Modern Japan: All That Matters
By Jonathan Clements
Jonathan Clements charts the rise of Japan since the end of World War Two. Presenting the country as the Japanese themselves see it, he explains key issues in national reconstruction, the often-overlooked US Occupation, the influence of the Cold War, student unrest, political scandals, and the meteoric rise and sudden fall of the Japanese economy in the late 20th century.He chronicles changes in women's rights and consumer habits, developments in politics, education and health today, and the shadow of nuclear issues from Hiroshima to Fukushima. He also raises topics rarely covered by the foreign media - Japan's ethnic minorities and burakumin underclass, the influence of organised crime and the hard sell behind "soft" power.A final chapter examines the price Japan has paid for its meteoric rise, the problems of a greying population and a declining countryside, and the long-term implications of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.All That Matters about modern Japan. All That Matters books are a fast way to get right to the heart of key issues.
Portrait of Orkney
By George Mackay Brown
Portrait of Orkney is a personal account of a people, their history and their way of life, and of a landscape that has shaped them, and been shaped by them.
Travels with a Tangerine
By Tim Mackintosh-Smith
Ibn Battutah set out in 1325 from his native Tangier on the pilgrimage to Mecca. By the time he returned twenty-nine years later, he had visited most of the known world, travelling three times the distance Marco Polo covered. Spiritual backpacker, social climber, temporary hermit and failed ambassador, he braved brigands, blisters and his own prejudices. The outcome was a monumental travel classic.Captivated by this indefatigable man, award-winning travel writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith set out on his own eventful journey, retracing the Moroccan's eccentric trip from Tangier to Constantinople. Tim proves himself a perfect companion to this distant traveller, and the result is an amazing blend of personalities, history and contemporary observation.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
By John Berendt
Published for the first time in flipback - the new, portable, stylish format that's taken Europe by storm.Genteel society ladies who compare notes on their husbands' suicides. A hilariously foul-mouthed black drag queen. A voodoo priestess who works her roots in the graveyard at midnight. A morose inventor who owns a bottle of poison powerful enough to kill everyone in town. A prominent antiques dealer who hangs a Nazi flag from his window to disrupt the shooting of a movie. And a redneck gigolo whose conquests describe him as a 'walking streak of sex'.These are some of the real residents of Savannah, Georgia, a city whose eccentric mores are unerringly observed - and whose dirty linen is gleefully aired - in this utterly irresistible book. At once a true-crime murder story and a hugely entertaining and deliciously perverse travelogue, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is as bracing and intoxicating as half-a-dozen mint juleps.
Wish You Were Here: England on Sea
By Travis Elborough
In this gloriously original social history, Travis Elborough argues that our national character - our snobbishness and willingness to laugh at ourselves, our attitudes to sex and fair play and our chequered relationship with national pride - has been forged against a backdrop of stormy skies and pebbly beaches. Covering everything from Agatha Christie to the Prince Regent via Billy Butlin and Brighton Rock, this is a book for anyone who has ever wrestled with a deckchair, braved a sopping esplanade or felt the crunch of sand in a sandwich.
By Cherry Denman
Cherry Denman has spent her life trailing husband Charlie round some of the world's most remote outposts and can ask for the lavatory in eleven languages. While some aspects of living abroad will always puzzle her - saunas, tofu and circumcision, to name just three - she wouldn't have missed it for anything. Lessons learnt range from the practical (possessions belong either in the suitcase or the skip: storage is for wimps), to the truly useful (how to avoid the drinks party bore) and the truly bizarre (the episode with the goat . . .). Charming and witty, these hilarious tales of global misunderstsanding are illustrated with over seventy original line drawings.
By Simon King
Long before he set foot on the islands, Big Cat Diary and Springwatch presenter, Simon King, fell in love with Shetland. This extraordinary northern wilderness is home to otters and a vast seabird colony, but it was a chance encounter with a killer whale that compelled him to spend a year getting to know the place of his boyhood dreams for a BBC series. With his wife and young daughter, Simon experienced Shetland through the changing seasons and discovered the wildlife and the warmth of community in these islands battered by the North Sea. Their journey is filled with adventure, beauty, humour and occasional hardship as Simon discovers the true voice of Shetland.
The Wildest Dream
By Mark Mackenzie
Everest was, to George Mallory, 'the wildest dream'. This gentleman adventurer was obsessed with taming the unconquered peak. But in 1924 he and climbing partner Sandy Irvine disappeared forever into the clouds encircling the peak. Might they have reached the summit before their tragedy? It is mountaineering's greatest mystery. Seventy-five years later, Conrad Anker made an extraordinary discovery. He spotted 'a patch of white' on Everest's North Face. It was Mallory's frozen body. Artefacts found on Mallory's body implied that he might have made it to the top. But that route had never since been climbed without modern equipment. Was it possible? To find out Anker returned to Everest, with death-defying young 'rock star' of climbing Leo Houlding as his partner. Kitted out in period clothing, they set off to replicate the unaided climb. Mallory's fate was a chilling reminder of the mountain's might. But they knew that to solve Everest's greatest mystery they must push their very limits.
By Gilles Asselin, Ruth Mastron
The French are famously enigmatic: fiercely independent yet deeply romantic, conservative yet avant-garde, rational yet emotional. What is it, exactly, that makes the French so... French? Written for anyone interacting with the French-tourists, businesspeople, international students, Francophiles-Au Contraire! offers a perceptive understanding of French cultural beliefs, assumptions and attitudes, along with practical advice on building strong personal and professional relationships with the French. Addressing issues like friendship, politics, work, education and romance, bilingual and bi cultural authors Asselin and Mastron draw upon their own experiences as consultants and trainers, as well as those of students and professionals, giving readers a complete - and compelling - look at French culture. This revised edition of Au Contraire! includes updated information about France's changing social and political climate, advice for succeeding as an expat, information about the French educational system, overviews of France's diverse regions - and more.
By Ray Mears
Northern Wilderness is a stunning celebration of one of earth's great wildernesses. Ray Mears journeys on foot, by canoe and by snowshoe through mountains, forests, tundra and ice in a land where roads are still scarce. He explores the vast Boreal Forest and its rich animal life, and travels across the Hudson Bay by canoe, telling the story of the fur trappers who traded with the hat manufacturers of England. Ray follows the paths of the great early northern explorers, Samuel Hearne and David Thompson, who survived through their knowledge of what we now call bushcraft, as they trekked across the tundra and the Rocky Mountains. He explores the frozen north and learns the ways of the Inuit, who teach him how to combat snow blindness and build shelter. This book is rich in bushcraft, as Ray explains the unique survival techniques of the Native Canadians and the Inuit, as well as how the prospectors in the gold rush used bushcraft skills to survive in this inhospitable but awesome landscape.
By Griff Rhys Jones
In punts canoes and rowing boats, Griff Rhys Jones takes us on a tour of Britain's beautiful and extraordinary rivers. He battles through the gorges and waterfalls of Scotland's wild mountains, drifts across the plains of East Anglia and plunges into the Wye, exploring the legends and stories of our rivers on the way. How did man harness the power of water in feats of engineering like the Manchester Ship Canal, or the fountains at Chatsworth pr the weirs of Hertfordshire? What's it like to fall through a canyon in the Highlands, snorkel through a bog, slalom down a rapid or ride the Severn Bore? How were rivers an inspiration for Constable and the hermits of Bridgnorth? Griff investigates the love affair between cities and rivers from Liverpool's Mersey to London's Lea. From reminiscing about childhood holidays on the Suffolk Stour to taking the plunge on a wintry morning in the Tay as it rushes through Perth, Griff shares his person journeys along the river systems of Britain - always accompanied by Cadbury the faithful water dog.
A DIAMOND IN THE DESERT: Behind the Scenes in the World's Richest City
By Jo Tatchell
Barely forty years ago, Abu Dhabi was a fishing village on the Arabian Gulf. Now the capital of the United Arab Emirates, its citizens are each worth $17 million, it holds major stakes in Western economies, and has money to burn.In this timely, revealing and evocative portrait of a global player, Jo Tatchell traces the emirate's dramatic development and the sometimes ruinous effect of extreme wealth on its people and their desert culture. And as its rulers fund another giant leap forward, she probes behind the official facade to examine whether this secretive and controlled society can realise its breathtaking plans to transform relations between East and West.
By John Betjeman, Stephen Games, John Betjeman
For more than half a century, Betjeman's writings have awakened readers to the intimacy of English places - from the smell of gaslight in suburban churches, to the hissing of backwash on a shingle beach. Betjeman is England's greatest topologist: whether he's talking about a townhall or a teashop, he gets to the nub of what makes unexpected places unique. This new collection of his writings, arranged geographically, offers an essential gazetteer to the physical landmarks of Betjeman Country.A new addition to the popular series of Betjeman anthologies, following on from Trains and Buttered Toast and Tennis Whites and Teacakes, this is a treasure trove for any Betjeman fan and for anyone with a love for the rare, curious and unique details of English life.