Related to: 'Caitlin Davies'

Sceptre

The Consolations of Physics

Tim Radford
Authors:
Tim Radford

The Consolations of Physics is an eloquent manifesto for physics. In an age where uncertainty and division is rife, Tim Radford, science editor of the Guardian for twenty-five years, turns to the wonders of the universe for consolation. From the launch of the Voyager spacecraft and how it furthered our understanding of planets, stars and galaxies to the planet composed entirely of diamond and graphite and the sound of a blacksmith's anvil; from the hole NASA drilled in the heavens to the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the endeavours to prove the Big Bang, The Consolations of Physics will guide you from a tiny particle to the marvels of outer space.(P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Sceptre

A Shout in the Ruins

Kevin Powers
Authors:
Kevin Powers

* One of the Amazon Editors' Best Books of 2018 *'Achingly relevant' - Grazia'Gorgeous and devastating' New York Times'An American Civil War epic [which] confirms Powers as a significant talent' - Andrew Motion, Observer'Contains moments that burn' Daily MailA stunning novel about violence, power and love by Kevin Powers, the acclaimed author of The Yellow Birds and winner of both the 2012 Guardian First Book Award and the Hemingway/PEN Award. A nighttime whipping in a lamplit barn.A ruined leg tossed onto a pile of discarded limbs. A hand snuffing out a desperate cry behind a bedroom's locked door.In A Shout in the Ruins, Kevin Powers returns to the battlefield and its aftermath, this time in his native Virginia, just before and during the Civil War and ninety years later. The novel pinpoints with unerring emotional depth the nature of random violence, the necessity of love and compassion, and the fragility and preciousness of life. It will endure as a stunning novel about what we leave behind, what a life is worth, what is said and unsaid, and the fact that ultimately what will survive of us is love.Written with the same emotional intensity, harrowing realism, and poetic precision that made The Yellow Birds one of the most celebrated novels of the past decade, A Shout in the Ruins cements Powers' place as one of the most important novelists of our time.'Beautifully formed sentences express unsettling truths about humanity, yet tendrils of hope emerge, showing how love and kindness can take root in seemingly barren earth.' - Sarah Johnson, Booklist

Sceptre

Factfulness

Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund
Authors:
Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund
John Murray

Bad Girls

Caitlin Davies
Authors:
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.

Sceptre

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

A trail-blazing and inspiring collection of essays on art, feminism, neuroscience and psychology featuring The Delusions of Certainty, winner of the European Essay Prize 2019.As well as being a prize-winning, bestselling novelist, Siri Hustvedt is widely regarded as a leading thinker in the fields of neurology, feminism, art criticism and philosophy. She believes passionately that art and science are too often kept separate and that conversations across disciplines are vital to increasing our knowledge of the human mind and body, how they connect and how we think, feel and see. The essays in this volume - all written between 2011 and 2015 - are in three parts. A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women brings together penetrating pieces on particular artists and writers such as Picasso, Kiefer and Susan Sontag as well as essays investigating the biases that affect how we judge art, literature, and the world in general. The Delusions of Certainty is an essay about the mind/body problem, showing how this age-old philosophical puzzle has shaped contemporary debates on many subjects and how every discipline is coloured by what lies beyond argument-desire, belief, and the imagination. The essays in the final section, What Are We? Lectures on the Human Condition, tackle such elusive neurological disorders as synesthesia and hysteria. Drawing on research in sociology, neurobiology, history, genetics, statistics, psychology and psychiatry, this section also contains a profound consideration of suicide and a towering reconsideration of Kierkegaard. Together they form an extremely stimulating, thoughtful, wide-ranging exploration of some of the fundamental questions about human beings and the human condition, delivered with Siri Hustvedt's customary lucidity, vivacity and infectiously questioning intelligence.

Two Roads

The Arab of the Future 2

Riad Sattouf
Authors:
Riad Sattouf

VOLUME 2 IN THE UNFORGETTABLE STORY OF AN EXTRAORDINARY CHILDHOODA GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR | AN OBSERVER GRAPHIC BOOK OF THE YEARA NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS' TOP BOOKS OF 2016 'EXUBERANTLY HERETICAL''I tore through it... The most enjoyable graphic novel I've read in a while' Zadie Smith'I joyously recommend this book to you' Mark Haddon'Riad Sattouf is one of the great creators of our time' Alain De Botton'Beautifully-written and drawn, witty, sad, fascinating... Brilliant' Simon Sebag MontefioreThe first volume of Riad Sattouf's The Arab of the Future introduced young Riad as his family shuttled back and forth between France and the Middle East. Here is the continuation of his heart-rending, darkly comic story. Now settled in his father's village of Ter Maaleh near Homs, Riad finally begins school, where he dedicates himself to becoming a true Syrian in the country of the dictator Hafez Al-Assad. Told simply yet with devastating effect, Riad's story takes in the sweep of Middle Eastern life of the 1980s, but it is steered by acutely observed small moments: the daily sadism of his schoolteachers, the cruelty and vulnerability of his fellow students, and the obsequiousness of his father in the company of those close to the regime. And as the family strains to fit in, one chilling, barbaric act drives the Sattoufs to take the most dramatic of steps. Immediate and gripping, The Arab of the Future 2 once again reveals the inner workings of a tormented country and a tormented family, delivered through Riad Sattouf 's dazzlingly original graphic style.Translated by Sam Taylor.***THE ARAB OF THE FUTURE - THE INTERNATIONAL SENSATION*** #1 BESTSELLER IN FRANCE | GUARDIAN 'BEST GRAPHIC BOOKS OF 2015' PICK | NYTIMES EDITOR'S CHOICE | SELECTED AS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY LATIMES, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, AMAZON.COM, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, NPR | WINNER OF THE FAUVE D'OR PRIZE FOR BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR AT THE ANGOULÊME INTERNATIONAL COMICS FESTIVAL | WINNER OF THE LATIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR GRAPHIC NOVELS | NOMINATED FOR 'BEST REALITY-BASED WORK' AT THE EISNER AWARDS

Nicholas Brealey Publishing

DON'T RUN, Whatever You Do

Peter Allison
Authors:
Peter Allison

The Okavango Delta, Botswana: a lush wetland in the middle of the Kalahari desert. Aged 19, Peter Allison thought he would visit for a short holiday before going home to get a 'proper job'. But Peter fell in love with southern Africa and its wildlife and before long had risen to become a top safari guide.In Don't Run, Whatever You Do, you'll hear outrageous-but-true tales from the most exciting safaris. You'll find out when an elephant is really going to charge, what different monkey calls mean and what do in a face off with lions. Sometimes the tourists are even wilder than the animals, from the half-naked missing member of the British royal family to the Japanese amateur photographer who ignores all the rules to get the perfect shot.Don't Run, Whatever You Do is a glimpse of what the life of an expert safari guide is really like.

John Murray

Plants: From Roots to Riches

Kathy Willis
Authors:
Kathy Willis

Our peculiarly British obsession with gardens goes back a long way and Plants: From Roots to Riches takes us back to where it all began. Across 25 vivid episodes, Kathy Willis, Kew's charismatic Head of Science, shows us how the last 250 years transformed our relationship with plants. Behind the scenes at the Botanical Gardens all kinds of surprising things have been going on. As the British Empire painted the atlas red, explorers, adventurers and scientists brought the most interesting specimens and information back to London. From the discovery of Botany Bay to the horrors of the potato famine, from orchid hunters to quinine smugglers, from Darwin's experiments to the unexpected knowledge unlocked by the 1987 hurricane, understanding how plants work has changed our history and could safeguard our future. In the style of A History of the World in 100 Objects, each chapter tells a separate story, but, gathered together, a great picture unfolds, of our most remarkable science, botany. Plants: From Roots to Riches is a beautifully designed book, packed with 200 images in both colour and black and white from Kew's amazing archives, some never reproduced before. Kathy Willis and Carolyn Fry, the acclaimed popular-science writer, have also added all kinds of fascinating extra history, heroes and villains, memorable stories and interviews. Their book takes us on an exciting rollercoaster ride through our past and future and shows us how much plants really do matter.

Coronet

Beyoncé: Running the World

Anna Pointer
Authors:
Anna Pointer

As a painfully shy six-year-old singing in her parents' kitchen back in the late eighties, it was impossible to imagine the meteoric rise that Beyoncé Knowles would go on to achieve.Fast forward 25 years and not only has she sold 75 million albums, making her one of the most successful recording artists of all time, but she is also an actress, fashion icon, producer and doting mother.Beyoncé: Running The World is the full story of Houston born-and-bred Beyoncé's extraordinary life, which saw her join her first pop group at the age of nine before fronting the girl band Destiny's Child - the biggest-selling female group of all time. After embarking on a solo career in 2003, Beyoncé's status as a superstar was sealed and to date she has won more than 220 awards internationally and the hearts of millions of fans the world over. As the world's biggest star, Beyoncé continues to scale new heights and her latest album, Beyoncé, broke all records after hitting No.1 in more than 100 countries. Echoing the sentiment of her 2011 hit single, she really is running the music world right now.The most definitive and up-to-date telling of Beyoncé's story ever written, this book provides an intimate close-up on both her professional and personal life, with the inside story on how she and rapper husband Jay-Z became the biggest power couple on earth. With reports that their marriage was crumbling before the world's eyes on their 2014 joint tour, On The Run, it pieces together the split rumours that plagued them at every turn and documents exactly how they coped with such intense public scrutiny.The book also analyses Beyoncé's role as a mother to young daughter Blue Ivy and explores the hidden heartbreaks of her past, including a tragic miscarriage, a lengthy battle with depression and an agonising rift with her manager father Mathew.While celebrating Beyoncé's greatest triumphs Beyoncé: Running The World uncovers the truth behind the headlines, finding out exactly who 'Queen Bey' is and what really goes on behind the scenes...

Two Roads

Remember Me Like This

Bret Anthony Johnston
Authors:
Bret Anthony Johnston

'I love this novel' John Irving'Excellent' Sunday Times'Enthralling' New York TimesBy internationally bestselling author Bret Anthony Johnston, WINNER of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2017.What happens to a family when a lost child returns? In the four years since Justin's abduction his family has become a group of separate units, each nursing their pain and guilt. Now, when they should be at their happiest, how can they forgive each other and become a family again? A gripping literary novel with the pace of a thriller, Remember Me Like This introduces Bret Anthony Johnston as a gifted storyteller.

Two Roads

Love and Treasure

Ayelet Waldman
Authors:
Ayelet Waldman
Hodder & Stoughton

100 Days to Victory: How the Great War Was Fought and Won 1914-1918

Saul David
Authors:
Saul David

Saul David's 100 DAYS TO VICTORY is a totally original, utterly engaging account of the Great War - the first book to tell the story of the 'war to end all wars' through the events of one hundred key days between 1914 and 1918.The history of any war is more than a list of key battles and Saul David shows vividly how the First World War reached beyond the battlefield, touching upon events and lives which shaped the conduct and outcome of the conflict. Ranging from the young Adolf Hitler's reaction to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, through a Zeppelin raid on Scarborough, the tragic dramas of Gallipoli and the battlefields of the Western Front to the individual bravery of the first Indian VC, Saul David brings people and events dramatically to life. 100 DAYS TO VICTORY is a 360 degree portrait of a global conflict that stretched east from the shores of Britain to the marshes of Iraq, and south from the forests of Russia to the bush of German South East Africa. Throughout his gripping narrative we hear the voices of men and women both eminent and ordinary, some who were spectators on the Home Front, others - including Saul David's own family - who were deeply embroiled in epic battles that changed the world forever. 100 DAYS TO VICTORY is the work of a great historian and supreme story teller. Most importantly, it is also an enthralling tribute to a generation whose sacrifice should never be forgotten.

Sceptre

The Yellow Birds

Kevin Powers
Authors:
Kevin Powers

WINNER OF THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD 2012WINNER OF THE HEMINGWAY/PEN AWARD 2012NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALISTAN AMAZON EDITOR'S PICK: BEST BOOKS OF 2012 A NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BOOK OF THE YEARA TIMES BOOK OF THE YEARAN INDEPENDENT BOOK OF THE YEAR A TLS BOOK OF THE YEARAN EVENING STANDARD BOOK OF THE YEARA SUNDAY EXPRESS BOOK OF THE YEARA GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF THE YEARA SCOTSMAN BOOK OF THE YEARA SUNDAY HERALD BOOK OF THE YEARAN IRISH TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR An unforgettable depiction of the psychological impact of war, by a young Iraq veteran and poet, THE YELLOW BIRDS is already being hailed as a modern classic.Everywhere John looks, he sees Murph.He flinches when cars drive past. His fingers clasp around the rifle he hasn't held for months. Wide-eyed strangers praise him as a hero, but he can feel himself disappearing. Back home after a year in Iraq, memories swarm around him: bodies burning in the crisp morning air. Sunlight falling through branches; bullets kicking up dust; ripples on a pond wavering like plucked strings. The promise he made, to a young man's mother, that her son would be brought home safely.With THE YELLOW BIRDS, poet and veteran Kevin Powers has composed an unforgettable account of friendship and loss. It vividly captures the desperation and brutality of war, and its terrible after-effects. But it is also a story of love, of great courage, and of extraordinary human survival. Written with profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on families at home, THE YELLOW BIRDS is one of the most haunting, true and powerful novels of our time.'THE YELLOW BIRDS is the All Quiet on the Western Front of America's Arab Wars.'(Tom Wolfe, author of The Bonfire of the Vanities )'Kevin Powers has conjured a poetic and devastating account of war's effect on the individual.'(Damian Lewis, star of Homeland and Band of Brothers )'Inexplicably beautiful'.(Ann Patchett, Orange Prize-winning author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder)

John Murray

George Mackay Brown

Maggie Fergusson
Authors:
Maggie Fergusson

George Mackay Brown was one of Scotland's greatest twentieth-century writers, but in person a bundle of paradoxes. He had a wide international reputation, but hardly left his native Orkney. A prolific poet, admired by such fellow poets as Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Charles Causley, and hailed by the composer Peter Maxwell Davies as 'the most positive and benign influence ever on my own efforts at creation', he was also an accomplished novelist (shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize for Beside the Ocean of Time) and a master of the short story. When he died in 1996, he left behind an autobiography as deft as it is ultimately uninformative. 'The lives of artists are as boring and also as uniquely fascinating as any or every other life,' he claimed. Never a recluse, he appeared open to his friends, but probably revealed more of himself in his voluminous correspondence with strangers. He never married - indeed he once wrote, 'I have never been in love in my life.' But some of his most poignant letters and poems were written to Stella Cartwright, 'the Muse of Rose Street', the gifted but tragic figure to whom he was once engaged and with whom he kept in touch until the end of her short life.Maggie Fergusson interviewed George Mackay Brown several times and is the only biographer to whom he, a reluctant subject, gave his blessing. Through his letters and through conversations with his wide acquaintance, she discovers that this particular artist's life was not only fascinating but vivid, courageous and surprising.

John Murray

Bringing the House Down

David Profumo
Authors:
David Profumo

David Profumo was just seven when his father, who had been Secretary of State for War, resigned from the Macmillan government. Despite the furore and humiliation that followed, his parents famously stayed together - and now, forty years on, their son has written this long-awaited account of their family life before, during and after the sensational events of 1963. Drawing on diaries, letters and other memorabilia never before made public, Bringing The House Down describes their background and careers before they met. After an apprenticeship in Hollywood during her teenage years, the beautiful Valerie Hobson went on to star in numerous British films before her stage triumph in 'The King and I'; John Profumo had been the youngest MP during the Second World War, became a Brigadier at the age of thirty, and was rapidly rising through the ranks of the Conservative party. This is the story of their complicated courtship and volatile marriage, the destruction of their glamorous lifestyle and their endurance of the aftermath. By turns intimate, caustic and poignant, their only child's personal memoir of their three lives together not only puts flesh on the bones of the old family skeleton but also offers a remarkable portrait of a love affair that somehow survived in a world turned upside down.

My South Africa

Deon Meyer on the new South Africa

If books are windows on the world,1 crime fiction mostly provides a view of the underbelly and back alleys of cities and countries. This is my only genuine regret writing as an author in this genre. Because the real South Africa, the one that I love so passionately, is very different from the narrow and dim view my books probably allow. It is also quite unlike the one you see in those pessimistic fifteen second television news reports in the UK, Europe or Australia. So let me try and set the record straight. My country is breathtakingly beautiful – from the lush, sub-tropical east coast of Kwazulu-Natal, to the serene semi-desert stretching along the Atlantic in the west (which blooms in inde- scribable colour and splendour in Spring). In between, there’s the magnificence of the Lowveld, the Bushveld, the Highveld, the towering Drakensberg mountains, the aching vastness of the Karoo and the dense silence of the Knysna forests . . . Diversity is everywhere. In the climate (mostly perfect sunshine and balmy weather, but we have extremes too, summer highs of more than 50°C in Upington, and winter lows of -15°C in Sutherland – both in the same Northern Cape province), and in the cities (Durban is an intoxicating fusion of Zulu, Indian and British colonial cultures, Cape Town is a heady mix of Malay, Dutch-Afrikaans and Xhosa, Johannesburg is . . . well, modern African-cosmopolitan, utterly unique, and always exciting). The biodiversity of South Africa is truly astonishing. “With a land surface area of 1.2 million square kilometres representing just 1% of the earth’s total land surface, South Africa boasts six biospheres, and contains almost 10% of the world’s total known bird, fish and plant species, and over 6% of the world’s mammal and reptile species.”2 Of course we are also world-famous for our huge collection of wildlife regions and game parks – both public and private – encompassing every possible landscape from deserts to forests, mountains to coast, teeming with wildlife species, including Africa’s Big Five: Leopard, Lion, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhinoceros.3 But most of all, the diversity is in the people who constitute the Rainbow Nation. Our black ethnic groups include the Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Bapedi, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi and Ndebele.The so-called ‘coloured’ (no, it’s not a derogatory term over here) population is mainly concentrated in the Western Cape region, and come from a combination of ethnic backgrounds including Malay, White, Khoi, San, and Griqua. White South Africans are descendants of Dutch, German, French Huguenots, English and other European and Jewish settlers. And our Indian population came to South Africa as indentured labourers to work in the sugar plantations in the British colony of Natal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The population of more than fifty million people is made up of African (40.2 million, or 79.5%),White (4.6 million, or 9.0%), Coloured (4.5 million, or 9.0%), and Indian/Asian (1.3 million, or 2.5%). And, having travelled most of the world, I can confidently say, you won’t find friendlier, more hospitable and accommodating people anywhere, irrespective of their race, culture, language or creed. We have nine provinces (Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu- Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West, Free State, and Western Cape) and eleven official languages: Afrikaans (13%), English (8%), isiNdebele (1.6%), isiXhosa (18%), isiZulu (24%), Sesotho sa Leboa (9%), Sesotho (8%), Setswana (8%), siSwati (3%),Tshivenda (2%), and Xitsonga (4%).4 Throw all of this together in a democracy not quite twenty years old (a tempestuous teenager, if ever there was one), and you get an effervescent, energetic, dynamic, and often a little chaotic, melting pot – of cultures, people, views, politics, opinions, and circumstance. After the tragedy and oppression of Apartheid, we are still very much coming to terms with – and are sometimes a little overwhelmed by – all the facets of the freedom-diamond. Which means that we argue incessantly, shout, point fingers, blame, accuse, denounce, complain, and criticize, mostly loudly and publicly, like all enthusiastic democrats should. But when our beloved Bafana-Bafana (the national football team), Springboks (our twice World Cup-winning rugby team) or Proteas (the cricket guys) walk onto the field, we stand united, shoulder to shoulder. And mostly, in our day-to-day-lives, we get along rather well. We increasingly study and work and live and love and socialise together, in great harmony. Of course, we have our problems. Poverty is the major one. “There is a consensus amongst most economic and political analysts that approximately 40% of South Africans are living in poverty – with the poorest 15% in a desperate struggle to survive.” However, we are making steady progress. The percentage of the South African population with access to clean drinking water has increased from 62% in 1994, to 93% in 2011. Access to electricity has increased from 34% in 1994, to 84% in 2011.5 In 2010, 13.5 million South Africans benefited from access to social grants, 8.5 million of whom were children, 3.5 million pensioners and 1.5 million people with disabilities. In 1994, only 2.5 million people had access to social grants, the majority of whom were pensioners. And since 1994, 435 houses have been built every day for the poor.6 And you might have heard about our other challenge – South Africa has a bit of a reputation when it comes to crime. I am most definitely going out on a limb here, but having studied the statistics, and looked at the (often unfair) comparisons over the past five years, I honestly believe we don’t quite deserve it. “. . . in relation to the overall risk of victimisation, South Africans are not much more likely to become victims of crime than people in other parts of the world,” Anthony Altbeker recently wrote in a carefully considered and exhaustively researched contribution to the marvellous Opinion Pieces by South African Thought Leaders.7 To put the matter into further perspective: In the two years leading up to the FIFA World Cup held in South Africa in 2010, almost every British, French and German journalist who interviewed me, asked the same question, more or less: “How big a slaughter is it going to be for fans attending the games?” Some were downright accusatory: “How dare you host this magnificent event in such a hazardous country?” A British tabloid even predicted a ‘machete race war’ waiting for visitors.8 And how many soccer fans died during the tournament? None.9 Furthermore, the attendees who were affected by crime-related incidents represented a very meagre 0.009% of the fans. That is far, far less than, for instance, the crime rate in Wales. When World Cup tourists were asked if they would consider visiting South Africa again, 96% said ‘yes’. As a matter of fact, if you are a tourist from the Northern Hemisphere visiting my beautiful country, your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime is less than 0.67%.10 (Compare this to the fact that “the 2011 British Behaviour Abroad Report published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) noted that the death rate (including murder and natural causes) of Britons in Thailand was forty-one per 100,000 tourists and for those visiting Germany was twenty-four. Tourists from the UK are far safer visiting South Africa”11 – with just 14.6 per 100,000.12) South Africa’s murder rate dropped by 6.5% in 2010-2011, attempted murder by 12.2%, robbery with aggravating circumstances was down by 12%, and house robberies by 10%.13 Our police services are slowly but surely turning the tide. We struggle with inadequate service delivery, our politicians don’t always live up to our expectations, and our unemployment rate is too high. But our economy is robust, and easily out-performs first-world countries like Greece (no surprise there), Italy, and Spain. South African Tax Revenue has increased from R100 billion in 1994 to R640 billion in 2010. Our debt to GDP ratio is 32% (USA 100%, Japan 200%, UK 90%). (The World Bank recommends a ratio of 60%.) And we are ranked first out of 142 countries in respect of regulation of security exchanges by the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12.14 According to the Open Budget Index, South Africa has the most transparent budget in the world. We are the only African country that is a member of the G20. In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Survey of Democratic Freedom, South Africa ranks 31st out of 184 countries. And according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2010/11, South Africa has the 34th most efficient government out of the 139 countries ranked.15 The number of tourists visiting South Africa has grown from 3.9 million in 1994 to 11.3 million in 2010. South Africa is ranked among the top five countries in the world in respect of tourism growth (growing at three times the global average).16 I could go on. South Africa’s learner-to-teacher ratio improved from 1:50 in 1994 to 1:31 in 2010. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12, South Africa is ranked 13th out of 142 countries for its quality of management schools. 61% of South African primary school children and 30% of high school children receive free meals as part of the school feeding scheme.17 But none of these facts and figures, as inspiring as they are, will reveal the real reason why I am so unwaveringly optimistic about my country’s future. It is one of the major reasons for the peaceful transition miracle of 1994, it is something woven into the texture of everyday South African life, hidden from the fleeting eyes of foreign journalists on a flying visit, mostly talking only to important folks: The goodwill of ordinary people. Every day, in cities, towns, and tiny villages, small acts of kindness happen between human beings. Individuals who extend a helping hand across racial, cultural, political and linguistic divides, who extend friendship and kindness and empathy. I have been witnessing this for more than forty years, and I absolutely believe it is this goodwill that will carry us through, no matter how challenging the future may be. 1 “Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. They are engines of change, windows on the world, lighthouses erected in the sea of time.” - Barbara W. Tuchman, American popular historian and author, 1912-1989. 2 http://www.bcb.uwc.ac.za/envfacts/facts/biosa.htm 3 http://www.sa-venues.com/game_lodges_nationwide_south_afr.htm
 4 http://www.safrica.info/about/facts.htm (percentages rounded off)
 5 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/fast_facts_and_quick_stats/index.html
 6 Ibid. 7 Penguin, 2011. p. 47.
 8 http://www.dailystar.co.uk/posts/view/129402/WORLD-CUP-MACHETE- THREAT/
 9 http://www.truecrimexpo.co.za/
 10 http://www.info.gov.za/issues/crime/crime_aprsept_ppt.pdf
 11 http://www.issafrica.org/iss_today.php?ID=1394
 12 Ibid.
 13 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/crime/crime_statistics_show_drop_in_ murder_rate.html
 14 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/fast_facts_and_quick_stats/index.html 15 Ibid.
 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid.

John Murray Publishers, an imprint of John Murray Press, will publish the book to accompany a major new BBC Radio 4 series Plants: From Roots to Riches.

PLANTS: FROM ROOTS TO RICHES – John Murray to publish book to accompany landmark 25-part BBC Radio 4 series with the Royal Botanic Gardens,Kew

Plant: From Roots to Riches Press Release

Chapter One

THE MAN WHO DISAPPEARED, by Clare Morrall

Read the first chapter of Sceptre author Clare Morrall's THE MAN WHO DISAPPEARED.

An excerpt from the Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing

CLOUD ATLAS, by David Mitchell

Read an excerpt of David Mitchell's international bestseller, CLOUD ATLAS, now also releasing as a film.

Prologue

LIFESAVING FOR BEGINNERS by Ciara Geraghty

Read the prologue of Ciara Geraghty's newest novel, LIFESAVING FOR BEGINNERS.