What is life like on this island? With a tent and a rusty bike, J.D. Taylor set off to find out. No other subject has spilt so much ink as Britain today. But whilst assuming a monopoly on national identity, a London-based elite has proven a poor forecaster of the political weather around the island.
Skeptical and inquisitive, Taylor instead cycled all round Britain, interviewing and staying with strangers from all walks of life. Without a map and travelling with the most basic of gear, the journey revels in serendipity and schadenfreude.
Island Story weaves histories, experiences and ideas to tell another kind of story: one of rebellion and retail parks, migration and inertia, pessimism and disappearing ways of life, and a fiery, unrealized desire for collective belonging and power.
Taken from Repeater Books
On Easter Sunday, 23 April 1916, the seven members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood’s military council met to proclaim an Irish Republic with themselves as the provisional government. After a week of fighting with the British army on the streets of Dublin, the Seven were arrested, court-martialled and executed.
Cutting through the layers of veneration that have seen them regarded unquestioningly as heroes and martyrs by many, Ruth Dudley Edwards provides shrewd yet sensitive portraits of Ireland’s founding fathers. She explores how an incongruous group, which included a communist, visionary Catholic poets and a tobacconist, joined together to initiate an armed rebellion that changed the course of Irish history. Brilliant, thought-provoking and captivatingly told, The Seven challenges us to see past the myths and consider the true character and legacy of the Easter Rising.
Taken from Oneworld Publications
Based on unrivalled access to all the key politicians and their advisors, including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, George Osborne, Nigel Farage and Dominic Cummings, the mastermind of Vote Leave, Tim Shipman has written a political history that reads like a thriller, and offers a gripping, day-by-day account of what really happened behind-the-scenes in Downing Street, both Leave campaigns, the Labour Party, UKIP and Britain Stronger in Europe.
Shipman gives his readers a ringside seat on how decisions were made, mistakes justified and betrayals perpetrated. Filled with stories, anecdotes and juicy leaks the book does not seek to address the rights and wrongs of Brexit but to explore how and why David Cameron chose to take the biggest political gamble of his life and explain why he lost.
Taken from HarperCollins
Saturday, November 23rd, 2013. It was just another day in America; an unremarkable Saturday on which ten children and teens were killed by gunfire. The youngest was nine; the oldest was nineteen. White, Black and Latino, they fell in suburbs, hamlets and ghettos. None made the national news. There was no outrage about their passing. It was just another day in the death of America, where on a daily average – seven children and teens are killed by guns.
Younge picked this day at random, searched for their families and tells their stories. The nine-year-old opened the door and was shot in the head by his mother’s ex-boyfriend. The eleven-year-old was killed by his friend at a sleep over in rural Michigan. The eighteen-year-old gang member, on Chicago’s South Side, was shot in a stairwell just days after being released from prison. Through ten moving chapters – one for each child – Younge explores the way these children lived and lost their short lives. He finds out who they were, who they wanted to be, the environments they inhabited, and what this might tell us about society at large.
What emerges is a searing portrait of childhood and youth in contemporary America.
Taken from Faber
What if the power to hurt were in women’s hands? Suddenly – tomorrow or the day after – teenage girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman’s extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed.
Taken from Penguin
How do we discuss serious ideas in the age of 24-hour news? What was rhetoric in the past and what should it be now? And what does Islamic State have in common with Donald Trump?
We’ve never had more information or more opportunity to debate the issues of the day. Yet the relationship between politicians, the media and the public is characterised by suspicion, mistrust and apathy. What has gone wrong?
Enough Said reveals how political, social and technological change has transformed our political landscape – and how we talk about the issues that affect us all. Political rhetoric has become stale and the mistrust of politicians has made voters flock to populists who promise authenticity, honesty and truth instead of spin, evasiveness and lies.
Taken from Penguin
The story of Attlee is also much more dramatic than he himself ever made out – and not without an element of heroism. Here was a man born in the governing class who devoted his life to the service of the poor; who was carried off the battlefield three times in the First World War; who stood shoulder to shoulder with Churchill at Britain’s darkest moment, and then triumphed over him at the general election of 1945. His government of 1945-51 included Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison and Nye Bevan and was the most radical in history, giving us the NHS, National Insurance, NATO and the atomic bomb. In many ways we still live in a world of Attlee’s creation. This book will pierce the reticence of Attlee and explore the intellectual foundations and core beliefs of one of the most important figures in twentieth-century British history, arguing that he remains underappreciated, rather than simply underestimated. It will reveal a public servant and patriotic socialist, who never lost sight of the national interest and whose view of humanity and belief in solidarity was grafted onto the Union Jack.
Taken from Quercus
His father Brian taught Rory Stewart how to walk, and walked with him on journeys from Iran to Malaysia. Now they have chosen to do their final walk together along ‘the Marches’ – the frontier that divides their two countries, Scotland and England. Brian, a ninety-year-old former colonial official and intelligence officer, arrives in Newcastle from Scotland dressed in tartan and carrying a draft of his new book You Know More Chinese Than You Think. Rory comes from his home in the Lake District, carrying a Punjabi fighting stick which he used when walking across Afghanistan.
On their six-hundred-mile, thirty-day journey – with Rory on foot, and his father ‘ambushing’ him by car – the pair relive Scottish dances, reflect on Burmese honey-bears, and on the loss of human presence in the British landscape. On mountain ridges and in housing estates they uncover a forgotten country crushed between England and Scotland: the Middleland. They cross upland valleys which once held forgotten peoples and languages – still preserved in sixth-century lullabies and sixteenth-century ballads. The surreal tragedy of Hadrian’s Wall forces them to re-evaluate their own experiences in the Iraq and Vietnam wars. The wild places of the uplands reveal abandoned monasteries, border castles, secret military test sites and newly created wetlands. They discover unsettling modern lives, lodged in an ancient land. Their odyssey develops into a history of nationhood, an anatomy of the landscape, a chronicle of contemporary Britain and an exuberant encounter between a father and a son.
Taken from Penguin
The Return is at once a universal and an intensely personal tale. It is an exquisite meditation on how history and politics can bear down on an individual life. And yet Hisham Matar’s memoir isn’t just about the burden of the past, but the consolation of love, literature and art. It is the story of what it is to be human.
Hisham Matar was nineteen when his father was kidnapped and taken to prison in Libya. He would never see him again. Twenty-two years later, the fall of Gaddafi meant he was finally able to return to his homeland. In this moving memoir, the author takes us on an illuminating journey, both physical and psychological; a journey to find his father and rediscover his country.
Taken from Penguin
The West’s domination of world politics is coming to a close. The flow of wealth and power is turning from West to East and a new era of global instability has begun.
Easternisation is the defining trend of our age – the growing wealth of Asian nations is transforming the international balance of power. This shift to the East is shaping the lives of people all over the world, the fate of nations and the great questions of war and peace.
A troubled but rising China is now challenging America’s supremacy, and the ambitions of other Asian powers – including Japan, North Korea, India and Pakistan – have the potential to shake the whole world. Meanwhile the West is struggling with economic malaise and political populism, the Arab world is in turmoil and Russia longs to reclaim its status as a great power.
We are at a turning point in history: but Easternisation has many decades to run. Gideon Rachman offers a road map to the turbulent process that will define the international politics of the twenty-first century.
Taken from Penguin
In it, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination and Shakespeare’s Othello.
It reveals that behind the South Sea Bubble was Britain’s global slave-trading empire and that much of the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery. It shows that Black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of the First World War. Black British history can be read in stately homes, street names, statues and memorials across Britain and is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.
Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries.
Taken from Pan Macmillan
And the Sun Shines Now is a book about why Hillsborough happened, and how the flawed response to the disaster created a ‘whole new ball game’ but destroyed a culture. The Taylor Report. All-seater stadia. Police lies. Political neglect. Murdoch. The oligarchs. And an FA plan to gentrify football. But what happens when you take the people’s game away from the people? What happens to the game, and what happens to the people? Powerful, funny, soulful and brutal, Adrian Tempany’s acclaimed book exposes the real cost of the modern game . . . and the forces that shaped it.
Taken from Faber & Faber
Eloquent and searingly honest, this is Hibo’s memoir which promises not only to tell her remarkable story but also to shed light on a medieval practice that’s being carried out in the 21stcentury, right on our doorstep. FGM in the UK has gone undocumented for too long and now that’s going to change. Devastating, empowering and informative, this book brings to life a clash of cultures at the heart of contemporary society and shows how female genital mutilation is a very British problem.
Taken from Simon & Schuster
In March 1946, scientists began to track thousands of children born in one cold week. No one imagined that this would become the longest-running study of human development in the world, growing to encompass five generations of children. Today, they are some of the best-studied people on the planet, and the simple act of observing human life has changed the way we are born, schooled, parent and die. This is the tale of these studies and the remarkable discoveries that have come from them. Touching almost every person in Britain today, they are one of our best-kept secrets.
Taken from Penguin
In the spring of 1993, Thomas Harding travelled to Berlin with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake. It was her ‘soul place’, she said – a sanctuary she had been forced to leave when the Nazis swept to power. The trip was a chance to see the house one last time, to remember it as it was. But the house had changed. Twenty years later Thomas returned to Berlin. The house now stood empty, derelict, soon to be demolished. A concrete footpath cut through the garden, marking where the Berlin Wall had stood for nearly three decades. Elsewhere were signs of what the house had once been – blue tiles showing behind wallpaper, photographs fallen between floorboards, flagstones covered in dirt. Evidence of five families who had made the house their home over a tumultuous century. The House by the Lake is a groundbreaking work of history, revealing the story of Germany through the inhabitants of one small wooden building: a nobleman farmer, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned Nazi composer, a widow and her children, a Stasi informant. Moving from the late nineteenth century to the present day, from the devastation of two world wars to the dividing and reuniting of a nation, it is a story of domestic joy and contentment, of terrible grief and tragedy, and of a hatred handed down through the generations. It is the long-awaited new work from the bestselling author of Hanns and Rudolf. Taken from and read more at https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1099560/the-house-by-the-lake/#MEKarM4XoU7EfTvs.99