Category: 1DDU

Vagabonds: Life on the Streets of Nineteenth-century London – by BBC New Generation Thinker 2022

Compelling, moving and unexpected portraits of London’s poor from a rising star British historian – the Dickensian city brought to real and vivid life.

Until now, our view of bustling late Georgian and Victorian London has been filtered through its great chroniclers, who did not themselves come from poverty – Dickens, Mayhew, Gustave Doré. Their visions were dazzling in their way, censorious, often theatrical. Now, for the first time, this innovative social history brilliantly – and radically – shows us the city’s most compelling period (1780–1870) at street level.

From beggars and thieves to musicians and missionaries, porters and hawkers to sex workers and street criers, Jensen unites a breadth of original research and first-hand accounts and testimonies to tell their stories in their own words. What emerges is a buzzing, cosmopolitan world of the working classes, diverse in gender, ethnicity, origin, ability and occupation – a world that challenges and fascinates us still.

Contraptions: a timely new edition by a legend of inventive illustrations and cartoon wizardry

A timely new edition featuring the brilliant work from among the most inventive minds in illustration and cartoon wizardry.

Heath Robinson was one of Britain’s most successful graphic artists. His work has had a huge influence on comic art in this country, but also on the image and self-image of the British.

As the champion of pragmatic man, Heath Robinson presented a vision of the British as an unflappable, ingenious and slightly demented breed of inventors that persists to the present day. The British are still a nation of garage-haunting amateur engineers who will recognise the inhabitants of Heath Robinson’s world, with their pot bellies and pots of tea, archaic faces and sturdily commonsensical approach to the problems of existence.

How to hunt tigers by elephant, how to get an even tan, rise with the sun or put out a chimney fire, these and many more pressing questions are answered in the pages of Contraptions.

With illustrations salvaged from the family archives and commentary by Heath Robinson expert, Geoffrey Beare, Contraptions is the best possible introduction to the work of one of Britain’s great comic talents.

Everyman’s England

A classic travelogue that brilliantly conjures 1930s Britain.

In this series of pen-portraits of England from the 1930s, Victor Canning ‘evocatively captures the pattern and colour of English life’ (The Bookseller), from Cumbria to Cornwall. Canning’s heart-warming and humorous observations of sleepy villages, pastoral scenes and busy industries are a delightful time capsule into life in England during the interwar years.  

‘What does the word England mean to you? To all of us England means something different, and yet I think there is for every man and woman some little corner which is more England than anywhere else…’

 

***PRAISE FOR EVERYMAN’S ENGLAND***

‘Wonderful… elegant, humorous, exuberant essays.’ Guardian

‘Evocatively captures the pattern and colour of English life.’ The Bookseller

‘Canning finds beauty everywhere, but never sentimentalises, and is consistently honest enough to highlight poverty and social inequality… Canning, at his very best when waxing lyrical about landscapes, offers vivid images of the English countryside…’ The Daily Mail

The Butcher’s Daughter

‘Historical fiction at its finest.’ @MargaretAtwood

It is 1535 and Agnes Peppin, daughter of a West-country butcher, has been banished, leaving her family home in disgrace to live out the rest of her life cloistered behind the walls of Shaftesbury Abbey. 

While Agnes grapples with the complex rules and hierarchies of the sisterhood, King Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Head of the Church of England. Religious houses are being formally subjugated, monasteries dissolved, and the great Abbey is no exception to the purge. 

Cast out with her sisters, Agnes is at last free to be the master of her own fate. But freedom comes at a price as she descends into a world she knows little about, using her wits and testing her moral convictions against her need to survive – by any means necessary…

A Brief Life of the Queen

A Brief Life of the Queen is a succinct, personal and beautifully illustrated biography of Elizabeth II, who has managed to remain an enigma, despite being the most recognised woman in the world. For more than thirty years Robert Lacey has been gathering material from the members of the Queen’s inner circle – her friends, relatives, private secretaries and prime ministers – and the results are distilled in this elegant hardback which marks the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Tracing her life through its major stages, and uncovering her greatest personal loves and trials, A Brief Life of the Queen offers the freshness of the first-hand insights and compelling storytelling for which Robert Lacey’s best-selling biographies are renowned.

Dead Men

‘Fascinating.’ Telegraph

Birdie Bowers is a woman with a dead man’s name. Her parents had been fascinated by Henry ‘Birdie’ Bowers, one of Captain Scott’s companions on his ill-fated polar expedition. A hundred years after the death of Bowers and Scott, she sets out to discover what really happened to them… The discovery of Captain Scott’s body in the Antarctic in November 1912 started a global obsession with him as a man and an explorer. But one mystery remains – why did he and his companions spend their last ten days in a tent only 11 miles from the safety of a depot that promised food and shelter?

Dead Men tells the story of two paths. One is a tragic journey of exploration on the world’s coldest continent, the other charts a present-day relationship and the redemptive power of love.

Churchill and Orwell

Today, as liberty and truth are increasingly challenged, the figures of Churchill and Orwell loom large. Exemplars of Britishness, they preserved individual freedom and democracy for the world through their far-sighted vision and inspired action, and cast a long shadow across our culture and politics. In Churchill & Orwell, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Thomas E. Ricks masterfully argues that these extraordinary men are as important today as they ever were. Churchill and Orwell stood in political opposition to each other, but were both committed to the preservation of freedom. However, in the late 1930s they occupied a lonely position: democracy was much discredited, and authoritarian rulers, fascist and communist, were everywhere in the ascent. Unlike others, they had the wisdom to see that the most salient issue was human liberty – and that any government that denies its people basic rights is a totalitarian menace to be resisted. Churchill and Orwell proved their age’s necessary men, and this book reveals how they rose from a precarious position to triumph over the enemies of freedom. Churchill may have played the larger role in Hitler’s defeat, but Orwell’s reckoning with the threat of authoritarian rule in 1984 and Animal Farm defined the stakes of the Cold War and continues to inspire to this day. Their lives are an eloquent testament to the power of moral conviction, and to the courage it takes to stay true to it.

Empire of Guns

Winner of the Jerry Bentley Prize in World History (American Historical Association).

Award-winning historian Priya Satia presents a new history of the Industrial Revolution that positions war and the gun trade squarely at the heart of the rapid growth of technology and Britain’s imperial expansion. Satia’s thorough examination advances a radical new understanding of the historical roots of the violent partnership between the government, military and the economy. Sweeping in its scope and entirely original in its approach, Empire of Guns illuminates Britain’s emergence as a global superpower in a clear and novel light. 

Reviews of Empire of Guns:

‘A fascinating study of the centrality of militarism in 18th-century British life, and how imperial expansion and arms went hand in hand… This book is a triumph.’ Guardian

‘A fascinating and important glimpse into how violence fueled the industrial revolution, Priya Satia’s book stuns with deep scholarship and sparkling prose.’ Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies

‘Fascinating.’ New York Times

‘A strong narrative bolstered by excellent archival research… tremendous scholarship.’ Booklist

‘Boldly uncovers a history of modern violence and its central role in political, economic, and technological progress. As unsettling as it is bracing.’ Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger

‘A solid contribution to the history of technology and commerce, with broad implications for the present.’  Kirkus

The Nine Lives of John Ogilby

Four hundred years ago, every barrister had to dance because dancing put them in harmony with the universe. John Ogilby’s first job, in 1612, was to teach them. By the 1670s, he was Charles II’s Royal Cosmographer, creating beautiful measured drawings that placed roads on maps for the first time. During the intervening years, Ogilby had travelled through fire and plague, war and shipwreck; had been an impresario in Dublin, a poet in London, a soldier and sea captain, as well as a secret agent, publisher and scientific geographer. The world of his youth had been blown up and turned upside down. Beset by danger, he carefully concealed his biography in codes and cyphers, which meant that the truth about his life has remained unknown… until today.

In this enlightening book, Alan Ereira brings a fascinating hidden history to light, and reveals that Ogilby’s celebrated Britannia is far more than a harmless road atlas: it is, rather, filled with secrets designed to serve a conspiracy of kings and England’s undoing. The Nine Lives of John Ogilby is the story of a remarkable man, and of a covert journey which gave birth to the modern world.

Contraptions

A timely new edition featuring the brilliant work from among the most inventive minds in illustration and cartoon wizardry.

Heath Robinson was one of Britain’s most successful graphic artists. His work has had a huge influence on comic art in this country, but also on the image and self-image of the British.

As the champion of pragmatic man, Heath Robinson presented a vision of the British as an unflappable, ingenious and slightly demented breed of inventors that persists to the present day. The British are still a nation of garage-haunting amateur engineers who will recognise the inhabitants of Heath Robinson’s world, with their pot bellies and pots of tea, archaic faces and sturdily commonsensical approach to the problems of existence.

How to hunt tigers by elephant, how to get an even tan, rise with the sun or put out a chimney fire, these and many more pressing questions are answered in the pages of Contraptions.

With illustrations salvaged from the family archives and commentary by Heath Robinson expert, Geoffrey Beare, Contraptions is the best possible introduction to the work of one of Britain’s great comic talents.