09 September 2016 UK Non-fiction

September 2016 : New Titles

 

Jodie Archer and Matthew Jockers | The Bestseller Code | Allen Lane 9780241243701 | £20 | 20th

What if an algorithm could predict which manuscripts would become mega-bestsellers?

Girl on the Train. Fifty Shades. The Goldfinch. Why do some books capture the whole world’s attention? What secret DNA do they share? In The Bestseller Code, Archer and Jockers boldly claim that blockbuster hits are highly predictable, and they have created the algorithm to prove it. Using cutting-edge text mining techniques, they have developed a model that analyses theme, plot, style and character to explain why some books resonate more than others with readers. Provocative, entertaining, and ground-breaking, The Bestseller Code explores the hidden patterns at work in the biggest hits and, more importantly, the real reasons we love to read.

Mary Berry | Family Sunday Lunches | Headline 9781472229274 | £25 | 8th

Sunday lunch is one of the great British traditions and in Family Sunday Lunches Mary Berry brings together the classics and her own family favourites to create an invaluable all-year-round cookbook. Full of reliable and delicious recipes to suit cosy informal meals and show-stopping feasts for friends, this is more than just a Sunday roast book. Mary brings Sunday lunch right up to date and shares her springtime starters, autumnal fruit pies, slow-cooked casseroles and light summer salads – winter curries, garden buffets, moreish vegetarian meals and divine desserts are included, too.
Mary hasn’t forgotten the classic roast, though, and has fine-tuned the essential information for each and every one, as well as including all the traditional roast accompaniments – find out how to make the perfect Yorkshire puddings, homemade cranberry sauce and your very own knock-out stuffing.
With prepare-ahead tips and Aga cooking instructions,Mary Berry’s Family Sunday Lunches is an invaluable addition to every kitchen shelf.

Image of The History Thieves

Ian Cobain | The History Thieves | Portobello  9781846275838 | £20 | 1st

In 1889, the first Official Secrets Act was passed, creating offences of ‘disclosure of information’ and ‘breach of official trust’. It limited and monitored what the public could, and should, be told. Since then a culture of secrecy has flourished. As successive governments have been selective about what they choose to share with the public, we have been left with a distorted and incomplete understanding not only of the workings of the state but of our nation’s culture and its past.

In this important new book, Ian Cobain offers a fresh appraisal of some of the key moments in British history since the end of WWII, including: the measures taken to conceal the existence of Bletchley Park and its successor, GCHQ, for three decades; the unreported wars fought during the 1960s and 1970s; the hidden links with terrorist cells during the Troubles; the sometimes opaque workings of the criminal justice system; the state’s peacetime surveillance techniques; and the convenient loopholes in the Freedom of Information Act.

Drawing on previously unseen material and rigorous research, The History Thieves reveals how a complex bureaucratic machine has grown up around the British state, allowing governments to evade accountability and their secrets to be buried.

Nic Compton | The Shipping Forecast | BBC Books 9781785940293 | £9.99 | 1st

The rhythmic lullaby of ‘North Utsire, South Utsire’ has been lulling the nation’s insomniacs to sleep for over 90 years. It has inspired songs, poetry and imaginations across the globe – as well as providing a very real service for the nation’s seafarers who might fall prey to storms and gales. In 1995, a plan to move the late-night broadcast by just 12 minutes caused a national outcry and was ultimately scrapped.

Published with Radio 4 and the Met Office, The Shipping Forecast is the official miscellany for seafarers and armchair travellers alike. From the places themselves – how they got their names, what’s happened there through the ages – to the poems and parodies that it’s inspired, this is a beautifully evocative tribute to one of Britain’s – and Radio 4’s – best-loved broadcasts.

Ronald Hutton and Howard Spencer | The English Heritage Guide to London’s Blue Plaques | September Publishing  9781910463390 | 14.99 | 

Over 900 of London’s most interesting inhabitants and their former homes brought to life.

Blue plaques, bearing names both familiar and intriguing, can be found all across the capital. From VIRGINIA WOOLF to VINCENT VAN GOGH, CHRISTOPHER WREN to ALAN TURING, MAHATMA GANDHI to EMMELINE PANKHURST, the plaques celebrate an incredible array of London’s past residents.

Whether they be musicians, scientists, sports stars, artists, actors, inventors or politicians – this compact English Heritage guide reveals, with wit and insight, the stories of London’s most extraordinary men and women and the homes in which they lived.

John le Carré | The Pigeon Tunnel | Viking 9780241257555 | £20 | 8th

Out of the secret world I once knew, I have tried to make a theatre for the larger worlds we inhabit. First comes the imagining, then the search for reality. Then back to the imagining, and to the desk where I’m sitting now.’

From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion, to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, John le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive – reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he’s writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire, or visiting Rwanda’s museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide, or celebrating New Year’s Eve with Yasser Arafat, or interviewing a German terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev, or watching Alec Guinness preparing for his role as George Smiley, or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in his The Constant Gardener, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humour, now making us laugh out loud, now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood. Best of all, le Carré gives us a glimpse of a writer’s journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.

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Peter Matthews | House of Spies | History Press 9780750964012 | £20 | 

Reveals the secret history of St Ermin’s Hotel, the meeting point for many spies and their handlers from the Second World War to the Cold War.

Candice Millard | Hero of the Empire | Allen Lane 9780241280973 | £20 | 20th

At the age of twenty-four, Winston Churchill believed that to achieve his ambition of becoming Prime Minister he must do something spectacular on the battlefield. Although he had put himself in real danger in colonial wars in India and Sudan, and as a journalist covering the Spanish-American War in Cuba, glory and fame had eluded him.

Churchill arrived in South Africa in 1899 to write about the brutal colonial war against the Boers. Just two weeks later, he was taken prisoner. Remarkably, he pulled off a daring escape – but then had to traverse hundreds of miles of enemy territory alone. The story of his escape is extraordinary enough, but then Churchill enlisted, returned to South Africa, fought in several battles and ultimately liberated the men with whom he had been imprisoned.

Churchill would later remark that this period, ‘could I have seen my future, was to lay the foundations of my later life’. Candice Millard tells a magnificent story of bravery, savagery and chance encounters with a cast of historical characters – including Rudyard Kipling, Lord Kitchener and Gandhi – with whom he would later share the world stage, and gives us an unexpected perspective on one of the iconic figures in our history.

New Scientist | The Origin of (Almost) Everything | John Murray 9781473629257 | £25 | 22nd

Introduction by Professor Stephen Hawking.

From what actually happened in the Big Bang to the accidental discovery of post-it notes, science is packed with surprising discoveries. Did you know, for instance, that if you were to get too close to a black hole it would suck you up like a noodle (it’s called spaghettification), why your keyboard is laid out in QWERTY (it’s not to make it easier to type) or whether the invention of the wheel was less important to civilisation than the bag (think about it). New Scientist does.

And now they and illustrator Jennifer Daniel want to take you on a whistlestop journey from the start of our universe (through the history of stars, galaxies, meteorites, the Moon and dark energy) to our planet (through oceans and weather to oil) and life (through dinosaurs to emotions and sex) to civilisation (from cities to alcohol and cooking), knowledge (from alphabets to alchemy) ending up with technology (computers to rocket science).

Witty essays explore the concepts alongside enlightening infographics that zoom from how many people have ever lived to showing you how a left-wing brain differs from a right-wing one.

Rick Stein’s Long Weekends | BBC Books 9781785940927 | £25 | 22nd

Cadiz, Palermo, Copenhagen and more… Rick Stein goes in search of good food in fabulous locations, and all of them just a quick hop, skip and a jump from the UK.

Rick Stein’s Long Weekends will accompany the second half of the BBC One series, airing in Autumn 2016.

David Welch | Persuading the People: British Propaganda in World War II | British Library 9780712356541 | £25 | 15th

During the Second World War, the UK government created the Ministry of Information to handle official news, to maintain morale and to conduct publicity campaigns for government departments. In these desperate times, the Ministry produced steady streams of propaganda for the home front, for the colonies and for dissemination through occupied countries. Patriotic material encouraged Britons to maintain a stiff upper lip, nutritional information kept the strained populace healthy, and thousands of postcards, leaflets, and booklets were dropped from aircraft over occupied countries, undermining the enemy s influence. In 2000, the Ministry s archive was deposited with the British Library, making an enormous collection of great social and historical significance available to the public for the first time. In this bold and evocative book, David Welch, the leading historian of propaganda, presents the best examples from the wartime information machine and reveals the history behind this key government body.

September 2016 : New Paperbacks

Michael Coveny | Maggie Smith | W&N  9781474600941 | £8.99 | 8th

From her days as a star of West End comedy and revue, Dame Maggie’s path has led to international renown and numerous accolades including two Academy Awards. Recently she has been as prominent on our screens as ever, with high-profile roles as the formidable Dowager Countess of Grantham in DOWNTON ABBEY, as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the HARRY POTTER movie franchise and as the eccentric Miss Shepherd in the film version of THE LADY IN THE VAN by Alan Bennett.

Paradoxically she remains an enigmatic figure, rarely appearing in public and carefully guarding her considerable talent. Drawing on personal archives, interviews and encounters with the actress, as well as conversations with immediate family and dear friends, Michael Coveney’s biography is a captivating portrait of the real Maggie Smith.

Cover subject to change.

Hunter Davies (ed) | The John Lennon Letters | W&N 9781780225036 | £12.99 | 8th

A lifetime of letters, collected for the first time, from the legendary musician and songwriter.

John Lennon is one of the world’s greatest-ever song writers, creator of ‘Help!’, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, ‘Imagine’ and dozens more. Now, his letters have been collected and published, illuminating as never before the intimate side of a private genius.

Hunter Davies, author of the only authorised biography of The Beatles, has tracked down almost three hundred of John’s letters and postcards – to relations, friends, fans, strangers, lovers and even to the laundry. Some of the letters are tender, informative, funny, angry and abusive, and some are simply heart-breaking. Many are illustrated with John’s own drawings, doodles and jokes. Davies tells the story of each letter and together they form a compelling narrative, from Lennon’s earliest surviving thank-you note, written when he was ten, to his last scribbled autograph given on 8 December 1980 – the day he was shot, aged forty.

Anna Helm Baxter | Soups | Hardie Grant Books 9781784880385 | £12.99 | 22nd

Perfect for all occasions and suited to all the seasons, Soups features over 80 flavours and combinations to try. Packed full of inventive and tasty recipes, these meals are not only sophisticated and delicious, but incredibly easy to make. You will find lots of inspiration to create a healthy, nutritious, filling meal for the whole family, an impressive dinner party dish, or a comforting lunch for a cold winter’s day. With an introduction on essential soup know-how and how to create your own soup flavours, Soups includes optional toppings and delicious additions such as spicy oils, seeded cheesy croutons, chorizo crumbs and citrus and herb creme fraiche. WIth recipes ranging from the classic carrot and coriander or broccoli and stilton, to exciting flavour combinations such as acorn squash and vanilla, favourites such as Miso, healthy options like the slimming watercress soup and hearty meals such as short-cut bouillabaisse or coconut dhal—you will never look at soups in the same way again!

Jean Guéhenno and David Ball | Diary of the Dark Years 1940 – 1944 | OUP 9780190495848 | £12.99 | 1st

ean Guéhenno’s Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1945 is the most oft-quoted piece of testimony on life in occupied France. A sharply observed record of day-to-day life under Nazi rule in Paris and a bitter commentary on literary life in those years, it has also been called “a remarkable essay on courage and cowardice” (Caroline Moorehead, Wall Street Journal). Here, David Ball provides not only the first English-translation of this important historical document, but also the first ever annotated, corrected edition.

Guéhenno was a well-known political and cultural critic, left-wing but not communist, and uncompromisingly anti-fascist. Unlike most French writers during the Occupation, he refused to pen a word for a publishing industry under Nazi control. He expressed his intellectual, moral, and emotional resistance in this diary: his shame at the Vichy government’s collaboration with Nazi Germany, his contempt for its falsely patriotic reactionary ideology, his outrage at its anti-Semitism and its vilification of the Republic it had abolished, his horror at its increasingly savage repression and his disgust with his fellow intellectuals who kept on blithely writing about art and culture as if the Occupation did not exist – not to mention those who praised their new masters in prose and poetry. Also a teacher of French literature, he constantly observed the young people he taught, sometimes saddened by their conformism but always passionately trying to inspire them with the values of the French cultural tradition he loved. Guéhenno’s diary often includes his own reflections on the great texts he is teaching, instilling them with special meaning in the context of the Occupation. Complete with meticulous notes and a biographical index, Ball’s edition of Guéhenno’s epic diary offers readers a deeper understanding not only of the diarist’s cultural allusions, but also of the dramatic, historic events through which he lived.

Alistair Horne | Hubris | W&N 9781780222219 | £12.99 | 8th

Six battles that changed the course of the twentieth century, and the one trait that links them all: hubris.

Alistair Horne has been a close observer of war and history for more than fifty years. In this wise and masterly work, he revisits six battles that changed the course of the twentieth century and reveals the one trait that links them all: hubris. From the Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 to Hitler’s 1941 bid to capture Moscow, and from the disastrous American advance in Korea to the French surrender at Dien Bien Phu, Horne shows how each of these battles was won or lost due to excessive hubris on one side or the other.

A dramatic, colourful and stylishly written history, HUBRIS is an essential reflection on war from a master of his field.

Nicholas Stargardt | The German War | Vintage 9780099539872 | £10.99 | 1st 

The Second World War was a German war like no other. The Nazi regime, having started the conflict, turned it into the most horrific war in European history, resorting to genocidal methods well before building the first gas chambers. Over its course, the Third Reich expended and exhausted all its moral and physical reserves, leading to total defeat in 1945. Yet 70 years on – despite whole libraries of books about the war’s origins, course and atrocities – we still do not know what Germans thought they were fighting for and how they experienced and sustained the war until the bitter end.

When war broke out in September 1939, it was deeply unpopular in Germany. Yet without the active participation and commitment of the German people, it could not have continued for almost six years. What, then, was the war Germans thought they were fighting? How did the changing course of the conflict – the victories of the Blitzkrieg, the first defeats in the east, the bombing of Germany’s cities – change their views and expectations? And when did Germans first realise that they were fighting a genocidal war?