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Piracy and betrayal frame the epic story of solitary endurance that inspired Daniel Defoe’s classic novel.
Who was the real Robinson Crusoe? And what did he really experience during his solitary stay on a remote island in the Pacific? Diana Souhami’s revelatory account of Alexander Selkirk’s adventures on the high seas and dry land leads us to the answers to both these questions, and explores the reality behind the romance of privateering on the high seas.
Born to a poor Scottish family, Selkirk signed on with an ill-fated quest to sack the famous Manila galleon, one of the richest prizes on the southern seas. After a series of misfortunes and disagreements among the crew, Selkirk was put ashore on an island three hundred miles west of South America, where he spent four years learning to survive with little more than his bare hands. …[more]
Murder at Wrotham Hill takes the killing in October 1946 of Dagmar Petrzywalski as the catalyst for a compelling and unique meditation on murder and fate.
Dagmar, a gentle, eccentric spinster, was the embodiment of Austerity Britain’s prudence and thrift. Her murderer Harold Hagger’s litany of petty crimes, abandoned wives, sloughed-off identities and desertion was its opposite. The texture of their lives and the impression their experiences made on their characters fated their meeting on that bleak autumn morning—and determined the manner in which both would meet their death.
Featuring England’s first celebrity policeman, Fabian of the Yard, the celebrated forensic scientist, Keith Simpson, and history’s most famous and dedicated hangman, Albert Pierrepoint, this is a gripping and deeply moving book.
A fascinating figure of English literary and political history, Radclyffe Hall was born in 1880 in Bournemouth, England. Hall suffered through an exceedingly unhappy childhood until her father’s death. With her inheritance, Hall leased a house in Kensington and began to live the way she pleased. She started dressing in chappish clothes, called herself Peter, then John, and wrote her first collection of verse. She was a political reactionary, a reformed Catholic, a member of the Society for Psychical Research, fussy about food and obsessive about work. She got her pipes from Dunhill’s, wore brocade smoking jackets, spats in winter, and had her hair cropped off at the barber’s.
Hall is most famous today for her book, The Well of Loneliness, which she wrote in 1928. A novel about lesbian love, the book caused an enormous scandal on its publication and it was suppressed both in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, where…[more]