'Over a hundred years ago, the German poet Heine warned the French not to underestimate the power of ideas: philosophical concepts nurtured in the stillness of a professor's study could destroy a civilisation' - Isaiah Berlin, Two Concepts of Liberty, 1958.
The nineteen essays collected here show Isaiah Berlin at his most lucid: these short, introductory pieces provide the perfect starting point for the reader new to his work. Their linking theme is the crucial social and political role of ideas, and of their progenitors. The subjects vary widely - from philosophy to education, from Russia to Israel, from Marxism to romanticism - and the appositeness of Heine's warning is exemplified on a broad front.
The contents include Berlin's last essay - a retrospective autobiographical survey and the classic statement of his Zionist views. As a whole the book exhibits the full range of his expertise, and demonstrates the enormously engaging individuality, as well as the power, of his own ideas.
Sixteen-year-old Grace may be from a small coastal village but she's not staying there. She has huge dreams, and knows from television and magazines that she can get to the big city, she can be a star, simply by changing from a duckling to a swan. It doesn't take much: a little silicone and surgery here and there - enhancement and augmentation - nose, breasts, lips, hair, teeth, nails. Then with the right clothes and a new tan she'll be ready: ready to be seen, consumed and adored by millions on YouTube, television and lifestyle magazines. Grace will become a celebrity.
Someone, though, remembers her as an ordinary, pretty schoolgirl living in a rural paradise: a place of simple, natural beauty. As school caretaker he once bandaged her knee when she fell, and now, when he sees how utterly Grace has changed, he sees clearly how far the world has fallen since those days - taking him with it. The collision of their two lives, their two very different trajectories, can only end in catastrophe.
Written with a raging, lyrical fury, this is a devastating satire on a society fixated on image and celebrity - how innocence and individuality are routinely sacrificed for the totems of sex and wealth and glamour: a magnificent howl of anger and despair at a culture disintegrating into a brittle cult of fame.
The Free Photographic Omnibus 1973-2001
In July 1973 21-year-old Daniel Meadows, fresh out of art school, bought a double-decker bus for #360 and set off round England in search of ordinary people to photograph. In the course of a 14-month journey, he offered free portrait sessions in 22 different towns, developing the black and white prints in a darkroom he had contrived inside the bus, in which he also lived. He photographed a total of 958 people, alone or in groups, the majority of whom remained anonymous and collected their free portraits the following day.
A quarter of a century later Meadows came across the bus photographs in his archive and was struck by how fresh they were. After they were exhibited and appeared in a magazine, he began to wonder what had happened to the people in the pictures. With the help of the local press in Barrow-in-Furness, Hartlepool and Southampton, he went in search of them. Many could not be found, others had died, but a number of people turned up to be re-photographed.
The juxtaposition of their past and present selves in this astonishing adventure in documentary makes for a powerful pictorial history of the changing face of England, the vagaries of fashion, and the ravages of time. Meadows interviews the sitters, ordinary people from varied walks of life, who talk candidly about their lives, their friends, their loves, their families and what they feel the future holds - providing a moving commentary to Meadows's own evocative journey through time.
Convicted of a series of horrific crimes against young women in the up-market California town of Santa Barbara, wealthy playboy Charlie Mendez has fled across the US border into Mexico.
As one bounty hunter after another meets a grisly end at the hands of the murderous drug cartel his family have hired to keep him safe, it seems that Mendez is one fugitive destined to remain beyond the reach of the law. Or at least that's how it looks until one determined victim persuades high-end security specialist Ryan Lock and his partner, retired Marine Ty Johnson, to take on the case.
Plunged into a nightmare world where no one can be trusted, least of all the authorities, the two men discover a city more deadly than any war zone. Worse still, when an attractive young American touristis snatched from the streets, it appears that Mendez has returned to his old ways. But in order to stop him before he claims another victim, will Lock and Ty have to pay the Devil's Bounty?
From the late 1960s, Northern Ireland has been mired in violence. Yet it has had seen more than its fair share of sporting heroes - from footballer George Best, through snooker champion Alex Higgins, to boxer Barry McGuigan. Life was tough for these working-class lads, but they could shine on the football field or find refuge at the town boxing club.
For other kids, like the young Teddy Jamieson, a knockabout in the back-lanes was as good as it got, but at least they had their heroes. Watching McGuigan on telly, Teddy could feel proud to be Northern Irish. But sport - like everything else in Northern Ireland - could quickly turn nasty when politics were involved.
This extraordinary journey through sport and the Troubles has it all: from Olympic gold-medals to Gaelic football; from death threats to reconciliations. Then there is Teddy's own story, as we learn how the age-old playground question 'Whose side are you on?' doesn't always have an easy answer.
Dannie and Joan Abse had been married for more than fifty years when she was killed in a car crash in 2005. After her death he wrote his extraordinary memoir of loss, The Presence, which was the Wales Book of the Year in 2008.
In contrast, much of this new collection is a delightful celebration. In it Dannie Abse returns to their marriage through all its seasons, and celebrates love in verse which is funny, tender and playful as well as serious and passionate. Almost half the poems appear in this form for the first time.
'One for sorrow, two for joy' is the old country saw about the magpie. These poems reflect its truth, and in the process transfigure ordinary life and love into something rich and strange.
The life of Rosamond Lehmann was as romantic and harrowing as that of any of her fictional heroines. Her first novel, the shocking Dusty Answer, became wildly successful launching her career as a novelist and, just as her novels depicted the tempestuous lives of her heroines, Rosamond's personal life would be full of heartbreaking affairs and lost loves.
Escaping from a disastrous early marriage Rosamond moved right into the heart of Bloomsbury society with Wogan Philipps. Later on she would embark on the most important love affair of her life, with the poet Cecil Day Lewis; nine years later he abandoned her for a young actress - a betrayal from which she would never recover.
Selina Hastings masterfully creates a portrait of a woman whose dramatic life, work and relationships criss-crossed the cultural, literary and political landscape of England in the middle of the twentieth century.
Long before modern medicines became so widely available, families treated everyday illnesses with home-made remedies. Reused and refined year after year, they were handed down through the generations then lovingly copied into personal 'receipt' books. Grandma's Remedies brings together a beguiling collection of them, gathered from dusty medicine chests found in attics, recalled from childhoods long past, or discovered in family archives and libraries.
Many of them are surprisingly effective. Did you know, for example, that drinking two cups of strong black coffee will alleviate an asthma attack? Or that chewing toasted fennel seeds will help combat indigestion? Or that rosehip syrup is a terrific source of vitamin C?
But Grandma's Remedies is more than a guide to these traditional treatments, it also paints a vivid portrait of the world of our grandparents and great-grandparents. It shows how inventive and resourceful they were with the materials near to hand, how they made the most of everything in the store-cupboard, from bread through to vinegar, and how it was the women of the household who, despite being barred from the medical profession, were relied on to safeguard family health.
In these days of antibiotics and painkillers, it's easy to forget how people survived when all they had to rely on was a garden, a larder and a healthy dose of common sense.
Music historian and journalist Tim Riley's biography challenges many popular assumptions about Lennon's life, from his widely misunderstood 'Working Class Hero' origins to his epic romance with Yoko Ono. Riley also explores Lennon in all his contradictions: the misogynist turned peace activist, the moralist who loved to outrage and the 'bigger than Christ' LSD enthusiast who settled down to become a house-husband.
A pre-eminent scholar of Beatles music, Riley has consulted some of the most important Beatles scholarship of the past two decades. In a field littered with untrustworthy memoirs, he has culled the most reliable information from hundreds of books, and tracked down even more insightful sources among Lennon's friends, enemies, confidantes, celebrity associates and business contacts. He also writes brilliantly about the music and about Lennon's artistic and creative processes.
The Beatles have just enjoyed their most successful sales decade ever, and this book will be a great gift for the Beatles fan in your life or for anyone with an interest in this British music legend.
Do you want to dazzle in the kitchen with a dinner party your friends will never forget?
Or perhaps you'd like to impress your partner with a perfect Valentine's Day meal for two.
Or maybe you've watched a Come Dine With Me special, been struck by festive inspiration and you're keen to cook up a Christmas feast for the whole family.
Whatever the occasion, if you want to be crowned the king or queen of entertaining, this is the book for you.
Packed full of over a hundred recipes from the show, covering everything from light, summery suppers (such as pea veloute followed by monkfish with a Mediterranean salsa and white chocolate and coconut terrine) to hearty, warming comfort food for a cold winter's day (such as French onion soup followed by fillet of beef with roasted shallots and praline liqueur cheesecake), there are delicious dishes here for every celebration.
With top entertaining tips and handy hints to help you to create fresh, seasonal delights, plus a guide to organizing your very own Come Dine With Me competition, this official companion takes the quest for the perfect dinner party to another level. So read on, re-live your favourite moments from the show and learn how to create some masterpieces of your very own.
J Krishnamurti (1896-1986) was one of the most important spiritual leaders of his time. Discovered by the Theosophist as a boy in India, he was groomed by them as the new Messiah, a role he rejected when he set out independently on his own spiritual quest. Travelling the world, lecturing and teaching, he acquired an enormous following, including many eminent statesmen and intellectuals.
As one of Krishnamurti's closest friends and devotees, Mary Lutyens is uniquely qualified to write his biography. Indeed, she has written three previous volumes on him, but only after his death in 1986 did she feel able to produce this book, bringing the life and philosophy of this fascinating and complex man into true perspective.
Clausewitz's On War, first published in 1832, remains the most famous study of the nature and conditions of warfare. Contemporaries found him 'endearing' or 'totally unpalatable', while later generations called him 'the father of modern strategical study', whose tenets have 'eternal relevance', or dismissed him as outdated. Was it really he who made the discovery that warfare is a continuation of politics? Was he the 'Mahdi of mass and mutual massacre', in part responsible for the mass slaughter of the First World War, as Liddell Hart contended? Can the idea of total war be traced back to him? Complex and often misunderstood, Clausewitz has fascinated and influenced generations of politicians and strategic thinkers.
Beatrice Heuser's study is the first book, not only on how to read Clausewitz, but also on how others have read him - from the Prussian and German masters of warfare of the late nineteenth century through to the military commanders of the First World War, through Lenin and Mao Zedong to strategists in the nuclear age and of guerrilla warfare. The result is an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the work and influence of the greatest classic on the art of war.
In June 1816, the Medusa, flagship of a French expedition to repossess the colony of Senegal from the British, set sail but ran aground off the desolate West African coast. The evacuation of the frigate was chaotic and cowardly - 146 men and one woman were herded aboard a makeshift raft which was then abandoned in mid-ocean, cut loose by the convoy of lifeboats which had pledged to tow it to safety. The drifting raft carried those who survived to the very frontiers of human experience. Crazed, parched and starving, the diminishing band slaughtered mutineers, ate their dead companions and organized a tactical extermination of the weakest among them.
Among the handful of survivors from the raft were two men whose written account of the tragedy catalogued the trail of government incompetence, indifference, and cover-up. Their book became a best-seller which rocked Europe and inspired the promising artist, Theodore Gericault. Reeling from an illicit affair with his attractive young aunt, he threw himself into an exhaustive study of the Medusa tragedy.
Set in the politically fragile world of Restoration France, the murk of Georgian London and along the dangerous West African coast where the French were covertly regenerating the outlawed slave trade, Medusa witnesses error and outrage turned into a bestseller, and that bestseller transformed into one of the masterpieces of Western art.
Ken Hom brings us 100 inspired recipes for stir fries which are easy-to-follow, delicious dishes designed to appeal to all palates. With 20 new recipes and 80 favourites from his collection, Ken not only covers oriental stir fries but includes non-Asian dishes as well, such as stir-fried fusilli alla carbonara. The cookbook is divided into chapters on chicken, fish and seafood, beef, pork and vegetable dishes. There are also sections on techniques for chopping and frying, how to use a wok and recommendations for oils and sauces.
Stir frying is regarded as a healthy and popular cooking method and all grocers sell ready-prepared stir-fry vegetables. As one of the world's greatest authorities on cooking with a wok, Ken shows us that the versatility and convenience of stir frying never compromises the flavour.
'Without football,we were strangers under the same roof. With it, we were father and son.'
Longlisted for the 2012 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, Hamilton tells of how he was inspired by his father's devotion to Newcastle United and the heroes of yesteryear, such as Jackie Milburn, Bobby Charlton and Duncan Edwards, Hamilton recreates a distant, bygone age and charts the progress of post-war British football to the present day. From the hardscrabble 1940s and the 'never-had-it-so-good' 50s, right through to how the dowdy-looking First Division of the 80s transformed itself into the slick, money-driven Premiership that is so familiar to us today. Hamilton writes about the some of its most sublime players, from George Best to Lionel Messi, and some of its most respected managers, from Bill Shankly to Sir Alex Ferguson.
But at the heart of The Footballer Who Could Fly, is Hamilton's exploration of the bond between father and son through the Beautiful Game, and how football became the only live connection between two people who, apart from their love of it, were wholly different from one another.
From the two-time winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year comes a personal and affecting story that beautifully captures one of the most important three-way relationships in a man's life. Father and son and football.
Spanning almost a hundred years, this rich and evocative true story recounts the lives of three generations of remarkable Chinese women. Their extraordinary journey takes us from the brutal poverty of village life in mainland China, to newly prosperous 1930s Hong Kong and finally to the UK. Their lives were as dramatic as the times they lived through.
A love of food and a talent for cooking pulled each generation through the most devastating of upheavals. Helen Tse's grandmother, Lily Kwok, was forced to work as an amah after the violent murder of her father. Crossing the ocean from Hong Kong in the 1950s, Lily honed her famous chicken curry recipe. Eventually she opened one of Manchester's earliest Chinese restaurants where her daughter, Mabel, worked from the tender age of nine. But gambling and the Triads were pervasive in the Chinese immigrant community, and they tragically lost the restaurant. It was up to Helen and her sisters, the third generation of these exceptional women, to re-establish their grandmother's dream.
Sweet Mandarin shows how the most important inheritance is wisdom, and how recipes - passed down the female line - can be the most valuable heirloom.