The Making of a Secret Agent
By Roderick Bailey
How do you set about training a secret agent? What kind of people were recruited and trained to kill and sabotage so they could be dropped into Nazi occupied territory in World War Two? And what happened to them after their active service was over?The Special Operations Executive (SOE) was a clandestine Allied organisation set up by Winston Churchill in the Second World War to carry out sabotage and encourage resistance behind enemy lines in Europe, the Balkans and the Far East. Warfare of this type was unconventional, solitary and dangerous. By the end of the war, the SOE had recruited and trained more than 9,000 operatives - men and women of multiple nationalities - who were expected to endure, for prolonged periods, conditions of extreme physical and psychological difficulty and threat, where the consequences of failure could be catastrophic.Drawing on pioneering research, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, among previously untapped sources, ranging from declassified SOE files to psychiatric records and interviews with survivors, The Making of a Secret Agent reveals how the SOE addressed the impact of the psychological stresses to which its operatives were exposed. It unearths the processes by which candidates were selected for clandestine operations, including the contributions of professional psychologists and psychiatrists and the application of pioneering methods of testing and assessment.Through vivid personal testimony of the agents and those who worked with them, this book illuminates the degree to which those processes were effective in identifying people capable of coping and working well in the field. And it reveals for the first time the support forthcoming for SOE operatives who returned from their harrowing missions in enemy territory.
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
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.
Magicians of the Gods
By Graham Hancock
Graham Hancock's multi-million bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods remains an astonishing, deeply controversial, wide-ranging investigation of the mysteries of our past and the evidence for Earth's lost civilization. Twenty years on, Hancock returned with the sequel to his seminal work filled with completely new, scientific and archaeological evidence, which has only recently come to light. On the heels of the very successful hardcover edition, Hancock returns with this paperback version including two chapters brimming with recent reporting of fresh scientific advances (ranging from DNA to astrophysics) that substantially support the case.Near the end of the last Ice Age 12,800 years ago, a giant comet that had entered the solar system from deep space thousands of years earlier, broke into multiple fragments. Some of these struck the Earth causing a global cataclysm on a scale unseen since the extinction of the dinosaurs. At least eight of the fragments hit the North American ice cap, while further fragments hit the northern European ice cap. The impacts, from comet fragments a mile wide approaching at more than 60,000 miles an hour, generated huge amounts of heat which instantly liquidized millions of square kilometers of ice, destabilizing the Earth's crust and causing the global Deluge that is remembered in myths all around the world.A second series of impacts, equally devastating, causing further cataclysmic flooding, occurred 11,600 years ago, the exact date that Plato gives for the destruction and submergence of Atlantis. The evidence revealed in this book shows beyond reasonable doubt that an advanced civilization that flourished during the Ice Age was destroyed in the global cataclysms between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago.But there were survivors - known to later cultures by names such as 'the Sages', 'the Magicians', 'the Shining Ones', and 'the Mystery Teachers of Heaven'. They travelled the world in their great ships doing all in their power to keep the spark of civilization burning. They settled at key locations - Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, Baalbek in the Lebanon, Giza in Egypt, ancient Sumer, Mexico, Peru and across the Pacific where a huge pyramid has recently been discovered in Indonesia. Everywhere they went these 'Magicians of the Gods' brought with them the memory of a time when mankind had fallen out of harmony with the universe and paid a heavy price.A memory and a warning to the future... For the comet that wrought such destruction between 12,800 and 11,600 years may not be done with us yet. Astronomers believe that a 20-mile wide 'dark' fragment of the original giant comet remains hidden within its debris stream and threatens the Earth. An astronomical message encoded at Gobekli Tepe, and in the Sphinx and the pyramids of Egypt,warns that the 'Great Return' will occur in our time...
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.
By David Starkey
'A soaring account of the months that transformed a messy feudal squabble into Magna Carta...his crisp storytelling, based around short chapters and rolling rhetoric, is extremely entertaining.' Dan Jones, Mail on Sunday'I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Good history is descriptive, narrative and analytical. This is good history.' Gerard DeGroot, The TimesAt Runnymede, on the banks of the River Thames, on 15 June 1215, the seal of King John was attached to the Magna Carta, and peace descended upon the land. Or that's what successive generations have believed. But is it true? And have we been persuaded (or persuaded ourselves) that the events of 15 June 1215 not only ended a civil war between the king and the barons but - as if by magic - established a British constitution beloved and copied throughout the world?Informative, entertaining and controversial, Magna Carta: The True Story Behind the Charterchallenges centuries of myth-making to demonstrate how important it is we understand the true significance of that day beside the Thames, eight hundred years ago.
My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me
By Jennifer Teege, Nikola Sellmair, Adjoa Andoh
'A powerful account of Teege's struggle for resolution and redemption.' IndependentAn international bestseller, this is the extraordinary and moving memoir of a woman who learns that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the brutal Nazi commandant depicted in Schindler's List.When Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian woman, happened to pluck a library book from the shelf, she had no idea that her life would be irrevocably altered. Recognising photos of her mother and grandmother in the book, she discovers a horrifying fact: Her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List - a man known and reviled the world over.Although raised in an orphanage and eventually adopted, Teege had some contact with her biological mother and grandmother as a child. Yet neither revealed that Teege's grandfather was the Nazi "butcher of Plaszów," executed for crimes against humanity in 1946. The more Teege reads about Amon Goeth, the more certain she becomes: If her grandfather had met her-a black woman-he would have killed her.Teege's discovery sends her, at age 38, into a severe depression-and on a quest to unearth and fully comprehend her family's haunted history. Her research takes her to Krakow - to the sites of the Jewish ghetto her grandfather 'cleared' in 1943 and the Plaszów concentration camp he then commanded - and back to Israel, where she herself once attended college, learned fluent Hebrew, and formed lasting friendships. Teege struggles to reconnect with her estranged mother Monika, and to accept that her beloved grandmother once lived in luxury as Amon Goeth's mistress at Plaszów.Teege's story is co-written by award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair, who also contributes a second, interwoven narrative that draws on original interviews with Teege's family and friends and adds historical context. Ultimately, Teege's resolute search for the truth leads her, step by step, to the possibility of her own liberation.
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.
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.
Modern China: All That Matters
By Jonathan Clements
In Modern China: All That Matters, Jonathan Clements presents China as the Chinese themselves see it. He explains the key issues of national reconstruction; the Cold War, the Cultural Revolution, and the dizzying spectacle of China's economic reform. Clements offers a Chinese perspective on such events as the Handover of Hong Kong, and chronicles the historical events that continue to resonate today in Chinese politics, economics, culture and quality of life. A final chapter examines China's role in the global marketplace, its indirect effect on foreign economies from Australia to America to Africa, and its growing military might, with an assessment of the damage done to its environment and population. In his most provocative assertion, Clements suggests that China's contemporary problems are not the trials of a developing nation, but a possible vision of our own future. This accessible and readable book will appeal both to students and general readers, giving a fascinating introduction to modern China - and what matters most about it.
Modern China: All That Matters
By Jonathan Clements
In Modern China: All That Matters, Jonathan Clements presents China as the Chinese themselves see it. He explains the key issues of national reconstruction; the Cold War, the Cultural Revolution, and the dizzying spectacle of China's economic reform. Clements offers a Chinese perspective on such events as the Handover of Hong Kong, and chronicles the historical events that continue to resonate today in Chinese politics, economics, culture and quality of life.A final chapter examines China's role in the global marketplace, its indirect effect on foreign economies from Australia to America to Africa, and its growing military might, with an assessment of the damage done to its environment and population. In his most provocative assertion, Clements suggests that China's contemporary problems are not the trials of a developing nation, but a possible vision of our own future. This accessible and readable book will appeal both to students and general readers, giving a fascinating introduction to modern China - and what matters most about it.
Mussolini's Italy: Teach Yourself Ebook
By David Evans
Mussolini's Italy is a compelling introduction to this infamous fascist dictator and his extraordinary rule. Though sometimes regarded as a farcical ruler, Mussolini's 'brutal friendship' with Hitler and his tyrannical killing of over a million people cannot be ignored as crucial aspects of modern European history. David Evans' pacy and nuanced analysis of the rise and fall of this colourful yet dangerous dictator, will keep you gripped from beginning to end.
The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz
By Denis Avey, Rob Broomby
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLERTHE MAN WHO BROKE INTO AUSCHWITZ is the extraordinary true story of a British soldier who marched willingly into Buna-Monowitz, the concentration camp known as Auschwitz III.In the summer of 1944, Denis Avey was being held in a POW labour camp, E715, near Auschwitz III. He had heard of the brutality meted out to the prisoners there and he was determined to witness what he could. He hatched a plan to swap places with a Jewish inmate and smuggled himself into his sector of the camp. He spent the night there on two occasions and experienced at first-hand the cruelty of a place where slave workers, had been sentenced to death through labour. Astonishingly, he survived to witness the aftermath of the Death March where thousands of prisoners were murdered by the Nazis as the Soviet Army advanced. After his own long trek right across central Europe he was repatriated to Britain. For decades he couldn't bring himself to revisit the past, but now Denis Avey feels able to tell the full story - a tale as gripping as it is moving - which offers us a unique insight into the mind of an ordinary man whose moral and physical courage are almost beyond belief.
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.
The Making of Music
By James Naughtie
The making of Music is the story of our musical history, its origins and how it has shaped us. We have all grown up with a common background noise, whether we realise it or not. The tradition of European music that took shape in medieval monasteries, then in churches and courts, and moved into the salons, concert halls and theatres in later centuries, is in our cultural bloodstream. James Naughtie delves into the colourful, turbulent world of music - its characters, traditions and mysterious power - in a delightfully lively and personal way. His story is richly peopled and animated by moments of drama: what it was like at the first night of The Rite of Spring, when the dancers could neither hear their instructions nor could Stravinsky continue conducting because the booing was so loud; how it must have felt for Beethoven to scratch Napoleon's name off the dedication page of the 'Eroica' Symphony because he believed the emperor to have betrayed the French Revolution. As when presenting the Proms, James Naughtie brings to The Making of Music that particular blend of expertise and approachability set to delight the aficionado and the uninitiated alike.
By Christina Johansson Robinowitz
Modern-Day Vikings provides a window into what one world traveler called the most American of European countries: Sweden. Yet, surface similarities between the two nations conceal essential differences. Christina Robinowitz and Lisa Werner Carr provide insights and strategies for successful interactions with Swedes, whether business or social. True to its title, Modern-Day Vikings traces some of Sweden's most ingrained cultural traits back to its Viking heritage: self-sufficiency, fairness, egalitarianism and democracy. The authors also examine Sweden's famous "cradle-to-grave" social model and explore the values underlying modern Swedish culture, such as lagom (moderation), the law of Jante (personal modesty), communication styles and business practices.