Category: HBTB

Black Victorians: Hidden in History

A landmark work of revisionist history exploring and celebrating the lives of Black Victorians.

Our vision of Victorian Britain tends to the monolithic – white, imperialist, prurient, patrician. However, though until very recently overlooked in our textbooks, there was another, more diverse Britain, populated by people of colour marking achievements both ordinary and extraordinary.

In this deeply researched, dynamic and revelatory history, Woolf and Abraham reach back into the archives to recentre our attention on marginalised Black Victorians, from leading medic George Rice to protestor William Cuffay to attention-grabbing abolitionists Henry ‘Box’ Brown and Sarah Parker Remond; from pre-Raphaelite muse Fanny Eaton to composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor. Black Victorians shows how Black lives were visible, present and influential – not temporary presences but established and rooted; and how paradox and ambivalence characterised the Victorian view of race.

PRAISE FOR THE WONDERS

A promising young historian’ Stephen Fry

Nuanced and complex, Woolf deftly shows there are stories of empowerment alongside those of exploitationBBC History magazine

John Woolf’s book will dazzle you with details of extraordinary lives, long underestimated by history’ Matthew Sweet, author of Inventing the Victorians

Hotbed: Bohemian New York and the Secret Club that Sparked Modern Feminism

The dazzling story of the early feminists who blazed a trail for the movement’s most radical ideas

New York City, 1912: in downtown Greenwich Village, a group of women gathered, all with a plan to change the world.

This was the first meeting of ‘Heterodoxy’, a secret social club. Its members were passionate advocates of women’s suffrage, labour rights, equal marriage and free love. They were socialites and socialists; reformers and revolutionaries; artists, writers and scientists. Hotbed is the never-before-told story of the club whose audacious ideas and unruly acts transformed an international feminist agenda into a modern way of life.

For readers who loved Mo Moulton’s Mutual Admiration Society and Francesca Wade’s Square Haunting.

Scheisse! We’re Going Up!

THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF A CLUB ON THE RISE AND A CITY IN FLUX. THIS IS UNION BERLIN.

No football club in the world has fans like Union Berlin. The underdogs from East Berlin have stuck it to the Stasi, built their own stadium, and even given blood to save their club. But now, they face a new and terrifying prospect: success.

Scheisse! tells the human stories behind the unexpected rise of this unique club. But it’s not just about football. Union’s tale is interwoven with a witty cultural history of contemporary Berlin that shines a light on the social issues which still define the German capital thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Scheisse! will appeal to readers who are captivated by sports biographies such as Raphael Honigstein’s Das Reboot and social history like John Kampfner’s Why The Germans Do It Better.

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.

The Master of Measham Hall

1665. It is five years since King Charles II returned from exile, the scars of the English Civil Wars are yet to heal and now the Great Plague engulfs the land. Alethea Hawthorne is safe inside the walls of the Calverton household as a lady’s companion waiting in anticipation of the day she can return to her ancestral home of Measham Hall.

But when Alethea suddenly finds herself cast out on the plague-ridden streets of London, a long road to Derbyshire lies ahead. Militias have closed their boroughs off to outsiders for fear of contamination.

Fortune smiles on her when Jack appears, an unlikely travelling companion who helps this determined girl to navigate a perilous new world of religious dissenters, charlatans and a pestilence that afflicts peasants and lords alike.

The Master of Measham Hall is the first book in a page-turning historical series. In lyrical prose, Anna Abney portrays the religious divides at the heart of Restoration England in a timeless novel about survival, love, and family loyalty.  

 

PRAISE FOR THE MASTER OF MEASHAM HALL

‘It’s rare for a historical novel to feel so timely.’ Jo Baker, Sunday Times bestselling author of Longbourn

‘Impeccably researched and wonderfully atmospheric, with a heroine you can’t help rooting for.’ Frances Quinn, author of The Smallest Man 

‘Exciting and immersive. It took me straight into the heart of Restoration England in all its rich and vivid detail. I was gripped! Such beautiful writing too – Anna is a stunning new talent.’ Nicola Cornick, international bestselling author of House of Shadows

 ‘A thoroughly engaging romp… By turns entertaining, surprising and thought-provoking, this is an impressive debut.’ Jane Johnson, author of The Sea Gate

‘A gripping depiction of what people will do to survive, the long-held beliefs and scruples questioned and cast aside as well as the unexpected kindnesses and unusual alliances made. In elegant prose, this enthralling novel puts a human face to the trials, terrors and enduring hopes of the plague years.’ Catherine Meyrick, author of The Bridled Tongue

‘A thrilling and original tale of reinvention! Death in a time of plague is expected. What happens to Abney’s heroine Alethea is not. The Master of Measham Hall  is a vivid and extraordinary journey of survival, and ultimately an exploration of what we gain and what we lose as we pass through this world.’ VL Valentine, The Plague Letters

‘A powerful and engaging story, full of good characters, satisfying plot turns, and excellent scene-setting. With all the details and insights on offer, it feels like a rich and rewarding panorama of English culture in the 1660s. The transformation of Alethea was wonderful to read, and genuinely gripping.’ Richard Hamblyn

Ingredients

Cheese puffs. Coffee. Sunscreen. Vapes. Hand sanitiser. George Zaidan reveals the weird science behind everyday items that may or may not kill you, depending on whom you ask.

If you want easy answers, this book is not for you. But if you’re curious which health studies to trust, what dense scientific jargon really means, and how to make better choices when it comes to food and health – dive right in!

Zaidan makes chemistry more fun than potions class as he reveals exactly what science can (and can’t) tell us about the packaged ingredients we buy in the supermarket. He demystifies the ingredients of life and death – and explains how we know whether something is good or bad for you – in exquisite, hilarious detail at breakneck speed.

 

PRAISE FOR INGREDIENTS

‘If you ever thought that chemistry might be really interesting (it is), but your eyes glazed over in high school chem class, this is the book for you. George Zaidan will keep you laughing out loud as he shares the wonders of our most useful, practical science, with brilliant analogies that even an 11-year old can understand.’ Daniel J. Levitin, author of Successful Aging and This is Your Brain on Music

If you crossed Bill Nye with Stephen Colbert, you’d get George Zaidan. Ingredients is a masterful piece of science writing.’ Daniel H. Pink, author of When and Drive

Ingredients lifts the film from our eyes with humour and reassurance.’ Hank Green, author of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

At last, a book on nutrition that tries to make you understand how little we know instead of offering blanket prognostications. If instead of a simple solution, you want a guide to how to think about health, this is it.’ Zach and Kelly Weinersmith, New York Times best-selling authors of Soonish

Ingredients, is everything that should lead you to expect: funny, edgy, fascinating, dismaying, reassuring, and overall just incredibly smart.’ Deborah Blum, Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Poison Squad

You should buy Ingredients because it teaches you how to think better – like a smart, informed, and wickedly funny scientist.’ Sam Kean, author of The Disappearing Spoon

Omfg this book is FABULOUS! It’s hilarious, insightful, sassy, and reassuring. A delightful roller-coaster of science communication.’ Kallie Moore, Co-host of PBS Eons

 

And The Show Went On

In June 1940, Paris fell to the Nazis who made the world’s cultural capital their favourite entertainment ground. Music halls and cabarets thrived during the occupation, providing plenty of work for actors, singers and musicians except for the Jews. The likes of Maurice Chevalier and Edith Piaf, who had entertained the French troops, now unabashedly provided amusement to the Germans.

After the invasion of France, those artists still in Paris had to find ways to survive. Although Matisse and others kept out of view, Picasso could not avoid Nazi visitors. A few, like Beckett, joined the Resistance. Some were arrested and died in German hands. Others entertained the enemy. The theatres reopened, the movie cameras rolled, galleries sold paintings looted from Jewish families, pro-German writers and their rivals fought in print. Told through the experiences of renowned creative figures and witnesses of the times, And the Show Went On is an authoritative account of how Paris’s artistic world lived through the Occupation during which some suffered Nazi oppression while others prospered through collaboration.

Revolution

It is easy to see bicycles as commonplace machines, but at the end of the nineteenth-century there was no other piece of technology which attracted the same level of excitement, discussion or controversy. Significant societal shifts followed the invention of the modern bicycle and with cycling’s ever-increasing popularity there has never been a better time to tell this story.

Revolution delves into the social history of cycling in 1890s Britain while exploring international parallels that existed in countries such as the US, France and Australia. Drawing on a range of sources from cycling club journals to the writings of H.G. Wells, the book illuminates the major impact the bicycle had on the day-to-day lives of people across the social spectrum with millions experiencing a cheap and personalised means of transport for the first time. Particularly for women it was known as the great emancipator from crib, kitchen and convention. Affordable to the working class, cycling dramatically increased the number of potential marriage partners, bridging the gaps between villages, to the extent that leading biologist Steve Jones has ranked the invention of the bicycle as the most important event in recent human evolution.

From cycling as a source of fashion and socialising in sporting clubs, to travel around the British countryside, to its importance for widening the gene pool and its role in the women’s liberation movement Revolution presents the bicycle as a marvel of modern technology that transformed Britain and the world over.

One Kiss or Two?

Every encounter begins with a greeting. Be it a quick ‘Hello!’ or the somewhat longer and gracious ‘Sula manchwanta galunga omugobe!’ shaking hands or shaking, well, rather more private parts of our anatomy, we have been doing it many times daily for thousands of years. It should be the most straightforward thing in the world, but this apparently simple act is fraught with complications, leading to awkward misunderstandings and occasionally even outright violence.

In the illuminating and entertaining One Kiss or Two? Andy Scott goes down the rabbit hole to take a closer look at what greetings are all about. In looking at how they have developed, he discovers a kaleidoscopic world of etiquette, body-language, evolution, neuroscience, anthropology and history. Through in-depth research and his personal experiences, and with the help of experts, Scott takes us on a captivating journey through a subject far richer than we might have expected.