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Intensively researched, lovingly compiled, more accessible than ever, whatever your subject of interest - this is where you’ll find it.
Edited by trailblazing broadcaster, editor and critic Margaret Busby OBE - Britain’s first black woman publisher when she co-founded Allison and Busby in the 1960s - New Daughters of Africa is an extraordinary feat of publishing, presenting as it does the diverse work of 200+ women of African heritage across more than 900 pages. In 1992, Busby published Daughters of Africa, and this epically-proportioned - and realised - re-visitation duplicates none of the writers featured in the first incarnation. Busby hopes in her introduction, “may all who find their way to this anthology, regardless of gender, class or race, feast well on its banquet of words.” And I defy any reader not to do just that. This rich feast presents all kinds of writers – academics and activists; critics and curators; fiction writers and filmmakers; poets and politicians, to name but a few - from all parts of the world. There are wise words to chew on from familiar figures, among them Diane Abbott, Angela Levy, Bernardine Evaristo, Malorie Blackman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Afua Hirsch. And there are individuals and pieces I was grateful to discover for the first time, such as Bermudian Angela Barry’s Without Prejudice story, and Yvette Edwards, a London writer of Montserratian origin. The collection’s historical entries are engrossing too, among them Sarah Parker Remond’s (1815-1894) “Why Slavery is Still Rampant” piece, and Meta Davis Cumberbatch’s (1900-1978) powerfully rousing poem, “A Child of Nature (Negro of the Caribbean)”. This is an exceptional anthology to savour - a uniquely nourishing banquet for mind and heart. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.
Wing Commander Frank Brock OBE was a daredevil adventurer who made a unique contribution to the British war effort during World War I. Gunpowder and Glory tells the story, not just of Frank Brock, but of the family business he was born into. Brock is a name synonymous with fireworks and November 5th. Brock himself was an inventor who is one of very few people to have been commissioned in all three of our armed services. He designed weapons that included the incendiary device that brought an end to Zeppelin domination of British skies. This book has all the ingredients for an explosive and entertaining yarn. It doesn’t disappoint. A fascinating and well-researched read, not just for military enthusiasts but for anybody interested in fireworks, and the workings of a successful family business.
Imperial War Museum London Guide. Fully illustrated with objects from the museum collection.
The story of 60 paintings is told, unlocking hidden meanings and symbols and over 700 photographs bring the pictures to life helping you understand the key features, composition and techniques that have made these paintings stand out. Plus, biographies of the artists provide the background to each art work helping you paint your own picture of the historical and social context behind each masterpiece. Great Paintings is a beautiful guide to the paintings that have changed the world, both familiar and new. It really is like having a gallery of all the great paintings at your fingertips.
A History of the First World War in 100 Objects narrates the causes, progress and outcome of the First World War by telling the stories behind 100 items of material evidence of that cataclysmic and shattering conflict. From weapons that created carnage to affectionate letters home and from unexpected items of trench decoration to the paintings of official war artists, the objects are as extraordinary in their diversity and story-telling power as they are devastating in their poignancy. Each object is depicted on a full page and is the subject of a short chapter that 'fans out' from the item itself to describe the context, the people and the events associated with it.
This is the definitive visual history of the people, politics and events of World War I. World War I: The Definitive Visual Guide is a fascinating portrait of a world at war, vividly portraying the conflicts of the Great War on land, sea and in the skies. This history book will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the First World War. You will uncover the details of the Great War's titanic battles such as Gallipoli, the Somme and Verdun that left an indelible mark on the collective memories of countries and that claimed a generation of young men. You can discover how local fears and hatreds escalated into one vast conflict that was fought out to the bitter end. You can find out about key battles, political and economic forces, individual leaders and technological advances that influenced the course of the First World War. Timelines show you the war unfolding across countries, providing an overview of developments in all the theatres of war. Packed with images, maps, portraits, key artefacts and unforgettable first person accounts, World War I: The Definitive Visual Guide is an uniquely accessible military history of one of the world's most devastating conflicts.
All the big ideas in science, simply explained Part of the popular Big Ideas series, The Science Book explores the history of science, how scientists have sought to explain our incredible universe and how amazing scientific discoveries have been made. Discover how Galileo worked out his scientific theories of motion and inertia, why Copernicus' ideas were contentious and what the discovery of DNA meant. All the big scientific ideas and discoveries are brought to life with quirky graphics, pithy quotes and step-by-step 'mind maps', plus every area of science is covered, including astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, maths and physics. You'll be brought up-to-date on scientific ideas from black holes to genetic engineering with eye-catching artworks showing how the ideas of key scientists have impacted our understanding of the world. Whether you are a science student or just have an interest in scientific ideas, The Science Book is a perfect way to explore this fascinating subject.
'The Almanack is essentially a Household Book. From it is derived the knowledge ordinarily possessed of the Course of the Seasons, and other Astronomical phenomena, the nature of our Constitution, and the statistics of our Ecclesiastical, Legal, Naval, and Military systems. In addition to all such information, herein given in an unusually full and complete manner, the reader will discover other and important features not hitherto easily obtainable. He is referred, for instance, to the summaries of the Public Income and Expenditure, the proceedings of Parliaments during the last Session; to Scientific Discoveries and Inventions of the Year; to the Trade, Commerce, and Finance of the Kingdom; and to the particulars of our Municipal and Social Institutions...a clear and concise account of India, Australia, Canada and other possessions, together with a similar description of Foreign Countries' (December 10, 1868) So wrote Joseph Whitaker in the introduction to his very first edition of Whitaker's Almanack, published in 1868. One hundred and forty six years later Whitaker's is still published annually and its remit has remained remarkably unchanged. Alongside the calendar and astronomical data associated with an almanack, it provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of UK infrastructure, a detailed digest of every country of the world and an overview of the events and discoveries of the past year.
Compiled by the team behind Whitaker's Almanack, Chronologica is a fascinating journey through time, from the foundation of Rome to the creation of the internet. Along the way are tales of kings and queens, hot air balloons, comets...and monkeys in space. Travel through 100 of the most incredible years in world history and learn why being a Roman Emperor wasn't always as good as it sounds, how the Hundred Years' War didn't actually last for 100 years and why Spencer Perceval holds a rather unfortunate record. Chronologica is an informative and entertaining glimpse into history, beautifully illustrated and full of incredible facts. While Chronologica tells the stories of famous people in history such as Thomas Edison and Alexander the Great, this books also recounts the lives of lesser-known individuals including the explorer Mungo Park and sculptor Gutzon Borglum. This historical compendium is certain to entertain readers young and old, and guaranteed to present even the biggest history buff with something new!
A comprehensive look in to the D-Day landings which took place 65 years ago this year. This covers all aspects of the major offensive that took place that day with leading historians contributing their knowledge and opinions. If you want to know the full account of what took place under this operation then here is one of the best accounts given to date.
Having recently read Yvonne Ward’s Censoring Queen Victoria I was somewhat prepared for A N Wilson’s revelatory biography of the woman he calls “one of the most passionate, expressive, humorous and unconventional women who ever lived...” If you are used to thinking of Queen Victoria as a stiff, expressionless figurehead of a woman then be prepared to think again, here Queen Victoria’s life is revealed in stunning detail in this masterly biography that brings new light not just to the Queen but to C19 Britain. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading. Censoring Queen Victoria by Yvonne M Ward. Queen Victoria: A Personal History by Christopher Hibbert.
September 2014 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Having recently read Yvonne Ward’s Censoring Queen Victoria (recommended below) I was somewhat prepared for A N Wilson’s revelatory biography of the woman he calls “one of the most passionate, expressive, humorous and unconventional women who ever lived...” If you are used to thinking of Queen Victoria as a stiff, expressionless figurehead of a woman then be prepared to think again, here Queen Victoria’s life is revealed in stunning detail in this masterly biography that brings new light not just to the Queen but to C19 Britain. Like for Like Reading Censoring Queen Victoria, Yvonne M Ward Queen Victoria: A Personal History, Christopher Hibbert
This is the Elizabethans from top to bottom from political intrigue to beggars on the streets. It is energetic, comprehensive and very compulsive reading. After reading A N Wilson’s history I can’t help feeling I might have indulged in a spot of time travel, if you want to get a feel for the period this an excellent starting point. Like for Like Reading Elizabeth I, Anne Somerset Elizabeth’s Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen, Tracy Borman
Tells the story of the Elizabethan Age. A time of exceptional creativity, wealth creation and political expansion. It was also a period of English history more remarkable than any other for the technicolour personalities of its leading participants. Apart from the complex character of the Virgin Queen herself, we follow the story of Francis Drake and political intriguers like William Cecil and Francis Walsingham, so important to a monarch who often made a key strategy out of her indecisiveness. Favourites like Leicester and Essex skated very close to the edge as far as Elizabeth's affections were concerned, and Essex made a big mistake when he led a rebellion against the crown. There was a Renaissance during this period in the world of words, which included the all-round hero and literary genius, Sir Philip Sidney, playwright-spy Christopher Marlowe and that 'myriad-minded man', William Shakespeare. Life in Elizabethan England could be very harsh. Plague swept the land. And the poor received little assistance from the State. Thumbscrews and the rack could be the grim prelude to the executioner's block. But crucially, this was the age when modern Britain was born, and established independence from mainland Europe. After Sir Walter Raleigh established the colony of Virginia, English was destined to become the language of the great globe itself, and the the foundations were laid not only of later British imperial power but also of American domination of the world.
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.