By Caitlin Davies
'Davies's absorbing study serves up just enough sensationalism - and eccentricity - along with its serious inquiry' SUNDAY TIMES'[A] revealing account of the jail's 164-year history' DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5* review'Insightful and thought-provoking and makes for a ripping good read' JEREMY CORBYN'A much-needed and balanced history' OBSERVER'Davies explores how society has dealt with disobedient women - from suffragettes to refugees to women seeking abortions - for decades, and how they've failed to silence those who won't go down without a fight' STYLISTSociety has never known what to do with its rebellious women. Those who defied expectations about feminine behaviour have long been considered dangerous and unnatural, and ever since the Victorian era they have been removed from public view, locked up and often forgotten about. Many of these women ended up at HM Prison Holloway, the self-proclaimed 'terror to evil-doers' which, until its closure in 2016, was western Europe's largest women's prison. First built in 1852 as a House of Correction, Holloway's women have come from all corners of the UK - whether a patriot from Scotland, a suffragette from Huddersfield, or a spy from the Isle of Wight - and from all walks of life - socialites and prostitutes, sporting stars and nightclub queens, refugees and freedom fighters. They were imprisoned for treason and murder, for begging, performing abortions and stealing clothing coupons, for masquerading as men, running brothels and attempting suicide. In Bad Girls, Caitlin Davies tells their stories and shows how women have been treated in our justice system over more than a century, what crimes - real or imagined - they committed, who found them guilty and why. It is a story of victimization and resistance; of oppression and bravery. From the women who escaped the hangman's noose - and those who didn't - to those who escaped Holloway altogether, Bad Girls is a fascinating look at how disobedient and defiant women changed not only the prison service, but the course of history.
Britain by the Book
By Oliver Tearle
What caused Dickens to leap out of bed one night and walk 30 miles from London to Kent?How did a small town on the Welsh borders become the second-hand bookshop capital of the world?Why did a jellyfish persuade Evelyn Waugh to abandon his suicide attempt in North Wales? A multitude of curious questions are answered in Britain by the Book, a fascinating travelogue with a literary theme, taking in unusual writers' haunts and the surprising places that inspired some of our favourite fictional locations. We'll learn why Thomas Hardy was buried twice, how a librarian in Manchester invented the thesaurus as a means of coping with depression, and why Agatha Christie was investigated by MI5 during the Second World War. The map of Britain that emerges is one dotted with interesting literary stories and bookish curiosities.
The Bletchley Girls
By Tessa Dunlop
'Lively...in giving us the daily details of their lives in the women's own voices Dunlop does them and us a fine service' New Statesman'Dunlop is engaging in her personal approach. Her obvious feminine empathy with the venerable ladies she spoke to gives her book an immediacy and intimacy.' Daily Mail'An in-depth picture of life in Britain's wartime intelligence centre...The result is fascinating, and is made all the more touching by the developing friendships between Dunlop and her interviewees.' Financial TimesThe Bletchley Girls weaves together the lives of fifteen women who were all selected to work in Britain's most secret organisation - Bletchley Park. It is their story, told in their voices; Tessa met and talked to 15 veterans, often visiting them several times. Firm friendships were made as their epic journey unfolded on paper.The scale of female involvement in Britain during the Second World War wasn't matched in any other country. From 8 million working women just over 7000 were hand-picked to work at Bletchley Park and its outstations. There had always been girls at the Park but soon they outnumbered the men three to one.A refugee from Belgium, a Scottish debutante, a Jewish 14-year-old, and a factory worker from Northamptonshire - the Bletchley Girls confound stereotypes. But they all have one common bond, the war and their highly confidential part in it. In the middle of the night, hunched over meaningless pieces of paper, tending mind-blowing machines, sitting listening for hours on end, theirs was invariably confusing, monotonous and meticulous work, about which they could not breathe a word.By meeting and talking to these fascinating female secret-keepers who are still alive today, Tessa Dunlop captures their extraordinary journeys into an adult world of war, secrecy, love and loss. Through the voices of the women themselves, this is a portrait of life at Bletchley Park beyond the celebrated code-breakers, it's the story of the girls behind Britain's ability to consistently out-smart the enemy, and an insight into the women they have become.
By Michael Jones
In 1485 the Battle of Bosworth marked an epoch in the lives of two great houses: the house of York fell to the ground when Richard III died on the field of battle; and the house of Tudor rose from the massacre to reign for the next hundred years. Michael Jones, co-author of The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III, rewrites this landmark event in English history. He shifts our perspective of its heroes and villains and puts Richard firmly back into the context of his family and his times.
By Justin Pollard
The history of science is often seen as a story of advancement but nothing could be further from the truth. Science, it is true, has progressed, but rarely in the direction intended and seldom for the reasons given. This has a lot to do with the people responsible.Meet Thales, credited as 'the father of science', whose only real claim to fame is that he often fell into ditches, discover how Archimedes never said Eureka and hated baths anyway and how the most lucrative ancient Greek invention was not democracy but the slot machine.Justin Pollard also fills us in on Issac Newton who liked to disguise himself and lurk in London's less salubrious pubs, how eleven people claimed to have invented the steam engine and why the first website was twelve foot across and made of wood.
By Guy Walters
The 1936 Berlin Olympics brought together athletes, politicians, socialites, journalists, soldiers and artists from all over the world. But behind the scenes, they were a dress rehearsal for the horrors of the forthcoming conflict. Hitler had secretly decided the Games would showcase Nazi prowess and the unwitting athletes became helpless pawns in his sinister political game. Berlin Games explores the machinations of a wide cast of characters, including sexually incontinent Nazis, corrupt Olympic officials, transvestite athletes and the mythic figure of Jesse Owens. By illuminating the dark, controversial recesses of the world's greatest sporting spectacle, Guy Walters throws shocking new light on the whole of Europe's troubled pre-war period.
A Bridge Too Far
By Cornelius Ryan
The true story of the greatest battle of World War II and the basis of the 1977 film of the same name, directed by Richard Attenborough.The Battle of Arnhem, one of the most dramatic battles of World War II, was as daring as it was ill-fated. It cost the Allies nearly twice as many casualties as D-Day. This is the whole compelling story, told through the vast cast of characters involved. From Dutch civilians to British and American strategists, its scope and ambition is unparalleled, superbly recreating the terror and suspense, the heroism and tragedy of this epic operation.'I know of no other work of literature of World War II as moving, as awesome and as accurate in its portrayal of human courage.' - General James A Gavin
By James Taylor, Martin Davidson, James Taylor & Martin Davidson
Long after the Battle of Britain, the aircrews of RAF Bomber Command risked their lives night after night during the Second World War. Over 55,000 of the airmen never returned from these missions; a further 10,000 became prisoners of war. And yet Bomber Command has been mired in controversy and its veterans - all volunteers - have never been awarded a campaign medal. Their crucial contribution to the outcome of the war has all too often been overlooked. BOMBER CREW exposes the bravery of these men using gripping first-person testimony from the surviving pilots and crew. For them this was a time of incredible hardship and adrenaline, courage and friendship, and their stories bear witness to the strength of the human spirit in times of incredible danger. Never before has their story been so vividly told. This is also a revealing look at the history of Bomber Command itself, from the early days through to eventual victory in 1945. From the terrifying action of the bombing raids to the intimate personal accounts of heroism, tragedy and triumph, this is the ultimate account of these brave men and their contribution to the Allied victory.
The Buddha and the Sahibs
By Charles Allen
Today there are many Buddhists in the West, but for 2000 years the Buddha's teachings were unknown outside Asia. It was not until the late 18th century, when Sir William Oriental Jones, a British judge in India, broke through the Brahmin's prohibition on learning their sacred language. Sanskrit, that clues about the origins of a religion quite distinct from Hinduism began to be deciphered from inscriptions on pillars and rocks.This study tells the story of the search that followed, as evidence mounted that countries as diverse as Ceylon, Japan and Tibet shared a religion which had its origins in India yet was unknown there. British rule brought to India, Burma and Ceylon a whole band of enthusiastic Orientalist amateurs - soldiers, administrators and adventurers - intent on investigating the subcontinent's lost past. Unwittingly, these men helped lay the foundations for the revival of Buddhism in Asia during the 19th century and its spread to the West in the 20th. Charles Allen's book is a mixture of detective work and story-telling, as this acknowledged master of British Indian history pieces together early Buddhist history to bring a handful of extraoridinary characters to life.
Big Chief Elizabeth
By Giles Milton
In April 1586, Queen Elizabeth I acquired a new and exotic title. A tribe of North American Indians had made her their weroanza - 'big chief'.The news was received with great joy, both by the Queen and her favourite, Sir Walter Ralegh. His first American expedition had brought back a captive, Manteo, whose tattooed face had enthralled Elizabethan London. Now Manteo was returned to his homeland as Lord and Governor. Ralegh's gamble would result in the first English settlement in the New World, but it would also lead to a riddle whose solution lay hidden in the forests of Virginia.A tale of heroism and mystery, BIG CHIEF ELIZABETH is illuminated by first-hand accounts to reveal a remarkable and long-forgotten story.