books monthly march 2017

This month's pick of the new Nonfiction and Reference titles...

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Nigel Linge & Andy Sutton: The British Phonebox

Published by Amberley 15th February 2017

It has achieved iconic status; it symbolises Britain; but it is now seldom used! The British phonebox or, more correctly, kiosk began life as the silence cabinet in the late 1800s, but started to establish itself firmly as part of the landscape in the 1920s when the first standardised K1 model was introduced. However, it was the K2 design by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, and then his more numerous K6 design, that established the now familiar and iconic red box on our streets. Today the mobile-phone generation have probably never stepped inside a phonebox, let alone used one. Nevertheless, there they remain as an essential part of what makes Britain, Britain!

This book looks at the history and evolution of the humble British phonebox through all of its major models, including those that were introduced by organisations such as the emergency services, those that have been given a new lease of life as something completely different, and the exciting new designs that are intended to extend the life of the phonebox well into the twenty-first century.

I think I read on the local interweb the other day that 2,000 phone boxes are to go in Norfolk (may have been East Anglia, but I thought it was Norfolk), and I was surprised that there were still that many around (whether in Norfolk or East Anglia). There is one in the street next to the one where I live, and as far as I can remember, it's the only one in our seaside town. However, there is a scrapyard on the bypass where you can buy one! Nigel and Andy's brilliant book is a reminder of times past and a fine piece of social history, with fantastic illustrations and a collection of facts to amuse and entertain anyone interested in our social history. Brilliant!

 

 

 

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Brian Lavery: Ship

Published by Dorling Kindersley 1st February 2017

From the earliest dugout canoes and the boats of the Ancient Egyptians, to the most technologically advanced modern battleships and cruise-liners, this is the ultimate guide to every aspect of the ship, and those who have sailed them.  Embark on an epic voyage to find out all about the endeavours of the great explorers as they mapped the globe, and see the impact ships have had on trade and industry across the years. Learn about the dramatic historical conflicts in which ships played a vital role, and take a look at seafaring for pleasure and trace fishing through the ages. This new compact edition is produced in association with the National Maritime Museum, and features every conceivable type of sea-going vessel, from caravels and galleons, warships and yachts to clippers and cruise-liners.

 

Those brilliant peopleat DK have done it again - I believe this may be a reissue of a book (and the one below: Flight) that's been published before under a different guise - but this is as comprehensive as it gets, crammed with timelines and superb illustrations, the perfect introduction to the sea and the craft made by man from earliest times up to the present day with which we conquered it. Absolutely perfect in every way. The same goes for the companion volume below: Flight. Superb.

Reg Grant: Flight

Published by Dorling Kindersley 1st February 2017

From the Wright brothers' first powered flight, to Concorde's final voyage and the tragic crash of the Columbia, Flight takes you on a sky-high journey through the history of aviation. Charting the trailblazers, jet test pilots and constant progress at the cutting-edge of technology, every aspect of flight is explored in this stunning book. Recalling memorable events - record-breaking flights, aerial warfare and hijackings - Flight is the story of how man's dream to fly became a reality. This new compact edition features incredible photography and breathtaking stats; the perfect bookshelf addition for everyone interested in how we took to the skies.

 

 

Summer Strevens: The Yorkshire Witch

Published by Pen and Sword 30th January 2017

On the morning of 20 March 1809, the woman who had earned herself the title of 'The Yorkshire Witch' was hanged upon York's 'New Drop' gallows before an estimated crowd of 20,000 people. Some of those who came to see Mary Bateman die had travelled all the way from Leeds, many of them on foot, and many of them were doubtless the victims of her hoaxes and extortions. A consummate con-artist, Mary was extremely adept at identifying the psychological weaknesses of the desperate and poor who populated the growing industrial metropolis of Leeds at the turn of the nineteenth century. Exploiting their fears and terror of witchcraft, Mary Bateman was well placed to rob them of all their worldly goods, yet she did much more than cause misery and penury; though tried and convicted on a single murder charge, the contemporary branding of Bateman as a serial killer is doubtless accurate. Meticulously researched, this accessible, and at times shocking retelling of Mary Bateman's life, and indeed her death, is the first since the publication chronicling her criminal career appeared in print in 1811, two years after her execution. Not only focusing on the details of her felonies and the consequences to her victims, it also examines the macabre legacy of her mortal remains, a bone of contention (literally you might say!) with the continuous public display of her skeleton in the Thackray Medical Museum until the recent removal of this controversial exhibit.

 

Summer Strevens delves deep into the archives for this one - a fascinating tale of witchcraft and skulduggery in darkest Yorkshire in the early 19th century. Mary Bateman may have been one of the earliest serial killers, even though she was only convicted and found guilty of the one murder, enough to secure her sentence - hanging. An extraordinary story, brilliantly told.

 

David J Vaughan: Mad Or Bad - Crime and Insanity in Victorian Britain

Published by Pen and Sword 30th January 2017

In a violent 19th century, desperate attempts by the alienists - a new wave of 'mad-doctor' - brought the insanity plea into Victorian courts. Defining psychological conditions in an attempt at acquittal, they faced ridicule, obstruction - even professional ruin - as they strived for acceptance and struggled for change. It left 'mad people' hanged for offences they could not remember, and 'bad' people freed on unscrupulous pleas. Written in accessible language, this book - unlike any before it - retells twenty-five cases, from the renowned to obscure, including an attempt to murder a bemused Queen Victoria; the poisoner Dove and the much-feared magician; the king's former wet-nurse who slaughtered six children; the worst serial killer in Britain...and more. A Who's Who introduces the principal players - life-saving medics, like Maudsley and Bucknill; intransigent lawyers like Bramwell and Parke., while a convenient Glossary of 'terms and conditions': ranging from 'Insane on Arraignment' to Her Majesty's Pleasure, 'Ticket of Leave' to 'Burden of Proof', helps to explain the outcomes of the cases. Insanity Conditions presents, in glossary format, the diagnosed maladies put forward in court. Rarely accepted, more often rejected, by those keen on justice in its traditional form. A History of Debate explains the titular subject - through graspable language and a window in time. How the ones found 'not guilty on the grounds of insanity' were curiously handled in Victorian law. A chapter devoted to madness and women - from hysteria to murder, 'monthly madness' to crime. Raising opportune questions about the issue of gender, and exposing the truths of a masculine world.

 

Programmes like Who Do You Think You Are? have famliiarised us with conditions in the late Victorian era, when the workhouses were introduced to subject the very poorest in society to the shame of living off the state - David Vaughan goes one step further with amazing research into the people who were judged to be insane in the eyes of the law, and housed in institutions that were still around in the 1950s. This unbelievable catalogue of characters and their crimes and misdemeanours, together with their "illnesses", makes for a fascinating read!

Vicky Straker: Bicycles, Bloomers and Great War Rationing Recipes

Published by Pen and Sword 8th June 2016

Dorothy Peel was the Nigella Lawson or Delia Smith of her day during the late Victorian to post-war period. In this book, Vicky Straker explores the social history and cultural background behind Dorothy's creations, and the effect of rationing during the First World War. Dorothy played a key role in creating wartime recipes for householders and was awarded an OBE in 1918 for services to the Ministry of Food. Using extracts from her autobiography, and many other books, we are given a unique insight into the life of Dorothy Peel and a new perspective on the period. Her witty, poignant and informative comments reveal a woman with a genuine social conscience, who was in many ways ahead of her time.

Written in a light and accessible style, the 12 chapters cover aspects of the era revealing how society changed during the First World War, and when rationing put a strain on every kitchen in the country. Many of Dorothy's recipes are featured in their original form, such as the long forgotten Devilled Bananas, and wartime Potato Gateau. Other mouth-watering recipes include Chicken en Casserole, Cheese Pufflets, and some delicious tea-time treats such as Feather Tart and Candied Pears. Vicky Straker has tried and tested recipes from Dorothy's cookery books, and where appropriate amended them to suit modern tastes.

 

Vicky Straker introduces us to the Mary Berry of the Great War years - for me, by far the most fascinating part of the book is the recipes, but this is also a hugely entertaining and thoroughly absorbing study of a woman who could have been forgotten were it not for the excellent researches of Vicky. Superb biography, and some really interesting recipes to try!

Lissa Chapman: Anne Boleyn In London

Published by Pen and Sword 24th October 2016

Romantic victim? Ruthless other woman? Innocent pawn? Religious reformer? Fool, flirt and adulteress? Politician? Witch? During her life, Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's ill-fated second queen, was internationally famous - or notorious; today, she still attracts passionate adherents and furious detractors. It was in London that most of the drama of Anne Boleyn's life and death was played out - most famously, in the Tower of London, the scene of her coronation celebrations, of her trial and execution, and where her body lies buried. Londoners, like everyone else, clearly had strong feelings about her, and in her few years as a public figure Anne Boleyn was influential as a patron of the arts and of French taste, as the centre of a religious and intellectual circle, and for her purchasing power, both directly and as a leader of fashion. It was primarily to London, beyond the immediate circle of the court, that her carefully 'spun' image as queen was directed during the public celebrations surrounding her coronation.In the centuries since Anne Boleyn's death, her reputation has expanded to give her an almost mythical status in London, inspiring everything from pub names to music hall songs, and novels to merchandise including pin cushions with removable heads. And now there is a thriving online community surrounding her - there are over fifty Twitter accounts using some version of her name. This book looks at the evidence both for the effect London and its people had on the course of Anne Boleyn's life and death, and the effects she had, and continues to have, on them.

 

Most definitely the most famous of Henry VIII's wives, Anne Boleyn is as fascinating a character now as she must have been when she first became queen. Lissa's lively biography concentrates on her time in London and how it influenced and changed her, and adds magnificently to our knowledge of this poor, misguided and unfortunate woman. Brilliant.

Mike Olbisnki: Storm Chaser

Published by Pen and Sword 12th December 2016

The storms that cross the Great Plains of North America each spring are some of nature's most spectacular. They can also be some of the most dangerous. Most people who live in areas susceptible to these storms keep a close eye on the weather reports and take cover or evacuate when one is on the way. Storm chasers keep an even closer eye on the weather data, but for a different reason: they don't run away when they see a storm approaching, they follow it! Professional photographer and Emmy Award winner, Mike Olbinski has chased storms throughout his native Arizona, as well as even further afield, including Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. Whether he's photographing lightning, tornadoes or even cloud formations, his remarkable images are able to convey the awesome power and beauty of nature in its most dramatic and impressive forms. With over 100 stunning colour photographs, this book brings together some of Mike's most breath taking images from the past five years as he describes his love of the open road and the thrill of capturing the perfect storm on film.

 

This book containssome of the most staggeringly beautiful photographs of mega-storms I have ever seen. Stupendous photography!

 

Tania O'Donnell: A History of Courtship - 800 Years of Seduction Techniques

Published by Pen and Sword 27th January 2017

Explore eight hundred years of lust, love, and loss. The author takes the reader on a journey from medieval Courtly Love, through to the sexual license of the Restoration, and Victorian propriety. Pick up historical 'dating tips', from how to court (or be courted); write romantic love letters, give and receive gifts, propose and pose as a sighing swain. A historical approach to the problem of finding a mate, with case studies of classic romantic mistakes and plenty of unusual tales. In the 14th century young men tried to impress the ladies with their footwear, donning shoes with pointed toes so long that they had to be secured with whalebone presumably because size mattered!

 

Tania O'Donnell's amazing study of love and courtship through the ages is a delight and an eye-opener. Students of the art of seduction and wooing will lap this up!

 

Gauta Das: Tender Is The Scalpel's Edge

Published by Matador 28th January 2017

Glimpses from the journal of an NHS consultant surgeon. What is it like to be the senior surgeon when a young woman is brought to casualty with a life-threatening bleed? What does the fear of cancer do to a person? Is it ever best not to tell the patient everything? Tender is the Scalpel's Edge draws on Gautam Das's real-life experiences working in Britain's busy NHS hospitals, from the plunging depths of a patient dying on the operating table to the euphoria of a life saved by teamwork and skill. Described in exquisite detail and with extreme sensitivity, Gautam shares his journey from a medical student fighting his own inner demons to a senior NHS consultant surgeon. Shards of his earlier life in India add to the richness of the narrative in tales that observe life with all its contradictions, like the little village boy with bone cancer. While other anecdotes take in the lighter side of life, Tender is the Scalpel's Edge is written to inform and engross the general reader, as well as those with a curiosity of life behind the surgeon's mask. Written in a manner similar to other medical biographies including Henry Marsh's Do No Harm, Atul Gawande's Being Mortal and When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Tender is the Scalpel's Edge is a moving collection of true stories from a professional at the frontline of medical care.

John Murphy: Brandfather - The Man Who Invented Branding

Published by The Book Guild 28th January 2017

John Murphy pens the story of his successful career, during which he identified the process of ‘branding’ – a word first coined and used by his company.
John studied at Manchester University where he obtained a degree in geography. He later was awarded a Masters in Business from Brunel University. He then worked for Leesona, a textiles and plastics machinery manufacturer, before founding Novamark in London, the world’s first naming company. In 1979 they changed their name to Interbrand; by 1994, they had over 300 staff in over a dozen countries.
John’s company specialised in trademark law, packaging and corporate identity design, brand valuation and brand consultancy.
In 1994, John and his colleagues sold the business to Omnicom. In 1996, John retired and became a brands entrepreneur, being a branding consultant for twenty years. In 2001 he was also awarded an honorary PhD by Brunel University. John has also been a visiting Professor at both the Open University Business School and Birmingham University Business School.
In Brandfather, he takes us through his fascinating career, using stories, examples and anecdotes to illustrate his unusual journey up until retirement.

 

Augustus Young: Brazilian Tequila

Published by Matador 28th January 2017

Experienced author and journalist Augustus Young used his travel diaries to produce a semi-fictional story about the people and culture of Brazil in Brazilian Tequila.

Gus, a middle-aged Irishman, finds that his life in London has gone cold. An epidemiologist without an epidemic, a poet who cannot write poems, he decides to transmigrate to a warmer climate, namely Brazil, where he hopes to winter himself back to spring. He flies around Brazil, learning things that challenge his preconceptions. Pandemic corruption seeps into everything and nobody seems bothered, including his friend, Pedrinho. Even the first democratic elections for decades are being conspicuously rigged.

Throughout his travels, Gus meets the real victims, particularly the poor and the young, and their cheerful passivity take him aback. However, his European side begins to revolt against what he sees as a ‘moral no-man’s-land.’ Torn between his love of being there and his concept of justice, his engagement becomes disturbingly personal. When Gus travels with Pedrinho to his hometown (which is suffering a ten-year drought), it leads to a confrontation and a moral twist that throws his cherished certitudes into confusion. His affections threaten to take over from his principles. How will Gus cope? Will he see Brazil in the same eyes ever again?

Inspired by Theodore Roosevelt’s Through the Brazilian Wilderness, Brazilian Tequila will appeal to those who enjoy travel stories and are interested in Brazil.

Daniel Tabbush: 1500 Hotel Nights

Published by Matador 28th January 2017

An honest critique of hotels and restaurants is missing from bookshelves, and Daniel Tabbush would argue that in fact there's a plethora of the opposite. All too often, design characteristics at hotels and restaurants make little sense, and no voice speaks out for the traveller to improve these defects. Once we confirm and pay for a hotel, we are hostages. When we find a problem, there is no way out, and nobody speaks the truth. We are asked how is everything, and we reply 'fine'. So many publishers say that this book is too full of complaints; it's the straightforward truth, that nobody speaks out. Absurd design flaws abound, which can be seen in every kind of hotel - even in the most luxurious establishments worldwide. Bedframes that jut outward, with a hard edge, help a guest in no way, other than to stumble and for shin injuries; haphazardly placed two-way light switches for room lights, cause confusion rather than convenience; thunderous air-conditioning does not lend to a restful sleep. These are often accompanied by dim, romantic room lighting which disallows reading, writing or simply game-playing; a profusion of ceiling protuberances, in an array of shapes, sizes, and textures, is unpleasant on the eyes and upsetting; and the incessant blinking of 12:00AM on a DVD player is a worthless hotel amenity for any hotel guest. We all know it when we see it, but it's rare to find a compendium of hotel design weaknesses. For travellers, 1500 Hotel Nights will be both entertaining as well as helpful in identifying and avoiding troublesome hotel design deficiencies. For hotel managers and designers, this book can assist in better understanding the viewpoint of the keen traveller, and in developing a superior hotel room, the travel experience itself.

 

Martin Berthoud: Undiplomatic Episodes

Published by Matador 28th January 2017

A frank account of success and failure, Undiplomatic Episodes is the story of adventure that is unlike any existing stories of diplomats. Following excitements during his school, university and Army days, Martin Berthoud embarked on a life as a diplomat, travelling all over the world to exotic locations such as Ulan Bator in Outer Mongolia, as well as the Philippines, Iran, South Africa, Finland, Australia and Trinidad and Tobago. During his time as a diplomat Martin experienced moments of severe danger - he was working in former Yugoslavia when Serbian bombs were falling, he was charged by a rhino in Africa and fell down a mountain precipice in Venezuela, as well as escaping the snakes of Australia and the tarantulas of Tobago. Undiplomatic Episodes is Martin's frank account of his far-flung diplomatic postings which gave tremendous scope for travel. But there was serious diplomatic work to be done too, which culminated in him being knighted by Her Majesty the Queen. Undiplomatic Episodes is unlike any existing works by former diplomats; not only does Martin explore the importance of his career, but he reflects on the rich variety of experiences that his role afforded him and the beautiful countries and cultures he immersed himself in as a result. This book will appeal to fans of travel writing, memoirs and those interested in diplomatic affairs, both serious and not.

 

Chris Upfield: From Crawley To Carlisle

Published by Matador 28th January 2017

From Crawley to Carlisle: A Trawl Around League Two invites readers to join the author, Chris Upfield, and the friends and family who accompany him to far-flung places in the pursuit of football happiness in this semi-autobiographical experience of the life of a lower league football supporter. Chris writes a sardonic and often hilarious examination of modern football culture, from the players, supporters and songs to the grounds and lower-league hospitality. The reader can experience the nostalgia of flashbacks to the 60s, 70s and 80s from ice cream soda to subbuteo, and laugh at the writer's middle aged frustrations at the vagaries of everything from train journeys to motorway gantries. In addition to this, the reader is taken to cities of culture like York, Oxford and Cambridge and the less celebrated Carlisle, Mansfield and Crawley. Alongside this football theme, Chris also gives his own observations of modern life more generally. Inspired by Louis de Bernieres and Bill Bryson, From Crawley to Carlisle: A Trawl Around League Two takes football away days as its theme and will appeal to football fans. The book is also a compendium of the author's quirky imagination upon modern culture, and the things which trigger those thoughts along the way. It will suit readers of autobiographical and observational works with a similar cynical sense of humour and a passing interest in football.

 

Brad Ricca: Mrs Holmes - Murder, Kidnap and The True Story of an Extraordinary Lady Detective

Published by Amberley 15th January 2017

Mrs Holmes tells the incredible story of Grace Humiston, the lawyer and detective who solved the famous cold case of Ruth Cruger, an 18-year-old girl who disappeared in 1917. Grace was an amazing lawyer and travelling detective during a time when no women were practising in the legal profession. She focused on solving cases no one else wanted and advocating for innocents. Grace became the first female US District Attorney and made ground-breaking investigations into the practice of modern slavery.

In the Ruth Cruger case, Grace followed a trail of corruption that led from New York to Italy. Her work changed how the country viewed the problem of missing girls. But the victory came with a price: she learned all too well what happens when one woman upstages the entire Establishment.

In the literary tradition of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, this is a true crime tale told in spine-tingling fashion. Gruce Humiston is a figure whose work was so impressive that the papers gave her the nickname of fiction’s greatest sleuth, dubbing her ‘Mrs Holmes’. With important repercussions in the present about kidnapping, the complicit role of the media and the truth of crime stories, the great mystery of the book – and its haunting twist – is how one woman can become so famous only to disappear completely.

 

Brad Ricca's book could quite easily have been a work of crime fiction - so compelling a tale of detection and investigation is it that you could be forgiven for thinking it was made up. You have to commend and admire Grace Humiston for persevering and triumphing in a world completely dominated by men. A stirring, lively account of her life and of her most famous claim to fame - fascinating!

 

Helen Hollick: Pirates - Truth and Tale

Published by Amberley 15th February 2017

The historian R. H. Tawney famously wrote, ‘The sixteenth century lives in terror of the tramp.’ The eighteenth century lived in terror of the tramps of the seas – pirates. Pirates have fascinated people ever since.

It was a harsh life for those who went ‘on the account’, constantly overshadowed by the threat of death – through violence, illness, shipwreck, or the hangman’s noose. The lure of gold, the excitement of the chase and the freedom that life aboard a pirate ship offered were judged by some to be worth the risk. Helen Hollick explores both the fiction and fact of the Golden Age of piracy, and there are some surprises in store for those who think they know their Barbary Corsair from their boucanier. Everyone has heard of Captain Morgan, but who recognises the name of the aristocratic Frenchman Daniel Montbars? He killed so many Spaniards he was known as ‘The Exterminator’.

The fictional world of pirates, represented in novels and movies, is different from reality. What draws readers and viewers to these notorious hyenas of the high seas? What are the facts behind the fantasy?

 

For as long as I can remember, pirates have fascinated people - on the mobile library, we were forever lending books on dinosaurs and pirates - what is it about pirates that people find so interesting? Treasure Island was always one of my favourite adventure stories, but it seems, according to author Helen Hollick, that fictional piracy and real piracy are or were worlds apart. This brilliant examination of both real and fictional pirates is a triumph, and will appeal to just about everyone with a pulse! Superb!

 

Rob Higgins and Will Farmer: Mid-Century Modern Tiles - A HIstory and Collector's Guide

Published by Amberley 15th February 2017

This book showcases British decorative tiles from 1945 to 1975. ‘Mid-century Modern’ had its roots in the 1930s, with influences especially from California and Europe. Pioneers include the architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the USA and, in Europe, the Milan designers Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti, who derived inspiration from artists such as Picasso and Miro. British designers hardly had time to embrace the new style before the Second World War, but the decades after 1945 saw it flourish in the UK. Bold, sweeping curves in the manner of sculptures by Barbara Hepworth flowed into interior design, and the graphic style of Graham Sutherland was adopted by ceramic manufacturers.

British tile producers developed a Mid-century Modern character of their own, one that was not simply derivative of American and European or even other British designers. Tiles were widely used inside the home, and also as key features of architectural projects. The DIY movement of the 1960s took the choices about interior tiling away from builders and architects, and allowed homeowners to adopt their own style of the day.

This book looks at some of the important tile manufacturers, such as Carter & Company in Poole, and shows off the variety of skills and techniques that went into creating these decorated tiles, exploring Britain’s rich catalogue of powerful designs.

 

Tiling remains both difficult and essential in modern bathroom and kitchen decorating. Rob Higgins and Will Farmer take a look at British tiles from the middle of the 20th century in this charming and well-written treatise. Some beautiful examples.

 

Steven Dickens: Manchester Ship Canal Through Time

Published by Amberley 15th February 2017

The Manchester Ship Canal was a huge engineering achievement. It included seven swing bridges and the aqueduct at Barton, and helped turn the cotton-producing capital of Great Britain into an inland seaport. This was a feat many at the time believed could not be achieved. One of the wonders of the modern industrial world, the Manchester Ship Canal, with its huge locks and ocean-going vessels, was a magnetic draw for enthusiastic Victorians who marvelled at its construction.

This book looks at the changes and development of the Manchester Ship Canal through time, from its origins as a thriving economic hub in the late nineteenth century, to an important retail, leisure and media centre in the early twenty-first century and beyond. Join Steven Dickens as he explores the history of this 36-mile-long inland waterway in the north-west of England, which links Manchester to the Mersey Estuary and the Irish Sea.

 

That brilliant series featuring Timothy West and his wife Prunella Scales has reawakened our interest in canals, and this terrific book by Steven Dickens concentrates on just one of them, the Manchester Ship Canal, which he describes as one of the wonders of the modern world. By "modern", of course, we really mean Victorian, because they were responsible for most of the fantastic network of canals we use today. This is an affectionate and illustrative look at possibly the greatest of all of Britain's canals.

 

Peter C Brown: Manchester Airport Through Time

Published by Amberley 15th February 2017

Manchester Airport (EGCC) is a Category 10 international passenger airport located in Lancashire, UK, comprising three passenger terminals and a world freight terminal. It operates long-haul and short-haul flights to around 225 destinations worldwide. It is one of the largest centres of employment in the north-west of England, with more than 19,000 people directly employed on site, and supporting a further 42,500 jobs in the area. It is the fourth busiest airport in England, and is the only British airport other than London’s Heathrow Airport to operate two full-length parallel runways. In 2013, Manchester recorded a passenger rate of 20.8 million, with the capacity to manage millions more.

More than a million people a year visit the airport’s Runway Visitor Park, which is home to the retired Concorde (G-BOAC), as well as a Monarch Airlines DC-10, a BEA Hawker Siddeley Trident 3B and an Avro 146-RJX – the last civil airliner to be fully built in the UK.

In this book, Peter C. Brown explores the history of Manchester Airport, using a range of period and contemporary images.

 

Also from Amberley comes this amazing book about Manchester Airport - I have never been to an airport, never flown, but I found this history of Manchester Airport both illuminating and entertaining, particularly the photographs and text describing the earliest days.

 

Richard Pike: Bright Tracks

Published by Matador 28th January 2017

In 1959, four student friends from Cambridge join a party travelling by train to Greece. Their train, the Tauern Express, takes three days to make the journey across Europe from Ostend - a long way from the convenience of international trips today. Over their six weeks backpacking abroad, the travellers discover a way of life very different from their own and a country struggling to emerge from the ravages of war. As they make their way across Greece, they take the opportunity to explore Greece's rich array of historical places of interest, and meet a host of colourful characters. In this fascinating re-creation of their Odyssey, Bright Tracks opens a time capsule into 1950s Europe and reveals attitudes of the time and adventures they will never forget. Bright Tracks is a lively, often humorous account of a world now lost to the modern tourist. Lavishly illustrated with over 160 photographs, including pictures Richard and his companions took back in 1959, it will appeal to those with an interest in Greek history and culture, as well as those looking to reminisce on their own travelling days.

 

David Griffiths: Successful People Management

Published by Matador 28th January 2017

David Griffiths wrote Successful People Management shortly before his death in order to reflect a lifetime's experience in management, in the hope that by sharing his experience and knowledge, others might benefit. It focuses on all the key aspects of the management process, examining the fundamental principles underlying all management practices and stressing the importance of good inter-personal relationships. It gives valuable and practical advice on how not to behave as much as on the behaviours that produce a positive response in colleagues and clients. Selling, negotiating, appraisal and meetings are among the topics covered with an impressive depth of knowledge and empathetic concern for those with whom he has dealt. Successful People Management is serious in intent yet at all times humorous, making this a highly entertaining and enjoyable read. The text is illustrated throughout by a series of witty illustrations which reinforce the author's advice and anecdotes. Throughout Successful People Management, David displays a deep understanding of and respect for his fellow human beings, with all their strengths and weaknesses, foibles and charms - the mark of an excellent manager. It will appeal to students preparing to enter the field and practising managers alike.

 

Chinghua Tang: The Ruler's Guide - China's Greatest Emperor and the Timeless Secrets of Success

Published by Amberley 15th February 2017

In the classic tradition of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, here for the first time in English is the timeless wisdom of China’s greatest emperor Tang Taizong (598–649 AD), which is still being studied more than 1300 years later as an invaluable guide to leading and managing. Tang Taizong is arguably the greatest Emperor in Chinese history. In Asia, many historians rank him with such rulers as Augustus and Napoleon. When he founded the Tang dynasty, Taizong was only twenty-eight years old. Ultimately, he would open up the Silk Road, create a golden age of prosperity and culture, preside over a society in which women enjoyed higher status, and allow Christianity and Islam into China for the first time. His dynasty would last 300 years. Author Chinghua Tang presents conversations between Taizong and his gifted advisers that reveal how to appraise oneself and others, how to enhance organisational effectiveness, how to grow power and influence without losing the respect of others, and how to craft one’s legacy. The Ruler’s Guide reveals how Taizong’s wisdom is a match for today’s fastpaced, ever changing world.

 

This is a Chinese emperor of whom I have never heard, and so the author fills a gap in my education - I can see why he describes Tang Taizong as China's Greatest Emperor. This is perfect history, brilliantly written, engaging and educational at the same time.

 

David Loades: The Seymours of Wolf Hall - A Tudor Family Story

Published by Amberley 15th February 2017

Although the Seymours arrived with the Normans, it is with Jane, Henry VIII’s third queen, and her brothers – Edward, Duke of Somerset, and Thomas, Lord Seymour of Sudeley – that they became prominent. Jane bore Henry his longed-for son, Edward VI, and both her brothers achieved prominence through her. Her brother Edward was central to Henry’s activities in Scotland and became Lord Protector for the young king, his nephew, a hugely powerful position. Thomas married Henry’s sixth wife, Catherine Parr, and after her death in 1548 aimed to marry Princess Elizabeth (the future Elizabeth I), with whom he had flirted when she was in Catherine’s care, and for this he was executed for high treason. Edward fell foul of his fellow councillors and was also executed. Edward’s son was restored to the title of Lord Hertford by Elizabeth I, but was sent to the Tower when it emerged that he had secretly married Jane Grey’s sister, Catherine, who was Elizabeth’s protestant heir. Both her marriage and pregnancy were an affront to the queen. This is the epic rise and fall of the family at the heart of the Tudor court and of Henry VIII’s own heart; he described Jane as ‘my first true wife’ and left express orders to be buried next to her tomb at Windsor Castle. The family seat of Wolfhall or ‘Wolf Hall’ in Wiltshire is long gone, but it lives on as an icon of the Tudor age.

 

If Anne Boleyn remains the most famous and memorable of Henry VIII's wives, then Jane Seymour has to rank a close second, and to get two books on the Tudors in one month from history experts Amberley is a delight and a privilege! There are plenty of high profile books on both Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour, but is is always the latest to be published that sits high in our list of preferences, and David Loades's book is an amazing and enjoyable addition to our library of Tudor history and the wives of the most infaous monarch in world history. Brilliant!

 

Diana Miserez: Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Humanitarian and Visionary

Published by The Book Guild 28th January 2017

The life of a high-born humanitarian, visionary and environmentalist...

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan traces the life of a high-born humanitarian, visionary and environmentalist, the second son of the once very well-known Aga Khan III.

The birth of the prince in France and his years in Switzerland and at Harvard University are sketched against the background of world events that would have repercussions in his adult life. The author, in depicting the prince s expert work with UNESCO and as UN High Commissioner for Refugees, also reflects his deep concern over North-South disparities and their inevitable consequences. The descriptions of his strenuous efforts to make known the dangers of nuclear proliferation and environmental depredation are interspersed with accounts of the crucial United Nations missions that the prince undertook over almost 20 years. Diana refers to some of the prince s remarkable predictions and in later chapters speaks of his overall outlook and his lifelong collection of Islamic and Indian art. Throughout the book the Prince s exceptional personality is reflected in extracts of his speeches, radio interviews, press cuttings and photographs.

This is the story of a high UN official who devoted his life to improving the lives of the planet s inhabitants. Sadruddin Aga Khan looked to the younger generations to make the world a better place. His example will surely prove inspiring to many young people.

 

Rosemary Beasley: It's Not All Rosey

Published by The Book Guild 28th February 2017

The narrative of this memoir begins with a car crash one that changed Rosey's life forever. She is left wondering why she survived and other loved ones did not. She follows this tragic beginning with her rags-to-riches story, determined to turn her life around from her humble start in her parents small council house.

Rosey comments on her personal life alongside this, with a particular focus on the men that appear and disappear in her astonishing story. This true story looks at the recurring trauma experienced by Rosey and her recovery from multiple incidents involving her partners.

Her story is so extraordinary in its tragedy; you couldn't make it up!

 

Gordon Tripp: The Weathermen - Their Story

Published by The Book Guild 28th February 2017

The We are endlessly fascinated by the weather. The Weathermen is a layperson s guide to the overall historical framework within which these advances were made. It covers 2,000 years exploring the many strands that tell the story of weather history recording instruments, the drawing up of charts, wind circulation, weather diaries, the jet stream and so on. It is the lives of over 100 men, whose biographies provide the signposts along the way. These were essentially men of their times, be that of The Enlightenment, the Crimean War, the days of the British Empire or of two World Wars. As that great scientist Charles Lyell suggested, It is only by knowing the past that we can know the present, and it is only be knowing the present that we can know the future.

 

 

 


 

The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its sixteenth year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email and I'll let you know where to send it.