By Charles Allen
COROMANDEL. A name which has been long applied by Europeans to the Northern Tamil Country, or (more comprehensively) to the eastern coast of the Peninsula of India.This is the India highly acclaimed historian Charles Allen visits in this fascinating book. Coromandel journeys south, exploring the less well known, often neglected and very different history and identity of the pre-Aryan Dravidian south. During Allen's exploration of the Indian south he meets local historians, gurus and politicians and with their help uncovers some extraordinary stories about the past. His sweeping narrative takes in the archaeology, religion, linguistics and anthropology of the region - and how these have influenced contemporary politics. Known for his vivid storytelling, for decades Allen has travelled the length and breadth of India, revealing the spirit of the sub-continent through its history and people. In Coromandel, he moves through modern-day India, discovering as much about the present as he does about the past.
By Harry Pearson
His father was a first-class cricketer, his grandfather was a slave.Born in rural Trinidad in 1901, Learie Constantine was the most dynamic all-round cricketer of his age (1928-1939) when he played Test cricket for the West Indies and club cricket for Nelson. Few who saw Constantine in action would ever forget the experience. As well as the cricketing genius that led to Constantine being described as 'the most original cricketer of his time', Connie illuminates the world that he grew up in, a place where the memories of slavery were still fresh and where a peculiar, almost obsessive, devotion to 'Englishness' created a society that was often more British than Britain itself. Harry Pearson looks too at the society Constantine came to in England, which he would embrace as much as it embraced him: the narrow working-class world of the industrial North during a time of grave economic depression. Connie reveals how a flamboyant showman from the West Indies actually dovetailed rather well in a place where local music-hall stars such as George Formby, Frank Randle and Gracie Fields were fêted as heroes, and how Lancashire League cricket fitted into this world of popular entertainment.Connie tells an uplifting story about sport and prejudice, genius and human decency, and the unlikely cultural exchange between two very different places - the tropical island of Trinidad and the cloth-manufacturing towns of northern England - which shared the common language of cricket.
Cast No Shadow
By Mary S. Lovell
The legend of Betty Pack is simple enough. She was a beautiful American spy recruited first by the British Secret lntelligence Service in 1938 and later by the American OSS. Her method of obtaining information was singular: seduction. In Cast No Shadow Mary Lovell, author of Straight On Till Morning, the internationally acclaimed and best-selling biography of Beryl Markham, gives us for the first time the complete story behind the legend of this modern-day Mata Hari, a story more astounding than the legend.Betty Pack's milieu was the aristocratic world of international diplomatic society The wife of a career British diplomat-the marriage for both partners had quickly become an arrangement of convenience, not passion - Betty would be witness to and participant in many of the most intense historic moments of the twentieth century: in civil war-torn Madrid, besieged Warsaw occupied Paris, wartime Washington. In each locale, Betty's entrée into diplomatic circles and her own penchant for seeking out men at the center of conflict made her a spy whose love of adventure was matched only by her talent for uncovering the enemy's secrets. Betty often knew what information her spymasters wanted; more important, she knew whom to approach and seduce in order to obtain it.Relying on top-secret and heretofore unrevealed documents from British Intelligence as well as on Betty's own memoir written shortly before her death, Mary Lovell offers a remarkable portrait of a woman whose adeptness for intrigue in affairs of espionage and passion is astonishing. Cast No Shadow is a story of subterfuge and romantic expediency the exposes the hidden human intrigue of World War II and the life of a woman whose contribution to the Allied effort was invaluable and unique.
Curiosities from the College Museum
The Royal College of Physicians celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2018, and to observe this landmark is publishing this series of ten books. Each of the books focuses on fifty themed elements that have contributed to making the RCP what it is today, together adding up to 500 reflections on 500 years. Some of the people, ideas, objects and manuscripts featured are directly connected to the College, while others have had an influence that can still be felt in its work.This fifth book in the series is a celebration of 50 fascinating objects in the Royal College's museum and collections.
Called to Account
By Margaret Hodge
A jaw-dropping - and intimate - account by the woman who spent five years as the nation's watchdog of how much of the money needed for public services is misspent, while too many corporate giants get away without paying their fair share.As Chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee from 2010- 2015 Margaret Hodge has been both the scourge of waste and inefficiency by successive governments. At the same time she has helped to disclose the chicanery of companies out to avoid tax. Fearing a summons before the inquisitor-in-chief, mandarins and chief executives quaked. Called To Account takes readers on a fascinating journey inside the NHS, the BBC and defence as well as Amazon, Starbucks and G4S. And comes to radical conclusions about how things must be improved.Hodge scrutinises: The weakness of tax authorities in tracking down corporate tax and forcing companies to pay up Massive failures in public procurement - from committing billions to buy 2 new aircraft carriers when there was no money in the budget; to the absurdity that police forces could cut the costs of their uniforms by over 30% - if only they could agree on how many pockets they need; to a study of 61 hospital trusts which showed they bought 21 different types of A4 paper, 652 different styles of surgical gloves and 1751 different cannulas. The disastrous introduction of Universal Credit, at a cost of £700 million. How a £500 million project to centralise 999 calls had to be abandoned. How officials move seamlessly into well-paid jobs in the private sector while company directors are appointed into positions in government. After the referendum, UK government needs to be fitter than ever before. And needs to secure maximum revenues. This conversational, witty and engaging book shines a light on some of the most fascinating and alarming issues facing us today and shows us the way forward - with salient and pragmatic solutions for the future.
By 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.
By Michael Bloch
Closet Queens is a fascinating study of gay men in twentieth century British politics, from Lord Rosebery and Lord Beauchamp in Edwardian times to Michael Portillo and Peter Mandelson in our own era. As all homosexual activity was illegal until 1967, and exposure meant ruin and disgrace, such men were obliged either to repress their sexual feelings or else lead double lives, indulging their tastes secretly while respectably married with children.The need to cover up their sexuality, while causing problems and disappointments, often sharpened their skills as politicians - they were masters of secrecy and subterfuge, and knew how to take calculated risks. An entertaining and insightful account of some extraordinary personalities, Closet Queens opens doors into a hidden world.
The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry
By Gabrielle Zevin
A.J. Fikry owns a failing bookshop. His wife has just died, in tragic circumstances. His rare and valuable first edition has been stolen. His life is a wreck. Amelia is a book rep, with a big heart, and a lonely life.Maya is the baby left on A.J.'s bookshop floor with a note. What happens in the bookshop that changes the lives of these seemingly normal but extraordinary characters?This is the story of how unexpected love can rescue you and bring you back to real life, in a world that you won't want to leave, with characters that you will come to love.
Cross and Burn
By Val McDermid
Someone is brutally killing women. Women who bear a striking resemblance to former DCI Carol Jordan. The connection is too strong to ignore and soon psychological profiler Tony Hill finds himself dangerously close to the investigation, just as the killer is closing in on his next target.This is a killer like no other, hell-bent on inflicting the most severe and grotesque punishment on his prey. As the case becomes ever-more complex and boundaries begin to blur, Tony and Carol must work together once more to try and save the victims, and themselves.Breathless, gripping and thrilling -- the Queen of the Psychological Thriller is back with her most spine-chilling novel to date. The perfect introduction to the unforgettable world of Tony Hill and Carol Jordan.
By Alan Weisman
Every four days there are a million more people on the planet. More people and fewer resources. In this timely work, Alan Weisman examines how we can shrink our collective human footprint so that we don't stomp any more species - including our own - out of existence. The answer: reducing gradually and non-violently the number of humans on the planet whose activities, industries and lifestyles are damaging the Earth. Defining an optimum human population for the Earth is an explosive concept. Weisman, one of the most brilliant environmental writers, will travel the globe, from the settlements of Israel and the plains of Mexico to the bustling streets of Pakistan and the teeming cities of the UK. In his search for answers, he will speak to religious leaders, demographers, ecologists, economists, engineers and agriculturalists in what promises to be an international classic.
The Collector of Lost Things
By Jeremy Page
I felt the worlds of ocean and ice were meeting in a frontier of rage, as if the Earth had torn in two along this line.This was a place if there ever was a place, where you could disappear.The year is 1845 and young researcher Eliot Saxby is paid to go on an expedition to the Arctic in the hope of finding remains of the by now extinct Great Auk. He joins a regular hunting ship, but the crew and the passengers are not what they seem. Caught in the web of relationships on board, Eliot struggles to understand the motivations of the sociopathic, embroidery-loving Captain Sykes, the silent First Mate French, the flamboyant laudanum-addicted Bletchley and, most importantly of all, Bletchley's beautiful but strange 'cousin' Clara. As the ship moves further and further into the wilds of the Arctic sea, Eliot clings to what he believes in, desperate to save Clara but drawn irrevocably back into the past that haunts him.The first historical novel from an author who has been critically acclaimed for his two contemporary novels (Salt and The Wake), The Collector of Lost Things is a compulsive, beautifully writtten read.
The Casual Vacancy
By J.K. Rowling
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war.Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems.And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.
By Mary S. Lovell
There never was a Churchill from John of Marlborough down who had either morals or principles', so said Gladstone. From the First Duke of Marlborough - soldier of genius, restless empire-builder and cuckolder of Charles II - onwards, the Churchills have been politicians, gamblers and profligates, heroes and womanisers.The Churchills is a richly layered portrait of an extraordinary set of men and women - grandly ambitious, regularly impecunious, impulsive, arrogant and brave. And towering above the Churchill clan is the figure of Winston - his failures and his triumphs shown in a new and revealing context - ultimately our 'greatest Briton'.
By James Harkin
Once there was no text messaging. No email and no social network sites like Facebook, Bebo and MySpace. The way we live has apparently been transformed by new ways of communicating. But where did these trends start? And if they can change our behaviour, can they also change the way we think?In Cyburbia James Harkin describes how the architecture of our digital lives was built over seventy years. In a brilliant narrative that encompasses the work of crackpots, inventors and visionaries, it shows how a concept that began with the need to shoot down German bombers has evolved to govern almost everything - from our lives online to modern films like Memento and 21 Grams, from TV shows and plays to military strategy. Gripping, revelatory and fiercely intelligent, this extraordinary book will change forever the way you think about everything you do.
The Comfort Of Saturdays
By Alexander McCall Smith
Isabel Dalhousie is a new mother and a connoisseur of philosophy; she'd rather not be a sleuth. But when a chance conversation at a dinner party draws her into the case of a doctor whose career has been ruined, she cannot ignore what may be a miscarriage of justice. Because for Isabel ethics are not theoretical at all, but an everyday matter of life and death. As she attempts to unravel the truth behind Dr Thompson's disgrace, Isabel's patient intelligence is also required to deal with challenges in her own life. There is her baby son Charlie; Cat's deli to look after, not to mention her vulnerable assistant Eddie; and a mysterious and unlikeable composer who has latched on to Jamie, making Isabel fear for the future of her new family. Isabel treads a difficult path between trust and gullibility, philanthropy and interference, while keeping in her sights the small but certain comforts of family, philosophy and a fine Saturday morning.
By Philip Shenon
In a work of history that will make headlines, NEW YORK TIMES reporter Philip Shenon investigates the investigation of 9/11 and tells the inside story of the most important federal commission since the Warren Commission. Shenon uncovers startling new information about the inner workings of the 9/11 commission and its relationship with the Bush White House. THE COMMISSION will change our understanding of the 9/11 investivation - and of the attacks themselves.
By Terry O'Neill, A. A. Gill
Celebrity' is often compared to fame but its linguistic roots also leave room for celebration and honour. In that sense celebrity is closer to star quality than to mere renown, the state of being famous. In this sumptuously illustrated book we find Tom Cruise, Brigitte Bardot, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Joan Collins, Michael Caine, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery and people who have superseded the fads of reputation and proved their celebrity longevity. The range of Terry O'Neill's celebrity portraits is incredible. From Audrey Hepburn to Naomi Campbell, from Frank Sinatra to Kate Moss - this is a true celebration of true celebrity. AA Gill's characteristically witty and insightful introduction to the book analyses what it is that allows these people to transcend their contemparies in the pantheon of the renowned; what makes some them true celebrities, whilst others are merely and briefly famous.