Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
Release Date: March 10, 2014
On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds" and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship--the fastest then in service--could outrun any threat.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small--hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more--all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle to President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war.
The Nuns of Sant'Ambrogio: The True Story of a Convent in Scandal by Hubert Wolf (Author), Ruth Martin (Translator)
Release Date: January 13, 2015
A true, never-before-told story of poison, murder, and lesbian initiation rites in a nineteenth century convent-discovered by the world's leading papal scholar in a secret Vatican archive.
In 1858, Katherina von Hohenzollern, a German princess recently inducted into the convent of Sant'Ambrogio in Rome, wrote a frantic letter to her cousin, a confidant of the Pope, claiming that she was being abused and feared for her life. What the subsequent investigation by the Church's Inquisition uncovered were the extraordinary secrets of Sant'Ambrogio and the illicit behavior of the convent's beautiful young mistress, Maria Luissa. What emerges through the fog of centuries is a sex scandal of ecclesiastical proportions, skillfully brought to light and vividly reconstructed in scholarly detail. Offering a broad historical background on female mystics and the cult of the Virgin Mary, and drawing upon written testimony and original documents, Professor Wolf tells the incredible story of how one woman was able to perform deception, heresy, seduction, and murder in the heart of the Catholic Church.
Centuries of Change: Which Century Saw The Most Change? by Ian Mortimer
UK Release Date: October 2, 2014
US Release Date: TBA
In a contest of change, which century from the past millennium would come up trumps? Imagine the Black Death took on the female vote in a pub brawl, or the Industrial Revolution faced the internet in a medieval joust - whose side would you be on?
In this hugely entertaining book, celebrated historian Ian Mortimer takes us on a whirlwind tour of Western history, pitting one century against another in his quest to measure change. We journey from a time when there was a fair chance of your village being burnt to the ground by invaders, and dried human dung was a recommended cure for cancer, to a world in which explorers sailed into the unknown and civilisations came into conflict with each other on an epic scale.
Here is a story of godly scientists, shrewd farmers, cold-hearted entrepreneurs and strong-minded women - a story of discovery, invention, revolution and cataclysmic shifts in perspective.
Bursting with ideas and underscored by a wry sense of humour, this is a journey into the past like no other. Our understanding of change will never be the same again - and the lessons we learn along the way are profound ones for us all.
Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History by Richard Wightman Fox
Release Date: February 2, 2015
A groundbreaking, magisterial study that explains why, like Walt Whitman, we “love the President personally.”
In a stunning feat of scholarship, insight, and engaging prose, Lincoln’s Body explores how a president ungainly in body and downright “ugly” of aspect came to mean so much to us.
Nineteenth-century African Americans felt deep affection for their “liberator” as a “homely” man who did not hold himself apart; Southerners felt a nostalgia for Abraham Lincoln as a humble “conciliator.” Later, educators glorified Lincoln as a symbol of nationhood to help assimilate poor immigrants. Monument makers focused not only on a gigantic body but also on a nationalist “union,” downplaying “emancipation.” Among both black and white liberals in the 1960s and 1970s, Lincoln was derided or fell out of fashion. Recently, Lincoln has been embodied once again (as idealist and pragmatist) by outstanding historians, by self-identified Lincolnian president Barack Obama, and by actor Daniel Day-Lewis—all keeping Lincoln alive in a body of memory that speaks volumes about our nation.
Dangerous Days in Elizabethan England: Thieves, Tricksters, Bards and Bawds Hardcover by Terry Deary
Release Date: November 6, 2014
The reign of Elizabeth I - a Golden Age? Try asking her subjects...Elizabethans did all they could to survive in an age of sin and bling, of beddings and beheadings, galleons and guns. Explorers set sail for new worlds, risking everything to bring back slaves, gold and the priceless potato. Elizabeth lined her coffers while her subjects lived in squalor with hunger, violence and misery as bedfellows. Shakespeare shone and yet the beggars and thieves, the doxies and bawdy baskets, kinchins and fraters scraped and cheated to survive in the shadows. These were dangerous days. If you survived the villains, and the diseases didn't get you, then the lawmen might. Pick the wrong religion and the scaffold or stake awaited you. The toothless, red-wigged queen sparkled in her jewelled dresses, but the Golden Age was only the surface of the coin. The rest was base metal. Once again, what we think we know about our history is revealed to be a mish-mash of misconceptions, glory-hogging and downright untruths as Terry Deary explodes the myths that permeate our understanding of the past - with a healthy dash of pitch-black humour.