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Nigel Cawthorne is the author of A Brief History of Robin Hood, Jack the Ripper's Secret Confession and A Brief History of Sherlock Holmes. His writing has appeared in over 150 newspapers, magazines and partworks - from the Sun to the Financial Times, and from Flatbush Life to the New York Tribune. He lives in London.
A fascinating guide to the bookish, pipe smoking Oxford don who has become possibly one of the best known 20th century authors. Along with a brief biography the book looks at how the books were turned into films and how Tolkien's background, studying more than a dozen languages, helped him create the languages of Middle-earth.
In The Sex Files Nigel Cawthorne takes us on a stroll through the ideas that made our (great, great) grandparents turn red. Selecting the highlights from what was deemed too corrupting for public comsumption, he demonstrates what made Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian prudes squirm. We find things that range from the pornographic to the ridiculous, including: Flagellation (for 50 shades fans) Ecclesiastical erotica The Trial of Oscar Wilde
Buckingham Palace's greatest fear came true when the FBI arrested Prince Andrew's friend Jeffrey Epstein on charges of under-age sex trafficking. Just before the marriage of Kate and Wills, a snapshot of Andrew with his arm around the naked midriff of the billionaire's most articulate victim had surfaced. Despite sending stringent defamation warnings, the palace had been powerless to prevent headlines on the controversial friendship from moving in its direction like a hurricane. Prince Andrew: The End of the Monarchy and Epstein investigates the story of the key players and allegations and counter-allegations in this unique, high-stakes royal drama. It provides a gripping and uncommon insight into the hidden privileges enjoyed by global power brokers, royalty and billionaires. Transcending the life of one man, it characterises a whole institution and a way of life - the monarchy as we know it today. From 2001, Prince Andrew acted as Britain's trade envoy suddenly enjoying lavish travel and expense accounts of over a 1 million a year. In 2006, a Kazakhstan billionaire bought Sunninghill Park, the Queen's wedding gift to Andrew and Fergie, for GBP3 million over the GBP12 million asking price yet never moved into the property (it was demolished in 2016). Andrew's official involvement with UK trade came to an abrupt end in 2011 after the prince was overheard discussing Saudi bribery and bribery in Kyrgyzstan, arguing that 'people should be allowed to get on with their jobs'. And that was only the beginning as this first biography reveals.
Pirates have an almost mythical status in the public imagination - we think of rogue heroes riding the high seas and 'X marks the spot'. But is this image is flawed at best. Using contemporary sources, Nigel Cawthorne turns the spotlight on the reality of pirate life, revealing the truth behind the legends. It gives us an insight into infamous the men and women who plundered ship and shore, including Captain Kidd, Blackbeard and Mary Read. We learn of the hazy distinction between pirates and state-approved privateers who were used to maintain empire, as well as the Port Royal pirate base in Jamaica - known as the 'wickedest city in the world'. Including details of various pirate exploits, as well as their weapons, ships and unhappy victims, this fascinating read will divide fact from slippery fiction.
When bigotry and power-mania take control, disaster always follows for subjugated persons - even when the power is wielded by the Church. Witchcraft was viewed as devil-worship. Between 1450 and 1750, one hundred thousand people were accused, subject to the most bestial tortures and usually executed. Witches examines the wildfire-spread of witch hunting across Europe and America, as well as its roots in misogyny and religious persecution. It includes: * Letters and trial testimonies from those charged with witchcraft, as well as some from self-proclaimed witches * Biographic detail of key witch hunters, such as Matthew Hopkins (the so-called Witchfinder General) who was responsible for hundreds of executions * Accounts of famous witch trials, from Chelmsford to Salam Nigel Cawthorne explores the real facts behind this persecution and the contexts that triggered it, tracing it back to its source.
The inside story of the world's most notorious cults. The strange and sinister world of cults is a source of endless fascination. Their secrets, rituals and shadowy hierarchies make for some of the most disturbing and shocking revelations in history. Most chilling of all is the fact that many of their followers forfeit all independence in order to carry out the often sadistic bidding of a mysterious master manipulator - and continue to defend their leader to this day. From Charles Manson, who instructed his followers to murder seven people, including a heavily pregnant Sharon Tate, to Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese doomsday cult that carried out deadly terror attacks, and the People's Temple, these cults and their leaders transfix us with their extreme ability to commit savage acts of cruelty and depravity in the name of a self-appointed higher power. Many shocking and international cults are brought to life, including: - The Manson Family - People's Temple - Colonia Dignidad - Thuggees - Aum Shinrikyo - Skopsty - Raelism - Heaven's Gate
One recent president was exactly like the young Trump, except that - unlike Donald - he also got drunk and danced naked. A president from Hollywood acted like Harvey Weinstein. Two presidents turned the White-House secretary pool into their private harem. Secretaries nick-named Fiddle and Faddle were given drugs and amyl nitrate to test by a president and their job was merely to accompany him on presidential trips. More than one president was an exhibitionist and many early presidents met up with prostitutes and were besotted with younger women. And those are just some of the scandals...
The Disturbing Inside Story of Women Who Are Driven to Kill Killer Women are the most disturbing yet compelling of all criminals, representing the very darkest side of humanity and subverting the conventional view of women as the weaker sex. From Elizabeth Bathory, 'The Bloody Countess' whose vampire-like tendencies terrorised sixteenth-century Hungary, to the Moors Murderer Myra Hindley and the Florida Highway Killer Aileen Wuornos, these women transfix us with their extreme ability to commit savage acts of cruelty and depravity. Most chilling is the fact that many of their victims represent the most vulnerable in society: babies, the ill and infirm, and the elderly. In some cases their methods of disposing of the corpses fall nothing short of ingenious: meet Leonarda Cianciulli, 'The Soap-Maker of Correggio', who used the fat from her victims' bodies to make soap and teacakes to sell to unsuspecting customers. These killers' backgrounds, methods and their crimes are described in forensic and gripping detail. 50 terrifying cases of killer women are brought to life, including: Elizabeth Bathory 'The Bloody Countess' Amelia Dyer, The Reading Baby Farmer Jane Toppan, 'Jolly Jane' Juana Barraza, The Old Lady Killer Leonarda Cianciulli, 'The Soap-Maker of Correggio' Bonnie Parker, 'Bonnie & Clyde' Rosemary West Myra Hindley Aileen Wuornos
Throughout history the English have been a warlike lot. Often we fight among ourselves - there have been a good few civil wars - and when we were not slaughtering each other, we practiced on our neighbours, the Scots, the Irish, the French . . . When that got too easy, we set off around the world to find other people to fight. This was usually done with a hubris that invited some ludicrous pratfall. In THE BEASTLY BATTLES OF OLD ENGLAND, Nigel Cawthorne takes us on a darkly humorous journey through some of our ill-advised military actions. From the war over a severed ear to a general seeking out his rival's mistresses to even the score, it is a miscellany of insufferable arrogance, reckless gallantry, stunning stupidity, massive misjudgements and general beastliness.
Did you know that a child can be cured of the whooping cough by passing it under the belly of a donkey? The history of medicine in Britain is filled with the most bizarre and gruesome cures for many common ailments. Although enthusiastically supported by doctors of the time, many of these cures were often useless and often resulted in the death of the patient. But strange and alarming though many of the cures may seem, some of them did in fact work and provide the basis of much of the medicine we take for granted nowadays. The use of herbs by medieval monks was remarkably effective - and still is today. This highly entertaining and informative book will fascinate anyone who has ever wondered whether doctors really know what they are talking about - just don't try any of the cures mentioned at home! Or that weak eyes can be cured by the application of chicken dung - or alternatively be large draughts of beer taken in the morning? Or that the juice extracted from a bucketful of snails covered in brown sugar and hung over a basin overnight was once used to cure a sore throat?
A study of the sex killer Chris Halliwell who, having been arrested in 2011 for one murder, led police to the scene of a second. But the senior police officer blew it . . .Superintendent Steve Fulcher of Hampshire Police had not followed procedure, an error that was to see him severely censured, leading to his retirement from the force. Due to this monumental error in judgement infamous killer Christopher Halliwell could not be convicted of a second murder, despite his openly admitting having committed it. Fulcher was suspended for gross misconduct, and later quit the force. Halliwell, imprisoned for the first murder, was later convicted of the second, after a long and tortuous process of collecting new evidence. But among sixty items of women's clothing found when Halliwell's home was searched, only a few pieces belonged to his two known victims. For this and other reasons, the police, including Fulcher, remain convinced that he has killed other women known to have disappeared... This is a riveting account of a clever, dangerous and secretive killer, and of a police officer whose instincts led him to a second murder, but whose methods eventually brought about the end of his own career.