Results of the Whitbread Book Award in the year 2000.
Lorna Sage’s adventure in autobiography is a searing and funny anatomy of three marriages that brings to life her girlhood in postwar provincial Britain. Her early childhood was dominated by her brilliant, bitter grandfather, a drinker, a womanizer, a vicar, exiled to a remote village on the Welsh borders. His wife loathed him, lived on memories, and shook her fist at any parishioner bold enough to call at the house. From the vicarage Lorna watched the fading away of the old world and the slow dissolve of her grandparents’ disastrous Union.
Then her father returns from the army and she moves with her parents and baby brother into a newly built house. Living with her parents, she quickly learns that the world is full of secrets and myths that mark her family—her mother’s thwarted dreams, her father’s addiction to work, and the mysterious emotional economy of their proper marriage. Longing to leave, Lorna vows…[more]
Claire Harman’s full-scale biography of Fanny Burney, the first literary woman novelist and a true child of eighteenth-century England and the Enlightenment, is rich with insights and pleasures as it brings us into the extraordinary life (1752-1840) of the woman Virginia Woolf called ìthe mother of English fiction.
We are present at Mrs. Thrale’s dinner party when the twenty-six-year-old Fanny has the incomparable thrill of hearing Dr. Johnson himself admiringly acknowledge her authorship of Evelina, her first novel, anonymously published for fear of upsetting her adored father, and now the talk of the town. We see her growing up, daughter of the charming and gifted musician and teacher Dr. Charles Burney, who was the very embodiment of a new class: talented, energized, self-educated, self-made, self-conscious, socially ambitious and easily endearing himself to aristocratic patrons. …[more]
The most powerful account of Hitler’s domination of the German people through fanaticism, divisiveness, and luck. From his illegitimate birth in a small Austrian village to his fiery death in a bunker under the Reich chancellery in Berlin, Adolf Hitler left a murky trail, strewn with contradictory tales and overgrown with self-created myths. One truth prevails: the sheer scale of the evils that he unleashed on the world has made him a demonic figure without equal in this century.
Ian Kershaw’s Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the character of the bizarre misfit in his thirty-year ascent from a Viennese shelter for the indigent to uncontested rule over the German nation that had tried and rejected democracy in the crippling aftermath of World War I. With extraordinary vividness, Kershaw recreates the settings that made Hitler’s rise possible: the virulent anti-Semitism of prewar Vienna, the crucible of a war with immense casualties, the toxic nationalism that gripped…[more]
Following on from the first volume of his life of Ruskin, this second volume covers the years 1860 until his death in 1900. John Ruskin (1819-1900) is perhaps best known for his books on art criticism, The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) and The Stones of Venice (1853), but his contribution as an artist is significant as well. In fact, his landscapes and portraits, with their wildness and organic energy, echo many of his critical ideas. Ruskin disliked classicism’s symmetry and order, preferring the rougher qualities of Gothic art. Likewise, he rejected machine-produced goods which he considered ‘dishonest,’ advocating craftsmanship. He came to be associated with the Arts & Crafts movement, along with William Morris. Ruskin founded a utopian arts and crafts community, putting his theory into practice.