History

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.

The Infiltrators

$39.99

Summertime, 1935. On a lake near Berlin, a young man is out sailing when he glimpses a woman reclining in the prow of a passing boat. Their eyes meet – and one of history’s greatest conspiracies is born.

Harro Schulze-Boysen had already shed blood in the fight against Nazism by the time he and Libertas Haas-Heye began their whirlwind romance. She joined the cause, and soon the two lovers were leading a network of antifascists that stretched across Berlin’s bohemian underworld. Harro himself infiltrated German intelligence and began funnelling Nazi battle plans to the Allies, including the details of Hitler’s surprise attack on the Soviet Union. But nothing could prepare Harro and Libertas for the betrayals they would suffer in this war of secrets – a struggle in which friend could be indistinguishable from foe.

Drawing on unpublished diaries, letters and Gestapo files, Norman Ohler spins an unforgettable tale of love, heroism and sacrifice.

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.

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.

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.

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