By Rosemary Sullivan
The Franco-German armistice, signed in June 1940 following the German invasion of France, called on the Vichy government to surrender on demand all refugees considered enemies of the Third Reich. Suddenly, thousands of artists, scientists and other intellectuals feared for their lives. The Emergency Rescue Committee, based in New York, compiled a list of two hundred people it considered the most endangered, including artists and writers André Breton, Max Ernst and Benjamin Péret. The committee sent Varian Fry to set up its headquarters in Marseilles, with the aim of helping these artists to escape. A number of them were sheltered at the Villa Air-Bel. Amidst the chaos and terror of wartime France, the villa became an oasis of calm, and a centre of creativity. Rosemary Sullivan explores the diaries, memoirs and letters of the individuals involved as she uncovers their private worlds and the web of relationships they developed. Central to her task is to understand what it must feel like to move from freedom to occupation: to feel threatened, administered, restrained. Villa Air-Bel brilliantly dramatizes the slow, relentless process by which ordinary lives were turned into lives lived in terror. In the end every artist in the house, as well as two thousand others, found asylum outside of France through the courageous intervention of Fry and his committee.
A Very Unimportant Officer
By Captain Alexander Stewart, Cameron Stewart, Alexander Stewart
Rediscovered after 80 years gathering dust on a family bookshelf and first brought to public attention on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, A VERY UNIMPORTANT OFFICER is a detailed and intimate account of the experience of Captain Stewart, an ordinary officer in the front line in France and Flanders throughout 1916 and 1917.Recruited to The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) in 1915 at the age of 33, Captain Stewart went 'over the top' many times, outliving 'so many better men', as he says with typical humility.Through his vivid testimony we learn of the mud ('more like thick slime'), the flies and the difficulties of suffering dysentry while on horseback. In one memorable passage he describes engaging the enemy while smoking a pipe - an episode for which he was awarded the Military Cross.Yet through the chaos and horror of the trenches, Captain Stewart reflects with compassion on the fears and immense courage of the men under his command.Newly edited by his grandson, Cameron Stewart, A VERY UNIMPORTANT OFFICER gives us a fascinating insight into the horrors and absurdities of trench life.
The Vet: my wild and wonderful friends
By Luke Gamble
Fresh out of university Luke joins a mixed practice in Dorset, run by the stern but benevolent Mr Spotswode and is quickly thrust into the real world of veterinary medicine: truculent farmers, out-of-hours-surgery, nasty biting squirrels, operating on frog's eyeballs and some of the harsher facts of farming life like dealing with an outbreak of foot and mouth and subsequent slaughter. Luke's dream is to set up on his own and find his place in the world. These things, however, are never quite straightforward. Across the course of this memoir, the young vet not only learns much about his trade, but about his own character - and develops a group of close friends - both animal and human - who will stay with his across his career. The most important of these is Cordelia - the woman of his dreams - his quest to win her heart is a marathon!
The Vet: the Big Wild World
By Luke Gamble
Luke Gamble cut his teeth as a mixed practice vet in the West Country. Now it's time to see if he can stand on his own two feet. Wild stallions, drowning cows and constipated snakes aside, Luke's challenges have only just begun. No longer working at the West Country clinic, he's marrying the girl of his dreams while launching his own practice, Pilgrims. On top of that, he's managing his international veterinary charity and two other veterinary businesses. On his extreme travels around the world, Luke dodges hippos and chimps, and swaps the familiar farms of home for the refugee camps of Africa, all on his idealistic quest to make a difference.But Luke is more than just an international vet. He's also a husband, a friend, an entrepreneur and, potentially, an Ironman triathlete. Does he have what it takes to juggle it all?
The Virgin Mary's Got Nits
By Gervase Phinn
A touching and hilarious gift book of poetry and prose on the subject of children and Christmas from the Yorkshire school inspector and bestselling author of the Dales series and Little Village School series.