Constable

The Last Goodbye

Matt Potter
Authors:
Matt Potter
Little, Brown

Culloden

Trevor Royle
Authors:
Trevor Royle

The Battle of Culloden has gone down in history as the last major battle fought on British soil: a vicious confrontation between Scottish forces supporting the Stuart claim to the throne and the English Royal Army. But this wasn't just a conflict between the Scots and the English, the battle was also part of a much larger campaign to protect the British Isles from the growing threat of a French invasion. In Trevor Royle's vivid and evocative narrative, we are drawn into the ranks, on both sides, alongside doomed Jacobites fighting fellow Scots dressed in the red coats of the Duke of Cumberland's Royal Army. And we meet the Duke himself, a skilled warrior who would gain notoriety due to the reprisals on Highland clans in the battle's aftermath. Royle also takes us beyond the battle as the men of the Royal Army, galvanized by its success at Culloden, expand dramatically and start to fight campaigns overseas in America and India in order to secure British interests; we see the revolutionary use of fighting techniques first implemented at Culloden; and the creation of professional fighting forces. Culloden changed the course of British history by ending all hope of the Stuarts reclaiming the throne, cementing Hanoverian rule and forming the bedrock for the creation of the British Empire. Royle's lively and provocative history looks afresh at the period and unveils its true significance, not only as the end of a struggle for the throne but the beginning of a new global power.

Abacus

Tales From the Dark Continent

Charles Allen
Authors:
Charles Allen

Charles Allen captures the vanished world of British Colonial Africa in the recollections of the pioneering men and women who lived and worked there.

Constable

Miracles on the Water

Tom Nagorski
Authors:
Tom Nagorski

On September 17, 1940, the SS City of Benares was sailing in the North Atlantic with more than four hundred people on board, including ninety children on their way to Canada to escape the blitz. They were considered lucky - leaving WWII behind and heading for peace, quiet and security...At a little after ten o'clock that night, a German submarine torpedoed the Benares. The ship sank in half an hour, in a gale that sent several of her lifeboats pitching to the cold sea. The passengers were more than six hundred miles from land, three hundred miles from the nearest rescue vessel; none of them had a reasonable hope of survival. But in the wake of tragedy and horror, the City of Benares would also prove herself a mother of miracles. Exceptional feats of courage and endurance took shape in the hours and days that followed the attack, the children in particular exhibiting what one naval officer later called 'courage beyond praise'. Based on firsthand accounts from the child survivors and other passengers, including the author's great-uncle, "Miracles on the Water" is a vivid retelling of one of the greatest hidden wartime dramas.

Piatkus

The Strange Laws Of Old England

Nigel Cawthorne
Authors:
Nigel Cawthorne

Did you know that: It's against the law to check into a hotel in London under assumed names for the purpose of lovemaking? Under a statute of Edwards II all whales washed up on the shore belong to the monarch? Under a Tudor law Welshmen are not allowed into the city of Chester after dark?In THE STRANGE LAWS OF OLD ENGLAND, Nigel Cawthorne unearths an extraordinary collection of the most bizarre and arcane laws that have been enacted over the centuries. Some of the laws, incredibly, are still in force. It is still illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour . . . This elegant and amusing book is perfect for everyone fascinated by the eccentric history of these islands.

Little, Brown

The Three-Year Swim Club

Julie Checkoway
Authors:
Julie Checkoway

In 1937 an ordinary school teacher on the island of Maui took a group of under privileged children, most of Japanese ancestry, and trained them to become Olympic swimmers. He called his plan the 'Three-Year Swim Club' and he succeeded in producing true American heroes whose story has never been told.None of the barefoot children had ever laid eyes on a pool. Their only experience in water was playing naked in the filthy irrigation ditches that snaked down from the mountains and into the sugar cane fields. And the coach knew nothing about coaching and couldn't swim a lap to save his life. But, against all odds, and during a period of history marked by virulent racism and the Second World War, the children embarked on an unlikely path that led them to become celebrated swimmers from LA to London, and real-life American heroes.

Abacus

The Scramble For Africa

Thomas Pakenham
Authors:
Thomas Pakenham

In 1880 the continent of Africa was largely unexplored by Europeans. Less than thirty years later, only Liberia and Ethiopia remained unconquered by them. The rest - 10 million square miles with 110 million bewildered new subjects - had been carved up by five European powers (and one extraordinary individual) in the name of Commerce, Christianity, 'Civilization' and Conquest. The Scramble for Africa is the first full-scale study of that extraordinary episode in history.

Abacus

The Year Of Liberty

Thomas Pakenham
Authors:
Thomas Pakenham
Little, Brown

Dynasty

Tom Holland
Authors:
Tom Holland

'This is a wonderful, surging narrative - a brilliant and meticulous synthesis of the ancient sources . . . This is a story that should be read by anyone interested in history, politics or human nature - and it has never been better told' - Boris Johnson, Mail on SundayRome was first ruled by kings, then became a republic. But in the end, after conquering the world, the Republic collapsed. Rome was drowned in blood. So terrible were the civil wars that the Roman people finally came to welcome the rule of an autocrat who could give them peace. 'Augustus,' their new master called himself: 'The Divinely Favoured One'.The lurid glamour of the dynasty founded by Augustus has never faded. No other family can compare for sheer unsettling fascination with its gallery of leading characters. Tiberius, the great general who ended up a bitter recluse, notorious for his perversions; Caligula, the master of cruelty and humiliation who rode his chariot across the sea; Agrippina, the mother of Nero, manoeuvering to bring to power the son who would end up having her murdered; Nero himself, racing in the Olympics, marrying a eunuch, and building a pleasure palace over the fire-gutted centre of his capital.Now, in the sequel to Rubicon, Tom Holland gives a dazzling portrait of Rome's first imperial dynasty. Dynasty traces the full astonishing story of its rule of the world: both the brilliance of its allure, and the blood-steeped shadows cast by its crimes. Ranging from the great capital rebuilt in marble by Augustus to the dank and barbarian-haunted forests of Germany, it is populated by a spectacular cast: murderers and metrosexuals, adulterers and druids, scheming grandmothers and reluctant gladiators. Dynasty is the portrait of a family that transformed and stupefied Rome.

Abacus

Plain Tales From The Raj

Charles Allen
Authors:
Charles Allen

The Raj was, for two hundred years, the jewel in the British imperial crown. Although founded on military expansionism and undoubted exploitation, it developed over the centuries into what has been called 'benign autocracy' - the government of many by few, with the active collaboration of most Indians in recognition of a desire for the advancement of their country.Charles Allen's classic oral history of the period that marked the end of British rule was first published a generation ago. Now reissued as the imperial century closes, this brilliantly insightful and bestselling collection of reminiscences illustrates the unique experience of British India: the sadness and luxury for some; the joy and deprivation for others.