Melvyn Bragg - For Want of a Nail - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781444741964
    • Publication date:21 Jun 2012

For Want of a Nail

By Melvyn Bragg

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

'A vivid and totally original imagination' Scotsman

Growing up in an isolated cottage in the hills of Cumberland, Tom knows the bitter cold of shooting expeditions with his grandfather and long evenings spent with his father and mother. But taken away from the hills to live in the small town of Thornton, Tom experiences a tumult of conflicting emotions which he must master before he can come to terms with his identity.

First published in 1965, FOR WANT OF A NAIL was acclaimed as the debut of a distinctive and talented new writer.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780340431016
  • Publication date: 04 Jul 1991
  • Page count: 304
  • Imprint: Sceptre
The impression is one of striking individuality - the sort of originality an author achieves when he has really meditated hard about his characters, loved them, watched them, and let them grow — Sunday Telegraph
A novel well worth returning to...a vivid and totally original imagination...tableau after tableau is spotlit into brilliant life — Scotsman
A very good novel...sparkles with a keen awareness of both local landscape and character — Cumberland Evening News
Fine, tense writing derived not from books but from passionate observation of particular landscapes and people — Spectator
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Set in Cumbria and covering the period from 1898 to the early twenties, this is the powerful saga of John Tallentire, first farm labourer, then coal miner, and his wife Emily. John's struggle to break free from the humiliating status of a 'hired man' is the theme of a novel which has been hailed as a classic of its kind - as meticulously detailed as a social document, as evocative as the writings of Hardy and Lawrence.(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

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Joseph Tallantire has hope and ambition - like his father before him he is determined to make something of himself and improve his lot. But life is not easy for an uneducated young man in Cumberland before and during World War II, and Joseph's struggle against the odds is the subject of this moving and evocative novel. Suffering hardship and humiliation but eventually achieving a position of some independence, Joseph serves as a tribute to the many like him who lived through one of Britain's periods of greatest social change.(P) 2015 Hodder & Stoughton

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Kingdom Come

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Douglas Tallentire has at last achieved what his father and grandfather before him fought for so bitterly. Educated and independent, he can carve out his own career and spread his wings. But success, freedom and happiness are more elusive than ever in the fiercely competitive Seventies. From Cumbria to the frenetic whirl of sophisticated life in New York and London, Douglas, like all the Tallentires, must come to terms with private uncertainty and pain.(P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton

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Now is the Time

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In this gripping novel, Melvyn Bragg brings an extraordinary episode in English history to fresh, urgent life.At the end of May 1381, the fourteen-year-old King of England had reason to be fearful: the plague had returned, the royal coffers were empty and a draconian poll tax was being widely evaded. Yet Richard, bolstered by his powerful, admired mother, felt secure in his God-given right to reign. But within two weeks, the unthinkable happened: a vast force of common people invaded London, led by a former soldier, Walter Tyler, and the radical preacher John Ball, demanding freedom, equality and the complete uprooting of the Church and state. And for three intense, violent days, it looked as if they would sweep all before them.Now is the Time depicts the events of the Peasants' Revolt on both a grand and intimate scale, vividly portraying its central figures and telling an archetypal tale of an epic struggle between the powerful and the apparently powerless.

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Reaching from late 19th-century Cumbria to the present, this elegiac novel celebrates two spirited women: Grace, a farm labourer's daughter who fatefully followed her heart, and Mary, the child she was forced to give up. Unsung heroines according to Mary's son who, as his elderly mother's mind begins to fail, lovingly recreates their lives and the vanished country of their pasts, linking three generations in a chain of enduring love, loss and courage.

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The Book of Books

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The King James Bible has often been called the Book of Books both in itself and in what it stands for. Since its publication in 1611 it has been the best selling book in the world, and many believe, had the greatest impact. The King James Bible has spread the Protestant faith. It has also been the greatest influence on the enrichment of the English language and its literature. It has been the Bible of wars from the British Civil War in the seventeenth century to the American Civil War two centuries later and it has been carried into battle in innumerable conflicts since then. Its influence on social movements - particularly involving women in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - and politics was profound. It was crucial to the growth of democracy. It was integral to the abolition of slavery and it defined attitudes to modern science, education and sex. As THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH explored the history of our language, so THE BOOK OF BOOKS reveals the extraordinary and still-felt impact of a work created 400 years ago.

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Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time series regularly enlightens and entertains substantial audiences on BBC Radio 4. For this book he has selected episodes which reflect the diversity of the radio programmes, and takes us on an amazing tour through the history of ideas, from philosophy, physics and history to religion, literature and biology. We can discover the reasons for the fall of the Byzantine empire, and why women were persecuted as witches in the seventeenth century. What shape is the origin of life? Where does our calendar come from? We can unearth the influence of prime numbers, Socrates and Tectonic plates. Melvyn Bragg orchestrates the ideas of leading academics in each field so that the dynamic and lively discussion from the programmes comes through vividly on the page. IN OUR TIME brings to life the signposts of history, the moments that significantly changed the world as we know it, and the individuals and ideas that made us what we are today.

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When Sam Richardson returns in 1946 from the 'Forgotten War' in Burma to Wigton in Cumbria, he finds the town little changed. But the war has changed him, broadening his horizons as well as leaving him with traumatic memories. In addition, his six-year-old son now barely remembers him, and his wife has gained a sense of independence from her wartime jobs. As all three strive to adjust, the bonds of loyalty and love are stretched to breaking point in this taut, and profoundly moving novel.

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Set in Britain during the 1950s, this moving and evocative novel follows the intertwined fates of people crossing boundaries in their lives. As a teenager in the small northern town of Wigton, Joe Richardson falls in love with Rachel, just when her life is about to be uprooted. While his parents, Sam and Ellen, face the frontiers of middle age, Joe finds himself drawn by the intoxicating world outside home, and swept into situations that seem beyond his control. Vividly conveying the spirit of the mid-century and the profound social changes taking place at the time, this is a masterly successor to the award-winning THE SOLDIER'S RETURN and A SON OF WAR.

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Longlisted for the Booker Prize After the upheavals of the Second World War, the Richardson family - Sam, Ellen and their young son Joe - settle back to working-class life in the Cumbrian town of Wigton. Yet for them, as for so many, life will never be the same again. As the old order begins to be challenged and new vistas open, Sam and Ellen forge their future together with differing needs and desires - and conflicting expectations of Joe, who grows up with his own demons to confront.

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Douglas Tallentire has at last achieved what his father and grandfather before him fought for so bitterly. Educated and independent, he can carve out his own career and spread his wings. But success, freedom and happiness are more elusive than ever in the fiercely competitive Seventies. From Cumbria to the frenetic whirl of sophisticated life in New York and London, Douglas, like all the Tallentires, must come to terms with private uncertainty and pain.

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