This Dark Business
By Tim Clayton
Between two attempts in 1800 and 1804 to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte, the British government launched a campaign of black propaganda of unprecedented scope and intensity to persuade George III's reluctant subjects to fight the Napoleonic War, a war to the death against one man: the Corsican usurper and tyrant.This Dark Business tells the story of the British government's determination to destroy Napoleon Bonaparte by any means possible. We have been taught to think of Napoleon as the aggressor - a man with an unquenchable thirst for war and glory - but what if this story masked the real truth: that the British refusal to make peace either with revolutionary France or with the man who claimed to personify the revolution was the reason this Great War continued for more than twenty years? At this pivotal moment when it consolidated its place as number one world power Britain was uncompromising. To secure the continuing rule of Church and King, the British invented an evil enemy, the perpetrator of any number of dark deeds; and having blackened Napoleon's name, with the help of networks of French royalist spies and hitmen, they also tried to assassinate him.This Dark Business plunges the reader into the hidden underworld of Georgian politics in which, faced with the terrifying prospect of revolution, bribery and coercion are the normal means to secure compliance, a ruthless world of spies, plots and lies.
A Time of Love and Tartan
By Alexander McCall Smith
Catch up with the delightful goings-on in the fictitious 44 Scotland Street from Alexander McCall Smith . . .'A joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles, which moves beyond its setting to deal with deep moral issues and love, desire and friendship' Sunday ExpressIf only Pat Macgregor had an inkling of the embarrassment romantic, professional, even aesthetic that flowed from accepting narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bruce Anderson's invitation for coffee, she would never have said yes. And if only Matthew, her boss at the art gallery, hadn't wandered into his local bookshop and picked up a particular book at a particular time, he would never have knocked over his former English teacher or attracted the attentions of the police.Whether caused by small things such as a cup of coffee and a book, or major events such as Stuart's application for promotion and his wife Irene's decision to go off and study for a PhD in Aberdeen, change is coming to serial fiction's favourite street. But for three seven-year-old boys Bertie Pollock, Ranald Braveheart Macpherson, and Big Lou's foster son Finlay - it also means a getting a glimpse of perfect happiness.Alexander McCall Smith's delightfully witty, wise and sometimes surreal comedy spirals out to include tennis-playing Rwandan Forest People, researches into levitating Celtic saints, bogus headhunters in Papua New Guinea and primary school performances of Beckett. But its heart remains where it has always been true to life, love and laughter in Edinburgh's New Town.
Too Many Pills
By James Le Fanu
The number of prescriptions issued by family doctors has soared threefold in just fifteen years with millions now committed to taking a cocktail of half a dozen (or more) different pills to lower the blood pressure and sugar levels, statins, bone strengthening and cardio protective drugs. In Too Many Pills, doctor and writer James Le Fanu examines how this progressive medicalisation of people's lives now poses a major threat to their health and wellbeing, responsible for a hidden epidemic of drug induced illness (muscular aches and pains, lethargy, insomnia, impaired memory and general decrepitude), a sharp increase in the number of emergency hospital admissions for serious side effects and implicated in the recently noted decline in life expectancy.The paradoxically harmful, if increasingly well recognised, consequences of too much medicine are illustrated by the remarkable personal testimony of the readers of James Le Fanu's weekly medical column, coerced into taking drugs they do not need, debilitated by their adverse effects - and their almost miraculous recovery on discontinuing them. The only solution, he argues, is for the public to take the initiative. His review of the relevant evidence for the efficacy, or otherwise, of commonly prescribed drugs should allow readers of Too Many Pills to ask much more searching questions about the benefits and risks of the medicines they are taking.
By Christine Mangan
'As if Donna Tartt, Gillian Flynn and Patricia Highsmith had collaborated in a screenplay to be filmed by Hitchcock - suspenseful and atmospheric' Joyce Carol OatesThe perfect read for fans of Daphne du Maurier and Patricia Highsmith, set in 1950s Morocco, Tangerine is a gripping psychological literary thriller.The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the horrific accident at Bennington, the two friends - once inseparable roommates - haven't spoken in over a year. But Lucy is standing there, trying to make things right. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy, always fearless and independent, helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country. But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice - she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice's husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.Tangerine is an extraordinary debut, so tightly wound, so evocative of 1950s Tangier, and so cleverly plotted that it will leave you absolutely breathless.
By Alastair Sawday
A charming and beautifully written account of the pleasures of slow travel - for readers of Patrick Leigh Fermor, Colin Thubron and Eric Newby.'Lawrence Sterne once suggested that we travel for one of just three reasons: imbecility of mind, infirmity of body or inevitable necessity. One might add to Sterne's little list: envy, curiosity - or just too much bloody rain at home. Escape, in other words.' Campaigner, publisher and wanderer Alastair Sawday has spent his life travelling. En route he has unearthed a multitude of stories - stories of people ploughing their own furrows, of travellers' tales, stories from the 'front line' of his publishing , ruminations and reflections about places, people and ideas. In this deeply charming, erudite and spirited book, he shares his experiences and explores the value of travel.'The richer our imaginations, the richer our travel experience. We British do things one way and the Spaniards another; there are unlimited ways of doing everything. Kindness is found in unexpected places, as is eccentricity. Eccentrics are an endangered species and need as much protection as does the house sparrow.'Travelling Light is a gradual awakening to the fragility of everything we love through contemplative, consciously slow journeying. Every visit uncovers difference - from France profonde to the darker side of Sicily, and to the woodland, flora, fauna, views and silence of rural Britain. Alastair Sawday gives voice to those of us who have climbed no mountains, discovered no rivers, created no great institutions, powered no legislation, changed very little - but who yearn to understand the world and make sense of its infinite variety.
Theft by Finding
By David Sedaris
'He's like an American Alan Bennett, in that his own fastidiousness becomes the joke, as per the taxi encounter, or his diary entry about waiting interminably in a coffee-bar queue' Brian Logan, Guardian review of An Evening with David Sedaris. The point is to find out who you are and to be true to that person. Because so often you can't. Won't people turn away if they know the real me? you wonder. The me that hates my own child, that put my perfectly healthy dog to sleep? The me who thinks, deep down, that maybe The Wire was overrated?For nearly four decades, David Sedaris has faithfully kept a diary in which he records his thoughts and observations on the odd and funny events he witnesses. Anyone who has attended a live Sedaris event knows that his diary readings are often among the most joyful parts of the evening. But never before have they been available in print. Now, in Theft by Finding, Sedaris brings us his favorite entries. From the family home in Ralegh, North Carolina, we follow Sedaris as he sets out to make his way in the world. As an art student and then teacher in Chicago he works at a succession of very odd jobs, meeting even odder people, before moving to New York to pursue a career as a writer - where instead he very quickly lands a job in Macy's department store as an elf in Santaland... Tender, hilarious, illuminating, and endlessly captivating, Theft by Finding offers a rare look into the mind of one of our generation's greatest comic geniuses.
This Other Eden
By Emma Gieben-Gamal, Andrea Wulf
THIS OTHER EDEN is a captivating narrative of seven great gardens, beautiful canvases that represent not just pleasure grounds but a country's evolution. Showpieces of grand design, they are also barometers of social change; lasting reflections of intellectual endeavour, of religion and philosophy, science and technology, art and literature. From Robert Cecil's garden at Hatfield House, conceived by the famous botanist and plant-collector John Tradescant, who travelled widely to seek out unusual specimens, to Capability Brown, who 'improved' upon nature to create the archetypal English parkland; from Joseph Paxton, whose engineering feats at Chatsworth mirrored the great Victorian age of technology, to Getrude Jekyll, who turned back to nature and designed the English cottage garden renowned the world over, this beautifully illustrated book will join the ranks of other bestselling cultural histories of the garden such as Anna Pavord's THE TULIP and Simon Schama's THE EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES.
Them And Us
By Will Hutton
The suddenness and depth of the recession has raised questions about the workability of capitalism not seen since the 1930s. One of the constraints on recovery is the growing belief that if the old model did not work there is no new one on offer. This book sets out to provide one, arguing that reconstructing a bust financial system is not just a technical question. It cannot be done without a wholescale revision of the wider system and values on which it is based. And fairness must be placed at the heart of the new capitalism for society's future wellbeing.Will Hutton's new book musters brilliant, convincing arguments which will lend favour on both right and left. It is set to be a book which captures the mood of the moment in the same way that THE STATE WE'RE IN did.