Win all six books shortlisted for the 2017 HWA Non-Fiction Crown Award. Just follow the instructions below to enter. You’ve got four chances to win:
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Enter before midnight on 30th September 2017. The winner will be contacted by email (so please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your contact list!) and the prize will be sent by UK snail mail.
This giveaway is open to UK entries only.
More about the books:
It was known as ‘the vast prison without a roof’. From the beginning of the nineteenth century to the Russian Revolution, the tsarist regime exiled more than one million prisoners and their families beyond the Ural Mountains to Siberia.
The House of the Dead, brings to life both the brutal realities of an inhuman system and the tragic and inspiring fates of those who endured it. This is the vividly told history of common criminals and political radicals, the victims of serfdom and village politics, the wives and children who followed husbands and fathers, and of fugitives and bounty-hunters.
The tsars looked on Siberia as creating the ultimate political quarantine from the contagions of revolution. Generations of rebels – republicans, nationalists and socialists – were condemned to oblivion thousands of kilometres from European Russia. Over the nineteenth century, however, these political exiles transformed Siberia’s mines, prisons and remote settlements into an enormous laboratory of revolution.
This masterly work of original research taps a mass of almost unknown primary evidence held in Russian and Siberian archives to tell the epic story both of Russia’s struggle to govern its monstrous penal colony and Siberia’s ultimate, decisive impact on the political forces of the modern world.
The extraordinary story of how a simple tale of love and revolution, the poor and the downtrodden – Victor Hugo’s beloved classic Les Misérables – conquered the world.
There has never been a book like it. It is the most widely read and frequently adapted story of all time, on stage and on film. But why is Les Misérables the novel of the century? David Bellos’s remarkable new book brings to life the extraordinary story of how Hugo managed to write his epic novel despite a revolution, a coup d’état and political exile; how he pulled off the deal of the century to get it published, and set it on course to become the novel that epitomizes the grand sweep of history in the nineteenth century. Packed full of information about the background and design of Les Misérables, this biography of a masterpiece nonetheless insists that the moral and social message of Hugo’s ever-popular novel is just as important for our century as it was for its own. The Novel of the Century is a book as rich, remarkable and long-lasting as the novel at its heart.
In 1570, after plots and assassination attempts against her, Elizabeth I was excommunicated by the Pope. It was the beginning of cultural, economic and political exchanges with the Islamic world of a depth not again experienced until the modern age. England signed treaties with the Ottoman Porte, received ambassadors from Morocco and shipped munitions to Marrakech in the hope of establishing an accord which would keep the common enemy of Catholic Spain at bay. This awareness of the Islamic world found its way into many of the great English cultural productions of the day – especially, of course, Shakespeare’s Othello and The Merchant of Venice. This Orient Isle shows that England’s relations with the Muslim world were far more extensive, and often more amicable, than we have ever appreciated, and that their influence was felt across the political, commercial and domestic landscape of Elizabethan England.
As the Second World War neared its conclusion, Germany was a nation reduced to rubble: 3.6 million German homes had been destroyed leaving 7.5 million people homeless; an apocalyptic landscape of flattened cities and desolate wastelands.
In May 1945 Germany surrendered, and Britain, America, Soviet Russia and France set about rebuilding their zones of occupation. Most urgent for the Allies in this divided, defeated country were food, water and sanitation, but from the start they were anxious to provide for the minds as well as the physical needs of the German people. Reconstruction was to be cultural as well as practical: denazification and re-education would be key to future peace and the arts crucial in modelling alternative, less militaristic, ways of life. Germany was to be reborn; its citizens as well as its cities were to be reconstructed; the mindset of the Third Reich was to be obliterated.
When, later that year, twenty-two senior Nazis were put in the dock at Nuremberg, writers and artists including Rebecca West, Evelyn Waugh, John Dos Passos and Laura Knight were there to tell the world about a trial intended to ensure that tyrannous dictators could never again enslave the people of Europe. And over the next four years, many of the foremost writers and filmmakers of their generation were dispatched by Britain and America to help rebuild the country their governments had spent years bombing. Among them, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, Marlene Dietrich, George Orwell, Lee Miller, W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Billy Wilder and Humphrey Jennings.
The Bitter Taste of Victory traces the experiences of these figures and through their individual stories offers an entirely fresh view of post-war Europe. Never before told, this is a brilliant, important and utterly mesmerising history of cultural transformation.
Over sixteen extraordinary days in October and November 1956, the twin crises of Suez and Hungary pushed the world to the brink of a nuclear conflict and what many at the time were calling World War III. Blood and Sand is a revelatory new history of these dramatic events, for the first time setting both crises in the context of the Arab–Israeli conflict, and the treacherous power politics of imperialism and oil.
Blood and Sand tells this story hour by hour, with a fascinating cast of characters including Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anthony Eden, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Nikita Khrushchev, Christian Pineau, Imre Nagy and David Ben-Gurion. It is a tale of conspiracy and revolutions, spies and terrorists, kidnappings and assassination plots, the fall of the British Empire and the rise of American hegemony. Blood and Sand is essential to our understanding of the modern Middle East and resonates powerfully with the problems of oil control, religious fundamentalism and international unity that face the world today.
‘Life for De Quincey was either angels ascending on vaults of cloud or vagrants shivering on the city streets.’
Thomas De Quincey – opium-eater, celebrity journalist, and professional doppelgänger – is embedded in our culture. Modelling his character on Coleridge and his sensibility on Wordsworth, De Quincey took over the poet’s former cottage in Grasmere and turned it into an opium den. Here, increasingly detached from the world, he nurtured his growing hatred of his former idols and his obsession with murder as one of the fine arts.
De Quincey may never have felt the equal of the giants of the Romantic Literature he so worshipped but the writing style he pioneered – scripted and sculptured emotional memoir – was to inspire generations of writers: Dickens, Dostoevsky, Virginia Woolf. James Joyce knew whole pages of his work off by heart and he was arguably the father of what we now call psychogeography.
This spectacular biography, the produce of meticulous scholarship and beautifully supple prose, tells the riches-to-rags story of a figure of dazzling complexity and dazzling originality, whose rackety life was lived on the run, and both brings De Quincey and his martyred but wild soul triumphantly to life and firmly establishes Frances Wilson in the front rank of contemporary biographers.
See the shortlists for the HWA Endeavour Gold Crown and the Debut Crown and look out for more giveaways to come!