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Biography

Chanel's Riviera: Life, Love and the Struggle for Survival on the Cote d Azur, 1930 1944

Chanel's Riviera: Life, Love and the Struggle for Survival on the Cote d Azur, 1930 1944

Anne De Courcy

$32.99
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Far from worrying about the onset of war, in the spring of 1938 the burning question on the French Riviera was whether one should curtsey to the Duchess of Windsor. Few of those who had settled there thought much about what was going on in the rest of Europe. It was a golden, glamorous life, far removed from politics or conflict.

Featuring a sparkling cast of artists, writers and historical figures including Winston Churchill, Daisy Fellowes, Salvador Dali, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Eileen Gray and Edith Wharton, with the enigmatic Coco Chanel at its heart, CHANEL'S RIVIERA is a captivating account of a period that saw some of the deepest extremes of luxury and terror in the whole of the twentieth century.

From Chanel's first summer at her Roquebrune villa La Pausa (in the later years with her German lover) amid the glamour of the pre-war parties and casinos in Antibes, Nice and Cannes to the horrors of evacuation and the displacement of thousands of families during the Second World War, CHANEL'S RIVIERA explores the fascinating world of the Cote d'Azur elite in the 1930s and 1940s. Enriched with much original research, it is social history that brings the experiences of both rich and poor, protected and persecuted, to vivid life.

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Spies and Stars: MI5, Showbusiness and Me

Spies and Stars: MI5, Showbusiness and Me

Charlotte Bingham

$29.99
The wickedly funny sequel to the MI5 and Me, described by Tatler as 'a stone cold comic classic', following the irrepressible Lottie's adventures in 1950s London London in the 1950s. Lottie is a reluctant typist at MI5 and the even more reluctant daughter of the organisation's most illustrious spy. Now she has had the bad luck to fall in love with Harry, a handsome if frustrated young actor, who has also been press-ganged into the family business, acting as one of her father's undercover agents in the Communist hotbed of British theatre.

Together the two young lovers embark on a star-studded adventure through the glittering world of theatre - but, between missing files, disapproving parents, and their own burgeoning creative endeavours, life is about to become very complicated indeed...
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The Way Home: Tales from a Life Without Technology

The Way Home: Tales from a Life Without Technology

Mark Boyle

$29.99
It was 11pm when I checked my email for the last time and turned off my phone for what I hoped would be forever.

No running water, no car, no electricity or any of the things it powers: the internet, phone, washing machine, radio or light bulb. Just a wooden cabin, on a smallholding, by the edge of a stand of spruce.

In this honest and lyrical account of a remarkable life without modern technology, Mark Boyle explores the hard won joys of building a home with his bare hands, learning to make fire, collecting water from the spring, foraging and fishing.

What he finds is an elemental life, one governed by the rhythms of the sun and seasons, where life and death dance in a primal landscape of blood, wood, muck, water, and fire - much the same life we have lived for most of our time on earth. Revisiting it brings a deep insight into what it means to be human at a time when the boundaries between man and machine are blurring.
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Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan

Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan

Ursula Buchan

$49.99
John Buchan's name is known across the world for The Thirty-Nine Steps. In the past hundred years the classic thriller has never been out of print and has inspired numerous adaptations for film, television, radio and stage, beginning with the celebrated version by Alfred Hitchcock.

Yet there was vastly more to `JB'. He wrote more than a hundred books - fiction and non-fiction - and a thousand articles for newspapers and magazines. He was a scholar, antiquarian, barrister, colonial administrator, journal editor, literary critic, publisher, war correspondent, director of wartime propaganda, member of parliament and imperial proconsul - given a state funeral when he died, a deeply admired and loved Governor-General of Canada.

His teenage years in Glasgow's Gorbals, where his father was the Free Church minister, contributed to his ease with shepherds and ambassadors, fur-trappers and prime ministers. His improbable marriage to a member of the aristocratic Grosvenor family means that this account of his life contains, at its heart, an enduring love story.

Ursula Buchan, his granddaughter, has drawn on recently discovered family documents to write this comprehensive and illuminating biography. With perception, style, wit and a penetratingly clear eye, she brings vividly to life this remarkable man and his times.
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Made In Scotland: My Grand Adventures in a Wee Country

Made In Scotland: My Grand Adventures in a Wee Country

Billy Connolly

$19.99
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Where do you come from? It's one of the most basic human questions of all. But there is another question, which might sound a wee bit similar but is actually very different- What do you come from? And, let me tell you, that question can take you all sorts of strange places...' In Made in Scotland, legendary comic and national treasure Billy Connolly returns to his roots, reflecting on his life, his homeland and what it means - then and now - to be Scottish.

Full of Billy's distinctive humour, Made in Scotland is a hilarious and heartfelt love letter to the place and the people that made him.
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Existentialism and Excess: The Life and Times of Jean-Paul Sartre

Existentialism and Excess: The Life and Times of Jean-Paul Sartre

Gary Cox

$28.99
Jean-Paul Sartre is an undisputed giant of twentieth-century philosophy. His intellectual writings popularizing existentialism combined with his creative and artistic flair have made him a legend of French thought. His tumultuous personal life - so inextricably bound up with his philosophical thinking - is a fascinating tale of love and lust, drug abuse, high profile fallings-out and political and cultural rebellion.

This substantial and meticulously researched biography is accessible, fast-paced, often amusing and at times deeply moving. Existentialism and Excess covers all the main events of Sartre's remarkable seventy-five-year life from his early years as a precocious brat devouring his grandfather's library, through his time as a brilliant student in Paris, his wilderness years as a provincial teacher-writer experimenting with mescaline, his World War II adventures as a POW and member of the resistance, his post-war politicization, his immense amphetamine fueled feats of writing productivity, his harem of women, his many travels and his final decline into blindness and old age.

Along the way there are countless intriguing anecdotes, some amusing, some tragic, some controversial: his loathing of crustaceans and his belief that he was being pursued by a giant lobster, his escape from a POW camp, the bombing of his apartment, his influence on the May 1968 uprising and his many love affairs. Cox deftly moves from these episodes to discussing his intellectual development, his famous feuds with Aron, Camus, and Merleau-Ponty, his encounters with other giant figures of his day: Roosevelt, Hemingway, Heidegger, John Huston, Mao, Castro, Che Guevara, Khrushchev and Tito, and, above all, his long, complex and creative relationship with Simone de Beauvoir.

Existentialism and Excess also gives serious consideration to Sartre's ideas and many philosophical works, novels, stories, plays and biographies, revealing their intimate connection with his personal life.

Cox has written an entertaining, thought-provoking and compulsive book, much like the man himself.
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Writing Across the Landscape: Travel Journals 1950-2013

Writing Across the Landscape: Travel Journals 1950-2013

Lawrence Ferlinghetti ,  Giada Diano ,  Matthew Gleeson

$35.95
In celebration of Ferlinghetti's 100th birthday comes this stunning portrait of the intrepid life of one of America's best poets (Huffington Post).

Over the course of an adventured-filled life, now in its tenth decade, Lawrence Ferlinghetti has been many things: a poet, painter, pacifist, publisher, courageous defender of free speech, and owner of San Francisco's legendary City Lights bookstore. Now the man whose A Coney Island of the Mind became a generational classic reveals yet another facet of his manifold talents, presenting here his travel journals, spanning over sixty years. Selected from a vast trove of mostly unpublished, handwritten notebooks, and edited by Giada Diano and Matthew Gleeson, Writing Across the Landscape becomes a transformative work of social, cultural, and literary history.

Beginning with Ferlinghetti's account of serving as a commanding officer on a Navy sub-chaser during D-Day, Writing Across the Landscape dramatically traverses the latter half of the twentieth century. For those only familiar with his poetry, these pages present a Lawrence Ferlinghetti never before encountered, an elegant prose stylist and tireless political activist who was warning against the pernicious sins of our ever-expansive corporate culture long before such thoughts ever seeped into mainstream consciousness.

Yet first and foremost we see an inquisitive wanderer whose firsthand accounts of people and places are filled with pungent descriptions that animate the landscapes and cultures he encounters. Evoking each journey with a mixture of travelogue and poetry as well as his own hand-drawn sketches, Ferlinghetti adopts the role of an American bard, providing panoramic views of the Cuban Revolution in Havana, 1960, and a trip through Haiti, where voodoo and Catholicism clash in cathedrals filled with ulcerous children's feet running from Baron Hunger. Reminding us that poverty is not only to be found abroad, Ferlinghetti narrates a Steinbeck-like trip through California's Salton Sea, a sad yet exquisitely melodic odyssey from motel to motel, experiencing the life between cocktails, between filling stations, between buses, trains, towns, restaurants, movies, highways leading over horizons to another Rest Stop...

Sad hope of all their journeys to Nowhere and back in dark Eternity.

Particularly memorable is his journey across the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1957, which turns into a Kafkaesque nightmare in which he, lacking a proper visa, is removed from a Japan-bound freighter and forced back across the Russian steppe to Moscow, encountering a countryside more Tolstoy than Khrushchev, while nearly dying in the process. Readers are also treated to glimpses of Ezra Pound, looking like an old Chinese sage, whom Ferlinghetti espies in Italy, as well as fellow Beat legends Allen Ginsberg and a dyspeptic William S. Burroughs, immured with his cats in a grotto-like apartment in London.

Embedded with facsimile manuscript pages and an array of poems, many never before published, Writing Across the Landscape revives an era when political activism coursed through the land and refashions Lawrence Ferlinghetti, not only as a seminal poet but as an historic and singular American voice.

50 drawings, 30 facsimile pages
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A Woman of Firsts: The Woman Who Built a Hospital and Changed the World

A Woman of Firsts: The Woman Who Built a Hospital and Changed the World

Edna Adan Ismail ,  Wendy Holden

$32.99
The astonishing story of a daughter, campaigner, First Lady and nurse SIMPLY A MIDWIFE is the inspirational story of a remarkable daughter, nurse and First Lady. The indomitable Edna Adan Ismail survived imprisonment, persecution, and civil war to become a pioneering politician, a leading light in the World Health Organisation, and a global campaigner for women's rights.

The eldest child of an overworked doctor in the British Protectorate of Somaliland, Edna was the first midwife in Somaliland, she campaigned tirelessly for better healthcare for women and fought for women on a global stage as the first female Foreign Minister of her country. But mixing with presidents and princes, she still never forgot her roots and continued to deliver children and train midwives - a role she has to this day.

At 81 years old, she still runs what is hailed as the Horn of Africa's finest university hospital where she trains future generations and still delivers babies.

After all - as she puts it - she is `simply a midwife.'
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Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT Leroy

Girl Boy Girl: How I Became JT Leroy

Savannah Knoop

$27.99
The true story of Savannah Knoop, JT LeRoy, and one of the most famous literary hoaxes of all time, soon to be a major motion picture.

More than ten years after the New York Times unmasked Savannah Knoop as the face of the mysterious author JT LeRoy, her story continues to fascinate. To some, it was a compelling experiment with authorship and identity. To others, it was an unforgivable deception. In Girl Boy Girl, Knoop tells her side of the story, revealing how she came to portray the young trans hustler turned literary wunderkind - a persona created by her sister-in-law, Laura Albert, to help sell her books.

For six years Knoop led this bizarre double life, trading a precarious existence as a college dropout for a life in which she was embraced by celebrities and artists - Carrie Fisher, Courtney Love, Mary Ellen Mark, Winona Ryder, Asia Argento, Gus Van Sant, Mike Pitt, Calvin Klein, and Shirley Manson, to name a few - and traveled the world. Knoop reveals how playing JT LeRoy gave her a sense of confidence and entitlement she never had before. But as JT's fame grew, the charade became harder to maintain, and Knoop started to resent "pretending to be someone who had nothing to do with me, representing something I hadn't created." Much more than an inside look at one of the most famous literary hoaxes of all time, this book is also the story of a woman who inadvertently finds herself by pretending to be someone else.

This edition of the book features a new introduction by the author, whose story will soon be a major motion picture starring Kristen Stewart as Savannah/JT.
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I Spy: My Life in MI5

I Spy: My Life in MI5

Tom Marcus

$32.99
Tom Marcus spent years of his life working covertly against those who want to do us harm. Now, for the first time, he tells the full story of what it is like to live your life in the shadows and who you need to become to survive.

First published in 2016, Soldier Spy was a series of stories from Tom's years in MI5 and has now sold over 250,000 copies across all editions and was a Sunday Times bestseller for five months. I Spy takes us deeper into his life as a spy.
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Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent

Martin Buber: A Life of Faith and Dissent

Paul Mendes-Flohr

$44.99
The first major biography in English in over thirty years of the seminal modern Jewish thinker Martin Buber An authority on the twentieth-century philosopher Martin Buber (1878-1965), Paul Mendes-Flohr offers the first major biography in English in thirty years of this seminal modern Jewish thinker. The book is organized around several key moments, such as his sudden abandonment by his mother when he was a child of three, a foundational trauma that, Mendes-Flohr shows, left an enduring mark on Buber's inner life, attuning him to the fragility of human relations and the need to nurture them with what he would call a dialogical attentiveness.

Buber's philosophical and theological writings, most famously I and Thou, made significant contributions to religious and Jewish thought, philosophical anthropology, biblical studies, political theory, and Zionism. In this accessible new biography, Mendes-Flohr situates Buber's life and legacy in the intellectual and cultural life of German Jewry as well as in the broader European intellectual life of the first half of the twentieth century.
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The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought

Dennis C. Rasmussen

$37.99
The story of the greatest of all philosophical friendships-and how it influenced modern thought David Hume is arguably the most important philosopher ever to have written in English, but during his lifetime he was attacked as the Great Infidel for his religious skepticism and deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith, now hailed as the founding father of capitalism, was a revered professor of moral philosophy. Remarkably, Hume and Smith were best friends, sharing what Dennis Rasmussen calls the greatest of all philosophical friendships. The Infidel and the Professor tells the fascinating story of the close relationship between these towering Enlightenment thinkers-and how it influenced their world-changing ideas. It shows that Hume contributed more to economics-and Smith contributed more to philosophy-than is generally recognized. The result is a compelling account of a great friendship that had great consequences for modern thought.
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Calypso

Calypso

David Sedaris

$22.99
'Sedaris is the premier observer of our world and its weirdnesses' Adam Kay, author of THIS IS GOING TO HURT 'He's like an American Alan Bennett' Guardian A New York Times Notable Book of 2018 'Entrancing . . . This book allows us to observed not just the nimble-mouthed elf of his previous work, but a man in his seventh decade expunging his darker secrets and contemplating mortality . . . The brilliance of David Sedaris's writing is that his very essence, his aura, seeps through the pages of his books like an intoxicating cloud, mesmerising us so that his logic becomes ours' Alan Cumming, Scotsman If you've ever laughed your way through David Sedaris's cheerfully misanthropic stories, you might think you know what you're getting with CALYPSO. You'd be wrong.

When he buys a beach house on the Carolina coast, Sedaris envisions long, relaxing vacations spent playing board games and lounging in the sun with those he loves most. And life at the Sea Section, as he names the vacation home, is exactly as idyllic as he imagined, except for one tiny, vexing realization: it's impossible to take a vacation from yourself.

With CALYPSO, Sedaris sets his formidable powers of observation toward middle age and mortality. Make no mistake: these stories are very, very funny - it's a book that can make you laugh 'til you snort, the way only family can. Sedaris's writing has never been sharper, and his ability to shock readers into laughter unparalleled. But much of the comedy here is born out of that vertiginous moment when your own body betrays you and you realize that the story of your life is made up of more past than future.

This is beach reading for people who detest beaches, required reading for those who loathe small talk and love a good tumour joke. CALYPSO is simultaneously Sedaris's darkest and warmest book yet - and it just might be his very best.
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The Grit in the Pearl: The Scandalous Life of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll

The Grit in the Pearl: The Scandalous Life of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll

Lyndsy Spence

$49.99
Margaret, Duchess of Argyll's life was one of complexity and controversy. Born Ethel Margaret Whigham, the only child of a Scottish self-made millionaire and a beautiful high-society woman, her childhood was rich and splendid - but empty. She was a daddy's girl with an absent father, living with a jealous mother who sought to remind Margaret of her every shortcoming. As she grew up, her name was a byword for class and beauty; she was the debutante of her coming-out year, and her marriage to Charles Sweeny literally stopped traffic. But it was not to last: Margaret needed more. What followed was a story of tragedy, scandal and heartbreak as Margaret swung from lover to lover, society to society. This culminated in her notorious divorce case of 1963, where her soon-to-be-ex-husband produced his pie`ce de resistance: a Polaroid of her in a compromising position with two other men. In The Grit in the Pearl, Lyndsy Spence takes a look at a woman who was ahead of her time. Using previously unpublished sources and personal transcripts, this is the story of a fragile woman who was to come up against the very highest echelons of English high society - and lose.
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The Kennedy Heirs: John, Caroline, and the New Generation: a Legacy of Triumph and Tragedy

The Kennedy Heirs: John, Caroline, and the New Generation: a Legacy of Triumph and Tragedy

J. Randy Taraborrelli

$39.99
A unique burden was inherited by the children of the original Kennedy icons, JFK and his celebrated siblings. Raised in a world of enormous privilege, against the backdrop of American history, their own lives often veered between towering accomplishment and moments of personal heartbreak. These are the Kennedy stories you've never heard before:

*The real story of JFK, Jr.'s tumultuous marriage to Carolyn Bessette and the details of their tragic deaths *Caroline Kennedy's surprising marriage to Ed Schlossberg and her rivalry with her brother, John *The unexpected way pop star Taylor Swift helped Conor Kennedy cope with his mother's suicide *Congressman Joseph Kennedy III's rise to power and his compelling Democratic response to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address Based on exclusive first-hand interviews and in-depth research, THE KENNEDY HEIRS is an epic drama of ambition, scandal, pride and power.
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