Hello, Sunshines! I have a special bookish bargain for you all today, all the books featured are currently on offer for £1.99 at Pen and Sword. If you love your history, then you won’t want to miss out, Pen and Sword are my go-to publishers for historical non-fiction, they have the most amazing collection. I have picked out a few of my personal favourites, but there are over 50 titles in this offer and there is something for everyone, but you have to be fast as this amazing offer won’t last long.
Forgotten Royal Women
Great women are hidden behind great men, or so they say, and no man is greater than the king. For centuries, royal aunts, cousins, sisters and mothers have watched history unfold from the shadows, their battlefields the bedchamber or the birthing room, their often short lives remembered only through the lens of others.
But for those who want to hear them, great stories are still there to be told: the medieval princess who was kidnapped by pirates; the duchess found guilty of procuring love potions; the queen who was imprisoned in a castle for decades.
Bringing thirty of these royal women out of the shadows, along with the footnotes of their families, this collection of bite-sized biographies will tell forgotten tales and shine much needed light into the darkened corners of women’s history.
All Things Georgian
Take a romp through the long eighteenth-century in this collection of 25 short tales.
Marvel at the Queen’s Ass, gaze at the celestial heavens through the eyes of the past and be amazed by the equestrian feats of the Norwich Nymph. Journey to the debauched French court at Versailles, travel to Covent Garden and take your seat in a box at the theatre and, afterwards, join the mile-high club in a new-fangled hot air balloon.
Meet actresses, whores and high-born ladies, politicians, inventors, royalty and criminals as we travel through the Georgian era in all its glorious and gruesome glory.
In roughly chronological order, covering the reign of the four Georges, 1714-1830 and set within the framework of the main events of the era, these tales are accompanied by over 100 stunning colour illustrations.
Nurses of Passchendaele
The Ypres Salient saw some of the bitterest fighting of the First World War. The once-fertile fields of Flanders were turned into a quagmire through which men fought for four years. In casualty clearing stations, on ambulance trains and barges, and at base hospitals near the French and Belgian coasts, nurses of many nations cared for these traumatised and damaged men.
Drawing on letters, diaries and personal accounts from archives all over the world, The Nurses of Passchendaele tells their stories – faithfully recounting their experiences behind the Ypres Salient in one of the most intense and prolonged casualty evacuation processes in the history of modern warfare. Nurses themselves came under shellfire and were vulnerable to aerial bombardment, and some were killed or injured while on active service.
Alongside an analysis of the intricacies of their practice, the book traces the personal stories of some of these extraordinary women, revealing the courage, resilience and compassion with which they did their work.
Missing But Not Forgotten
The Thiepval Memorial commemorates over 72,000 men who have no known grave; all went missing in the Somme sector during the three years of conflict that finally ended on 20 March 1918.
The book is not a military history of the Battle of the Somme, it is about personal remembrance, and features over 200 fascinating stories of the men who fought and died and whose final resting places have not been identified. Countries within the UK are all well represented, as are the men whose roots were in the far-flung reaches of the Empire and even ‘foreigners’. The stories that lie behind each of the names carved into the memorial’s panels illustrate the various backgrounds and differing lives of these men. The diverse social mix of the men – young and old, ‘gentry’ to ‘labourers’, actors, artists, clergy, poets, sportsmen, writers, and more – is something that stands out in the book. Despite their social differences, what is most apparent is the wide impact of the loss for over fifty widows, around 100 children left fatherless and over thirty families mourning more than one son. Ranks from private to lieutenant colonel are expertly covered, as well as all seven winners of the VC.
These captivating stories stand as remembrance for each man and to all the others on the memorial. They are meticulously organized so the book can be of use to visitors as they walk around the memorial; as a name is viewed, the story behind that name can be read.
We most often think of the Victorian female offender in her most archetypal and stereotypical roles; the polite lady shoplifter, stowing all manner of valuables beneath her voluminous crinolines, the tragic street waif of Dickensian fiction or the vicious femme fatale who wreaked her terrible revenge with copious poison.
Yet the stories in popular novels and the ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ of the day have passed down to us only half the story of these women and their crimes. From the everyday street scuffles and pocket pickings of crowded slums, to the sensational trials that dominated national headlines; the women of Victorian England were responsible for a diverse and at times completely unexpected level of deviance.
This book takes a closer look at women and crime in the Victorian period. With vivid real-life stories, powerful photos, eye-opening cases and wider discussions that give us an insightful illustration of the lives of the women responsible for them. This history of brawlers, thieves, traffickers and sneaks shows individuals navigating a world where life was hard and resources were scarce. Their tales are of poverty, opportunism, violence, hope and despair; but perhaps most importantly, the story of survival in the ruthless world of the past.
Sue Wilkes reveals the shadowy world of Britain’s spies, rebels and secret societies from the late 1780s until 1820. Drawing on contemporary literature and official records, Wilkes unmasks the real conspirators and tells the tragic stories of the unwitting victims sent to the gallows.
In this ‘age of Revolutions’, when the French fought for liberty, Britain’s upper classes feared revolution was imminent. Thomas Paine’s incendiary Rights of Man called men to overthrow governments which did not safeguard their rights. Were Jacobins and Radical reformers in England and Scotland secretly plotting rebellion? Ireland, too, was a seething cauldron of unrest, its impoverished people oppressed by their Protestant masters.
Britain’s governing elite could not rely on the armed services – even Royal Navy crews mutinied over brutal conditions. To keep the nation safe, a ‘war chest’ of secret service money funded a network of spies to uncover potential rebels amongst the underprivileged masses. It had some famous successes: dashing Colonel Despard, friend of Lord Nelson, was executed for treason. Sometimes in the deadly game of cat-and-mouse between spies and their prey, suspicion fell on the wrong men, like poets Wordsworth and Coleridge.
Even peaceful reformers risked arrest for sedition. Political meetings like Manchester’s ‘Peterloo’ were ruthlessly suppressed, and innocent blood spilt. Repression bred resentment – and a diabolical plot was born. The stakes were incredibly high: rebels suffered the horrors of a traitor’s death when found guilty. Some conspirators’ secrets died with them on the scaffold…
The spy network had some famous successes, like the discoveries of the Despard plot, the Pentrich Rising and the Cato St conspiracy. It had some notable failures, too. However, sometimes the ‘war on terror’ descended into high farce, like the ‘Spy Nozy’ affair, in which poets Wordsworth and Coleridge were shadowed by a special agent.
Battle of Britain
High above the warm, summer fields Churchill’s ‘few’ fought with courage & skill against overwhelming odds – and won. A vivid account of the air battles as well as an explanation of how the campaign developed. Fresh insights into the controversies with the aid of original material as well as recollections of many of the surviving air crew & ground staff. Vividly illustrated with many photographs.
Denis Richards, co-author of the official history of RAF operations in World War Two, and Richard Hough, the historian and biographer, have collaborated to write this magnificent new account for the general reader; as well as offering vivid descriptions of the air fighting. It explains with great authority how both sides developed their air forces in the inter-war years, a necessary prelude to a true understanding of the Battle itself.
It provides fresh insights into the controversies of the time and makes use of original material derived from interviews and correspondence with over three hundred surviving air-crew and ground staff.
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