The World of Paperbacks

Contemporary Review, October 2005 | Go to article overview

The World of Paperbacks


I.B. TAURIS has published the first paperback edition of George Herbert Hill's Retreat from Death: A Soldier on the Somme ([pounds sterling]12.99), a moving and first-hand account of the Great War by a man who was eighteen when his battalion took part in the Battle of St Quentin. This account was first published in 1936. A second new title is Pal Engel's The Realm of St Stephen: A History of Medieval Hungary 895-1526 ([pounds sterling]14.95), first published in 2001, the year of the author's death. Because the author, head of the Mediaeval section in Hungary's Academy of Sciences, wrote in English the text is well based to achieve its goal of introducing to western Europeans and North Americans the history of mediaeval Hungary. Also from Tauris Parke Paperbacks we have a reprint of Joan Haslip's 1991 biography, Madame du Barry: The Wages of Beauty ([pounds sterling]9.99), the rags to riches story of Louis XV's last mistress en titre.

From PAN BOOKS we have two books from different practitioners of the art of journalism. The first is Lord Deedes' Brief Lives ([pounds sterling]6.99), the veteran journalist's collection of biographical studies which range from Prime Ministers (Baldwin, Eden and Macdonald) to Princes, explorers, writers, activists, politicians and, in his friend, Sir Denis Thatcher, politicians' spouses. The second new title is My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism ([pounds sterling]7.99) by the BBC journalist, Andrew Marr. Also from Pan we have another in its Grand Strategy Series: Malcolm Brown's The Imperial War Museum Book of 1914: The Men Who Went to War ([pounds sterling]8.99), the last of the author's works on the war and one which makes use of the Museum's priceless collections to give a first-hand account of the fighting. Finally we have John Sergeant's Maggie: Her Fatal Legacy ([pounds sterling]8.99), a less than flattering view of Margaret Thatcher's legacy, and Toby Faber's Stradivarius: Five Violins, One Cello and a Genius ([pounds sterling]7.99), an intriguing history of the famous instrument maker and of some of his instruments.

CONSTABLE has brought out a paperback edition of Peter Rodgers' Herzl's Night-mare: One Land, Two Peoples ([pounds sterling]6.99), a first-hand look at modern Israel by Australia's former Ambassador. As the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation continues this gives readers a unique as well as valuable analysis of the problems and the peoples involved in them.

Among new publications from PHOENIX we have three historical studies. The first is Anne Somerset's Ladies in Waiting from the Tudors to the Present Day ([pounds sterling]8.99), first published in 1984. Because the author based her book on original research and wide reading the book remains as topical today as it was twenty-one years ago. The second new title is Alistair Horne's The Age of Napoleon ([pounds sterling]7.99), a fascinating study of the effect of Napoleon's rule on life in France. The final new title is Ian Buruma's Inventing Japan: From Empire to Economic Miracle ([pounds sterling]7.99), a history of modern Japan from the arrival of Admiral Perry in 1853 to Tokyo's staging of the Olympics in 1964.

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS is justly famous for its Oxford World's Classics which has recently added two new titles. The first is Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's Selected Tales ([pounds sterling]8.99) translated, noted and introduced by Joyce Crick. …

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