The Sunday Times No.1 bestseller.
They were branded as cowards and accused of being the British Special Forces Squadron that ran away from the Iraqis. But nothing could be further from the truth. Ten years on, the story of these sixty men can finally be told.
In March 2003 M Squadron – an SBS unit with SAS embeds – was sent 1,000 kilometres behind enemy lines on a true mission impossible, to take the surrender of the 100,000-strong Iraqi Army 5th Corps. From the very start their tasking earned the nickname ‘Operation No Return’.
Caught in a ferocious ambush by thousands of die-hard fanatics from Saddam Hussein’s Fedayeen, plus the awesome firepower of the 5th Corps’ heavy armour, and with eight of their vehicles bogged in Iraqi swamps, M Squadron launched a desperate bid to escape, inflicting massive damage on their enemies. Running low on fuel and ammunition, outnumbered, outmanoeuvred and outgunned, the elite operators destroyed sensitive kit and prepared for death or capture as the Iraqis closed their deadly trap.
Zero Six Bravo recounts in vivid and compelling detail the most desperate battle fought by British and allied Special Forces trapped behind enemy lines since World War Two. It is a classic account of elite soldiering that ranks with Bravo Two Zero and the very greatest Special Forces missions of our time.
‘Mike Heron, as part of the Incredible String Band, changed the way I looked at music. Read it!’ Billy Connolly
‘Mike Heron’s lyrics always sparkled with wit and warmth and his prose is a delightful continuation. The book evokes a smoky, unheated eccentric Edinburgh that was a crucible for so much creativity.’ Joe Boyd, author of White Bicycles
This singular book offers two harmonising memoirs of music making in the 1960s. Mike Heron for the first time writes vividly of his formative years in dour, Presbyterian Edinburgh. Armed with a love of Buddy Holly, Fats Domino and Hungarian folk music, he plays in school cloakrooms, graduates to rock, discovers the joy of a folk audience, starts writing songs, tries to talk to girls, wishes he was a Beatnik all while training as a reluctant accountant. When asked to join Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer, the Incredible String Band are formed – and their wildly innovative, astounding music became indelibly linked with the latter Sixties.
Andrew Greig was a frustrated provincial schoolboy when he heard their songs. It changed everything. Undaunted by a lack of experience and ability, he formed a band in their image. Fate & Ferret populated back-country Fife with Pan, nymphs and Apollo, met the String Band and caught the fish lorry to London to hang around Joe Boyd’s Witchseason office, watching at the fringes of the blooming Underground scene. It was forty years later that he and Mike became friends.
These entwined stories will delight anyone who has loved the Incredible String Band; and their differing portraits of that hopeful, erratic and stubborn stumble towards the life that is ours will strike a chord with everyone.
Every murder is shocking, but few crimes shock society more than when the killer is a woman. There has been an explosion in female violence in the last ten years, and Women Who Kill brings to light some of the most horrific and compelling cases in this disturbing trend.
From the happy-slapping teenage murderer Chelsea O’Mahoney to Heather Stephenson-Snell, the psychotherapist turned Scream-masked psychopath; from Edith McAlinden, butcher queen of Glasgow’s ‘House of Blood’ to the mother of Baby P, women who kill have motives as diverse as the methods of slaying their victims.
Are they victims themselves, or just evil? As society changes, will more and more women feel driven to kill?
Oscar Wilde’s early fame ensured that throughout his short life he was written about by many of those he met. He was celebrated – or mocked – as the master of the ingenious epigram, the provocative paradox, the witty aside or the extravagant conceit.
In researching his monumental biography of Wilde Matthew Sturgis found, in every major archive, sheets of foolscap in Wilde’s distinctive handwriting, setting down a series of unfamiliar epigrams – unpublished try-outs. There were fascinating new discoveries.
He uncovered dozens of unfamiliar and previously ungathered anecdotes about Wilde: sidelights on his days in Oxford, London, America and Paris and beyond, by society hostesses, men-about-town, actors, lawyers, minor litterateurs, artists and politicians, diligently setting down his actions, his mannerisms and above all his sayings.
The items in this volume are all small additions to the Wilde story: some unfamiliar, others unexpected, they enrich and alter the picture of his life.
Triumphant and uplifting – a queer Muslim memoir about forgiveness and freedom.
‘Revolutionary’ Mona Eltahawy * ‘Exquisite, powerful and urgent’ Stacey May Fowles * ‘I fell in love with this book’ Shani Mootoo
A memoir of hope, faith and love, Samra Habib’s story starts with growing up as part of a threatened minority sect in Pakistan, and follows her arrival in Canada as a refugee, before escaping an arranged marriage at sixteen. When she realized she was queer, it was yet another way she felt like an outsider.
So begins a journey that takes her to the far reaches of the globe to uncover a truth that was within her all along. It shows how Muslims can embrace queer sexuality, and families can embrace change. A triumphant story of forgiveness and freedom, We Have Always Been Here is a rallying cry for anyone who has ever felt alone and a testament to the power of fearlessly inhabiting one’s truest self.
From earliest times, women gained access to leadership in times of conflict and proved themselves equal to the challenge of commanding during war. Women leaders abounded in the ancient world from Ireland to Israel, sometimes through the accident of birth, but often rising to power through naked opportunism and raw courage in the ranks – and it is no accident that women war leaders, like men, are often famous for their strong sexual drive.
Wherever there is war, there has often been a woman at the helm. Later ages frequently wrote these women out of history, but their stories have refused to die. From the legendary leader of the Amazons who fought the greatest of Greek heroes, Achilles, to the Iron Ladies of today, the women of both West and East directing military campaigns and leading their countries in war.
Presenting an array of fascinating and sometimes little known women war leaders, popular author Rosalind Miles and the acclaimed military historian Robin Cross do full justice to the achievements of these women, some of whose amazing stories have so far never been told.
Warrior women include: Penthesilea the Amazons queen, Deborah, Cleopatra VII, Boudicca, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Grace O’Malley, Deborah Samson, Nadezda Durova, Harriet Tubman, Anna Etheridge, Soldaderas, Flora Sandes, Lily Litvak, Women of the Warsaw Ghetto, Hanna Reitsch, Ruth Werner, Jeanne Holm, Margaret Thatcher, Women in Today’s Armies, Martha McSally and more…
‘A remarkable book . . . It’s a powerful testament to the healing balm of gardening and the resilience of the human spirit in the direst of circumstances.’ Financial Times
‘Not a happy book and yet it’s magically heartening. It makes a gardener question his or her values.’ The Times
‘This extraordinary book…warm and engaging…like a photograph magicked to life.‘ Spectator
‘Snow has spent ten years as a photographer and filmmaker covering unrest . . . Throughout that time she has sought comfort in green oases and come to understand “how vital gardens are ‘against a horrid wilderness’ of war”. . . There can be few counter-narratives as enchanting and sad as those Snow recounts in War Gardens.’ Times Literary Supplement
‘For all these victims of war, their gardens are places in which to breathe, providing moments of calm, hope and optimism in a fragile life of horror and uncertainty. For many, it helps them to grieve. Books seldom bring a lump to my throat, but this one did.’ Spectator
‘What makes War Gardens the most illuminating garden book to be published this year, is the realisation that people’s gardens are the antidotes to the horrors of their surroundings.’ Country Life
A journey through the most unlikely of gardens: the oases of peace people create in the midst of war
In this millennium, we have become war weary. From Afghanistan to Iraq, from Ukraine to South Sudan and Syria, from Kashmir to the West Bank, conflict is as contagious and poisonous as Japanese knotweed. Living through it are people just like us with ordinary jobs, ordinary pressures and ordinary lives. Against a new landscape of horror and violence it is up to them to maintain a modicum of normality and colour. For some, gardening is the way to achieve this.
Working in the world’s most dangerous war zones, freelance war correspondent and photographer Lally Snow has often chanced across a very moving sight, a testimony to the triumph of the human spirit in adversity, a celebration of hope and beauty: a war garden. In Kabul, the royal gardens are tended by a centenarian gardener, though the king is long gone; in Camp Bastion, bored soldiers improvise tiny gardens to give themselves a moment’s peace; on both sides of the dividing line in Jerusalem families tend groves of olives and raise beautiful plants from the unforgiving, disputed landscape; in Ukraine, families tend their gardens in the middle of a surreal, frozen war.
War Gardens is a surprising, tragic and beautiful journey through the darkest places of the modern world, revealing the ways people make time and space for themselves and for nature even in the middle of destruction. Illustrated with Lally Snow’s own award-winning photography, this is a book to treasure.
LOUIS THEROUX: ‘For anyone who enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy or Educated, Unfollow is an essential text’
PANDORA SYKES: ‘Such a moving, redemptive, clear-eyed account of religious indoctrination’
NICK HORNBY: ‘A beautiful, gripping book about a singular soul, and an unexpected redemption’
DOLLY ALDERTON: ‘A modern-day parable for how we should speak and listen to each other’
JON RONSON: ‘Her journey – from Westboro to becoming one of the most empathetic, thoughtful, humanistic writers around – is exceptional and inspiring’
An Amazon Best Book of 2019
As featured on the BBC documentaries, ‘The Most Hated Family in America’ and ‘Surviving America’s Most Hated Family’
It was an upbringing in many ways normal. A loving home, shared with squabbling siblings, overseen by devoted parents. Yet in other ways it was the precise opposite: a revolving door of TV camera crews and documentary makers, a world of extreme discipline, of siblings vanishing in the night.
Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church – the fire-and-brimstone religious sect at once aggressively homophobic and anti-Semitic, rejoiceful for AIDS and natural disasters, and notorious for its picketing the funerals of American soldiers. From her first public protest, aged five, to her instrumental role in spreading the church’s invective via social media, her formative years brought their difficulties. But being reviled was not one of them. She was preaching God’s truth. She was, in her words, ‘all in’.
In November 2012, at the age of twenty-six, she left the church, her family, and her life behind.
Unfollow is a story about the rarest thing of all: a person changing their mind. It is a fascinating insight into a closed world of extreme belief, a biography of a complex family, and a hope-inspiring memoir of a young woman finding the courage to find compassion for others, as well as herself.
‘A gripping story, beautifully told . . . It takes real talent to produce a book like this. Its message could not be more urgent’ Sunday Times
‘Hate’s kryptonite’ Washington Examiner
‘An exceptional book’ The Times
‘A nuanced portrait of the lure and pain of zealotry’ New York Times
‘Unfolds like a suspense novel . . . A brave, unsettling, and fascinating memoir about the damage done by religious fundamentalism’ NPR
Determined to cover the Syrian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and the devastating impact of the war on Syria’s civilians, veteran photographer Paul Conroy and Marie Colvin, one of the foremost war correspondents of her generation, decided to smuggle themselves across enemy lines and into the blood and terror of Homs.
But tragedy struck before the pair could finish documenting the slaughter. A rocket killed Colvin and ripped a hole in Conroy’s leg. As Syrian ground forces closed in on his position, Conroy was forced to make a terrifying last-ditch attempt to escape from a regime that appeared determined to murder him.
Under the Wire is the epic, untold account of Conroy and Colvin’s last, tragic assignment together. A rare and touching portrait of an extraordinary woman driven by an unquenchable desire to ‘bear witness’, it is as much a tale of courage and survival as it is the poignant account of a friendship forged amid the carnage of war.
‘This is a gripping memoir from one of our country’s greatest jury advocates, offering a fascinating, no-holds-barred tour behind the scenes of some of the most famous criminal cases of modern times’ The Secret Barrister
‘Gripping’ – The Times
‘Mixes the excitement of the courtroom and some practical tips on the advocacy with the more mundane life of the working lawyer’ – Sunday Times
‘Between such serious case studies, his jovial memoir reflects on the challenges and satisfactions of life as a barrister.’ – Daily Mail
How can you speak up for someone accused of a savage murder? Or sway a jury? Or get a judge to drop a case?
In this memoir, murder case lawyer William Clegg revisits his most intriguing trials, from the acquittal of Colin Stagg to the shooting of Jill Dando, to the man given life because of an earprint.
All the while he lays bare the secrets of his profession, from the rivalry among barristers to the nervous moments before a verdict comes back, and how our right to a fair trial is now at risk.
Under the Wig is for anyone who wants to know the reality of a murder trial. It has been praised as “gripping” by The Times, “riveting” by the Sunday Express and “fascinating” by the Secret Barrister, who described the author as “one of our country’s greatest jury advocates.”
Several prominent barristers, including Matthew Scott and Bob Marshall-Andrews QC, have said Under the Wig is a “must read” for anyone with an interest in the criminal law. Switch off the TV dramas and see real criminal law in action.
Well-known cases featured:
The Murder of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common
The Chillenden Murders (Dr Lin and Megan Russell)
The Trial of Private Lee Clegg
The Murder of Jill Dando
The first Nazi war crimes prosecution in the UK
The Murder of Joanna Yeates
The Rebekah Brooks Phone Hacking Trial
Inventive, electrifying and daring, True Story is a novel like nothing you’ve ever read before.
*One of Entertainment Weekly’s top five reads of the summer*
‘A mind-blowing page-turning un-put-downable heartwarming empathetic formally inventive horror suspense thriller, with a life-affirming and timely feminist message‘ Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot
‘This debut novel unfolds like a mystery, flitting between genres to weave an inventive tale’ Buzzfeed (29 Summer books you wont be able to put down)
After a college party, two boys drive a girl home: drunk and passed out in the back seat. Rumours spread about what they did to her, but later they’ll tell the police a different version of events. Alice will never remember what truly happened. Her fracture runs deep, hidden beneath cleverness and wry humour. Nick – a sensitive, misguided boy who stood by – will never forget.
That’s just the beginning of this extraordinary journey into memory, fear and self-portrayal. Through university applications, a terrifying abusive relationship, a fateful reckoning with addiction and a final mind-bending twist, Alice and Nick will take on different roles to each other – some real, some invented – until finally, brought face to face once again, the secret of that night is revealed.
Startlingly relevant and enthralling in its brilliance, True Story is by turns a campus novel, psychological thriller, horror story and crime noir, each narrative frame stripping away the fictions we tell about women, men and the very nature of truth. It introduces Kate Reed Petty as a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction.
When Vanessa O’Brien was made redundant in 2008 as part of the recession, she moved to Hong Kong with her husband for his career and resigned herself to being ‘just the wife’. There she was, aged 46, bored, uninspired, unemployed. Was this going to be how she was going to live the rest of her life?
One night in the infamous Kee Club, over shots of tequila, a friend suggested O’Brien climb Everest, and that was the start of an epic journey she never looked back from as she climbed Everest, K2 and many other mountains.
This is her inspirational story. As O’Brien says, she couldn’t explain to her readers how she got to the top of K2 at the age of 52 without being honest about what came before. In To the Greatest Heights, she reveals the trials and tribulations of her difficult childhood, and the result is a life-affirming book that shows how she achieved these climbs in spite of and because of her past.
To read To the Greatest Heights is to know that there is a path to overcoming the worst of what happens to us, a path that helps us reach the summit of our lives too, whatever our age.
‘Incredibly moving’ Daily Mail
‘To Siri with Love is a beautifully honest and illuminating love letter to Gus, your typical atypical nonneurotypical human.’ Jon Stewart
‘A moving and witty memoir with a big heart.’ Nigella Lawson
‘An uncommonly riotous and moving book [that] will make readers laugh – yes, out loud – before sweeping them, finally, into a soul-spilling high tide . . . Technology’s great promise may in fact be to summon, capture and display our most human qualities, both the darkness and the light, to pave avenues of deepened connections with others.’ New York Times
Writer Judith Newman never had any illusions that her family was ‘normal’. She and her husband keep separate apartments-his filled with twin grand pianos as befits a former opera singer; hers filled with the clutter and chaos of twin adolescent boys conceived late in life. And one of those boys is Gus, her sweet, complicated, autistic 13-year-old.
With refreshing honesty, To Siri With Love chronicles one year in the life of Gus and the family around him — a family with the same crazy ups and downs as any other. And at the heart of the book lies Gus’s passionate friendship with Siri, Apple’s ‘intelligent personal assistant’. Unlike her human counterparts, Siri always has the right answers to Gus’s incessant stream of questions about the intricacies of national rail schedules, or box turtle varieties, and she never runs out of patience. She always makes sure Gus enunciates and even teaches him manners by way of her warm yet polite tone and her programmed insistence on civility.
Equal parts funny and touching, this is a book that will make your heart brim, and then break it. Warm, wise and always honest, Judith Newman shows us a new world where artificial intelligence is beginning to meet emotional intelligence — a world that will shape our children in ways both wonderful and unexpected.
‘To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, religion, all in one’
John Ruskin – born 200 years ago, in February 1819 – was the greatest critic of his age: a critic not only of art and architecture but of society and life. But his writings – on beauty and truth, on work and leisure, on commerce and capitalism, on life and how to live it – can teach us more than ever about how to see the world around us clearly and how to live it.
Dr Suzanne Fagence Cooper delves into Ruskin’s writings and uncovers the dizzying beauty and clarity of his vision. Whether he was examining the exquisite carvings of a medieval cathedral or the mass-produced wares of Victorian industry, chronicling the beauties of Venice and Florence or his own descent into old age and infirmity, Ruskin saw vividly the glories and the contradictions of life, and taught us how to see them as well.
On every page of this delicious book you will meet characters and situations that tell you this could only be New York. The parents who are determined to get their children literally to fly at the school production of Peter Pan – the Cambodian cashier at the local deli who is more Jewish than Gopnik’s grandfather – his gloriously peculiar analyst who argues that a name can be damaging to the human psyche, saying Adam’s name is very ugly – the birder who takes Adam to see the huge flock of feral parrots that have taken over Flatbush. No one knows how they got there or how they survive the brutal winters, but they do. And flourish on it. ‘These birds are so bold. They are real New Yorkers. They have so much attitude’.
Through the Children’s Gate is written with Gopnik’s signature mix of mind and heart, elegantly and exultantly alert to the minute miracles that bring a place to life.