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.
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.
Words of Mercury
By Patrick Leigh Fermor
Patrick Leigh Fermor was only 18 when he set off to walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople, described many years later in A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. It was during these early wanderings that he started to pick up languages, and where he developed his extraordinary sense of the continuity of history: a quality that deepens the colours of every place he writes about, from the peaks of the Pyrenees to the cell of a Trappist monastery. His experiences in wartime Crete sealed the deep affection he had already developed for Greece, a country whose character and customs he celebrates in two books, Mani and Roumeli, and where he has lived for over forty years. Whether he is drawing portraits in Vienna or sketching Byron's slippers in Missolonghi, the Leigh Fermor touch is unmistakable. Its infectious enthusiasm is driven by an insatiable curiosity and an omnivorous mind - all inspired by a passion for words and language that makes him one of the greatest prose writers of his generation.
The Women Who Lived For Danger
By Marcus Binney
In World War II, 37 women were dropped in occupied France to work as Special Operations Executive agents and 'set Europe ablaze'. 13 never returned. They were executed in Hitler's concentration camps.This is the fascinating story of eight of those female agents, all striking beauties (despite the need to be inconspicuous), all from civilian life, who were warned of the likelihood of arrest, torture and a brutal death before they volunteered. None demurred. These young women were given months of arduous fitness, gun, explosives, endurance and code training before parachuting into occupied territory.But Women Who Lived for Danger also contains eight very personal tales. Why did these women volunteer? Where did they come from? Marcus Binney tells of a life of Resistance work and uncover operations, clandestine activities and even armed combat, and a constant fear of discovery. But above this book tells of extreme bravery and devotion to duty.