The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, Autumn 2009 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks


PHOENIX leads this issue's column with an impressive range of new history titles, the first of which is John Adamson's The Noble Revolt: The Overthrow of Charles I ([pounds sterling]16.99). a detailed account of the opposition to the King's policies by a group of peers led by the Earl of Northumberland, an account which sheds new light on the early years of the controversies that ended in civil war and the King's judicial murder. Also from Phoenix we have Nicola Tyrer's Sisters in Arms: British Army Nurses Tell Their Story ([pounds sterling]6.99), the moving story of a group of women whose exploits have received neither the attention nor the praise they deserve; David James Smith's One Morning in Sarajevo: 28 June 1914 ([pounds sterling]8.99), a new look at the murder of Archduke Franz. Ferdinand and his wife at the hands of Serbian terrorists: Leo Hollis' The Phoenix: The Men Who Made Modern London ([pounds sterling]9.99), a clever combination of history and biography to describe the world of Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke, Locke, Evelyn and Nicholas Barbon who rebuilt London after the Great Fire; Andrew Graham-Dixon's Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel ([pounds sterling]8.99). a refreshingly clear and uncluttered history of this most extraordinary work of art; Ruth Brandon's Other People's Daughters: The Life and Times of the Governess ([pounds sterling]8.99), a sensitive study of the twilight existence of Victorian governesses: Geoffrey Moorhouse's The Last Office: 1539 and the Dissolution of a Monastery ([pounds sterling]9.99) in which the author uses the surviving records of Durham Cathedral to describe how these seismic changes actually affected one monastery; and, finally, a reissue of Lady Antonia Eraser's Mary Queen of Scots ([pounds sterling]9.99), originally published in 1969. This was the first serious attempt to 'rehabilitate' the controversial Queen. On the biographical front we have Paul Delany's magisterial biography, George Gissing: A Life ([pounds sterling]14.99), an objective yet sympathetic account of an extraordinary writer and Judith Mackrell's Bloomsbury Ballerina: Lydia Lopokova, Imperial Dancer and Mrs John Maynard Keynes ([pounds sterling]8.99) which tells the story of a Russian ballerina who entered one of the more 'interesting' marriages of the twentieth century.

Chartres Cathedral remains one of France's greatest architectural monuments, a surviving testimony to the skills, imagination and vigour or her mediaeval craftsmen and architects. In Universe of Stone: Chartres Cathedral and the Triumph of the Medieval Mind ([pounds sterling]9.99) by Philip Ball, the author looks not just at the building or its architects and builders but at the world that led to its creation.

From OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS we have a new, fourth edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists ([pounds sterling]9.99) prepared by Ian Chilvers. This popular reference work, which began life in 1990, has grown over the years from about 360,000 words to some 500.000. This new edition has over fifty new entries while many old entries have been revised. In addition there is now a most useful classified list of entries which is a decided boon. A second reference work is a revised edition of The Kings and Queens of Britain ([pounds sterling]9.99) in which the editors have included an article on the ever-changing role of the Monarch in the Constitution and have updated the entries. In O.U.P'.s Oxford World's Classics series we have a new edition of William Godwin's famous novel, Caleb Williams ([pounds sterling]8.99), edited and annotated by Prof. Pamela Clemit, herself a noted expert on Godwin and his milieu. This edition is based on the original 1794 text and has appendices showing the varying texts published in later editions. A second new title is a volume of selections from Lord Clarendon's famous History of the Rebellion ([pounds sterling]12.99), first published between 1702 and 1704. Clarendon was remarkably balanced in his history of both the martyred King and of his successor, Charles II and this new volume, edited by Mr Paul Seward, is a welcome addition to the series. …

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