Daughter of Empire
Author: Pamela Hicks
Publisher: Hachette UK
A source of inspiration for the film Viceroy's House Pamela Mountbatten was born at the end of the 1920s into one of Britain's grandest families. The daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten and his glamorous wife Edwina Ashley, she was brought up by nannies and governesses as she was often parted from her parents as they dutifully carried out their public roles. A solitary child, she learned to occupy her days lost in a book, riding or playing with the family's animals (which included at different times a honey bear, chameleons, a bush baby, two wallabies, a lion, a mongoose and a coati mundi). Her parents' vast social circle included royalty, film stars, senior service officers, politicians and celebrities. Noel Coward invited Pamela to watch him filming; Douglas Fairbanks Jr. dropped in for tea and Churchill would call for 'a word with Dickie'. After the war, Pamela truly came of age in India, while her parents were the Last Viceroy and Vicereine. This introduction to the country would start a life-long love affair with the people and the place.
Author: India Hicks, Pamela Mountbatten
Publisher: Pavilion Books
In March 1947 Lord Louis Mountbatten became the last Viceroy of India, with the mandate to hand over 'the jewel in the crown' of the British Empire within one year. Mountbatten worked with Nehru, Gandhi and the leader of the Muslim League, Jinnah, to devise a plan for partitioning the empire into two independent sovereign states, India and Pakistan, on August 15, 1947 and he remained as interim Governor-General of India until June 1948. During this time Lord Mountbattens daughter and Indias mother, Pamela, was with her parents and kept a diary recounting this extraordinary tale of history. The diaries include their trips to stay in Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Orissa and Assam, and the exotic palaces of Indian rulers. 'India Remembered' is a scrapbook of private family photographs taken during this historical period (Edwina Mountbatten walking arm in arm with Nehru through a courtyard, or Gandhi taking tea for the first time at Viceroys House). Includes many anecdotes from Pamela Mountbattens diaries such as reminiscences of having to leave 10 minutes before dinner was actually announced as the walk from the bedroom to the dining hall was so far (if running really late, riding a bicycle through the corridors to make time). Includes photographs evoking the atmosphere of the Mountbattens favourite retreat, that of Viceregal Lodge in Simla.
When One Door Closes
Author: Peter Sissons
Publisher: Biteback Publishing
A Liverpool boy from the same cohort as John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, Peter Sissons was destined for great things. Then he was caught on the wrong side of rebel lines during the Nigerian Civil War and shot through both legs his blossoming career as a war reporter came abruptly to an end. But another door was about to open, and Sissons went on to guide a generation through every momentous event of the last forty-five years. Surprisingly funny, dramatic and often poignant, When One Door Closes is the bestselling story of Britain's most distinguished newsreader and reveals what he really thinks about the state of the British media, global affairs, Climategate and the workings of the BBC.
Author: Anna Pasternak
The heartbreaking story of the love affair between Boris Pasternak, the author of Doctor Zhivago, and Olga Ivinskaya—the true tragedy behind the timeless classic When Stalin came into power in 1924, the Communist government began persecuting dissident writers. Though Stalin spared the life of Boris Pasternak—whose novel-in-progress, Doctor Zhivago, was suspected of being anti-Soviet—he persecuted Boris’s mistress, typist, and literary muse, Olga Ivinskaya. Boris’s affair with Olga devastated the straitlaced Pasternaks, and they were keen to disavow Olga’s role in Boris’s writing process. Twice Olga was sentenced to work in Siberian labor camps, where she was interrogated about the book Boris was writing, but she refused to betray the man she loved. When Olga was released from the gulags, she assumed that Boris would leave his wife for her but, trapped by his family’s expectations and his own weak will, he never did. Drawing on previously neglected family sources and original interviews, Anna Pasternak explores this hidden act of moral compromise by her great-uncle, and restores to history the passionate affair that inspired and animated Doctor Zhivago. Devastated that Olga suffered on his behalf and frustrated that he could not match her loyalty to him, Boris instead channeled his thwarted passion for Olga into the love story in Doctor Zhivago. Filled with the rich detail of Boris’s secret life, Lara unearths a moving love story of courage, loyalty, suffering, drama, and loss, and casts a new light on the legacy of Doctor Zhivago.
The untold story of Indias Partition. The partition of India in 1947 was the only way to contain intractable religious differences as the subcontinent moved towards independence - or so the story goes. But this dramatic new history reveals previously overlooked links between British strategic interests - in the oil wells of the Middle East and maintaining access to its Indian Ocean territories - and partition. Narendra Singh Sarela reveals here how hte Great Gane against the Soviet Union cast a long shadow. The top-secret documentary evidence unearthed by the author sheds new light on several prominent figures, including Gandhi, Jinnah, Mountbatten, Churchill, Attlee, Wavell and Nerhu. This radical reassessment of one of the key events in British colonial history is important in itself, but its claim that many of the roots of Islamic terrorism sweeping the world today lie in the partition of India has much wider implications.
Author: Janet P. Morgan
Soon to be a Major Motion Picture starring Dame Judi Dench from director Stephen Frears, releasing September 22, 2017. History’s most unlikely friendship—this is the astonishing story of Queen Victoria and her dearestcompanion, the young Indian Munshi Abdul Karim. In the twilight years of her reign, after the devastating deaths of hertwo great loves—Prince Albert and John Brown—Queen Victoria meets tall and handsome Abdul Karim, a humble servant from Agra waiting tables at her Golden Jubilee. The two form an unlikely bond and within a year Abdul becomes a powerful figure at court, the Queen’s teacher, her counsel on Urdu and Indian affairs, and a friend close to her heart. This marked the beginning of the most scandalous decade in Queen Victoria’s long reign. As the royal household roiled with resentment, Victoria and Abdul’s devotion grew in defiance. Drawn from secrets closely guarded for more than a century, Victoria & Abdul is an extraordinary and intimate history of the last years of the nineteenth-century English court and an unforgettable view onto the passions of an aging Queen.
A Secret Well Kept
Author: Constance Kell
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
The United Kingdom's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, most commonly known as MI5, was founded in 1909 by Sir Vernon Kell KBE. Kell ('K' within the agency) not only founded MI5 but was also its Director for 31 years, the longest tenure of any head of a British government department during the twentieth century. Kell was also fluent in six foreign languages, making him arguably the most gifted linguist ever to head a Western intelligence agency. A Secret Well Kept was written by Kell's wife, Constance, in the 1950s, and the manuscript has been a treasured family possession ever since. Constance's story is endlessly fascinating: she tells of their life in China during the Boxer Rebellion, the formation of MI5 in 1909, the key characters, events and spy cases of Kell's career, and his important work achieved for the country during two world wars. A modern-day preface from Kell's great-granddaughter, introduction by Stewart Binns and notes from Dr Chris Northcott add historical context to this delightful and unparalleled insight into the personal life of an extremely powerful and important man.
Author: Brian Hoey
Publisher: History PressLtd
Lord Louis Mountbatten accepted the Japanese surrender in 1945, was the last Viceroy of India, and was murdered by the IRA. Behind the public acclaim that his wartime achievements brought him, he had vanity and a controversial lifestyle. He had influential connections with the Royal Family but made many enemies, including Winston Churchill, who never forgave him for his part in "giving away India," while courtiers in the Royal Household disliked him for his arrogance and interference. Both Mountbatten and his wife were widely known to have had numerous affairs, but this was rarely spoken of outside their circle. He was an egotistical man, fascinated by royalty and his own relationship to the royal family, and delighted in being seen with celebrities. His biographer, Brian Hoey, knew Mountbatten for 10 years and interviewed him on radio and television. Hoey talked to many in the Royal Household, and also to Prince Philip, Prince Michael of Kent, and King Constantine of Greece about their memories of Mountbatten. Both of Mountbatten's daughters and his grandchildren also agreed to speak.
Author: David Gilmour
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
"A Superb New Biography . . . A Tragic Story, Brilliantly Told." —Andrew Roberts, Literary Review George Nathaniel Curzon's controversial life in public service stretched from the high noon of his country's empire to the traumatized years following World War I. As viceroy of India under Queen Victoria and foreign secretary under King George V, the obsessive Lord Curzon left his unmistakable mark on the era. David Gilmour's award-winning book—with a new foreword by the author—is a brilliant assessment of Curzon's character and achievements, offering a richly dramatic account of the infamous long vendettas, the turbulent friendships, and the passionate, risky love affairs that complicated and enriched his life. Born into the ruling class of what was then the world's greatest power, Curzon was a fervent believer in British imperialism who spent his life proving he was fit for the task. Often seen as arrogant and tempestuous, he was loathed as much as he was adored, his work disparaged as much as it was admired. In Gilmour's well-rounded appraisal, Curzon emerges as a complex, tragic figure, a gifted leader who saw his imperial world overshadowed at the dawn of democracy.
World Without End
Author: Hugh Thomas
Publisher: Random House
Following Rivers of Gold and The Golden Empire and building on five centuries of scholarship, World Without End is the epic conclusion of an unprecedented three-volume history of the Spanish Empire from “one of the most productive and wide-ranging historians of modern times” (The New York Times Book Review). The legacy of imperial Spain was shaped by many hands. But the dramatic human story of the extraordinary projection of Spanish might in the second half of the sixteenth century has never been fully told—until now. In World Without End, Hugh Thomas chronicles the lives, loves, conflicts, and conquests of the complex men and women who carved up the Americas for the glory of Spain. Chief among them is the towering figure of King Philip II, the cultivated Spanish monarch whom a contemporary once called “the arbiter of the world.” Cheerful and pious, he inherited vast authority from his father, Emperor Charles V, but nevertheless felt himself unworthy to wield it. His forty-two-year reign changed the face of the globe forever. Alongside Philip we find the entitled descendants of New Spain’s original explorers—men who, like their king, came into possession of land they never conquered and wielded supremacy they never sought. Here too are the Roman Catholic religious leaders of the Americas, whose internecine struggles created possibilities that the emerging Jesuit order was well-positioned to fill. With the sublime stories of arms and armadas, kings and conquistadors come tales of the ridiculous: the opulent parties of New Spain’s wealthy hedonists and the unexpected movement to encourage Philip II to conquer China. Finally, Hugh Thomas unearths the first indictments of imperial Spain’s labor rights abuses in the Americas—and the early attempts by its more enlightened rulers and planters to address them. Written in the brisk, flowing narrative style that has come to define Hugh Thomas’s work, the final volume of this acclaimed trilogy stands alone as a history of an empire making the transition from conquest to inheritance—a history that Thomas reveals through the fascinating lives of the people who made it. Praise for World Without End “Readers will not find a more reliable guide to the maturing Spanish Empire. . . . World Without End reminds us that the far-flung Spanish Empire was the work of many minds and hands, and by the end their myriad stories carry a cumulative charge.”—The New York Times Book Review “A sweeping, encyclopedic history of the arrogance, ambition, and ideology that fueled the quest for empire.”—Kirkus Reviews “Literary power is a vital part of a great historian’s armoury. As in his earlier books, Thomas demonstrates here that he has this in abundance.”—Financial Times “A vivid climax to Hugh Thomas’s three-volume history of imperial Spain.”—The Telegraph “Thomas clearly excels in the Spanish history of religion, politics, and culture, [and] successfully shows that Spain’s global ambition knew no bounds.”—Publishers Weekly From the Hardcover edition.
Two novels relate the story of an idealistic city dweller and confrontation with two secretive and deceitful Provencal countrymen
Empress Dowager Cixi
Author: Jung Chang
A New York Times Notable Book Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908) is the most important woman in Chinese history. She ruled China for decades and brought a medieval empire into the modern age. At the age of sixteen, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor’s numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China—behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male. In this groundbreaking biography, Jung Chang vividly describes how Cixi fought against monumental obstacles to change China. Under her the ancient country attained virtually all the attributes of a modern state: industries, railways, electricity, the telegraph and an army and navy with up-to-date weaponry. It was she who abolished gruesome punishments like “death by a thousand cuts” and put an end to foot-binding. She inaugurated women’s liberation and embarked on the path to introduce parliamentary elections to China. Chang comprehensively overturns the conventional view of Cixi as a diehard conservative and cruel despot. Cixi reigned during extraordinary times and had to deal with a host of major national crises: the Taiping and Boxer rebellions, wars with France and Japan—and an invasion by eight allied powers including Britain, Germany, Russia and the United States. Jung Chang not only records the Empress Dowager’s conduct of domestic and foreign affairs, but also takes the reader into the depths of her splendid Summer Palace and the harem of Beijing’s Forbidden City, where she lived surrounded by eunuchs—one of whom she fell in love, with tragic consequences. The world Chang describes here, in fascinating detail, seems almost unbelievable in its extraordinary mixture of the very old and the very new. Based on newly available, mostly Chinese, historical documents such as court records, official and private correspondence, diaries and eyewitness accounts, this biography will revolutionize historical thinking about a crucial period in China’s—and the world’s—history. Packed with drama, fast paced and gripping, it is both a panoramic depiction of the birth of modern China and an intimate portrait of a woman: as the concubine to a monarch, as the absolute ruler of a third of the world’s population, and as a unique stateswoman. From the Hardcover edition.
Gandhi Before India
Author: Ramachandra Guha
Here is the first volume of a magisterial biography of Mohandas Gandhi that gives us the most illuminating portrait we have had of the life, the work and the historical context of one of the most abidingly influential—and controversial—men in modern history. Ramachandra Guha—hailed by Time as “Indian democracy’s preeminent chronicler”—takes us from Gandhi’s birth in 1869 through his upbringing in Gujarat, his two years as a student in London and his two decades as a lawyer and community organizer in South Africa. Guha has uncovered myriad previously untapped documents, including private papers of Gandhi’s contemporaries and co-workers; contemporary newspapers and court documents; the writings of Gandhi’s children; and secret files kept by British Empire functionaries. Using this wealth of material in an exuberant, brilliantly nuanced and detailed narrative, Guha describes the social, political and personal worlds inside of which Gandhi began the journey that would earn him the honorific Mahatma: “Great Soul.” And, more clearly than ever before, he elucidates how Gandhi’s work in South Africa—far from being a mere prelude to his accomplishments in India—was profoundly influential in his evolution as a family man, political thinker, social reformer and, ultimately, beloved leader. In 1893, when Gandhi set sail for South Africa, he was a twenty-three-year-old lawyer who had failed to establish himself in India. In this remarkable biography, the author makes clear the fundamental ways in which Gandhi’s ideas were shaped before his return to India in 1915. It was during his years in England and South Africa, Guha shows us, that Gandhi came to understand the nature of imperialism and racism; and in South Africa that he forged the philosophy and techniques that would undermine and eventually overthrow the British Raj. Gandhi Before India gives us equally vivid portraits of the man and the world he lived in: a world of sharp contrasts among the coastal culture of his birthplace, High Victorian London, and colonial South Africa. It explores in abundant detail Gandhi’s experiments with dissident cults such as the Tolstoyans; his friendships with radical Jews, heterodox Christians and devout Muslims; his enmities and rivalries; and his often overlooked failures as a husband and father. It tells the dramatic, profoundly moving story of how Gandhi inspired the devotion of thousands of followers in South Africa as he mobilized a cross-class and inter-religious coalition, pledged to non-violence in their battle against a brutally racist regime. Researched with unequaled depth and breadth, and written with extraordinary grace and clarity, Gandhi Before India is, on every level, fully commensurate with its subject. It will radically alter our understanding and appreciation of twentieth-century India’s greatest man. From the Hardcover edition.
Forcibly summoned out of exile to resurrect the Iron Elves regiment he once had led, disgraced elf officer Konowa Swift Dragon is ordered to fight an elf witch of immense dark power, a mission that is compromised by doubts about the elves' loyalty to their empire. A first novel.