History Books

Intensively researched, lovingly compiled, more accessible than ever, whatever your subject of interest - this is where you’ll find it.

Growing Out

Growing Out

Author: Barbara Blake Hannah Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/02/2022

'A gorgeously exuberant account. . . writing that is natural and vivacious . . . a fascinating and hugely enjoyable read.' Bernardine Evaristo, from the Introduction Travelling over from Jamaica as a teenager, Barbara's journey is remarkable. She finds her footing in TV, and blossoms. Covering incredible celebrity stories, travelling around the world and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Germaine Greer and Michael Caine - her life sparkles. But with the responsibility of being the first black woman reporting on TV comes an enormous amount of pressure, and a flood of hateful letters and complaints from viewers that eventually costs her the job. In the aftermath of this fallout, she goes through a period of self-discovery that allows her to carve out a new space for herself first in the UK and then back home in Jamaica - one that allows her to embrace and celebrate her black identity, rather than feeling suffocated in her attempts to emulate whiteness and conform to the culture around her. Growing Out provides a dazzling, revelatory depiction of race and womanhood in the 1960s from an entirely unique perspective. A title in the Black Britain: Writing Back series - selected by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, this series rediscovers and celebrates pioneering books depicting black Britain that remap the nation.

Britons Through Negro Spectacles

Britons Through Negro Spectacles

Author: ABC Merriman-Labor Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/02/2022

'We shall therefore confine our walk to Central London where people meet on business during the day, and to West London where they meet for pleasure at night. If you will walk about the first City in the British Empire arm in arm with Merriman-Labor, you are sure to see Britons in merriment and at labour, by night and by day, in West and Central London.' In Britons Through Negro Spectacles Merriman-Labor takes us on a joyous, intoxicating tour of London at the turn of the 20th century. Slyly subverting the colonial gaze usually placed on Africa, he introduces us to the citizens, culture and customs of Britain with a mischievous glint in his eye. This incredible work of social commentary feels a century ahead of its time, and provides unique insights into the intersection between empire, race and community at this important moment in history. Selected by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, this series rediscovers and celebrates pioneering books depicting black Britain that remap the nation.

A Black Boy at Eton

A Black Boy at Eton

Author: Dillibe Onyeama Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/02/2022

'The story [Onyeama] had to tell was so gripping and shocking, it wouldn't let me go . . . A remarkably well-written memoir.' Bernardine Evaristo, from the Introduction Dillibe was the second black boy to study at Eton - joining in 1965 - and the first to complete his education there. Written at just 21, this is a deeply personal, revelatory account of the racism he endured during his time as a student at the prestigious institution. He tells in vivid detail of his own background as the son of a Nigerian judge at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, of his arrival at the school, of the curriculum, of his reception by other boys (and masters), and of his punishments. He tells, too, of the cruel racial prejudice and his reactions to it, and of the alienation and stereotyping he faced at such a young age. A Black Boy at Eton is a searing, ground-breaking book displaying the deep psychological effects of colonialism and racism. A title in the Black Britain: Writing Back series - selected by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, this series rediscovers and celebrates pioneering books depicting black Britain that remap the nation.

The 50 Greatest Architects

The 50 Greatest Architects

Author: Ike Ijeh Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/01/2022

Award-winning architecture writer Ike Ijeh introduces 50 of the world's most influential architects and a selection of their most celebrated buildings, showcased with full-color photography. The architects selected here have designed buildings that are as dramatic as their impact on the world of architecture. From familiar modern era names such as Zaha Hadid and Sir Norman Foster to geniuses from history such as Nicholas Hawksmoor and Andrea Palladio, Ike Ijeh reveals his top 50 list of the architects deserving of the description 'greatest'. Each double-page spread focuses on a different architect, outlining their influences, the legacy of their ideas and revealing the glorious designs that have made them famous. Includes: • Full-color photographs and illustrations of famous buildings around the world • Concise professional biographies of the architects listed • Plans from great architecture projects • Entries arranged in chronological order for easy reference With this wonderful hardback reference guide you can discover the true breadth of the creative achievements that lie within the careers of these architectural giants and enjoy their beautiful creations through images and illustrations.

1922 Scenes from a Turbulent Year

1922 Scenes from a Turbulent Year

Author: Nick Rennison Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/11/2021

Nick Rennison has quite the résumé as man of letters. Variously a writer, editor and bookseller, he has reviewed for the Sunday Times, The Daily Mail and BBC History Magazine, penned half a dozen anthologies of short stories, written two crime novels and three non-fiction titles and otherwise exercised his particular interest in the Victorian era. With his latest work he delves into more recent history and takes us on a month by month tour of the events that defined this tumultuous year, bookended by the notorious ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle scandal in January and ending with the lesser known, but no less scandalous, Thompson and Bywaters murder and adultery trail. There’s plenty in here of the notable headline happenings; US prohibition, the founding of the BBC, the publications of The Waste Land and Ulysses, Ghandis’ arrest, Tutankhamun’s discovery, the creation of the Soviet Union and much, much more to make this a rich and informative read. But what really sets this apart from being a mere almanack of facts is Rennison’s ability to create colour and tone within each scene so that the whole reads as a gripping account of a world in a state of vibrant flux . In this fascinating, illustrative  - and at times cautionary  - small volume he has created a wonderful jigsaw puzzle where each piece, each small scene, builds to become a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, and in so doing Rennison provides a timely reminder that our present is future’s history and we will be lauded, or judged, accordingly. 

The Ruin of All Witches

The Ruin of All Witches

Author: Malcolm Gaskill Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/11/2021

Oh my, The Ruin of All Witches is absolutely fascinating! Detailing the witch-hunting that took place in a frontier town in Massachusetts during 1651, this is a darkly enthralling read. The author describes it as a historical reconstruction rather than a novel. Written using historical documentation including court records, sermons, letters, diaries, deeds, and wills, this dual sense of story and history ensures a deeper awareness. It begins almost as a fairytale would, the style of writing placed me in time and location. I was able to look around and soak up the atmosphere. I felt a connection to the place and people, could reach a level of appreciation for thoughts and feelings. Examining small details, looking behind fears, beyond survival, makes this an accessible and thought-provoking read. The maps help plant the location, the Sources and Methods detailed at the back confirm the thought process behind this book. Malcolm Gaskill is a leading expert in the history of witchcraft and his knowledge and research shows. The Ruin of All Witches is a vivid, captivating and intriguing walk into the past and I’ve chosen it as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.

Star Books
The Lyrics

The Lyrics

Author: Paul McCartney, Paul Muldoon Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/11/2021

A self-portrait in 154 songs, by our greatest living songwriter 'More often than I can count, I've been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right. The one thing I've always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs. I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I've learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.' In this extraordinary book, with unparalleled candour, Paul McCartney recounts his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career - from his earliest boyhood compositions through the legendary decade of The Beatles, to Wings and his solo albums to the present. Arranged alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological account, it establishes definitive texts of the songs' lyrics for the first time and describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now. Presented with this is a treasure trove of material from McCartney's personal archive - drafts, letters, photographs - never seen before, which make this also a unique visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time. We learn intimately about the man, the creative process, the working out of melodies, the moments of inspiration. The voice and personality of Paul McCartney sings off every page. There has never been a book about a great musician like it. Each volume is 480 pp, not available separately

Fall

Fall

Author: John Preston Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/10/2021

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2021 A dramatic, gripping account of the rise and fall of the notorious business tycoon Robert Maxwell from the acclaimed author of A Very English Scandal Robert Maxwell was a very British success. Born an Orthodox Jew, he escaped the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, fought in the Second World War, and was decorated for his heroism with the Military Cross. He went on to become a Labour MP and an astonishingly successful businessman, owning a number of newspapers and publishing companies. But after his dead body was discovered floating in waters around his superyacht, his empire fell apart as long-hidden debts and unscrupulous dealings came to light. Within a few days, Maxwell was being reviled as the embodiment of greed and corruption. What went so wrong? How did a man who had once laid such store on the importance of ethics and good behaviour become reduced to a bloated, amoral wreck? In this gripping book, John Preston delivers the definitive account of Maxwell's extraordinary rise and scandalous fall. 'I have a shelf full of books about frauds, but this one is by far the most enjoyable' Craig Brown, author of Ma'am Darling

Free

Free

Author: Lea Ypi Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/10/2021

'I never asked myself about the meaning of freedom until the day I hugged Stalin. From close up, he was much taller than I expected.' Lea Ypi grew up in one of the most isolated countries on earth, a place where communist ideals had officially replaced religion. Albania, the last Stalinist outpost in Europe, was almost impossible to visit, almost impossible to leave. It was a place of queuing and scarcity, of political executions and secret police. To Lea, it was home. People were equal, neighbours helped each other, and children were expected to build a better world. There was community and hope. Then, in December 1990, a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, everything changed. The statues of Stalin and Hoxha were toppled. Almost overnight, people could vote freely, wear what they liked and worship as they wished. There was no longer anything to fear from prying ears. But factories shut, jobs disappeared and thousands fled to Italy on crowded ships, only to be sent back. Predatory pyramid schemes eventually bankrupted the country, leading to violent conflict. As one generation's aspirations became another's disillusionment, and as her own family's secrets were revealed, Lea found herself questioning what freedom really meant. Free is an engrossing memoir of coming of age amid political upheaval. With acute insight and wit, Lea Ypi traces the limits of progress and the burden of the past, illuminating the spaces between ideals and reality, and the hopes and fears of people pulled up by the sweep of history.

Renegades

Renegades

Author: Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/10/2021

Two long-time friends share an intimate and urgent conversation about life, music and their enduring love of America, with all its challenges and contradictions, in this stunningly-produced expansion of their ground-breaking Higher Ground podcast, featuring more than 350 photographs, exclusive bonus content, and never-before-seen archival material. Renegades: Born in the USA is a candid, revealing, and entertaining dialogue between President Barack Obama and legendary musician Bruce Springsteen that explores everything from their origin stories and career-defining moments to their country's polarized politics and the growing distance between the American Dream and the American reality. Filled with full-colour photographs and rare archival material, it is a compelling and beautifully illustrated portrait of two outsiders-one Black and one white-looking for a way to connect their unconventional searches for meaning, identity, and community with the American story itself. It includes: · Original introductions by President Obama and Bruce Springsteen · Exclusive new material from the Renegades podcast recording sessions · Obama's never-before-seen annotated speeches, including his "Remarks at the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches · Springsteen's handwritten lyrics for songs spanning his 50-year-long career · Rare and exclusive photographs from the authors' personal archives · Historical photographs and documents that provide rich visual context for their conversation. In a recording studio stocked with dozens of guitars, and on at least one Corvette ride, Obama and Springsteen discuss marriage and fatherhood, race and masculinity, the lure of the open road and the call back to home. They also compare notes on their favourite protest songs, the most inspiring American heroes of all time, and more. Along the way, they reveal their passion for-and the occasional toll of-telling a bigger, truer story about America throughout their careers, and explore how their fractured country might begin to find its way back toward unity.

Rise

Rise

Author: Maliha Abidi Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/10/2021

Relating the remarkable stories of 100 extraordinary women of colour, Maliha Abidi’s Rise is an inspirational, informative showstopper of an anthology. Global in scope and engagingly lively in style, it’s a powerful and beautifully curated testament to trailblazing women of colour from all walks of life, from all fields of endeavour (literature, science, engineering, business, banking, mathematics, politics, law, medicine, human rights activism, sport, art, music, dance), from all corners of the world. What a glorious gift this is to treasure - and draw inspiration from - for a lifetime. Featuring women from over 40 countries, these are pioneers who’ve risen above multiple challenges to have huge impact on the world, whether in the public eye, or behind the scenes. While the book includes seminal icons who are household names (among them Beyonce, Frida Kahlo, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Rosa Parks and Serena Williams), Rise also highlights lesser-known names whose work has had huge impact on our world. Like the women themselves, Maliha Abidi’s writing style is engaging and keenly focussed, and her striking portraits of each innovator are an exuberant, life-filled joy.

Star Books
The Book of Change

The Book of Change

Author: Stephen Ellcock Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/10/2021

An absolute wow of a book which offers and encourages new thoughts and feelings. I follow Stephen Ellcock on social media, he collates images and celebrates the beautiful, different, weird and wonderful and I often stop, pause, and ponder as I scroll. His first book All Good Things, was totally gorgeous, and a LoveReading Star Book. In The Book of Change Stephen states: “I am continually driven by an overwhelming, gnawing frustration at the injustices of the world and an intense desire for something better”. He goes on to explain that this book is a response to his lifelong feeling of alienation and dislocation, and the current situation we find ourselves in 2021. His introduction sings of his wish for justice, equality, and peace for all. He looks into the past, observes the present, and reaches out to the future, to information, mass media, and power, and he addresses the issues that are plaguing our planet. He offers seven sections, starting with Source, and ending with Hope, and boy, did the images contained within evoke my emotions. I found myself being drawn into each one, sometimes caught by the obvious, sometimes looking past and through into the hidden, the darkness, the suggestive heart. At times I felt uncomfortable, I was definitely challenged, and was left feeling that this book had taken on a life of its own within my thoughts and feelings. The Book of Change, so darkly beautiful and provocative, has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book. 

Star Books