The Plantagenet queens of England played a role in some of the most dramatic events in our history. Crusading queens, queens in rebellion against their king, queen seductresses, learned queens, queens in battle, queens who enlivened England with the romantic culture of southern Europe - these determined women often broke through medieval constraints to exercise power and influence, for good and sometimes for ill. Alison Weir''s ground-breaking history of the queens of medieval England now moves into a period of even higher drama, from 1154 to 1291: years of chivalry, dynastic ambition, conflict with the church, baronial wars, and the all-pervading bonds of feudalism. We see events such as the murder of Becket, Magna Carta and the birth of parliaments from a new perspective. Her narrative begins with the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Henry II establishes a dynasty which rules for over three hundred years and creates the most powerful empire in western Christendom - but also sows the seeds for some of the most destructive family conflicts in history and for the collapse, under her son King John, of England''s power in Europe. The lives of Eleanor''s successors were just as remarkable: Berengaria of Navarre, queen of Richard the Lionheart, Isabella of Angouleme, queen of John, and Alienor of Provence, queen of Henry III, and finally Eleanor of Castile, the grasping but beloved wife of Edward I. Through the story of these first five Plantagenet queens, Alison Weir provides an enthralling new perspective on a dramatic period of high romance and sometimes low politics, with determined women at its heart.
LONDON: a settlement founded by the Romans, occupied by the Saxons, conquered by the Danes and ruled by the Normans. This changeful place became a medieval maze of alleys and courtyards, later to be chequered with grand estates of Georgian splendour. It swelled with industry and became the centre of the largest empire in history. And having risen from the rubble of the Blitz, it is now one of the greatest cities in the world. From the prehistoric occupants of the Thames Valley to the preoccupied commuters of today, Simon Jenkins brings together the key events, individuals and trends in London's history to create a matchless portrait of the capital. He masterfully explains the battles that determined how London was conceived and built - and especially the perennial conflict between money and power. Based in part on his experiences of and involvement in the events that shaped the post-war city, and with his trademark colour and authority, Jenkins shows above all how London has taken shape over more than two thousand years. Fascinating for locals and visitors alike, this is narrative history at its finest, from the most ardent protector of our heritage. 'A handsome book ... full of the good judgements one might hope for from such a sensible and readable commentator, and they alone are worth perusing for pleasure and food for thought' Michael Wood, New Statesman on A Short History of England 'Any passably cultured inhabitant of the British Isles should ask for, say, three or four copies of this book for Christmas...I can imagine no better companion on a voyage across England' Max Hastings, Daily Telegraph on England's Thousand Best Houses
''EXPLOSIVE... Contains a string of startling revelations about Mr Johnson''s public and personal life, and goes farther than any previous biography towards solving the enigma of his true personality ... The political book of 2020''. Daily Mail ''Staggering ... Tom Bower [is] the master of the unauthorised biography'' Tatler Hero or villain? Genius or fool? Maverick or chancer? Before you decide, read this year''s most sensational biography. Guardian ''literary highlights of 2020'' Sunday Times ''books to watch out for in 2020'' New Statesman ''books to read in 2020'' Evening Standard ''thirteen titles to look for in 2020'' As divisive as he is beguiling, as misunderstood as he is scrutinised, Boris Johnson is a singular figure. Many of us think we know his story well. His ruthless ambition was evident from his insistence, as a three-year-old, that he would one day be ''world king''. Eton and Oxford prepared him well for a frantic career straddling the dog-eat-dog worlds of journalism and politics. His transformation from bumbling stooge on Have I Got New for You to a triumphant Mayor of London was overshadowed only by his colourful personal life, brimming with affairs, scandals and transgressions. His ascent to Number 10 in the wake of the acrimonious, era-defining Brexit referendum would prove to be only the first act in an epic drama that saw him play both hero and villain - from proroguing parliament to his controversial leadership of the Covid-19 Crisis, all against the backdrop of divorce, marriage, the birth of his sixth child, revolts among Tory MPs and the countdown to Brexit. Yet despite his celebrity, decades of media scrutiny, the endless vitriol of his critics and the enduring adoration of his supporters, there is so much we''ve never understood about Boris - until now. Previous biographies have either dismissed him as a lazy, deceitful opportunist or been transfixed by his charm, wit and drive. Both approaches fall short, and so many questions about Boris remain unanswered. What seismic events of his childhood have evaded scrutiny? How has he so consistently defied the odds, proved his critics wrong, and got away with increasingly reckless gambles? What were his real achievements and failures as Mayor of London, what was really going on during his time as Foreign Secretary, and why did he write two articles for the Telegraph , one in favour of Leave and the other for Remain? How have the women in his life exerted more influence than any of us realise, and why is his story ultimately one overshadowed by family secrets? Based on a wealth of new interviews and research, this is the deepest, most rounded and most comprehensive portrait to date of the man, the mind, the politics, the affairs, the family - of a loner, a lover, a leader. Revelatory, unsettling and compulsively readable, it is the most timely and indispensable book yet from Britain''s leading investigative biographer.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE ''A page-turner with the authority of history'' PHILIPPA GREGORY ''As gripping as a novel. An engaging, unsettling, deeply satisfying read'' SARAH WATERS London, 1938. Alma Fielding, an ordinary young woman, begins to experience supernatural events in her suburban home.
Nandor Fodor - a Jewish-Hungarian refugee and chief ghost hunter for the International Institute for Psychical research - begins to investigate. In doing so he discovers a different and darker type of haunting: trauma, alienation, loss - and the foreshadowing of a nation''s worst fears. As the spectre of Fascism lengthens over Europe, and as Fodor''s obsession with the case deepens, Alma becomes ever more disturbed.
With rigour, daring and insight, the award-winning pioneer of historical narrative non-fiction Kate Summerscale shadows Fodor''s enquiry, delving into long-hidden archives to find the human story behind a very modern haunting.
''An empathetic, meticulous account of a spiritual unravelling; a tribute to the astonishing power of the human mind - but also a properly absorbing, baffling, satisfying detective story'' AIDA EDEMARIAM A PICK OF THE AUTUMN IN THE TIMES , SUNDAY TIMES , OBSERVER AND THE GUARDIAN
@2@@20@**A refreshingly original biography for fans of The Darkest Hour**@21@@16@@20@@21@@16@@20@'The must-read biography of the year.' @18@Evening Standard@19@@21@@3@@2@@20@'@21@@20@He writes with gusto... the result is a book that is never boring, genuinely clever ... this book sizzles.' @18@The Times@19@@21@@3@@16@@2@@20@The point of the Churchill Factor is that one man can make all the difference.@21@@3@@2@On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, and written in conjunction with the Churchill Estate, 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 strategizing, and deep humanity.@3@@2@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. @3@@2@@20@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'. @21@@16@@20@ @21@@16@@20@@18@The Churchill Factor@19@ is 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.@21@@3@
Thomas Cromwell is one of the most famous - or notorious - figures in English history. Born in obscurity in Putney, he became a fixer for Cardinal Wolsey in the 1520s and remained intensely loyal to his memory even when Wolsey had fallen for failing to solve Henry VIII's 'Great Matter' - lack of a male heir and efforts to repudiate his wife Katherine of Aragon. Henry too appreciated Cromwell's talent and promoted him to a series of ever greater offices, such that in the 1530s he was effectively running the country for the King. That decade was one of the most momentous in English history: it saw a religious break with the Pope, unprecedented use of parliament, the dissolution of all monasteries, and the coming of the Protestantism which decisively shaped the future of this country. Cromwell was central to all this, but establishing his role with precision, at a distance of nearly 500 years and after the destruction of many of his papers at his own fall, has been notoriously difficult. Diarmaid MacCulloch's biography is much the most complete and persuasive life ever written of this elusive figure, a masterclass in historical detective work, making connections not previously seen. It draws together national and international events, and reveals the channels through which so much of power in early Tudor England flowed. It overturns many received interpretations, for example that Cromwell and Anne Boleyn were allies because of their common religious sympathies, showing how he in fact destroyed her; or that Cromwell was a cynical, 'secular' politician without deep-felt religious commitment. It introduces the many different personalities contributing to these foundational years, all worrying about what MacCulloch calls the 'terrifyingly unpredictable' Henry VIII, and shows how things could easily have turned out differently. MacCulloch's familiarity with the 1520s and 1530s allows readers to feel that they are immersed in all this, that it is going on around them. For a time, the self-made 'ruffian', as he described himself - ruthless, adept in the exercise of power, quietly determined in religious revolution - was master of events. MacCulloch's biography for the first time reveals his true place in the making of modern England and Ireland, for good and ill.
B>'She imagines the experiences of the sisters with empathy and patience ... and ably manages to coax the few sparks of evidence into flames of personality ... Whoop, whoop! If anyone can find me another clutch of rebel princesses, let's get crowd-funding.' Hermione Eyre, Spectator/b>br>b>/b>br>Virginal, chaste, humble, patiently waiting for rescue by brave knights and handsome princes: this idealized - and largely mythical - notion of the medieval noblewoman still lingers. Yet the reality was very different, as Kelcey Wilson-Lee shows in this vibrant account of the five daughters of the great English king, Edward I. The lives of these sisters - Eleanora, Joanna, Margaret, Mary and Elizabeth - ran the full gamut of experiences open to royal women in the Middle Ages. Living as they did in a courtly culture founded on romantic longing and brilliant pageantry, they knew that a princess was to be chaste yet a mother to many children, preferably sons, meek yet able to influence a recalcitrant husband or even command a host of men-at-arms. Edward's daughters were of course expected to cement alliances and secure lands and territory by making great dynastic marriages, or endow religious houses with royal favour. But they also skilfully managed enormous households, navigated choppy diplomatic waters and promoted their family's cause throughout Europe - and had the courage to defy their royal father. They might never wear the crown in their own right, but they were utterly confident of their crucial role in the spectacle of medieval kingship. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary sources, Daughters of Chivalry offers a rich portrait of these spirited Plantagenet women. With their libraries of beautifully illustrated psalters and tales of romance, their rich silks and gleaming jewels, we follow these formidable women throughout their lives and see them - at long last - shine from out of the shadows, revealing what it was to be a princess in the Age of Chivalry.