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*** Selected as a 2017 Book of the Year in the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Observer and The Economist *** ‘A gripping story of Churchill’s unlikely rise to power’ Observer London, May 1940. Britain is under threat of invasion and Neville Chamberlain’s government is about to fall. It is hard for us to imagine the Second World War without Winston Churchill taking the helm, but in Six Minutes in May Nicholas Shakespeare shows how easily events could have gone in a different direction. It took just six minutes for MPs to cast the votes that brought down Chamberlain. Shakespeare moves from Britain’s disastrous battle in Norway, for which many blamed Churchill, on to the dramatic developments in Westminster that led to Churchill becoming Prime Minister. Uncovering fascinating new research and delving into the key players’ backgrounds, Shakespeare gives us a new perspective on this critical moment in our history. ‘Totally captivating. It will stand as the best account of those extraordinary few days for very many years’ Andrew Roberts ‘Superbly written... Shakespeare has a novelist’s flair for depicting the characters and motives of men’ The Times ‘Utterly wonderful... It reads like a thriller’ Peter Frankopan LONGLISTED FOR THE HWA NON-FICTION CROWN 2018
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Appeasing Hitler is an astonishingly accomplished debut' ANTONY BEEVOR ‘One of the most promising young historians to enter our field for years’ MAX HASTINGS ‘Brilliant and sparkling ... reads like a thriller. I couldn’t put it down’ PETER FRANKOPAN On a wet afternoon in September 1938, Neville Chamberlain stepped off an aeroplane and announced that his visit to Hitler had averted the greatest crisis in recent memory. It was, he later assured the crowd in Downing Street, ‘peace for our time’. Less than a year later, Germany invaded Poland and the Second World War began. Appeasing Hitler is a compelling new narrative history of the disastrous years of indecision, failed diplomacy and parliamentary infighting that enabled Nazi domination of Europe. Beginning with the advent of Hitler in 1933, it sweeps from the early days of the Third Reich to the beaches of Dunkirk. Bouverie takes us into the backrooms of 10 Downing Street and Parliament, where a small group of rebellious MPs, including the indomitable Winston Churchill, were among the few to realise that the only choice was between ‘war now or war later’. And we enter the drawing rooms and dining clubs of fading imperial Britain, where Hitler enjoyed surprising support among the ruling class and even some members of the Royal Family. Drawing on deep archival research, including previously unseen sources, this is an unforgettable portrait of the ministers, aristocrats and amateur diplomats who, through their actions and inaction, shaped their country's policy and determined the fate of Europe. Both sweeping and intimate, Appeasing Hitler is not only eye-opening history but a timeless lesson on the challenges of standing up to aggression and authoritarianism – and the calamity that results from failing to do so.
To maintain the pace at which he worked as a parliamentarian, cabinet minister, war leader, writer and painter, Churchill required a vast female staff of secretaries, typists and others. For these women Churchill was an intimidating boss; he was a man of prodigious energy, who imposed unusual and demanding schedules on those around him, and who combined a callous-seeming disregard with sincere solicitude for their well-being. Churchill was no ordinary employer: he did not live by the clock on the office wall. He expected those who worked with and for him to live by that timetable. Despite these often unreasonable demands, Churchill inspired an enduring loyalty and affection amongst the women who worked for him. Drawing on the wealth of oral testimonies of Churchill's many secretaries held in the Churchill Archive in Cambridge, Cita Stelzer – author of Dinner with Churchill – brings to life the experiences of a legion of women whose stories have hitherto remained unpublished in journals and letters. In recapturing their memories of working for and with Churchill – of famous people met, of travels abroad, of taking dictation in non-air-conditioned aeroplanes, of working though whisky-fuelled nights – she paints an original and memorable biographical portrait of one of the twentieth century's iconic statesmen.
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER A SUNDAY TIMES, THE TIMES, ECONOMIST, DAILY TELEGRAPH, EVENING STANDARD, OBSERVER BOOK OF THE YEAR 'Undoubtedly the best single-volume life of Churchill ever written' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times A magnificently fresh and unexpected biography of Churchill, by one of Britain's most acclaimed historians Winston Churchill towers over every other figure in twentieth-century British history. By the time of his death at the age of 90 in 1965, many thought him to be the greatest man in the world. There have been over a thousand previous biographies of Churchill. Andrew Roberts now draws on over forty new sources, including the private diaries of King George VI, used in no previous Churchill biography to depict him more intimately and persuasively than any of its predecessors. The book in no way conceals Churchill's faults and it allows the reader to appreciate his virtues and character in full: his titanic capacity for work (and drink), his ability see the big picture, his willingness to take risks and insistence on being where the action was, his good humour even in the most desperate circumstances, the breadth and strength of his friendships and his extraordinary propensity to burst into tears at unexpected moments. Above all, it shows us the wellsprings of his personality - his lifelong desire to please his father (even long after his father's death) but aristocratic disdain for the opinions of almost everyone else, his love of the British Empire, his sense of history and its connection to the present. During the Second World War, Churchill summoned a particular scientist to see him several times for technical advice. 'It was the same whenever we met', wrote the young man, 'I had a feeling of being recharged by a source of living power.' Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt's emissary, wrote 'Wherever he was, there was a battlefront.' Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Churchill's essential partner in strategy and most severe critic in private, wrote in his diary, 'I thank God I was given such an opportunity of working alongside such a man, and of having my eyes opened to the fact that occasionally supermen exist on this earth.'
Until the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, Mackenzie King prided himself on never publicly saying anything derogatory about Hitler or Mussolini, unequivocally supporting the appeasement policies of British prime minister Neville Chamberlain and regarding Hitler as a benign fellow mystic. In Mackenzie King in the Age of the Dictators Roy MacLaren leads readers through the political labyrinth that led to Canada's involvement in the Second World War and its awakening as a forceful nation on the world stage. Prime Minister King's fascination with foreign affairs extended from helping President Theodore Roosevelt exclude “little yellow men” from North America in 1908 to his conviction that appeasement of Hitler and Mussolini should be the cornerstone of Canada's foreign and imperial policies in the 1930s. If war could be avoided, King thought, national unity could be preserved. MacLaren draws extensively from King's diaries and letters and contemporary sources from Britain, the United States, and Canada to describe how King strove to reconcile French Canadian isolationism with English Canadians' commitment to the British Commonwealth. King, MacLaren explains, was convinced by the controversies of the First World War that another such conflagration would be disruptive to Canada. When King finally had to recognize that the Liberals' electoral fortunes depended on English Canada having greater voting power than French Canada, he did not reflect on whether a higher morality and intellectual integrity should transcend his anxieties about national unity. A focused view of an important period in Canadian history, replete with insightful stories, vignettes, and anecdotes, Mackenzie King in the Age of the Dictators shows Canada flexing its foreign policy under King's cautious eye and ultimately ineffective guiding hand.
An insightful and exquisitely observant work exploring one of the world’s most distant, mythic—and misunderstood—lands. The settlement of Tasmania by Europeans began two hundred years ago. Nicholas Shakespeare first went there, having heard of the island’s exceptional beauty, because it was famously remote. He soon decided that this was where he wanted to live. Only later did he discover a cache of letters written by an ancestor as corrupt as he was colorful: Anthony Fenn Kemp, the so-called Father of Tasmania. On his mother’s side, too, Shakespeare found he had unknown Tasmanian relations; a pair of spinsters who had never left their farm except once, in 1947, to buy shoes. Their journal recounted a saga beginning in Northern England in the 1890s with a dashing but profligate ancestor who, having played tennis with the Kaiser, ended his life in disgrace in the Tasmanian bush. In this fascinating history of two turbulent centuries in an apparently idyllic place, Shakespeare effortlessly weaves the history of the island with his multiple stories, a cast of unlikely characters from Errol Flynn to the King of Iceland, a village full of Chatwins, and, inevitably, a family of Shakespeares.
Andy Larkham is late. He is due at the funeral of his favourite school teacher. When the funeral leads to unexpected consequences, Andy has to ask himself: how far will he go to change his life? In Inheritance, Nicholas Shakespeare takes us on an extraordinary journey that explores the temptations of unexpected wealth, the secrets of damaged families and the price of being true to oneself.
A homage to the enchanting world of tea, Alice Parsons' book explores the history, rituals, folklore and flavours of tea through the arc of the day. We discover the stories of Lapsang Souchong and Earl Grey, Darjeeling and Russian Caravan together with Chai, Mate, Matcha and Rooibos. We travel the world to discover black teas, blue teas, green teas, white teas and iced teas, and Alice also shares her delicious and delightful recipes to accompany your tea: from traditional breakfast marmalade to high tea scones, hearty Welsh rarebit, elegant tea-smoked trout and cooling green tea ice-cream.
A collection of photographs capturing the rich traditions and everyday life of the Berbers. Within the borders of Morocco, and unknown to many of the thousands of tourists who visit the country each year, live the Berbers, whose way of life has hardly changed for centuries. For two years Alan Keohane lived among them. He travelled with nomads, stayed in villages, participated in family life and joined in local celebrations and festivals.