The Escape Artists
By Neal Bascomb
Summer, 1918: twenty-nine officers crawled into a 16 inch high, 55 metre tunnel dug only with spoons. This was the culmination of 9 months gruelling toil in oxygen-starved darkness. Of the twenty-nine escapees, just ten would make their way back to Britain.When captured Royal Flying Corps pilots Captain David Gray, Captain Caspar Kennard and 2nd Lieutenant Cecil Blain had arrived at Holzminden - or 'Hellminden' as its occupants called it - the Germans' highest-security prison complex had seemed impregnable. 'The Black Hole' was ruled by the iron fist of Camp Commandant Carl Niemayer, under whose brutal temper prisoners were known to be shot and beaten to death. Not least the breakout artists.After five unsuccessful attempts from different camps in one year, the obsessive Captain Gray was personally determined to orchestrate the building of a tunnel directly under the feet of their one hundred armed guards. With an improvised oxygen piping system, stolen disguises and astonishing courage, this handful of the Kaiser's 2.3 million prisoners would succeed in making their way to neutral Holland and eventually back to Britain - for a private audience at Windsor Palace. The most unlikely escape of the Great War, their derring-do became military legend and the inspiration for the subsequent great escapes of the Second World War.
By Boris Johnson
Shakespeare is the true British icon - he is still the most performed, the most translated, the most venerated playwright in history, and a man whose reputation, if anything, is in the ascendant. No one has resolved so many truths about the human heart, or so brilliantly debated our psychological and political predicaments. No author has ever produced such astonishing female characters, perfected comic language so dazzlingly, or taught us as much about politics as William Shakespeare. Boris Johnson explains Shakespeare's genius in a simple and readable way; in a way that gets to grips with what is really going on, what the characters are up to, what the point of it all is; and in a way that sets the man simply and intelligibly in the context of his time. He explores not only the origin of Shakespeare's genius, but also the nature of his genius. If Shakespeare is the greatest ever, then of what exactly does his greatness consist?'What makes Shakespeare Shakespeare? That, as the man once said, is the question.'
Rise and Kill First
By Ronen Bergman
'A gripping investigation of Israel's assassination policy' Sunday Times'Remarkable' Observer'Riveting' Daily Mail'Compelling' John le CarréThe Talmud says: "If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first." This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel's DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively. In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman - praised by David Remnick as "arguably [Israel's] best investigative reporter" - offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions. Built from interviews with Israeli Prime Ministers as well as high-level figures in Mossad, and the country's military and intelligence services - Rise and Kill First includes never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of previously unseen files. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel's targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world.
An Armful of Babies and a Cup of Tea
By Molly Corbally
For all fans of Call the Midwife - a touching memoir of a young health visitor in postwar England.After serving as a nurse in WW2, Molly Corbally joined the brand new NHS and became one of the first official District Health Visitors, attending to mothers and babies from all walks of life in the picturesque village near Coventry she came to call home. Social work was uncharted territory at the time, and Britain was very much worse for wear - TB, polio, measles and whooping cough were just some of the hazards new babies faced. Social conditions could also add to the problems, at a time when poverty and alcoholism were rife. Armed with only her nursing training, her common sense and a desire to serve, Molly set out to win over a community and provide a new and valuable service in times of great change. As well as the challenges there was also joy and laughter, from the woman who finally had a baby after fifteen years of trying, to the woman who thought she should use marmalade as nappy cream, because the hospital had never taken the label off the jar they were using to store it.Warm, witty and moving, An Armful of Babies is a vivid portrait of rural England in the post-war years, and a testament to an NHS in its own infancy and to what hasn't changed: the bond between parents and their children, and the importance of protecting that.
By Margaret K. Nydell
For nearly three decades, diplomats, students, business people and governments have relied on Dr. Margaret Nydell's seminal work as the essential guide to comprehending an immensely varied culture. Covering all aspects of Arab life, from religion and society to social norms and communication styles, this all-encompassing guide reveals what the often misunderstood Arab culture is really like. Each chapter, including the examples, all statistics and charts, and each country overview has been extensively updated to reflect current events. This candid and readable guide for non-specialists promotes understanding between modern-day Arabs and Westerners without pushing a political agenda. It beautifully captures the contrasts and characteristics of a great, largely misunderstood civilization and brings them vividly to life.
The Publishing Game
By Edward Stourton
Author, journalist and BBC presenter Ed Stourton delves into the Hodder & Stoughton archives to tell the human story of 150 years of publishing. From the day in June 1868 when Matthew Henry Hodder and Thomas Wilberforce Stoughton first founded the company, through numerous encounters with authors from John le Carre to Jodi Picoult, and several staff sports days - this will be an entertaining and enlightening read for any book lover.
By Peter Snow, Ann MacMillan
'Highly readable . . . an intimate and varied account of fascinating stories of people at war' History of WarWar Stories is a fascinating account of ordinary men and women swept up in the turbulence of war. These are the stories - many untold until now - of thirty-four individuals who have pushed the boundaries of love, bravery, suffering and terror beyond the imaginable. They span three centuries and five continents. There is the courage of Edward Seager who survived the Charge of the Light Brigade; the cunning of Krystyna Skarbek, quick-thinking spy and saboteur during the Second World War; the skullduggery of Benedict Arnold, who switched sides in the American War of Independence and the compassion of Magdalene de Lancey who tenderly nursed her dying husband at Waterloo. Told with vivid narrative flair and full of unexpected insights, War Stories moves effortlessly from tales of spies, escapes and innovation to uplifting acts of humanity, celebrating men and women whose wartime experiences are beyond compare.
A Nearly Infallible History of the Reformation
By Nick Page
500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his ideas to a church door - and the Reformation began. Or maybe it was a little more complicated than that. Nick Page brings his skills as an unlicensed historian to bear on this key period in European (and world) history in order to uncover everything you need to know about the Reformation - with a fair few bits you never wanted to know thrown in for good measure.Historians tell us that the Protestant Reformation laid the foundations for the Industrial Revolution, religious freedom, and all sorts of other Good Things. But what actually happened? Who were the winners and the losers, the ogres and the beauty queens of this key moment in church history? (spoiler: there weren't any beauty queens)In-depth research, historical analysis and cutting-edge guesswork combine to scintillating effect in this fast-moving examination of the strange and wonderful whirlwind that was church life in late medieval Europe.'You were predestined to read this.' John Calvin
Agent Diamond and Operation Gold
By Steve Vogel
'A potent combination of autobiography and political history which holds up a mirror to contemporary Britain' Independent'A history lesson of the kind you should get in school, but don't' Stylist'Powerful ... The kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching' Afua Hirsch, Guardian 'Part biography, part polemic, this powerful, wide-ranging study picks apart the British myth of meritocracy' David Olusoga, Guardian'Inspiring' Madani Younis, ObserverA searing modern polemic and Sunday Times bestseller from the BAFTA- and MOBO-award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala.From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers - race and class have shaped Akala's life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives will speak directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain's racialised empire.'A book bristling with intelligence and insight' Irish Times
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 ForemanOn 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.
Death in Ten Minutes
By Fern Riddell
'Fierce, fresh and feminist, Fern Riddell tells the story of Suffragette Kitty Marion in a way that fizzes and shocks. Exciting, twisty and very very timely.' Lucy Worsley'History with no dust.' Matt HaigIn Death in Ten Minutes Fern Riddell uncovers the story of radical suffragette Kitty Marion, told through never before seen personal diaries in Kitty's own hand. Kitty Marion was sent across the country by the Pankhurst family to carry out a nationwide campaign of bombings and arson attacks, as women fought for the vote using any means necessary. But in the aftermath of World War One, the dangerous and revolutionary actions of Kitty and other militant suffragettes were quickly hushed up and disowned by the previously proud movement, and the women who carried out these attacks were erased from our history. Now, for the first time, their untold story will be brought back to life.Telling a new history of the women's movement in the light of new and often shocking revelations, this book will ask the question: Why has the life of this incredible woman, and the violence of the suffragettes been forgotten? And, one hundred years later, why are women suddenly finding themselves under threat again?
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 shocking, 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.