Profile Books

  • Pleasantville

    Attica Locke

    LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS PRIZE 2016 It's 1996, Bill Clinton has just been re-elected and in Houston a mayoral election is looming. As usual the campaign focuses on Pleasantville -- the African-American neighbourhood of the city that has swung almost every race since it was founded to house a growing black middle class in 1949. Axel Hathorne, former chief of police and the son of Pleasantville's founding father Sam Hathorne, was the clear favourite, all set to become Houston's first black mayor. But his lead is slipping thanks to a late entrant into the race -- Sandy Wolcott, a defence attorney riding high on the success of a high-profile murder trial. And then, just as the competition intensifies, a girl goes missing, apparently while canvassing for Axel. And when her body is found, Axel's nephew is charged with her murder. Sam is determined that Jay Porter defends his grandson. And even though Jay is tired of wading through other people's problems, he suddenly finds himself trying his first murder case, a trial that threatens to blow the entire community wide open, and reveal the lengths that those with power are willing to go to hold onto it.

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  • TWO BESIDES

    Alan Bennett

    Two brand-new monologues in the Talking Heads series, as seen on BBC1 and iPlayer ''Given the opportunity to revisit the characters from Talking Heads I''ve added a couple more, both of them ordinary women whom life takes by surprise. They just about end up on top and go on, but without quite knowing how. Still, they''re in good company, and at least they''ve made it into print.'' Alan Bennett''s twelve Talking Heads are acknowledged masterworks by one of our most highly acclaimed writers. Some thirty years after the original six , Bennett has written Two Besides, a pair of monologues. Each, in its way, is a devastating portrait of grief. In An Ordinary Woman, a mother suffers the inevitable consequences when she makes life intolerable for herself and her family by falling for her own flesh and blood; while The Shrine tells the story behind a makeshift roadside shrine, introducing us to Lorna, bearing witness in her high-vis jacket, the bereft partner of a dedicated biker with a surprising private life. The two new Talking Heads were recorded for the BBC during the exceptional circumstances of coronavirus lockdown in the spring of 2020, directed by Nicholas Hytner and performed by Sarah Lancashire and Monica Dolan. The book contains a substantial preface by Nicholas Hytner and an introduction to each, by Alan Bennett.

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  • "Do you have a list of your books, or do I just have to stare at them?" Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. With more than a mile of shelving, real log fires in the shop and the sea lapping nearby, the shop should be an idyll for bookworms. Unfortunately, Shaun also has to contend with bizarre requests from people who don't understand what a shop is, home invasions during the Wigtown Book Festival and Granny, his neurotic Italian assistant who likes digging for river mud to make poultices. The Diary of a Bookseller (soon to be a major TV series) introduced us to the joys and frustrations of life lived in books. Sardonic and sympathetic in equal measure, Confessions of a Bookseller will reunite readers with the characters they've come to know and love.

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  • THE TOP 10 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Everyone needs to read this book as an act of digital self-defense.' - Naomi Klein, Author of No Logo , The Shock Doctrine , This Changes Everything and No is Not Enough The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called "surveillance capitalism," and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control us. The heady optimism of the Internet's early days is gone. Technologies that were meant to liberate us have deepened inequality and stoked divisions. Tech companies gather our information online and sell it to the highest bidder, whether government or retailer. Profits now depend not only on predicting our behaviour but modifying it too. How will this fusion of capitalism and the digital shape our values and define our future? Shoshana Zuboff shows that we are at a crossroads. We still have the power to decide what kind of world we want to live in, and what we decide now will shape the rest of the century. Our choices: allow technology to enrich the few and impoverish the many, or harness it and distribute its benefits. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a deeply-reasoned examination of the threat of unprecedented power free from democratic oversight. As it explores this new capitalism's impact on society, politics, business, and technology, it exposes the struggles that will decide both the next chapter of capitalism and the meaning of information civilization. Most critically, it shows how we can protect ourselves and our communities and ensure we are the masters of the digital rather than its slaves.

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  • Anglais THE UNCOMMON READER

    Alan Bennett

    Features none other than HM the Queen who drifts accidentally into reading when her corgis stray into a mobile library parked at Buckingham Palace. Her reading naturally changes her world view and her relationship with people like the oleaginous prime minister and his repellent advisers. The consequence is surprising, mildly shocking and funny.

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  • Love, Nina meets Black Books : a wry and hilarious account of life in Scotland's biggest second-hand bookshop and the band of eccentrics and book-obsessives who work there 'The Diary Of A Bookseller is warm (unlike Bythell's freezing-cold shop) and funny, and deserves to become one of those bestsellers that irritate him so much.' ( Mail on Sunday ) 'Utterly compelling and Bythell has a Bennett-like eye for the amusing eccentricities of ordinary people ... I urge you to buy this book and please, even at the risk of being insulted or moaned at, buy it from a real live bookseller.' (Charlotte Heathcote Sunday Express ) Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover's paradise? Well, almost ... In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.

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  • In twenty years behind the till in The Bookshop, Wigtown, Shaun Bythell has met pretty much every kind of customer there is - from the charming, erudite and deep-pocketed to the eccentric, flatulent and possibly larcenous. In Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops he distils the essence of his experience into a warm, witty and quirky taxonomy of the book-loving public. So, step inside to meet the crafty Antiquarian , the shy and retiring Erotica Browser and gormless yet strangely likeable shop assistant Student Hugo - along with much loved bookseller favourites like the passionate Sci-Fi Fan , the voracious Railway Collector and the ever-elusive Perfect Customer.

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  • SPQR

    Mary Beard

    Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller Shortlisted for a British Book Industry Book of the Year Award 2016 The new series Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit is on BBC2 now Ancient Rome matters. Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today. SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists. It explores not only how Rome grew from an insignificant village in central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria, but also how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important to us. Covering 1,000 years of history, and casting fresh light on the basics of Roman culture from slavery to running water, as well as exploring democracy, migration, religious controversy, social mobility and exploitation in the larger context of the empire, this is a definitive history of ancient Rome. SPQR is the Romans' own abbreviation for their state: Senatus Populusque Romanus , 'the Senate and People of Rome'.

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  • For most of us, a summer holiday is an opportunity to escape from it all: to lounge on warm sands or sip a cool drink in the shade of a city square. But, as the characters in this murderously good collection of classic crime stories discover to their cost ... trouble has a nasty habit of finding you out. From a body found on a beach without a single footprint, to a lemonade stand whose wares appear to have been poisoned and a Wimbledon final ruined by the mysterious disappearance of the championship player, these tales of murder and malice will take you on the trip of a lifetime. So pour that glass of Pimms, grab your sunhat and indulge your dark side: these stories will chill you to your very core, even in a heatwave ...

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  • The concise edition of the 2019 WINNER OF THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS BOOK AWARD From the million-copy bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power Robert Greene is a master guide for millions of readers, distilling ancient wisdom and philosophy into essential texts for seekers of power, understanding and mastery. Now he turns to the most important subject of all - understanding people's drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves. We are social animals. Our very lives depend on our relationships with people. Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far. Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people's masks, and how to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose. Whether at work, in relationships, or in shaping the world around you, The Concise Laws of Human Nature offers brilliant tactics for success, self-improvement, and self-defence.

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  • Ryan Holiday shows us how and why ego is such a powerful internal opponent to be guarded against at all stages of our careers and lives. Drawing on an array of inspiring characters and narratives from literature, philosophy and history, the book explores the nature and dangers of ego to illustrate how you can be humble in your aspirations, gracious in your success and resilient in your failures.

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  • Drawn from 3,000 years of the history of power, this is the definitive guide to help readers achieve for themselves what Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, Louis XIV and Machiavelli learnt the hard way. Law 1: Never outshine the master Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends; learn how to use enemies Law 3: Conceal your intentions Law 4: Always say less than necessary. The text is bold and elegant, laid out in black and red throughout and replete with fables and unique word sculptures. The 48 laws are illustrated through the tactics, triumphs and failures of great figures from the past who have wielded - or been victimised by - power.

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  • ''It is hard to imagine a more timely book ... much of the modern world will make more sense having read it.'' The Times We live in a world that''s more interconnected than ever before. Our lives are shaped by outbreaks - of disease, of misinformation, even of violence - that appear, spread and fade away with bewildering speed. To understand them, we need to learn the hidden laws that govern them. From ''superspreaders'' who might spark a pandemic or bring down a financial system to the social dynamics that make loneliness catch on, The Rules of Contagion offers compelling insights into human behaviour and explains how we can get better at predicting what happens next. Along the way, Adam Kucharski explores how innovations spread through friendship networks, what links computer viruses with folk stories - and why the most useful predictions aren''t necessarily the ones that come true.

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  • Famed across the known world, jealously guarded by private collectors, built up over centuries, destroyed in a single day, ornamented with gold leaf and frescoes or filled with bean bags and children''s drawings - the history of the library is rich, varied and stuffed full of incident. In this, the first major history of its kind, Andrew Pettegree and Arthur Der Weduwen explore the contested and dramatic history of the library, from the famous collections of the ancient world to the embattled public resources we cherish today. Along the way, they''ll introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world''s great collections, trace the rise and fall of fashions and tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanours committed in pursuit of rare and valuable manuscripts.

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  • ''Riveting and original ... a work enriched by solid scholarship, vivid personal experience, and acute appreciation of the concerns and aspirations of the contending parties in this deeply unequal conflict '' Noam Chomsky The twentieth century for Palestine and the Palestinians has been a century of denial: denial of statehood, denial of nationhood and denial of history. The Hundred Years War on Palestine is Rashid Khalidi''s powerful response. Drawing on his family archives, he reclaims the fundamental right of any people: to narrate their history on their own terms. Beginning in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, Khalidi reveals nascent Palestinian nationalism and the broad recognition by the early Zionists of the colonial nature of their project. These ideas and their echoes defend Nakba - the Palestinian term for the establishment of the state of Israel - the cession of the West Bank and Gaza to Jordan and Egypt, the Six Day War and the occupation. Moving through these critical moments, Khalidi interweaves the voices of journalists, poets and resistance leaders with his own accounts as a child of a UN official and a resident of Beirut during the 1982 seige. The result is a profoundly moving account of a hundred-year-long war of occupation, dispossession and colonialisation.

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  • The first story collection in a decade from the great Russell Banks

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    Épuisé

  • From the invaders of the dark ages to the aftermath of the coalition, one of Britain's most respected journalists, Simon Jenkins, weaves together a strong narrative with all the most important and interesting dates in a book that characteristically is as stylish as it is authoritative. A Short History of England sheds light on all the key individuals and events, bringing them together in an enlightening and engaging account of the country's birth, rise to global prominence and then partial eclipse.There have been long synoptic histories of England but until now there has been no standard short work covering all significant events, themes and individuals. Now updated to take in the rapid progress of recent events and beautifully illustrated, this magisterial history will be the standard work for years to come.

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  • THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

    Ian Davidson

    The fall of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 has become the commemorative symbol of the French Revolution. But this violent and random act was unrepresentative of the real work of the early revolution, which was taking place ten miles west of Paris, in Versailles. There, the nobles, clergy and commoners of France had just declared themselves a republic, toppling a rotten system of aristocratic privilege and altering the course of history forever. The Revolution was led not by angry mobs, but by the best and brightest of France's growing bourgeoisie: young, educated, ambitious. Their aim was not to destroy, but to build a better state. In just three months they drew up a Declaration of the Rights of Man, which was to become the archetype of all subsequent Declarations worldwide, and they instituted a system of locally elected administration for France which still survives today. They were determined to create an entirely new system of government, based on rights, equality and the rule of law. In the first three years of the Revolution they went a long way toward doing so. Then came Robespierre, the Terror and unspeakable acts of barbarism. In a clear, dispassionate and fast-moving narrative, Ian Davidson shows how and why the Revolutionaries, in just five years, spiralled from the best of the Enlightenment to tyranny and the Terror. The book reminds us that the Revolution was both an inspiration of the finest principles of a new democracy and an awful warning of what can happen when idealism goes wrong.

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  • IDENTITY

    Francis Fukuyama

    Currently in Bill Gates's bookbag and FT Books of 2018 Increasingly, the demands of identity direct the world's politics. Nation, religion, sect, race, ethnicity, gender: these categories have overtaken broader, inclusive ideas of who we are. We have built walls rather than bridges. The result: increasing in anti-immigrant sentiment, rioting on college campuses, and the return of open white supremacy to our politics. In 2014, Francis Fukuyama wrote that American and global institutions were in a state of decay, as the state was captured by powerful interest groups. Two years later, his predictions were borne out by the rise to power of a series of political outsiders whose economic nationalism and authoritarian tendencies threatens to destabilise the entire international order. These populist nationalists seek direct charismatic connection to 'the people', who are usually defined in narrow identity terms that offer an irresistible call to an in-group and exclude large parts of the population as a whole. Identity is an urgent and necessary book: a sharp warning that unless we forge a universal understanding of human dignity, we will doom ourselves to continual conflict.

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  • Would Hiroshima have been bombed if Japanese contained a phrase meaning ''no comment''? Is it alright for missionaries to replace the Bible''s ''white as snow'' with ''white as fungus'' in places where snow never falls? Who, or what, is Kuzma''s mother, and why was Nikita Khrushchev so threateningly obsessed with her (or it)? The course of diplomacy rarely runs smooth; without an invisible army of translators and interpreters, it''s hard to see how it could run at all. But though such go-betweens tend to be overlooked, even despised, the subtlest of them have achieved a remarkable degree of influence. Join veteran translator Anna Aslanyan to explore hidden histories of cunning and ambition, heroism and incompetence. Meet the figures behind the notable events of history, from the Great Game to Brexit, and discover just how far a simple misunderstanding can go.

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  • From imaginary numbers to the fourth dimension and beyond, mathematics has always been about imagining things that seem impossible at first glance. In x+y, Eugenia Cheng draws on the insights of higher-dimensional mathematics to reveal a transformative new way of talking about the patriarchy, mansplaining and sexism: a way that empowers all of us to make the world a better place. Using precise mathematical reasoning to uncover everything from the sexist assumptions that make society a harder place for women to live to the limitations of science and statistics in helping us understand the link between gender and society, Cheng''s analysis replaces confusion with clarity, brings original thinking to well worn arguments - and provides a radical, illuminating and liberating new way of thinking about the world and women''s place in it.

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  • A New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller ''Powerful [and] intelligent'' - Fareed Zakaria, CNN ''Superbly researched and written'' - Francis Fukuyama, The Washington Post ''A fascinating book, rich in politics, history, psychology and more'' David Leonhardt, the New York Times America''s political system isn''t broken. The truth is scarier: it''s working exactly as designed. In Why We''re Polarized , Ezra Klein reveals the structural and psychological forces behind America''s deep political divisions, revealing how a system filled with rational, functional parts can combine into a dysfunctional whole. Neither a polemic nor a lament, this book offers a clear framework for understanding everything from Trump''s rise to the Democratic Party''s leftward shift to the politicisation of everyday culture. Klein shows how and why American politics polarised in the twentieth century, what that polarisation did to Americans'' views of the world and one another, and how feedback loops between polarised political identities and polarised political institutions drive the system toward crisis. This revelatory book will change how you look at politics, and perhaps at yourself.

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  • '' A deeply human read, wonderfully written, on the foibles of a fascinating, flawed, treacherous and sort of likeable character.'' Philippe Sands Those people who were betrayed were not innocent people. They were no better nor worse than I am. It''s all part of the intelligence world. If the man who turned me in came to my house today, I''d invite him to sit down and have a cup of tea. George Blake was the last remaining Cold War spy. As a Senior Officer in the British Intelligence Service who was double agent for the Soviet Union, his actions had devastating consequences for Britain. Yet he was also one of the least known double agents, and remained unrepentant. In 1961, Blake was sentenced to forty-two years imprisonment for betraying to the KGB all of the Western operations in which he was involved, and the names of hundreds of British agents working behind the Iron Curtain. This was the longest sentence for espionage ever to have been handed down by a British court. On the surface, Blake was a charming, intelligent and engaging man, and most importantly, a seemingly committed patriot. Underneath, a ruthlessly efficient mole and key player in the infamous ''Berlin Tunnel'' operation. This illuminating biography tracks Blake from humble beginnings as a teenage courier for the Dutch underground during the Second World War, to the sensational prison-break from Wormwood Scrubs that inspired Hitchcock to write screenplay. Through a combination of personal interviews, research and unique access to Stasi records, journalist Simon Kuper unravels who Blake truly was, what he was capable of, and why he did it.

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