Category: HIS027090

Wilde’s Last Stand

‘A shocking tale of heroes and villains.’ Sir Ian McKellen

In 1918, the Imperialist newspaper made a startling claim. The German Secret Service had the names of 47,000 members of the British establishment who were sexual deviants and Britain was losing the war because Germany was blackmailing them. In the sensational libel trial that followed, the main target was Maud Allan, the Salome dancer with high society connections and a dark secret. Meanwhile, Oscar Wilde’s closest friends were drawn into the affair in a bitter battle for his reputation. It was the greatest scandal of the early twentieth century.

This is a story of judges and prejudice, of aesthetes and admirals, of MPs and dancing girls, of sex and conspiracy; ingredients for a modern tabloid, yet in a decade that still seems a Victorian legacy. Philip Hoare has produced a revolutionary new portrait of British society, as nineteenth century morality and Edwardian opulence met the modern age.

Wilde’s Last Stand tells of transvestites in the trenches, of drug clubs in London, and of the man who sought to be Britain’s first fascist leader. Both revealing and chilling, this is a vital story about the birth of a troubled century.

Philip Hoare is an acclaimed author whose works include biographies of Stephen Tennant and Noël Coward, Spike Island and England’s Lost Eden. His book, Leviathan: or, The Whale won the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-fiction.

‘Documented with dazzling brilliance.’ The Sunday Times

‘A valuable addition to the alternative history of our century.’ Peter Parker, Observer

‘A thrashing good read.’ Independent on Sunday

The Dardanelles Disaster

The British Navy’s failed attempt to capture Constantinople and secure a sea route to Russia in 1915 marked a turning point of World War I. Acclaimed naval military historian Dan van der Vat argues that the disaster at the Dardanelles not only prolonged the war for two years and brought Britain to the brink of starvation, but also led to the Russian Revolution and contributed to the rapid destabilisation of the Middle East. With a narrative rich in human drama, ‘The Dardanelles Disaster’ highlights the diplomatic clashes from Whitehall to the Hellespont, Berlin to Constantinople, and St Petersburg to the Bosporus. Van der Vat analyzes then-First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill’s response to the obstacles he faced and describes the fateful actions of the Turkish, German, and British governments throughout the Gallipoli Campaign. With detailed analysis of the battle’s events and never-before-published information on the German navy’s mine laying operations, ‘The Dardanelles Disaster’ tells a forgotten story from a fresh viewpoint, shedding light on one of World War I’s most pivotal moments – and in particular on one avoidable and monumental blunder.