Biography Historical Books

Toronto: Biography of a City

With the same eye for character, anecdote and circumstance that made Peter Ackroyd's London and Colin Jones's Paris so successful, Levine's captivating prose integrates the sights, sounds and feel of Toronto with a broad historical perspective, linking the city's present with its past through themes such as politics, transportation, public health, ethnic diversity and sports. Toronto invites readers to discover the city's lively spirit over four centuries and to wander purposefully through the city's many unique neighborhoods, where they can encounter the striking and peculiar characters who have inhabited them: the powerful and powerless, the entrepreneurs and the entertainers, and the moral and the corrupt, all of whom have contributed to Toronto's collective identity.

12 Years a Slave

This unforgettable memoir was the basis for the Academy Award-winning film 12 Years a Slave. This is the true story of Solomon Northup, who was born and raised as a freeman in New York. He lived the American dream, with a house and a loving family - a wife and two kids. Then one day he was drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery in the deep south. These are the true accounts of his twelve hard years as a slave - many believe this memoir is even more graphic and disturbing than the film. His extraordinary journey proves the resiliency of hope and the human spirit despite the most grueling and formidable of circumstances.

Behind the Scenes: Formerly a Slave (Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in The White House)

Behind the Scenes, Formerly a Slave, By Elizabeth Keckley, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in The White House, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (sometimes spelled Keckly; February 1818 - May 1907)[2] was a former slave who became a successful seamstress, civic activist and author in Washington, DC. She was best known as the personal modiste and confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, the First Lady. Keckley had moved to Washington in 1860 after buying her freedom and that of her son in St. Louis. She created an independent business in the capital based on clients who were the wives of the government elite. Among them were Varina Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis; and Mary Anna Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee. After the American Civil War, Keckley wrote and published an autobiography, Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House (1868). It was both a slave narrative and a portrait of the First Family, especially Mary Todd Lincoln, and considered controversial for breaking privacy about them. It was also her claim as a businesswoman to be part of the new mixed-race, educated middle-class that were visible among the leadership of the black community. Keckley's relationship with Mary Todd Lincoln, the President's wife, was notable for its personal quality and intimacy, as well as its endurance over time.

The British Mad Dog: Debunking the Myth of Winston Churchill

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Constance Street: Part 1 of 3: The true story of one family and one street in London’s East End

Constance Street can either be read as a full-length eBook or in 3 serialised eBook-only parts.

This is PART 1 of 3.

You can read Part 1 two weeks ahead of release of the full-length eBook and paperback.

One forgotten street, 12 unforgettable women.

Through the story of one street - Constance Street - we hear the true life tales of a tight-knit group of working class women in the East End of London set against a backdrop of war, hardship and struggle.

It's a story of matriarchy and deep family ties, of a generation that was scattered away from the street during the blitz bombings, but which maintained the ties of that street for decades afterwards.

Set in an area of East London called Silvertown, a once thriving docking community that at the turn of the 20th century was the industrial heartland of the south of England; the story focuses on the lives of 12 incredible women and their struggle to survive amidst the chaos of the war years.

We have Nellie Greenwood, the author's great grandmother who runs a laundry in Silvertown which becomes the focal point of the community. In 1917 a munitions factory in Silvertown explodes flattening much of the surrounding area and causing extensive damage to Constance Street - Nellie's daughter is blown from her crib but miraculously survives.

Deciding to open the laundry as a field hospital for the injured, Nellie and the women on the street come together to tend the wounded, the sick and the emotionally shattered as they cope with the aftermath of not just one but two world wars.

Through the Great War, the roaring Twenties, the Depression and then the unimaginable - the outbreak of a second world war - Nellie and the street survive with love, laughter and friendships that bind the community together. But just as this incredible group of women live through the worst, the unthinkable happens. On 7 September 1940, Constance Street is no more.

Following in the footsteps of Farewell to the East End by Jennifer Worth and The Sugar Girls, Constance Street is a life-affirming, heart-warming read that reminds us of a time when people pulled together.

World War II in Antwerp, Belgium: Experiences of a Young Boy

War is, of course, terrible. Any war. All the suffering, all the death, all the wounded, the destruction, homelessness, cruelty, hunger, fear, and panic. It may also bring out the best in some people: heroism, patriotism, compassion, and altruism. But one would never think that war might be seen as an adventure; in some ways for me it was.

In this short book I write about my memories of this period of time from the invasion of Belgium, through the German occupation, and to the immediate post war era. For most Belgians this was a hard and sad time full of suffering. While I experienced some of that suffering and the fear as well, many of my memories are about exciting events and experiences (to a young boy), to the point that I remember this time as an "adventure."

I will justifiably be faulted for talking so lightly about this dark period in Belgium's and the world's history and for seemingly having somewhat enjoyed it all , while people were indiscriminately killed, tortured, and exterminated by the Nazis and while there was much suffering, destruction, maiming, and death. Remember though that I was a little boy growing up and mostly unaware of the atrocities occurring away from my immediate environment. Also, my parents did their best to shelter me from the many horrors.

If a reader is offended by this, I do apologize and want to reassure the reader that now at age 83, I am of course fully aware of the darkness of the years between 1940 and 1945. Seen in this light I do hope that this will be an interesting and enjoyable read for contemporaries and others.

Fifty Great Things to Come Out of the Midlands

Celebrate the heart of Britain in this fun and informative mini-ebook.

Rugby, Walkers Crisps, Conkers. These are just a handful of the many great things to have come out of the Midlands. In this celebratory list, journalist and loyal Midlander Robert Shore counts down fifty of the best gifts the Midlands has given the world.

Knowledge no Midlander - nay, Brit! - should be without.

From the author of Bang in the Middle.

Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

"Franklin's is one of the greatest autobiographies in literature, and towers over other autobiographies as Franklin towered over other men." -William Dean Howells

Tales of a Tiller Girl Part 1 of 3

A heart-warming nostalgia memoir from a member of the world famous dance troupe, The Tiller Girls. Based in London in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, Irene's story will transport readers back to a more innocent, simple way of life.

This is the story of a little girl who loved to dance. Growing up in London in the 1930s, dancing was so much more to Irene than just a hobby. It was her escape and it took her off into another world away from the harsh realities of life. A fairytale world away from the horrors of WW2, from the grief of losing her father and missing her mother who she didn't see for three years while she was drafted to help with the war effort. And far away from her cold-hearted grandparents who treated her like an inconvenience.

Finally it led to her winning a place as a Tiller Girl; the world's most famous dance troupe known for their 32-and-a-half high kicks a minute and precise, symmetrical routines. For four years she opened and closed the show at the prestigious London Palladium and performed on stage alongside huge stars such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Judy Garland.

It was a strange mixture of glamour and bloody hard work but it was certainly never dull. And being a Tiller Girl also gave Irene the opportunity to see firsthand the devastating effects of WW2, both here and abroad.

Heart-warming, enlightening and wonderfully uplifting, Irene's evocative story will transport readers back to a time when every town and holiday resort had several theatres and when dance troupes like The Tiller Girls were the epitome of glitz and glamour.

At the Coalface: Part 1 of 3: The memoir of a pit nurse

A heart-warming story of a woman who devoted her life to helping others. This is the memoir of Joan, who started nursing in the 1940s and whose experiences took her into the Yorkshire mining pits and through the tumult of the 1984-85 miners' strike.

Joan Hart always knew what she wanted to do with her life. Born in South Yorkshire in 1932, she started her nursing training when she was 16, the youngest age girls could do so at the time. She continued working after she married and her work took her to London and Doncaster, caring for children and miners.

When she took a job as a pit nurse in Doncaster in 1974, she found that in order to be accepted by the men under her care, she would have to become one of them. Most of the time rejecting a traditional nurse's uniform and donning a baggy miner's suit, pit boots, a hardhat and a headlamp, Joan resolved always to go down to injured miners and bring them out of the pit herself.

Over 15 years Joan grew to know the miners not only as a nurse, but as a confidante and friend. She tended to injured miners underground, rescued men trapped in the pits, and provided support for them and their families during the bitter miners' strike which stretched from March 1984 to 1985.

Moving and uplifting, this is a story of one woman's life, marriage and work; it is guaranteed to make readers laugh, cry, and smile.

The New Arrival: Part 1 of 3: The Heartwarming True Story of a 1970s Trainee Nurse

The New Arrival can either be read as a full-length eBook or in 3 serialised eBook-only parts.

This is PART 1 of 3 (Chapters 1-9 of 30).

You can read Part 1 two weeks ahead of release of the full-length eBook and paperback.

17-year-old Sarah Hill leaves behind her home in Wales and enrols at Hackney General Hospital, where she is due to start her training.

Looking up at the rows and rows of little windows, there was no way Sarah could have guessed just what she was getting herself into...

More than just a hospital, Hackney General was part of the community, just as much as the Adam & Eve pub the staff frequent. A place where the poorly children of Hackney were nursed to health, a place where young nurses would discover just want they wanted from life, fall in love with shy photographers and grow into women. But it's not all smooth sailing in Hackney: for every baby that goes home to its loving family another is abandoned, unloved, or never gets to go home at all.

Funny, warm and deeply moving, Sarah Beeson's poignant memoir captures both the heartache and happiness of hospital life and 1970s London through the eyes of a gentle but determined young nurse.

Blood Sisters: Part 1 of 3: Can a pledge made for life endure beyond death? (Tales of the Notorious Hudson Family, Book 6)

It's 1983 and best friends Vicky and Lucy swear that they will always be there for each other, that they'll never let anyone come between them. But fast forward 4 years and life on the Canterbury Estate has gotten very messy.

Lucy has fallen for local policeman's son, Jimmy. And Vicky is madly in love with Paddy, the charming but ruthless local bad boy. The boys are bitter enemies and determined to keep the two girls apart. But then Vicky is accused of murder, and even her drug-dealer boyfriend wants her mouth shut, permanently. Maybe Lucy is the only one who can save her...

Love, murder, revenge. Who can you really trust when there's blood on your hands?

Suitcases and Backpacks - Growing through the Holocaust

This is a testimony of intricate detail that describes a young girls survival in ghettos and concentration camps between 1942 and 1945. Readers follow her heart-breaking journey from Vienna to the Theresienstadt Ghetto to Auzchwitz to a labour camp near Breslau, followed by the alienation she feels upon returning to Vienna, her subsequent journey to Prague, and finally the realization of her dream to immigrate to Palestine. Chava Kohavi Pines was born Eva Hirsch in 1927 in Vienna, Austria, to a middle-class Jewish family. Since immigrating to Palestine in 1946, the author has resided in Kibbutz Dorot in the northern Negev where she worked as a teacher and counsellor for years. Only with forty years' distance from the trauma of her youth has she been able to write an account of some of her experiences under Hitler.

Manson's Right-Hand Man Speaks Out

Manson's Right-Hand Man Speaks Out is an interview with Charles "Tex" Watson, covering ten intriguing subjects chapter by chapter. It provides something for everyone, including factual information for the historian, counsel for parents in raising successful children, research assistance for students, and answers for teenagers. Those searching will find the Truth and see at last how to stop the pain.

Some Wore Blue & Some Wore Gray

With the 150th Anniversary of the Battle at Gettysburg and the Siege of Vicksburg, New York Times Best Selling Author, Heather Graham, is revisiting one of her favorite time periods - The American Civil War. This time, however, she has compiled biographies of some of her favorite real-life characters of the period. We hope you'll enjoy her gift to you in SOME WORE BLUE & SOME WORE GRAY. And feel free to comment in the review section if there are people you would be interested in reading about from the Civil War. Ms. Graham sees this as a living, growing document and is certain to add to it as time goes by. Enjoy!

And then when you want to see where all this love of history took her, check out her three Bantam novels ONE WORE BLUE, ONE WORE GRAY, and AND ONE RODE WEST.

Secret Child: Part 1 of 3

Secret Child can either be read as a full-length eBook or in 3 serialised eBook-only parts.

This is PART 1 of 3 (Chapters 1-6 of 16).

The shocking true story of a young boy hidden away from his family and the world in a Catholic home for unmarried mothers in 1950s Dublin.

Born an 'unfortunate' onto the rough streets of 1950s Dublin, this is the incredible true story of a young boy, a secret child born into a home for unmarried mothers in 1950s Dublin and a mother determined to keep her child, even if it meant hiding him from her own family and the rest of the world.

Despite the poverty, hardship and isolation, the pride and hope of a community of women who banded together to raise their children would give this boy his chance to find his real family.

A wonderfully heartwarming and evocative tale of working class life in 1950s Dublin and 1960s London.