New non-fiction: Vaughan Williams by Keith Alldritt

9780719809378Vaughan Williams

This ground-breaking biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams reveals more than any other the man behind the music.

The author examines the considerable range of Vaughan Williams’s work, from the English pastoral tradition to Modernism, and shows how Vaughan Williams was influenced by the Boer War, the economic depression after the First World War, the deprivations of the Blitz, and the austerity of the Cold War. He also reveals how the greatest influence on Vaughan Williams’s music and creative development was his personal life, involving his seemingly secure marriage and an equally enduring love affair. The author shows how these reflected both the stability and cutting-edge aspects of his music.

Like a great symphony, this book ranges from doubt to inspiration. It is the most complete biography of one of Britain’s greatest composers.

Keith Alldritt was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School and St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He has taught at universities in Europe and North America. His books include studies of Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Orwell, W.D. Yeats, D.H. Lawrence, and the music of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Buy your copy of Vaughan Williams here.

New non-fiction: Mario Lanza: A Life in Pictures by Derek Mannering

9780719817991Mario Lanza: A Life in Pictures

Mario Lanza: A Life in Pictures is a stunning collection of photographs and illustrations that captures the fabulous and tumultuous times of the greatest romantic tenor of the twentieth century.

Compiled by acclaimed Lanza biographer Derek Mannering and drawing on exclusive photographs from the tenor’s closest friend, Terry Robinson, the book offers an unrivalled pictorial history of the tenor’s extraordinary life and career, from his childhood in Philadelphia, his first tentative steps towards a career in opera, the unexpected about-turn that led to his glory days in Hollywood, and on to his sudden and tragic death in Rome in 1959.

Complementing the rare photographs is Derek Mannering’s authoritative and compelling narrative together with personal comments by Terry Robinson throughout. The book concludes with an afterword by Mario Lanza’s daughter, Ellisa Lanza Bregman.

Few careers in show business have been as colourful or as controversial as Mario Lanza’s. Groomed for a professional life on the operatic stage, Lanza was instead waylaid by Hollywood where, in films like The Great Caruso, he thrilled movie-goers with his magnificent voice and dazzling personality. His films and recordings were highly influential in shaping the careers of countless young opera singers and to this day Lanza continues to be seen as the crossover artist supreme.

Derek Mannering was born in Dublin, Ireland, and currently lives in the USA. He is the author of Mario Lanza: Singing to the Gods, also published by Robert Hale.

Buy your copy of Mario Lanza: A Life in Pictures here.

New non-fiction: Charleston Saved by Anthea Arnold

Charleston Saved 1979–1989

Charleston Saved 1979–1989 tells the9780719816222 remarkable story of how the home of key members of the Bloomsbury set was brought back from ruin and lovingly restored to life.
When the painter Duncan Grant died in 1978, the house in East Sussex that he and
Vanessa Bell had rented since the First World War was in a very sorry state. Amazingly, the original designs and decor the couple had created over the years were still in place – the wall surfaces, the furniture, the wood panels, the ceramics, the fabrics, the paintings and, of course, the garden – but damp, dirt and neglect had reduced all of these to a most wretched state. The nation risked losing a house of real historical, cultural and artistic significance.

This reissue tells how Deborah Gage, a determined young woman in her twenties, set about saving this house by galvanizing support, raising money and masterminding the project. With the help of many individuals and despite setbacks, the restoration was a success. This account discusses the work in detail, giving a fascinating insight into the restoration of an historic building and gardens.

Today, Charleston is open to the public – an extraordinary achievement, carried out with passion and conviction, and truly a fitting celebration of the lives of those who lived there.

 

Anthea Arnold

Anthea Arnold has worked for Cambridge University Press, the Nuffield Foundation, and as a primary-school teacher in the London Borough of Brent. She has written two books: Briglin Pottery, published in 2002, and Eight Men in a Crate: The Ordeal of the Advance Party of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1955–1957, published in 2007. She became a Life Friend of Charleston in July 1986 and has worked there in various capacities as a volunteer. Anthea lives in Burwash, East Sussex.

New non-fiction: Gallipoli by Arthur Beecroft

9780719816543Gallipoli: A Soldier’s Story
At the start of the First World War, Arthur Beecroft was a recently qualified barrister in his twenties. Determined to enlist despite a medical condition, he volunteered for military service, first as a regular soldier, then as a despatch rider. Offered a commission in the Royal Engineers, in 1915 he saw action at Gallipoli.

Now a byword for catastrophic military disaster, the Gallipoli Campaign was the ill-conceived Allied invasion of the Dardanelles. The campaign stalled almost immediately, resulting in over half a million casualties on both sides.

Lucky to survive, several years later Beecroft wrote a detailed memoir of his experiences. Discovered by his granddaughter and now reproduced here almost exactly as it was written nearly a century ago, Beecroft’s vivid narrative takes us through those heady days of the declaration of war, enlistment, initial training, the bungled landing at Suvla Bay, and the exceptionally difficult conditions of the Gallipoli terrain. This is no mere jingoistic account. With a keen eye, Beecroft brings to life the men dogged by disease and exhaustion – ordinary soldiers who, even as they suffered the betrayal of incompetent leadership,  displayed extraordinary reserves of heroism and bravery.

Throughout this rare insight into what it was like for an ordinary ‘civilian soldier’ swept up in the fog of war, Beecroft’s authentic voice still speaks honestly to us today –  of comradeship and devotion to duty, of fear and facing death.  Now published for the first time in the centenary year of the Gallipoli Campaign, this is a soldier’s story in his own words.

Arthur Beecroft

Arthur Beecroft enlisted in 1914 and served as a Signals Officer during the Gallipoli campaign. After the First World War, he wrote several detective novels under the pen-name Arthur Salcroft, and was awarded an MBE in 1922. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard. Arthur Beecroft died peacefully in 1974.

New non-fiction: I Leap Over the Wall by Monica Baldwin

I Leap Over the Wall: A Return to the World After 28 Years in a Convent

9780719816437At the age of twenty-one, Monica Baldwin – the niece of Stanley Baldwin – entered one of the oldest and most strictly enclosed contemplative orders of the Roman Catholic Church. At the age of forty-eight, and after struggling with her vocation for many years, she obtained a special rescript from Rome and left the convent. But the world Monica had known and forsaken in 1914 was very different to the world into which she emerged at the height of the Second World War ….

This is the fascinating account of one woman’s two very different lives, with revealing descriptions of the world of a novice, the duties of a nun’s day, and the spiritual aspects of convent life. Interwoven with these are the trials and tribulations of coping with a new and alien world, as the author is confronted with fashions, interventions, politics and art totally unfamiliar to her.

Written in the post-war years, this re-issue is as fresh and engaging today as it ever was. Humour, intelligence, an endearing humility and a searing honesty all characterize this remarkable classic, giving readers both a glimpse into a hidden world and a unique view on one more familiar.

Praise for I Leap Over the Wall on first publication:

‘What a wonderful book! Now that I have finished it I want to read it again … whatever you think about nuns, whatever your religious views or lack of them, I don’t see how you can fail to be enriched by this book.’ John Betjeman

‘A sympathetically written and extraordinarily interesting account of one of the strangest and most disturbing experiences a modern woman ever lived through.’  Daily Mail

‘Witty, enlightening, entertaining.’  Daily Express

‘A story brilliantly told.’ Observer

‘Witty and intensely moving.’ Sunday Times

‘Works well. Amazing.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Straightforward, quiet and sincere. Profoundly interesting.’ Spectator

‘The book describes in fascinating detail life in an enclosed order.’ Irish Times

Buy your copy of I Leap Over the Wall here

New non-fiction: Itchen Memories by G. E. M. Skues

Itchen Memories
Itchen Memories is not a general collection of fishing memoirs concerning past days spent along various Itchen beats. It concerns just one, specific, length of this lovely chalk stream. The watery maze of carriers, ditches and drains which criss-cross
Winchester’s northern water-meadows, for centuries known as Abbotts Barton, is the sole setting for this collection of stories.

9780709063728
This reissue of a classic of twentieth-century angling literature, unavailable for many years, will be welcomed by anyone interested not only in the sport but in experiencing the troubled beauty of England’s countryside between the wars, viewed through the eyes of a naturally gifted writer.

Completely reset and beautifully presented with the original line drawings by Alex Jardine, the book also features an introduction by Roy Darlington.

 

G.E.M. Skues
The legendary G.E.M. Skues was the greatest innovative angler of modern times. Author of the seminal Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream, The Way of the Trout with a Fly, and Nymph Fishing for Chalk Stream Trout, he also had published posthumously in 1951, Itchen Memories. In an altogether more reflective and anecdotal volume Skues describes memories of over fifty years’ angling on his beloved Abbotts Barton Fishery. Itchen Memories beautifully evokes the time and place and gives a rare insight to the ‘master’ himself.

Buy your copy of Itchen Memories here.