ABBEY'S CHOICE DECEMBER 2014 ----- Aristocrat, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', devoted wife, lesbian, recluse, iconoclast - Vita Sackville-West was many things, but she was never straightforward. Her life is re-told here in a dazzling new biography. Vita Sackville-West is perhaps best known as the creator, with her husband Harold Nicolson, of the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle, now the most visited gardens in Britain.
In a career spanning more than forty years, she also made her mark as a prolific and accomplished writer. She was an award-winning poet, a best-selling novelist, a biographer, a travel writer and a journalist with a huge and devoted following. Images of Vita - striking, poised, aristocratic, and intellectual - remain iconic even now. Yet these public images do not tell all. Behind the mask another, more complicated Vita lay.
Here, in the first biography to be written for thirty years, Matthew Dennison reveals a renegade, brave and charismatic woman: from a lonely childhood of immense privilege in her beloved family house Knole (which she, as a woman, could never inherit), to a celebrated and affectionate marriage which was nevertheless mutually 'open' and strewn with passionate homosexual affairs (in Vita's case, most famously with Virginia Woolf and Violet Trefusis); from the hubbub of jewel-encrusted parties at Buckingham Palace, to the solace Vita found in nature and gardening and the eventual seclusion of her tower at Sissinghurst.
Drawing on sources from archives across the globe as well as Vita's own prolific written output, Dennison traces the inspiration, triumphs and contradictions of Vita's extraordinary life. Devoted wife, literary celebrity, 'Rose Queen', reluctant courtier, recluse, lesbian, iconoclast - Dennison deftly weaves together the myriad strands of Vita's life to create a revealing and insightful portrait of the woman behind the mask.
Margot Asquith was perhaps the most daring and unconventional Prime Minister's wife in British history. Known for her wit, style and habit of speaking her mind, she transformed 10 Downing Street into a glittering social and intellectual salon. Yet her last five years at Number 10 were a period of intense emotional and political turmoil in her private and public life.
In 1912, when Anne de Courcy's book opens, rumblings of discontent and cries for social reform were encroaching on all sides - from suffragettes, striking workers and Irish nationalists. Against this background of a government beset with troubles, the Prime Minister fell desperately in love with his daughter's best friend, Venetia Stanley; to complicate matters, so did his Private Secretary. Margot's relationship with her husband was already bedevilled by her stepdaughter's jealous, almost incestuous adoration of her father. The outbreak of the First World War only heightened these swirling tensions within Downing Street.
Drawing on unpublished material from personal papers and diaries, Anne de Courcy vividly recreates this extraordinary time when the Prime Minister's residence was run like an English country house, with socialising taking precedence over politics, love letters written in the cabinet room and gossip and state secrets exchanged over the bridge table.
By 1916, when Asquith was forced out of office, everything had changed. For the country as a whole, for those in power, for a whole stratum of society, but especially for the Asquiths and their circle, it was the end of an era. Life inside Downing Street would never be the same again.
Marking the fiftieth anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, Boris Johnson explores what makes up the 'Churchill Factor' - the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century.
Taking on the myths and misconceptions along with the outsized reality, he portrays - with characteristic wit and passion-a man of multiple contradictions, contagious bravery, breath-taking eloquence, matchless strategising, and deep humanity. Fearless on the battlefield, Churchill had to be ordered by the King to stay out of action on D-Day; he embraced large-scale strategic bombing, yet hated the destruction of war and scorned politicians who had not experienced its horrors. He was a celebrated journalist, a great orator and won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was famous for his ability to combine wining and dining with many late nights of crucial wartime decision-making. His open-mindedness made him a pioneer in health care, education, and social welfare, though he remained incorrigibly politically incorrect. Most of all, as Boris Johnson says, 'Churchill is the resounding human rebuttal to all who think history is the story of vast and impersonal economic forces'.
A book to be enjoyed not only by anyone interested in history: it is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what makes a great leader.
This is the winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography 2014. Brilliant and passionate ...a haunting tale of blighted hope, personal tragedy and rare, late fulfilment . (Observer). Penelope Fitzgerald published her first book aged sixty. She went on to become one of the greatest of English novelists. Her remarkable life spans most of the twentieth century, and moves from a Bishop's Palace to a sinking barge, from a demanding intellectual family to hardship and poverty, from a life of teaching and obscurity to a blaze of renown. She was awarded the Booker Prize in 1979 for her novel Offshore, and her last work, The Blue Flower, is widely acclaimed as a work of genius. This brilliant account - by a biographer whom Fitzgerald herself admired - pursues her life, her writing, and her secret self, with fascinated interest, and has become one of the most celebrated literary biographies of recent times.
From Andrew Roberts, author of the Sunday Times bestseller The Storm of War, this is the definitive modern biography of Napoleon.
It has become all too common for Bonaparte's biographers to approach him as a figure to be reviled, bent on world domination, practically a proto-Hitler. Here, after years of study, extending even to visits paid to St Helena and 53 of Napoleon's 56 battlefields, Andrew Roberts has created a true portrait of the mind, the life and the military and political genius of a fundamentally constructive ruler.
This is the Napoleon, Roberts reminds us, whose peacetime activity produced countless indispensable civic innovations and whose Napoleonic Code provided the blueprint for civil law systems still in use around the world today. It is one of the greatest lives in world history and here has found its ideal biographer. The sheer enjoyment which this book will give anyone who loves history is enormous.
Andrew Roberts is a biographer and historian of international renown, whose books include Salisbury: Victorian Titan (winner, the Wolfson Prize for History); Masters and Commanders; and The Storm of War, which reached No. 2 on the Sunday Times bestseller list. Roberts is a Fellow of the Royal Societies of Literature and Arts. He appears regularly on British television and radio and writes for the Sunday Telegraph, Spectator, Literary Review, Mail on Sunday and Daily Telegraph.
Dr Judy Melinek has made a career out of working with dead bodies. As a forensic pathologist, she has probed and prodded corpses for clues that may reveal murder, suicide, a medical accident or a rare genetic disease This fearless memoir tells the gripping story of the young doctor's 'rookie season' as a forensic pathologist, and the cases - hair-raising and heartbreaking and impossibly complex - that shaped her as both a physician and a mother. Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation - performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counselling grieving relatives. Lively, action-packed, and loaded with mordant wit, Working Stiff offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of the modern world's most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. Dr Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorised depictions of autopsy work on shows like CSI and Law & Order to reveal the secret story of the real morgue and what really goes on behind the police tape.
David Suchet shares his many memories of creating this iconic television series and reflects on what the detective has meant to him over the yearsIn the summer of 2013 David Suchet filmed his final scenes as Hercule Poirot. After 24 years in the role, he played the character in every story that Agatha Christie wrote about him (bar one, deemed unfilmable) and he bid adieu to a role and a character that changed his life. Here he tells the story of how he secured the part, with the blessing of Agatha Christie's daughter, and set himself the task of presenting the most authentic Poirot that had ever been filmed. David Suchet is uniquely placed to offer the ultimate companion to one of the world's longest running television series. Peppered with anecdotes about filming, including many tales of the guest stars who have appeared over the years, the book is essential reading for Poirot fans all over the world.
A genuine literary event--an illuminating collection of correspondence from one of the most acclaimed American writers of all time.
Over the course of a nearly sixty-year career, Norman Mailer wrote more than 30 novels, essay collections, and nonfiction books. Yet nowhere was he more prolific--or more exposed--than in his letters. All told, Mailer crafted more than 45,000 pieces of correspondence (approximately 20 million words), many of them deeply personal, keeping a copy of almost every one. Now the best of these are published--most for the first time--in one remarkable volume that spans seven decades and, it seems, several lifetimes. Together they form a stunning autobiographical portrait of one of the most original, provocative, and outspoken public intellectuals of the twentieth century.
Compiled by Mailer's authorised biographer, J. Michael Lennon, and organised by decade, Selected Letters of Norman Mailer features the most fascinating of Mailer's missives from 1940 to 2007--letters to his family and friends, to fans and fellow writers (including Truman Capote, James Baldwin, and Philip Roth), to political figures from Henry Kissinger to Bill and Hillary Clinton, and to such cultural icons as John Lennon, Marlon Brando, and even Monica Lewinsky.
Here is Mailer the precocious Harvard undergraduate, writing home to his parents for the first time and worrying that his acceptances by literary magazines were all happening too easy. Here, too, is Mailer the soldier, confronting the violence of war in the Pacific, which would become the subject of his masterly debut novel, The Naked and the Dead "[I'm] amazed how casually it fits into . . . daily life, how very unhorrible it all is."
Mailer the international celebrity pledges to William Styron, "I'm going to write every day, and like Lot's Wife I'm consigning myself to a pillar of salt if I dare to look back," while the 1980s Mailer agonises over the fallout from his ill-fated friendship with Jack Henry Abbott, the murderer who became his literary protege. ( The continuation of our relationship was depressing for both of us, he confesses to Joyce Carol Oates.) At last, he finds domestic--and erotic--bliss in the arms of his sixth wife, Norris Church ( We bounce into each other like sunlight ).
Whether he is reflecting on the Kennedy assassination, assessing the merits of authors from Fitzgerald to Proust, or threatening to pummel William Styron, the brilliant, pugnacious Norman Mailer comes alive again in these letters. The myriad faces of this artist and activist, lover and fighter, public figure and private man, are laid bare in this collection as never before.
The book amounts to a comprehensive literary history of the time. (David Sexton, Evening Standard). Volume 5 of The Letters of T. S. Eliot finds the poet, between the ages of forty-two and forty-four, reckoning with the strict implications of his Christian faith for his life, his work, and his poetry. The letters between Eliot and his associates, family and friends - his correspondents range from the Archbishop of York and the American philosopher Paul Elmer More to the writers Virginia Woolf, Herbert Read and Ralph Hodgson - serve to illuminate the ways in which his Anglo-Catholic convictions could, at times, prove a self-chastising and even alienating force. 'Anyone who has been moving among intellectual circles and comes to the Church, may experience an odd and rather exhilarating feeling of isolation,' he remarks. Notwithstanding, he becomes fully involved in doctrinal controversy: he espouses the Church as an arena of discipline and order. Eliot's relationship with his wife, Vivien, continues to be turbulent, and at times desperate, as her mental health deteriorates and the communication between husband and wife threatens, at the coming end of the year, to break down completely. At the close of this volume Eliot will accept a visiting professorship at Harvard University, which will take him away from England and Vivien for the academic year 1932-33.
Animal Heroes is full of stories of astonishing courage shown by family pets and wild animals alike. Read about: the amazing courage of Stubby, a stray dog who braved the front line with soldiers in World War I; the resourcefulness of Moko, a bottlenose dolphin which guided a mother whale and her calf back out to sea; and the gentle empathy of Magic, a miniature pony which helped a woman speak again after three years of silence. These and many more accounts of extraordinary feats by an array of animals will warm your heart even as they stun you.
Heineken is known all around the world, but few of the drinkers who eagerly watch the foam rise in their glass have heard of the business ploys, marketing tricks and extraordinary characters that transformed the Dutch family business into a global brand. Taking us on a journey from a small brewery in Amsterdam in 1864 to the present day, The Heineken Story tells the remarkable and sometimes controversial true story of one of the world's largest brewing companies, and of Alfred 'Freddy' Heineken, the singular business man who secured its position. From spectacular takeovers and inspired marketing campaigns, to a kidnapping that brought in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual, this is a gripping account of the battle for the international beer market. Barbara Smit has experience writing on family drama, marketing and consumer culture, and in The Heineken Story she has put together a narrative that is meticulously researched, and fizzing with competition, personalities and betrayal.
Sir Alex Ferguson's compelling story is always honest and revealing he reflects on his managerial career that embraced unprecedented European success for Aberdeen and 26 triumphant seasons with Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson's best-selling autobiography has now been updated to offer reflections on events at Manchester United since his retirement as well as his teachings at the Harvard Business School, a night at the Oscars and a boat tour round the Hebrides, where he passed unrecognised. The extra material adds fresh insights and detail on his final years as United's manager. Both the psychology of management and the detail of football strategy at the top level can be complex matters but no-one has explained them in a more interesting and accessible way for the general reader than Sir Alex does here. MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY is revealing, endlessly entertaining and above all inspirational.
The greatest run-scorer in the history of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar retired in 2013 after an astonishing 24 years at the top. The most celebrated Indian cricketer of all time, he received the Bharat Ratna Award - India's highest civilian honour - on the day of his retirement. Now Sachin Tendulkar tells his own remarkable story - from his first Test cap at the age of 16 to his 100th international century and the emotional final farewell that brought his country to a standstill. When a boisterous Mumbai youngster's excess energies were channelled into cricket, the result was record-breaking schoolboy batting exploits that launched the career of a cricketing phenomenon. Before long Sachin Tendulkar was the cornerstone of India's batting line-up, his every move watched by a cricket-mad nation's devoted followers. Never has a cricketer been burdened with so many expectations; never has a cricketer performed at such a high level for so long and with such style - scoring more runs and making more centuries than any other player, in both Tests and one-day games. And perhaps only one cricketer could have brought together a shocked nation by defiantly scoring a Test century shortly after terrorist attacks rocked Mumbai. His many achievements with India include winning the World Cup and topping the world Test rankings. Yet he has also known his fair share of frustration and failure - from injuries and early World Cup exits to stinging criticism from the press, especially during his unhappy tenure as captain. Despite his celebrity status, Sachin Tendulkar has always remained a very private man, devoted to his family and his country. Now, for the first time, he provides a fascinating insight into his personal life and gives a frank and revealing account of a sporting life like no other.
This is the number one bestseller in France and Italy, from Francoise Heritier, The Sweetness of Life is a beautiful and poetic list of the everyday reasons that make life worth living. If you assume an average life expectancy of 85 years, and deduct the hours we spend daily on sleeping, shopping, eating, working, tending to our relationships and on everything else that is obligatory, then how much time is left for the average person to enjoy those activities that are the sweetness of life? For Francoise Heritier, it is those activities, those moments that make up pure sensuality, the actual experience of humanity. These are the moments we all cherish: wild laughter, coffee in the sun, the bliss of fresh autumn evenings, running in warm rain, long conversations at twilight, kisses on the back of the neck, the moment when all nature falls silent, those times when you know that someone likes you, is looking at you and listening to you, cooking a complicated dish, feeling agile and sprightly, getting back together with friends you haven't seen in ages, watching a craftsman at work, listening to other people. There's still so much else that I forget , says Heritier, and she goes on to list, with heart-warming and heart-breaking specificity, all that we so easily miss if we do not attend to the lightness and grace in the simple fact of existence, life's sweetness. What about you, what would you miss if all this had to disappear from your life forever? A series of perceptions, sensations, eddies, and happiness of writing that gives a real intensity to the existence ...a true wonder . (Laure Adler). Francoise Heritier, an anthropologist, is Emeritus Professor at the College de France and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. She is the author of such highly successful works as Masculin/feminin and De la violence, translated into more than ten languages. Le Sel de la Vie (translated into English as The Sweetness of Life) is a French bestseller.
The Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War One was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, 'a sideshow of a sideshow'. Amidst the slaughter in European trenches, the Western combatants paid scant attention to the Middle Eastern theatre. As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by a small handful of adventurers and low-level officers far removed from the corridors of power. At the centre of it all was Lawrence. In early 1914 he was an archaeologist excavating ruins in the sands of Syria; by 1917 he was battling both the enemy and his own government to bring about the vision he had for the Arab people. Operating in the Middle East at the same time, but to wildly different ends, were three other important players: a German attache, an American oilman and a committed Zionist. The intertwined paths of these four young men - the schemes they put in place, the battles they fought, the betrayals they endured and committed - mirror the grandeur, intrigue and tragedy of the war in the desert.
A major literary event: Mencken's dazzling autobiography, with 200 pages of his own never-before-published commentary and photos. In 1936, at the age of fifty-five, H. L. Mencken published a reminiscence about his boyhood in The New Yorker, beginning a long and magnificent adventure in autobiography by America's greatest journalist. Mencken went on to gather his childhood recollections in Happy Days (1940), a richly detailed, poignant account of growing up in Baltimore. A critical and popular success, the book surprised many with its glimpses of a less curmudgeonly Mencken, and there soon followed the absorbing sequels Newspaper Days (1941), charting his rise at the Baltimore Herald from cub reporter to editor, and Heathen Days (1943), recounting his varied excursions as journalist and public figure, including his coverage of the Scopes trial in 1925. But unknown to the legions of Days books' admirers, Mencken continued to add to them after publication, annotating and expanding each volume in typescripts sealed to the public for twenty-five years after his death. Until now, this material--often more frank and unvarnished than the original Days books-- has never been published. Containing nearly 200 pages of previously unseen writing, and illustrated with photographs from Mencken's archives, many taken by Mencken himself, this expanded and definitive edition of the Days trilogy is a cause for celebration.
This is the untold story of how one woman's life was changed forever in a matter of seconds by a horrific trauma. For almost six decades, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis has fascinated people worldwide. The subject of numerous books and thousands of articles, her life has probably been documented in millions of words. And yet, there has always remained something mysterious, something private about this very public woman. With extraordinary skill and great sensitivity, Barbara Leaming explores the seemingly magical world of Jackie's youth, her fairy-tale marriage to a wealthy and handsome Senator and Presidential candidate and her astonishing transformation into a deft political wife and unique First Lady. This spirited young woman's rejection of the idea of a safe marriage as the wife of some socially prominent but utterly predictable man led her to JFK and international fame. But the trauma of her husband's murder, which left her literally soaked in blood and brains, would damage her far more than has been known. Until now.
In The Red Earl Selina Hastings tells the extraordinary story of her father, Jack Hastings, 16th Earl of Huntingdon. In 1925, Hastings infuriated his ultra-conservative parents by turning his back on centuries of tradition to make a scandalous run-away marriage. With his beautiful Italian wife he then left England for the other side of the world, further enraging his family by determining on a career as a painter. The couple settled first in Australia, then on the island of Moorea in the South Pacific. Here, they led an idyllic existence until a bizarre accident forced them to leave the tropics forever. En route back to England, they stopped for a year in California, where Hastings continued to paint while enjoying a glamorous social life with actors such as Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks. While in San Francisco, Hastings met the great Mexican artist Diego Rivera, and persuaded him to take him on as an assistant. For the next nearly four years he lived at close quarters with Rivera and with his wife, Frida Kahlo, first in San Francisco, then Detroit, and finally Mexico City. When eventually Hastings returned home it was to be faced with fighting on all fronts: in Spain during the Civil War; in England with his parents; and lastly with his wife, determined to keep him locked into a marriage from which by now he was desperate to escape. This enthralling story, superbly well written, not only gives a new perspective on two of the 20th-century's greatest artists, Rivera and Kahlo, but also reveals in fascinating detail the private life of an aristocratic family of 100 years ago.
On the 2nd of August 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town. He has survived the Lodz ghetto, Auschwitz, and the harrowing slave camps and transports during the final months of Nazi Germany. Now he has to learn to live with his memories. In this intelligent and deeply moving book, Goran Rosenberg returns to his own childhood in order to tell his father's story. It is also the story of the chasm that soon opens between the world of the child, suffused with the optimism, progress and collective oblivion of post-war Sweden, and the world of the father, haunted by the long shadows of the past.
Colditz was the last stop for prisoners of war during WWII. Those who persisted in escaping from other camps were sent to the impregnable fortress of Colditz Castle, situated on a rocky outcrop high above the River Mulde. Once within the walls of the castle, the Germans reasoned, escape was impossible. And yet many prisoners attempted escape and many succeeded Pat Reid was one of those men. Appointed 'Escape Officer' by his fellow inmates, he masterminded many of the attempts. From tunnelling, to hiding in rubbish sacks, disguising themselves as German officers and even leaping from the castle walls, nothing was too dangerous or foolhardy compared to imprisonment by the enemy. Reid's own escape, in 1942, was both one of the most simple and the most daring. First published in 1952, The Colditz Story is a classic escape story in the tradition of The Great Escape and The Wooden Horse.
In THE COLDITZ STORY, Pat Reid told the story of the escape academy that sprang up inside the most impregnable German POW camp of the Second World War, ending appropriately with his own incredible escape from Colditz. But Reid's own break-out was by no means the last. In this enthralling sequel, he follows the fortunes of the escape academy right up until the arrival of the allied forces in April 1945. These tales of fantastic bravery and stunning ingenuity are every bit as mesmerising as the original. A true classic, LATTER DAYS AT COLDITZ is the bestselling conclusion to the story of the infamous German P.O.W. camp.
'IF YOU CAN TAKE IT, YOU CAN MAKE IT' Louis Zamperini lived one of the most amazing lives imaginable. As a young boy he was a troublemaker but his will to succeed drove him on to become an Olympian at the 1936 Games. With the outbreak of war, Louis volunteered for the army and was thrust into the violent combat of the Second World War as a B-24 bombardier. While on a rescue mission Louis's plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean, leaving him stranded and drifting 2000 miles in a small raft for 47 days. Against all the odds he survived. His struggle was just beginning: captured by the Japanese, Louis courageously endured torture in a series of prisoner-of-war camps for over two years. Not only did he survive this ordeal but he went on to spend the rest of his life helping others. Completed just two days before Louis's death at age 97, Don't Give Up, Don't Give In contains a lifetime of wisdom and humour. Louis shares the wonderful lessons he has learned during his life, previously untold stories, and inspirational insights on how he overcame adversity and found the courage to never give up and never give in. Louis's story has touched millions and will forever be one of the most inspiring examples of the great resilience of the human spirit.
Vaclav Havel: iconoclast and philosopher-king, an internationally successful playwright who became a political dissident and then, reluctantly, a president. His pivotal role in the Velvet Revolution, the end of Communism and the birth of a modern, west-facing Czech Republic makes him a key figure of the twentieth century. He was a character of great contradictions, a courageous visionary who put his life at risk, a leader who inspired great loyalty; yet a man wracked with doubt, self-criticism, depression and despair. Above all he was an intellectual and artist, always true to himself, someone who never lost a profound sense of the absurd. Michael antovsky was one of Havel's closest friends. They met as dissidents under Communism, and when a frail Havel was released from prison in May 1989 just months before the Velvet Revolution it was antovsky who carried his bag for him; during Havel's first presidency antovsky was his press secretary, speech writer and translator, and their friendship endured until Havel's death in 2011. He is therefore uniquely placed as Havel's biographer; a rare witness to this most extraordinary life.
This is introduced by Paul McCartney About the Awful. I was bored on the 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madalf Heatlump (Who only had one). Anyway they didn't get me. I attended to varicous schools in Liddypol. And still didn't pass-much to my Aunties supplies. As a member of the most publified Beatles my and (P, G, and R's) records might seem funnier to some than this book, but as far as I'm conceived this correction of short witty is the most wonderful loaf I've ever ready. In His Own Write is John Lennon's literary debut, a book of stories, drawings and poems that was first published in 1964 to great critical acclaim and became a phenomenon, selling over 600,000 copies in the UK alone and revealing a hitherto unseen side to Lennon's artistic output and talent.
Following the incredible success of his first book, In His Own Write, John Lennon's second collection of stories, drawings and poems is just as witty, whimsical and wonderful as his debut. First published in 1965 it is now back in print, looking just as it did when it first appeared half a century ago. Contents: A Spaniard in the Works; The Fat Budgie; Snore Wife and some Several Dwarts; The Singularge Experience of Miss Anne Duffield; The Faulty Bagnose; We must not forget the General Erection Benjaman Distasteful; The Wumberlog (or The Magic Dog); Araminta Ditch Cassandle; The National Health Cow Readers; Lettuce Silly Norman; Mr. Boris; Morris Bernice's Sheep Last; Will and Testicle; and Our Dad I Believe, Boot...
An engaging and informative first-hand account of the last 'grain race' of maritime history, from respected travel writer Eric Newby. In 1939, a young Eric Newby - later renowned as a travel writer of exceptional talent - set sail aboard Moshulu, the largest sailing ship still employed in the transportation of grain from Australia to Europe. Every year from 1921 to 1939, the vessels involved in the grain trade would strive to find the shortest, fastest passage home - 'the grain race' - in the face of turbulent seas, atrocious weather conditions and hard graft. First published in 1956, 'The Last Grain Race', featuring many photographs from the author's personal collection, celebrates both the spirit of adventure and the thrill of sailing on the high seas. Newby's first-hand account - engaging and informative, with frequent bursts of humour and witty observations from both above and below deck - chronicles this classic sailing voyage of the Twenties and Thirties, and records the last grain race of maritime history.
Voltaire (1694-1778), best remembered as the author of Candide, is one of the central actors - arguably the defining personality - of the European Enlightenment. In this Very Short Introduction, Nicholas Cronk explores Voltaire's remarkable career and demonstrates how his thinking is pivotal to our notion and understanding of the Enlightenment. In a fresh and modern examination of his writings, Cronk examines the nature of Voltaire's literary celebrity, demonstrating the extent to which his work was reactive and practical, and therefore made sense within the broader context of the debates to which he responded. The most famous living author in Europe in the 18th century, Cronk emphasises Voltaire's skills of 'performance' as a writer and his continued relevance today. He concludes by looking not only at Voltaire's impact in literature and philosophy, but also his influence on French political values and modern French politics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.