History

The Glamour Boys

$29.99

We like to think we know the story of how Britain went to war with Germany in 1939, but there is one chapter that has never been told. In the early 1930s, a group of young, queer British MPs visited Berlin on a series of trips that would change the course of the Second World War.

Having witnessed the Nazis’ brutality first-hand, these men were some of the first to warn Britain about Hitler, repeatedly speaking out against their government’s policy of appeasing him. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain hated them. Branding them ‘the glamour boys’ to insinuate something untoward about them, he had their phones tapped and threatened them with deselection and exposure.

At a time when even the suggestion of homosexuality could land you in prison, the bravery these men were forced to show in their personal lives gave them extraordinary courage in public. Undaunted, they refused to be silenced and when war came, they enlisted. Four of them died in action. And without them, Britain would never have faced down the Nazis.

The Secret Life of the Savoy

$32.99

The story of the Savoy’s founders, through three generations and a hundred years of luxury

In 1889, Victorian impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte opened The Savoy, Britain’s first luxury hotel. Allowing the rich to live like royalty, it attracted glamour, scandal and a cast of eccentric characters, with the D’Oyly Carte family elevated to a unique vantage point on high society.

THE SECRET LIFE OF THE SAVOY tells their story through three generations: Richard (a showman who made his fortune from the Gilbert and Sullivan operas), Rupert (who expanded the D’Oyly Carte empire through two world wars and the roaring twenties), and Bridget (the reluctant heiress and last of the family line).

In this, the first biography of the family, Olivia Williams revives their extroardinary cultural legacy, told through the prism of their iconic hotel and its many distinguished guests.

Moonlite

$34.99

A gay bushranger with a love of poetry and guns. A grotesque hangman with a passion for flowers and gardening. A broken young man desperate for love and respect. These men – two of them lovers – are about to bring the era ofAustralia’s outlaws to a torrid and bloody climax. Moonlite is the true and epic story of George Scott, an Irish-born preacher who becomes, along with Ned Kelly, one of the nation’s most notorious and celebrated criminals.

Charismatic, intelligent and handsome, George Scott is unlike any other bushranger. Born into a privileged life in famine-wracked Ireland, Scott’s family loses its fortune and is forced to flee to New Zealand. There, Scott joins the local militia and fights as a soldier against the Maori in the brutal New Zealand wars.

After recovering from a series of serious gunshot wounds, he sails to Australia and becomes a Lay Preacher, captivating churchgoers with his fiery and inspiring sermons.

But Scott is also prone to bursts of madness. The local villagers back in Ireland often whispered that a ‘wild drop’ ran in the blood of the Scott family. One night he dons a mask in a small country town, arms himself with a gun and, dubbing himself Captain Moonlite, brazenly robs a bank before staging one of the country’s most audacious jailbreaks.

After falling in love with fellow prisoner James Nesbitt, a boyish petty criminal desperately searching for a father figure, Scott finds himself unable to shrug off his criminal past.

Pursued and harassed by the police, he stages a dramatic siege and prepares for a final showdown with the law – and a macabre executioner without a nose.

Meticulously researched and drawing on previously unpublished material, Moonlite is a brilliant work of non-fiction that reads like a novel.

Told at a cracking pace, and based on many of the extensive letters Scott wrote from his death cell, Moonlite is set amid the violent and sexually-repressed era of Australia in the second half of the 19th century.

With a cast of remarkable characters, it weaves together the extraordinary lives of our bushrangers and the desperation of a young nation eager to remove the stains of its convict past.

But most of all, Moonlite is a tragic love story.

The Ways of the Bushwalker

$34.99

Australians have always loved to step out in nature, whether off-track or along a marked route. Bushwalking – an organised long-distance walk in rugged terrain that requires maps and camping equipment, or a family day out – is one of our most popular pastimes. This landmark book, now updated, was the first to delve into its rich and sometimes quirky history.

From the earliest days of European settlement, colonists found pleasure in leisurely strolls through the bush, collecting flowers, sketching, bird watching and picnicking. Yet over time, walking for the sake of walking became the dominant motive. Walking clubs proliferated, railways organised mystery hikes attended by thousands, and Paddy Pallin established his equipment business. Bushwalking – serious walking – was invented.

Whether you are inclined to put on your walking boots and pack your sleeping bag, or would rather stay in a luxury hut, this surefooted and witty book reveals how the ordinary act of walking can become extraordinary.

Killing Sydney

$34.99

Published: 27 January
Author event: 11 February

A blueprint for the future of our city in a radically changing world.

Columnist Elizabeth Farrelly brings her unique perspective as architectural writer and former city councillor to a burning question for our times: how will we live in the future? Can our communities survive pandemic, environmental disaster, overcrowding, government greed and big business?

Using her own adopted city of Sydney, she creates a roadmap for urban living and analyses the history of cities themselves to study why and how we live together, now and into the future.

Killing Sydney is part-lovesong, part-warning: little by little, our politics are becoming debased and our environment degraded. The tipping point is close. Can the home we love survive?

PRAISE FOR KILLING SYDNEY

‘If you believe that Elizabeth Farrelly is expressing your long held concerns about the state of our governmens, our cities and our environment in her Sydney Morning Herald Saturday articles, then I encourage you to get Killing Sydney and have a month of Saturdays in the one book. That’s what I’ll do because I most often strongly agree!’ Councillor Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney

‘This is an important book for all Aussies! Written with passion, beautiful prose, and insightful knowledge. Read and weep. More than ever we need to push pause on development and so called “progress”. Go Elizabeth!’ Di Morrissey AM

‘Great cities need great champions. Sydney needs Elizabeth Farrelly.’ Adam Spencer

Agent Sonya: Lover, Mother, Soldier, Spy

$35.00

The incredible story behind the greatest female spy in history from one of Britain’s most acclaimed historians

In a quiet English village in 1942, an elegant housewife emerged from her cottage to go on her usual bike ride. A devoted wife and mother-of-three, the woman known to her neighbours as Mrs Burton seemed to epitomise rural British domesticity.

However, rather than pedalling towards the shops with her ration book, she was racing through the Oxfordshire countryside to gather scientific intelligence from one of the country’s most brilliant nuclear physicists. Secrets that she would transmit to Soviet intelligence headquarters via the radio transmitter she was hiding in her outdoor privy.

Far from a British housewife, ‘Mrs Burton’ – born Ursula Kuczynski, and codenamed ‘Sonya’ – was a German Jew, a dedicated communist, a colonel in Russia’s Red Army, and a highly-trained spy. From planning an assassination attempt on Hitler in Switzerland, to spying on the Japanese in Manchuria, and helping the Soviet Union build the atom bomb, Sonya conducted some of the most dangerous espionage operations of the twentieth century. Her story has never been told – until now.

Agent Sonya is the exhilarating account of one woman’s life; a life that encompasses the rise and fall of communism itself, and altered the course of history.

Troy

$35.00

Following Top Ten bestsellers Mythos and Heroes, this third volume retells the epic tale of Troy

The story of Troy speaks to all of us – the kidnapping of Helen, a queen celebrated for her beauty, sees the Greeks launch a thousand ships against the city of Troy, to which they will lay siege for ten whole years. It is a terrible war with casualties on all sides as well as strained relations between allies, whose consequences become tragedies.In Troy you will find heroism and hatred, love and loss, revenge and regret, desire and despair. It is these human passions, written bloodily in the sands of a distant shore, that still speak to us today.

What is to be Done

$35.00

A follow-up to the author’s prescient bestseller, first published in 1982, that alerted the public to the likely impacts of information technologies and the emergence of a post-industrial society.

When Sleepers, Wake! was released in Australia, it immediately became influential around the world: it was read by Deng Xiaoping and Bill Gates; was published in China, Japan, South Korea, and Sweden; and led to the author being the first Australian minister invited to address a G-7 summit meeting, held in Canada in 1985.

Now its author, the polymath and former politician Barry Jones, turns his attention to what has happened since — especially to politics, health, and our climate in the digital age — and to the challenges faced by increasingly fragile democracies and public institutions.

Jones sees climate change as the greatest problem of our time, but political leaders have proved incapable of dealing with complex, long-term issues of such magnitude. The Trump phenomenon overturns the whole concept of critical thinking and analysis. Meanwhile, technologies such as the smartphone and the ubiquity of social media have reinforced the realm of the personal. This has weakened our sense of, or empathy with, ‘the other’, the remote, and the unfamiliar, and all but destroyed our sense of community, of being members of broad, inclusive groups. The COVID-19 threat, which was immediate, and personal, showed that some leaders could respond courageously, while others denied the evidence.

In the post-truth era, politicians invent ‘facts’ and ignore or deny the obvious, while business and the media are obsessed with marketing and consumption for the short term. What Is to Be Done is a long-awaited work from Jones on the challenges of modernity and what must be done to meet them.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

$35.00

The definitive account of an icon who shaped gender equality for all women.

In this comprehensive, revelatory biography — fifteen years of interviews and research in the making — historian Jane Sherron De Hart explores the central experiences that crucially shaped Ginsburg’s passion for justice, her advocacy for gender equality, and her meticulous jurisprudence. At the heart of her story and abiding beliefs was her Jewish background, specifically the concept of tikkun olam, the Hebrew injunction to ‘repair the world’, with its profound meaning for a young girl who grew up during the Holocaust and World War II.

Ruth’s journey began with her mother, who died tragically young but whose intellect inspired her daughter’s feminism. It stretches from Ruth’s days as a baton twirler at Brooklyn’s James Madison High School to Cornell University to Harvard and Columbia Law Schools; to becoming one of the first female law professors in the country and having to fight for equal pay and hide her second pregnancy to avoid losing her job; to becoming the director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project and arguing momentous anti-sex-discrimination cases before the US Supreme Court.

All this, even before being nominated in 1993 to become the second woman on the Court, where her crucial decisions and dissents are still making history. Intimately, personably told, this biography offers unprecedented insight into a pioneering life and legal career whose profound impact will reverberate deep into the twenty-first century and beyond.

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