The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, February 2005 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks


From PHOENIX we have a wide range of new titles in biography, history, diaries and analysis. Leading the biographies is Conrad Black's massive (1280 pages) biography, Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom ([pounds sterling]17.99). Although the book would have benefited from some editorial pruning, it sheds much new light on Roosevelt and his presidencies. Other new biographies include Sheila Fletcher's Victorian Girls: Lord Lyttelton's Daughters ([pounds sterling]7.99), first published in 1997 and another family study, The House of Mitford ([pounds sterling]8.99) by Jonathan Guinness with Catherine Guinness. This revised and expanded version of the 1984 hardback gives new insights into the lives and world of the famous Mitford sisters. The new history titles are Hugh Thomas' Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire ([pounds sterling]9.99) in which the historian reminds readers of the importance of the Spanish empire on world history and Alistair Horne's The Terrible Year: The Paris Commune, 1871 ([pounds sterling]7.99), a history of the radical groups that took over Paris during the Prussian siege. On the diary front we have Beaton in the Sixties: The Cecil Beaton Diaries as They Were Written ([pounds sterling]8.99), a unique insight into life among the glittering set in the sixties. Finally, on the analytical front we have The Mystery of Things ([pounds sterling]7.99) in which the philosopher, A.C. Grayling gives readers a pot pourri of essays on life, literature and science and George Soros' The Bubble of American Supremacy ([pounds sterling]7.99) in which the financier looks at George Bush's foreign policy and America's position in the world.

VINTAGE has brought out three new titles in its collection of works by Aldous Huxley: his 1923 comic novel, Antic Hay ([pounds sterling]7.99); The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell ([pounds sterling]6.99), the two short works published in the 1950s in which he discussed his experiment with drugs and the nature of mysticism; and most importantly, Brave New World Revisited ([pounds sterling]7.99) in which, in 1958, he revisited his prophecies made in Brave New World. Each volume contains a short biographical introduction whilst the first two have forewords. Also from Vintage we have Margaret Forster's 1984 title, Significant Sisters: The Grassroots of Active Feminism 1839-1939 ([pounds sterling]7.99), a collection of eight biographical essays into leading feminists such as Caroline Norton, Florence Nightingale, Josephine Butler and Emma Goldman, active during this period.

SUTTON PUBLISHING has recently reissued The Pebbled Shore: The Memoirs of Elizabeth Longford ([pounds sterling]12.99) which was first published by Weidenfeld in 1986. This edition has a short Foreword by Lady Longford's daughter, Lady Antonia Fraser which reminds readers that her mother only took her life story up to the age of sixty: we await a biography. Also from Sutton we have E.E. Rice's Alexander the Great ([pounds sterling]6.99), a compact and well written introduction and part of Sutton's Pocket Biography series and, finally, Alison Plowden's Lady Jane Grey: Nine Days Queen ([pounds sterling]8.99), the moving story of the Nine Days Queen and her family.

Among new releases from PIMLICO we have Rebecca Fraser's A People's History of Britain ([pounds sterling]12.99), a survey history with a traditional approach that gives readers a sound, basic view of this island's long history and also carries the Longford writing dynasty into a third generation. Other new titles include Sir John Keegan's Intelligence in War: Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda ([pounds sterling]8.99) which shows the unique role Britain has played in the development of espionage and the importance of secret information to defence and war. Another warlike study is Hugh Thomas's The Conquest of Mexico ([pounds sterling]9.

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