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Part biography, part cultural history, The Creation of Anne Boleyn is a fascinating reconstruction of Anne’s life and an illuminating look at her afterlife in the popular imagination. Why is Anne so compelling? Why has she inspired such extreme reactions? What did she really look like? Was she the flaxen-haired martyr of Romantic paintings or the raven-haired seductress of twenty-first-century portrayals? (Answer: neither.) And perhaps the most provocative questions concern Anne’s death more than her life.
Nigel Hamilton’s Mantle of Command, long-listed for the National Book Award, drew on years of archival research and interviews to portray FDR in a tight close up, as he determined Allied strategy in the crucial initial phases of World War II. Commander in Chief reveals the astonishing sequel — suppressed by Winston Churchill in his memoirs — of Roosevelt’s battles with Churchill to maintain that strategy. Roosevelt knew that the Allies should take Sicily but avoid a wider battle in southern Europe, building experience but saving strength to invade France in early 1944.
On 14 May 1940, the Evening Standard published a cartoon with the caption “All Behind You, Winston”. It showed Churchill, the freshly installed prime minister, rolling up his sleeves to confront the oncoming menace of Nazi Germany. In his wake, leading the endless ranks of the British people, marched the most prominent figures of his new coalition government.
It was a potent expression of a moment when Britons of every class were truly all in it together. It also contained a truth that Churchill’s titanic historical reputation has since eclipsed: that neither he nor the country would have prevailed but for the joint effort of this remarkable “ministry of all the talents”.
From the private world of a beloved queen, a story of intimacy, espionage, rumor, and subterfugeQueen Elizabeth I acceded to the throne in 1558, restoring the Protestant faith to England. At the heart of the new queen’s court lay her bedchamber, closely guarded by the favored women who helped her dress, looked after her jewels, and shared her bed.Elizabeth’s private life was of public concern. Her bedfellows were witnesses to the face and body beneath the makeup and raiment, as well as to rumored dalliances with such figures as Earl Robert Dudley.
SOE agent Violette Szabó was one of the most incredible women who operated behind enemy lines during the Second World War. The daughter of an English father and French mother, and widow of a French army officer, she was daring and courageous, conducting sabotage missions, being embroiled in gun battles and battling betrayal. On her second mission she was captured by the Nazis, interrogated and tortured, then deported to Germany where she was eventually executed at Ravensbrück concentration camp.
The Blitz had made many families in the East End of London homeless. One solution was to erect prefabs on fi elds and open spaces to give temporary accommodation to those who had been bombed out. It was in one of these ‘modern’ boxes that young Norman Jacobs grew up through the 1950s and 1960s. In a lively, detailed and humorous picture of a postwar Hackney childhood, Norman takes us back to an age of rationing, bomb sites, street markets, colourful characters and camaraderie. And in reminiscing about stodgy school food, jumpers for goalposts, Listen with Mother, greyhound racing, pie ‘n’ mash, holidaycamps, and the advent of American-style burger bars, he provides a glimpse into a way of life that has vanished for ever.
THE THREE EDWARDS, third in Thomas B. Costain’s survey of Britain under the Plantagenets, covers the years between 1272 and 1377 when three Edwards ruled England. Edward I brought England out of the Middle Ages. Edward II had a tragic reign but gave his country Edward III, who ruled gloriously, if violently."A thrilling narrative. . .history told with all the interest found only in a great novel." (Salt Lake City Tribune)A History of the Plantagenets includes THE CONQUERING FAMILY, THE MAGNIFICENT CENTURY, THE THREE EDWARDS and THE LAST PLANTAGENETS.
William Avery Bishop is recognized as the British Empire’s highest-scoring WWI ace, credited with 72 combat victories, third-ranking behind von Richthofen and René Fonck. He scored many of his successes on his own, prevailing only by dint of personal courage, daring and superior marksmanship. This remarkable man’s story has been detailed in many books and articles, but renowned author Peter Kilduff is adamant that so far the full truth has not been told. Famed for his evenhanded, thorough, exhaustive and forensic research, Kilduff sets out to bring new light to missions and kills so far steeped in controversy.
Cold war helicopter ace Terry Peet lived for flying. He was a ‘go anywhere, do anything,’ Royal Air Force pilot with a reputation for ‘sheer guts’. Whether ferrying troops to remote jungle landing zones or snatching casualties from makeshift clearings surrounded by two-hundred-feet high trees, he willingly pushed himself and his primitive Sycamore helicopter to the limit. During two years in the hot spots of Malaya and Borneo with the RAF, he repeatedly cheated death and earned a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air.
On 10 December 1941, the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese bombers in the South China Sea. Amongst the several hundred men who went down with her was her Captain, John Leach, who had fought against frightful odds and to the very end made the best of an impossible situation with courage and calmness. He embodied the best of the service, and truly was ‘in the highest traditions of the Royal Navy’. In this book, Matthew B Wills tells the story of John Leach, and analyses the influences which shaped him and led him ultimately to his heroic end.
Was he a far-sighted war hero, or an ambitious networker promoted well above his natural talent? Admired as a modernising chief of staff, a timely decoloniser, and a genuine player on the world stage, Mountbatten nevertheless continues to attract fierce criticism.
This title offers a fascinating look at the Kennedy clan in heady pre-war Britain and the intricate relationships between the US ambassador, Jack Kennedy, Chamberlain, Churchill and Roosevelt. It includes compelling stories of the glitterati of the time, from the Mitfords and the Astors to the Windsors.With the European dictators Mussolini and Hitler becoming increasingly belligerent, Joseph Kennedy’s appointment to the Court of St James came at an especially dangerous time. In those pivotal years, the Kennedys crystallised their identity as protagonists on the world stage, making public the competitive clannish intra-family dynamics that would fuel their mythic rise to power.T
Margot Asquith was the wife of Herbert Henry Asquith, the Liberal Prime Minister who led Britain into war in August 1914. Asquith’s early war leadership drew praise from all quarters, but in December 1916 he was forced from office in a palace coup and replaced by Lloyd George, whose career he had done so much to promote. Margot had both the literary gifts and the vantage point to create, in her diary of these years, a compelling record of her husband’s fall from grace. An intellectual socialite with the airs, if not the lineage, of an aristocrat, Margot was both a spectator and a participant in the events she describes and in public affairs could be an ally or an embarrassment – sometimes both.
Freya Stark—traveler, explorer, Arabist, and woman of letters—began the extraordinary adventures that would glamorize her—and would catapult her into public life for the next sixty years—in 1927. And with the publication of The Valley of the Assassins in 1934, her legend was launched. Leaving behind a miserable family life, Freya set out, at the age of thirty-four, to explore remote and dangerous regions of the Middle East. She was captured in 1927 by the French military police after penetrating their cordon around the rebellious Druze.
The quintessence of the war as seen by it’s greatest player, in a one-volume abridged edition that captures all the drama of the original volumes.A superb piece in literature, Memoirs of the Second World War is a striking, most comprehensive account on this frightful episode. The figures in human losses and destruction speak for themselves. Mr. Churchill’s daring, intelligent role throughout the course of the war deserves the admiration of mankind for the years to come. He has every right to depict all those tragic events in first person, not only as an Allied leader but also because his continually being in motion, calling on world leaders as well as visiting the very battlefronts.
Peter Ackroyd’s The Life of Thomas More is a masterful reconstruction of the life and imagination of one of the most remarkable figures of history. Thomas More (1478-1535) was a renowned statesman; the author of a political fantasy that gave a name to a literary genre and a worldview (Utopia); and, most famously, a Catholic martyr and saint.Born into the professional classes, Thomas More applied his formidable intellect and well-placed connections to become the most powerful man in England, second only to the king.
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