Block of Books
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  • BEAUTY AND THE TERROR : An Alternative History of the Italian Renaissance
    BEAUTY AND THE TERROR : An Alternative History of the Italian Renaissance
    FLETCHER CATHERINE
    ISBN: 9781847925107
    Title: BEAUTY AND THE TERROR : An Alternative History of the Italian Renaissance
    Author: FLETCHER CATHERINE
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: BACK IN STOCK SOON

    The Italian Renaissance shaped western culture - but it was far stranger and darker than many of us realise.

    We revere Leonardo for his art but few now appreciate his ingenious designs for weaponry. We know the Mona Lisa for her smile but not that she was married to a slave-trader. We visit Florence to see Michelangelo's David but hear nothing of the massacre that forced the republic's surrender. In focusing on the Medici in Florence and the Borgias in Rome, we miss the vital importance of the Genoese and Neapolitans, the courts of Urbino and Mantua. Rarely do we hear of the women writers, Jewish merchants, the mercenaries, engineers, prostitutes, farmers and citizens who lived the Renaissance every day.

    In fact, many of the most celebrated artists and thinkers that have come to define the Renaissance - Leonardo and Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian, Machiavelli and Castiglione - emerged not during the celebrated 'rebirth' of the fifteenth century but amidst the death and destruction of the sixteenth century. For decades, a series of savage wars dominated Italy's political, economic and daily life, generating fortunes and new technologies, but also ravaging populations with famine, disease and slaughter. In this same short time, the birth of Protestantism, Spain's colonisation of the Americas and the rise of the Ottoman Empire all posed grave threats to Italian power, while sparking debates about the ethics of government and enslavement, religious belief and sexual morality.

    In The Beauty and the Terror, Catherine Fletcher provides an enrapturing narrative history that brings all of this and more into view. Brimming with life, it takes us closer than ever before to the lived reality of this astonishing era and its meaning for today.

    Imprint: Bodley Head
    RRP: $35.00

    Price: $35.00
  • BEES AND THEIR KEEPERS
    BEES AND THEIR KEEPERS
    MOLLER LOTTE
    ISBN: 9781529405262
    Title: BEES AND THEIR KEEPERS
    Author: MOLLER LOTTE
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    A beautifully illustrated and thoroughly engaging cultural history of beekeeping - packed with anecdote, humour and enriching historical detail. The perfect gift.

    Beekeeper and garden historian Lotte Moller explores the activities inside and outside the hive while charting the bees' natural order and habits. With a light touch she uses her encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject to shed light on humanity's understanding of bees and bee lore from antiquity to the present. A humorous debunking of the myths that have held for centuries is matched by a wry exploration of how and when they were replaced by fact.

    In her travels Moller encounters a trigger-happy Californian beekeeper raging against both killer bees and bee politics, warring beekeepers on the Danish island of L so, and Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey, breeder of the Buckfast queen now popular throughout Europe and beyond, as well a host of others as passionate as she about the complex world of apiculture both past and present.

    Translated from the Swedish by Frank Perry - Sweden's Gardening Book of the Year 2019, shortlisted for the August Prize 2019

    Imprint: MACLEHOSE
    RRP: $39.99
    Price: $39.99
  • BEHIND THE ENIGMA : The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain's Secret Cyber Intelligence Agency
    BEHIND THE ENIGMA : The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain's Secret Cyber Intelligence Agency
    FERRIS JOHN
    ISBN: 9781526605474
    Title: BEHIND THE ENIGMA : The Authorised History of GCHQ, Britain's Secret Cyber Intelligence Agency
    Author: FERRIS JOHN
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    You know about MI5.

    You know about MI6.

    Now uncover the story behind Britain's most secretive intelligence agency in the first-ever authorised history of GCHQ.



    For a hundred years, GCHQ Government Communications Headquarters has been at the forefront of innovation in national security and British secret statecraft. Famed for its codebreaking achievements during the Second World War, and essential to the Allied victory, GCHQ also held a critical role in both the Falklands War and Cold War. Today, amidst the growing threats of terrorism and online crime, GCHQ continues to be the UK's leading intelligence, security and cyber agency, and a powerful tool of the British state.

    Based on unprecedented access to classified archives, Behind the Enigma is the first book to authoritatively tell the entire history of this most unique and enigmatic of organisations and peer into its future at the heart of the nation's security.

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing
    RRP: $34.99

    Price: $34.99
  • BENDING ADVERSITY : Japan And The Art Of Survival- Second Edition
    BENDING ADVERSITY : Japan And The Art Of Survival- Second Edition
    PILLING DAVID
    ISBN: 9780141990538
    Title: BENDING ADVERSITY : Japan And The Art Of Survival- Second Edition
    Author: PILLING DAVID
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Updated with a new chapter.

    Despite years of stagnation, Japan remains one of the world's largest economies and a country which exerts a remarkable cultural fascination. David Pilling's new book is an entertaining, deeply knowledgeable and surprising analysis of a group of islands which have shown great resilience, both in the face of financial distress and when confronted with the overwhelming disaster of the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami. Bending Adversity is a superb work of reportage and the essential book even for those who already feel they know the country well.

    Imprint: Penguin Books
    RRP: $24.99

    Price: $24.99
  • BENEATH ANOTHER SKY : A Global Journey into History
    BENEATH ANOTHER SKY : A Global Journey into History
    DAVIES NORMAN
    ISBN: 9780141976983
    Title: BENEATH ANOTHER SKY : A Global Journey into History
    Author: DAVIES NORMAN
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    After decades of writing about European history, Norman Davies embarked upon an extended journey that took him round the world. He aimed to test his powers of observation, but equally to encounter history in a new way. Beneath Another Sky is partly a historian's travelogue, partly a highly engaging exploration of events and personalities that have fashioned today's world.

    Davies's circumnavigation takes him to Baku, the Emirates, India, Malaysia, Mauritius, Tasmania, Tahiti, Texas, Madeira and many places in between. At every stop, he not only describes the current scene but also excavates the layers of accumulated experience that underpin the present. He tramps round ancient temples, delves into the fate of indigenous peoples, uncovers the Nazi origins of Frankfurt airport and lectures on imperialism in a desert oasis. 'Everything has its history', he writes, 'including the history of finding one's way or of getting lost.' As always, Norman Davies watches the historical horizon as well as what is close at hand, and brilliantly complicates our view of the past.

    Imprint: Penguin Books
    RRP: $29.99

    Price: $29.99
  • BERLIN : THE DOWNFALL 1945
    BERLIN : THE DOWNFALL 1945
    BEEVOR ANTONY
    ISBN: 9780141032399
    Title: BERLIN : THE DOWNFALL 1945
    Author: BEEVOR ANTONY
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    The Red Army had much to avenge when it finally reached the frontiers of the Reich in January 1945. Political instructors rammed home the message of Wehrmacht and SS brutality. The result was the most terrifying example of fire and sword ever known, with tanks crushing refugee columns under their tracks, mass rape, pillage and destruction. Hundreds of thousands of women and children froze to death or were massacred because Nazi Party chiefs, refusing to face defeat, had forbidden the evacuation of civilians. Over seven million fled westwards from the terror of the Red Army. Antony Beevor reconstructs the experiences of those millions caught up in the nightmare of the Third Reich's final collapse, telling a terrible story of pride, stupidity, fanatacism, revenge and savagery, but also one of astonishing endurance, self-sacrifice and survival against all odds.

    Imprint: Penguin Books
    RRP: $24.99

    Price: $24.99
  • BERLIN : The Story of a City
    BERLIN : The Story of a City
    WHITE-SPUNNER BARNEY
    ISBN: 9781471181542
    Title: BERLIN : The Story of a City
    Author: WHITE-SPUNNER BARNEY
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: December 2020 New Release

    Telling the story of its people and its rulers, from its medieval origins up to the present day, Berlin is a fascinating and informative history of an extraordinary city from the author of the international bestseller Partition.

    Berlin is Europe’s most fascinating and exciting city. It is and always has been a city on the edge – geographically, culturally, politically and morally. The great movements that have shaken Europe, from the Reformation to Marxism have their origins in Berlin’s streets. The long-time capital of Prussia and of the Hohenzollern dynasty it has never, paradoxically, been a Prussian city. Instead it has always been a city of immigrants, a city that accepts everyone and turns them into Berliners. A typical Berliner, it is said, is someone who has just arrived at the railway station.

    With its unique dialect, exceptional museums, experimental cultural scene, its liberated social life and its open and honest approach to its history, with monuments to the Holocaust as prominent as its rebuilt royal palace, it is as challenging a city as it is absorbing. And it has always been like that, since its medieval foundation as twin fishing villages. Too often Berlin is seen through the prism of Nazism and its role on the front line in the Cold War. Important, frightening and interesting as those periods are, its history starts much further ago than that.

    As approachable for the casual visitor to Berlin as it is informative for those who enjoy reading history, Berlin: The Story of a City is as fascinating as its subject.

    Imprint: Simon & Schuster
    RRP: $32.99

    Price: $32.99
  • BERLIN WALL : 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989
    BERLIN WALL : 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989
    TAYLOR FREDERICK
    ISBN: 9781526614278
    Title: BERLIN WALL : 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989
    Author: TAYLOR FREDERICK
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    The astonishing drama of Cold War nuclear poker that divided humanity - reissued with a new Postscript to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the wall.
    During the night of 12 13 August 1961, a barbed-wire entanglement was hastily constructed through the heart of Berlin. It metamorphosed into a structure that would come to symbolise the insanity of the Cold War- the Berlin Wall. Frederick Taylor tells the story of the post-war political conflict that led to a divided Berlin and unleashed an East West crisis, which lasted until the very people the Wall had been built to imprison breached it on 9 November 1989.
    Weaving together history, original archive research and personal stories, The Berlin Wall, now published in fifteen languages, is the definitive account of a divided city and its people in a time when humanity seemed to stand permanently on the edge of destruction.

    Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing
    RRP: $24.99
    Price: $24.99
  • BERT EDWARDS : King of the West End
    BERT EDWARDS : King of the West End
    SUMERLING PATRICIA
    ISBN: 9781743056776
    Title: BERT EDWARDS : King of the West End
    Author: SUMERLING PATRICIA
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Albert Augustine Edwards, usually referred to as 'Bert', was one of Adelaide's most flamboyant characters. Reputedly the illegitimate son of Charles Cameron Kingston, premier of South Australia, he was born in obscurity in the slums of Adelaide's West End in 1888.

    A self-made man, Bert was a city councillor, parliamentarian, and philanthropist, a friend of the poor and scourge of the establishment. He had connections and influence everywhere - in the markets, pubs, sporting clubs, churches and prisons - and soon enough he became known as the 'King of the West End'. Flash in dress and loud in manner, he brooked no opposition.

    Bert's future looked rosy, until 1924, when the Labor Party took office and his enemies began to stack up quickly. It all came crashing down in 1931. In a sex scandal engineered against him, Bert was imprisoned for nearly two-and-a half years for gross indecency with an underage male.

    And they say Adelaide was dull!

    Here, dark and bright, is Bert Edwards in the full biography that his colourful life deserves.

    Imprint: WAKEFIELD
    RRP: $39.99

    Price: $39.99
  • BETRAYL IN BERLIN : George Blake the Berlin Tunnel and the Greatest Conspiracy of the Cold War
    BETRAYL IN BERLIN : George Blake the Berlin Tunnel and the Greatest Conspiracy of the Cold War
    VOGEL STEVE
    ISBN: 9781473647510
    Title: BETRAYL IN BERLIN : George Blake the Berlin Tunnel and the Greatest Conspiracy of the Cold War
    Author: VOGEL STEVE
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    'Riveting and vivid ... At the heart of the book is Blake's own remarkable story, which Vogel tells with some sympathy, if not approval. It reads like a Hollywood screenplay' Foreign Affairs

    'A fascinating account of Blake's career as a spy ... Blake's story has been told before, as has the tunnel's, but Steve Vogel pulls them together accessibly and comprehensibly, along with the wider political context and entertaining detail about personalities of the period' Spectator

    'Excellent... although there are other books on Blake, Mr. Vogel's handling of his tale is original and rewarding... meticulously researched and full of vivid detail' Wall Street Journal

    'A spy thriller that kept me up all night. Magnificent story-telling' Peter Snow

    A true Cold War espionage thriller set around the ultra-secret Berlin Tunnel - where British officer George Blake must run a high-stakes double cross to maintain his cover.

    The ultra-secret "Berlin Tunnel" was dug in the mid-1950s from the American sector in southwest Berlin and ran nearly a quarter-mile into the Soviet sector, allowing the CIA and the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) to tap into critical KGB and Soviet military underground telecommunication lines.

    George Blake, a trusted officer working in a highly sensitive job with SIS, was privy to every aspect of the plan. Over the course of eleven months from May 1955 to April 1956, when the Soviets discovered the tunnel, "Operation Gold" provided seemingly invaluable intelligence about Soviet capabilities and intentions. The tunnel was celebrated as an astonishing CIA coup upon its disclosure, and the agency basked in its new reputation as a bold and capable intelligence agency that had, for once, outwitted the KGB. But in 1961, a Polish defector shocked the CIA and SIS by revealing that Blake was a double agent who had disclosed plans for the tunnel to the KGB before it was even built. Blake was arrested and sentenced in 1961 to 42 years in prison, the longest term ever imposed under modern English law. In the years since, the tunnel has been labelled a failure, based on the assumption that the Soviets would never have allowed any information of importance to be transmitted through the tapped lines. Not so.

    In a work of remarkable investigative reporting, Steve Vogel now reveals that the information picked up by the CIA and SIS was more valuable than even they believed. But why would the Soviets, knowing full well that the tunnel existed, have let slip many of their most valuable secrets? Or did they actually know?

    Imprint: John Murray
    RRP: $24.99
    Price: $24.99
  • BETWEEN EAST AND WEST : ACROSS THE BORDERLANDS OF EUROPE
    BETWEEN EAST AND WEST : ACROSS THE BORDERLANDS OF EUROPE
    APPLEBAUM ANNE
    ISBN: 9780141979229
    Title: BETWEEN EAST AND WEST : ACROSS THE BORDERLANDS OF EUROPE
    Author: APPLEBAUM ANNE
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    As Europe's borderlands emerged from Soviet rule, Anne Applebaum travelled from the Baltic to the Black Sea, through Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and the Carpathian mountains. Rich in vivid characters and stories of tragedy and survival, Between East and West illuminates the soul of a place, and the secret history of its people.

    'A beautifully written and thought-provoking account of a journey along Europe's forgotten edge.' Timothy Garton Ash

    'A vivid and penetrating assessment of the lands between the Baltic and the Black Sea in all their drama and desolation . . . a wise and useful book.' Robert Conquest

    'Combines the excitement of a well-written and adventurous travelogue with sophisticated reportage.' Norman Davies

    'You will be totally absorbed.' Norman Stone



    Imprint: PENGUIN BOOKS
    RRP: $29.99
    Price: $29.99
  • BIG WEEK : The Biggest Air Battle of World War Two
    BIG WEEK : The Biggest Air Battle of World War Two
    HOLLAND JAMES
    ISBN: 9780552173506
    Title: BIG WEEK : The Biggest Air Battle of World War Two
    Author: HOLLAND JAMES
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    'James Holland is a master' BBC HistoryIt was to be the battle to end the air war once and for all.During the third week of February 1944, the combined Allied air forces launched their first-ever round-the-clock bomber offensive against Germany. The aim was to smash the main factories and production centres of the Luftwaffe and at the same time draw the German fighter force up into the air and into battle. Big Week is the knife-edge story of bomber against flak gun and fighter, but also, crucially, fighter against fighter. Following the fortunes of pilots and aircrew from both sides, this is a blistering narrative of one of the most critical periods of the entire war. Big Week was the largest air battle ever witnessed, but it has been largely forgotten - until now.

    Imprint: Random House Publishing
    RRP: $22.99

    Price: $22.99
  • BIRD MIGRATION
    BIRD MIGRATION
    NEWTON IAN
    ISBN: 9780008398545
    Title: BIRD MIGRATION
    Author: NEWTON IAN
    Format: PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    The phenomenon of bird migration has fascinated people from time immemorial. The arrivals and departures of different species marked the seasons, heralding spring and autumn, and providing a reliable calendar long before anything better became available.

    Migration is shown by many kinds of animals, including butterflies and other insects, mammals, marine turtles and fish, but in none is it as extensively developed as in birds. The collective travel routes of birds span almost the entire globe, with some extreme return journeys covering more than 30,000 km. As a result of migration, bird distributions are continually changing – in regular seasonal patterns, and on local, regional or global scales.

    Migration has repeatedly prompted familiar questions, such as where birds go or come from, why do they do it, how do they know when and where to travel, and how do they find their way? In this seminal new book, Ian Newton sets out to answer these – and other – questions.

    The book is divided into four main sections: the first is introductory, describing the different types of bird movements, methods of study, and the main migration patterns seen around the British Isles; the second part is concerned mainly with the process of migration – with timing, energy needs, weather effects and navigation; the third with evolution and change in migratory behaviour; and the fourth with the geographical and ecological aspects of bird movements.

    Imprint: William Collins
    RRP: $29.99

    Price: $29.99
  • BIRDS AT MY TABLE : Why we feed wild birds and why it matters
    BIRDS AT MY TABLE : Why we feed wild birds and why it matters
    JONES DARRYL
    ISBN: 9781742235974
    Title: BIRDS AT MY TABLE : Why we feed wild birds and why it matters
    Author: JONES DARRYL
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    A wild flight through the history of bird feeding, pondering this odd but seriously popular form of interaction between humans and wild animals.

    Darryl Jones is fascinated by bird feeders. Not the containers supplying food to our winged friends, but the people who fill the containers, scatter the crumbs or seeds, or leave the picnic scraps behind for the birds.

    Here, Jones takes us on a wild flight through the history of bird feeding as he ponders this odd but seriously popular form of interaction between humans and wild animals. Jones digs at the deeper issues and questions of the practice of bird feeding, as he raises our awareness of the things we don't yet know and why we really should.

    This beautifully written and engaging books reveals that what at first seems to be a niche topic — humans feeding wild birds — is in fact something a disproportionate number of us do. Half the citizens of Australia, the UK, and the US feed birds, whether its by planting trees that attract them, putting food out on apartment balconies, setting up birds baths and feeders, or by unwittingly leaving scraps behind in parks. The international bird seed industry is huge and most of the seed is gown in India or Africa. Another way of describing all this activity is as an unplanned ecological experiment on an unbelievably large scale.

    In The Birds at My Table, Jones draws on an impressive knowledge of the latest scientific findings as well as his own personal knowledge, to reflect and explain the modern practice of bird feeding.

    Imprint: Newsouth Books
    RRP: $27.99

    Price: $27.99
  • BIRDS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
    BIRDS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
    MYNOTT JEREMY
    ISBN: 9780198713654
    Title: BIRDS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
    Author: MYNOTT JEREMY
    Format: HARD COVER
    Publishing status: TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK

    Birds pervaded the ancient world, impressing their physical presence on the daily experience and imaginations of ordinary people and figuring prominently in literature and art. They provided a fertile source of symbols and stories in myths and folklore and were central to the ancient rituals of augury and divination. Jeremy Mynott's Birds in the Ancient World illustrates the many different roles birds played in culture: as indicators of time, weather and the seasons; as a resource for hunting, eating, medicine and farming; as domestic pets and entertainments; and as omens and intermediaries between the gods and humankind.We learn how birds were perceived - through quotations from well over a hundred classical Greek and Roman authors, all of them translated freshly into English, through nearly 100 illustrations from ancient wall-paintings, pottery and mosaics, and through selections from early scientific writings, and many anecdotes and descriptions from works of history, geography and travel.Jeremy Mynott acts as a stimulating guide to this rich and fascinating material, using birds as a prism through which to explore both the similarities and the often surprising differences between ancient conceptions of the natural world and our own. His book is an original contribution to the flourishing interest in the cultural history of birds and to our understanding of the ancient cultures in which birds played such a prominent part.

    Imprint: OXFORD
    RRP: $61.95

    Price: $61.95
  • BIRDS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD : Winged Words
    BIRDS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD : Winged Words
    MYNOTT JEREMY
    ISBN: 9780198853114
    Title: BIRDS IN THE ANCIENT WORLD : Winged Words
    Author: MYNOTT JEREMY
    Format: TRADE PAPER COVER
    Publishing status: ACTIVE TITLE

    Birds played an important role in the ancient world: as indicators of time, weather, and seasons; as a resource for hunting, medicine, and farming; as pets and entertainment; as omens and messengers of the gods. Jeremy Mynott explores the similarities and surprising differences between ancient perceptions of the natural world and our own.

    Imprint: OXFORD
    RRP: $34.99
    Price: $34.99
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