By Lian Xi
The staggering story of the most influential Chinese political dissident of the Mao era, a devout Christian who was imprisoned, tortured, and executed by the regimeBlood Letters tells the astonishing tale of Lin Zhao, a Chinese poet and journalist arrested by the regime in 1960 and executed eight years later, at the height of the Cultural Revolution. Alone among the victims of Mao's dictatorship, she maintained a stubborn and open opposition during the years she was imprisoned. She rooted her dissent in her Christian faith--and expressed it in long, prophetic writings done in her own blood, and at times on her clothes and on cloth torn from her bedsheets.Miraculously, Lin Zhao's prison writings survived, though they have only recently come to light. Drawing on these works and others from the years before her arrest, as well as interviews with friends, family, and classmates, Lian Xi paints an indelible portrait of courage and faith in the face of unrelenting evil.
The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones, and Other Victorian Scandals
By Michelle Morgan
A grisly book dedicated to the crimes, perversions and outrages of Victorian England, covering high-profile offences - such as the murder of actor William Terriss, whose stabbing at the stage door of the Adelphi Theatre in 1897 filled the front pages for many weeks - as well as lesser-known transgressions that scandalised the Victorian era.The tales include murders and violent crimes, but also feature scandals that merely amused the Victorians. These include the story of a teenage man who married an actress, only to be shipped off to Australia by his disgusted parents; and the Italian ice-cream man who only meant to buy his sweetheart a hat but ended up proposing marriage instead. When he broke it off, his fiancée's father sued him and the story was dubbed the 'Amusing Aberdeen Breach of Promise Case'. Also present is the gruesome story of the murder of Patrick O Connor who was shot in the head and buried under the kitchen flagstones by his lover Maria Manning and her husband, Frederick. The couple's subsequent trial caused a sensation and even author Charles Dickens attended the grisly public hanging.Drawing on a range of sources from university records and Old Bailey transcripts to national and regional newspaper archives, Michelle Morgan's research sheds new light on well-known stories as well as unearthing previously unknown incidents.
Burke and Wills
By Peter FitzSimons
'They have left here today!' he calls to the others. When King puts his hand down above the ashes of the fire, it is to find it still hot. There is even a tiny flame flickering from the end of one log. They must have left just hours ago.'MELBOURNE, 20 AUGUST 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, farewelled by 15,000 cheering well-wishers. Led by Robert O'Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26camels.Almost immediately plagued by disputes and sackings, the expeditioners battled the extremes of the Australian landscape and weather: its deserts, the boggy mangrove swamps of the Gulf, the searing heat and flooding rains. Food ran short and, unable to live off the land, the men nevertheless mostly spurned the offers of help from the local Indigenous people.In desperation, leaving the rest of the party at the expedition's depot on Coopers Creek, Burke, Wills and John King made a dash for the Gulf in December 1860. Bad luck and bad management would see them miss by just hours a rendezvous back at Coopers Creek, leaving them stranded in the wilderness with practically no supplies. Only King survived to tell the tale.Yet, despite their tragic fates, the names of Burke and Wills have become synonymous with perseverance and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. They live on in Australia's history - and their story remains immediate and compelling.
By Michael Veitch
The incredible untold World War II story of Australian hero BARNEY GREATREX - from Bomber Command to French Resistance fighter. A school and university cadet in Sydney, Barney Greatrex signed up for RAF Bomber Command in 1941, eager to get straight into the very centre of the Allied counterattack. Bombing Germany night after night, Barney's 61 Squadron faced continual enemy fighter attacks and anti-aircraft fire - death or capture by the Nazis loomed large. Very few survived more than 20 missions, and it was on his 20th mission, in 1944, that Barney's luck finally ran out: he was shot down over occupied France.But his war was far from over. Rescued by the French Resistance, Barney seized the opportunity to carry on fighting and joined the Maquis in the liberation of France from the occupying German forces, who rarely took prisoners.Later, Barney was awarded the French Legion of Honour, but for seventy years he said almost nothing of his incredible war service - surviving two of the most dangerous battlefronts. Aged 97, Barney Greatrex revealed his truly great Australian war story to acclaimed bestselling author Michael Veitch.'fascinating . . . Veitch brings the story vividly to life' Sydney Morning Herald Pick of the Week'Veitch has done a wonderful job . . . a fast-paced and thrilling tale' Daily Telegraph
Bumper: The Life and Times of Frank 'Bumper' Farrell
By Larry Writer
The sprawling saga of legendary Australian cop, Bumper Farrell, the most feared and revered policeman in Australia's history.Frank 'Bumper' Farrell was the roughest, toughest street cop and vice-squad leader Australia has ever seen. Strong as a bull, with cauliflowered ears and fists like hams, Bumper's beat from 1938 to 1976 was the most lawless in the land - the mean streets of Kings Cross and inner Sydney. His adversaries were such notorious criminals as Abe Saffron, Lennie McPherson, Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh and their gangs as well as the hooligans, sly groggers, SP bookies, pimps and spivs.Criminals knew just where they stood: he would catch them, he would hurt them, and then he would lock them away. He was a legendary Rugby League player for Newtown, and represented Australia against England and New Zealand.Here's Bumper Farrell in brutal, passionate and hilarious action . . . saving Ita Buttrose from a stalker; sparking a national scandal when accused of biting off a rival player's ear; beating Lennie McPherson so severely the hard man cried; single-handedly fighting a mob of gangsters in Kings Cross and winning; terrorising the hoons who harassed the prostitutes in the brothel lanes by driving over the top of them; commandeering the police launch to take him home to his beach home, diving overboard in full uniform and catching a wave to shore; dispensing kindness and charity to the poor.Bumper Farrell: lawman, sportsman, larrikin . . . legend.'fascinating . . . [a] fine biography' SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
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.
By Nicholas Blincoe
The town of Bethlehem carries so many layers of meaning--some ancient, some mythical, some religious--that it feels like an unreal city, even to the people who call it home. Today, the city is hemmed in by a wall and surrounded by forty-one Israeli settlements and hostile settlers and soldiers. The population is undergoing such enormous strains it is close to falling apart. Any town with an eleven-thousand-year history has to be robust, but Bethlehem may soon go the way of Salonica or Constantinople: the physical site might survive, but the long thread winding back to the ancient past will have snapped, and the city risks losing everything that makes it unique.Still, for many, Bethlehem remains the "little town" of the Christmas song. Nicholas Blincoe will tell the history of the famous little town, through the visceral experience of living there, taking readers through its stone streets and desert wadis, its monasteries, aqueducts and orchards, showing the city from every angle and era. Inevitably, a portrait of Bethlehem will shed light on one of the world's most intractable political problems. Bethlehem is a much-loved Palestinian city, a source of pride and wealth but also a beacon of co-existence in a region where hopelessness, poverty and violence has become the norm. Bethlehem could light the way to a better future, but if the city is lost then the chances of an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict will be lost with it.
Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits
By John Merriman
Paris, 1911. Picasso, Debussy, and Proust were revolutionizing art, music, and literature. Electricity had transformed the City of Lights. And the Parisian elites were mad about their fancy new cars. The Belle Époque was well underway, yet it was not without incident. That year, Paris was gripped by a violent crime streak that obsessed and frightened its citizens. Before Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger, the Bonnot Gang, led by the coarse Jules Bonnot, captured the minds of a nation with their Robin Hood-esque capers. With guns blazing, the Bonnot Gang robbed banks and wealthy Parisians and killed anyone who got in their way in spectacularly cinematic fashion--all in the name of their particular brand of anarchism.In Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits, John Merriman describes the Bonnot Gang's murderous tear and the Parisian police force's botched efforts to stop them. At the heart of the book are two anarchist idealists who wanted to find an alternative to Bonnot's crimes and the French government's unchecked violence. Victor Kibaltchiche and Rirette Maîtrejean met and fell in love at an anarchist rally, and together ran the radical Parisian newspaper L'Anarchie, which covered the Bonnot Gang with great sympathy. The couple and their anarchist friends occupied a world far apart from the opulent Paris of the Champs-Élysées. Their Paris was a vast city of impoverished workers who lived near bleak canals, cemeteries, and empty lots around smoky factories. Victor and Rirette found hope in radical politics, Bonnot and his gang in crime, but none could escape the full might of the French military. The lovers were arrested and imprisoned for their political views, Bonnot was murdered after an hours-long standoff with the police, and his gang was hunted down and sentenced to death by guillotine or lifelong imprisonment.Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits is a classic tale of lost causes, tragic heroes, and the true costs of justice and revenge.
A Brief History of Atlantis
By Stephen P. Kershaw
The Atlantis story remains one of the most haunting and enigmatic tales from antiquity, and one that still resonates very deeply with the modern imagination. But where did Atlantis come from, what was it like, and where did it go to?Atlantis was first introduced by the Greek philosopher Plato in two dialogues the Timaios and Kritias, written in the fourth century BC. As he philosophises about the origins of life, the Universe and humanity, the great thinker puts forward a stunning description of Atlantis, an island paradise with an ideal society. But the Atlanteans degenerate and become imperialist aggressors: they fight against antediluvian Athens, which heroically repels their mighty forces, before a cataclysmic natural disaster destroys the warring states. His tale of a great empire that sank beneath the waves has sparked thousands of years of debate over whether Atlantis really existed. But did Plato mean his tale as history, or just as a parable to help illustrate his philosophy?The book is broken down into two main sections plus a coda - firstly the translations/commentaries which will have the discussions of the specifics of the actual texts; secondly a look at the reception of the myth from then to now; thirdly a brief round-off bringing it all together.
A Brief History of France, Revised and Updated
By Cecil Jenkins
When we think of France, we tend think of fine food and wine, the elegant boulevards of Paris or the chic beaches of St Tropez. Yet, as the largest country in Europe, France is home to extraordinary diversity. The idea of 'Frenchness' emerged through 2,000 years of history and it is this riveting story, from the Roman conquest of Gaul to the present day, that Cecil Jenkins tells: of the forging of this great nation through its significant people and events and and its fascinating culture. As he unfolds this narrative, Jenkins shows why the French began to see themselves as so different from the rest of Europe, but also why, today, the French face the same problems with regard to identity as so many other European nations.
The Birth of a Movement
By Dick Lehr
In 1915, two men,one a journalist agitator, the other a technically brilliant filmmaker,incited a public confrontation that roiled America, pitting black against white, Hollywood against Boston, and free speech against civil rights.Monroe Trotter and D. W. Griffith were fighting over a film that dramatized the Civil War and Reconstruction in a post-Confederate South. Griffith's film, The Birth of a Nation , included actors in blackface, heroic portraits of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and a depiction of Lincoln's assassination. Freed slaves were portrayed as villainous, vengeful, slovenly, and dangerous to the sanctity of American values. It was tremendously successful, eventually seen by 25 million Americans. But violent protests against the film flared up across the country.Almost fifty years earlier, Monroe's father, James, was a sergeant in an all-black Union regiment that marched into Charleston, South Carolina, just as the Kentucky cavalry,including Roaring Jack Griffith, D. W.'s father,fled for their lives. Monroe Trotter's titanic crusade to have the film censored became a blueprint for dissent during the 1950s and 1960s. This is the fiery story of a revolutionary moment for mass media and the nascent civil rights movement, and the men clashing over the cultural and political soul of a still-young America standing at the cusp of its greatest days.
By Martin Torgoff
Bop Apocalypse, a narrative history from master storyteller Martin Torgoff, details the rise of early drug culture in America by weaving together the disparate elements that formed this new segment of the American fabric.Channeling his decades of writing experience, Torgoff connects the birth of jazz in New Orleans, the first drug laws, Louis Armstrong, Mezz Mezzrow, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, swing, Lester Young, Billie Holliday, the Savoy Ballroom, Reefer Madness, Charlie Parker, the birth of bebop, the rise of the Beat Generation, and the coming of heroin to Harlem.Having spent a lifetime immersed in the world where music and drugs overlap, Torgoff reveals material that is completely new and has never been disclosed before, not even in his own litany of work. Bop Apocalypse is truly a new and fresh contribution to the understanding of jazz, race, and drug culture.
By Johnny Smith, Randy Roberts
In 1962, boxing writers and fans considered Cassius Clay an obnoxious self-promoter, and few believed that he would become the heavyweight champion of the world. But Malcolm X, the most famous minister in the Nation of Islam,a sect many white Americans deemed a hate cult,saw the potential in Clay, not just for boxing greatness, but as a means of spreading the Nation's message. The two became fast friends, keeping their interactions secret from the press for fear of jeopardizing Clay's career. Clay began living a double life,a patriotic good Negro" in public, and a radical reformer behind the scenes. Soon, however, their friendship would sour, with disastrous and far-reaching consequences.Based on previously untapped sources, from Malcolm's personal papers to FBI records, Blood Brothers is the first book to offer an in-depth portrait of this complex bond. Acclaimed historians Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith reconstruct the worlds that shaped Malcolm and Clay, from the boxing arenas and mosques, to postwar New York and civil rights-era Miami. In an impressively detailed account, they reveal how Malcolm moulded Cassius Clay into Muhammad Ali, helping him become an international symbol of black pride and black independence. Yet when Malcolm was barred from the Nation for criticizing the philandering of its leader, Elijah Muhammad, Ali turned his back on Malcolm,a choice that tragically contributed to the latter's assassination in February 1965.Malcolm's death marked the end of a critical phase of the civil rights movement, but the legacy of his friendship with Ali has endured. We inhabit a new era where the roles of entertainer and activist, of sports and politics, are more entwined than ever before. Blood Brothers is the story of how Ali redefined what it means to be a black athlete in America,after Malcolm first enlightened him. An extraordinary narrative of love and deep affection, as well as deceit, betrayal, and violence, this story is a window into the public and private lives of two of our greatest national icons, and the tumultuous period in American history that they helped to shape.
A Brief History of the Martial Arts
By Jonathan Clements
Folk tales of the Shaolin Temple depict warrior monks with superhuman abilities. Today, dozens of East Asian fighting styles trace their roots back to the Buddhist brawlers of Shaolin, although any quest for the true story soon wanders into a labyrinth of forgeries, secret texts and modern retellings.This new study approaches the martial arts from their origins in military exercises and callisthenics. It examines a rich folklore from old wuxia tales of crime-fighting heroes to modern kung fu movies. Centre stage is given to the stories that martial artists tell themselves about themselves, with accounts (both factual and fictional) of famous practitioners including China's Yim Wing-chun, Wong Fei-hong, and Ip Man, as well as Japanese counterparts such as Kano Jigoro, Itosu Anko and So Doshin.The history of martial arts encompasses secret societies and religious rebels, with intimate glimpses of the histories of China, Korea and Japan, their conflicts and transformations. The book also charts the migration of martial arts to the United States and beyond. Special attention is paid to the turmoil of the twentieth century, the cross-cultural influence of Japanese colonies in Asia, and the post-war rise of martial arts in sport and entertainment - including the legacy of Bruce Lee, the dilemma of the ninja and the global audience for martial arts in fiction.
A Brief History of the British Army
By John Lewis-Stempel, Jock Haswell
The story of the British Army has many sides to it, being a tale of heroic successes and tragic failures, of dogged determination and drunken disorder. It involves many of the most vital preoccupations in the history of the island - the struggle against Continental domination by a single power, the battle for Empire - and a cast pf remarkable characters - Marlborough, Wellington and Montgomery among them. Yet the British, relying on their navy, have always neglected their army; from the time of Alfred the Great to the reign of Charles II wars were fought with hired forces disbanded as soon as conflict ended. Even after the stuggles with Louis XIV impelled the formation of a reulgar army, impecunious governments neglected the armed forces except in times of national emergency. In this wide-ranging account, Major Haswell sketches the medieval background before concentrating on the three hundred years of the regular army, leading up to its role in our own time. He presents an informed and probing picture of the organization of the army, the development of weaponry and strategy - and the everyday life of the British soldier through the centuries.John Lewis-Stempel has brought Major Haswell's classic work right up to date by expanding the section on the dissolution of empire to include a full account of Northern Ireland and the Falklands War. He has added a new chapter to cover the Gulf War, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq; also the increasing role of special forces and the amalgamation of regiments.
Bind Us Apart
By Nicholas Guyatt
Why did the Founding Fathers fail to include blacks and Indians in their cherished proposition that all men are created equal"? The usual answer is racism, but the reality is more complex and unsettling. In Bind Us Apart , historian Nicholas Guyatt argues that, from the Revolution through the Civil War, most white liberals believed in the unity of all human beings. But their philosophy faltered when it came to the practical work of forging a colour-blind society. Unable to convince others,and themselves,that racial mixing was viable, white reformers began instead to claim that people of colour could only thrive in separate republics: in Native states in the American West or in the West African colony of Liberia. Herein lie the origins of separate but equal." Decades before Reconstruction, America's liberal elite was unable to imagine how people of colour could become citizens of the United States. Throughout the nineteenth century, Native Americans were pushed farther and farther westward, while four million slaves freed after the Civil War found themselves among a white population that had spent decades imagining that they would live somewhere else. Essential reading for anyone disturbed by America's ongoing failure to achieve true racial integration, Bind Us Apart shows conclusively that separate but equal" represented far more than a southern backlash against emancipation,it was a founding principle of our nation.
A Brief History of the Amazons
By 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.
By Wendy Holden
Among millions of Holocaust victims sent to Auschwitz II-Birkenau in 1944, Priska, Rachel, and Anka each passed through its infamous gates with a secret. Strangers to each other, they were newly pregnant, and facing an uncertain fate without their husbands. Alone, scared, and with so many loved ones already lost to the Nazis, these young women were privately determined to hold on to all they had left: their lives, and those of their unborn babies.That the gas chambers ran out of Zyklon-B just after the babies were born, before they and their mothers could be exterminated, is just one of several miracles that allowed them all to survive and rebuild their lives after World War II. Born Survivors follows the mothers' incredible journey - first to Auschwitz, where they each came under the murderous scrutiny of Dr. Josef Mengele; then to a German slave labour camp where, half-starved and almost worked to death, they struggled to conceal their condition; and finally, as the Allies closed in, their hellish 17-day train journey with thousands of other prisoners to the Mauthausen death camp in Austria. Hundreds died along the way but the courage and kindness of strangers, including guards and civilians, helped save these women and their children.Sixty-five years later, the three 'miracle babies' met for the first time at Mauthausen for the anniversary of the liberation that ultimately saved them. United by their remarkable experiences of survival against all odds, they now consider each other "siblings of the heart." In Born Survivors, Wendy Holden brings all three stories together for the first time to mark their seventieth birthdays and the seventieth anniversary of the ending of the war.A heart-stopping account of how three mothers and their newborns fought to survive the Holocaust, Born Survivors is also a life-affirming celebration of our capacity to care and to love amid inconceivable cruelty.
A Brief History of the Battle of Agincourt
By Christopher Hibbert
There can be few military victories so complete, or achieved against such heavy odds, as that won by Henry V on 25 October 1415 against Charles VI's army at Agincourt. In the words of one contemporary French chronicler, it was the 'most disgraceful event that had ever happened to the Kingdom of France'.Christopher Hibbert's wonderfully concise account draws on the unusual number of contemporary sources available to historians to describe in lucid detail not only what happened, but how it happened. His classic account of the crushing defeat of the French at Agincourt combines historical rigour with a vigorous and very readable narrative style.
By David Andress
'If it had not been for you English, I should have been Emperor of the East; but wherever there is water to float a ship, we are sure to find you in our way.' Emperor NapoleonBut just thirty-five years earlier, Britain lacked any major continental allies, and was wracked by crises and corruption. Many thought that she would follow France into revolution. The British elite had no such troubling illusions: defeat was not a possibility. Since not all shared that certainty, the resumption of the conflict and its pursuit through years of Napoleonic dominance is a remarkable story of aristocratic confidence and assertion of national superiority. Winning these wars meant ruthless imperialist expansion, spiteful political combat, working under a mad king and forging the most united national effort since the days of the Armada. And it meant setting the foundations for the greatest empire the world has ever known.