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.
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.
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.
By Patrick Leigh Fermor
This is Patrick Leigh Fermor's spellbinding part-travelogue, part inspired evocation of a part of Greece's past. Joining him in the Mani, one of Europe's wildest and most isolated regions, cut off from the rest of Greece by the towering Taygettus mountain range and hemmed in by the Aegean and Ionian seas, we discover a rocky central prong of the Peleponnese at the southernmost point in Europe.Bad communications only heightening the remoteness, this Greece - south of ancient Sparta - is one that maintains perhaps a stronger relationship with the ancient past than with the present. Myth becomes history, and vice versa. Leigh Fermor's hallmark descriptive writing and capture of unexpected detail have made this book, first published in 1958, a classic - together with its Northern Greece counterpart, Roumeli.
By Pete Mccarthy
Pete McCarthy's tale of his hilarious trip around Ireland has gained thousands of fans all over the world. Pete was born in Warrington to an Irish mother and an English father and spent happy summer holidays in Cork. Years later, reflecting on the many places he has visited as a travel broadcaster, Pete admits that he feels more at home in Ireland than anywhere. To find out whether this is due to rose-coloured spectacles or to a deeper tie with the country of his ancestors, Pete sets off on a trip around Ireland and discovers that it has changed in surprising ways. Firstly obeying the rule 'never pass a pub with your name on it', he encounters McCarthy's bars up and down the land, and meets English hippies, German musicians, married priests and many others. A funny, affectionate look at one of the most popular countries in the world.