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HMAS Sydney

By Tom Frame
Authors:
Tom Frame
The complete and authoritative account of the sinking of the HMAS Sydney, and the finding of her wreck in 2008. On 19 November 1941, the pride of the Australian Navy, the light cruiser Sydney, fought a close-quarters battle with the German armed raider HSK Kormoran off Carnarvon on the West Australian coast. Both ships sank - and not one of the 645 men on board the Sydney survived. Was Sydney's captain guilty of negligence by allowing his ship to manoeuvre within range of Kormoran's guns? Did the Germans feign surrender before firing a torpedo at the Sydney as she prepared to despatch a boarding party? This updated edition covers the discovery of the wreck - with the light this sheds on the events of that day in 1941, and the closure it has brought to so many grieving families. 'Tom Frame has produced the most comprehensive and compelling account of the loss of HMAS Sydney to date. His judgements are fair and his conclusions reasoned. If you only read one book on this tragic event in Australian naval history, and want all the facts and theories presented in a balanced way, Tom Frame's book is for you.' - Vice Admiral Russ Shalders AO CSC RANR Chief of Navy, 2005-08.
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The Beastly Battles Of Old England

By Nigel Cawthorne
Authors:
Nigel Cawthorne
Throughout history the English have been a warlike lot. Often we fight among ourselves - there have been a good few civil wars - and when we were not slaughtering each other, we practiced on our neighbours, the Scots, the Irish, the French . . . When that got too easy, we set off around the world to find other people to fight. This was usually done with a hubris that invited some ludicrous pratfall. In THE BEASTLY BATTLES OF OLD ENGLAND, Nigel Cawthorne takes us on a darkly humorous journey through some of our ill-advised military actions. From the war over a severed ear to a general seeking out his rival's mistresses to even the score, it is a miscellany of insufferable arrogance, reckless gallantry, stunning stupidity, massive misjudgements and general beastliness.
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Viva la Revolucion

By Eric Hobsbawm
Authors:
Eric Hobsbawm
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'.
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Naples

By Desmond Seward
Authors:
Desmond Seward
Many Italian cities look back with pride to the days when they were independent republics: Naples, on the contrary, remembers its days as a royal capital, the brilliant administrative and political centre of The Kingdom of The Two Sicilies, ruled over successively by the house of Anjou, Aragon and Bourbon. Once 'the third city of Europe', today it is one of the least visited of the continent's great cities. The same bustling lively atmosphere and magnificent buildings that one finds in Paris or London exist here.This book is a topographical anthology which recreates for today's tourist the drama, the history and the life of a city in buildings and locations that still exist today. An indispensable companion, it brings the past of Naples vividly to life for the traveller of the present. Extracts from chronicles, memoirs, biographies, letters and novels refer to the most important and beautiful buildings in and around Naples, as well as the lives of travellers to and residents of this famous city.This is a guide to the vanished glories of royal Naples: the departure of the Borbone King Francis II in 1860 as the Risorgimento movement brought about unification of Italy. It records the turbulent and bloodstained days of the Angevin Queens Giovanna I and II, and the revolt led by the young fisherman Masaniello; the artistic life of the city that Petrarch knew, where Caravaggio, Ribera and Giordano painted, and which attracted such diverse visitors as Nelson and Lady Hamilton, Casanova, Goethe, Mozart, John Evelyn and Angelica Kauffman among countless others. The dazzling world of the royalty - their palaces overlooking the legendarily beautiful Bay of Naples, their court balls and ceremonies - is described as well as the pulsing, overcrowded slums of the Spanish quarter and the seafront with its tarantella-dancers, iced-melon vendors, pickpockets and throbbing Neopolitan songs.Naples is still, as it always has been, a city of challenging contrasts: sunlight and squalor, grandeur and decay, gaiety and despair. Its slums and its crime-rate have deterred many, but those who persist will discover, through this illuminating guide, the hidden glories of this famous city.
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The Ludicrous Laws of Old London

By Nigel Cawthorne
Authors:
Nigel Cawthorne
London abounds with all manner of ludicrous laws, and not all of these curious statutes have been relegated to the past. Despite the efforts of the Law Commission there are medieval laws that are still in force, and the City of London and its livery companies have their own legal oddities. Laws are made in the capital because parliament is here; so are the Old Bailey, the Law Courts, the House of Lords and, now, the Supreme Court. The privy council, which sometimes has to decide cases, also sits in London, and there were other courts that used to sit in London, from prize courts concerning war booty to ecclesiastical courts. Having maintained its 'ancient rights and freedoms' under Magna Carta, the City felt free to enact its own laws, many of which seem to have had to do with what people could wear. Until quite recently, for example, a man could be arrested for walking down the street wearing a wig, a robe and silk stockings - unless he was a judge. And all human folly has been paraded through the law courts of London, to the extent that it is difficult to know where the serious business of administering justice ends and where farce begins. As law is made in the courtroom as well as in parliament and elsewhere, judges like to keep a firm hand, but sometimes so-called jibbing juries will simply not do what they are told. All sorts of oddities get swept up into the law. Legislators particularly love to pass Acts about sex. If sexual services are being offered in a London massage parlour, for example, a police officer must then search the premises for school children. According to The Children and Young Persons Act of 1933 it is against the law for children and 'yowling persons' between the age of four and sixteen to frequent a brothel. A writ was introduced under both Edward III and Henry IV to ban lawyers from parliament as there were too many of them, the reason being that it was easier for a lawyer to spend his time in London attending parliament that it was for a knight of the shires. But because parliament was already packed with lawyers it was difficult to make any such rule stick. Then an effective way of excluding them was found. They were denied the wages paid to members in those days. Sadly, these days, parliament and the government are packed with lawyers once again. And they are being paid.A law passed in 1540 - and still in force today - makes it illegal for barbers in the City of London to practise surgery; with impeccable impartiality, the Act also forbids surgeons to cut hair. Finally, never forget that under the Vagrancy Act of 1824, you can be convicted of being 'an idle and disorderly person, or a rogue, vagabond, or incorrigible rogue'. The same act also outlaws people 'professing to tell fortunes', including 'palmistry'. Under the Act, it is an offence merely to be suspected.
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Viceroys

By Christopher Lee
Authors:
Christopher Lee
Between 1858 and 1947, twenty British men ruled millions of some of the most remarkable people of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.From the Indian Mutiny to the cruel religious partition of India and the newly formed and named Pakistan, the Viceroy had absolute power, more than the monarch who had sent him. Selected from that exclusive class of English, Scottish and Irish breeding, the aristocracy, the Viceroys were plumed, rode elephants, shot tigers. Even their wives stood when they entered the room. Nevertheless, many of them gave everything for India. The first Viceroy, Canning, exhausted by the Mutiny, buried his wife in Calcutta before he left the subcontinent to die shortly afterwards.The average Viceroy lasted five years and was granted an earldom but rarely a sense of triumph. Did these Viceroys behave as badly as twenty-first century moralists would have us believe? When the Raj was over, the legacy of Empire continued, as the new rulers slipped easily into the offices and styles of the British who had gone. Being 'British' was now a caste.Viceroys is the tale of the British Raj, the last fling of British aristocracy. It is the supreme view of the British in India, portraying the sort of people who went out and the sort of people they were on their return. It is the story of utter power and what men did with it. Moreover, it is also the story of how modern British identity was established and in part the answer to how it was that such a small offshore European island people believed themselves to have the right to sit at the highest institutional tables and judge what was right and unacceptable in other nations and institutions.
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Fruit of Knowledge

By Liv Strömquist
Authors:
Liv Strömquist
'How I loved reading Liv Strömquist's Fruit of Knowledge. Mostly, this was down to its sheer, punchy brilliance: should you be in possession of a teenage daughter, you absolutely must buy it for her and all her friends, in addition to those copies you will now immediately purchase for yourself and all of yours . . . If her strips are clever, angry, funny and righteous, they're also informative to an eye-popping degree . . . every page is so fantastically acute' Rachel Cooke, Observer'A brilliantly drawn, cleverly researched and deeply funny account of a battle signposted by its subtitle: The vulva vs the patriarchy' Times Literary SupplementFrom Adam and Eve to pussy hats, people have punished, praised, pathologised and politicised vulvas, vaginas, clitorises, and menstruation. In the international bestseller Fruit of Knowledge, celebrated Swedish cartoonist Liv Strömquist traces how different cultures and traditions have shaped women's health and beyond. Her biting, informed commentary and ponytailed avatar guides the reader from the darkest chapters of history (a clitoridectomy performed on a five-year-old American child as late as 1948) to the lightest (vulvas used as architectural details as a symbol of protection). Like Alison Bechdel and Jacky Fleming, she uses the comics medium to reveal uncomfortable truths about how far we haven't come.'Feminist, snappy, instructive and hilarious!' Time Out Paris'Liv Strömquist's refreshing humour and visionary ability truly make me rejoice' Goteborgs-Posten'Imagine if you could walk through the world with a Liv Strömquist at your side. The moment you stumbled on an injustice or an error in thinking, you could point her at the culprit like a loaded wit-revolver, instead of having to stand there digging through your own murky arguments' Expressen
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This Dark Business

By Tim Clayton
Authors:
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.
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The King's City

By Don Jordan
Authors:
Don Jordan
'The cruelty and magnificence of Restoration London provides endless fascination . . . there's much to delight in this volume' The Times'Don Jordan's history captures the shifts [Charles II] engineered in trade and culture' NatureDuring the reign of Charles II, London was a city in flux. After years of civil war and political turmoil, England's capital became the centre for major advances in the sciences, the theatre, architecture, trade and ship-building that paved the way for the creation of the British Empire.At the heart of this activity was the King, whose return to power from exile in 1660 lit the fuse for an explosion in activity in all spheres of city life. London flourished, its wealth, vibrancy and success due to many figures famous today including Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys and John Dryden - and others whom history has overlooked until now.Throughout the quarter-century Charles was on the throne, London suffered several serious reverses: the plague in 1665 and the Great Fire in 1666, and severe defeat in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, which brought about notable economic decline. But thanks to the genius and resilience of the people of London, and the occasionally wavering stewardship of the King, the city rose from the ashes to become the economic capital of Europe.The King's City tells the gripping story of a city that defined a nation and birthed modern Britain - and how the vision of great individuals helped to build the richly diverse place we know today.
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  • A Brief History of the Private Life of Elizabeth II, Updated Edition

    By Michael Paterson
    Authors:
    Michael Paterson
    Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning British monarch. A personally quiet, modest and dutiful person, she is far better-informed about the lives of her subjects than they often realize. She has known every Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and every American President since Eisenhower. Yet what of the woman behind the crown?This book seeks to take a new look at this exhaustively-documented life and show how Queen Elizabeth became the person she is. Who, and what, have been the greatest influences upon her? What are her likes and dislikes? What are her hobbies? Who are her friends? What does she feel about the demands of duty and protocol? Is she really enjoying herself when she smiles during official events? How differently does she behave when out of the public eye? Examining the places in which she grew up or has lived, the training she received and her attitudes to significant events in national life, it presents a fresh view of one of recent history's most important figures.In recent years, Queen Elizabeth has become the longest-reigning monarch in our history and has cut back on commitments. Nevertheless she is still very active and has made some wise decisions about who takes over a number of her duties.
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    See You Again in Pyongyang

    By Travis Jeppesen
    Authors:
    Travis Jeppesen
    From ballistic missile tests to stranger-than-fiction stories of purges and assassinations, news from North Korea never fails to dominate the global headlines. But what is life there actually like?In See You Again in Pyongyang, Jeppesen culls from his experiences living, traveling, and studying in North Korea to create a multi-faceted portrait of the country and its idiosyncratic capital city. Not quite memoir, not quite travelogue, not quite history book, Jeppesen offers a poignant and utterly original examination of the world's strangest country. Anchored by the experience of his five trips to North Korea, Jeppesen weaves in his observations and interactions with citizens from all walks of life, constructing a narrative rich in psychological detail, revealing how the North Korean system actually functions and perpetuates itself in the day-to-day, beyond the propaganda-fueled ideology.He challenges the Western notion that Pyongyang is merely a "showcase capital" where everything is staged for the benefit of foreigners, as well as the idea that Pyongyangites are brainwashed robots. Going beyond the clichés of "taboo tourism" and the "good versus evil" tenor of politicians and media reports, See You Again in Pyongyang is an essential addition to the literature about one of the world's most fascinating and mysterious places.
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    The Bone and Sinew of the Land

    By Anna-Lisa Cox
    Authors:
    Anna-Lisa Cox
    The story of America's forgotten black pioneers, who escaped slavery, settled the frontier, and proved that racial equality was possible even as the country headed toward civil war.The American frontier is one of our most cherished and enduring national images. We think of the early settlers who tamed the wilderness and built the bones of our great country as courageous, independent--and white.In this groundbreaking work of deep historical research, Anna-Lisa Cox shows that this history simply isn't accurate. In fact, she has found a stunning number of black settlements on the frontier--in the thousands. Though forgotten today, these homesteads were a matter of national importance at the time; their mere existence challenged rationalizations for slavery and pushed the question toward a crisis--one that was not resolved until the eruption of the Civil War.Blending meticulous detail with lively storytelling, Cox brings historical recognition to the brave people who managed not just to secure their freedom but begin a battle that is still going on today--a battle for equality.

    Sugar

    By James Walvin
    Authors:
    James Walvin
    The story of sugar, and of mankind's desire for sweetness in food and drink is a compelling, though confusing story. It is also an historical story.The story of mankind's love of sweetness - the need to consume honey, cane sugar, beet sugar and chemical sweeteners - has important historical origins. To take a simple example, two centuries ago, cane sugar was vital to the burgeoning European domestic and colonial economies. For all its recent origins, today's obesity epidemic - if that is what it is - did not emerge overnight, but instead evolved from a complexity of historical forces which stretch back centuries. We can only fully understand this modern problem, by coming to terms with its genesis and history: and we need to consider the historical relationship between society and sweetness over a long historical span. This book seeks to do just that: to tell the story of how the consumption of sugar - the addition of sugar to food and drink - became a fundamental and increasingly troublesome feature of modern life.Walvin's book is the heir to Sidney Mintz's Sweetness and Power, a brilliant sociological account, but now thirty years old. In addition, the problem of sugar, and the consequent intellectual and political debate about the role of sugar, has been totally transformed in the years since that book's publication.
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