Compelling Ideas Expressed at Their Natural Length
When a film crew descends on her small Yorkshire town to make the umpteenth version of Jane Eyre, Gayle Hargreaves is unimpressed. Not even the attentions of the production’s leading actor can stimulate her interest – well, not at first … A light-hearted romantic romp, set in the heart of Bronte country. Highly recommended.
At the height of the Cold War, the grocer Herr Dieter Koorp is living comfortably, even complacently, in the West German town of Lübeck. Then he receives a call from his estranged sister in East Germany, informing him of their father’s untimely death. His father’s last wish? To be buried in Lübeck. To carry out his father’s request, Dieter will have to drive the corpse back across the border, with risks he discovers only when he arrives in the East. A haunting story from the world’s most famous spy writer, John le Carré. Dare I Weep, Dare I Mourn? was originally published in The Saturday Evening Post, January 28, 1967.
The Wilhelm Gustloff was Adolph Hitler’s Titanic – when it was sunk by a Soviet submarine in 1945, almost ten thousand lives were lost, most of them civilians fleeing the advance of the Red Army. Yet few people know about this debacle, or about the remarkable history of the ship: its early life as a luxury Nazi Party liner; the arrival in London in 1938 during the Austrian plebiscite; its use in the War as a floating hospital; and the Gustloff’s final desperate voyage. A fascinating account, highly recommended.
When Craig Fry’s father died, just weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer, his son found his grief almost overwhelming. What helped him most was his love for cycling, and he began riding through familiar places that kept his memories of his father alive. A subtle but highly evocative account of one man’s grief, and his emergence from it. Highly recommended.
At the age of 90, Queen Elizabeth II is the world’s most experienced leader. Yet the most famous woman in the world is surprisingly little known. What is she really like? How does she combine the roles of monarch, wife, mother, grandmother (and great-grandmother) so effortlessly? Has she insured the future of the British monarchy, and what will her legacy be? Brian Hoey, a legendary royal watcher and author of 28 books on the Windsor family, provides the answers in a fascinating account of a long and extraordinary life.
Almost eight hundred years ago, The Battle of Sluys signalled the beginning of the Hundred Years War between England and France. Against all odds, the English won, but if it had gone the other way, Britain might today be only a province of its cross-Channel neighbor. Gordon Corrigan relates what happened and why in this gripping account of an almost forgotten but world-changing battle.
A veteran adviser on climate change now argues that it is simply too big a problem for governments to fix. Instead, we need mass movements – like those that long ago ended the Atlantic slave trade. For that to happen society requires a new set of stories or myths, which will inspire us to face the facts, and forge a better future. Eden 2.0 is a profoundly optimistic Kindle Single, one that will transform your thinking about climate change and mankind’s ability to solve its problems.
Essays & Ideas
Why did Tony Blair take Britain to war in Iraq? Even fifteen years later, the question remains a matter of bitter controversy. The award-winning political commentator Steve Richards examines the evidence, and Blair’s long history as a politician intent on forging a ‘Third Way’, and provides unexpected answers to the mystery of why Britain’s most successful politician in years became ensnared in a political nightmare – and personal tragedy. A remarkable investigation, highly recommended.
What is Christmas like for the Queen? What kind of presents does she get, and who receives her Christmas cards? Does she wear a silly hat at lunch or pull crackers with her guests–and does she watch herself address the nation on television after lunch? The veteran royal correspondent Brian Hoey supplies the answers in a fascinating account of Christmas with the Royals.
The World Stage
Global problems require global solutions – even as nationalism is on the rise across the world. But navigating situations outside familiar territory can be complicated and full of (avoidable) misunderstandings. Dennis Unkovic, a veteran international traveler, argues that understanding the concept of ‘face’, long established in the East but virtually unknown in the West, can keep things from going badly wrong when people are working or travelling abroad. A fascinating take on a perennial problem. Highly recommended.
Time remains the great conundrum – are our distinctions between past, present and future mere illusions, as Einstein claimed? And was there an actual ‘beginning’ to time – one which the Big Bang somehow explains? The celebrated science writer John Gribbin examines these and a range of related questions. Using the latest thinking about time, he shows how in a quantum world a watched pot literally never boils, and how it takes a four-dimensional universe to explain why a broken egg never gets ‘unbroken’. A fascinating essay from the author of In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat.
Arts & Entertainment
Paris made Ernest Hemingway famous, and in his memoir, A Moveable Feast, Hemingway did his best to return the favour. In this enchanting Kindle Single, the writer and longtime Paris resident John Baxter describes the city as it was when Hemingway lived there in the 1920s, then explains how the same locations look and feel today. An entrancing essay for both Hemingway readers and lovers of the world’s most beautiful city.
The famed philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau has been enormously influential in Western life, yet he undoubtedly suffered from what we know today as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Did his genius operate in spite of this ailment, or because of it? Rousseau himself argued that it was better to be different, and the writer Richard Orange (also an ADHD sufferer) explains why he agrees. An unusual and thought-provoking Single.