In the 1950s, when he began darting round the world looking at fabulously interesting things, could he have imagined that he would become Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM CH CVO CBE FRS FLS FZS FSA FRSGS, with 32 honorary degrees to his name?
A biography of the late art critic, essayist, dramatist, painter, poet and novelist, whose ‘Ways of Seeing’ revolutionised art history. “Far from dragging politics into art, art has dragged me into politics.”
Berlin published comparatively little during his lifetime. Much of what we know of his work has emerged through the offices of Hardy, his principal editor. This account of their long collaboration provides a valuable portrait of the man whose ideas now seem more important than ever.
Clark’s father was parachuted into Italy in 1944 by SOE, and captured by the Germans. His radio operator and later wife, did not know whether he was dead or alive for 6 months. Years of filial sleuthing have uncovered the story, and it is a gripping one.
Powerful biography of the outstanding American journalist who worked for nearly 30 years for the Sunday Times as a foreign correspondent, famously courageous and charismatic. She was killed in Syria in 2012 during the siege of Homs.
“… like a rare and tropical bird [his] plumage was a wonder to behold…”: A Slightly Foxed limited edition re-issue of Erdal’s quietly uproarious memoir of working – and ghost-writing on an epic scale – for Naim Attallah, the publisher. “‘You can call me what you like,’ he said. ‘I shall call you Beloved – all the girls who work for me are Beloved’…”
Who would have expected a Romain Gary revival? Yet the success earlier this year of his novel ‘The Kites’ was real, and this, his autobiography, remains as wild and romantic as ever. Brought up in poverty in Eastern Europe, he became an ace pilot, hero of the Resistance, diplomat, a denizen of the Cote d’Azur and one of the most famous French writers of the C20th.
George VI’s relationship with his speech therapist, Lionel Logue, did not end with his famous broadcast in September 1939. One of the authors is Logue’s grandson, the other a journalist and author of ‘Mythomania’.
From 1973, Oleg Gordievsky – the USSR’s top man in London – was secretly working for MI6. His identity was kept from the Americans. The CIA man who finally identified him was Aldrich Ames, who turned out to be spying for the Soviets. This is a gripping story of treachery and betrayal, culminating in Gordievsky’s dramatic escape from Moscow in 1985.
O Bliss! O poop-poop! O joy! The life of KG is in capable hands, and we look forward keenly to MD’s interpretation of the strange incident at the Bank of England in 1903, when KG, then Secretary of the Old Lady, was shot at and missed (presumably by the Weasels).
Handel accompanied his princely master George, Elector of Hanover, to London in 1712. His subsequent creative journey – so extraordinarily generous – is ably and entertainingly recounted by a prominent Baroque conductor.
A memoir by Baroness Alessandra Kozlowska (1892-1975) of her childhood in the Caucasus and flight from Russia, travels in Central Europe during WWI and life in Italy between the wars, up to her internment as an alien in WWII.
A riveting biography of the Scottish economist John Law who became Controller General of Finance in France during the minority of Louis XV. He was also the richest private citizen in Europe with ideas astonishingly ahead of his time, including a preference for paper money and central banking. His ship turned turtle when the Mississippi Company bubble burst; thereafter he lived from gambling and died a poor man in Venice.
When a tiny publisher produced this delicious book earlier this year, it was so successful that they couldn’t print copies fast enough. Now re-issued more cheaply by a mainstream publisher, we anticipate that the treasures noted 50 years ago by James P-H and embargoed until now will keep readers chortling for some time to come.
A marvellous anthology of letters to seven generations of publishers; the list of correspondents is long and includes Byron, Austen, Darwin, Thackeray and Leigh Fermor. Some of the delights in these pages are animosities, as well as friendships.
As well as excellent books on Poland and, most recently, ‘Phantom Terror: The Threat of Revolution and the Repression of Liberty 1798-1848, Zamoyski has written about Napoleon’s Russian campaign (1812: Napoleon’s Fatal March on Moscow) and its aftermath (Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna). This biography should be outstanding.
The author has written fine biographies of Munch and Strindberg. This account of the troubled philosopher’s life and work also has intriguing portraits of the people most important to him, including the Wagners, Lou Salomé and his monstrous sister, Elizabeth.
Famous as a children’s author, she was a founder of the Fabian Society and a broad-minded wife, adopting two children fathered by her husband with her friend, and counted George Bernard Shaw amongst her lovers. Gore Vidal was a fan.
First biography of the Russian writer recently rediscovered by an Anglophone readership, thanks to Pushkin Press’s translations of her short stories and her remarkable memoir of her journey into exile in 1918, ‘Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea’. Witty, dauntless, and rather left field all her life, she visited Tolstoy as a 13-year-old in an attempt to persuade him to alter the ending of ‘War and Peace’.
In the twenty years before his shooting in 2017, Voorspuy (described by his biographer as “one of the last stylishly mad”) created a game reserve on his Kenyan ranch. Published to help support the Tristan Voorspuy Conservation Trust.
Sturgis’s previous books (‘Passionate Attitudes: The English Decadents of the 1890s’, ‘Aubrey Beardsley: A Biography’ and ‘Walter Sickert: A Life’) have been exemplary in their humanity and wit. It’s hard to think of a biographer more suited to tackle Wilde.
Ziauddin Yousafzai & Louis Carpenter, introduction by Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai’s father built the school she attended when she was shot by the Taliban. A fervent believer in equality, he had built it so that she might be educated. This memoir is based around a series of portraits of his family.
This remarkably researched book is the first to examine the role of early modern women spies. Transcribing hundreds of letters, breaking codes, and studying invisible inks, the author unearths plots and conspiracies that have remained hidden until now.
This book began life as a commission in 1998 by Robin Cook to get to the bottom of a mystery that had long haunted British political life. A forgery, and almost certainly a Russian plant, the letter humiliated Ramsay MacDonald’s government in 1924. A fascinating precursor to contemporary ‘fake news’ and discussions of the ‘Deep State’.
A riveting, closely researched account by the pre-eminent author on Scottish history. What happened appears to have been far more complex than the politically motivated account that has prevailed since the 1960s.
Originally planned as an afterword to his 2015 book (which was superb), it turned out that there was so much more to say in bringing the story up to date that Bloomsbury decided to publish it as a separate book.
Having written fine biographies of Curzon and Kipling, Gilmour is the ideal author for a definitive account of the Raj. Elegant, even-handed and without political baggage, his book has received superb reviews.
The story of wealth and power in the 21st Century: how the institutions of Europe and the USA launder the money of the stateless super-rich. The author is also known for his unusual tour-guiding for Kleptocracy Tours.
Something strange is happening at American colleges and universities. The author (with co-author) of ‘Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion’ looks at the culture of trigger warnings, micro-aggressions and safe spaces. You have been warned…
We sold a great many of Havel’s collection ‘Living in Truth’ at Sandoe’s in 1990 because it taught us how totalitarian states worked. How astonishing to find it listed by Timothy Snyder (see below, Some of our Recent Favourites) in his ‘On Tyranny’ as the most essential book for people to learn how to protect their democracies. And that it is out of print… Here, however is a reprint of the central essay – with an introduction by Snyder.
From a California gun show to a Finnish prison, from a Congolese centre for rape victims to the ruins of gulag camps in the Soviet Arctic… A selection of essays from a life spent in pursuit of social justice.
A stirring defence of why quality journalism matters now more than ever, from the man who edited the Guardian for 20 years. While T***P may yet be found to have done old-school journalism a favour, it is startling to read that the reporting of accurate, verifiable information is economically a far less cheerful prospect than purveying digital misinformation.
Brings together in one fine hardback volume, as the author intended, the 6 novels ‘Within the Walls’, ‘The Gold-Rimmed Spectacles’, ‘The Garden of the Finzi-Continis’, ‘Behind the Door’, ‘The Heron’ and ‘The Smell of Hay’.
In his novels ‘What A Carve Up’ and ‘The Rotters’ Club’, Coe established himself as perhaps the best chronicler of middle England in the late C20th. Here he is again, and his touch remains sure: funny, clever, wise and very readable.
Faulks has addressed France and war before, but this fine novel is not just a reprise of former successes. Hannah, an American postdoctoral researcher, and Tariq, a runaway Moroccan teenager, seem to have little in common. But both are susceptible to the ghosts of Paris as they struggle in their different ways with identity and the legacy of empire.
The second instalment of period pleasures in the 1920s. The first was ‘The Mitford Murders’; this time we share the company of the hedonistic Bright Young Things. Bohemian aristocrats, extravagant treasure hunts, tabloids and murder.
GH has previously written novels set in the Arctic, Romania and Japan. Her excellent new novel tells the story of a man who survived Kohima and spent months in the rainy hills of Nagaland in WW2. No surprise, perhaps, that his return to Norfolk, marriage and civilian life are not straightforward. The interplay of past, shifting memory and present are skillfully handled.
From Zadie Smith to Ali Smith, this new collection follows on from his magnificent 2-vol ‘The Penguin Book of the British Short Story’, published in 2015 (now in pbk, £12.99 each – contact us if you’d like to purchase either of these).
This is the second novel this year from this indefatigable gentleman. The first (‘Forever and a Day’) was a new James Bond, and it was splendid. This one is the second with his own Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne; its predecessor, ‘The Word Is Murder’, was hugely enjoyable and very nifty.
A West German journalist travels to former East Prussia to work out the route for a car rally. Part of his motivation is a personal connection. From the author of ‘All or Nothing’, this is another superbly nuanced novel about Germany coming to terms with its past.
It will come as no surprise to our many fans of the Genius of Madrid to hear that there are characters (eg Tupra) and themes (secrets) familiar from earlier novels. Labyrinthine and brilliant, as ever.
A huge new novel that begins with a portrait painter, abandoned by his wife, who finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist. (Some readers may sympathise very readily with the wife.)
The nation is in peril. In this very funny and delightful homage to The Master, it transpires that Jeeves has long been an agent of British Intelligence. Now His Majesty’s Government must turn to the one man who can help . . . Bertie Wooster.
Cassandra Darke is an art dealer, mean, selfish, solitary by nature, living in Chelsea in a house worth £7 million. What could be a riper subject for a new graphic novel from the creator of ‘Tamara Drewe’ and ‘Gemma Bovery’?
Everybody’s favourite foreign correspondent has turned his hand to crime writing. An MP’s suspicious death is followed up by an old-style journalist, which leads to a trail of assassinations, conspiracies and double agents…
In 1957, six teenage girls started across a ploughed field; only five reached the other side. The mystery comes to the attention of DC Childs in 2014, who finds that her investigation leads her close to home…
WW1 in the Carpathians: a peasant is obliged to fight in a war he does not understand. Inspired by ‘The Odyssey’, this is a great pacifist novel about the consequences of war for ordinary people. First published in 1935.
Simon Armitage, illustrated by Clive Hicks Jenkins
A new collaboration with “an anonymous author whose approval is never forthcoming but forever sought”; accompanied by dreamy, mystical illustrations by Clive Hicks Jenkins, screen-printed by the Penfold Press (who do our wrapping paper).
“Find me a thermal stair to speak and soar to you from…”. A wonderful selection for those who enjoyed The Nightfisherman, a collection of his letters which appeared in our list a few years ago that remains a Desert Island Book for at least two Sandoe-ites.
Jamie has won the Forward Prize, the Saltire Prize, the Scottish Book of the Year Award and had umpteen shortlistings for each of her slim volumes. Her non-fiction is also wonderful. She is one of the finest, and most readable, of contemporary poets.
This slim volume by the poet, punk legend and author of the bestsellers ‘Just Kids’ and ‘M Train’ was published recently in Holland, with parallel text in Dutch. Interestingly, she has withheld it from sale by the big online retailers.
“‘Low self-esteem support group will meet Thursday at 7 p.m., please use the back door.’ Lark Valley Benefice Newsletter.” This delightful commonplace book is published by Slightly Foxed, after the author (a retired Suffolk GP) revealed to them some of the treasures he had sent to friends over the years.
Priestley has long been out of fashion, but is now enjoying a revival. This little collection dates from 1949 when, from a climate of rationing, Priestley produced a series of short essays depicting simple pleasures.
An illustrated anthology of Warner’s essays about the transformative power of art – particularly contemporary – through an exploration of the myths and symbols to which her exemplar artworks allude. Her cast includes Bosch and Fuseli, Paula Rego, Helen Chadwick, Damien Hirst and many others.