In A World on Fire Amanda Foreman brings her unique style of epic biography to the American Civil War. During the titanic struggle between North and South, both sides demanded Britain's support. British volunteers fought on both sides; British guns and bullets littered the battlefields. The South depended on British-built cruisers to make up its navy, and British blockade runners to supply its armies.
This book portrays the extraordinary web of relationships between the two countries through the lives of over a hundred participants - soldiers, mercenaries, politicians, spies, journalists, diplomats, doctors and nurses who, at home or abroad, recorded their experience of the war. Some of these directly affected the momentous events around them, others were simply acted upon. It traces the often desperate efforts of men and women to survive, to preserve the ideals and ways of living they believed were right, and even, sometimes, to find love in the worst of circumstances.
A World On Fire is history told in the round, combining the human intensity of battle with the manoeuvrings of fraught diplomacy. The well known events of the war are seen through fresh eyes: the letters of soldiers fighting thousands of miles from their homeland; the passionate dispatches from diplomats and journalists; and the diaries of the brave women who laboured in some cases to save a single life, and in others to protect an entire way of life. A World on Fire gives a new and dramatic account of the first modern war and of Britain's part in it, for good or ill.
China, 1930s. Julian Bell, son of the Bloomsbury set's Vanessa, is newly arrived in Peking. In search of fresh experiences, he encounters the beautiful, intelligent and deeply erotic Lin Cheng. Though Lin is wife to a university professor, their passionate assignations blossom into an affair.
Schooled in the ancient Taoist arts of love, Lin instructs Julian in the ways of the East. But if society won't tolerate this union between Occidental and Oriental can their love possibly survive?
Based on a true story this is a tragic tale of romance, betrayal and sexual desire set against a backdrop of conflict and war.
Anita is a wife on the edge. Thanks to her husband Frank's success in business she has lived a lavish lifestyle at the heart of the city's elite. However, now that the economy is in freefall, it seems the days of boozy lunches with 'the girls', glittering charity balls and competitive designer shopping are over. Still, though the banks are breathing down their necks, and their marriage is far from perfect, Anita had believed she and Frank would pull through. After all, they came from nothing. That was until she heard news that shook both her marriage, and the family she thought happy and secure, to its foundations. As she faces meltdown, Anita is haunted. Why did she walk away from her one chance to prove herself on her own terms? What happened to the love that was once so overwhelming? And how did she let herself get lost in an empty high-rolling lifestyle? Anita has to find herself again . but how do you do that when you're just someone else's better half?
China, 1907. Sixteen-year-old orphan Cassia is sold by her aunt to a brothel. There, she works as a lowly maid for Madame Emerald until a powerful and dangerous client plucks her from obscurity.
Master Chang is the boss of the fearsome Shanghai Triad and he always gets what he wants. Despite her unbound feet and breasts, Cassia swiftly becomes Chang's favourite mistress. He showers her with luxuries as he embarks on her sexual awakening.
But Chang's world is violent and precarious, and those such as Cassia who depend on him are bound to his fate . . .
It is Kashmir in the early 1990s and war has finally reached the isolated village of Nowgam close to the Pakistan border. Indian soldiers appear as if from nowhere to hunt for militants on the run. Four teenage boys, who used to spend their afternoons playing cricket, or singing Bollywood ballads down by the river, have disappeared one by one, to cross into Pakistan and join the movement against the Indian army. Only one of their friends, the son of the headman, is left behind.
The families in the village begin to think it's time to flee, to search for a place of greater safety. But the headman will not allow his family to leave. And, whilst the headman watches his dreams give way beneath the growing violence, his son, under the brutal, drunken gaze of the Indian army captain, is seemingly forced to collaborate and go into the valley to count the corpses, fearing, each day, that he will discover one of his friends lying amongst the dead.
The Colloborator is a stunningly humane work of storytelling with a poignant and unpredictable hero at its heart. In one of the most shocking and brilliantly compelling novels of recent times Mirza Waheed lights our way into the heart of a war that is all too real.
Killing Giants unveils practical strategies for overtaking larger competitors in any market, looking at companies like that started out small but quickly dominated by using their opponents' size to their advantage. Baidu has beaten Google at search in China, and the Boston Beer Company took on Budweiser with Sam Adams Boston Lager.
Stephen Denny shows how even behemoths like Nike and Coca Cola are susceptible to small, even tiny, competitors, because of their size. Using a range of fresh case studies he explains how, by taking a fresh approach, you can carve out a larger chunk of any marketplace.
In any normal situation Fiona and Sarah would be friends. They are both smart and loving, great mothers, brilliant at life. And they both need a pal.
But when Sarah arrives in Fiona's small town on the Clare coast, it's not a normal situation. Sarah is on a mission and before either she or Fiona know it - and without her meaning to cause havoc - that single-minded vision has turned both their worlds upside-down.
Fiona and Sarah both discover that just as love drains out of lives that are routine and taken for granted, so it can also flow back into those lives in unexpected and breathtaking ways. And where the love gets in, it changes things forever ...
In September 1937 Andras, a young Hungarian student, leaves his family and heads for Paris on a scholarship to study architecture. Before he sets off he is given a mysterious letter to post on arrival in Paris. It is addressed to an Hungarian woman and no reason is given why it cannot be posted from Budapest. When Andras arrives in Paris he becomes vitally aware of his poverty, particularly when he enters the home of a richer Hungarian emigre Klara Morgenstern. She is a young widowed woman, and he finds himself falling in love with her. As they begin to meet regularly it is clear that Klara is hiding a terrifying secret, related to the mysterious letter that Andras posted on arrival, which means she is trapped in Paris as war looms closer. And, as Andras and his fellow students' lives become ever more vulnerable in the shadow of war, the group must shatter in order to survive. Andras is forced home to a labour camp, his brother disappears and Klara risks everything to return to Hungary to be close to her lover.
Welcome to Rome. It is the summer of 1978, and the Krasnansky family, bickering, tired and confused, are supposed to be passing through. Alongside thousands of other Soviet Jewish refugees - among them criminals, dissidents and refuseniks - they await passage to their new homes in the West. But escaping Communism is not so easy, especially when some of the Krasnanskys insist on bringing it with them, and even more so when their sponsor in the USA lets them down and they find that they're no longer passing through at all. On the contrary, they're stuck.
Welcome, then, to the waiting room of your life, and to a tragic yet comic tale of reckless brothers and long-suffering sisters, ailing parents and innocent children, of love affairs and criminal liaisons, of a wonderfully troubled family and a perpetually wandering people, and their epic search for a home: somewhere, anywhere - or Canada, as it turns out.
The summit of K2, 1 August 2008. An exhausted band of climbers pump their fists into the clear blue sky - joining the elite who have conquered the world's most lethal mountain. But as they celebrate, far below them an ice shelf collapses and sweeps away their ropes. They don't know it yet, but they will be forced to descend into the blackness with no lines. Of the thirty who set out, eleven will never make it back.
Following the stories of climbers from around the world, No Way Down weaves a tale of human courage, folly, survival and devastating loss. The stories are heart-wrenching: the young married couple whose rope was torn apart by an avalanche, sending the husband to his death; the 61-year-old Frenchman who called his family from near the summit to say he wouldn't make it home. So what drove them to try to conquer this elusive peak? And what went wrong that fateful day?
Visiting a villa built by Lorenzo de Medici outside Pisa, David Gilmour fell into conversation about the unification of Italy with a distinguished former minister: '"You know, Davide," he said in a low conspiratorial voice, as if nervously uttering a heresy, "Garibaldi did Italy a great disservice.If he had not invaded Sicily and Naples, we in the north would have the richest and most civilized state in Europe."After looking round the room at the other guests, he added in an even lower voice, "Of course to the south we would have a neighbour like Egypt."' These words stayed in the author's mind for a long time. The dream of a unified Italy, how and why it has never been more than a dream, became the subject of a book he has been thinking about and writing for the last twenty years.
Was the elderly Italian right? The Pursuit of Italy traces the whole history of the Italian peninsula since the Romans in a wonderfully readable style, full of well-chosen stories and observations from personal experience, and peopled by many of the great figures of the Italian past, from Cicero and Virgil to Machiavelli and the Medici, Garibaldi and Cavour, and the rather less inspiring political figures of the 20th century. Gilmour gives a clear-eyed view of the Risorgimento, the pivotal event in modern Italian history, debunking the many absurd and influential myths which have grown up around it but including a particularly sympathetic portrait of Giuseppe Verdi, one of many cultural figures he treats.
Gilmour shows that the glory of Italy has always lain in its regions, with their distinctive civic cultures, cuisine, art and identities. Similarly, most of the people of the peninsula have thought of themselves first as Tuscans, Venetians, Romans, Neapolitans or Sicilians and as Italians second, if at all. This, he argues, is where the strength of Italy lies rather than in misconceived ideas of unity.
This wise and enormously engaging book explains the course of Italian history in a manner and with a coherence which no one with any interest in the country could fail to enjoy.
Companies around the world turn to MIT's Jonathan Byrnes for one reason: he can figure out where the profit is. He shows them which customers and businesses are cash cows, and which efforts are just a drain on resources. Most astonishingly, in each case he finds that roughly 40% of his client's businesses are unprofitable.
We are transitioning from an era of mass markets to the Age of Precision Markets. Before, companies sought to distribute their products as widely as possible using arm's-length customer relationships. Broad metrics like aggregate revenues and costs were adequate. But today companies form different relationships with different sets of customers. Successful businesses create competitive advantages and sustained profitability by developing innovative relationships and new types of value.
This is a double-edged sword: if customers are matched with the right relationships, sales and profits soar.but if they are matched poorly, profitability plunges.
Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink tells you how to rethink your business for maximum profit - what to do, what difficulties you'll encounter, and how to overcome them. This book gives you the roadmap and tools you'll need to be a highly effective manager in a new era of business.
Talking to the Enemy is an intellectually and personally courageous exploration of one of the most contentious issues of modern times.
Scott Atran has spent years talking to terrorists - from Gaza and Afghanistan, to Indonesia and Europe - in order to help us understand and mitigate the rise of religious violence. Here he argues persuasively that we need to consider terrorists' close relationships, with family and friends, as much as the causes they espouse, and delivers a fascinating journey into the mindsets of radicalised people in the twenty-first century. Along the way, he also provides deep insights into the history of all religions, and into their evolutionary origins. He shows us, above all, how we have come to be human.
More than any other book, Talking to the Enemy invites us to empathise; it is itself the best possible example of how to do it.
Whether it's wild or farmed, fresh or tinned, in batter or a bento box, we're eating more fish than ever before. But what's the story behind the fish on your plate?
In Four Fish, award-winning writer and lifelong fisherman Paul Greenberg takes us on a culinary journey through the oceans, telling the stories of the fish we eat the most: salmon, cod, bass and tuna. He visits Norwegian mega farms that use genetic techniques once pioneered on sheep to grow 500,000 tons of salmon a year. He travels to Alaska to see the only Fair Trade certified fishing company in the world. He investigates the pollutants that cause mercury build-up in seafood; discovers how Mediterranean sea bass went global; meets a Polish émigré on the Shetland Islands who may have saved the cod; and gets sea-sick chasing blue fin tuna off Hawaii.
Throughout Four Fish, Greenberg poses the questions many of us ask when confronted with a seafood menu or a supermarket shelf: which fish can I eat without worrying? What does overfishing mean? What's the difference between wild, farmed and organic? Should humans domesticate fish as we have animals - or stop eating from the sea altogether?
Fish, Greenberg shows, are the last truly wild food we eat - for now. By understanding fully how it gets to our dinner table, we can start to enjoy fish in a way that's healthy for us - and good for the world that exists off our coasts.