By James Buchan
John Law of Lauriston blazed like a meteor over Europe and America in the early eighteenth century before falling to earth. At the summit of his reputation in 1720, a period lasting just over one hundred days, Law was the most powerful man in France after the Regent, the Duke of Orléans. He was also the richest private citizen in Europe.For France, brought to the brink by the wars and extravagances of the Sun King, Louis XIV, the Scotsman's financial innovations were a lifeline, but had for consequence a stock-market boom that came spectacularly to grief. The Mississippi Bubble, as it came to be known, left in France a fear of financial modernity that crippled her in her rivalry with Great Britain. Over the centuries, John Law has been portrayed as a crook, a rake and a madman. James Buchan shows Law was none of those but a powerful mind in pursuit of a vision of public prosperity that overrode all ties to country, property or happiness. Many of his ideas are now the plainest orthodoxy. Using Law's letters and writings, neglected family papers in Scotland and English county towns, bank ledgers in Genoa and Holland, notarial records and secret police reports in France and Venice, as well as the archive of the Jacobite court in exile, James Buchan resurrects Law's vagabond careerThe result is a glimpse of one of the most astonishing lives ever lived.
Jane Austen at Home
By Lucy Worsley
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER'This is my kind of history: carefully researched but so vivid that you are convinced Lucy Worsley was actually there at the party - or the parsonage.' Antonia Fraser'A refreshingly unique perspective on Austen and her work and a beautifully nuanced exploration of gender, creativity, and domesticity.' Amanda ForemanOn the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, historian Lucy Worsley leads us into the rooms from which our best-loved novelist quietly changed the world.This new telling of the story of Jane's life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the places and spaces that mattered to her. It wasn't all country houses and ballrooms, but a life that was often a painful struggle. Jane famously lived a 'life without incident', but with new research and insights Lucy Worsley reveals a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. A woman who far from being a lonely spinster in fact had at least five marriage prospects, but who in the end refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy.
Jam Butties and a Pan of Scouse
By Maggie Clarke, Cathryn Kemp
JAM BUTTIES AND A PAN OF SCOUSE is a gritty yet heart-warming memoir set against the backdrop of Liverpool's tightknit working-class docklands community. The story covers Maggie Clarke's upbringing in the tenements close to the docks, the River Mersey and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal: an area notorious for having the worst slums in Britain, yet the closest community as well.At the tender age of 11, Maggie Clarke finds herself the matriarch of the family when her Irish mother runs off with another man. Leaving school at 14 to work at a local factory putting sticks into lollies, she is determined to make a better life for herself and her family - before starting her own family with her childhood sweetheart, who she marries at 19 after 'falling in the family way'. She has one night of married life with her husband before he is sent to India with the Navy and is devastated when she never hears from him again, presuming him a casualty of the war that is raging at home and abroad. Another tragedy strikes when Maggie's brother Tommy is also claimed by the war, leaving her father inconsolable, but Maggie knows life has to go on and falls in love with Joseph, an Irish settler who she has 8 children with. But her happiness is short-lived as her first husband suddenly appears out of the blue demanding a divorce, and her new husband drinks away what little money they have, returning in fits of rage that leave Maggie and her children hungry and afraid. Many times she is only able to feed her brood by the kindness of neighbours putting a 'pan of scouse' on the range for her, or feeding her kids jam butties to help out. Maggie's story sweeps across the changing face of Liverpool, from its squalid dock streets, the tenement blocks and cobbled roads to the decline of the docklands, new council housing, the rise of the Mersey beat, the Beatles and the energy and passion of a city that is home to a cast of colourful characters with the resilience to withstand the heartbreak and hardships that only the poorest can know.
By Peter Stanford
In this fascinating historical and cultural biography, writer and broadcaster Peter Stanford deconstructs that most vilified of Bible characters: Judas Iscariot, who famously betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Beginning with the gospel accounts, Peter explores two thousand years of cultural and theological history to investigate how the very name Judas came to be synonymous with betrayal and, ultimately, human evil. But as Peter points out, there has long been a counter-current of thought that suggests that Judas might in fact have been victim of a terrible injustice: central to Jesus' mission was his death and resurrection, and for there to have been a death, there had to be a betrayal. This thankless role fell to Judas; should we in fact be grateful to him for his role in the divine drama of salvation? 'You'll have to decide,' as Bob Dylan sang in the sixties, 'Whether Judas Iscariot had God on his side'.An essential but doomed character in the Passion narrative, and thus the entire story of Christianity, Judas and the betrayal he symbolises continue to play out in much larger cultural histories, speaking as he does to our deepest fears about friendship, betrayal and the problem of evil. Judas: the ultimate traitor, or the ultimate scapegoat? This is a compelling portrait of Christianity's most troubling and mysterious character.
By Chie Nakane
Why do the Japanese almost always go for holidays in groups? Do Japanese families experience our sort of 'family life'? Why do conversations with Japanese friends and acquaintances often seem to come to an abrupt halt just when they're getting interesting - that is, a little controversial? What motivates the Japanese man in the street? Professor Nakane, writing with an intimate knowledge of her own people, provides in this fascinating book the answers to these and many other perplexing questions. Using the structure of Japanese society as the basis of her analysis, rather than explaining it in cultural or historical terms, Professor Nakane begins by examining one-to-one relationships, following through to the structure of the group and finally that of the society as a whole.
The Jail Busters
By Robert Lyman
In the new year of 1944 the French Resistance in northern France was on its knees. Relentless attacks on its diverse and disorganised networks by the Gestapo and the Abwehr had put many of its best operatives in prison, or worse. But in the lead up to Operation Overlord, 'D Day', the Resistance had never been more important to the Allied war effort, and many groups were in the pay of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. One such was organised by a patriot called Dominic Ponchardier. For months he had watched helplessly as his friends and colleagues had been swept up by the Nazi drag net, and cast into the old prison on the eastern outskirts of Amiens. In desperation he asked his MI6 handlers for help, and once London agreed it led to one of the most daring missions of the war. On the morning of 18 February 1944, nineteen Mosquito bombers flew at low level across the channel, skimming just above the ground to drop their bombs on sections of the walls of Amiens Prison. Hundreds escaped, scores of whom evaded recapture to continue the fight against Nazi repression. It was an epic of precision bombing, in which one of the most notable RAF heroes of the war, Group Captain Charles Pickard, lost his life. Robert Lyman's book reveals, from previously unseen sources, the full truth of MI6's involvement in the French Resistance, and narrates in vivid detail a stirring tale of courage and skill.
Judy: A Dog in a Million
By Damien Lewis
The impossibly moving story of how Judy, World War Two's only animal POW, brought hope in the midst of hell.Judy, a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only animal POW of WWII, truly was a dog in a million, cherished and adored by the British, Australian, American and other Allied servicemen who fought to survive alongside her. Viewed largely as human by those who shared her extraordinary life, Judy's uncanny ability to sense danger, matched with her quick-thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. She was a close companion to men who became like a family to her, sharing in both the tragedies and joys they faced. It was in recognition of the extraordinary friendship and protection she offered amidst the unforgiving and savage environment of a Japanese prison camp in Indonesia that she gained her formal status as a POW. Judy's unique combination of courage, kindness and fun repaid that honour a thousand times over and her incredible story is one of the most heartwarming and inspiring tales you will ever read.
Journeys Through England in Particular: On Foot
By Sue Clifford And Angela King, Sue Clifford, Angela King
'Should be at every curious Englishman's bedside' ALAN TITCHMARSH'As vital as it is joyous, and as timely as it is inspired . . . It should join Shakespeare and the Bible as a "must have" on any English man or woman's desert island' HUGH FEARNLEY-WHITTINGSTALLFrom allotments to arcades, fingerposts to footbridges, stepping stones to stiles this is the perfect pocket-sized companion for countryside or coast.Drawn from the critically acclaimed England In Particular, this delightful book pairs with Journeys Through England in Particular: On Foot to form a new series celebrating English local distinctiveness - ideal for travellers, holiday-makers and armchair browsers.England In Particular, first published in 2006, is a celebration of the distinctive details that cumulatively make England - its buildings, landscapes, people and wildlife. It was the culmination of more than twenty years' work by Sue Clifford and Angela King, who founded the charity Common Ground with Roger Deakin.
Julius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy
By Peter Carlson
Junius Browne and Albert Richardson covered the Civil War for the New York Tribune until Confederates captured them as they tried to sneak past Vicksburg on a hay barge. Shuffled from one Rebel prison to another, they escaped and trekked across the snow-covered Appalachians with the help of slaves and pro-Union bushwhackers. Their amazing, long-forgotten odyssey is one of the great escape stories in American history, packed with drama, courage, horrors and heroics, plus moments of antic comedy.On their long, strange adventure, Junius and Albert encountered an astonishing variety of American characters,Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, Rebel con men and Union spies, a Confederate pirate-turned-playwright, a sadistic hangman nicknamed the Anti-Christ," a secret society called the Heroes of America, a Union guerrilla convinced that God protected him from Confederate bullets, and a mysterious teenage girl who rode to their rescue at just the right moment.Peter Carlson, author of the critically acclaimed K Blows Top , has, in Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy , written a gripping story about the lifesaving power of friendship and a surreal voyage through the bloody battlefields, dark prisons, and cold mountains of the Civil War.
By Sean McMeekin
When an assassin gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in late June 1914, no one could have imagined the shocking bloodshed that would soon follow. Indeed, as award-winning historian Sean McMeekin reveals in July 1914 , World War I might indeed have been avoided entirely had it not been for the actions of a small group of statesmen in the month after the assassination. Whether they plotted for war or rode the whirlwind nearly blind, these men sought to capitalize on the fallout from Ferdinand's murder, unwittingly leading Europe toward the greatest cataclysm it had ever seen. A deeply-researched account of the genesis of World War I, July 1914 tells the gripping story of the month that changed the course of the 20th century.
By Franklin Foer, Marc Tracy
If you were a Bar Mitzvah boy in the postwar years, you probably received a gift called Great Jews in Sports. Your goy friends enjoyed a good snicker when they saw it on the shelf above your desk, but you coveted the volume. It not only supplied a pantheon for you to worship; it served as a refutation of all those cheap stereotypes about effeminate, bookish Jews that followed you to Pop Warner try-outs, and that you were convinced resulted in a condescending ten-steps-forward outfield shift during your turn at-bat. So it is with a humble spirit of deference that editors Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy propose its successor: Jewish Jocks: An Unothodox Hall of Fame, a collection of biographical musings on the most influential Jews in sports. The sports figures profiled in Jewish Jocks go beyond athletes to include coaches, broadcasters, owners, trainers and even statisticians (in the finite universe of Jewish Jocks, they count!) Contributors include some of today's most celebrated writers, such as New Yorker editor David Remnick; novelists Jonathan Safran Foer and Booker-prize winner Howard Jacobson; sports writer Buzz Bissinger; economist Larry Summers; columnist David Brooks; journalists Jane Leavy, Steven Pinker and Dahlia Lithwick writing on figures such as Howad Cosell, Art Shamsky, Kerri Strug, Harold Solomon, Sandy Koufax, Shirley Povitch, and many, many more.
A Journey to Nowhere
By Jean-Paul Kauffmann
By Simon Sebag Montefiore
The epic story of Jerusalem told through the lives of the men and women who created, ruled and inhabited it.Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgement Day and the battlefield of today's clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of 3,000 years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence. How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the 'centre of the world' and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life. Jerusalem's biography is told through the wars, love affairs and revelations of the men and women - kings, empresses, prophets, poets, saints, conquerors and whores - who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem.Drawing on new archives, current scholarship, his own family papers and a lifetime's study, Montefiore illuminates the essence of sanctity and mysticism, identity and empire in a unique chronicle of the city that many believe will be the setting for the Apocalypse. This is how Jerusalem became Jerusalem, and the only city that exists twice - in heaven and on earth.
Jews In The Roman World
By Michael Grant
In describing the triangular relationship among the Jews, the Romans and the Greeks, Michael Grant treats one of the most significant themes in world history.Unlike almost all the other subject nations of the Roman empire, the Jews have survived and have maintained a religious and cultural identity that is substantially unchanged. They provide a unique bridge with the ancient world and can bring us into peculiarly close and intimate contact with life in the Roman empire.This book embraces the period in which the Jewish religion assumed virtually its final form, and in which Jews launched their two heroic, but disastrous revolts against Roman rule. This was, moreover, the time when Judaism gave birth to Christianity. Within a century after the death of Jesus, his followers had become completely independent of Judaism. Michael Grant describes the grandeur of the great multiracial Roman empire, beneath whose rule these stirring and unique developments took place.
By Kevin Wilson
'A brilliant insight into life in the air and on the ground' ObserverIn February 1945, British and American bombers rained down thousands of tons of incendiaries on the city of Dresden, killing an estimated 25,000 people and destroying one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The controversy that erupted shortly afterwards, and which continues to this day, has long overshadowed the other events of the bomber war, and blighted the memory of the young men who gave their lives to fight in the skies over Germany.Journey's End neither condemns nor condones the bombing of Dresden, but puts it in its proper context as part of a much larger campaign. To the young men who flew over Germany night after night there were other much more pressing worries: the V2 rockets that threatened their loved ones at home; the brand new German jet fighters that could strike them at speeds of over 600mph. They lived life at a heightened tempo during these final unforgiving months of the bomber war when no quarter was given on either side.As the climactic volume in Kevin Wilson's acclaimed bomber war trilogy, Journey's End chronicles the brutal endgame of a conflict that caused such devastation and tragedy on both sides.
By Nancy Goldstone
The exceptionally dramatic and previously unchronicled life of the medieval queen Joanna I.On 15 March 1348, Joanna I, Queen of Naples, stood trial for her life before the pope and his court in Avignon. She was 22 years old. Her cousin and husband, Prince Andrew of Hungary, had recently been murdered, and Joanna was the chief suspect. Determined to defend herself, Joanna won her acquittal against enormous odds. Returning to Naples, she ruled over one of Europe's most prestigious and enlightened courts for more than thirty years - until she was herself murdered. As courageous as Eleanor of Aquitaine, as astute and determined as Elizabeth I, Joanna was the only female monarch in her time to rule in her own right. The taint of her husband's death never quite left her, but she was also widely admired. Dedicated to the welfare of her subjects and her realm, she reduced crime, built hospitals and churches, and encouraged the licensing of women physicians. But the turmoil of her times swirled around her: war, plague, intrigue and the treachery that would ultimately bring her down. Nancy Goldstone brings one of history's most remarkable women to life in this impeccably researched and captivating portrait of medieval royalty.
By Brian Moynahan
By Kristen Alexander
'We all need heroes to look up to and to emulate.' - Sir Arvi Parbo ACBlending sound research with enlightening anecdotes, Jack Davenport, Beaufighter Leader charts Jack's development from his Depression childhood, to the green pilot who had difficulties locating the target on his first Bomber Command operations, through to the superb pilot who led successful strikes against German shipping and the cool and resourceful planner of Coastal Command operations in the latter months of the war.Jack Davenport, Beaufighter Leader recounts the life of an Australian hero. Jack saved the lives of his crew from a near-fatal spin and rescued a pilot from a blazing aircraft; he flew close to well-armed enemy vessels to drop his torpedoes; and led large formations in the narrow confines of the Norwegian fjords to successfully attack enemy shipping. But there is more to heroism than just courage and brave deeds; Jack's career also encompassed the heroism of conviction, duty, responsibility and dedication to service.Kristen Alexander has written the definitive biography of Clive Caldwell, Australia's most successful fighter pilot of World War II. In Jack Davenport, Beaufighter Leader Kristen Alexander presents the life of another courageous and inspiring Australian WWII pilot.
By Lesley Adkins, Roy Adkins, Roy Adkins
The Royal Navy to which Admiral Lord Nelson sacrificed his life depended on thousands of sailors and marines to man the great wind-powered wooden warships. Drawn from all over Britain and beyond, often unwillingly, these ordinary men made the navy invincible through skill, courage and sheer determination. They cast a long shadow, with millions of their descendants alive today, and many of their everyday expressions, such as 'skyscraper' and 'loose cannon', continuing to enrich our language. Yet their contribution is frequently overlooked, while the officers became celebrities. JACK TAR gives these forgotten men a voice in an exciting, enthralling, often unexpected and always entertaining picture of what their life was really like during this age of sail. Through personal letters, diaries and other manuscripts, the emotions and experiences of these people are explored, from the dread of press-gangs, shipwreck and disease, to the exhilaration of battle, grog, prize money and prostitutes. JACK TAR is an authoritative and gripping account that will be compulsive reading for anyone wanting to discover the vibrant and sometimes stark realities of this wooden world at war.
By Julia Fox
The story of Henry VIII's queens - as seen through the eyes of Jane Rochford, sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn and cousin to Katherine Howard.Jane Rochford was sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn and Lady of the Bedchamber to Katherine Howard, whom she followed to the scaffold in 1542. Hers is a life of extraordinary drama as a witness to, and participant in, the greatest events of Henry's reign.She arrived at court as a teenager when Katherine of Aragon was queen. Even before Henry's marriage to Anne, her own marriage to George Boleyn brought her into the closest royal circles - and there she remained through the unfolding spectacle and tragedy of Henry's succession of marriages. She survived the trauma of Anne and George's executions and despite briefly being banned from Court managed to regain her place there to attend on Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves. Her supposed part in both Anne Boleyn's and Katherine Howard's downfall has led to her being reviled through centuries.In this fascinating biography Julia Fox repudiates the idea of the infamous Lady Rochford and Jane emerges as a rather modern woman forced by brutal circumstance to fend for herself in a politically lethal world.