Mr Darley's Arabian
By Christopher McGrath
Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year AwardIn 1704 a bankrupt English merchant sent home the colt he had bought from Bedouin tribesmen near the ruins of Palmyra. Thomas Darley hoped this horse might be the ticket to a new life back in Yorkshire. But he turned out to be far more than that: and although Mr Darley's Arabian never ran a race, 95% of all thoroughbreds in the world today are descended from him. In this book, for the first time, award-winning racing writer Christopher McGrath traces this extraordinary bloodline through twenty-five generations to our greatest modern racehorse, Frankel.The story of racing is about man's relationship with horses, and Mr Darley's Arabian also celebrates the men and women who owned, trained and traded the stallions that extended the dynasty. The great Eclipse, for instance, was bred by the Duke who foiled Bonnie Prince Charlie's invasion (with militia gathered from Wakefield races) and went on to lead the Jockey Club. But he only became a success once bought and raced by a card-sharp and brothel-keeper - the racecourse has always brought high and low life together. McGrath expertly guides us through three centuries of scandals, adventures and fortunes won and lost: our sporting life offers a fascinating view into our history. With a canvas that extends from the diamond mines of South Africa to the trenches of the Great War, and a cast ranging from Smithfield meat salesmen to the inspiration for Mr Toad, and from legendary jockeys to not one, but two disreputable Princes of Wales (and a very unamused Queen Victoria), Mr Darley's Arabian shows us the many faces of the sport of kings.
The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
By Giles Milton
Six gentlemen, one goal - the destruction of Hitler's war machineIn the spring of 1939, a top secret organisation was founded in London: its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler's war machine through spectacular acts of sabotage. The guerrilla campaign that followed was to prove every bit as extraordinary as the six gentlemen who directed it. Winston Churchill selected them because they were wildly creative and thoroughly ungentlemanly. One of them, Cecil Clarke, was a maverick engineer who had spent the 1930s inventing futuristic caravans. Now, his talents were put to more devious use: he built the dirty bomb used to assassinate Hitler's favourite, Reinhard Heydrich. Another member of the team, William Fairbairn, was a portly pensioner with an unusual passion: he was the world's leading expert in silent killing. He was hired to train the guerrillas being parachuted behind enemy lines.Led by dapper Scotsman Colin Gubbins, these men - along with three others - formed a secret inner circle that planned the most audacious sabotage attacks of the Second World War. Winston Churchill called it his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. The six 'ministers', aided by a group of formidable ladies, were so effective that they single-handedly changed the course of the war.Told with Giles Milton's trademark verve and eye for detail, The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is thoroughly researched and based on hitherto unknown archival material. It is a gripping and vivid narrative of adventure and derring-do and is also, perhaps, the last great untold story of the Second World War.
By Jo McMillan
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit meets Goodbye Lenin.'I hadn't expected the Berlin Wall to be clean and white and smooth. It looked more like the edge of the swimming baths than the edge of the Cold War. On the grass of No-man's Land, fat rabbits ate and strolled about as if they'd never been hunted and nothing could disturb them. This was their land and they ruled it, and there were three parts to Berlin: East, West and Rabbit.'It is 1978, Jess is thirteen and she already has a reputation - as the daughter of the only communist in town. But then, it's in the blood. The Mitchells have been in the Party since the Party began. Jess and her mother Eleanor struggle to sell socialism to Tamworth - a sleepy Midlands town that just doesn't want to know.So when Eleanor is invited to spend a summer teaching in East Germany, she and Jess leap at the chance to see what the future looks like. On the other side of the Iron Curtain they turn from villains into heroes. And when Eleanor meets widower Peter and his daughter, Martina, a new, more peaceful life seems possible.But the Cold War has no time for love and soon the trouble starts. Peter is dispatched for two years of solidarity work in Laos. Friends become enemies, and Jess discovers how easy it is to switch sides, and how sides can be switched for you, sometimes without you even knowing.Motherland is a tender mother-daughter story and a tragi-comic portrait of a childhood overcome with belief. It's about loss of faith and loss of innocence, and what it's like to grow up on the losing side of history.
The Moth Snowstorm
By Michael McCarthy
A great, rhapsodic, urgent book full of joy, grief, rage and love . . . A must-read' Helen Macdonald, author of H is for HawkNature has many gifts for us, but perhaps the greatest of them all is joy; the intense delight we can take in the natural world, in its beauty, in the wonder it can offer us, in the peace it can provide - feelings stemming ultimately from our own unbreakable links to nature, which mean that we cannot be fully human if we are separate from it. In The Moth Snowstorm Michael McCarthy, one of Britain's leading writers on the environment, proposes this joy as a defence of a natural world which is ever more threatened, and which, he argues, is inadequately served by the two defences put forward hitherto: sustainable development and the recognition of ecosystem services.Drawing on a wealth of memorable experiences from a lifetime of watching and thinking about wildlife and natural landscapes, The Moth Snowstorm not only presents a new way of looking at the world around us, but effortlessly blends with it a remarkable and moving memoir of childhood trauma from which love of the natural world emerged. It is a powerful, timely, and wholly original book which comes at a time when nature has never needed it more.
Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!
By Nicholas Carlson
From her controversial rise and fall from power at Google, to her dramatic reshaping of Yahoo's work culture, people are obsessed with, and polarised by, Marissa Mayer's every move. She is full of fascinating contradictions: a feminist who rejects feminism, a charmer in front of a crowd who can't hold eye contact in one-on-ones, and a geek who is Oscar de la Renta's best customer. Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! tells her story. Back in the 1990s, Yahoo was the internet. It was also a $120 billion company. But just as quickly as it became the world's most famous internet company, it crashed to earth during the dotcom bust. And yet, Yahoo is still here, with nearly a billion people visiting it each month. Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! tells the fly-on-the-wall story of Yahoo's history for the first time, getting inside the board room as executives make genius calls and massive blunders.Dan Loeb, a tough-talking hedge fund manager, set his sights on Yahoo in 2011. He grew up idolising the corporate raiders of the 1980s, building a career being more vicious than any of them. Without Loeb's initiative, Marissa Mayer would never have been given her chance to save the company. This book tells the tale of how Dan Loeb spotted the real problem inside Yahoo - its awful board - and tore it apart, getting two CEOs fired in the process.When Marissa Mayer first started at Yahoo in 2012, the car parks would empty every week by 4.00 p.m. on Thursday. Over the next two years she made plenty of mistakes, but she learned from them. Now Yahoo's culture is vibrant and users are coming back. In Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! Nicholas Carlson also explores what may be the internet's first real turnaround.
The Middle-Class ABC
By Fi Cotter-Craig, Zebedee Helm
The Middle Class ABC is the book loos, bedside tables and farmers markets the length and breadth of the land have been waiting for - a humorous celebration of the facts (some are even true) and foibles, manners and mores, peccadilloes and armadillos, of contemporary British middle-class life.Letter by letter, the occasionally clever, witty and absurd observations and cartoons will ring true for all good Middlings. WARNING: you might even recognize your own or your friends' choices of children's names, foodie fads, holiday destinations . . . Crammed with affectionately teasing jokes and some truly dreadful puns, this is a book to enjoy at any time of the year in the course of going about one's business.
A Marker to Measure Drift
By Alexander Maksik
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2013.On a holiday island somewhere in the Aegean Sea, Jacqueline, a young Liberian woman, fends off starvation as she survives in the aftermath of unspeakable brutality. Having escaped the horrors of Charles Taylor's regime, she builds a home of sorts in a cave overlooking the ocean. During the day, she wanders the sunny beaches offering massages to tourists, one Euro for five minutes, all the while balancing her will to live with the crushing guilt of survival.This hypnotic, lyrical and extraordinary novel tells the story of a woman existing in the wake of experiences so horrifying that she prefers homeless numbness to the psychological confrontation she knows is inevitable. It's a novel about memory. About storytelling. About how we live with what we know.Alexander Maksik is a writer of exceptional gifts, able to deliver devastatingly powerful emotion through deceptively simple, lucid prose.
The Manner of Men
By Stuart Tootal
In June 1944, an elite unit of British paratroopers was sent on a daring and highly risky behind-the-lines mission, which was deemed vital to the success of D-Day. Dropping ahead of the main Allied invasion, 9 PARA were tasked with destroying an impregnable German gun battery. If they failed, thousands of British troops landing on the beaches were expected to die. But their mission was flawed and started to go wrong from the moment they jumped from their aircraft above Normandy. Only twenty per cent of the unit made it to the objective and half of them were killed or wounded during the attack. Undermanned and lacking equipment and ammunition, the survivors then held a critical part of the invasion beachhead. For six bloody days, they defended the Breville Ridge against vastly superior German forces and bore the brunt of Rommel's attempt to turn the left flank of the Allied invasion.The Manner of Men is an epic account of courage beyond the limits of human endurance, where paratroopers prevailed despite intelligence failures and higher command blunders, in what has been described as one of the most remarkable feat of arms of the British Army and the Parachute Regiment during the Second World War.
By George Mackay Brown
This profound and poetic novel has been described as George Mackay Brown's most innovative work. He recounts the tale of the murder of the Earl of Orkney in the 12th century and links it to the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian imprisoned and executed by the Nazis during World War Two. A fascinating meditation on the eternal questions of guilt, goodness and sacrifice from one of Scotland's greatest writers.
The Masked Fisherman and Other Stories
By George Mackay Brown
An incident from the Viking period in the Northern Isles of Scotland inspired the story from which this collection takes its name. The stories range from the first century, to the 1920s - when the author was a child - to one which ends a hundred years from now.
My Fellow Devils
By L. P. Hartley
Margaret Pennefather is essentially a good person - too good, perhaps, for her own good. Her rash and hasty marriage to film star Colum McInnes, and his very different set of moral values, leads gradually and relentlessly to the utter destruction of their love and their marriage. Although she is only a nominal Protestant and he a very lax Roman Catholic, Margaret cannot escape the religious questionings implicit in their union. Her mental and spiritual struggles persist and gather momentum through all the disasters of her married life. Its outcome is the climax to a story that must surely rank as one of the most impressive L. P. Hartley has given us.
By Christina Noble
In 1989, driven by a dream and the memory of her own past, Christina Noble travelled 6,000 miles to Vietnam, a country of great beauty where the terrible legacy of war is still being felt. Against extraordinary odds she opened the Christina Noble Children's Foundation, providing medical aid and schooling. Through this foundation the street children could find safety and new beginnings under the protection of 'Mama Tina'. In this vivid and moving book Christina's story continues with the amazing tale of what she and her foundation have achieved. She takes us from the streets of Saigon to the children's prisons of Mongolia. Finally she returns to Dublin where she is greeted by the president of Ireland herself. A staunch campaigner for children's rights, for Christina there are no frontiers, only a world filled with children reaching out.
Mansfield Park (flipback edition)
Published for the first time in flipback - the new, portable, stylish format that's taken Europe by storm.'We have all been more or less to blame... every one of us, excepting Fanny'When Henry and Maria Crawford come to Mansfield Park, they bring a taste of glamorous London society to the peaceful world of the Bertram family. Everyone is enamoured of them; everyone except Fanny Price. A poor relation, Fanny has grown up an outsider among her rich family, finding an ally only in her cousin Edmund. But as Edmund starts to fall for Maria, Fanny finds herself caught in the tangle of sexual jealousies the Crawfords leave in their wake.
Mister Pip (flipback edition)
Published for the first time in flipback - the new, portable, stylish format that's taken Europe by storm.'You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames.' Bougainville. 1991. A small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. Eighty-six days have passed since Matilda's last day of school as, quietly, war is encroaching from the other end of the island. When the villagers' safe, predictable lives come to a halt, Bougainville's children are surprised to find the island's only white man, a recluse, re-opening the school. Pop Eye, aka Mr Watts, explains he will introduce the children to Mr Dickens. Matilda and the others think a foreigner is coming to the island and prepare a list of much needed items. They are shocked to discover their acquaintance with Mr Dickens will be through Mr Watts' inspiring reading of Great Expectations. But on an island at war, the power of fiction has dangerous consequences. Imagination and beliefs are challenged by guns. Mister Pip is an unforgettable tale of survival by story; a dazzling piece of writing that lives long in the mind after the last page is finished.
The Man in the Shed
By Lloyd Jones
A boy watches his mother hooked and reeled ashore by a fisherman.A couple give up their seats on a bus for lovers soon to be parted.A husband enters a world imagined by his wife and pretends to be the man she loves.The Man in the Shed is a haunting collection of stories about family, love and longing. These extraordinary tales take conventional life and tilt it sideways, delivering a memorable blend of the real and the surreal.
A Million Little Pieces (flipback edition)
Published for the first time in flipback - the new, portable, stylish format that's taken Europe by storm.
By Neil Jordan
'I had been mistaken for him so many times that when he died it was as if part of myself had died too.'Kevin Thunder grew up with a double - a boy so uncannily like him that they were mistaken for each other at every turn. As children in 1960s Dublin, one lived next to Bram Stoker's house, haunted by an imagined Dracula, the other in the more refined spaces of Palmerston Park. Though divided, like the city itself, by background and class, they shared the same smell, the same looks and perhaps, Kevin comes to believe, the same soul. They exchange identities when it suits them, each acting the part of the other one, but as they reach adulthood, what started as a childhood game descends into something more sinister and they discover taking on another's life can lead to darker places than either had imagined.Neil Jordan's long-awaited new novel is an extraordinary achievement - a comedy of manners at the same time as a Gothic tragedy, a thriller and an elegy. It offers imaginative entertainment of the highest order.
The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in the Bath
By Jane Robins
Bessie Mundy, Alice Burnham and Margaret Lofty are three women with one thing in common. They are spinsters and are desperate to marry. Each woman meets a smooth-talking stranger who promises her a better life. She falls under his spell, and becomes his wife. But marriage soon turns into a terrifying experience.In the dark opening months of the First World War, Britain became engrossed by 'The Brides in the Bath' trial. The horror of the killing fields of the Western Front was the backdrop to a murder story whose elements were of a different sort. This was evil of an everyday, insidious kind, played out in lodging houses in seaside towns, in the confines of married life, and brought to a horrendous climax in that most intimate of settings - the bathroom. The nation turned to a young forensic pathologist, Bernard Spilsbury, to explain how it was that young women were suddenly expiring in their baths. This was the age of science. In fiction, Sherlock Holmes applied a scientific mind to solving crimes. In real-life, would Spilsbury be as infallible as the 'great detective'?
The Man Who Invented History
By Justin Marozzi
Herodotus is known as the Father of History, but he was much more than that. He was also the world's first travel writer, a pioneering geographer, anthropologist, explorer, moralist, tireless investigative reporter and enlightened multiculturalist before the word existed. He was at once learned professor and tabloid journalist, with an unfailing eye for fabulous material to inform and amuse, to titillate, horrify and entertain. In his masterpiece the Histories, tall stories of dog-headed men, gold-digging ants and flying snakes jostle for space within a mesmerising narrative of the Persian Wars, from which Greece emerged triumphant in 5BC to give birth to Western civilisation.Using the effervescent and profoundly modern Herodotus as his guiding light, Justin Marozzi takes the reader back to his world with eclectic travels to Greece, Turkey, Egypt and war-torn Iraq.
By Gregor Dallas
The name of every Parisian metro station tells a story. In Metrostop Paris Gregor Dallas recounts a series of extraordinary but true tales about the city as he leads his readers around the metro. Both the armchair traveller and the visitor wil enjoy an illuminating journey in the company of a compelling storyteller and veteran of the city.The book includes visits to Paris catacombs at Hell's Gate, the literary cafés and old jazz cellars of Montparnasse and Saint-Germain-des-Pres and the seventeenth-century alleys of the Marais, along with trips to the Palais-Royal at the time of the Revolution and the world of opera during Claude Debussy's lifetime. Through the eyes of the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, Dallas describes the German occupation of Paris during the Second World War and the intellectual wars that immediately followed. A visit to the futuristic Cit de la Science at La Villette prompts the story of the Marquis de Morés, the French cowboy and anti-semite, who was eventually murdered by tribesmen of the Sahara Desert in 1896. Outside the Jesuit church of Saint-Paul Dallas tells us about Gabriel de Montgomery, forgotten ancestor of Montgomery of Alamein, who accidentally killed his king just there and, after leading the Protestant armies against Catherine de Medicis, was executed on the Place de Grève. This exciting journey through time and space concludes at the Père Lachaise Cemetery with the unknown tale of Oscar Wilde's strange involvement in the Dreyfus Affair, the greatest legal scandal of all time.