books 2

USA BY RAIL - JOHN PITT     BRADT ISBN 1 84162 389 4

USA by RailAmerican trains have long had a firm hold on the popular imagination, inspiring countless stories, songs, scandals, films and legends. Attracted by the pace of life and an ever-changing view, more people are discovering the joys of taking to the rails to cross this vast continent in comfort, taking in attractions such as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Yellowstone Park and Disney World along the way. This new, fully updated Eighth edition of the Bradt guide, USA by Rail, reveals in entertaining fashion the unique pleasures of North American train travel with Amtrak and VIA Rail. The book describes 37 long-distance rail journeys in the United States and Canada and features 500 destinations, including sightseeing and recommended accommodation in 38 cities. There are helpful maps and comprehensive route guides to trains such as the Coast Starlight and California Zephyr as well as all the practical information you need to make reservations, buy tickets and find your way about strange train stations. Details of Amtrak high-speed Acela trains are included, as well as useful advice on local transport, making this the ideal travel companion and essential reading when planning your itinerary. ‘The best guidebook for the journey’ - Sunday Telegraph. More information can be found on the USA by Rail website.

PENGUIN

The Thirty Nine StepsPenguin have put together four sets of books with a free limited edition poster for enticing prices. With beautifully designed covers and striking posters, they will make fantastic gifts for anyone who loves books. Set one is BOYS’ ADVENTURES for those who want to indulge in heroic fantasies, including Treasure Island, Around the World in 80 Days, The 39 Steps and The Prisoner of Zenda. TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL includes ten terrifying stories with eerie visitations, revenge from beyond the grave, vampire love and many other macabre manifestations from masters of the genre such as Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker. In the PHILIP MARLOWE MYSTERIES, Raymond Chandler’s quintessential hard-boiled private investigator Philip Marlowe gumshoes his way through seven novels and four short stories, including The Big Sleep, Farewell My Lovely, The Lady in the Lake and The Long Goodbye The COMPLETE CASES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES features the world’s most famous consulting detective and his dogged companion Dr Watson in fifty-six short stories and four novels gathered in eight volumes. Irresistible.

MEDITATIONS ON LIVING, DYING AND LOSS - GRAHAM COLEMAN   PENGUIN

What is death? How can I help those who are dying? How can I prepare for my own death? And how can I come to terms with bereavement? With an introductory commentary by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Meditations on Living, Dying, and Loss is a compilation of writings from the first complete translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which explores these central questions. Each chapter is introduced by the editor of the acclaimed first translation, Graham Coleman. Based on his experience of bereavement and his knowledge of contemporary near death research, he reveals the immense creativity that deepening our insight into the relationship between living and dying can bring. This comforting book explains how, by changing our outlook on the world, we can overcome our fear of change and create our own ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. It explores how our moment by moment feelings and thoughts actually arise and the enormous power of choice we have as to how we react to adverse and painful circumstances. The processes of death, and even perhaps glimpses of the after-death state, have been described by many people who have had a near-death experience. There is an extraordinary parallel between these medical reports and the descriptions in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Scientists would argue that these experiences come about while a person is not absolutely clinically dead and do not point to the existence of an afterlife. Whichever way one views this, the fact is that to understand the psychological significance of these universal experiences is one of the most powerful ways of understanding death and coping with bereavement. As the Dalai Lama would say, the book has tremendous value in our daily life, whether or not we believe in an afterlife. This is an accessible and moving introduction to The Tibetan Book of the Dead, whose visionary perspective on living, dying, and loss is one of the most inspirational and compelling in world literature. Meditations on Living, Dying, and Loss is an essential guidebook for every voyager through life, death and rebirth.

LOVE ME TENDER - CRYER     FRANCES LINCOLN ISBN: 9780711229112

How did Rollo the Red-nosed Reindeer become Rudolph? Who were Danny Boy and Lili Marlene? Did King Henry the Eighth really compose Greensleeves? These and many other questions are answered in this irresistible book by Max Cryer, an avid collector of music manuscripts whose musical horizons include performances in opera, cabaret and theatre. His book reveals an encyclopaedic knowledge as he investigates the often remarkable stories behind 40 of the world’s most popular and traditional songs, from Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender (formerly minstrel tune) and the British national anthem, to Happy Birthday (still in copyright) and the jaunty First World War favourite, It’s a Long Way to Tipperary. Who knew that Marie Antoinette was responsible for turning an obscure lullaby into one of the three most familiar songs in the world? And had Robert Burns not heard an old man sing a quavering version of an ancient Scottish country song, we would never have had Auld Lang Syne. This is an entertaining and engaging book full of surprising facts that will amaze your friends.

BEATING STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION   PIATKUS ISBN: 9780749928506

The term depression refers to both expected and pathologically chronic or severe levels of sadness, perceived helplessness, disinterest, and other related emotions and behaviours. Being ‘depressed’ is often regarded as synonymous with feeling ‘sad’, but both clinical and non-clinical depression can also refer to a conglomeration of factors that can also include anger, fear, anxiety, despair, guilt, apathy and grief. The epidemic of stress, anxiety and depression sweeping the Western world is accompanied by huge social, economic and personal costs. This accessible and groundbreaking book by Jane Plant and Janet Stephenson is designed to help sufferers, their families and health professionals. The authors, who have had personal experience of depression, argue that contemporary medicine’s current approach isn’t working. They aim to dispel the fear and prejudice surrounding mental illness and present a new programme for dealing with stress, anxiety and depression, describing the successes that they and others have achieved. The book shows how you can discover your risk factors and reduce them, how mental health problems can be diagnosed more effectively and how to ensure the best possible treatment. The authors examine ten lifestyle factors that may affect the likelihood of developing problems and reveal the ten food factors that can improve mental well-being. This is an invaluable book full of sound advice that could change many peoples’ lives dramatically for the better by tackling this frighteningly widespread problem.

GROWN UP DIGITAL - DON TAPSCOTT    MCGRAW HILL

Grown Up DigitalPoised to transform every social institution, the Net Generation is reshaping the form and functions of school, work and even democracy. These are the people who arguably won the Presidential election for Barack Obama, a politician who instinctively understands the importance of the first truly global generation. The Net Generation’s biggest strength is the ubiquity of digital technology in their lives, which has created profound improvements in the way they process information, work, create, and interact; their brains have even developed differently as a result of being ‘bathed in bits’ and they are poised to transform society in a fundamental way. The impact of people aged 12-30 is being felt increasingly by employers, instructors, parents, marketers and many others, as well as political leaders. All are now finding it necessary to adapt to the changing social fabric due to this generation’s unique characteristics. Based on a comprehensive £2.5 million study involving more than 11,000 interviews, Canadian academic and author Don Tapscott’s Grown Up Digital examines the Net Generation, providing fascinating insights and information essential for leaders across all social institutions. Subtitled How the Net Generation is Changing Your World, the book explores how this new generation, often dismissed as spoiled, lazy or indifferent, can be an innovative, collaborative and productive force for progress if given the right working environment. This is an invaluable handbook for educators, politicians, business leaders and parents who want to better understand the new generation, and a largely reassuring study of technology’s influence on our culture. ‘Don Tapscott has captured a piece of the zeitgeist’ – Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google.

LOVE BEGINS AT 40 - GILCHRIST & OWEN  HAY HOUSE ISBN 9781401915957

Love may mean any number of emotions and experiences involving a sense of strong affection and usually refers to a deep, ineffable feeling of tenderly caring for another person. This concept of love, however, encompasses a wealth of different feelings, from the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love to the nonsexual emotional closeness of familial and Platonic love. Ideas about it have changed greatly over time, with historians dating modern conceptions of romantic love to courtly Europe during or after the Middle Ages. Love, for all its pleasures, is often complicated and not always easy to find. According to this book, the best relationships often come after 40, when experience has taught us what kind of person suits us best, and we can love more wisely and kindly than we did at an earlier age. But when you are single in your 40s, 50s or 60s, how do you go about meeting a new partner? The information provided here gives you the information and support you need to get out there and search actively for love. Interviews with couples and the authors’ own experience show that it can be done, and their friendly guidance will encourage you on your way. Cherry Gilchrist and Lara Owen’s wise and practical guide makes an inspiring read for all 40-plus singletons in need of a mate.

WHY NOT CATCH 21? - GARY DEXTER     FRANCES LINCOLN

And why does Catch 22 sound so much better? Which classic works of literature might we have known as The Whale, The High-Bouncing Lover or The Last Man In Europe? Gary Dexter has the answers to these and many other questions in this selection taken from his long-running Sunday Telegraph column and further expanded. Each of the 50 chapters focuses on the origins of one of the great titles of world literature, presenting a bite-sized piece of literary history, with fascinating details of the work’s genesis and composition. Why is there no postman in The Postman Always Rings Twice? Why no Oleanna in Oleanna? The emphasis is on titles that are literally inexplicable without some background knowledge. Any lover of literature will delight in this book and if you want to know how F Scott Fitzgerald came up with The Great Gatsby; James M. Cain with The Postman Always Rings Twice, or Edward Albee with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, this is the place to look. A good title is often crucial to the success of a poem, play or novel, and a kind of magic is involved in choosing exactly the right one. Gary Dexter’s highly enjoyable book of curios makes perfect bedtime reading and will enable you to amaze and impress everyone you meet with your erudition. Like much else in his book, the brilliant (apocryphal?) conversation between editor Max Perkins and publisher Charles Scribner about Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises is both funny and perceptive.

GERMAN EXPRESSIONIST CINEMA - IAN ROBERTS   WALLFLOWER PRESS

German Expressionist cinema developed in Germany, mainly in Berlin, during the 1920s. Based on the ideas of the Expressionism movement that started in the early 1900s, the filmmakers of the UFA studio evolved a unique style that used symbolism and mise en scène to add mood and deeper meaning to their creations. The dada movement was highly influential at the time and led to an urge to embrace change and experimentation. The first Expressionist films, such as The Golem (1920), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), Nosferatu (1922) and The Last Laugh (1924), were often deliberately surrealistic. They made up for modest budgets by using set designs that were wildly non-realistic, with walls and floors painted to represent lights, shadows and objects. The stories often dealt with madness, insanity, betrayal and other adventurous topics that were completely unlike the standard action and romantic films of the time. Expressionism soon became integrated into more mainstream films and was brought to America when the Nazis gained power and many German directors and cameramen moved to Hollywood, where they had a profound influence, especially on the horror film and film noir. Directors such as Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock introduced the Expressionist style to crime dramas of the 1940s and its effects can still be seen today. This study by Ian Roberts outlines the movement’s origins in art and literature, showing its technical, stylistic and thematic developments. Covering the famous classics as well as lesser known examples such as Asphalt (1929), this latest addition to Wallflower’s excellent Short Cuts series illuminates an innovative and influential film movement that resulted in some of cinema’s greatest achievements.

LEWIS CARROLL IN NUMBERLAND - ROBIN WILSON   ALLEN LANE

Lewis Carroll in Numberland‘Can you do Division? Divide a loaf by a knife – what’s the answer to that?’ Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who as well as being an immortal writer was also a gifted mathematician, logician, inventor and photographer. Born in Cheshire, he spent most of his life at Christ Church, Oxford. His most famous book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), developed from a story he told one afternoon to the three daughters of the Greek scholar H. G. Liddell, who was Dean of Christ Church. Alice continued her adventures in Through the Looking-Glass (1871) and Carroll wrote other other books for children, including his long poem ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ (1876). He frequently incorporated puzzles, games, ciphers and games into his stories, and enjoyed recreating such fabled creatures as the Gryphon, March Hare and Cheshire Cat. Carroll is mainly remembered for his Alice books, which have inspired and entertained generations of readers, but what mathematics did he do? How good a mathematician was he? And why does a lizard not need a hairbrush? Robin Wilson, a renowned mathematician himself, answers these questions and many more in his witty and lucid book, showing the influence of geometry, algebra and logic on Carroll’s literary work. For the first time, Lewis Carroll in Numberland explores both the author’s serious and recreational work and places it in the context of his many other activities, mathematical and otherwise - ‘Here’s looking at Euclid.’

THE PENGUIN BOOK OF GHOSTS    ALLEN LANE

A ghost is said to be the apparition of a dead person, usually encountered in places he or she frequented. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2005, about 32% of people believe in the existence of ghosts and the belief in them as souls of the departed is closely related to the ancient concept of animism, which attributed souls to everything in nature, including human beings, animals, plants and rocks. Although the human soul was sometimes symbolically or literally depicted in ancient cultures as a bird or other animal, it was widely held that the soul was an exact reproduction of the body in every feature, even down to clothing the person wore. This is depicted in artwork from various ancient cultures, including such works as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which shows deceased people in the afterlife appearing much as they did before death, including the style of dress. Although the evidence for ghosts is largely anecdotal, the belief in them throughout history has remained widespread and persistent. In many historical accounts, ghosts were thought to be deceased people looking for vengeance, or imprisoned on earth for bad things they did during life. Most cultures have ghost stories in their mythologies, with many stories from the Middle Ages and the Romantic era relying on the macabre and the fantastic, with ghosts as a major theme. Famous fictional apparitions include the ghosts of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and Oscar Wilde’s Canterville Ghost. Films featuring ghosts are common, and ghost hunting is a popuar theme in reality television series such as Ghost Hunters. England’s history echoes with stories of unquiet spirits and hauntings, and this book by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson features a wide range of headless highwaymen and grey ladies, of indelible bloodstains and premonitions of death. Arranged in chapters for every county in England and place by place, the authors gather together the most interesting supernatural tales from Cornwall’s phantom coaches to the White Lady of Blenkinsopp castle in Northumberland. These irresistible stories are extraordinary, baffling and often spookily convincing.

THE CINEMA OF NEIL JORDAN - ZUCKER   WALLFLOWER ISBN 9781905674411

The Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan was born in Sligo in 1950 his early career began as a writer. Since winning The Guardian Fiction Prize for his book of short stories, Night In Tunisia, he has gone on to publish three successful novels. In 1982 he wrote and directed his first feature film, Angel, followed by The Company Of Wolves (1984), Mona Lisa (1986, starring Michael Caine, Cathy Tyson and Bob Hoskins), The Crying Game (1992), Interview With the Vampire (1994) and Michael Collins (1996). The recent release of his golden-globe nominated film, The Brave One (2007), makes this comprehensive, illuminating study of Jordan’s work particularly timely. His diverse, often idiosyncratic output has ranged from gothic horror, Irish history and literary adaptation (The End of the Affair) to explorations of sexual identity. The first in-depth study of its kind, the book discusses Jordan’s entire oeuvre with a full, up-to-date analysis of The Brave One and foreword by the internationally renowned actor, Stephen Rea, who has acted in no less than nine Jordan films, receiving an Oscar nomination for his lead in The Crying Game. Author Carole Zucker is Professor of Film Studies at Concordia University, Montreal, and has published several volumes of interviews with American, British and Irish actors. Here she looks beyond ideological and national concerns to view Neil Jordan’s films through the prism of Celtic folklore, fairy tales, the gothic, romanticism and postmodernism. Incorporating discussion of Jordan’s literary work and benefiting from extensive access to his personal archives, this book explains the mythic and poetic impulses that suffuse the director’s work. Subtitled Dark Carnival, this is a welcome exploration of the work of a stylish and highly individual director.

THE OPERA COMPANION – GEORGE MARTIN  AMADEUS ISBN 9781574671681

Opera is a crucial part of the Western classical music tradition, involving singers and musicians as well as incorporating many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery and costumes and sometimes dance. Opera started in Italy at the end of the 16th century and soon spread through the rest of Europe: Schütz in Germany, Lully in France and Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century. However, in the 18th century, Italian opera continued to dominate, with opera seria its the most prestigious form. Today the most renowned figure of late 18th century opera is Mozart, most famous for his Italian comic operas, and the first third of the 19th century saw the highpoint of the bel canto style, with Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini. The mid to late 19th century was another golden age of opera, led by Wagner in Germany and Verdi in Italy. This developed through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through to Puccini and Strauss in the early 20th century. Most recently, there have been experiments with modern styles, including works by Schoenberg, Stravinsky and Philip Glass. The Opera Companion is a most enjoyable and comprehensive guide for anyone interested in this rich tradition. The book is consists of three parts: the Casual Operagoer’s Guide, a glossary of operatic terms and miscellanea, and a section devoted to thorough synopses of the 47 most-performed operas. American author George Martin has written histories, biographies, and guides exploring not only opera, nineteenth-century Italy and Giuseppe Verdi but also New York and U.S. legal history. The Opera Companion is a classic reference book that will calm the nerves of any intimidated opera novice; while its incredible breadth and comprehensiveness will delight opera aficionados. From describing each instrument of the orchestra to explaining each major scene in Wagner’s Parsifal, The Opera Companion stands as a remarkable authority on much-loved art-form.

SHAGGY DOGS AND BLACK SHEEP - ALBERT JACK     PENGUIN

Why are Yeoman Warders at the Tower of London called Beefeaters? Who was the first person to pour oil on troubled waters? The English language is full of odd phrases and sayings that we use without thinking. It's only when we’re asked who Gordon Bennett, Smart Aleck or Billio (as in ‘go like Billio’) were, where feeling in the pink or once in a blue moon come from, or even what letting the cat out of the bag really means that we realize there is a lot more to English than we thought. Albert Jack has a wonderful talent for noticing these oddities and a passion for tracking them down to their origins. His research has taken all over the world, exploring the sources for hundreds of phrases and coming up with many fascinating stories along the way. Sayings have often originated in the navy, army and law, or been down to confidence tricksters and highwaymen, the practices of ancient civilizations, or been found at the Music Hall and in pubs. Shaggy Dogs and Black Sheep is crammed with fascinating facts and educated conjecture, making it the perfect book for anyone wishing to learn how to interrupt a party with enlightening information.

TIME: A USER'S GUIDE - STEFAN KLEIN   PENGUIN ISBN 9780141034638

Time is a basic component of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the duration of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify the motions of objects. It has long been a major subject of religion, philosophy and science, but defining time in a non-controversial manner applicable to all fields of study has consistently eluded the greatest scholars. Ancient Greek philosophers often wrote on the nature of time, comparing it to the passing of sand through an hourglass. The sand at the top is the future, which flows through the present into the past. The past is ever expanding and the future ever decreasing, with future grains becoming the past through the present. St. Augustine asked, ‘What then is time? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh, I know not.’ Isaac Newton believed time and space form a container for events, which is as real as the objects it contains. In Existentialism, time is considered fundamental to the question of being. In Time: A User’s Guide, former Science Editor of Der Spiegel and bestselling author Stefan Klein explores the hidden dimensions of time, looking at everything from when the present becomes the past to the tribe that see the future backwards, from when sex is best, to why the years seem to speed by as we age. He reveals how we can learn to live in harmony with the secret clock within us, altering our perceptions to transform our lives. Why are there morning people and night people? How come time flies when you are having fun and three minutes can sometimes seem an eternity? Would time exist if we did not measure it - and why is there never enough? We race from one thing to the next, believing on some level that a mysterious cosmic force called ‘time’ is ticking on and is always in short supply. But is the time we live really like that? Could there in fact be another, alternative version, entwined with the official one? Stefan Klein brilliant book is a fascinating, accessible and enlightening study of one of life’s greatest mysteries.

BRYSON’S DICTIONARY – BILL BRYSON    DOUBLEDAY ISBN: 0385610440

Best-selling author William McGuire Bryson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, but has been a resident of North Yorkshire most of his adult life before moving south to Norfolk in 2003. Most famous for books such as Notes from a Small Island, A Walk in the Woods and A Short History of Nearly Everything, he has become a national treasure in his adopted home and is now President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. His Penguin Dictionary for Writers and Editors was first published in 1984 and catalogued some of the English language’s most commonly misused words and phrases in order to demonstrate correct usage. He had worked as a junior sub-editor for The Times in the 1970s and saw the need for an easy-to-consult, authoritative guide to avoiding the traps and snares in English, so he characteristically decided to write one. As the author says: ‘English is a dazzlingly idiosyncratic tongue, full of quirks and irregularities that often seem willfully at odds with logic and common sense. This is a language where ‘cleave’ can mean to cut in half or to hold two halves together; where the simple word ‘set’ has 126 different meanings as a verb, 58 as a noun, and 10 as a participial adjective; where if you can run fast you are moving swiftly, but if you are stuck fast you are not moving at all.’ What is the difference between cant and jargon, or assume and presume? What is a fandango? Is it hippy or hippie? These questions really matter to Bill Bryson, as they do to anyone who cares about the English language. Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors has now been completely revised and updated for the twenty-first century by Bill Bryson himself. Here is a very personal selection of spellings and usages, covering such head-scratchers as capitalization, plurals, abbreviations and foreign names and phrases. This is a book where you go to look up the difference between a metaphor and a simile or how to spell Nazism and find yourself diverted by the War of Jenkin’s Ear or the Italian Caribinieri. Bryson gives the difference between British and American usages as well as pieces of essential information you never knew you needed, like the names of all the Oxford colleges, the new name for the Department of Trade and Industry, and the correct spelling of Brobdingnag. Engagingly idiosyncratic and full of good sense, this is an indispensable companion to all those who write, work with the written word, or who just enjoy getting things right.

HUNGRY? - LINDSEY BAREHAM   MICHAEL JOSEPH ISBN: 9780141031422

Cookery books are heaped up in every bookshop and regularly top the best-seller lists but how many are really of practical use? Lindsey Bareham is best known for her daily recipe column in the Evening Standard, which she wrote for eight years. As a freelance food writer and broadcaster she wrote the weekly ‘Cheat’s Dinner Party’ column in the Sunday Telegraph Stella magazine and now writes an after-work recipe column for The Times and contributes to Saga Magazine. She has written eleven cookery books, including In Praise of the Potato and A Celebration of Soup, and collaborated with Simon Hopkinson to produce The Prawn Cocktail Years. Her latest book, Hungry? Easy Food For Students and Beginners, was inspired when her son first went to university and wanted to take some of her recipes with him. Now this is the book of choice for students and beginners everywhere, full of simple, unpatronising, no nonsense recipes – the perfect first cookbook for people of any age but particularly for those who may not have the money or inclination to cook but still want really good food. As well as foolproof recipes for the likes of shepherd’s pie and risotto, there are invaluable tips on how to peel tomatoes, add oomph to baked beans and find inventive things to do with stale bread. ‘Lindsey Bareham is one of those food writers - like Elizabeth David or Jane Grigson before her - whose books have the power to change the way people cook and eat’ - Sunday Times.

BODY SIGNS – EGAN/LIEBMANN-SMITH       MICHAEL JOSEPH

The body constantly gives out signals that, if deciphered, can help to identify health problems at an early stage. Seeing stars, skin tags, spots before your eyes, a metallic taste in the mouth and clicking joints are some of the signs which suggest that all may not be well. As concerns about the state of the nation’s health increase, along with a greater understanding of what action we can take to improve our well-being, Body Signs explains how to tune into what your body is telling you, what it might mean and what can be done. Subtitled ‘How to be Your Own Diagnostic Detective’, this book will help you tune into what your body is telling you and read the signals. Based on the latest scientific research and expert opinions of leading physicians, this is a fascinating and essential reference book for anyone interested in their health. Should you worry about your misshapen ears or excessive yawning? What do creaky knees signify? These questions and many more are answered by authors Joan Liebmann-Smith, a medical sociologist and an award-winning medical writer, and Jacqueline Nardi Egan, who is a medical journalist. As well as being a fun read for the hypochondriac in us all, this book has some startling facts to go with the good advice. Did you know that the composer Chopin had a beard only on the right side of his face? And if you wake up one day with a foreign accent you probably have foreign accent/language syndrome. But if you have hiccups you may prefer to suffer for a while instead of accepting the cure suggested here.

THE CINEMA OF LARS VION TRIER – CAROLINE BAINBRIDGE    WALLFLOWER ISBN 9781905674435

Danish film director Lars von Trier was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1956. Raised by nudist communist parents, Trier has said that his parents did not allow much room for ‘feelings, religion, or enjoyment’ and also refused to make any rules for their children. He found in cinema an outlet to the outside world and began making his own films at the age of 11. During his time as a student at the Danish Film School (where peers nicknamed him ‘von Trier’ as a joke) he made the films Nocturne and Image of Liberation, both of which won Best Film awards at the Munich Film Festival. Lars von Trier has said that ‘a film should be like a rock in the shoe’ and that in order to create original art filmmakers need to distinguish themselves stylistically, often by placing restrictions on the filmmaking process. The most famous restriction is the cinematic ‘vow of chastity’ of the Dogme95 movement with which he is associated, although only one of his films, The Idiots, with its unsimulated sex and non-conformist politics, is an actual Dogme 95 film. The goal of the Dogme collective is to purify filmmaking by refusing expensive and spectacular special effects, postproduction modifications and other gimmicks. The emphasis on purity forces the filmmakers to focus on the actual story and on the actors’ performances. The audience may also be more engaged as they do not have overproduction to alienate them from the narrative, themes, and mood. In Dancer in the Dark, dramatically-different colour palettes and camera techniques were used for the ‘real world’ and musical portions of the film, and in Dogville everything was filmed on a sound stage with no set where the walls of the buildings in the fictional town were marked as a line on the floor. Caroline Bainbridge’s lucidly-written book is the first English-language study to analyse in depth this controversial figure, investigating the remarkable changes he has brought to modern film. Von Trier’s name has become a by-word for taboo-breaking cinema and he has worked with actresses such as Björk and Nicole Kidman, from whom he coaxed fine performances in Dancer in the Dark and Dogville respectively. More recently, von Trier has made a number of announcements suggesting that he may stop making films altogether. The book discusses von Trier’s entire output including recent films like The Five Obstructions and The Boss of It All and his other artistic projects, such as television special events, music videos and art installations. By taking a variety of perspectives - historical, cultural and psychoanalytical - the book explores the work’s recurring themes of betrayal, vengeance, salvation, femininity and goodness. This is an indispensable guide to understanding the work of one of modern cinema’s most intriguing auteurs.

FIVE WISHES – GAY HENDRICKS         MICHAEL JOSEPH

A chance meeting and a powerful question inspired Gay Hendricks’s new book, subtitled How Answering One Simple Question Can Make Your Dreams Come True. In Five Wishes, Hendricks shares the conversation that changed his life and the powerful, yet simple process he discovered for turning dreams into a reality. An encounter at a party changed Gay Hendricks forever when a stranger asked him to imagine himself on his deathbed and to consider this question: ‘Was your life a complete success?’ If not, then ‘What would be the things you’d wish had happened that would have made it a success?’ The stranger said, ‘turn that wish into a goal, and put it in the present tense.’ Hendricks reveals the process he learned and refined for turning his wishes into attainable goals, and provides examples and stories of how others have used and benefited from the process. Forget about breakable New Year’s resolutions, this short, focused book promises to show you how to establish their own attainable five wishes for a lastingly fulfilled life. Gay Hendricks is a seminar leader, web entrepreneur, filmmaker and author of more than 20 books, including the bestseller, Conscious Loving. His new book is an easy read and by following the exercises included you could be inspired to make positive changes to your life. ‘With brilliance and clarity, Gay Hendricks shares this inspirational story from the heart. Five Wishes can help anyone find the power within to change their life.’ - John Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.

HAPPIER – TAL BEN-SHAHAR      MCGRAW-HILL

Earlier this year, Denmark came top in a world map of happiness (the UK ranked 41st out of 178 nations) and for more than thirty years it has ranked first in European satisfaction surveys. So what makes Danes so content? Suggestions range from the unlikely (hair colour, genes, food and language) to the more plausible, such as family life, health, a prosperous economy, winning the 1992 European Football Championship, or simply feeling satisfied because expectations are somewhat lower than those of people in other countries. ‘Happiness depends upon ourselves’, said Aristotle, but can we learn how to be happy? Tal Ben-Shahar teaches one of Harvard University’s most popular courses and is an expert in the new field of ‘positive psychology’. In this book, Ben-Shahar credibly combines scientific studies, scholarly research, self-help advice and spiritual enlightenment, weaving them together into a set of principles that you can apply to your daily life. Here you can discover whether you are a rat racer, a hedonist or a nihilist. Once you open your heart and mind to Happier’s thoughts, Ben-Shahar claims, you will feel more fulfilled, more connected and, consequently, happier. The book is divided into three sections: ‘What is Happiness?’, ‘Happiness Applied’ and ‘Meditations on Happiness’. Each offers the author’s personal reflections and considered insights, with exercises to help us unlearn bad habits and practices that undermine our ability to maximise personal happiness. Dr. Ben-Shahar stresses the need to live for both today and tomorrow, and to incorporate both pleasure and meaning into life. Happier is inspiring, uplifting and readable without being simplistic - one of those rare self-help books that really could change your life.

SO WHEN DOES THE FAT LADY SING? – MICHAEL WALSH     AMADEUS PRESS

‘No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible’ - W. H. Auden. Opera is a form of musical and dramatic work in which singers convey the drama, with performances incorporating many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery and costumes and sometimes dance. Jacopo Peri’s Dafne (1597) is commonly regarded as the first opera, but the first great composer of this art form was Claudio Monteverdi. Opera soon spread from Venice and Rome throughout Italy and the rest of Europe: Schütz in Germany, Lully in France, and Purcell in England all helped to establish their national traditions in the 17th century. In the 18th century, Italian opera seria was the most prestigious form of opera until Gluck reacted against its artificiality with his ‘reform’ operas in the 1760s. The most influential figure of late 18th century opera was Mozart, especially for his Italian comic operas, and the 19th century saw the highpoint of the bel canto style, with Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini, as well as the golden age of opera, led by Wagner in Germany and Verdi in Italy. This continued through the verismo era in Italy and contemporary French opera through to Puccini and Strauss in the early 20th century. At the same time, new operatic traditions emerged in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia and Bohemia. The 20th century saw many experiments with modern styles, such as atonality and serialism (Schoenberg and Berg), Neo-Classicism (Stravinsky), and Minimalism (Philip Glass and John Adams). With the rise of recording technology, singers such as Enrico Caruso became known to audiences beyond the circle of opera fans. It’s a rich and reward ing heritage, if a tad confusing and daunting for the newcomer. If you think opera’s just about starving artists, vengeful goddesses, randy noblemen, and adulterous lovers, think again. In ‘So When Does The Fat Lady Sing?’, Michael Walsh, the former music critic for Time magazine, takes audiences on a wise and witty dash through 400 years of operatic history and culture. More a freewheeling dialogue between author and reader than a traditional quiz book, ‘So When Does The Fat Lady Sing?’ (subtitled ‘Questions and Answers About Life, Sex, Love, and - oh yes – Opera’) poses irreverent and impertinent questions (sample: ‘Which beloved opera features not one but two heroines who are basically cheap, trampy, man-hunting gold diggers?’) designed not so much to test knowledge as to inspire and entertain both expert and novice alike. Highly recommended.

RIDDLES OF THE SPHINX – DAVID J. BODYCOMBE  PENGUIN ISBN: 9780141030371

A puzzle is a problem or enigma that challenges ingenuity. In a basic puzzle you piece together objects in a logical way in order to come up with the desired shape, picture or solution. Puzzles are often contrived as a form of entertainment, but they can also stem from serious mathematical or logistical problems - in such cases, their successful resolution can be a significant contribution to mathematical research. Solutions to puzzles may require recognising patterns and creating a particular order. People with a high inductive reasoning aptitude may be better at solving these puzzles than others. This unique book features ‘the puzzles, word games, brainteasers, conundrums, maps, mysteries, codes and ciphers that have baffled, entertained and confused the world over the last 100 years’. The world’s most popular brainteasers have fascinating stories behind them, from the original ‘riddles of the Sphinx’ via Lewis Carroll’s word ladders to the work of present-day puzzle compilers. Why are they so popular and how did the Times crossword win World War Two? David J. Bodycombe is an author and games show consultant, who has worked on television and radio shows such as The Crystal Maze and X Marks the Spot. Over two million people in the UK read his puzzles every day, and internationally his work is syndicated to over 180 newspapers. As well as thousands of intriguing puzzles - perfect ‘brain food’ - his new book offers sound advice on how to find solutions (also included).

THE BOB DYLAN SCRAPBOOK, 1956-1966  SIMON & SCHUSTER ISBN: 0743228286

The Bob Dylan ScrapbookThe Bob Dylan Scrapbook stands out from the many other books written about Dylan as a highly collectable illustrated biography of his life during the 1950s and 60s. Created in association with Dylan, the scrapbook is crammed with features including rare photographs, fascinating facsimiles of handwritten lyric sheets and rare memorabilia such as ticket stubs, posters, news pages and publicity cut outs. The excellent accompanying text by journalist and museum director Robert Santelli includes interviews with Dylan and his friends and fellow musicians to form a uniquely personal view of the great man. An invaluable audio CD contains sixty minutes of interviews, with some delightful self-mythologising. The Bob Dylan Scrapbook is packaged as an elegant slipcased hardback with over 100 photographs and illustrations.

THE CINEMA OF TERRENCE MALICK – HANNAH PATTERSON   WALLFLOWER ISBN 9781905674251

In a career spanning decades, Malick has directed one short film (Lanton Mills, 1969) and four feature-length films: Badlands (1973), Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998) and The New World (2005). His work is characterised by naturalist cinematography and a meditative directorial and editing style; his films being full of rich, lingering, repetitive images of natural beauty. He often makes extensive use of off-screen narration by his characters, as well as music, to illuminate, heighten and counterpoint the action on screen. Badlands and Days of Heaven are acclaimed masterpieces and Malick was nominated for an Academy Award for both Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director for The Thin Red Line (nominated for seven Academy Awards). Although notoriously withdrawn from public life, friends such as actor Martin Sheen have remarked that he is a very warm and humble man who prefers to work without media intrusion. His contracts stipulate that no current photographs of him are to be taken and he routinely declines requests for interviews. First published in 2003, The Cinema of Terrence Malick was the only book-length study to investigate the director, and this second edition updates the discussion with three new essays on The New World by Mark Cousins, Adrian Martin and James Morrison. In addition to this new material, the book continues its explorations of identity, place and existence in Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line. The collection discusses Malick’s work from a series of vantage points, including the poetics of cinema, the symbolic use of sound and representations of landscape, youth culture and the American West. Tracing his unique and under-explored filmmaking style from the ‘Golden Age’ of cinema to the present, each essay provides innovative ways of reading Malick’s films, thus highlighting the significance of this truly original director. Editor Hannah Patterson is a writer and critic, and co-editor of Contemporary North American Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide. The Cinema of Terrence Malick is an indispensable guide to one of cinema’s most enigmatic and original filmmakers.

THE STUDS TERKEL READER      NEW PRESS

The Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, historian and broadcaster Louis ‘Studs’ Terkel was born in 1912 in New York City. At the age of ten he moved with his family to Chicago, Illinois, where he has spent most of his life. From 1926 to 1936, his parents ran a rooming house that was a collecting point for people of all types, and Terkel credits his knowledge of the world to the tenants who gathered in the lobby of the hotel and the people who congregated in nearby Bughouse Square. After studying at the University of Chicago, he joined the Works Progress Administration's Federal Writers’ Project, working in radio, doing work ranging from voicing soap opera productions and announcing news and sports, to presenting shows of recorded music and writing radio scripts and advertisements. The one-hour Studs Terkel radio programme aired each weekday on WFMT Chicago between 1952 and 1997, featuring interviews with guests such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Bernstein. Terkel is the author of twelve outstanding books of oral history and the Studs Terkel Reader, originally published under the title My American Century, collects the best interviews from eight of these classic histories, together with his magnificent introductions to each work. Featuring selections from American Dreams, Coming of Age, Division Street, ‘The Good War’, The Great Divide, Hard Times, Race, and Working, this ‘greatest hits’ volume is a treasury that will delight his many fans and provide a perfect introduction for those who have not yet experienced the joy of reading this great American. The book includes an introduction by Robert Coles surveying Terkel’s work and a new foreword by Calvin Trillin. ‘The older you are, the freer you are, as long as you last’ - Studs Turkel at 95.

THE BUMPER BOOK OF LOOK AND LEARN    RANDOM HOUSE ISBN 1846052912

Look and Learn was a weekly educational magazine for children published between 1962 and 1982 and featuring educational articles on topics as varied as volcanoes, bumble bees, rocket science, English literature and the Loch Ness Monster. The first issue sold 700,000 copies and contained features on, amongst many other things, Roman history, the Grand Canyon, Vincent van Gogh, and the first episodes of Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. The magazine’s excellent illustrators filled its pages with bright and beautiful pictures of the past, creating a kaleidoscopic journey through time. This lavishly produced book includes the best of the 1,049 issues of the classic magazine, taking a chronological look at human history from the dinosaurs to space travel. There are 256 pages of (actual size) illustration by British comic luminaries and Look and Learn stalwarts such as Ron Embleton, CL Doughty, Angus McBride, Peter Jackson and Patrick Nicolle. Inevitably sometimes quaint and occasionally over-earnest, this fascinating book takes the reader back to more morally certain and less anxious world. Find out the truth about Dick Turpin, Jesse James and the Amazing Pitts. Marvel at the Eddystone lighthouse and the tomb of King Mausolus. Full colour reproductions on thick, glossy pages make this inch-thick volume truly a bumper book (13 inches by 10 inches) that is sure to appeal to those nostalgic adults who turned The Dangerous Book for Boys into such a publishing phenomenon.

ARMED MADHOUSE – GREG PALAST      PENGUIN ISBN 978-0141018270

Award-winning guerrilla journalist Greg Palast has gone where most have been too scared to venture to unearth the ugly truth about the haves and have-mores who rule our world…America. He reports from behind enemy lines to reveal just how bad it has become in a dangerous regime: how elections are bought and free speech comes at a price. How citizens are ruled by fear. And how our brave new globalised world means the poor get hammered, while corporations silently buy up the planet. It’s not pretty - but it’s all true. Palast takes the reader on a global tour from Baghdad to New Orleans, to expose the official mendacity and corporate piggery of America in this paperback edition of Armed Madhouse – accurately subtitled ‘undercover dispatches from a dying regime’. These shocking reports from the frontline reveal facts - as brutal as they are funny - that you don’t get from the Powers That Be and what the Guardian describes as ‘investigations up there with Woodward and Bernstein’. This new edition, published on the second anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, tells in a new chapter how Palast’s uncovering of how the White House drowned New Orleans led to anti-terror charges being brought against him. Greg Palast has been described as ‘Bill Hicks with a press pass’ and like that great American comedian/subversive he is an angry, passionate and fearless witness to the crimes and greed at the heart of his country’s social and political landscape. That he bases his charges on research and fact makes this shocking and sometimes darkly funny polemic all the more devastating. ‘Upsets all the right people’ - Noam Chomsky.

100 SECRET STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESSFUL INVESTING – RICHARD FARLEIGH PENGUIN ISBN 9780141033426

Australian multi-millionaire Richard Farleigh is the nice, sensible member of television’s irresistible Dragon’s Den programme. He generally comes across as shrewd yet willing to take a calculated punt where necessary – just the sort of man to turn to for advice on how to become rich while remaining a decent human being. Now based in Monte Carlo, Farleigh studied economics and mathematics before managing a hedge fund in the 1980s and early 90s, after which he ‘semi-retired’ and has since operated as a business angel successfully backing early-stage companies, mostly in the UK. When he started his career in an investment bank in Sydney in his early twenties, he didn’t think that he could out-perform the markets. Investment and trading seemed to be just gambling. Gradually however he came to believe that market prices are predictable and he developed a repeatable methodology based on observation and reasoning. In this useful and easy to read guide, the self-confessed ‘deal junkie’ shares the techniques and strategies that propelled him to the top from an unpromising start in life. The ideas are presented as 100 different laws spread over ten chapters, exploring topics such as markets, risk, recognising patterns and anomalies, understanding trends, timing and, most importantly, ‘avoiding temptation’. Richard Farleigh writes fluently as he explains how obvious ideas can offer great opportunities, and giving much sound advice: ‘Experts are vastly over-rated. Most professionals in the markets are not actually outguessing the price, but are making money from clients, transactions and commissions.’ This easy to read book is one that no serious investor can afford to be without.

AUSTERITY BRITAIN – DAVID KYNASTON   BLOOMSBURY ISBN 9780747579854

This revelatory best-seller is the first in a planned four-part series, Tales of a New Jerusalem, which will tell the story of the people of Britain from 1945 to Margaret Thatcher’s election in May, 1979. Austerity Britain takes the reader on an utterly absorbing journey from VE Day in 1945 to the general election of 1951, which returned Churchill and the Conservatives to power after six years of a Labour government that transformed the country. Through excerpts from diaries, letters, articles and through his own analysis, author David Kynaston shows the lives of ordinary citizens as well as ministers, consumers as well as producers, the country and the city, the regions as well as London, the everyday as well as the seismic, and Lords as well as Wembley, as everyone lived through six extremely hard years of unremitting postwar austerity while the building blocks of a new Britain were put in place. We see a Britain with ‘no supermarkets, no teabags, no lager, no Formica, no vinyl, no CDs, no trainers, no hoodies, no Starbucks. Shops on every corner, red telephone boxes, Lyons Corner Houses, trams, steam trains. Woodbines, Senior Service, smog. No washing machines, wash day every Monday. Central heating rare, chilblains common. Abortion illegal, homosexual relationships illegal, suicide illegal, capital punishment legal. White faces everywhere. Austin Sevens, Ford Eights. A Bakelite wireless in every home, television almost unknown, the family eating together. Heavy rationing. Make do and mend.’ David Kynaston travelled throughout the country in his researches and has uncovered many fascinating archival records to produce this original, illuminating and wonderfully readable social history. With many evocative photographs from the period, Austerity Britain is hugely entertaining and often questions the accepted notions about how people lived and thought in postwar Britain. ‘A classic; buy at least three copies’ – Guardian.

INFERNO – KEITH LOWE        VIKING ISBN 0670915576 

The Battle of Hamburg, codenamed Operation Gomorrah, was a series of air raids conducted by the RAF and USAAF starting at the end of July 1943 and lasting ten days. At the time it was the heaviest assault in the history of aerial warfare and at times the firestorm created reached temperatures of 800°C, causing asphalt on the streets to burst into flame and incinerating eight square miles of the large German port city. At least 50,000 people were killed, many of cooked to death in air-raid shelters, and over a million civilians were left homeless. Approximately 3,000 aircraft were deployed, 9,000 tons of bombs dropped and 250,000 houses destroyed. More than half a century later, the allied bombing of Germany’s cities remains a controversial topic. The campaign may have served no military purpose and been of little strategic value but it left an entire generation traumatised. As those who survived emerged from their ruined cellars and air-raid shelters, they were confronted with a unique vision of hell: a sea of flame that stretched to the horizon, the burned-out husks of fire engines that had tried to rescue them, charcoaled corpses and roads that had become flaming rivers of melted tarmac. This book is the first comprehensive narrative of the Hamburg firestorm for almost thirty years. Using many new first-hand acccounts, Keith Lowe gives the human side of an inhuman story, and the result is an epic tale of devastation and survival, and a much-needed reminder of the human face of war. The author combines the gripping eye-witness accounts with thorough research to tell the story of these appalling events with clarity, compassion and sensitivity.

URBAN LEGENDS UNCOVERED – MARK BARBER    SUMMERSDALE 

Urban legend is a kind of modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. The stories are not necessarily untrue, but they are often distorted, exaggerated or sensationalised. Despite the name, an urban legend doesn’t necessarily originate in an urban setting (the term is used to differentiate them from the traditional folklore of pre-industrial times). Urban legends have been repeated in news stories and distributed by e-mail but are most often tales that happened to a ‘friend of a friend’. Some urban legends have survived a long time, evolving only slightly over the years, as in the case of the story of a woman killed by spiders nesting in her elaborate hairdo. Newer legends tend to reflect modern circumstances, like the story of people ambushed, anaesthetised and waking up minus one kidney, which was surgically removed for transplantation. Other well-known urban legends tell of an old woman who attempted to dry a wet poodle in a microwave oven, the vanishing hitchhiker, and the alligators that allegedly live in New York City’s sewers. In this fascinating book, subtitle ‘An Investigation into the Truth Behind the Myths’, Mark Barber considers whether urban legends are merely harmless tales or whether there is something more sinister lurking beneath the surface. How and why do urban legends exist? Have they been created or manipulated for political, propaganda, or marketing reasons? From campfire classics that send shivers down the spine to the paranoia that followed the events of 9/11, the author considers hundreds of chilling stories, analysing their origins and what effects. He reveals how the creators of The Blair Witch Project used the power of urban legends as a clever marketing tool, and how Churchill and Hitler used urban legends in their wartime propaganda campaigns to play mind games with each other. Learn how urban legends are manufactured to target large corporations such as Microsoft and McDonalds, and how hoax e-mails and computer viruses have almost brought businesses and governments to their knees.

THE CONTINUUM ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BRITISH LITERATURE    ISBN: 0826418392

This huge one-volume encyclopedia from Continuum is a terrific guide to the literary tradition of Britain, including works written in English in Africa, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, India, Ireland and New Zealand. The book’s vast scale (over a thousand pages) means that subjects can be covered in extraordinary depth, from Aneirin and the poet of Widsith to Caedmon and the author of Beowulf; from Geoffrey of Monmouth to Geoffrey Chaucer; from Spenser to Shakespeare; from Donne to Milton to Dryden; from Dr. Johnson and Jane Austen to William Blake; from Thackeray, the Brontes, and Dickens to Virginia Woolf, Jonathan Coe, and Zadie Smith. The contributors, coming from the UK and USA, are all experts in their fields, and include: R. S. White on William Blake; W. H. New on Canadian Literature in English; Derek Brewer on Geoffrey Chaucer; Ian Ousby on Detective Fiction before 1945; David Kirby on Expatriates; Merryn Williams on Thomas Hardy; Sandie Byrne on Tony Harrison; Fred Marchant on Ted Hughes; Peter Barnes on Ben Jonson; Ian MacKillop on F. R. Leavis; Norman Kelvin on William Morris; Claire Tomalin on Samuel Pepys; and Peter Finch on Poetry since 1945. The whole massive enterprise is edited by Steven R. Serafin, a leading authority on modern world literature, and Valerie Grosvenor Myer, author of many biographies of major literary figures. This comprehensive encyclopedia is an invaluable addition to the bookshelf, both as a reference work and as an enjoyable way to learn about rewarding new writers, particularly from overseas. Superbly researched and authoritative - this is essential reading for anyone interested in the pleasures of British literature.

THE BOB DYLAN ENCYCLOPEDIA – MICHAEL GRAY CONTINUUM  ISBN 0826469337 

Even Michael Gray’s weighty and phenomenally comprehensive encyclopedia can’t hope to include every facet of Bob Dylan’s remarkable career, which spans over 45 years of American history, but the book is as definitive as any to date. It includes: Biographies of singers, musicians, songwriters and composers who have influenced Bob Dylan and/or worked with him; Critical assessments and factual details for all Dylan’s albums and for a large number of individual songs; Dylan’s key career and biographical moments; Biographies of writers, poets and other cultural figures who have impacted on Dylan’s work and/or who are mentioned within it, from William Blake to William Carlos Williams and from Lenny Bruce to Franz Kafka; Short biographies of music critics and authors of books and major websites on Dylan; Critical assessments and facts on Dylan’s own books and films; Discursive subjects, from Dylan Interpreters to Cowboy Heroes, and from The Use of Hollywood Dialogue in Dylan’s lyrics, to ‘frying an egg on stage’. This meticulously researched book with its many insights, shrewd opinions and rewarding digressions, is clearly a labour of love and will be avidly devoured by Dylan fans everywhere. If you want to know what became of Suze Rotolo, what Muhammad Ali talked to Dylan about and whether Bob really did meet Elvis, this is the place to look. Indispensable!

THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR BOYS – CONN & HAL IGGULDEN  HARPER COLLINS

This phenomenally successful book is the perfect antidote to television and the ubiquitous computer game. Where else can you find out how to thrash someone at conkers, race your own go-cart and identify the best quotations from Shakespeare? The Dangerous Book for Boys is packed with information about such varied topics as the laws of football and cricket, astronomy, girls (it’s important to listen, apparently), famous battles, catapults, the seven wonders of the world (ancient and modern), patron saints, artillery, common British trees, chess, navigation and juggling with balls. Learn such things as how to make the world’s greatest paper plane, build a treehouse (a big job), skim stones, perform coin tricks, make an easy periscope, hunt and cook a rabbit, write in secret ink, decipher enemy codes, construct a pinhole camera, play marbles, grow sunflowers and teach a dog new tricks. Read inspiring stories of courage and bravery by people like Scott of the Antarctic, Lord Horatio Nelson, Douglas Bader and Robert the Bruce. The book’s Fifties-style retro Boys’ Own presentation only adds to the fun and it’s easy to see how this surprise best-seller has proved such an irresistible treat for boys – and quite a few girls – of all ages. ‘Just William would be proud’ - Daily Mail.

CINEMA OF STEVEN SPIELBERG - NIGEL MORRIS  WALLFLOWER ISBN 1904764886

Steven Allan Spielberg is the most financially successful movie director of all time, winning three Academy Awards as well as an Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. He has massive influence in Hollywood and at the end of the 20th century LIFE named him the most influential person of his generation. His films are sometimes portrayed as the archetype of modern Hollywood blockbuster film-making but in later years he has tackled such emotionally-charged issues as the Holocaust, slavery and war. Nigel Morris examines the director’s long and varied career, as well as considering his work as writer, producer and studio mogul. Best known for creating crowd-pleasing hits such as Jaws, E.T. and Jurassic Park, Spielberg has lately started to be reappraised by critics as a serious director. Later works such as Schindler’s List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan and Munich all deal with adult themes and through detailed textual analyses of every film from Duel (1971) to Munich (2005), Morris argues that Spielberg’s movies have always demanded proper consideration. The author reveals how the films function as a self-reflexive commentary on cinema. Rather than straightforwardly consumed realism or fantasy, they invite divergent readings and self-conscious spectatorship. Morris makes a strong case against assumptions that Spielberg’s films tend towards ideological conservatism, cuteness, racism, triviality and escapism. The Cinema of Steven Spielberg: Empire of Light argues that triumphant marketing is not the only cause of Spielberg’s success; rather the powerful emotional appeal and ambiguities of the films themselves maximise audiences and generate media attention. This fascinating book puts forward a persuasive argument for taking this astonishingly successful director seriously as an auteur as well as a cinematic institution. Essential reading.

HOW TO BE FREE – TOM HODGKINSON    HAMISH HAMILTON ISBN 0241143217

Have you caught yourself wondering whether modern life might not be quite your cup of tea after all? Wondering why you bother to go to work, why consumer culture is so soulless and whether there might be a better, happier, freer way to live our lives? How To Be Free answers these questions and many more by drawing upon the various philosophies of William Blake, French existentialists, British punks and US beats, hippies, anarchists, medieval thinkers and back-to-the-landers. Author Tom Hodgkinson is the editor and co-founder of the excellent Idler and his latest subversive book sets out a simple, joyful blueprint for improving modern day life. With this survival guide you can learn how to throw off the shackles of anxiety, bureaucracy, debt, governments, housework, guilt, boredom, work and much else besides. Some pieces of advice (throw away your watch) are easier to do than others (play the ukelele) but there is much challenging food for thought here and many people will recognise all too well the author’s description of that ‘greedy monster’ called a career. Following on from the success of his earlier book, How to be Idle (Penguin ISBN 0141015063), Tom Hodgkinson has created an entertaining, intelligent and well-researched guide, packed with quotes to back up his arguments. The twenty-nine chapters have provocative titles urging us to ‘Reject career and all its empty promises’, ‘Forget government’ and ‘Stop working, start living’. This book is essential reading for anyone who feels out of step with modern life and is looking for a way to exchange their life for a merrier one. We have nothing to lose but our ID cards.

THE PENGUIN TV COMPANION - JEFF EVANS   PENGUIN ISBN 0141024240

This third edition of Penguin’s thoroughly enjoyable, nostalgic trip through the world of television features everything from Little House on the Prairie to Little Britain, The X Files to The X Factor, and Department S to Desperate Housewives. Try to catch the book out by looking up your old favourites and you will almost certainly fail. Broderick Crawford’s Highway Patrol is included, as are Whirligig (with early appearances by Mr Turnip, Sooty and Rolf Harris), Mike Hammer and the Cisco Kid. This huge and comprehensive book has over 900 packed pages covering 2,200 programmes, with full cast lists, transmission dates and detailed lively synopses. It also features more than 1,500 entries for important TV people - actors, writers, producers and others: from Lew Grade to Ricky Gervais, David Coleman to Simon Cowell, and Chris Tarrant to David Tennant. Star ratings reveal arguably the best and the worst of 70 years of viewing and DVD availability is included for the first time. From Sooty to The Simpsons, On the Buses to The Osbournes, The X-Files to Z Cars, Magnusson to Davina McCall, and from Dennis Potter to Jeremy Paxman, this wonderful companion gives you all you could wish to know about television: the programmes, the people, the companies and the history. No television addict should be without this marvellously compelling book.

THE PRAWN COCKTAIL YEARS – SIMON HOPKINSON & LINDSEY BAREHAM   PENGUIN ISBN 0718149807

The Prawn Cocktail Years celebrates dozens of restaurant favourites from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies - years when Britain was learning how to eat out. While Lindsey Bareham and Simon Hopkinson were putting together the best-selling book, ‘Roast Chicken and Other Stories’, they began to reminisce about hotel and restaurant dishes they had grown up with and loved. Classics such as Duck a l’Orange, Weiner Schnitzel, Moussaka, Garlic Mushrooms and, of course, Prawn Cocktail, have been neglected, derided and dismissed as hopelessly naff, yet when made with fine, fresh ingredients and prepared with care, they are fit to grace the most discerning of tables. This splendid book sets out to rehabilitate the food we once loved and found exciting. In so doing, the authors take us on a cook’s tour of the legendary post-war hotels and gentlemen’s clubs with their Mulligatawny and Shepherd’s Pie, as well as to the bistros of Swinging London, the first Italian trattorias and the ‘Continental’ restaurants with their exotic offerings of Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Kiev and Rhum Baba. Recipes for all these old favourites have been brought back to life as well as those classics that were once described as the Great British Meal - Prawn Cocktail, Steak Garni with Chips and Black Forest Gateau. Cooked as they should be, this much derided and often ridiculed dinner can still be something very special. From Victorian breakfast kedgeree to jam roly poly, from sole Veronique to profiteroles, each recipe is introduced with a brief but fascinating history of where it originated and how it became a ‘British’ favourite. Delicious!

THE CINEMA OF AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND    WALLFLOWER

Australia cinema has a long history. The first feature length narrative film in the world was a 1906 Australian production, The Story of the Kelly Gang, and one of the world’s earliest film studios was The Limelight Department, operated by the Salvation Army in Melbourne between 1891 and 1910. Australian film production declined after the 1920s and never fully recovered until the boom of the 1970s and 1980s, when government funding increased and the Australian Film Commission was created. Films such as Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir) and The Getting of Wisdom (Bruce Beresford) initiated the ‘golden age’ of Australian cinema with many internationally successful actors (including Sam Neill, Mel Gibson, Guy Pearce, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Judy Davis, Geoffrey Rush, Russell Crowe and Heath Ledger) and directors (Peter Weir, Baz Luhrmann, Phillip Noyce and Gillian Armstrong). The first New Zealand feature film, Hinemoa, was made in 1914 but it was only in the early 1990s that the country gained real international recognition with Jane Campion’s The Piano and Heavenly Creatures, directed by Peter Jackson, who has continued to make his films in New Zealand, including the hugely successful Lord of the Rings trilogy. Other films made in New Zealand include The Last Samurai, King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This revealing study, edited by Geoff Mayer and Keith Beattie, celebrates the commercially successful feature films produced by these countries as well as key documentaries, shorts and independent films. This coverage also invokes issues involving national identity, race, history and the ability of two small film cultures to survive the economic and cultural threat from Hollywood. As well as the more famous directors, the authors also consider less celebrated, but equally important, films and filmmakers such as Jedda (Charles Chauvel, 1955), They’re a Weird Mob (Michael Powell, 1966), Vigil (Vincent Ward, 1984) and The Goddess of 1967 (Clara Law, 2000). Expertly researched, this fascinating book is essential reading for anyone interested in the lively world of Australasian cinema.

ON SECOND THOUGHTS… SIMON BRETT    SUMMERSDALE ISBN 1840245476

In this witty and brilliantly inventive book, Simon Brett invents what might have been found in the imaginary wastepaper baskets of the famous and great from history. Things could have been very different if King Arthur had figured out the seating plan for a square table, if Picasso hadn’t received the wrong prescription for his spectacles or if George W. Bush hadn’t misspelled ‘unclear’ as ‘nuclear’ in his email to Tony Blair. He reveals lost scenes from Hemingway, the true origins of the Bayeux Tapestry, the first draft of ‘Waiting for Godot’ - where Godot entered in Scene One - and the Freudian slips in Sigmund Freud’s more trivial correspondence. Just as revealing are the overdue library books of Bono, David Cameron and Boris Johnson, together with hilarious pastiches of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Simon Brett has published over 70 books including the Charles Paris, Mrs Pargeter and the Fethering series of crime novels. His psychological thrillers include Dead Romantic, which was adapted for BBC2, and A Shock to the System, made into a feature film starring Michael Caine. His humorous books include How to be a Little Sod and the Baby Tips series. He is also the author of the radio series No Commitments and After Henry, which was adapted into a successful television series starring Prunella Scales. On Second Thoughts is one of his best yet – a wonderfully funny, clever and subversive commentary on ‘the great and the good’.

THE LORE OF THE LAND – JENNIFER WESTWOOD & JACQUELINE SIMPSON   PENGUIN ISBN 0141021039

A Welsh giant took a dislike to the town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire and dug up a spadeful of earth with which to dam the River Severn and so drown the place. As he went looking for the town he met a cobbler carrying a sack of old, worn-out shoes and asked him how far he had to travel to Shrewsbury (foolishly adding his reason for wanting to know). The wily cobbler, forseeing a loss of customers, told the giant that he had used up all the shoes in his sack on his long journey from that very place. The giant promptly gave up his quest and dumped the earth where he stood before heading back to Wales, thus creating the famous Wrekin Hill that rises in isolation from the level land all around. This is just one of the many stories and legends gathered in this rich and endlessly engrossing collection. You may start out by looking up something sensible, such as the truth about Dick Turpin or Sweeney Todd, only to find yourself enjoyably distracted by tales of devils, ghosts, witches, strange beasts, hobgoblins and a hundred other mysteries. Compiled by folklorists Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson, The Lore of the Land is a meticulously researched county by county survey of English legends. Scarcely a corner of the country, it seems, is without its haunted house, buried treasure or fearsome dragon, and the authors are careful to sift fact from fiction without detracting from the essential charm of these stories. The book splendidly illustrated, with excellent photographs and maps as well as wonderfully eclectic essays on such subjects as Robin Hood, magicians, mermaids, Shakespeare and treacle mines. Elegantly written and meticulously researched, this is a fascinating and enjoyable collection that explores territory made popular by the likes of JRR Tolkien and Harry Potter.

LED ZEPPELIN: THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES  CHROME DREAMS ISBN 1842403451

The phenomenally successful English rock band Led Zeppelin consisted of Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals), John Bonham (drums) and John Paul Jones (bass guitar and keyboards). Formed in 1968, they were consistent innovators who never lost their mainstream appeal. Best known for hard rock and heavy metal, they also included elements of blues, rockabilly, bluegrass, reggae, soul, funk, Celtic, Indian, Arabic, folk, pop and Latin in their music. Over 25 years after disbanding, Led Zeppelin are still acclaimed for their artistic achievements, commercial success and influential role in the history of popular music. Although they sold more than 300 million albums, the band started humbly in the session studios and local beat groups of Wolverhampton and in London’s home counties. All four future members started their careers playing and singing for others, often without a label credit, and between them played on many pivotal recordings throughout the 1960s before becoming possibly the most important rock band ever. The golden age of Zeppelin has been comprehensively documented but the band’s genesis is less well known. For this book, subtitled ‘How, Why And Where It All Began’, music historian and official biographer of the Yardbirds Alan Clayson has traced every session, recording and live appearance made by each future member of Led Zeppelin and woven the results into a rich and insightful story of the future band and all their musical and professional colleagues. The book also serves as a revealing insight into the workings of the music industry during this period. With rare photographs and posters included, the book is an exciting and highly enjoyable read - essential for anyone interested in one of the most revolutionary times in popular music.

THE COMPLETE GRIMM’S FAIRY TALES    PANTHEON ISBN 0394709306

The Brothers Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in Hanau, Germany. Their father died when they were young and their mother Dorothea struggled to pay their education. Wilhelm, who was the more sociable of the two worked as a secretary and Jakob served became a librarian. In 1812, the year their fairy tales were first published, the brothers were surviving on a single meal a day. Between 1821 & 1822 they raised extra money by publishing three volumes of folktales, showing with these that Germans shared a similar culture (they were ardent advocates for the unification of all the small independent kingdoms and principalities into a larger nation). Altogether about forty people delivered tales to the Brothers Grimm, including Dorothea Viehmann, who is credited with the Cinderella Story. Kinder-Und Hausmärchen was published in two volumes (1812-1815) and the final edition, published in 1857, contained 211 tales. The Brothers Grimm wrote of them down from oral narrations, collecting the material mainly from peasants in Hesse. The first edition included stories in ten dialects as well as High German, and spoke of magic, communication between animals and men, moral values, and teachings of social right and wrong. The brothers are generally regarded as a team, though Jakob concentrated on linguistic studies and Wilhelm was primarily a literary scholar. True to their times, all references to sexuality embarrassed the Brothers and were removed, although they left in unpleasant details and violent episodes, such as when doves peck out the eyes of Cinderella’s stepsisters or a woman decapitates her stepson in The Juniper Tree. For almost two centuries, these stories of magic and myth have been part of the way children - and adults - learn about the vagaries of the real world. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow-White, Hänsel and Gretel, Little Red-Cap (or Little Red Riding Hood) and Briar-Rose (Sleeping Beauty) are just a few of more than 200 enchanting characters included here. Lyrically translated and beautifully illustrated by Josef Scharl, the tales are presented just as Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm originally set them down: bold, primal, just frightening enough, and endlessly engaging. ‘A splendid edition, admirably illustrated’ - The New Yorker.

THE CINEMA OF ROMAN POLANSKI   WALLFLOWER PRESS ISBN 1904764754

Polish-French film director and actor Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933. Because of growing anti-semitism, the family moved to Poland in 1937 but after the German occupation his family was the target of Nazi persecution. Along with thousands of other Polish Jews, Roman Polanski’s mother died in Auschwitz concentration camp and his father barely survived the Austrian concentration camp Mauthausen-Gusen. Polanski himself survived to become a celebrated director of films such as Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown, but is equally well known for his tumultuous personal life. In 1969, his wife Sharon Tate was murdered by the Manson Family and in 1978, after pleading guilty to a sexual offence, he fled to Europe. Unwilling to return to the United States and face arrest, Polanski has continued to direct films in Europe, including Tess, Frantic, the Academy Award-winning The Pianist and Oliver Twist. Most of his films are psychological thrillers in which a recurring theme is the relationship between victim and predator, depicting a world that is cruel, grotesque and filled with brutal sex and dark humour. This new book, subtitled ‘Dark Spaces of the World’ and ably edited by John Orr and Elzbieta Ostrowska, examines the film career of one of the great maverick figures of world cinema. The well-chosen and accessible essays form a comprehensive critical reassessment of his work, highlighting its bold and dazzling diversity as well as recurrent themes and obsessions that have had such a powerful impact on audiences throughout the world. Essential reading for anyone interested in the brilliant and often disturbing work of this enigmatic film-maker

ALTERNATIVE AGEING - SUZI GRANT      PENGUIN ISBN 0718148460

Ageing is the process of becoming older, specifically defined as the systematic deterioration of the body with time. This natural process is an important part of all human societies, reflecting the biological changes that occur as well as certain cultural and societal conventions. Considerable social pressure can be felt in many societies, including our own, to sustain a denial of the aging process. Consequently, huge amounts of energy, money and time are expended to hide signs of aging, especially among women. Their efforts may involve dyeing hair, using elaborate make-up, or even resorting to cosmetic surgery. In this fact-packed book, the nutritionist and TV presenter Suzi Grant clearly sets out her advice on how to combat the ageing process, revealing the latest scientific discoveries and various natural anti-ageing techniques. Her practical and easy plan takes you through twelve steps, showing how ageing works and how to stave off the physical and psychological signs effectively. Among her revelations are surprising and useful facts about which foods we should be eating (or avoiding), how to have great skin without surgery, the benefits of exercise, the effects of various hormones, how to keep the mind fit and alert, and the supreme importance of avoiding stress. Only occasionally does the advice begin to sound obsessive - never drink tapwater and sprinkle alfalfa shoots on everything. Mostly, the author’s recommendations are convincing and she includes a range of recipes and sensible diet plans to follow. Now in her fifties, Suzi Grant has clearly taken her own advice to heart and has written a no-nonsense guide that will help many of us to hold back the years.

CONSPIRACY THEORIES - ROBIN RAMSAY  POCKET ESSENTIALS ISBN 190404865X

The term ‘conspiracy theory’ may be a neutral term for a conspiracy claim but is often used to indicate a narrative genre that includes a broad selection of (not necessarily related) arguments for the existence of grand conspiracies, any of which might have far-reaching social and political implications. Many conspiracy theories are false, or lack enough verifiable evidence to be taken seriously, raising the intriguing question of what mechanisms might exist in popular culture that lead to their invention and subsequent uptake. Since the 1960s, when the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy provoked an unprecedented level of speculation, conspiracy theory has been of interest for sociologists, psychologists and experts in folklore. Did you think the X-Files is fiction and that Elvis is dead? Do you believe that US astronauts actually went to the moon, and don’t know that the ruling elites did a deal with extra-terrestrials after the Roswell crash in 1947? Conspiracy theories are all around us and many of them are considered in this entertaining book. It would be easy to ridicule or dismiss most such theories, and author Robin Ramsay often does, but he also tries to sort out the handful of wheat from the obscuring clouds of intellectual chaff. Among the nonsensical theories currently proliferating on the Internet, there are important nuggets of real research about real conspiracies waiting to be found. Fully sourced and referenced, this book is both a serious examination of conspiracy theories and the conspiracy theory phenomenon, as well as a guide to further explorations of the subject. You don’t have to be paranoid to believe that strange things are happening out there.

THE STEINWAY COLLECTION - PAINTINGS OF THE GREAT COMPOSERS AMADEUS ISBN 1574671154

This handsome, coffee-table book contains artistic impressions of 12 great composers with explanatory essays is an invitation to indulgence. The brilliant music critic James Huneker was commissioned by Steinway and Sons to write the texts to accompany paintings by American artists of famous composers for the pianoforte and other instruments. This flawless edition includes both paintings and essays, and is an ideal contribution to the study or browsing list of armchair devotees of classical music. Music lovers will delight in the beautiful colour paintings and eloquent prose portraits in the book, which was originally printed in 1919 as an in-house publication of Steinway & Sons but has never before been released to the public. Chopin, Wagner, Liszt, Beethoven, Berlioz, Mozart, Verdi, Mendelssohn, Handel and Schubert are among the composers celebrated. The accompanying essays are written to ‘evoke musical visions; for music is visionary, notwithstanding its primal appeal to the ear’. An introduction by the acclaimed broadcaster and writer David Dubal, Juilliard professor of piano literature, helps give the book its historical perspective. Also included: The Raindrop Prelude, a painting by award-winning artist A. I. Keller, which depicts Chopin’s reaction, as legend goes, upon discovering that novelist George Sand and her children, with whom he lived while composing his Preludes, were indeed alive following a stormy trip. Other paintings in the book include: Wagner & Liszt and Beethoven and Nature, both by N. C. Wyeth, father of contemporary realist painter Andrew Wyeth, The Death of Mozart by award-winning artist Charles E. Chambers, and Rubenstein Plays for the Czar by F. Louis Mora. The beautifully reproduced pictures are captivating and sometimes mysterious, and there is much to learn from the polished words of James Huneker. This long awaited book is the next best thing to seeing the paintings, which remain on display in the Steinway Collection in Steinway Hall in New York.

FOR LUST OF KNOWING - ROBERT IRWIN    PENGUIN ISBN 0713994150

Western art, science and philosophy owe a great debt to Islam and Arab-Islamic culture. Arab and Moslem scholars translated Greek works as well as previous scientific heritage, making Arabic the dominant language of science and culture for many years. Arab and Moslem scholars influenced the European Renaissance and Arab-Islamic culture was effective in many scientific, intellectual and cultural fields. They were also responsible, among other things, for the invention of numerals, the figure zero, the decimal system and the theory of evolution (more a hundred years before Darwin), as well as the discovery of pulmonary circulation (three hundred years before Harvey). They also discovered gravity centuries before Newton, measured the speed of light, calculated the angles of reflection and refraction, computed the circumference of the earth and determined the dimensions of heavenly bodies. They invented astronomical instruments, discovered the high seas and laid down the foundations of chemistry. Robert Irwin has spent a lifetime investigating and imagining the history of the Islamic world. In this new book, he charts the origins of Orientalism - in this case, the study of the Middle and near East - and its foremost practitioners, from Ancient Greece up to the present day. In doing so, he takes on Edward Said’s Orientalism, which branded this rich field of study a weapon of imperialism. Irwin shows that, whether making philological comparisons between Arabic and Hebrew, cataloguing the coins of Fatimid Egypt or establishing the basic chronology of Harun al-Rashid’s military campaigns against Byzantium, these scholars have been unified not by politics or by ideology but by their shared obsession. Irwin’s passionate book is a fascinating history of the study of Islamic - primarily Arabic - culture. For Lust of Knowing is a extraordinarily clever and often amusing book that makes the author’s scholarship remarkably accessible.

THE VICTORIAN FLOWER ORACLE   MAGIC REALIST PRESS ISBN: 190557200X

The beautiful deck of forty cards in The Victorian Flower Oracle is based on engravings by the famous artist J J Grandville, taken from an original 1847 hand-coloured copy of his Fleurs Animee. Featuring such characters such as the shy Miss Wallflower, sumptuous Lady Tulip and sad young Forget-me-not, the deck draws on age-old beliefs about the special magic and symbolism of flowers, with every flower exquisitely depicted as a woman and each card becoming a small work of art. The informative companion book by Sheila Hamilton includes the symbolic meaning of each flower, myths and beliefs about them, gardening notes, the history of the Grandville illustrations and instructions for using the deck as an oracle. These evocative cards, designed by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov, provide a fascinating link with the past and are a pleasure to explore.

ITALIAN CINEMA - BARRY FORSHAW   POCKET ESSENTIALS ISBN 1904048552

The first film ever made in Italy was a documentary short, Umberto and Margherita of Savoy Walking in a Park, by Vittorio Calcina, produced 1896. The first Italian sound film, The Song of Love, was made in but it wasn’t until the advent of Neo-realism that Italian cinema fully came into its own. De Sica, Rossellini and Visconti made masterpieces of universal subject matter and films such as Rome, the Open City and Paisà were acclaimed throughout the world. During the 1960s, Italian cinema became more experimental with directors such as Michelangelo Antonioni and the avant-garde works of Sergio Leone, Federico Fellini and Pier Paolo Pasolini. Barry Forshaw’s easy-to-use reference book, subtitled ‘Arthouse to Exploitation’, is a handy guide to every aspect of Italian Cinema, including such popular genress as Horror, Sword and Sandal epics, and Spaghetti Westerns. From the unbridled sensuality of the orgy scenes in silent Italian cinema, through a topless Sophia Loren in a 1950s historical epic and the image of Silvana Mangano, her skirt provocatively tucked into her underwear, in the neo-realist classic Bitter Rice, to the erotic obsessions of Fellini and the more cerebral but still passionate movies of Antonioni, eroticism is ever-present in Italian cinema. The popular movies reveal acres of tanned flesh (both male and female) and there is an an inextricable mix of sexuality and violence in the work of directors such as Mario Bava and Dario Argento. Italian cinema is celebrated here with astute analysis in the sharply informative essays of Barry Forshaw.

TOTAL STRESS RELIEF - VERA PEIFFER    PIATKUS ISBN 0749926082

Individuals often respond very differently to stress. Methods of coping found to work well in childhood situations often become ingrained and habitual, following the child into adulthood. In the adult world, these skills may be inappropriate, and stress heightens as the person clings to obsolete behaviours. However, new skills can be learned, and poor coping methods replaced. There are currently many classes, books, and seminars available to help people develop better habits of managing stress, as well as approaches that include The Alexander Technique, Shiatsu, T’ai Chi Ch’uan, yoga and meditation. Among the psychological and sociological factors have been shown to moderate against stress are optimism or hope, social support, socioeconomic status and sense of community. Total Stress Relief is a valuable self-help guide which will help you tackle everyday challenges in a constructive way. As stress is unavoidable, we need to learn to deal with it rather than running away or turning to drugs or alcohol to cope. Author Vera Peiffer shows how stress resilience can be learned, even in the most challenging circumstances, with simple and effective exercises that form a holistic approach. The reader is guided to use the suggested programmes at different levels of intensity, according to his or her individual needs. The book considers stress management as a form of personal development that helps the reader grow stronger, more competent and ultimately more confident in dealing with the ups and downs of modern life.

MITCHUM: IN HIS OWN WORDS      LIMELIGHT EDITIONS ISBN 0879102926

Robert Charles Durman Mitchum was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1917. His father, James Mitchum, was a railroad worker of part Blackfoot indian descent who was was crushed to death in a train accident when Robert Mitchum was two. The boy and his siblings were raised by his mother Ann, a Norwegian immigrant and sea captain's daughter, and stepfather (a British army major) in Connecticut, New York and Delaware. After an adventurous early life that included a chain gang sentence for vagrancy and spells riding freight trains in search of work, Mitchum had a variety of jobs (including a stint at Lockheed Aircraft production line) before starting to get small roles in Hopalong Cassidy films. In 1945 he was cast in Story of G.I. Joe and received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor, after which he quickly became an icon of 1940s film noir, westerns and romantic dramas. Despite being a major star for over 40 years he remains underrated, partly because of his laid-back style and apparent air of disinterest. Highlights among more than a hundred films include Out of the Past (the archetypal noir), The Big Steal, River of No Return (with Marilyn Monroe), The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton’s only film as director), the original Cape Fear (Mitchum also had a part in the 1991 remake), Ryan’s Daughter and Farewell, My Lovely (perfectly cast as Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe). Mitchum died in 1997 and was cremated, his ashes being scattered at sea by his widow Dorothy and neighbour Jane Russell. At his request, no memorial service was held. Mitchum: In His Own Words, edited by Jerry Roberts with a foreword by Roger Ebert, brings together a selection of entertaining and revealing interviews and conversations that the actor had with David Frost, Dick Lochte, Richard Schickel and Charles Champlin, as well as Jerry Roberts himself. Robert Mitchum was a thoughtful, intelligent and wonderfully humorous raconteur so reading his words (‘Gaol is like Palm Springs - without the riffraff’) is the next best thing to hearing that distinctive voice speak. Brilliant!

HARPO SPEAKS!      LIMELIGHT EDITIONS ISBN 0879100362

Harpo SpeaksAdolph Arthur Marx, better known as Harpo Marx, was one of the Marx Brothers, a group of Vaudeville entertainers who later made a series of highly successful film comedies. Harpo’s distinctive trademarks were that he never talked, played the harp, and frequently used props in often outrageously surreal sight gags. He taught himself to play the harp and played it in an unconventional manner, with an idiosyncratic tuning of the strings. He changed his name to Arthur shortly before World War I, when there was a great deal of anti-German sentiment in America and he thought Adolph sounded ‘too German’. He became friends with theatre critic Alexander Woollcott and was a regular member of the famous Algonquin Round Table. Many people believed Harpo was actually mute but several recordings of his distinguished voice can be found on the internet and in documentaries. He published this enjoyable autobiography, Harpo Speaks! written with Roland Barber, in 1961, and the book provides fascinating insights into the work of a brilliant craftsman and his hilariously anarchic alter ego, as well as into a world that has now largely disappeared. ‘A funny, affectionate and unpretentious autobiography’ - New York Times Book Review.

THE UNKNOWN CALLAS - NICHOLAS PETSALIS-DIOMIDIS  AMADEUS 157467059X

Maria Callas was born Maria Anna Sofia Cecilia Kalogeropoulos to Greek parents in Brooklyn, New York, and moved with her mother to Athens at the age of 13. She studied with the soprano Elvira de Hidalgo at the Athens Conservatory and made her professional debut at the Athens Opera in 1941, as La Tosca. Combining an impeccable bel canto technique with great dramatic gifts, Callas became the most famous singing actress of the post-war era. An extremely versatile singer, her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria, such as Spontini's La Vestale to late Verdi and the verismo operas of Puccini. In this award-winning biography, with a foreword by the Earl of Harewood, historian Nicholas Petsalis-Diomidis explores Maria Callas’s life in Athens from 1937 to 1945. These years have been largely absent from previous works about Callas but were crucial to her professional and personal growth. The author examines her professional development, her studies, her concerts, and her work with the Greek National Opera. He also recounts Callas’s daily life, her friendships her rivalries at the conservatory, and her personal life. Though it is a detailed historical biography, the writing and pace are novelistic. Nicholas Petsalis-Diomidis studied law at Athens University and history at the London School of Economics. Concurrently with his historical research and writing, he ran a leading Athenian art gallery for fifteen years, until 1993. The Greek edition of The Unknown Callas (1998) won Greece’s National Biography Award in 1999 and like the Sybil Sanderson Story this book is part of the excellent Opera Biography series from Amadeus.

HOW TO PAY LESS FOR JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING   READER’S DIGEST  ISBN 0276429478

Have you ever suspected that your neighbour on the plane or train paid half the fare you did? How did that couple having breakfast opposite you at the Hotel Splendide get a better room than you did for less money? This invaluable book shows how you can make sure you are the one with the bargain. Whether it’s a major purchase such as a car or house or you are looking the cheapest telephone deal, this thorough guide gives you with the inside knowledge you need to drive the best bargain. Discover when it’s worth haggling, why one almost identical product can cost twice as much as another, and the pros and cons of specialist outlets. The book covers all aspects of modern living and purchasing, from food and clothing, to holidays and leisure activities; furnishing, electronic equipment and home improvements to insurance; investments, pensions and mortgages. It has sensible ideas for saving on your shopping bill, paying less tax and obtaining a cheaper mortgage. There are chapters on food and drink, healthy living, leisure, travel, electronic equipment, home repairs and improvements, running a car, buying and selling property, household finance, tax and investments. If you have ever wondered how to make your own sangria or mend scratches on wood, this is the book to show you how.

THE WESTERN READER       LIMELIGHT EDITIONS ISBN 0879102683

The American West has long had a powerful hold on the world’s imagination. Stories about the mythic West have been told most powerfully in movies, and the Western is perhaps the most uniquely American of film genres, undergoing a slow evolution throughout the twentieth century. After Edwin S. Porter made The Great Train Robbery in 1903 the Western became a staple of the film industry, glorying in American frontier culture. This early phase culminated in the classic Stagecoach, directed by John Ford. Following World War II, Westerns such as High Noon and Rio Bravo became more ‘adult’, with greater budgets, bigger stars and more sophisticated psychology. The 1960s brought revisionist Westerns, which were less romantic and far less certain of the old morality (The Wild Bunch, McCabe and Mrs. Miller). Fewer Westerns have been made in recent years but the myth remains strong and Americans still believe in escaping civilisation to reinvent themselves in the open spaces of the West. The Western Reader, edited by Jim Kitses and Gregg Rickman, is an informative, comprehensive and most enjoyable guide to the genre. The book is an illustrated collection of writings about the Western, with almost a half-century of essays, commentary and interviews. History, mythology, landscape and psychology are fully explored in a wide ranging collage of impressions and insights. The well-chosen contributions are readable, authoritative, perceptive, stimulating and skillfully written throughout. Highly recommended.

THE SIBYL SANDERSON STORY - JACK WINSOR HANSEN  AMADEUS 1574670948

The beautiful American soprano Sybil Sanderson was born into a wealthy Sacramento family in 1864, and the operetta composers Gilbert and Sullivan were guests in her father’s house. After being educated privately, Sibyl was sent to Paris at the age of 16 to study at the Paris Conservatory, following the breakup of her engagement to the millionaire newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. A chance meeting with Jules Massenet in 1887 resulted in a spectacular decade of success in Europe, where her image adorned everything from calendars to sets of china. Enraptured by the singer’s beauty, three-octave range, temperament and histrionic ability, Massenet wtrote Thaïs and Esclarmonde for her and allowed her to reconstruct his opera Manon to feature her high voice. Unfortunately, her meteoric rise to stardom was followed by an equally swift decline. By 1902, her voice and her health had deteriorated and she died in 1903, aged only 38. Her doctor cited pneumonia as the cause of death and listed cirrhosis of the liver and eight other diseases as contributing factors. Poisoning also may have played a part, according to Jack Winsor Hansen in this authorised full-length biography. The author had full access to the Sanderson family archives and spent decades researching Sibyl’s life in Europe and the United States. The book includes previously unpublished correspondence, diaries and memoirs as well as interviews with the people who knew both Sanderson and Massenet, including Sanderson’s stepdaughter and opera star Mary Garden. This definitive and highly readable biography tells a true story that has all the drama of period fiction, bringing to life one of the most remarkable talents ever to grace the operatic stage.

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO BOB DYLAN    ROUGH GUIDES ISBN 1843531399

Born on 24 May 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota, Robert Alan Zimmerman grew up in nearby Hibbing. ‘The Greatest Songwriter Ever’ has released more than 40 albums since his 1962 debut, Bob Dylan. His second release, 1963’s The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, featured many classic songs and began a series of albums that completely changed the world’s perceptions of popular music. Around five hundred songs later (Like a Rolling Stone was recently voted the best song of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine and the NME) Dylan continues to surprise, challenge, mystify and fascinate in equal measure as he pursues his ‘Never Ending Tour’. Despite countless words written about him over the years, the coolest man on the planet remains, partly by his own choice, an enigma. Nigel Williamson’s Rough Guide to Bob Dylan is an admirable survey of the man, the life, his music (50 essential Dylan songs and the stories behind them), the friends and lovers, the influences, the films, the unsurpassed lyrics, the legends, the trivia, ‘the wisdom of Bob’, and other assorted Dylanology. This is a concise, engrossing guide to the facts about an idiosyncratic genius who changed the way we see the world. ‘God, I’m glad I’m not me’ - Bob Dylan.

THE PAPERCRAFTER’S BIBLE     DAVID & CHARLES  ISBN 0715316656

Ever since paper became widely available in the 18th century, it has proved an irresitible medium for expression. Children instinctively use paper in creative ways, even if only to construct model gliders, and it requires no great skill in painting or drawing to produce satisfying results. Elizabeth Moad’s book makes an excellent guide, exploring a wide range of papercraft techniques and giving confidence to the beginner who is learning basics as well as inspiring those who wish to explore more advanced craft skills. Methods are demonstrated and married with modern papers, equipment and ideas at each stage Techniques are explained with step-by-step photographs and tips on specific materials and equipment. Taster projects allow a technique to be sampled, and there are tips throughout suggesting ways to combine techniques and materials for new and innovative looks and ways of working. Most of the techniques have an application for card making and there are gift boxes, gift bags, novelty gift wraps and simple stationery. The book is copiously illustrated, making the instructions very easy to follow, and includes advice from how to get started with a basic tool kit (you don’t need a vast amount of equipment) through to selling your work. Instant therapy.

THE STORY OF FILM - MARK COUSINS      PAVILION ISBN 1862055742

Mark Cousins, a former Director of the Edinburgh Film Festival, is a film historian and presenter of Scene-by-Scene on BBC television. As well as making documentary films on arts and political themes he has interviewed such luminaries as Martin Scorcese, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Jeanne Moreau, the Coen Brothers, Bernardo Bertolucci and Jayne Russell. The Story of Film is an accessible and insightful history of the medium, showing how film-makers are influenced both by the historical events of their times, and by each other. The book is divided into three main epochs: Silent (1885-1928), Sound (1928-1990) and Digitial (1990-Present), and within this structure films are discussed within chapters reflecting both the stylistic concerns of the film-makers and the political and social themes of the time. Film is an international medium, so as well as covering the great American films and film-makers, the book explores cinema in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia and South America, and shows how cinematic ideas and techniques cross national boundaries. This not a book about the film business, so Cousins wisely leaves out the money-making side of movies to focus revealingly on the innovative aspects of film-making. Lucidly written, with more than 400 illustrations, The Story of Film is addictive reading for both film buffs and the average movie fan. ‘Mark Cousins is incapable of writing anything about cinema history without making it fascinating’- Sean Connery.

BREWER’S BRITAIN & IRELAND    WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON ISBN 030435385X

Manchester United was originally a railway workers’ team called Newton Heath, and only twenty people died in the great fire of London. Not many people know these things but John Ayto and Ian Crofton, compilers of this monumental 1,326-page book do. Brewer’s Britain and Ireland is an A-Z reference work about place-names and the historical associations of the places they designate. Somewhere between a traditional gazetteer and an ‘armchair companion’, it takes the reader on a fascinating tour of more than 7,500 places in every part of the islands of Britain and Ireland. Described as a ‘phrase and fable gazetteer’, it gathers together the linguistic, historical, folkloric and literary associations behind a myriad locations, both celebrated and obscure, from Ashby-de-le-Zouch to Blubberhouses, and from Wigton to Wetwang. As well as major towns and cities, you can explore strangely named villages, physical features such as rivers, mountains and forests, nicknames, fictional places and many other curiosities. This is an endlessly fascinating book to get absorbed in, so beware. You might pick up to see how Giggleswick got its name (from a chap called Gikel, apparently) but could still find yourself engrossed hours later in Ryme Intrinseca or the Strange World of Gurney Slade. ‘This lively tome is the perfect guide and companion for the arm chair rambler’ - Belfast Telegraph.

DAWN BRESLIN’S POWER BOOK       HAY HOUSE ISBN 1401905137

If you feel there is something missing in your life - and most of us do from time to time - then it’s likely that you need to change the way you feel about yourself. Dawn Breslin sees low self-esteem as the key to this and her inspiring book is a first aid kit for overcoming common problems such as fear, anxiety, depression, lack of self-confidence and addiction. The seven chapters focus on common emotional problems such as lack of self-esteem, too much self-criticism, emotional hangups, guilty feelings and fear. By thinking in a positive way, the author believes, you can kick those bad old habits and lead a more fulfilled life with a positive attitude. Each chapter helps you identify a problem, gives a consultation, a treatment and then a check up. Essentially, the advice is to adopt a positive outlook, trust your intuition and count your blessings. Occasionally a little repetitive, this book nevertheless leaves the reader feeling more hopeful and confident. ‘Breslin’s no-messing attitude is what has put her at the top of her game’ - The Scotsman.

PUBLIC ENEMIES - BRYAN BURROUGH    PENGUIN ISBN 014101993X

Charles Arthur ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd was a notorious American killer and bankrobber, romanticised by the press and by Woody Guthrie in The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd. He earned his nickname from Midwestern prostitutes because he obsessively combed his greasy pompadour but he hated it enough to kill two men just for calling him ‘Pretty Boy’, and his dying words were ‘I'm Charles Arthur Floyd!’. He was one of a fearsome group of chancers, misfits and psychopaths who took to the American road in the summer of 1933, fuelled by the Depression, fast cars and cheap guns. These freelance gangsters of the Midwest also included Bonnie and Clyde, the suave John Dillinger, George Barnes (a.k.a. Machine Gun Kelly), Baby Face Nelson and the ‘Ma’ Barker Gang. They all went on a crime spree that turned them into legends in their own - often brief - lifetimes. Public Enemies tells the engrossing and horrifying story of how they tore across state lines, mocking the police and amassing fortunes. ‘America's Most Wanted’ had no idea that in Washington J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was about to focus its energies on pursuing them. Bryan Burrough grew up listening to stories of these appalling characters and his riveting account is filled with detail culled from extensive research. His entertaining and authoritative book tells the story of a war on crime that was more extraordinary than any of the colourful headlines it inspired. ‘A rollicking ride’ The Guardian.

NOTHING IS TRUE - EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED DISINFORMATION ISBN1932857125

Brion Gysin (1916-1986) was an English-born, Canadian-raised, artist whose fertile mind and wide range of original ideas inspired artists of the Beat Generation in Paris, as well as innovative artists and performers such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Laurie Anderson, Patti Smith and Michael Stipe. Painter, writer, sound poet, tape composer, lyricist, and performance artist, Gysin created evocative paintings of the North African desert in the 1950s and original calligraphic abstractions based on Japanese and Arabic scripts. His chance discovery of the cut-up technique (later developed and refined by William S Burroughs) and the concept of permutated poems gave rise to new and original forms of sound art wordplay, striking not only in print but also in recordings or live performance. Gysin also provided the famous hashish fudge recipe published in Alice B Toklas’ cookbook and his inventive ideas extended to the Dreamachine and to collages of text and photographs. Working with the authorization of Gysin’s literary executor, William S.Burroughs, John Geiger has produced the first-ever biography of this important cutural figure, whose influence and work deserve to be much greater acknowledgement. ‘Compelling and sympathetic’ - LA Weekly.

THE PURSUIT OF VICTORY - PETER KNIGHT   ALLEN LANE ISBN 0713996196

Horatio Nelson was born in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, and joined the Navy aged only 12. He became a captain at 20, and as a commander he renowned for his boldness in action, famously disregarding orders at the Battle of Copenhagen by putting his telescope to his blind eye. After destroying Napoleon's fleet at the Battle of the Nile in 1798 he was posted to Naples, where he met and fell in love with Emma, Lady Hamilton. Under Nelson’s leadership, the British Navy became supreme but in the battle at Cape Trafalgar he was struck by a French sniper’s bullet he died on the first day of battle, October 21, 1805. Roger Knight's superb new biography explains how Nelson achieved his extraordinary success, placing him in the context of the Royal Navy of the time. He analyses Nelson’s leadership and coolness in battle, and explores his strategic grasp, the condition of his ships, the skill of his seamen and his relationships with the officers around him. He examines Nelson’s status as a hero and demolishes many of the myths that surround him. Nelson was a shrewd political operator who charmed and impressed political leaders but was a difficult subordinate and when in command was capable of extreme ruthlessness. This accessibly-written book makes a convincing and definitive study of a flawed but brilliant man.

FREE PRIZE INSIDE - SETH GODIN       PENGUIN ISBN 0718147723

The bestselling author Seth Godin (Permission Marketing, Unleashing the Ideavirus and Survival is Not Enough, among others) is also an entrepreneur and a successful marketing guru. His latest title, Free Prize Inside, reveals how every person in an organization should consider themselves to be part of the marketing department and shows in entertaining fashion how to make something happen. The book is divided into three sections: Why You Need a Free Prize, Selling the Idea and Creating the Free Prize. The main central section of the book shows you how to sell an idea to your organization, using tactics that vary from the practical to the outrageous. His ideas are audacious and astute, and although the book’s assertive style may take a little getting used to it is well worth persevering to discover the valuable nuggets of marketing knowhow. Godin’s basic concept is simple: ‘If you make your product, your service, your role and your career worth talking about, the word will spread’. Remember when cereal boxes came with a free prize inside and made the product irresistible? This is an inspirational and accessible book by an author who knows about selling himself and much else besides. ‘The ultimate entrepreneur for the information age’ - Business Week.

THE PENGUIN SHAKESPEARE SERIES     PENGUIN BOOKS

Shakespeare may or may not have been born on April 23 in 1564 (he was certainly baptised three days later) but since he died on April 23, 1616, it has become popular to believe that he was also born on St George’s Day. Coinciding with his 441st ‘birthday’, the acclaimed Penguin Shakespeare has just been relaunched for the first time in 20 years. Under the continuing editorship of Stanley Wells, the edition has a new look and its editorial material has been radically revised. There are excellent introductions by some of the leading contemporary Shakespeare scholars and the new edition takes full account of all the latest critical interpretations. The first twenty plays are now available (including Cymbeline for the first time) and the complete set will be published over the next two years. All are scholarly yet easily accessible, making them ideal for both performers and readers. Highly recommended. Penguin is also publishing The Shakespeare Miscellany, compiled by linguist David Crystal and actor Ben Crystal (ISBN 0140515550). This illuminating and diverting treasure trove of observations quirkily brings  together an abundance of information and little-known facts. As well as intriguing insights into the plays and poems, the miscellany gathers essential data about the man behind them and the compelling Elizabethan theatrical world in which he operated. Discover, among many other things, which is Shakespeare’s most performed play, what subjects he studied at school, which words he invented, why the Globe theatre burned down and the difference between a Folio and a Quarto. ‘Shakespeare said everything’ - Orson Welles.

THE ESSENTIAL SHAKESPEARE HANDBOOK DORLING KINDERSLEY ISBN 0751348821

William Shakespeare’s legacy is a body of work that will probably never be equalled. His words have lasted for well over 400 years, still moving us as powerfully as ever, and this beautifully-produced book presents a portrait of his sometimes mysterious life and times. There are fascinating and informative commentaries on all his 39 plays, useful plot summaries, a survey of dramatic interpretations on stage and screen, and an introduction to the sonnets and narrative poetry. Lavishly illustrated, this comprehensive guide to the life and work of the world’s greatest author is written in clear, non-academic, prose by Leslie Dunton-Downer and Alan Riding. It presents an absorbing portrait of Shakespeare, with contributions from his critics, contemporaries and patrons, as well as fascinating insights into the Elizabethan era’s vibrant theatre world. Wonderfully informative throughout, it makes the perfect companion to Penguin’s latest editions of the plays. ‘A brilliant new way of looking at Shakespeare’ - Nick Hytner. ‘Refreshing and joyful’ - Kenneth Branagh.

MULTITUDE - HARDT & NEGRI      HAMISH HAMILTON ISBN 0241142407

The unlikely pairing of a left-wing academic from the USA, Michael Hardt, and an Italian lecturer imprisoned for his political beliefs, Antonio Negri, resulted in Empire, a book that has taken America by storm in the last few years. It presented a startling vision of a world in which the old system of nation-states has largely surrendered to a supranational, multidimensional network of power the authors call empire. In this new work, they describe how the people of the world can use the structures of empire against empire itself, arguing that some of the most troubling aspects of the new world order contain the seeds of radical global social transformation. Part one (subtitled ‘War’) explains how a mind-set of perpetual war predominates, in which all wars are police actions and all police actions are wars-counterinsurgencies against the enemies of empire. The book’s main central section, Multitude, then argues that empire, by colonising more areas of human life, has created the possibility for greater liberation of humankind than has been seen since the Industrial Revolution destroyed the old feudal order. In the final section of the book, Democracy, Hardt and Negri suggest that the global multitude can form a robust biopolitical commons in which true democracy will thrive. Multitude is an ambitious and challenging work by two of the most important political philosophers in the world today, making this essential reading for anyone interested in an alternative future. ‘An inspiring marriage of realism and idealism’ - Naomi Klein.

THE WONDERFUL ADVENTURES OF MARY SEACOLE  PENGUIN ISBN 0140439021

Mary Seacole was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805 to Scottish Jamaican parents and died in England in 1881. Her best selling autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands, was first published in 1857 and gives a fascinating insight into her life and many aspects of Victorian society. This unique book provides us with a black woman's perspective on subjects such as racism and slavery, which was still common in the southern states of America at that time. Mary became an inveterate traveller, skilled nurse, writer and healer, caring for people with tropical diseases, developing her medical skills and her own remedies of healing herbs and local plants. She was able to use these skills to great effect when nursing the sick and wounded during the Crimean War (1855-1856), when she became known as ‘Mother Seacole’. Unlike Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole did not come from a rich middle class background, had no formal training and pursued her nursing career despite prejudice against the colour of her skin.. After the war, she returned to London and was widely acclaimed for her work. This new edition of her witty and passionate autobiography. includes an informative introduction by editor Sarah Salih, articles from both the English and Jamaican press, as well as a personal letter by Florence Nightingale revealing her intimate thoughts on the maverick nurse. This book is a fine tribute to a courageous and good-humoured woman.

THE JOY OF LAZINESS     BLOOMSBURY ISBN 0747576769

Michaela Axt-Gadermann and Peter Axt are former (and reformed) champion athletes from Germany. With this book they offer a simple and enlightening message: we should all slow down to live longer. They maintain that being lazy is scientifically proven to give us more energy and longevity, as well as make us more intelligent. Too much exercise can make a person ill, whereas ‘doing nothing’ actually does a great deal of good. The authors’ practical, no-nonsense advice is backed up by solid medical credentials, and their recommendations involve making a few easy changes to our outlook and lifestyle. Eat less, drink moderately, relax, sleep longer and enjoy the sunshine - good for lowering blood pressure, apparently. There are self-assessment tests, practical summaries, lists of what to eat (and how much) as well as what to avoid and suggestions for a few gentle exercises. Professor Gary Cooper, a distinguished international expert on stress, has written an encouraging foreword. This is a persuasive and appropriately short book with a message that will appeal to the Homer Simpson in all of us.

NINE SHIFT - WILLIAM DRAVES AND JULIE COATES   LERN ISBN 1577220307

River Falls is located an hour’s drive east of the Minnesota twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul in America’s Midwest. This small town (population12,560) is the unlikely setting for a nationwide organisation called Lern that believes it can predict the way most of us will be living in the 21st century. William Draves and Julie Coates have written a thought-provoking book that persuasively forecasts changes over the next twenty years or so that will echo the early decades of the 20th century, when the advent of the car caused a radical transformation of society. This time, the changes will be brought about largely by the internet. The title - Nine Shift: Work, Life and Education in the 21st Century - derives from the phenomenon that nine hours in your day will be spent entirely differently in 2020 than they were in 2000. Cars will be replaced by trains, people will work and be educated mainly from home, business structures will alter drastically, suburban sprawl will come to an end and social inequalities diminish. This fascinating book should enable both individuals and businesses cope with the inevitable changes that have already begun to take place. ‘Fascinating reading. Seductive’ - BBCbuy now at Amazon.co.uk

THE PENGUIN COMPANION TO CLASSICAL MUSIC   PENGUIN ISBN 0141009241

This monumental tour de force covers every aspect of classical music, from Abbado and a cappella to Frank Zappa and the zither. Author Paul Griffiths is a former editor for the New Grove and has been a distinguished music writer and critic for 30 years, principally contributing to The Times and The New Yorker. In these 900 pages he uses his vast experience to produce an authoritative survey of composers, performers, works, musical forms and technical terms. The complexities of a thousand years of musical tradition are lucidly explained for readers of all levels of knowledge and there are detailed accounts of all major composers as well as those lesser known yet still important. His deep knowledge coincides with an immediacy of description and an engaging ability to sum up the essence of a subject in a few words. He is particularly astute and well-informed about twentieth century music. Whether you are looking up something specific, such as composer’s complete birth date, or simply browsing (a considerable temptation), this invaluable guide offers all the information, insight and inspiration you might need. ‘An instant classic’ - Sir Simon Rattle.

ENGLAND’S THOUSAND BEST HOUSES - SIMON JENKINS PENGUIN ISBN 0141006250

The Times columnist and former deputy chairman of English Heritage Simon Jenkins’s book meticulously details his choice of ‘the thousand best houses’ open to the public in England. Now available in paperback, the guide covers a huge variety of properties, ranging from well-known stately homes such as Chatsworth House, Woburn Abbey and Castle Howard, to modest cottages, a post office in Tintagel, a ‘prefab’ in Aylesbury, schools, a hermitage and even a prison. Almost half the properties are owned by the National Trust or English Heritage. This comprehensively researched and attractively photographed book has clearly been a labour of love for its author, who was justly acclaimed for his earlier ‘England's Thousand Best Churches’. The succinct yet highly informative descriptions of the properties are arranged by counties, with a top 100 and star ratings. The latter are great fun to argue about, since Jenkins is not without some strongly held and controversial opinions. This is a perfect companion to take on a visit to any of the houses listed, many of which have survived in remarkably good shape and are still owned by the families that built them. ‘No other book (apart from his 1,000 Churches) will prompt so many joyous detours’ - Daily Mail.

THIS I BELIEVE - CARLOS FUENTES   BLOOMSBURY ISBN 0747573379

Carlos Fuentes was born in Panama in 1928 and educated in Mexico, the United States and various cities of South America, completing his university studies in Mexico City and Geneva. A diplomat who served as Mexico’s ambassador to France, he is also the author of more than twenty books, including The Old Gringo and Terra Nostra, and is one of the greatest literary and political figures of the Spanish-speaking world. This I Believe is a wide-ranging collection of meditations and polemics on subjects that Carlos Fuentes loves and passionately believes in. These include Balzac, Beauty; Children (with thoughts on the births of his daughters and a touching account of his son’s short life), Reading, Revolution, Sex and Shakespeare. The essays are woven together with themes of politics, time and language; and through them runs the vein of his personal journey, his views on love, sex, women, friendship and family. This is a witty and profound book that confirms Fuentes as a truly independent voice with an instinct for social justice.

GRANDES HORIZONTALES - VIRGINIA ROUNDING BLOOMSBURY ISBN 0747568596

The reign of Napoleon III was the golden age of the French courtesan, when they became the most glittering celebrities of their time. These legendary women were powerful, wealthy beyond belief, and their beauty and allure captured men's hearts to the point of irrationality. The lives and legends of four of these remarkable women are examined in this seductive book by Virginia Rounding, who depicts their lives as well as the mythical reputations that surrounded them. Marie Duplessis became the prototype of the virtuous courtesan (as portrayed by Alexandre Dumas Fils in La dame aux Camellas), Apollonie Sabatier put men at ease amidst the bawdy talk of her salon, the Russian Jew La Païva appeared intent to prey on rich young Parisian men, and the English beauty who called herself Cora Pearl had an athletic physique, sixty horses and the useful ability ‘to make bored men laugh’. Grandes Horizontales disentangles myth from reality in a vivacious and thought-provoking study that brings Nineteenth-century Paris to life. ‘Women behaving badly in Second Empire Paris; entertaining and full of saucy anecdotes ... fascinating’ - Sunday Times.

IN PRAISE OF SLOW - CARL HONORE    ORION ISBN 0752856251

Are you always in a hurry? Is your life whizzing by in an unsatisfying blur? Slowing down may be the answer to all your problems. Almost everyone complains about the hectic pace of their lives and our culture teaches that faster is better. But in the race to keep up, everything suffers - work, diet and health, our relationships and sex lives. Carl Honoré uncovers a movement that challenges the cult of speed. In this entertaining and thought-provoking book he investigates the emerging Slow movement: from a Tantric sex workshop in London to a meditation room for Tokyo executives, from a SuperSlow exercise studio in New York, to Italy, home of the Slow Food, Slow Cities and Slow Sex movements. The author of this elegantly-written and persuasive book is the London Correspondent for the Houston Chronicle. He has also written for The Economist, Guardian, Chicago Tribune and Time magazine. ‘Honoré’s engaging report should be embraced by those with quality-of-life and environmental concerns’ - Booklist.

THE ENCYCOPEDIA OF GARDEN FLOWERS   DAVID & CHARLES ISBN 0715318403

This superbly produced encyclopedia features the most beautiful blooms from around the world, including annuals and perennials, trees, orchids, shrubs, ground cover plants, bromeliads and bulbs. With its accessible style, well-judged mix of practical and factual information, comprehensive descriptions, and fine colour photographs, this is a perfect bookfor any gardener, as well as for all who love the beauty and romance of flowers. As well as descriptions of over 1,400 flowering plants the book has sound cultivation advice, an easy-to-use seasonal table and a useful index. The book starts with an introduction to growing flowers, choosing the right plant for your region, and caring for your garden. There are informative articles on the different groups of plants, followed by an A-Z of flowers, from abutilon to zinnia. For each genus there is a general introduction plus cultivation information and a helpful hint. An at-a-glance table reveals favourite species and groups, describing their size, flower colour, flowering season, fragrance, hardiness zone, and frost tolerance.

GIELGUD’S LETTERS     WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON ISBN 0297829890

Sir John Gielgud was an incomparable actor whose career on stage and screen spanned eight decades, from his 1921 London stage debut to recent films such as Shine and Elizabeth. He wrote letters almost every day of his adult life, whether at home in England or abroad, right up to shortly before his death aged 96 in May 2000. From thousands of letters, beginning with those to his mother when Gielgud was an aspiring but still unknown actor, editor Richard Mangan has has selected 200 treasures that reveal a man of keen mind and astute observation. Gielgud wrote revealingly about contemporary stage actors such as Olivier, Richardson, Peggy Ashcroft and Edith Evans, and was equally candid about royalty, celebrities and film stars such as Greta Garbo and Marlon Brando. He had a well-earned reputation for speaking his mind, and here for the first time are his love letters, which were never available to his biographer, showing that he was never shy in expressing the intimacies of personal relationships. This marvellously entertaining book is, essentially, the autobiography that Gielgud never wrote.

DRESDEN - FREDERICK TAYLOR     BLOOMSBURY ISBN 0747570787

At 9.51p.m. on Tuesday, 13 February 1945, Dresden’s air-raid sirens sounded as they had done many times in the previous five years, until then almost most always a false alarm. Ten minutes later the first marker flares were dropped by Mosquitos of 627 squadron. By the next morning, 796 RAF Lancasters and 311 USAAF Liberators had dropped more than 4,500 tons of high explosives and incendiary devices. At least 25,000 inhabitants died in the terrifying firestorm, and thirteen square miles of the city’s historic centre, including many architectural treasures and works of art, lay in ruins. Almost a lifetime later, controversy about Dresden's destruction continues. For this engrossing and carefully-reseached book, Frederick Taylor has explored German, British and American archives, and talked to British and American bomber crews as well as to the city's survivors, to reveal a definitive portrait of the city and its fate. He provides a plausible defence of the raids and in doing so largely belies the legend that Dresden was entirely a cultural centre.

BUDDHIST SYMBOLS - TATJANA & MIRABAI BLAU   STERLING ISBN 1402700334

Images of enlightenment and beauty that offer a universal system of values: these Tibetan Buddhist symbols, and the instructions for incorporating them into everyday life, please the eye, mind, and soul. Gaze upon a series of calm Buddhas, filled with the light of compassion, and Bodhisattvas - who exist for the benefit of all living beings. Among them: Krakucchanda, the first Buddha of our present age, and the elaborately drawn Vajrasattva, who represents the principle of cleansing and purification. Here, too, are the wrathful gods, with flames around their heads, scornful expressions, protruding eyeballs, and mouths open wide. Chant the syllables of the sacred mantra Om Mani Padme Hum; begin to understand the meaning of our universe through pictures of the Wheel of Life; and make wishes come true with the Cintamani, said to fulfill any desire. The book allso includes mudras (sacred gestures), good luck symbols and ritual structures. Whether in the noise of the city, in the peace of the countryside, or in the silence of your room, the wisdom in this book will inspire and comfort.

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO CLASSICAL MUSIC   ROUGH GUIDES ISBN: 1858287219

This highly recommended guide, edited by Joe Staines, has recommendations for all that’s best in classical music CDs, making it a reliable and stimulating source of information for anyone building up or adding to their collection. As well as CD reviews, this excellently illustrated book has informative articles on the composers and intriguing articles on subjects such as 'Music and the Third Reich' and 'Castrati'. ‘A welcome beacon for those adrift among the aisles of classical CDs...and refreshingly not afraid to make offbeat recommendations’ - Billboard, USA. The perfect classical music primer’ - BBC Music Magazine

MEN’S COOKING MANUAL - CHRIS MAILLARD  HAYNES ISBN: 9781844258697

This no-nonsense guide to buying, making and eating great food is designed to appeal to all blokes who want to cook for themselves, or their friends and family. Full of sensible advice and focussed on techniques rather than just recipes, it’s about teaching people who have trouble telling olive oil from Castrol GTX how to cook absolutely anything, rather than just a set of pre-determined dishes. It shows the short-cuts and straightforward skills that will make cooking a simple, enjoyable activity instead of a terrifying mystery. The recipes and ideas inside are explained in a foolproof, clear way, to give even the most fumble-fingered man a chance of producing tasty, healthy food. Written by Chris Maillard, one of the founding editors of Top Gear magazine and a keen if unflashy cook, the Men’s Cooking Manual is for every man who would like to be able to lash together a quick snack, handle a weekday dinner or learn a few impressive tricks to wheel out at special occasions. It covers everything from how to shop, buying and maintaining tools, selecting ingredients and basic cooking styles, through to at least one recipe that is almost guaranteed to burn your Healthy Eatinghouse to the ground. As well as dads it’s also a great read for clueless students leaving home for the first time, working blokes who need swift, easy-to-understand recipes, and older geezers who never learned to cook because it was strictly women’s work but always quite fancied a go. The manual is complemented by another Haynes guide, HEALTHY EATING (ISBN: 9780857330628). Carina Norris shows how every day we are bombarded with information about so-called ‘superfoods’, best-ever diets and what we should eat. Covering all ages from children to the elderly, Healthy Eating explains the principles of good nutrition and how to achieve them in the 21st Century - even when time and money may be short. Written with a positive approach, it includes information on all types of food, intolerances, allergies, weight issues, age-related food considerations, shopping tips and storing food. The book, which has 400 colour illustrations, encourages readers to look at the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet and take more care about what they and their family eat.

TRAVELS WITH MY HARP - MARY O’HARA   SHEPHEARD-WALWYN ISBN 9780856832857

The outstanding Irish singer and harpist Mary O’Hara was born in County Sligo in 1935 and achieved fame on both sides of the Atlantic in the late 1950s and early 1960s, selling millions of records and performing worldwide. Her harp-playing revived the tradition of the Irish harp as an accompanying instrument - a tradition that had almost disappeared in Ireland. Her recordings influenced a generation of Irish female singers who credit O’Hara with shaping their style and her music inspired Folk Revival period artists such as Joan Baez, The Clancy Brothers and Bob Dylan. O’Hara retired from performing in 1996 and, two years later, took off for Africa. She had done the same almost three decades earlier after the death of her young American poet husband, Richard Selig. At that time, however, she joined a contemplative order of nuns, emerging after 12 years to take up her interrupted singing career, recording thirteen more LPs, having her own TV series on the BBC and writing three best-selling books. Then, to great acclaim, she went on to perform in major venues around the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House. She now lives with her second husband on the Aran Islands off the West coast of Ireland, but still travels and lectures. Her remarkable story is an inspiring tale of triumph over tragedy, helped by her deep religious faith and many friendships with other performers, recounted here with warmth and humour in this updated version of her autobiography.

THE IMPACT EQUATION - GROGAN & SMITH  PENGUIN ISBN: 9780670921942

As traditional channels for marketing, selling, and influencing disappear and online networks grow at an ever faster rate, nearly every company these days uses social media as a marketing tool for their business. Unfortunately most of them are going about it the wrong way. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media are extraordinary tools for reaching people, but impact isn’t only about quantity; it’s about getting people to care. Much more than just a guide to using social media, this invaluable book by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith show how to create a powerful message and increase your visibility in a concrete and effective way. Find out how C X (R + E + A + T + E) can show you what you’re doing right, doing wrong, or not doing at all. Equipped with this set of metrics you can see how well your company makes use of a variety of channels and learn how to establish the most powerful platform to build on your company’s influence and profit margin. The authors explain why a feature in a national newspaper that reaches millions may have less impact than a blog post that reaches a few thousand, and why the future is as unimaginable to us as Google was to medieval peasants.

GUITAR PLAYING MANUAL: THE COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE  HAYNES ISBN: 9780857332745

Extensively illustrated and written in down-to-earth language by Martin Hatwood, this Haynes Manual is designed to take the novice guitar player through from first steps to confident, competent playing. Each chapter can also be read as a self-contained tutorial in its own right by those who already have some knowledge and skill. The author has worked as both a professional and semi-professional guitarist and bass player for over 25 years. He has taught many people to read music and play guitar and is also skilled in guitar maintenance and repair, so this book is based on his recording and performing experience over more than two decades. During the writing of it, Martin HatwoodHaynes Acoustic Guitar Manual has recalled his own problems from his early playing days, some of which have taken many years and frustrations to resolve, and aims to provide the reader with answers to many common stumbling blocks. Generously illustrated, this is the perfect book for anyone learning how to play the most popular of all musical instruments. It would make an ideal Christmas present for any aspiring guitarist, as would Paul Balmer’s excellent ACOUSTIC GUITAR MANUAL (Haynes ISBN: 9781844259632), subtitled ‘How to Buy, Maintain and Set Up Your Acoustic Guitar’. Most rock and pop guitarists begin their playing on an acoustic guitar, and the advent of MTV’s ‘Unplugged’ and improvements in acoustic amplification mean this once poor relation has returned to centre stage, though, of course, the acoustic guitar has always reigned supreme in classical, flamenco, folk, delta blues and country music. Superbly illustrated and designed, the manual includes case studies of key models - from a Martin D28 used by country music legend Hank Williams to a Chinese-made Yamaha budget classic - and explains in detail how to set up, maintain and repair most popular types of acoustic guitar. In over 50 years, Paul Balmer has owned acoustic guitars of every type and is also the author of Fender Stratocaster Manual, Gibson Les Paul Manual, Fender Telecaster Manual and Fender Bass Manual.

ANNA MAY WONG - GRAHAM RUSSELL & GAO HODGES  HONG KONG UNIVERSITY PRESS

Anna May WongBorn Wong Liu Tsong (meaning ‘frosted yellow willows’) in 1905 in the Chinatown district of Los Angeles, California, to parents who ran a laundry, Anna May Wong was the first Asian American actress to become an international star. Her long and varied stage and film career began during the silent era of the 1920s and lasted until 1961, when she died at the age of 56. Controversially, MGM refused to consider her for the leading role in its film version of The Good Earth and chose instead the Austrian-born actress Luise Rainer. For decades after her death, Anna May Wong was remembered for the stereotypical ‘Dragon Lady’ and demure ‘Butterfly’ roles that she was often given but her life and career have lately been re-evaluated in several recent major film retrospectives. Subtitled ‘From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend’, this definitive biography by Graham Russell and Gao Hodges tells the fascinating story of America’s best known Chinese American actress during Hollywood’s golden age. Wong became obsessed with film at a young age and managed to secure a small part in a 1919 drama about the Boxer Rebellion. She went on to star in over fifty movies, including The Thief of Baghdad, Old San Francisco and Shanghai Express opposite Dietrich. Despite these successes, instances of overt racism plagued Wong’s career. In a narrative that recalls both the gritty life in Los Angeles’s working-class Chinese neighborhoods and the glamour of Hollywood at its peak, Graham Hodges brilliantly recounts the life of this elegant, beautiful and underappreciated screen legend - a free spirit and embodiment of the flapper era much like Louise Brooks.

THE SECRET ROOMS - CATHERINE BAILEY  VIKING ISBN: 9780670917556

At 6am on 21 April 1940 John the 9th Duke of Rutland, and one of Britain's wealthiest men, ended his days, virtually alone, lying on a makeshift bed in a dank cramped suite of rooms in the servants’ quarters of his own home, Belvoir Castle. For weeks, his family, his servants - even the King's doctor - had pleaded with him to come out, but he had refused. After his death, his son and heir, Charles, the 10th Duke of Rutland, ordered that the rooms be locked up and they remained untouched for sixty years. What lay behind this extraordinary set of circumstances? Historian Catherine Bailey was granted unprecedented access to the letters and diaries at Belvoir Castle in her research for this book. Along with extensive interviews with the family, the servants working at the castle in 1940, and their relations, the letters enabled the author to unravel the remarkable story behind the Duke’s death. It's a tragic tale played out on the brutal battlefields of the Western Front and in the exclusive salons of Mayfair and Belgravia in the dying years of la belle époque. Uncovered is a dark and disturbing period in the history of the dysfunctional Rutland family, and one which they were determined to keep hidden for over sixty years. This gripping true-life Gothic mystery about a damaged, vulnerable man has all the tension and colour of a well-written novel.

WHERE THE HEART BEATS - KAY LARSON   PENGUIN ISBN 9781594003404

One of the greatest American composers of the twentieth century, John Cage created music that defies easy explanation. Many writers have grappled with Cage’s work - which used notes chosen by chance, randomly tuned radios and even silence - trying to understand what his music means rather than where it came from. An unprecedented and revelatory book, Where the Heart Beats reveals what actually empowered Cage to compose his incredible music, and how he inspired the tremendous artistic transformations of mid-century America. This is the first biography of the composer to show how his work, and that of countless American artists, was transformed by Zen Buddhism. Zen’s power of transforming Cage’s troubled mind, by showing him his own enlightened nature - which is also the nature of all living things - liberated Cage from an acute personal crisis that threatened his life, his music and his relationship with his life-partner, Merce Cunningham. Caught in a society that rejected his music, his politics and his sexual orientation, Cage was transformed by Zen from an overlooked and marginal musician into the absolute epicentre of the avant garde. Using Cage’s life as a starting point, acclaimed art critic Kay Larson’s thoroughly researched and beautifully written book looks beyond to the individuals he influenced and the art he inspired. His circle included Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Merce Cunningham, Yoko Ono, Jasper Johns, Morton Feldman and Leo Castelli, who all went on to revolutionize their respective disciplines. As Cage’s story progresses, as his students’ trajectories unfurl, Where the Heart Beats shows the blossoming of Zen in the very heart of American culture. The author’s deep knowledge of Zen Buddhism, her long familiarity with New York’s art world, and her exhaustive original research all help make this a fascinating insight one of America’s most enduringly important artists.

FEVER PITCH - NICK HORNBY  PENGUIN

‘When I was talking to publishers and agents about Fever Pitch they told me no chance, trying to sell a football book.’ How wrong those publishers were. Nick Hornby’s first published book, 1992’s Fever Pitch, was a huge success, selling over a million copies in the UK and winning the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. Born in Surrey, Hornby studied English at Cambridge before becoming a teacher. His autobiographical book vividly depicts his childhood life, his time as a teacher and his first loves (after football). Above all, he tells the story of his fanatical support for Arsenal Football Club as everything is seen through the prism of the game. Hornby insightfully and brilliantly explores obsession and the way it can shape a life as he recounts Arsenal’s highs and lows in matches between 1968 and 1992 and relates them to his own personal experiences. Now regarded by many as a modern classic, Fever Pitch is published in this Twentieth Anniversary Edition with a specially written afterword by the author in which he reflects on the game over the last two decades, especially his beloved team’s defeat against Birmingham City in the 2011 Carling Cup Final. Funny, moving and heartfelt, this is probably the best book ever written about the beautiful game.

HOW ENGLAND MADE THE ENGLISH - HARRY MOUNT  VIKING ISBN-13: 978-0670919130

For all their sophistication, Roman roads are responsible for the narrowness of our train seats today. The first Victorian trains were built to the same width as horse-drawn wagons; they, in turn, were designed to fit the ruts left in the road by Roman chariots, which is why the Romans are responsible for today’s narrow train seats. In this enlightening book, Harry Mount explains how our national characteristics - our sense of humour, our hobbies, our favourite foods and our behaviour with the opposite sex - are all defined by our nation’s extraordinary geography, geology, climate and weather. You will learn how to tell which part of England you are in by looking at a field gate; why we would be as freezing cold as Siberia without the Gulf Stream; why most statues are of men; why we drive on the left-hand side of the road; why the Midlands became the home of the British curry; why we such an obsession with an idealised countryside. It identifies the materials that make England, too: the faint pink Aberdeen granite of kerbstones; that precise English mix of air temperature, smell and light that hits you the moment you touch down at Heathrow. Harry Mount’s lively, idiosyncratic book, subtitled From Hedgerows to Heathrow, is a fascinating meander through all things English. He shows how this country’s undramatic yet wonderfully varied landscapes have shaped the national character, influencing everything from literature and architecture to road signs, social awkwardness and a tendency towards constitutional gloom.

RED ARROWS IN CAMERA - KEITH WILSON   HAYNES ISBN: 978 0 85733 154 0

Formed in 1965, the RAF’s world-famous aerobatic team, the Red Arrows, has flown more than 4,000 displays in 53 countries. Aviation photographer and journalist Keith Wilson received privileged official access to the team, giving him an opportunity to photograph all aspects of the world of the Reds - its pilots, ground crew and support staff, its Hawk aircraft, and the precision flying by the pilots themselves during displays. This splendid book details the Red Arrows from their earliest history through chapters on aircraft used, personnel, training and maintenance to show how they became the finest aerobatic team in the world. Among hundreds of stirring photographs in this unique book are many by Keith Wilson and E.J. van Koningsveld that vividly capture the Red Arrows in action. The team’s precision, skill and daring are inspiring and often breathtakingly beautiful. Red Arrows In Camera is published in association with the Red Arrows and the RAF and 50p from the sale of each copy will be donated to the RAF Benevolent Fund in memory of Red Arrows pilots Flt Lt Jon Egging and Flt Lt Sean Cunningham, both of whom died in accidents in 2011.

CHARLES DICKENS: A LIFE - CLAIRE TOMALIN   PENGUIN

Claire Tomalin is the author of seven highly acclaimed biographies, including Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, which was the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year, and Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man, shortlisted for the British Book Awards Biography of the Year in 2006. Her previous book on Dickens, The Invisible Woman, an account of his relationship with the actress Ellen Ternan, won three major literary prizes. Charles Dickens was a phenomenon: a demonically hardworking journalist, the father of ten children, a tireless walker and traveller, a supporter of liberal social causes, but most of all a great novelist - creating characters such as the Artful Dodger, Mr Pickwick and Miss Havisham who live immortally in the English imagination. Much about the great Victorian author’s amazing life remains unknown but what we have is a fascinating rags to riches story; complete with bankruptcy, prison, forced child labour, followed by fame and fortune, always overshadowed by guilt and secrecy. Dickens’ brilliance concealed a divided character: a republican, he disliked America; sentimental about the family in his writings, he took up passionately with a young actress; usually generous, he cut off his impecunious children. Many books have been written about Dickens but Claire Tomalin’s vivid biography provides fresh insight and telling detail, painting an unforgettable portrait that brilliantly captures the complex character of this much loved genius.

THE STORY OF NAXOS - NICOLAS SOAMES  PIATKUS

Naxos Records, founded in 1987 by former Frankfurt tennis coach Klaus Heymann, is the largest independent classical music label in the world. Through a number of imprints, it also releases genres including Chinese music, jazz, world music and early rock & roll. This book by Nicolas Soames, who has run award-winning Naxos AudioBooks for 18 years, tells the fascinating story of how a budget classical record label became the leading provider of classical music and the man behind its success. Klaus Heymann’s vision, knowledge and acute business acumen have enabled him to build the most varied classical music label in the world, as well as the most effective distribution network to ensure that his recordings are available everywhere. Naxos swiftly gained a reputation from the start for its reliable new digital recordings of the classics at a remarkably low price. Despite opposition from the classical record establishment, the company grew at a rapid pace and soon expanded into opera, early music, contemporary music and specialist repertoire, becoming appreciated by specialist collectors as well as the general music lover. Naxos has thrived during one of the most exciting periods in recorded music, from the end of the vinyl era to the growing influence of the internet, and is now not only the leading producer and distributor of classical music but also an innovator in digital delivery, including streaming web radio and podcasts. www.naxos.com

WALLACE & GROMIT CRACKING CONTRAPTIONS MANUAL, 2  HAYNES

In Wallace and Gromit, Nick Park and the other brilliant people at Aardman Animations have created two marvellously eccentric and endearing characters. Wallace is an absent-minded inventor and cheese enthusiast living in Wigan, Lancashire. His companion, Gromit, is an anthropomorphically intelligent dog. Together they have had many adventures involving the wrong trousers, close shaves were-rabbits and a matters of loaf and death. Following the success of the his first Cracking Contraptions Manual, Wallace has pulled the dust sheets off a further 20 of his wonderfully ingenious inventions, ranging from the impressive Rocket Mk-2 (complete with fly by wire / elastic band control systems), a lethal looking Runabout Steam Chair and the famous Anti Pesto Launch System, all published with the aid of Pronto Print (patent pending). The book has superbly detailed cutaway drawings by Graham Bleatham, together with informative technical descriptions and colour photographs, and is produced by Wallace with his usual enthusiasm and expertise. Cracking! This indispensable manual is one of many new titles published by Haynes to commemorate THE SS GREAT BRITAIN MANUALthe Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics this summer by celebrating all things British, including the Spitfire, the Ford Cortina and London’s black cab. SIXTY GLORIOUS YEARS is an impressive pictorial tribute featuring more than 300 formal portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, as well as behind the scenes ‘off duty’ pictures, to document sixty years on the throne. The SS GREAT BRITAIN MANUAL uses archive illustrations, specially commissioned photographs and technical drawings to explain in detail how Brunel’s masterpiece worked and also looks at the ambitious salvage and conservation effort that brought her home to Bristol. HMS VICTORY is a book that has been officially licensed by the Royal Navy, offering fascinating insights into the ship’s construction, weaponry and operation, and including over 300 images, many of which have never been seen before. Flagship to Admiral Lord Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, when he was killed on her deck, HMS Victory is probably the most famous surviving historic warship in the world today.

THE SIGN - THOMAS DE WESSELOW   VIKING

The birth of Christianity, nearly 2000 years ago, has shaped the whole course of human history. Yet historians still cannot explain how it all really began. What made Jesus’s followers claim to have seen him alive again, three days after his crucifixion? Why did Christianity take off so quickly? This extraordinary book, based on seven years of secret research by art historian Thomas de Wesselow, attempts to provide the answer by re-examining an enigmatic relic long assumed to be a fake: the Shroud of Turin. With historical detective work and cutting-edge scientific research, de Wesselow maintains that Jesus’s followers did see something at the tomb - something real but out of the ordinary. Something that seemed like a miracle. This was the burial cloth of Jesus, stained with his body image, hailed as a sign of the Resurrection and major inspiration of the Christian faith. The Sign offers details evidence that the Shroud of Turin is authentic, showing that the faint image on the cloth was formed naturally through a rare chemical reaction. The author then explains how this revelation solves multiple puzzles of religious history: for example, the Gospel reports of the appearances of the Risen Christ are clearly based on early viewings of the Shroud. Persuasively and unsensationally argued, The Sign is a fascinating read that casts new light on one of the biggest and most profound of all historical mysteries.

QUIET - SUSAN CAIN  VIKING ISBN: 9780141970172

The world is mostly organised in a way that is stacked against quiet introverts, yet they make up almost half the population and have talents essential to the health and progress of society. Instead, we shortsightedly reward the oversharers, the loudmouths and the spotlight hoggers. But while everyone else fights for their fifteen minutes of fame, introverts have been (quietly) changing the world by giving us the theory of relativity, Van Gogh’s sunflowers, and even the Apple computer. Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Charles Darwin, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Abraham Lincoln, Friedrich Nietzsche, Isaac Newton, W A Mozart, Charles Dickens, Mahatma Gandhi, Stephen Hawking and Marie Curie are just some the impressive introverts who have done more for us than many a flamboyant extrovert. Introverts work well with others, maintain long-term friendships, are flexible and independent, have a strong ability to concentrate, are responsible and think creatively. Where would we be without them? This groundbreaking book by Susan Cain, subtitled ‘The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’, discusses the many ways in which the extrovert bias affects our lives: The financial crisis and the myth of charismatic leadership in business; The way we work - job postings asking for ‘outgoing’ personalities, open plan offices and the ubiquitous ‘brainstorm’; How we raise and educate our children; When extroverts and introverts fall in love (and how to compromise on those dinner parties). Susan Cain shows how the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century has had far-reaching effects and questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the the potential of introverts is often overlooked. Introverts need some one to speak up for them and this quietly revelatory book should help to redress the balance. ‘Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.’ - Lao Zi.

REPROBATES - JOHN STUBBS   PENGUIN ISBN: 9780141035567

1John Stubbs’ biography of the poet John Donne won many award and received lavuish critical praise. Now comes his wonderfully evocative, brilliantly paced story of the English Civil War told through the lives of the court and its writers. From disastrous foreign forays to syphilitic poets, from political intriguing to ambitious young playwrights keen to curry favour with the king, Stubbs brings alive the vibrant cast of characters that were at the centre of the English Civil War, showing how the country was brought to one of the most destructive moments in its history. In 1641, the Scots are in open rebellion and revolt is brewing in Ireland. England stands at the brink of civil war. In London, as Parliament tightens its grip on the king, scuffles and parleys break out between crowds of protesters and demobbed officers they denounce as ‘cavaliers’: fashionable ‘gallants’, braggards and dandies distinguished by their long hair, silken suits and hatred of Puritans. Reprobates offers a chronicle of how this faction was created, and re-made over time. Drawing on the writings and experiences of wits, womanisers and wanderers, this richly detailed book follows cavaliers-in-the-making from early privilege through Continental warfare, and back to their urban recreations. This is an engrossing account of all their campaigns, through peacetime, civil war and exile, across town and across Europe, from the Blackfriars Playhouse to the battlefields of Charles’ kingdoms, and their part in a national disaster.

EVERYDAY ENLIGHTENMENT - HIS HOLINESS THE GYALWANG DRUKPA  PENGUIN ISBN: 9780241960080

tEveryday Enlightenment is an inspirational guide to finding happiness by taking in the beauty right in front of you. Leading Himalayan Buddhist His Holiness the Gwyalwang Drukpa walks with you along a path and teaches you that there is peace in recognising that we are all connected. Positive influences are closer than you think and in order to inspire others, you need to find inspiration in your life. Everything, both negative and positive, is within you, and what you think, you become. Bringing ancient wisdom into the modern world, Everyday Enlightenment teaches through stories and example, showing you how to let go of your ego and stress, turn anger into compassion, and transform your fears into courage. His Holiness helps you expand your spiritual horizon as he guides you along your path to understanding yourself and achieving greater inner freedom, clarity and happiness. He shows you how to deal with the demands and challenges of daily life and gives you methods to connect with yourself - your true self, not your ego. Only once you have learned to love yourself can you love others and live a harmonious life. Accessibly written and packed with practical exercises, meditations and gentle advice that teach you how to slow down and refocus, this is a book that could truly change your life.

FEAR AND LOATHING AT ROLLING STONE - HUNTER S THOMPSON  PENGUIN

Hunter Stockton Thompson was one of the most strikingly original voices in American literature. With books such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail he created Gonzo journalism, a style of journalism where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories. He was also famous for his lifelong consumption of alcohol, LSD, mescaline and cocaine (among other substances), his love of firearms, his hatred of Richard Nixon, and his contempt for authoritarianism. Despite all this he survived defiantly until 2005, when he committed suicide at the age of 67. At a funeral financed by his friend Johnny Depp, Thompson’s ashes, together with fireworks, were fired from a cannon to the tune of Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit in the Sky’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr Tambourine Man’. Subtitled ‘The Essential Writing of Hunter S Thompson’, this book showcases the evolution of fearless iconoclast’s writing as he vividly chronicles the upheavals of twentieth-century America. A startling insight into the allusive man the New Yorker crowned as ‘our official crazy’, Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone reveals the rollicking spectacle of a writer at his peak, delivering his career bests to the editor of the magazine that became his literary home. The book includes new material as well as letters to Jann S Wenner, co-founder and editor of the magazine. ‘If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.’ - Hunter S Thompson.

A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN 100 OBJECTS - NEIL MACGREGOR ALLEN LANE ISBN: 9781846145117

A History of the World in 100 Objects was a joint partnership between BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum, resulting in an ambitious landmark 100-part radio series written and presented by British Museum director Neil MacGregor. In each 15-minute weekday broadcast in 2010, MacGregor presented objects of ancient art, industry, technology and arms, all from the British Museum’s collections, as an introduction to aspects of human history. Together, the programmes told a history of two million years of humanity through the objects we have made, starting with the earliest object in the museum’s collection. The book that accompanied the series, also written by Neil MacGregor, was chosen as ‘Book of the Year’ by over a dozen publications and became one of the bestselling hardbacks Penguin Press has ever published. It’s now being re-published in this elegant, smaller hardback edition complete with all the original full colour illustrations. The book takes a dramatically original approach to the history of humanity, using fascinating and often extraordinarily beautiful objects which previous civilisations have left behind, to explore past worlds and the lives of the men and women who lived in them. It begins with one of the earliest surviving objects made by human hands, a chopping tool from the Olduvai gorge in Africa, and moves through the years to a David Hockney etching, a United Arab Emirates credit card and other surprising items from the modern day. The author doesn’t simply describe these things, he shows their significance and captures the grand sweep of the centuries with a commendably light touch. The result is an exceptionally well-informed, engrossing and vivid guide to history. ‘Highly intelligent, delightfully written and utterly absorbing’ - Spectator.

HOODWINKING CHURCHILL - PETER BATTY  SHEPHEARD-WAYWYN ISBN 9780856832826

Josip Broz Tito received a total of 119 awards and decorations from 60 countries around the world, including the French Légion d’honneur and the British Most Honourable Order of the Bath, and enjoyed a mostly favourable international reputation. Subtitled ‘Tito’s Great Confidence Trick’, journalist and documentary film-maker Peter Batty’s fascinating book explores new information to show how Britain’s staunchly anti-communist Prime Minister was deceived into giving his full backing to the communist Tito, cutting all aid to the anti-communist forces resisting the Germans in Yugoslavia. But for that decision, the author argues, Tito would not have overcome his political opponents and emerged as the country’s undisputed ruler after the war. Churchill relied on information provided by two trusted advisors, Fitzroy Maclean and William Deakin, and the deception was compounded by a communist mole at SOE headquarters in Cairo who withheld or doctored information from liaison officers with the anti-communist leader, Draza Mihailovic. The author explodes the myth of Tito as the heroic Partisan leader, plucked from obscurity by Churchill, who, unlike the rest of occupied Europe, fought the Germans throughout the war, liberating his country virtually unaided. Remarkable new evidence suggests that the cunning Tito used the munitions he received from the British and Americans, not to kill Germans as promised to Churchill, but mostly to eliminate his political rivals. At the end of the war he massacred in cold blood countless thousands of anti-communist Yugoslavs handed over to him by the British in good faith. That it has taken so long for the full story to emerge, the author suggests, is due to a concerted cover-up by a generation who had a vested interest in sustaining the myths surrounding Tito which they had helped to beget. In this the BBC played a controversial part. This book is both a telling biography of Tito and a convincing re-appraisal of the truth behind an important aspect of the wartime mythology.

SAFE AS HOUSES? - NEIL MONNERY  LONDON PUBLISHING PARTNERSHIP

UK house prices tripled in the two decades after 1995 - a real rate of growth of 5% and far higher than the long term norm of 1% above inflation. No wonder we’re nervous about the reality of this as each flicker up or down of the house price indexes makes headlines. Doom-mongers constantly forecast a crash and find themselves at war with buy-to-let enthusiasts who believe they are on to a sure thing. The accepted wisdom is that houses are a safe and excellent investment for the long term. But are they really as good an investment as we believe? Might the future be different from the past? Are houses really so safe? An objective view of the market, uninfluenced by estate agents and other vested interest, is hard to find. Academic Neil Monnery’s authoritative analysis of property prices is a carefully researched study of long-term trends in a number of countries, including Germany, the USA and the UK. He shows that, while prices have fluctuated during our lifetimes, overall they have risen steadily and sometimes spectacularly. The author provides intriguing details including a century-long index of UK house prices, an analysis of the value of the White House and a fascinating four-hundred-year story of houses in Amsterdam. To what extent are we right to view our houses as an investment as well as a home? If prices can rise for decades and then fall for more than a whole generation, then what does the future hold? The book concludes with three possible scenarios for the year 2025 in the UK - a continuing boom, a precipitate crash or, most convincingly, a long drawn out decline masked by inflation. This is a fascinating and and accessibly written book with many surprising facts and an underlying wit. The proposed Surviving Austerity magazine sounds like a winner and who wouldn’t want a book called Save a Million promising to save a million pounds in your lifetime.

SIGNING THEIR RIGHTS AWAY   QUIRK BOOKS ISBN: 9781594745201

The American Constitution enshrines in law, practice, social belief, the rights of the citizens of the USA and is arguably the most important document in the history of democracy. In 1787 the fledging United States was on the brink of collapse, with individual states wishing to secede, farmers going broke and having their homes repossessed. The wealthy feared mob anarchy from the poor and many thought a civil war was unavoidable. Although they needed a strong government system, many individuals, towns, cities, whole states, feared it more than the looming threat of anarchy. So how did 39 men of widely different backgrounds come together to thresh out and sign a document that would restore peace and lead the USA to prosperity and power? Indeed, who were these men, and why did they commit themselves and their nation to a course that many judged to be the wrong one? This illuminating book tells the life stories of those 39 signatories – from a broken alcoholic, to legal scholars, battle-hardened militarists who would shoot first and ask questions later, one who believed in aliens, one with a peg leg, one bankrupt and debt-ridden, one who was a true patriot and gentleman, thieves, crooks, playboys, and even one who wanted to re-establish a monarchy. Taking the reader through the actual document that forms the US Constitution as it was then, this book explores the system of government that James Madison envisaged, with enough checks and balances to win the trust of these suspicious delegates, and why each one signed. The book jacket ingeniously folds out to form a replica of the Constitution, and Signing Their Rights Away is a breezy reference book for history fans of all ages. Accessibly written by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D’Agnese, it shows how people were able put aside their differences to build a better land, and gives insight into the evolution of democracy as well as the type of people who – then and now – are drawn to politics.

BRITAIN AND IRELAND’S BEST WILD PLACES   PENGUIN

Britain and Ireland are full of wild places, some remote, many often astonishingly close to home. From Wessex to the Scottish highlands and from East Anglia to the Arran Islands, experienced nature writer Christopher Somerville has travelled through fields and green lanes, in forests and mountains and on lonely coasts, seeking out his favourite 500 untamed treasures. Storm-battered headlands, hidden waterfalls, tumbledown cottages, the ruins of haunted chapels deep in forgotten woods, medieval Green Men, old mines and quarries being recaptured by nature, rusting sea-forts tottering on sandbanks…this fascinating, elegantly written book shows how everyone can discover a piece of the wild for themselves. Each wild place comes with its history, grid reference and directions, and there are maps as well as hundreds of evocative illustrations throughout the book. Britain and Ireland’s Best Wild Places is a practical, poetic and truly inspirational book that will surely bring out the explorer in everyone. ‘An extraordinary work which looks set to reconfigure our relationship with the great outdoors’ - Sunday Telegraph.

THE MAKING OF THE BRITISH LANDSCAPE - FRANCIS PRYOR  PENGUIN

This is the changing story of Britain as it has been preserved in our fields, roads, buildings, towns and villages, mountains, forests and islands. From suburban streets that still trace out the boundaries of long vanished farms to the Norfolk Broads, formed when medieval peat pits flooded, from the ceremonial landscapes of Stonehenge to the spread of the railways - evidence of how man’s effect on Britain is everywhere. In The Making of the British Landscape, eminent historian, archaeologist and farmer Francis Pryor explains how to read these clues to understand the fascinating history of our land and of how people have lived on it throughout time. Covering both the urban and rural and packed with pictures, maps and drawings showing everything from how we can still pick out Bronze Age fields on Bodmin Moor to how the Industrial Revolution really changed our landscape, this impressive book makes us look afresh at our surroundings and really see them for the first time. Francis Pryor is an engaging companion and has produced a fascinating narrative of Britain and its people, from the ices ages and first farmers to mega shopping centres and satnav. His enlightening, readable book, inspired by W.G.Hoskins’s 1955 classic Making of the English Landscape, shows how far we have come and is an important guide to the future. ‘Pryor feels the land rather than simply knowing it’ - Guardian.

RE-SOLVING THE ECONOMIC PUZZLE - WALTER RYBECK  SHEPHEARD-WALWYN

Walter Rybeck stumbled on to advocates of Henry George’s theories and found it difficult to reconcile those theories with Keynes and the neoclassical school of economic in which he had been trained. Yet the seemingly intractable economic problems he encountered - deep poverty in Appalachia and again in Latin America, and the slums and decay in American cities - induced him to look deeper into George’s ideas about taxation and land policy proposals for the missing elements in current searches for economic solutions. It was the author’s contact with politicians in Washington that led him to see how George’s analysis might solve the problems governments were trying to handle. This timely and important book was born out of distress at seeing so many fellow countrymen needlessly suffering for want of an understanding of how the tax system could work wonders. Although the literature is rampant with critiques that downplay or ridicule Henry George, Walter Rybeck discovers convincing evidence that George’s land tax ideas, and especially his formula for repressing land speculation, would ease many of today’s pressing problems. The author shows how the system he advocates would lead to more jobs, affordable housing for all, better schools and infrastructure, an end to urban sprawl, improved transportation and greater efficiency, as well as stopping tax evasion. He describes how power inevitably flows to Washington due to local governments’ failure to provide essential public works and services. Reversing this requires cities, counties and states to reform their tax systems to enable them to regain the more potent roles they once enjoyed. People, especially politicians, need to read books like this and to be courageous in transforming the current flawed model of economic activity into one will promote useful productivity, fairness and sustainability instead of rewarding dangerous speculation. ‘… could go far to restore our nation’s economic health.’ - William J Coyne, former Pittsburgh Congressman.

THE CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW HANDBOOK  QUIRK ISBN: 9781594745041

Pirates of the Caribbean, starring Johnny Depp as charismatic Jack Sparrow, is one of the most successful film franchises in history. With the release of On Stranger Tides, the series is set to scale new heights of popularity and with this hands-on book full of practical information, tips and advice, anyone can realise their dream of becoming a pirate, just like Captain Jack. Crammed with true-life, historical information from deciphering a treasure map, climbing rigging, how to survive when marooned, breaking a curse, evading pursuers on land and at sea, firing a cannon and use of weaponry, to dress, eating when at sea, historical facts, top pirates of the 18th Century, The Pirate Code, the Geography of the Caribbean, treating a wound, dealing with supernatural forces, and much more. Discover how to cope with mermaids or a tavern full of angry men and learn the fine art of being somewhere else. Illustrated with line drawings and photographs, this is the essential guide for anyone who wants to buckle a swash.

REALITY HUNGER - DAVID SHIELDS   PENGUIN

The Thing About LifeIs the novel dead? Is art theft? Can you copyright reality? In Reality Hunger, David Shields questions every assumption we ever made about art, the novel, journalism, poetry, film, TV, rap, stand-up, graffiti, sampling, plagiarism, writing and reading. He controversially argues for the necessity of ‘reality-based art’ and the obsolescence of traditional narrative, which he believes has had its day. ‘Art is a lie that enables us to recognise the truth.’ In seeking to tear up the old culture in search of something new and more authentic, this challenging and vital book could change the way you see the future. This is an original, entertaining and sometimes outrageous polemic exploring that ever popular topic: the future of the novel. ‘Reality Hunger is more than thought-provoking; it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time.’ - Jonathan Safran Foer. Academic and author David Shields was born in Los Angeles in 1956 and published his first novel, Heroes, in 1984. His third book, Handbook for Drowning: A Novel in Stories, marked the beginning of his shift from traditional literary fiction toward collage, the blurring of genres, essay and autobiography. In THE THING ABOUT LIFE IS THAT ONE DAY YOU’LL BE DEAD (PENGUIN) Shields is mesmerised and somewhat unnerved by his 97-year-old father’s vitality and optimism. He then undertakes a highly original investigation of our flesh-and-blood existence, our mortal being. The author weaves together personal anecdote, biological fact, philosophical doubt, cultural criticism and the wisdom of an eclectic range of writers and thinkers - from Lucretius to Woody Allen - to create both a hilarious family portrait and a truly resonant meditation on mortality. ‘One starts to get young at the age of sixty, and then it’s too late.’ - Pablo Picasso.

THE GREATEST BRITON   SHEPHEARD WALWYN ISBN 9780856832659

Britain’s most famous politician of the twentieth century, Sir Winston Churchill, was not only a great wartime leader but also an inspiring orator, officer in the British Army, historian, artist, bricklayer and prolific writer, the only prime minister ever to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature He was the first person created an honorary citizen of the United States and is still revered at home, where he was overwhelmingly voted the greatest Briton of all time in a BBC poll. Nevertheless, Churchill remains one of the most controversial figures in modern history, with critics alleging that he was a diehard imperialist and warmonger, a racist, a bitter opponent of the working class and maverick opportunist. Was Churchill a democrat or a reactionary? Did he invent the tank? Was he a school dunce? Jeremy Havardi’s balanced, well-researched and generally sympathetic book demolishes much of the myth-making surrounding the great man, setting out to correct the historical record in a stimulating collection of essays. Arranged in chronological order to show his life in the context of world history, the essays are both detailed and analytical while still highly accessible to a general audience. The author believes that Churchill deserves to be remembered as much for his domestic policy as his wartime achievements, and is particularly interesting on his role in introducing old age pensions and unemployment benefits as well as strongly advocating a land value tax. Havardi examines Churchill’s political philosophy and shows how he anticipated many important debates facing the world today.

 

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