By John Julius Norwich
'Never before had the world seen four such giants co-existing. Sometimes friends, more often enemies, always rivals, these four men together held Europe in the hollow of their hands.' Four great princes - Henry VIII of England, Francis I of France, Charles V of Spain and Suleiman the Magnificent - were born within a single decade. Each looms large in his country's history and, in this book, John Julius Norwich broadens the scope and shows how, against the rich background of the Renaissance and destruction of the Reformation, their wary obsession with one another laid the foundations for modern Europe. Individually, each man could hardly have been more different - from the scandals of Henry's six wives to Charles's monasticism - but, together, they dominated the world stage. From the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a pageant of jousting, feasting and general carousing so lavish that it nearly bankrupted both France and England, to Suleiman's celebratory pyramid of 2,000 human heads (including those of seven Hungarian bishops) after the battle of Mohács; from Anne Boleyn's six-fingered hand (a potential sign of witchcraft) that had the pious nervously crossing themselves to the real story of the Maltese falcon, Four Princes is history at its vivid, entertaining best. With a cast list that extends from Leonardo da Vinci to Barbarossa, and from Joanna the Mad to le roi grand-nez, John Julius Norwich offers the perfect guide to the most colourful century the world has ever known and brings the past to unforgettable life.
By Josh Ireland
'An epic tale of love, dishonour, bravery, cowardice, betrayal and high-treason. Beautifully written. A stunning debut' Damien LewisPlayboy. Fascist. Strongman. Thief.Traitors.September 1939. For years now Britain has been rudderless, divided and grievously unequal. Successive governments have floundered as they struggled to cope with economic misery at home and machinations abroad. Many of the country's citizens are seduced by fascism; others are simply left alienated by leaders who seem unwilling or unable to take the decisive action that is so desperately needed.When war breaks out the imperiled nation achieves the unity and purpose that has eluded it for more than a decade. It is a time of heroism and sacrifice in which many thousands of soldiers and civilians give their lives. But some Britons choose a different path, renegades who will fight for the Third Reich until its gruesome collapse in 1945. The Traitors tells the stories of four such men: the chaotic, tragic John Amery; the idealistic but hate-filled William Joyce; the cynical, murderous conman Harold Cole; and Eric Pleasants, an iron-willed pacifist and bodybuilder who wants no part in this war.Drawing on declassified MI5 files, as well as diaries, letters and memoirs, The Traitors is a book about disordered lives in turbulent times; idealism twisted out of shape; of torn consciences and abandoned loyalties; of murder, deceit, temptation and loss. It shows how a man might come to desert his country's cause, and the tragic consequences that treachery brings in its wake.
By Paul Cornish, Kingsley Donaldson
'A timely and cogent reminder that history never ends and is about to be made' - Tim Marshall, author of Prisoners of Geography'This informed and expert book examines credible scenarios of what might happen, could happen and hopefully won't happen' - Lord George Robertson, former NATO Secretary General'2020: World of War should be read by our political leaders, policy makers and horizon scanners alike' - General Sir Richard Shirreff'This expert consideration of potential conflicts will be invaluable to us all - not just the policy makers and politicians who will have to deal with those issues' - Jonathan Powell, former Chief of Staff, 10 Downing Street'Knowing the unknown is the first step in making sure what we fear most doesn't happen' - Jonathan Powell, former Chief of Staff, 10 Downing StreetWith the world already struggling to contain conflicts on several continents, with security and defence expenditure under huge pressure, it's time to think the unthinkable and explore what might happen.As former soldiers now working in defence strategy and conflict resolution, Paul Cornish and Kingsley Donaldson are perfectly qualified to guide us through a credible and utterly convincing 20/20 vision of the year 2020, from cyber security to weapons technology, from geopolitics to undercover operations.This book is of global importance, offering both analysis and creative solutions - essential reading both for decision-makers and everyone who simply wants to understand our future.
Crash Bang Wallop
By Iain Martin
Published to mark the 30th anniversary of the financial revolution known as 'Big Bang', Crash Bang Wallop will tell the gripping story of how the changes introduced in the 1980s in the City of London transformed our world.Attitudes to money and the way we measure value and status were completely reshaped by Big Bang, and it had an extraordinary impact on politics, on style, on technology, on the class system, on questions of public ownership, and on the geography of London. Perhaps more than anything, Big Bang revolutionised the international markets, as the capital became a testing ground for financial globalisation, with huge repercussions for the global economy. The definitive insider's account of this critically important moment in modern history, Crash Bang Wallop will also explore what's next for global finance as it gets ready to undergo yet another revolution. 'Iain Martin tells it brilliantly, mixing fury-inducing narrative with an acute eye for the broader conclusion.' Observer
The Gretna Girls
By Tracey Lawson
Jane Austen at Home
By Lucy Worsley
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER'This is my kind of history: carefully researched but so vivid that you are convinced Lucy Worsley was actually there at the party - or the parsonage.' Antonia Fraser'A refreshingly unique perspective on Austen and her work and a beautifully nuanced exploration of gender, creativity, and domesticity.' Amanda Foreman'Brilliant and very moving, this book is a fascinating and original exploration of Jane Austen with lots of new material - Worsley brings Austen to life superbly, through her pages she is a flesh and blood woman, intelligent, powerful, contradictory, loving, loved. A magnificent book.' Kate WilliamsOn the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, historian Lucy Worsley leads us into the rooms from which our best-loved novelist quietly changed the world.This new telling of the story of Jane's life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the places and spaces that mattered to her. It wasn't all country houses and ballrooms, but a life that was often a painful struggle. Jane famously lived a 'life without incident', but with new research and insights Lucy Worsley reveals a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. A woman who far from being a lonely spinster in fact had at least five marriage prospects, but who in the end refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy.
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.
By Josephine Wilkinson
'An impressive revisionist biography' The TimesLooming out of the encroaching darkness of the February evening was London Bridge, still ornamented with the severed heads of Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham; the terrible price they had paid for suspected intimacy with the queen.Katherine now reached the Tower of London, her final destination. Katherine Howard was the fifth wife of Henry VIII and cousin to the executed Anne Boleyn. She first came to court as a young girl of fourteen, but even prior to that her fate had been sealed and she was doomed to die. She was beheaded in 1542 for crimes of adultery and treason, in one of the most sensational scandals of the Tudor age.The traditional story of Henry VIII's fifth queen dwells on her sexual exploits before she married the king, and her execution is seen as her just dessert for having led an abominable life. However, the true story of Katherine Howard could not be more different. Far from being a dark tale of court factionalism and conspiracy, Katherine's story is one of child abuse, family ambition, religious conflict and political and sexual intrigue. It is also a tragic love story. A bright, kind and intelligent young woman, Katherine was fond of clothes and dancing, yet she also had a strong sense of duty and tried to be a good wife to Henry. She handled herself with grace and queenly dignity to the end, even as the barge carrying her on her final journey drew up at the Tower of London, where she was to be executed for high treason.Little more than a child in a man's world, she was the tragic victim of those who held positions of authority over her, and from whose influence she was never able to escape.
Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
By Giles Milton
'A magnificent story, brilliantly told. Read it!' Anthony HorowitzSix 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, Churchill's 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.Previously published in hardback as The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
By Siân Evans
Queen Bees looks at the lives of six remarkable women who made careers out of being society hostesses, including Lady Astor, who went on to become the first female MP, and Mrs Greville, who cultivated relationships with Edward VII, as well as Lady Londonderry, Lady Cunard, Laura Corrigan and Lady Colefax. Written with wit, verve and heart, Queen Bees is the story of a form of societal revolution, and the extraordinary women who helped it happen.In the aftermath of the First World War, the previously strict hierarchies of the British class system were weakened. For a number of ambitious, spirited women, this was the chance they needed to slip through the cracks and take their place at the top of society as the great hostesses of the time. In an age when the place of women was uncertain, becoming a hostess was not a chore, but a career choice, and though some of the hostesses' backgrounds were surprisingly humble, their aspirations were anything but. During the inter-war years these extraordinary women ruled over London society from their dining tables and salons - entertaining everyone from the Mosleys to the Mitfords, from millionaires to maharajahs, from film stars to royalty - and their influence can still be felt today.
BP Title - TOGETHER
By Henry Hemming
The Women Who Shaped Politics
By Sophy Ridge
Sophy Ridge, presenter for Sky News, has uncovered the extraordinary stories of the women who have shaped British politics. Never has the role of women in the political world ever been more on the news agenda, and Sophy has interviewed current and former politicians including among others, Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, Betty Boothroyd gain exclusive insight into the role women play in politics at the highest level. The book also includes Theresa May's first at-length interview about her journey to becoming Prime Minister. These interviews have revealed the shocking truth about the sexism that is rife among the House of Commons both in the past and today, with sometimes astonishing, and sometimes amusing anecdotes revealing how women in Westminster have worked to counter the gender bias. Sophy provides gripping insight into historical and contemporary stories which will fascinate not just those interested in politics but those who want to know more about women's vital role in democracy. From royalty to writers and from class warriors to suffragettes, Sophy tells the story of those who put their lives on the line for equal rights, and those who were the first to set foot inside the chambers of power, bringing together stories that you may think you know, and stories that have recently been discovered to reveal the truth about what it is to be a woman in Westminster. This book is a celebration of the differing ways that women have shaped the political landscape. The book also, importantly, sheds light on the challenges faced by women in government today, telling us the ways that women working in politics battle the sexism that confront them on a daily basis.
By Peter Stanford
'A compelling biography of one of the greatest men of the modern age. Stanford is particularly brilliant on the tensions inside Luther's private and spiritual life. This is a very fine book, written with a flourish.' Melvyn BraggThe 31st of October 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther pinning his 95 'Theses' - or reform proposals - to the door of his local university church in Wittenberg. Most scholars now agree that the details of this eye-catching gesture are more legend than hammer and nails, but what is certainly true is that on this day (probably in a letter to his local Archbishop in Mainz), the Augustinian Friar and theologian issued an outspokenly blunt challenge to his own Catholic Church to reform itself from within - especially over the sale of 'indulgences' - which ultimately precipitated a huge religious and political upheaval right across Europe and divided mainstream Christianity ever after.A new, popular biography from journalist Peter Stanford, looking at Martin Luther from within his Catholic context, examining his actual aims for Catholicism as well as his enduring legacy - and where he might fit within the church today. 'Peter Stanford makes the life of Luther into a thrilling narrative, told from a modern Catholic perspective' Antonia Fraser