The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker
By Roger Hutchinson
At the beginning of each decade for 200 years the national census has presented a self-portrait of the British Isles.The census has surveyed Britain from the Napoleonic wars to the age of the internet, through the agricultural and industrial revolutions, possession of the biggest empire on earth and the devastation of the 20th century's two world wars.In The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker, Roger Hutchinson looks at every census between the first in 1801 and the latest in 2011. He uses this much-loved resource of family historians to paint a vivid picture of a society experiencing unprecedented changes.Hutchinson explores the controversial creation of the British census. He follows its development from a head-count of the population conducted by clerks with quill pens, to a computerised survey which is designed to discover 'the address, place of birth, religion, marital status, ability to speak English and self-perceived national identity of every twenty-seven-year-old Welsh-speaking Sikh metalworker living in Swansea'.All human life is here, from prime ministers to peasants and paupers, from Irish rebels to English patriots, from the last native speakers of Cornish to the first professional footballers, from communities of prostitutes to individuals called 'abecedarians' who made a living from teaching the alphabet.The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker is as original and unique as those people and their islands on the cutting edge of Europe.
The Brontës: A Life in Letters
By Juliet Barker
The Brontë story has been written many times but rarely as compellingly as by the Brontës themselves. In this selection of letters and autobiographical fragments we hear the authentic voices of the three novelist sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, their brother, Branwell, and their father, the Reverend Patrick Brontë. We share in their progress over the years: the exuberant childhood, absorbed in wild, imaginative games; the years of struggling to earn a living in uncongenial occupations before Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall took the literary world by storm; the terrible marring of that success as, one by one, Branwell, Emily and Anne died tragically young; the final years as Charlotte, battling against grief, loneliness and ill health, emerged from anonymity to take her place in London literary society and, finally, found an all too brief happiness in marriage to her father's curate. Juliet Barker, author of the highly acclaimed biography The Brontës has used her unrivalled knowledge of the family to select extracts from letters and manuscripts, many of which are appearing here in print for the first time. Charlotte was a letter-writer of supreme ability, ranging from facetious notes and homely gossip to carefully composed pages of literary criticism and, most movingly of all, elegiac tributes to her beloved brother and sisters. Emily and Anne remain tantalizingly evasive. Very few of their letters are extant. Emily's are mere businesslike notes, though these have been supplemented by her more revealing diary papers; Anne's letters are equally frustrating, but only because their quality makes us regret their paucity.Branwell emerges as distinctly as Charlotte from his letters. Whether trying to impress William Wordsworth with his literary abilities, showing off to his artistic friends or finally coming to terms with a life of failed ambition, his character is laid bare on every page. The Reverend Patrick Brontë's devotion to his children and passionate advocacy of liberal causes are equally well illustrated in what can only be a small selection from his voluminous correspondence.The Brontë letters are supplemented by extracts from other contemporary sources, which allow us to see the family as their friends and acquaintances saw them. A brief narrative text guides the reader through the letters and sets them in context. By allowing the Brontës to tell their own story, Juliet Barker has not only produced an innovative form of biography but also given us the unique privilege of participating intimately in the lives of one of the most famous and best-loved families of English literature.
By Taylor Downing
Paralysis. Stuttering. The 'shakes'. Inability to stand or walk. Temporary blindness or deafness.When strange symptoms like these began appearing in men at Casualty Clearing Stations in 1915, a debate began in army and medical circles as to what it was, what had caused it and what could be done to cure it. But the numbers were never large.Then in July 1916 with the start of the Somme battle the incidence of shell shock rocketed. The high command of the British army began to panic. An increasingly large number of men seemed to have simply lost the will to fight. As entire battalions had to be withdrawn from the front, commanders and military doctors desperately tried to come up with explanations as to what was going wrong. 'Shell shock' - what we would now refer to as battle trauma - was sweeping the Western Front.By the beginning of August 1916, nearly 200,000 British soldiers had been killed or wounded during the first month of fighting along the Somme. Another 300,000 would be lost before the battle was over. But the army always said it could not calculate the exact number of those suffering from shell shock. Re-assessing the official casualty figures, Taylor Downing for the first time comes up with an accurate estimate of the total numbers who were taken out of action by psychological wounds. It is a shocking figure.Taylor Downing's revelatory new book follows units and individuals from signing up to the Pals Battalions of 1914, through to the horrors of their experiences on the Somme which led to the shell shock that, unrelated to weakness or cowardice, left the men unable to continue fighting. He shines a light on the official - and brutal - response to the epidemic, even against those officers and doctors who looked on it sympathetically. It was, they believed, a form of hysteria. It was contagious. And it had to be stopped.Breakdown brings an entirely new perspective to bear on one of the iconic battles of the First World War.
A Bus Pass Named Desire
By Christopher Matthew
'It's never too late to have a fling, for autumn is just as nice as spring . . .'Christopher Matthew's latest collection of canny comic verse negotiates the perils and pitfalls of romance in later years. Love is revealed in the most unlikely places, with the most improbable people seeking it. Whether in Dorking, Diss, Clapham Junction or West Wittering, there are amorous opportunities waiting to be seized at the bridge table, on the tennis court, in the herbaceous border, on a bicycle made for two, or simply in warm companionship. Often hilarious and always touching, these delightful and stirring tales of late-flowering love (and even mild debauchery in a retirement home) are a celebration of life for the young at heart.And never again will you take the 49 bus without a sideways glance at the driver.
By Chris Brookmyre
*Winner of the 2016 Crime Novel of the Year at Bloody Scotland*Twists abound in the brilliant new psychological thriller from master author Chris Brookmyre - perfect for readers of The Girl on the Train, I See You and Disclaimer.Did she do it? Did he deserve it?Diana Jager is clever, strong and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing.Then she meets Peter. He's kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past: the second chance she's been waiting for. Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead in a road accident, a nightmare end to their fairytale romance.But Peter's sister Lucy doesn't believe in fairytales, and tasks maverick reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling Black Widow...
The Beatles - All These Years
By Mark Lewisohn
The Beatles have been at the top for fifty years, their music remains exciting, their influence is still huge, their acclaim and achievements cannot be surpassed. But who really were the Beatles, and how did they and everything else in the 1960s fuse so explosively?Mark Lewisohn's three-part biography is the first true and accurate account of the Beatles, a contextual history built upon impeccable research and written with energy, style, objectivity and insight. This first volume covers the crucial and less-known early period - the Liverpool and Hamburg years of a hungry rock and roll band, when all the sharp characters and situations take shape.This is the Beatles like you've never read them before. It isn't just 'another book', it's the book, from the world-acknowledged authority. Forget what you know and discover The Complete Story.
By Wallace J. Nichols
Blue Mind paints a fascinating picture of our relationship to the planet's most omnipresent resource - water. Grounded in cutting-edge studies in neurobiology, cognitive psychology, economics, and medicine, and made real by stories of innovative scientists, doctors, athletes, artists, environmentalists, businesspeople and lovers of nature - stories that fascinate the mind and touch the heart - Blue Mind will awaken readers to the vital importance of water to the health and happiness of us all.
The Bones Beneath
By Mark Billingham
The DealTom Thorne is back in charge - but there's a terrifying price to pay. Stuart Nicklin, the most dangerous psychopath he has ever put behind bars, promises to reveal the whereabouts of a body he buried twenty-five years before. But only if Thorne agrees to escort him.The DangerUnable to refuse, Thorne gathers a team and travels to a remote Welsh island, at the mercy of the weather and cut off from the mainland. Thorne is determined to get the job done and return home before Nicklin can outwit them.The DeathsBut Nicklin knows this island well and has had time to plan ahead. Soon, new bodies are added to the old, and Thorne finds himself facing the toughest decision he has ever had to make...Tom Thorne returns in this utterly gripping, brilliantly plotted thriller. The Bones Beneath is Mark Billingham's most ambitious and accomplished work to date.
The Beatles - All These Years - Extended Special Edition
By Mark Lewisohn
This extended special edition of Mark Lewisohn's magisterial book Tune In is a true collector's item, featuring hundreds of thousands of words of extra material, as well as many extra photographs. It is the complete, uncut and definitive biography of the Beatles' early years, from their family backgrounds through to the moment they're on the cusp of their immense breakthrough at the end of 1962.Designed, printed and bound in Great Britain, this high-quality edition consists of two beautifully produced individual hardbacks printed on New Langely Antique Wove woodfree paper, with red-and-white head and tail bands and red ribbon marker. The two books will sit within a specially designed box and lid featuring soft touch and varnish finishes. The whole product comes shrinkwrapped for extra protection. Mark Lewisohn's biography is the first true and accurate account of the Beatles, a contextual history built upon impeccable research and written with energy, style, objectivity and insight. This extended special edition is for anyone who wishes to own the complete story in all its stunning and extraordinary detail. This is genuinely, and without question, the lasting word from the world-acknowledged authority.
Best-Loved Celtic Fairy Tales
By Isabelle Brent, Neil Philip, Isabelle Brent
A collection of stories from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Cornwall and Brittany which show their common Celtic heritage in their love of extravagance and poetry, their quick wit and their daring sense of adventure. Here, retold much as they were around Celtic peat fires a hundred years ago, are the enthralling tales of Fair Brown and Trembling, The Brown Bear of the Glen, and The Ship that Went to America. Some of the stories give familiar tales a Celtic twist - Duffy and the Devil is a comic Cornish take on the Rumplestiltskin story; The Black Cat is a dark and mysterious Breton Cinderella...and others seem new and strange such as the doomed love of Lutey and the Mermaid or the mystic rapture of The Little Bird. Perhaps the most riveting of all is the Irish tale of The Soul Cages, in which a fisherman makes friends with one of the sea-people, Coomara, and uses their friendship to free the souls of drowned sailors, kept by Coomara in lobster pots in his house beneath the waves...
Book Of The Dead
By Patricia Cornwell
The 'book of the dead' is the morgue log, the ledger in which all cases are entered by hand. For Kay Scarpetta, however, it is about to have a new meaning. Fresh from her bruising battle with a psychopath in Florida, Scarpetta decides it's time for a change of pace. Moving to the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, she opens a unique private forensic pathology practice, one in which she and her colleagues offer expert crime scene investigation and autopsies to communities lacking local access to competent death investigation and modern technology. It seems like an ideal situation, until the murders and other violent deaths begin. A woman is ritualistically murdered in her multi-million-dollar beach home. The body of an abused young boy is found dumped in a desolate marsh. A sixteen-year-old tennis star is found nude and mutilated near Piazza Navona in Rome. Scarpetta has dealt with many brutal and unusual crimes before, but never a string of them as baffling, or as terrifying, as the ones before her now. Before she is through, that book of the dead will contain many names - and the pen may be poised to write her own.
Best-Loved Fairy Tales
By Isabelle Brent, Neil Philip, Isabelle Brent
A beautifully designed collection of well-loved fairy tales, including such favourites as Rumpelstiltskin, Little Snow-White, Rapunzel, The Emperor's New Clothes and many more.The book is illustrated throughout by Isabelle Brent's magical watercolours, lavishly embellished with gold leaf and her mastery of decorative style, making this a book the whole family will treasure.
By Sally Emerson
Following the wonderfully moving In Loving Memory, this anthology offers a delightful and provocative collection of readings and poems, comic and profound. The perfect partner for weddings and valentines, wedding anniversaries and vow renewals, for ceremonies civil or religious, above all it should be enjoyed by anyone who wants to try to understand the great mysteries of love. BE MINE charts and celebrates all stages of romance from first loves to lasting loves, from proposals to weddings to wrong turnings. With readings suitable for all ages, containing pieces well-known and well-loved, and forgotten and unknown, this collection is a journey through the epic and domestic, the patience and passions of love.
Beyond The Limits
By Ranulph Fiennes
Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been hailed by the GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS as the world's greatest living explorer. Following his most recent unsupported attempt to reach the North Pole which nearly cost him his life, he looks back on three decades of adventures in all corners of the globe and what he has learned from them.Reflecting on such diverse themes as the importance of choosing the right team, monitoring the opposition and dealing with the media, Sir Ranulph presents a breathtaking collection of photographs from his personal archive and discusses the - sometimes painful - lessons he has taken away from each expedition. From the famous and successful Transglobe voyage in the early 1980s to his life-threatening attempt on the North Pole in 2000, this is a riveting and enlightening insight into the life of an extraordinary man.
By Neil Philip, Isabelle Brent, Isabelle Brent
This highly accessible collection gathers together the best-loved gems of English language verse, from the deeply moving to the hilariously silly. The poems span the entire range of verse from high drama to stuff-and-nonsense and are presented in nine sections: Poems of Childhood and Youth; Poems of Love and Marriage; Poems of Life; Poems of Loss and Comfort; Poems of War and Peace; Poems to Read Aloud; Poems to Read Quietly; Poems of Animals and Nature and Poems of Magic and Mystery.The anthology includes works by William Blake, Dylan Thomas, Seamus Heaney, Robert Burns, T S Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, W B Yeats and many, many more. The poems have all been chosen and arranged by Neil Philip and the volume is illustrated throughout with watercolour borders and decorative motifs by Isabelle Brent, glowing with her trademark gold leaf.
The Blair Effect
By Anthony Seldon
THE BLAIR EFFECT is a collection of authoritative and (reasonably) unpartisan commentaries on the first administration of Tony Blair as it approaches a General Election. The authors demonstrate that it is possible to write contemporary history about even the most recent past in an accessible yet scrupulously objective manner. How much has changed since the landslide election victory of May 1997? What was prompting the changes, and to what extent were they the fruit of number 10's intentions? How far might they have happened anyway? How effective has the Blair effect been? Peter Riddell, Vernon Bogdanor, Dennis Kavanagh and a host of other star analysts pose these questions and do their best to answer them.