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Our 21st century history books give an overview of what has happened in the world since the year 2000.

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21st Century History Books

  • Chernobyl

    Serhii Plokhy

    Product Code: BTXIO
    Paperback
    Award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy's Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy is the winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2018. It's a must-read for anyone with an interest in modern history and those who have been compelled - and shocked - by the stunning Sky Atlantic TV series Chernobyl starring Jared Harris.

    On 26 April 1986 at 1.23am, a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. While the authorities scrambled to understand what was occurring, workers, engineers, firefighters and those living in the area were abandoned to their fate - and the blast put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation.

    This book draws on recently opened archives to recreate events in all their drama, providing a moment-by-moment account of the heroes, perpetrators and victims of the Cold War tragedy.
    • £8.99
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  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

    Yuval Noah Harari

    Product Code: BZHKK
    Paperback
    Sapiens showed us where we came from. Homo Deus looked to the future. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century explores the present. How can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms and technological disruptions? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news or the threat of terrorism? What should we teach our children? Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today's most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change. Are we still capable of understanding the world we have created?
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  • Vietnam

    Max Hastings

    Product Code: BWKQI
    Paperback
    Sir Max Hastings has authored twenty-six books, some of which have become bestsellers and have been translated all over the world. This masterful chronicle covers one of the most devastating conflicts of the 20th century, the tragedies of Vietnam.

    Hastings spent the past three years interviewing participants and researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents to create this epic narrative that covers all events from 1945 through to 1975. He portrays the battle of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz, as well as less familiar events such as the bloodbath at Daido.

    This magnificent volume is able to blend a political and military narrative of the entire conflict using heart-stopping personal experiences. He marshals testimony from warlords, peasants, statesmen, and soldiers to create this extraordinary record of tragedy.
    • £9.49
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  • Hidden Figures

    Margot Lee Shetterly

    Product Code: AWXZZ
    Paperback
    #1 New York Times Bestseller NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE Oscar Nominated For Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA's African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America's space program. Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as 'Human Computers', calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these 'colored computers' used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Moving from World War II through NASA's golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women's rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of mankind's greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.
    • £8.09
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  • Fifty Works by Fifty British Women Artists 1900 - 1950

    Sacha Llewellyn

    Product Code: CCPNL
    Paperback
    Ever since Linda Nochlin asked in 1971, `Why have there been no great women artists?', art history has been probing the female gaze. Through scholarship and exhibitions, readings have been put in place to counter prevailing assumptions that artistic creativity is primarily a masculine affair. Fifty Works by Fifty British Women functions as a corrective to the exclusion of women from the `master' narratives of art. It introduces fifty artworks by known and lesser-known women - outstanding works that speak out. Fifty commentaries by fifty different writers bring out each artwork's unique story - sometimes from an objective art historical perspective and sometimes from an entirely personal point of view - thereby creating a rich and colourful diorama. This exhibition does not, however, attempt to present a survey or to address all the arguments around the history of women and art. Anthologies are of necessity incomplete, and many remarkable imaginations are not here represented. Women artists have been set apart from male artists not only to their own disadvantage but also to the detriment of British art. While there were some improvements for women to access an artistic career in the twentieth century in terms of patronage, economics and critical attention - all the things that confer professional status - women had the least of everything. By showcasing just a few of the remarkable works produced, this exhibition draws attention to the fact that a vision of British twentieth century art closer to a 50/50 balance would not only provide a truer account, but also a more vivid and meaningful narrative.
    • £16.00
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  • Diana: Her True Story - In Her Own Words

    Andrew Morton

    Product Code: BUGHV
    Paperback
    THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER-ONE BESTSELLER. A reissue of this classic title brought up to date with never-before-published material from the original taped interviews and a new introduction by Andrew Morton. This edition reflects on the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the original publication, and on the long-term legacy of Diana, the woman who helped reinvigorate the royal family, giving it a more emotional, human face, and thus helping it move forward into the 21st century.
    • £9.59
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  • Becoming

    Michelle Obama

    Product Code: BSYUP
    Audio
    Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Becoming by Michelle Obama. An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America-the first African-American to serve in that role-she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her-from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world's most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it-in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations-and whose story inspires us to do the same.
    • £15.49
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  • Elizabeth the Queen

    Sally Bedell Smith

    Product Code: BNHYG
    Paperback
    'To have any understanding of the Queen you must first read this book' Amanda ForemanIn THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY, discover Elizabeth, the woman behind the throne, from the bestselling British Royal Family writer, Sally Bedell Smith.PERFECT for fans of THE CROWN.----------------------------- An intimate portrait of Her Majesty the Queen.This definitive biography of Queen Elizabeth II is the first all-round, up-close picture of one of the most fascinating, enigmatic and admired women in the world. With exclusive access to the Queen's personal letters, close friends and associates, this intimate biography is a treasure trove of fresh insights on her public persona and her private life. It also explores her close relationships with her family, her children, and Prince Philip. This book will transport you back to a moment nine decades ago when a young Princess Elizabeth first discovered her destiny. Here we see how over the years she has navigated through the political challenges and personal sacrifices ahead of her, to put the Crown, the Country and her unswerving sense of duty first. There is so much more to our Queen than that which is reported, but in these pages we at last get to meet the leader, strategist, and diplomat; the daughter, wife, mother and grandmother - Elizabeth the Queen.'Sally Bedell Smith offers her readers the illusion of knowing the Queen as a friend' The Economist'A worthy addition to the shelves of royal watchers everywhere' The Independent
    • £10.89
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  • Kingdom of Olives and Ash

    Michael Chabon

    Product Code: BCVOD
    Paperback
    Published to coincide the with 50th anniversary of the Israel occupation of the West Bank, an anthology that explores the human cost of the conflict there as witnessed by such notable writers as Colum McCann, Colm Toibin, Dave Eggers, Madeleine Thien, Eimear McBride, Taiye Selasi and editors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman. June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Israel occupation of the West Bank. The violence on both sides of the conflict has been horrific, the casualties catastrophic. Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, two of today's most renowned novelists and essayists, have joined forces with the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence-an organization comprised of former Israeli soldiers who served in the occupied territories and saw firsthand the injustice there-and a host of illustrious writers to tell the stories of the people on the ground in the contested territories. KINGDOM OF OLIVES AND ASH includes contributions from some of our most esteemed storytellers, including essays from editors Chabon and Waldman. Their writing enables readers to understand the human narratives behind the litany of grim destruction broadcasted nightly on the news. Together they all stand witness to the human cost of the occupation.
    • £10.39
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  • The Yompers

    Ian R. Gardiner

    Product Code: BVISN
    Paperback
    Called to action on 2 April 1982, the men of 45 Commando Royal Marines assembled from around the world to sail 8,000 miles to recover the Falkland Islands from Argentine invasion. Lacking helicopters and short of food, they 'yomped' in appalling weather carrying overloaded rucksacks, across the roughest terrain. Yet for a month in mid-winter, they remained a cohesive fighting-fit body of men. They then fought and won the highly successful and fierce night battle for Two Sisters, a 1,000 foot high mountain which was the key to the defensive positions around Stanley. This is a first hand story of that epic feat, but it is much more than that. The first to be written by a company commander in the Falklands War, the book gives a compelling, vivid description of the 'yomp' and infantry fighting, and it also offers penetrating insights into the realities of war at higher levels. It is a unique combination of descriptive writing about frontline fighting and wider reflections on the Falklands War, and conflict in general. Gritty and moving; sophisticated, reflective and funny, this book offers an abundance of timeless truths about war.Postscript: 'Yomping' was the word used by the Commandos for carrying heavy loads on long marches. It caught the public's imagination during this short but bitter campaign and epitomised the grim determination and professionalism of our troops."One of the finest accounts by a front line officer ever written."~ Professor Eric Grove. Via The Phoenix Think Tank article The Falklands - Lessons Learned
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  • First They Killed My Father

    Loung Ung

    Product Code: AQLGO
    Paperback
    Soon to be a major film, co-written and directed by Angelina Jolie Pitt. Until the age of five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official. She was a precocious child who loved the open city markets, fried crickets, chicken fights and being cheeky to her parents. When Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Loung's family fled their home and were eventually forced to disperse to survive. Loung was trained as a child soldier while her brothers and sisters were sent to labour camps. The surviving siblings were only finally reunited after the Vietnamese penetrated Cambodia and started to destroy the Khmer Rouge. Bolstered by the bravery of one brother, the vision of the others and the gentle kindness of her sister, Loung forged on to create for herself a courageous new life. First They Killed My Father is an unforgettable book told through the voice of the young and fearless Loung. It is a shocking and tragic tale of a girl who was determined to survive despite the odds.
    • £7.79
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  • Spetsnaz: Russia's Special Forces

    Mark Galeotti

    Product Code: ANPJB
    Paperback
    When the shadowy, notorious Spetsnaz were first formed, they drew on a long Soviet tradition of elite, behind-the-lines commando forces from World War II and even earlier. Throughout the 1960s-70s they were instrumental both in projecting Soviet power in the Third World and in suppressing resistance within the Warsaw pact. As a powerful, but mysterious tool of a world superpower, the Spetsnaz have inevitably become the focus of many 'tall tales' in the West. In this book, a peerless authority on Russia's military Special Forces debunks several of these myths, uncovering truths that are often even more remarkable. Now, since the chaotic dissolution of the USSR and the two Chechen Wars, Russian forces have seen increasing modernization, involving them ever more in power-projection, counter-insurgency and anti-terrorism and the Spetsnaz have been deployed as a spearhead in virtually all of these operations. This book offers a unique, absorbing guide to the secrets of the Spetsnaz, their most noteworthy missions and personalities, but is also packed with details such as orders-of-battle, equipment and operational doctrine.
    • £9.99
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  • Please, Mister Postman

    Alan Johnson

    Product Code: BABXH
    Paperback
    In July 1969, while the Rolling Stones played a free concert in Hyde Park, Alan Johnson and his young family left West London to start a new life. The Britwell Estate in Slough, apparently notorious among the locals, in fact came as a blessed relief after the tensions of Notting Hill, and the local community welcomed them with open arms. Alan had become a postman the previous year, and in order to support his growing family took on every bit of overtime he could, often working twelve-hour shifts six days a week. It was hard work, but not without its compensations - the crafty fag snatched in a country lane, the farmer's wife offering a hearty breakfast and even the mysterious lady on Glebe Road who appeared daily, topless, at her window as the postman passed by...Please, Mister Postman paints a vivid picture of England in the 1970s, where no celebration was complete without a Party Seven of Watney's Red Barrel, smoking was the norm rather than the exception, and Sunday lunchtime was about beer, bingo and cribbage. But as Alan's life appears to be settling down and his career in the Union of Postal Workers begins to take off, his close-knit family is struck once again by tragedy...Moving, hilarious and unforgettable, Please, Mister Postman is another astonishing book from the award-winning author of This Boy.
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  • Without You, There is No Us

    Suki Kim

    Product Code: AMXPJ
    Paperback
    It is 2011, and all universities in North Korea have been shut down for an entire year, except for the all-male Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. This is where Suki Kim has accepted a job teaching English. Over the next six months she will eat three meals a day with her young charges and struggle to teach them to write, all under the watchful eye of the regime. Life at the university is lonely and claustrophobic. Her letters are read by censors and she must hide her notes and photographs not only from her minders but also from her colleagues, evangelical Christian missionaries, whose faith she does not share. As the weeks pass she discovers how easily her students lie, and how total is their obedience to Kim Jong-il. She also, bravely, hints at the existence of a world beyond their own: the internet, free travel, democracy, and other ideas forbidden in a country where torture and execution are commonplace. Yet her pupils are also full of boyish enthusiasm, with flashes of curiosity not yet extinguished. Without You, There Is No Us offers a moving and incalculably rare glimpse of life inside the world's most inscrutable country.
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  • The Cyprus Emergency

    Nick van der Bijl

    Product Code: AIQQC
    Paperback
    The UK has been involved in Cyprus for over 125 years. Strategically placed in the Eastern Mediterranean, it was initially ideal for protection of the Suez Canal and more recently as a 'listening post' for the troubled Middle East and southern flank of NATO. The British faced two serious problems - the first, the Greek Cypriots' desire for Enosis, (union with Greece) and, second, the intense rivalry and antipathy between the Greek and Turkish communities. In 1955 the former resulted in a bitter EOKA terrorist campaign led by Colonel George Grivas. This resulted in the deaths of over 100 British servicemen. Nicosia's 'Murder Mile' was the scene of many shootings. The Governor Field Marshal Harding narrowly escaped assassination in his residence. Even British families were targeted. The next phase was the Turkish Government's military intervention in 1974 to prevent what they saw as the Greek take-over. In a bloody invasion which saw widespread 'ethnic cleansing' and displacement of communities, the Island was divided into two sectors policed by the United Nations. This exists today, as do the British Sovereign Base areas at Dhekalia and Atrokiri/Episkopi. This book describes the most troubled years of this beautiful island which is so well known to British servicemen, their families and holiday makers.
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  • State of Emergency

    Dominic Sandbrook

    Product Code: ABLMQ
    Paperback
    In the early 1970s, Britain seemed to be tottering on the brink of the abyss. Under Edward Heath, the optimism of the Sixties had become a distant memory. Now the headlines were dominated by strikes and blackouts, unemployment and inflation. As the world looked on in horrified fascination, Britain seemed to be tearing itself apart. And yet, amid the gloom, glittered a creativity and cultural dynamism that would influence our lives long after the nightmarish Seventies had been forgotten. In this brilliant new history, Dominic Sandbrook recreates the gaudy, schizophrenic atmosphere of the early Seventies: the world of Enoch Powell and Tony Benn, David Bowie and Brian Clough, Germaine Greer and Mary Whitehouse. An age when the unions were on the march and the socialist revolution seemed at hand, but also when feminism, permissiveness, pornography and environmentalism were transforming the lives of millions. It was an age of miners' strikes, tower blocks and IRA atrocities, but it also gave us celebrity footballers and high-street curry houses, organic foods and package holidays, gay rights and glam rock. For those who remember the days when you could buy a new colour television but power cuts stopped you from watching it, this book could hardly be more vivid. It is the perfect guide to a luridly colourful Seventies landscape that shaped our present from the financial boardroom to the suburban bedroom.
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  • The Korean War

    Sir Max Hastings

    Product Code: AASHK
    Paperback
    On 25 June 1950, the invasion of South Korea by the Communist North launched one of the bloodiest conflicts of the last century. The seemingly limitless power of the Chinese-backed North was thrown against the ferocious firepower of the UN-backed South in a war that can be seen today as the stark prelude to Vietnam. Max Hastings drew on first-hand accounts of those who fought on both sides to produce this vivid and incisive reassessment of the Korean War, bringing the military and human dimensions into sharp focus. Critically acclaimed on publication, "The Korean War" remains the best narrative history of this conflict.
    • £14.89
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  • Angela's Ashes

    Frank McCourt

    Product Code: AABHR
    Paperback 12 years +
    This stunning reissue of the phenomenal worldwide bestseller tells the sad, funny, bittersweet memoir of Frank McCourt's childhood growing up in New York in the 30s and Ireland in the 40s.

    It is a story of extreme hardship and suffering, in Brooklyn tenements and Limerick slums - too many children, too little money, his mother Angela barely coping as his father Malachy's drinking bouts constantly brings the family to the brink of disaster.

    Written with the vitality and resonance of a work of fiction, and with a remarkable absence of sentimentality, Angela's Ashes is imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's distinctive humour and compassion. Out of terrible circumstances, he has created a glorious book in the tradition of Ireland's literary masters, which bears all the marks of a great classic.
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  • The Shadow in the East

    Aliide Naylor

    Product Code: CDGPI
    Hardback
    The Baltics are about to be thrust onto the world stage. With a 'belligerent' Vladimir Putin to their east (and 'expansionist' NATO to their west), Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are increasingly the subject of unsettling headlines in both Western and Russian media. But how real are these fears, subject as they are to media embellishment, qualification and denial by both Russia and the West? What do they mean for those living in the Baltics - and for the world? Based on her extensive research and work as a journalist, Aliide Naylor takes us inside the geopoltitics of the region. Travelling to the heart of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania she explores modernity in the region that birthed Skype, investigates smuggling and reports of troop movements in the borderlands, and explains the countries' unique cultural identities. Naylor tells us why the Baltics matter, arguing persuasively that this region is about to become the new frontline in the political struggle between East and West.
  • War and Revolution

    Domenico Losurdo

    Product Code: CDDHM
    Paperback
    War and Revolution identifies and takes to task a reactionary trend among contemporary historians. It is a revisionist tendency discernible in the work of authors such as Ernst Nolte, who traces the impetus behind the Holocaust to the excesses of the Russian Revolution; or Francois Furet, who links the Stalinist purges to an "illness" originating with the French Revolution. In this vigorous riposte to those who would denigrate the history of emancipatory struggle, Losurdo captivates the reader with a tour de force account of modern revolt, providing a new perspective on the English, American, French and twentieth-century revolutions.
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  • The Hidden History of Burma

    Thant Myint-U

    Product Code: CDDJW
    Paperback
    Precariously positioned between China and India, Burma's population has suffered dictatorship, natural disaster and the dark legacies of colonial rule. But when decades of military dictatorship finally ended and internationally beloved Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi emerged from long years of house arrest, hopes soared. World leaders including Barack Obama ushered in waves of international support. Progress seemed inevitable. As historian, former diplomat, and presidential advisor, Thant Myint-U saw the cracks forming. In this insider's diagnosis of a country at a breaking point, he dissects how a singularly predatory economic system, fast-rising inequality, disintegrating state institutions, the impact of new social media, the rise of China next door, climate change and deep-seated feelings around race, religion and national identity all came together to challenge the incipient democracy. Interracial violence soared and a horrific exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fixed international attention. Thant Myint-U explains how and why this happened, and details an unsettling prognosis for the future. Burma is today a fragile stage for nearly all the world's problems. Are democracy and an economy that genuinely serves all its people possible in Burma? In clear and urgent prose, Thant Myint-U explores this question - a concern not just for the Burmese but for the rest of the world - warning of the possible collapse of this nation of 55 million while suggesting a fresh agenda for change.
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  • The Hidden History of Burma

    Thant Myint-U

    Product Code: CDDJV
    Hardback
    Precariously positioned between China and India, Burma's population has suffered dictatorship, natural disaster and the dark legacies of colonial rule. But when decades of military dictatorship finally ended and internationally beloved Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi emerged from long years of house arrest, hopes soared. World leaders including Barack Obama ushered in waves of international support. Progress seemed inevitable. As historian, former diplomat, and presidential advisor, Thant Myint-U saw the cracks forming. In this insider's diagnosis of a country at a breaking point, he dissects how a singularly predatory economic system, fast-rising inequality, disintegrating state institutions, the impact of new social media, the rise of China next door, climate change and deep-seated feelings around race, religion and national identity all came together to challenge the incipient democracy. Interracial violence soared and a horrific exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fixed international attention. Thant Myint-U explains how and why this happened, and details an unsettling prognosis for the future. Burma is today a fragile stage for nearly all the world's problems. Are democracy and an economy that genuinely serves all its people possible in Burma? In clear and urgent prose, Thant Myint-U explores this question - a concern not just for the Burmese but for the rest of the world - warning of the possible collapse of this nation of 55 million while suggesting a fresh agenda for change.
    • £15.19
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  • The Existential Englishman

    Michael Peppiatt

    Product Code: CDCYF
    Paperback
    The Existential Englishman is both a memoir and an intimate portrait of Paris - a city that can enchant, exhilarate and exasperate in equal measure. As Peppiatt remarks: 'You reflect and become the city just as the city reflects and becomes you'. This, then, is one man's not uncritical love letter to Paris. Intensely personal, candid and entertaining, The Existential Englishman chronicles Peppiatt's relationship with Paris in a series of vignettes structured around the half-dozen addresses he called home as a plucky young art critic. Having survived the tumultuous riots of 1968, Peppiatt traces his precarious progress from junior editor to magazine publisher, recalling encounters with a host of figures at the heart of Parisian artistic life - from Sartre, Beckett and Cartier-Bresson to Serge Gainsbourg and Catherine Deneuve. Peppiatt also takes us into the secret places that fascinate him most in this ancient capital, where memories are etched into every magnificent palace and humble cobblestone. On the historic streets of Paris, where all life is on show and every human drama played out, Michael Peppiatt is the wittiest and wickedest of observers, capturing the essence of the city and its glittering cultural achievements.
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  • Bending Adversity

    David Pilling

    Product Code: CCYVM
    Paperback
    The second edition of the definitive book on how modern Japan works, now fully updated up to include the new 'Reiwa' Era and the year of the Olympics 'A superb book that, better than any other I have read, manages to get the reader inside the skin of Japanese society ... astutely observed ... a great read brimming with insights' Japan Times Despite years of stagnation, Japan remains one of the world's largest economies and a country which exerts a remarkable cultural fascination. David Pilling's new book is an entertaining, deeply knowledgeable and surprising analysis of a group of islands which have shown great resilience, both in the face of financial distress and when confronted with the overwhelming disaster of the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami. Bending Adversity is a superb work of reportage and the essential book even for those who already feel they know the country well.
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