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Regarded as the UK's premier literary prize for non-fiction books, The Baillie Gifford Prize 2019 rewards the best authors and writing in history, science, current affairs, politics, sport, travel, the arts, biographies and autobiographies. Who will follow Serhii Plokhy's 2018 winner, Chernobyl?

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The Baillie Gifford Prize 2019

Regarded as the UK's premier literary prize for non-fiction books, The Baillie Gifford Prize 2019 rewards the best authors and writing in history, science, current affairs, politics, sport, travel, the arts, biographies and autobiographies. Who will follow Serhii Plokhy's 2018 winner, Chernobyl?

  • Furious Hours

    Casey Cep

    Product Code: BXNFW
    Hardback
    `A triumph on every level. One of the losses to literature is that Harper Lee never found a way to tell a gothic true-crime story she'd spent years researching. Casey Cep has excavated this mesmerizing story and tells it with grace and insight and a fierce fidelity to the truth.' DAVID GRANN, author of Killers of the Flower Moon _____________________________ The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell's murderer was acquitted - thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend. As Alabama is consumed by these gripping events, it's not long until news of the case reaches Alabama's - and America's - most famous writer. Intrigued by the story, Harper Lee makes a journey back to her home state to witness the Reverend's killer face trial. Harper had the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research. Lee spent a year in town reporting on the Maxwell case and many more years trying to finish the book she called The Reverend. Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country's most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity. This is the story Harper Lee wanted to write. This is the story of why she couldn't. _____________________________ 'A brilliant account of Harper Lee's failed attempt to write a true crime book ... Along the way, Cep relates the history of courthouses, voodoo, and everything one needs to know about the insanity defence ... Meticulously researched, this is essential reading for anyone interested in [Harper] Lee and American literary history.' Publishers Weekly `It's been a long time since I picked up a book so impossible to put down. Furious Hours made me forget dinner, ignore incoming calls, and stay up reading into the small hours. It's a work of literary and legal detection as gripping as a thriller. But it's also a meditation on motive and mystery, the curious workings of history, hope, and ambition, justice, and the darkest matters of life and death. Casey Cep's investigation into an infamous Southern murder trial and Harper Lee's quest to write about it is a beautiful, sobering, and sometimes chilling triumph.' HELEN MACDONALD, author of H is for Hawk
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  • On Chapel Sands

    Laura Cumming

    Product Code: BYIGM
    Hardback
    Laura Cumming's On Chapel Sands is a book of mystery and memoir.

    Two narratives run through it: the mother's childhood tale; and Cumming's own pursuit of the truth. Humble objects light up the story: a pie dish, a carved box, an old Vick's jar. Letters, tickets, recipe books, even the particular slant of a copperplate hand give vital clues. And pictures of all kinds, from paintings to photographs, open up like doors to the truth.

    Above all, Cumming discovers how to look more closely at the family album - with its curious gaps and missing persons - finding crucial answers, captured in plain sight at the click of a shutter...
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  • The Lives of Lucian Freud

    William Feaver

    Product Code: BVNOC
    Hardback
    The story of an epic life, and the story of century told through one of its most important artists, The Life of Lucian Freud is a landmark not simply in the story of its subject but in the art of biography itself Chosen as a Book of the Year 2019 by the Guardian and The Times Lucian Freud (1922-2011) is one of the great painters of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Though ferociously private, he spoke on the phone almost daily for many years to his close confidante and collaborator William Feaver - about painting and the art world, but also about his life and loves. Feaver wrote down their conversations immediately and typed up his hand-written account the next day. Shot through with Freud's own words, Feaver brings the elusive, maddening genius to life in this definitive and extraordinary work, both autobiography and biography. In the first of two volumes, he conjures Freud's early childhood - the grandson of Sigmund Freud, born into a well-to-do middle-class Jewish family in Weimar Berlin, escaping Nazi Germany in 1934 and dropped into an English public school. Following Freud through art school, his time in the Merchant Navy during the war, his post-war adventures in Europe, and his setting up as a painter in the then-seedy Maida Vale, Feaver traces a brilliant, difficult young man's coming of age, rejecting the popular style of his contemporaries to create art entirely on his own terms. A passionate and often destructive lover, with swathes of admirers both male and female, the young Freud blazes on the page, tearing like a comet through post-war bohemian London.
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  • Maoism

    Julia Lovell

    Product Code: BUNWN
    Hardback
    For decades, the West has dismissed Maoism as an outdated historical and political phenomenon. Since the 1980s, China seems to have abandoned the utopian turmoil of Mao's revolution in favour of authoritarian capitalism. But Mao and his ideas remain central to the People's Republic and the legitimacy of its Communist government. With disagreements and conflicts between China and the West on the rise, the need to understand the political legacy of Mao is urgent and growing. The power and appeal of Maoism have extended far beyond China. Maoism was a crucial motor of the Cold War: it shaped the course of the Vietnam War (and the international youth rebellions that conflict triggered) and brought to power the murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; it aided, and sometimes handed victory to, anti-colonial resistance movements in Africa; it inspired terrorism in Germany and Italy, and wars and insurgencies in Peru, India and Nepal, some of which are still with us today - more than forty years after the death of Mao. In this new history, Julia Lovell re-evaluates Maoism as both a Chinese and an international force, linking its evolution in China with its global legacy. It is a story that takes us from the tea plantations of north India to the sierras of the Andes, from Paris's fifth arrondissement to the fields of Tanzania, from the rice paddies of Cambodia to the terraces of Brixton. Starting with the birth of Mao's revolution in northwest China in the 1930s and concluding with its violent afterlives in South Asia and resurgence in the People's Republic today, this is a landmark history of global Maoism.
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  • The Five

    Hallie Rubenhold

    Product Code: BULDW
    Hardback
    Historian Hallie Rubenhold tells five untold stories of the women killed by Jack the Ripper and presents a moving portrait of Victorian London.

    Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, and breathed ink-dust from printing presses.

    What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Hallie finally sets the record straight and gives these women back their stories.
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  • Guest House for Young Widows

    Azadeh Moaveni (Senior Gender

    Product Code: CAZAZ
    Hardback
    An intimate, deeply reported account of the women who made a shocking decision: to leave their comfortable lives behind and join the Islamic State. In early 2014, the Islamic State clinched its control of Raqqa in Syria. Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, urged Muslims around the world to come join the caliphate. Having witnessed the brutal oppression of the Assad regime in Syria, and moved to fight for justice, thousands of men and women heeded his call. At the heart of this story is a cast of unforgettable young women who responded. Emma, from Germany; Sharmeena, from Bethnal Green, London; Nour, from Tunis: these were women - some still in school - from urban families, some with university degrees and bookshelves filled with novels by Jane Austen and Dan Brown; many with cosmopolitan dreams of travel and adventure. But instead of finding a land of justice and piety, they found themselves trapped within the most brutal terrorist regime of the twenty-first century, a world of chaos and upheaval and violence. What is the line between victim and collaborator? How do we judge these women who both suffered and inflicted intense pain? What role is there for Muslim women in the West? In what is bound to be a modern classic of narrative nonfiction, Moaveni takes us into the school hallways of London, kitchen tables in Germany, the coffee shops in Tunis, the caliphate's OB/GYN and its `Guest House for Young Widows' - where wives of the fallen waited to be remarried - to demonstrate that the problem called terrorism is a far more complex, political, and deeply relatable one than we generally admit.
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  • The Anarchy

    William Dalrymple

    Product Code: BZLKT
    Hardback
    In August 1765 the East India Company defeated and captured the young Mughal emperor and forced him to set up in his richest provinces a new government run by English traders who collected taxes through means of a vast and ruthless private army. The creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional international trading corporation, dealing in silks and spices, and became something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational business. In less than half a century it had trained up a private security force of around 260,000 men - twice the size of the British army - and had subdued an entire subcontinent, conquering first Bengal and finally, in 1803, the Mughal capital of Delhi itself. The Company's reach stretched relentlessly until almost all of India south of the Himalayas was effectively ruled from a boardroom in London. The Anarchy tells the remarkable story of how one of the world's most magnificent empires disintegrated and came to be replaced by a dangerously unregulated private company, based thousands of miles overseas and answerable only to its shareholders. In his most ambitious and riveting book to date, William Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before, unfolding a timely cautionary tale of the first global corporate power. Three hundred and fifteen years after its founding, with a corporate Mogul now sitting in the White House, the story of the East India Company has never been more current.
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  • The Windrush Betrayal

    Amelia Gentleman

    Product Code: CAXRF
    Hardback
    'It is impossible to overstate the importance of this heartbreaking book.' James O'Brien Amelia Gentleman's expose of the Windrush scandal shocked the nation, and led to the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary. Her tenacious reporting revealed how the government's 'hostile environment' immigration policy had led to thousands of law-abiding people being wrongly classified as illegal immigrants, with many being removed from the country, and many more losing their homes and their jobs. In The Windrush Betrayal, Gentleman tells the full story of her investigation for the first time. Her writing shines a light on the people directly affected by the scandal and illustrates the devastating effect of politicians becoming so disconnected from the world outside Westminster that they become oblivious to the impact of their policy decisions. This is a vitally important account that exposes deeply disturbing truths about modern Britain.
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  • Homesick

    Catrina Davies

    Product Code: BYJFA
    Hardback
    The story of a personal housing crisis that led to a discovery of the true value of home. 'Incredibly moving. To find peace and a sense of home after a life so profoundly affected by the housing crisis, is truly inspirational' Raynor Winn, bestselling author of The Salt Path Aged thirty-one, Catrina Davies was renting a box-room in a house in Bristol, which she shared with four other adults and a child. Working several jobs and never knowing if she could make the rent, she felt like she was breaking apart. Homesick for the landscape of her childhood, in the far west of Cornwall, Catrina decides to give up the box-room and face her demons. As a child, she saw her family and their security torn apart; now, she resolves to make a tiny, dilapidated shed a home of her own. With the freedom to write, surf and make music, Catrina rebuilds the shed and, piece by piece, her own sense of self. On the border of civilisation and wilderness, between the woods and the sea, she discovers the true value of home, while trying to find her place in a fragile natural world. This is the story of a personal housing crisis and a country-wide one, grappling with class, economics, mental health and nature. It shows how housing can trap us or set us free, and what it means to feel at home.
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  • The Ministry of Truth

    Dorian Lynskey

    Product Code: BXKTK
    Hardback
    1984 isn't just a novel; it's a key to understanding the modern world. George Orwell's final work is a treasure chest of ideas and memes - Big Brother, the Thought Police, Doublethink, Newspeak, 2+2=5 - that gain potency with every year. Particularly in 2016, when the election of Donald Trump made it a bestseller (`Ministry of Alternative Facts', anyone?). Its influence has morphed endlessly into novels (The Handmaid's Tale), films (Brazil), television shows (V for Vendetta), rock albums (Diamond Dogs), commercials (Apple), even reality TV (Big Brother). The Ministry of Truth by Dorian Lynskey is the first book that fully examines the epochal and cultural event that is 1984 in all its aspects: its roots in the utopian and dystopian literature that preceded it; the personal experiences in wartime Britain that Orwell drew on as he struggled to finish his masterpiece in his dying days; and the political and cultural phenomena that the novel ignited at once upon publication and that far from subsiding, have only grown over the decades. It explains how fiction history informs fiction and how fiction explains history.
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  • I Will Never See the World Again

    Yasemin Congar

    Product Code: BUORP
    Paperback
    The destiny I put down in my novel has become mine. I am now under arrest like the hero I created years ago. I await the decision that will determine my future, just as he awaited his. I am unaware of my destiny, which has perhaps already been decided, just as he was unaware of his. I suffer the pathetic torment of profound helplessness, just as he did. Like a cursed oracle, I foresaw my future years ago not knowing that it was my own. Confined in a cell four metres long, imprisoned on absurd, Kafkaesque charges, novelist Ahmet Altan is one of many writers persecuted by Recep Tayyip Erdogan's oppressive regime. In this extraordinary memoir, written from his prison cell, Altan reflects upon his sentence, on a life whittled down to a courtyard covered by bars, and on the hope and solace a writer's mind can provide, even in the darkest places.
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  • The Outlaw Ocean

    Ian Urbina

    Product Code: BZOKM
    Hardback
    The Outlaw Ocean is a riveting, adrenaline-fuelled tour of a vast, lawless and rampantly criminal world that few have ever seen: the high seas. There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. But perhaps the wildest, and least understood, are the world's oceans: too big to police, and under no clear international authority, these immense regions of treacherous water play host to the unbridled extremes of human behaviour and activity. Traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, wreck thieves and repo men, vigilante conservationists and elusive poachers, seabound abortionists, clandestine oil-dumpers, shackled slaves and cast-adrift stowaways: drawing on five years of perilous and intrepid reporting, often hundreds of miles from shore, Urbina introduces us to the inhabitants of this hidden world and their risk-fraught lives. Through their stories of astonishing courage and brutality, survival and tragedy, he uncovers a globe-spanning network of crime and exploitation that emanates from the fishing, oil and shipping industries, and on which the world's economies rely. Both a gripping adventure story and a stunning expose, this unique work of reportage brings fully into view for the first time the disturbing reality of a floating world that connects us all, a place where anyone can do anything because no one is watching.
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