fbpx

Imperial Twilight

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE
A Financial Times Book of the Year
A Sunday Times Book of the Year
________________________________________

‘Entertaining and well-paced… Platt’s compelling book is a sobering read that should focus the minds of those who like to talk of the achievements of the Victorian age without thinking about how those were achieved, or how they were funded.’ Peter Frankopan, Spectator
________________________________________

In 1839 Britain embarked on the first of its wars with China, sealing the fate of the most prosperous and powerful empire in Asia, if not the world. Motivated by drug profiteering and free-trade interests, the Opium War helped shaped the China we know today, sparking the eventual fall of the Qing dynasty and the rise of nationalism and communism in the twentieth century.

Imperial Twilight is a riveting and revealing account of the end of China’s Golden Age and the origins of one of the most unjust wars in history.

The Irish Assassins

ONE OF THE TIMES’ BEST HISTORY BOOKS OF 2021

‘The tale of the Phoenix Park murders is not unfamiliar, but Kavanagh recounts it with a great sense of drama… Kavanagh’s account reminds me of the very best of true crime.’ The Times (Book of the Week)

On a sunlit evening in l882, Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Burke, Chief Secretary and Undersecretary for Ireland, were ambushed and stabbed to death while strolling through Phoenix Park in Dublin. The murders were carried out by the Invincibles, a militant faction of republicans armed with specially-made surgeon’s blades. They ended what should have been a turning point in Anglo-Irish relations. A new spirit of goodwill had been burgeoning between Prime Minister William Gladstone and Ireland’s leader Charles Stewart Parnell, with both men forging in secret a pact to achieve peace and independence in Ireland – with the newly appointed Cavendish, Gladstone’s protégé, to play an instrumental role. The impact of the Phoenix Park murders was so cataclysmic that it destroyed the pact, almost brought down the government and set in motion repercussions that would last long into the twentieth century.

In a story that spans Donegal, Dublin, London, Paris, New York, Cannes and Cape Town, Julie Kavanagh thrillingly traces the crucial events that came before and after the murders. From the adulterous affair that caused Parnell’s downfall to Queen Victoria’s prurient obsession with the assassinations and the investigation spearheaded by the ‘Irish Sherlock Holmes’, culminating in a murder on the high seas, The Irish Assassins brings us intimately into this fascinating story that shaped Irish politics and engulfed an empire. This is an unputdownable book from one of our most ‘compulsively readable’ (Guardian) writers.

The Secret Royals

A Daily Mail Book of the Year and a The Times and Sunday Times Best Book of 2021

‘Monumental.. Authoritative and highly readable.’ Ben Macintyre, The Times

‘A fascinating history of royal espionage.’ Sunday Times

‘Excellent… Compelling’ Guardian

For the first time, The Secret Royals uncovers the remarkable relationship between the Royal Family and the intelligence community, from the reign of Queen Victoria to the death of Princess Diana.

In an enthralling narrative, Richard J. Aldrich and Rory Cormac show how the British secret services grew out of persistent attempts to assassinate Victoria and then operated on a private and informal basis, drawing on close personal relationships between senior spies, the aristocracy, and the monarchy. This reached its zenith after the murder of the Romanovs and the Russian revolution when, fearing a similar revolt in Britain, King George V considered using private networks to provide intelligence on the loyalty of the armed forces – and of the broader population.

In 1936, the dramatic abdication of Edward VIII formed a turning point in this relationship. What originally started as family feuding over a romantic liaison with the American divorcee Wallis Simpson, escalated into a national security crisis. Fearing the couple’s Nazi sympathies as well as domestic instability, British spies turned their attention to the King. During the Second World War, his successor, King George VI gradually restored trust between the secret world and House of Windsor. Thereafter, Queen Elizabeth II regularly enacted her constitutional right to advise and warn, raising her eyebrow knowingly at prime ministers and spymasters alike.

Based on original research and new evidence, The Secret Royals presents the British monarchy in an entirely new light and reveals how far their majesties still call the shots in a hidden world.

The Warrior and the Prophet

A History Book of the Year in The Times

‘Cozzens is a master storyteller; his books weave a wealth of intricate detail into gripping historical narrative.’ The Times


‘Marvellous… One of the best pieces of Native American history I have read.’ S.C. Gwynne, bestselling author of Empire of the Summer Moon


Winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for Best Biography.

Shawnee chief Tecumseh was a man destined for greatness – the son of a prominent war leader, he was supposedly born under a lucky shooting star. Charismatic, intelligent, handsome, he was both a fierce warrior and a savvy politician. In the first biography of Tecumseh in more than twenty years, Peter Cozzens thoroughly revises our understanding of this great leader and his movement, arguing that his overlooked younger brother Tenskwatawa, the ‘Shawnee Prophet’, was a crucial partner in Tecumseh’s success.

Until Tecumseh’s death in 1813, he was, alongside Tenskwatawa, the co-architect of the greatest pan-Indian confederation in history. Over time, Tenskwatawa has been relegated to the shadows, described as a talentless charlatan and a drunk. But Cozzens argues that while Tecumseh was the forward-facing diplomat, appealing even to the white settlers attempting to steal Shawnee land, behind the scenes, Tenskwatawa unified multiple tribes with his deep understanding of Shawnee religion and culture. No other Native American leaders enjoyed such popularity, and none would ever pose a graver threat to colonial expansion than Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa.

Bringing to life an often-overlooked episode in America’s past, Cozzens paints in vivid detail the violent, lawless world of the Old Northwest, when settlers spilled over the Appalachians to bloody effect in their haste to exploit lands won from the War of Independence. The Warrior and the Prophet tells the untold story of the Shawnee brothers who retaliated against this threat – becoming allies with the British army in the process – and reveals how they were the last hope for Native Americans to preserve ways of life they had known for centuries.

The Hidden Horticulturists

‘Delightful… The Hidden Horticulturists pulsates with the extraordinary energy and excitement of the time.’ Daily Mail

Chosen as one of the Sunday Telegraph’s ‘Top Ten Gardening Books of the Year’
_____________________

The untold story of the remarkable young men who played a central role in the history of British horticulture and helped to shape the way we garden today.

In 2012, whilst working at the Royal Horticultural Society’s library, Fiona Davison unearthed a book of handwritten notes that dated back to 1822. The notes, each carefully set out in neat copperplate writing, had been written by young gardeners in support of their application to be received into the Society’s Garden.

Amongst them was an entry from the young Joseph Paxton, who would go on to become one of Britain’s best-known gardeners and architects. But he was far from alone in shaping the way we garden today and now, for the first time, the stories of the young, working-class men who also played a central role in the history of British horticulture can be told.

Using their notes, Fiona Davison traces the stories of a selection of these forgotten gardeners whose lives would take divergent paths to create a unique history of gardening. The trail took her from Chiswick to Bolivia and uncovered tales of fraud, scandal and madness – and, of course, a large number of fabulous plants and gardens. This is a celebration of the unsung heroes of horticulture whose achievements reflect a golden moment in British gardening, and continue to influence how we garden today.

Spying and the Crown

A Daily Mail Book of the Year and a The Times and Sunday Times Best Book of 2021

‘Monumental.. Authoritative and highly readable.’ Ben Macintyre, The Times

‘A fascinating history of royal espionage.’ Sunday Times

‘Excellent… Compelling’ Guardian

For the first time, Spying and the Crown uncovers the remarkable relationship between the Royal Family and the intelligence community, from the reign of Queen Victoria to the death of Princess Diana.

In an enthralling narrative, Richard J. Aldrich and Rory Cormac show how the British secret services grew out of persistent attempts to assassinate Victoria and then operated on a private and informal basis, drawing on close personal relationships between senior spies, the aristocracy, and the monarchy.

Based on original research and new evidence, Spying and the Crown presents the British monarchy in an entirely new light and reveals how far their majesties still call the shots in a hidden world.

Previously published as The Secret Royals.

The Secret Royals

A Daily Mail Book of the Year and a The Times and Sunday Times Best Book of 2021

‘Monumental.. Authoritative and highly readable.’ Ben Macintyre, The Times

‘A fascinating history of royal espionage.’ Sunday Times

‘Excellent… Compelling’ Guardian

For the first time, The Secret Royals uncovers the remarkable relationship between the Royal Family and the intelligence community, from the reign of Queen Victoria to the death of Princess Diana.

In an enthralling narrative, Richard J. Aldrich and Rory Cormac show how the British secret services grew out of persistent attempts to assassinate Victoria and then operated on a private and informal basis, drawing on close personal relationships between senior spies, the aristocracy, and the monarchy. This reached its zenith after the murder of the Romanovs and the Russian revolution when, fearing a similar revolt in Britain, King George V considered using private networks to provide intelligence on the loyalty of the armed forces – and of the broader population.

In 1936, the dramatic abdication of Edward VIII formed a turning point in this relationship. What originally started as family feuding over a romantic liaison with the American divorcee Wallis Simpson, escalated into a national security crisis. Fearing the couple’s Nazi sympathies as well as domestic instability, British spies turned their attention to the King. During the Second World War, his successor, King George VI gradually restored trust between the secret world and House of Windsor. Thereafter, Queen Elizabeth II regularly enacted her constitutional right to advise and warn, raising her eyebrow knowingly at prime ministers and spymasters alike.

Based on original research and new evidence, The Secret Royals presents the British monarchy in an entirely new light and reveals how far their majesties still call the shots in a hidden world.

The Hidden Horticulturalists

In 2012, whilst working at the Royal Horticultural Society’s library, Fiona Davison unearthed a collection of handwritten letters that dated back to 1822. The letters, each carefully set out in neat copperplate writing, had been written by young gardeners in support of their application to be received into the Society’s Garden. Amongst them was a letter from the young Joseph Paxton, who would go on to become one of Britain’s best-known gardeners and architects. But he was far from alone in shaping the way we garden today and now, for the first time, the stories of the young, working-class men who also played a central role in the history of British horticulture can be told.

Using their letters, Fiona Davison traces the stories of a handful of these forgotten gardeners whose lives would take divergent paths to create a unique history of gardening. The trail took her from Chiswick to Bolivia and uncovered tales of fraud, scandal and madness – and, of course, a large number of fabulous plants and gardens. This is a celebration of the unsung heroes of horticulture whose achievements reflect a golden moment in British gardening, and continue to influence how we garden today.