Joan of Arc

We all know the story of Joan of Arc. A peasant girl who hears voices from God. A warrior leading an army to victory, in an age that believes wuntitledomen cannot fight. The Maid of OrlĂ©ans, and the saviour of France. Burned at the stake as a heretic at the age of just nineteen. Five hundred years later, a saint. Her case was heard in court twice over. One trial, in 1431, condemned her; the other, twenty-five years after her death, cleared her name. In the transcripts, we hear first-hand testimony from Joan, her family and her friends: a rare survival from the medieval world. What could be more revealing? But all is not as simple as it seems, because this is a life told backwards, in hindsight – a story already shaped by the knowledge of what Joan would become.

In Joan of Arc: A History, Helen Castor tells this gripping story afresh: forwards, not backwards, setting this extraordinary girl within her extraordinary world where no one – not Joan herself, nor the people around her, princes, bishops, soldiers or peasants – knew what would happen next.

The Romance of Motoring

This classic guide to motoring still has the power to capture the imagination of motorists everywhere. Reproduced with original photographs, it is both a nostalgic snapshot of a vanished world and a joyful celebration of our motoring heritage. ‘This is the thrilling tale of the trials of the motor-car pioneers; of the men who made the dream of ‘motoring for the million’ come true; of racing motorists and record-breaking; of amazing accidents and escapes; of the tanks during the War; of the spread of motor crime and Scotland Yard’s answer; of bootlegging and smuggling by car; of exploring by car; of great car journeys round the world and across Africa; of dirt-track racing; of a day in the Morris motor works; of road tests; of the romance of petrol; and of the work of the Automobile Association.

The final chapter foretells developments of the near future.’

Worcester History Tour

Worcester History Tour takes a reader on a journey through the Midlands town, which became the centre of glove making, and home to the iconic Lea & Perrins sauce. From the cathedral to the riverside, Ray Jones explains the history of the town’s well-known landmarks. Since then, Worcester has markedly changed, and this guide takes you on a tour of times past.

Country House Society : The Private Lives of England’s Upper Class After the First World War

The First World War particularly affected the landed classes with their long military tradition; country houses were turned into military hospitals and convalescent homes, while many of the menfolk were killed or badly injured in the hostilities. When the war ended efforts were made to return to the pre-war world. Pleasure-seeking in night-clubs, sporting events and country-house weekends became the order of the day.

Many of the former rituals, such as presentation at Court for debutantes, were revived. Yet, overshadowing all were the economic pressures of the decade as increased taxation, death duties and declining farm rentals reduced landed incomes. Some owners sold their mansions or land to newly enriched businessmen.

Others turned to city directorships to make ends meet or, in the case of the women, ran dress shops and other small businesses. The 1920s proved a decade of flux for High Society, with the lighthearted antics of the ‘Bright Young People’ contrasting with the financial anxieties and problems faced by their parents’ generation. Pamela Horn draws on the letters and diaries of iconic figures of the period, such as Nancy Mitford and Barbara Cartland, to give an insight into this new post-war era.

Richard III : The King in the Car Park

The bloody Wars of the Roses between the Houses of Lancaster and York ended with the killing of Richard III. With the recent discovery of his skeleton, and the consequent controversy over his final resting place, it is time to re-examine the life of Richard as a duke and king. Was Richard the grotesque usurper and murderer of the Princes in the Tower, as depicted by Shakespeare just over a hundred years after his death in battle? Or has his name been blackened over the years, as claimed by his apologists, the Richard III Society? This biography sifts the contemporary evidence, placing Richard in the context of his times, and assesses the other candidates put forward to have killed the Princes in the Tower.

John Locke wrote that ‘the actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts’ and upon this basis the investigation leads to one conclusion.

 

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