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Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018 "In the 1840s, operative surgery was a filthy business fraught with hidden dangers. It was to be avoided at all costs”. So states the author near the opening of this grippingly grisly work. But despite (or perhaps because of) these risk-riddled conditions, medical voyeurism became a sought-after source of Victorian entertainment. This was an era in which pus was seen as a sign of healing; when surgeons rarely washed their instruments or hands; an era in which theatres of death rang with the screams of patients and the gasps of shocked spectators. It was among such a medico-cultural environment that a young surgeon named Joseph Lister voiced the audacious idea that germs were the cause of infection, and they could be treated. Dripping with gory detail, drama and reverence for a medical visionary, this is absolutely fascinating stuff - a lively, enlightening journey through social and medical history, a brilliant biography of an ingenious doctor whose invention of antisepsis was nothing short of revolutionary. ~ Joanne Owen
Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018 Combining exemplary investigative research with enthralling readability and a radiant human touch, this book will surely transform commonly-held perceptions of sixteenth century England, and the role of minorities in British history. Through detailed portraits of ten fascinating individuals whose stories have gone untold, this book lays bare the varied and often vital roles played by Africans who lived free and varied lives in Tudor times. As the author points out in her introduction, the popular view is that “people of African origin first arrived in England when the Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury in 1948.” Not so, and the author also rebuffs the assumption that African presence in Tudor England was always an experience of “enslavement and discrimination”. Among these absorbing pages we discover John Blanke, a King’s trumpeter, most likely to have been born in North or West Africa, and Jacques Francis, a salvage diver who was the first known African to testify before an English court. Then there’s Moroccan Mary Fillis who came to England as a child and was baptised. This riveting reassessment of an oft-explored era deserves to be widely read. ~ Joanne Owen
I have a book, in similar format and subject on my own area showing excerpts from all the relevant mapping from the earliest to current times, the fascination being one of watching change happening as it does here in John Moore’s book. From the very beginnings, a tiny Glasgow steadily growing until it needs a map just to show where the sludge vessel is going to tip its load. Then, of course there are the world-famous docks, changing and developing along the banks of the Clyde. There are small towns obliterated by grandiose plans, naval maps and town plans, sewage works and ferries. It is quite startling to pass beyond some beautiful maps to a modern-day map of Strathclyde Loch which looks like a child’s drawing, thankfully that chapter is very short so we can go back and linger longer on the beauty of the mapmakers art. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading Giants of the Clyde: The Great Ships and the Great Yards by Robert Jeffrey Old Glasgow and the Clyde by Sandra Malcolm
Exploring black music and social movements from Motown, soul and the civil rights movement, through the Black Panther Movement, Jimi Hendrix and Black Woodstock, this trilogy is a triumphant mix of meticulous research and an author’s palpable passion for his subject. Set against the tinderbox backdrop of the Vietnam War and widespread civil unrest, the trilogy begins in Detroit, 1967, and tells the twelve-month story of a city on the edge, with one of the world’s most famous record labels – Detroit-based Motown – at a pivotal point in its history, while riots in the city prove pivotal to the wider country. Taken as a whole, this smart sequence provides a multi-angled view of the time, and it’s clear how social deprivation and a spirit of resistance led to both political action and revolutions of a musical kind. In-depth, enlightening, entertaining and affecting, these forensically evocative books will make you want to delve deeper into the work of the seminal musicians who wrote the soundtrack to this seminal period of American history.
A lavishly illustrated account of human journeys with a foreword by Simon Reeve, from Ancient Persian couriers to the ascent of Everest, the invention of Concorde, and the voyage into space itself. Discover biographies of conquerors, explorers, and travellers, stories of scientific discovery and technological innovation, stunning works of art, and catalogues of travel-related memorabilia. This truly worldwide account is a glorious celebration of human journeys.
The story of England's medieval queens is vivid and stirring, packed with tragedy, high drama and even comedy. In the first volume of this epic new series, Alison Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the lives of England's queens in the century after the Norman Conquest.
The second tie-in to ITV drama Victoria unveils the complex, passionate relationship of Victoria and Albert.
After the triumph of his intellectual biography, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Miles Hollingworth now turns his attention to one of Augustine's greatest contemporary admirers: a pioneering insight into the life and work of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.
This reads like a first rate crime novel but is in fact an analysis of real life events. It's so good it won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2008. Said to have inspired Dickens, Willkie Collins and many, many more this is a case that will keep you gripped until the final page. Winner of the Galaxy Book of the Year and Popular Non-Fiction awards 2009 and Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2008. The Bloomsbury Modern Classic Series Restless by William Boyd Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
The Second World War was a seminal event in world history. The story of its battles and key events is a familiar one, but The Second World War in 100 Objects offers a unique perspective on this global phenomenon by tracing its history through its objects, such as iconic items like the British Spitfire, the George Cross, and Adolf Hitler's personal revolver, to personal objects which tell the poignant stories of individuals and official documents, maps and orders.
The First World War was one of the seminal events in world history. The First World War in 100 Objects offers a unique perspective on the world's first truly global conflict.
October 2017 Non-Fiction Book of the Month There’s a picture in this book of Queen Victoria’s family at a garden party in 1875, a great crowd of Royalty spawned from her numerous prodigy. She became a grandmother and thought nothing of marrying of both children and grandchildren to create a spider’s web of power and influence that – as we know – had many ruinous consequences. In contrast to that 1875 portrait of stiff unknowable figures, Deborah Cadbury brings us the story of some of the players in this saga, bringing to life the real figures behind all this Pomp and Circumstance. ~ Sue Baker If you're interested in Queen Victoria and her family you might also like to read The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria’s Rebellious Daughter by Lucinda Hawksley.
History is such a broad and universal subject. After all, we’re all living through it and we all have our own. Here’s where you can get new perspectives on past events, discover a subject you’ve never explored or broaden your existing knowledge.
Our resident expert, Sue Baker, has compiled a wide range of great books covering everything from the major wars, or the creation of nations to the life-journeys of world-changing individuals. From social history (Family Britain by David Kynaston) and the World Wars (Swansong 1945 by Walter Kempowski) to the much loved periods of popular fiction authors (The Wars of the Roses by Dan Jones; The Rise of the Tudors: The Family that Changed Britain by Chris Skidmore): From the realities of often romanticised times (The Knight who saved England by Richard Brooks) to the lives of history’s extraordinary people (Cecily Neville: Mother of Kings by Amy Licence). You’ll find a resource here to fascinate on many levels. History without histrionics.