The diaries of Nella Last : writing in war & peace

This collection brings together into a single volume the best of Nella Last’s prolific outpourings, including a great deal of new, unpublished material from the war years. Capturing the everyday trials and horrors of wartime Britain and the nation’s transition into peacetime and beyond, Nella’s touching and often humorous narrative …

The truth about stories

From what I remember I bought this book a few years ago because of Aarti’s A More Diverse Universe reading challenge. I didn’t get around to reading it then, but for some reason it popped out at me when I went to shelve a different book. So I picked it …

Hidden figures [based on the book by]

Oh, I really enjoyed this film. So much more than I thought I would. I mean a story based on maths doesn’t sound all that entertaining. But I suppose that isn’t really what this is about, it is about the women who fought to show NASA just how vital they …

The History Thieves : secrets, lies and the shaping of a modern nation

In 1889, the first Official Secrets Act was passed and created offences of ‘disclosure of information’ and ‘breach of official trust’. It limited and monitored what the public could, and should, be told. Since then, Britain’s governments and civil service have been engaged in the greatest identity fraud of all …

Ghosts of Vesuvius

It is hard to blurb this book. On the one hand it is about Vesuvius and volcanic explosions and disasters both natural and man-made. But it is also a book about the origins of the earth, of the universe, and about how precarious our existence is. How so much of what we are today is dependent on natural events a thousand years ago, or a millennia ago, or so long ago that it is almost pointless to count the time because it is so difficult to grasp those sort of numbers.

Singled out

Full title: Singled Out: How Two Million British Women Survived Without Men After the First World War ISBN: 9780670915644 The term “lost generation” is often used to refer to the generation who came of age in World War I, a term commonly used to refer to those who died in …

Wedlock

Mary Eleanor Bowes was born in 1749. Her father was extremely wealthy and, unusually for the time, had her well educated. A most eligible young woman, not least because she was the richest heiress in C18th Britain. Her first wedding was nothing unusual for the time. Pretty loveless and to an older man it wasn’t a romantic love match. Her second, to a dashing young soldier, was. Mary Eleanor probably hadn’t intended to marry Andrew Robinson Stoney, but upon hearing that he had fought a duel for her honour and was laying on his deathbed wishing for nothing but her hand in marriage… well, who could resist that romance!

The Squad

Michael Collins is frequently cited as the originator of modern urban terrorism. The British characterised his Squad as ‘the murder gang’ and had they knowingly captured members of of the Squad they would almost certainly have exectued them.

Irish history is full of revolutionaries and failed rebellions, of informers giving information to the English, and spies infiltrating Irish organisations. Michael Collins recognised the importance of the intelligence network and so in 1919 he formulated a plan to blind the eyes of Dublin Castle by ensuring that the police force were as terrorised and demoralised as possible.