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Carrington by Christopher Lee

A vivid and expert biography of Lord Carrington, one of the outstanding politicians of the 20th century, who died on 9 July 2018.

"One of the country's greatest post-war statesmen" - Sir John Major


Carrington - An Honourable Man
by Christopher Lee
Viking | £25.00 | Hardback | 6 September 2018

carrinton.jpg

Lord Carrington served as a minister in every Conservative government from Churchill to Thatcher – who said there was something innately reassuring walking into a room where Carrington stood. Most notably, he was Margaret Thatcher’s Foreign Secretary when the Argentinians invaded the Falklands in 1982. Absent in Israel on the eve of the invasion, he promptly resigned since it was, he said, a point of honour. He is seen by many today as the last of his breed in politics, an honourable man committed to public service.

He could be viewed as a typical Tory grandee, yet he disliked the Party, claiming late in his life that he was no longer a member, and could be fiercely independent. And there were recurring oddities in his career. He was forced to offer his resignation to Churchill for bad judgement over the Crichel Down Affair. As Navy Minister he was caught in the glare of a spy ring, and, though Defence
Secretary, kept out of the loop of the military operation which culminated in Bloody Sunday.

In this full biography, authorised but not read by the subject, Christopher Lee offers a fascinating portrait of a Tory icon whose career is a window into post-war British politics and life as a politician and diplomat.

Suggested talking points:

  • The relationship between Foreign Secretaries and Prime Ministers
  • The relationship between Carrington and Thatcher
  • MPs’ resignations - are there still ‘honourable’ resignations
  • Falklands War, and Carrington’s subsequent resignation
  • The agreement over Rhodesia / Zimbabwe, and its impact on Carrington’s career
  • Carrington’s wartime experiences – including his Military Cross at Arnhem

Christopher Lee began this book while Quatercentenary Research Fellow at Emmanuel College Cambridge where he also edited Winston Churchill's A History of the English-speaking Peoples and where he wrote his award-winning BBC Radio 4 history of Britain, This Sceptred Isle. He was previously Defence & Foreign Affairs Correspondent at the BBC, where he controlled Radio 4’s output on the Falklands War. Lee lives in Kent and aboard a restored sloop which he sails from the Beaulieu River.

Christopher Lee started the book twenty years ago and interviewed Carrington regularly. It was Carrington who requested that the book wasn’t published until after his death.

Others interviewed by Lee over the course of writing the book include Sir Edward Heath; Dr Henry Kissinger; Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Nott.


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1984: India’s Guilty Secret by Pav Singh

When 8,000 citizens in the world's largest democracy are murdered in a government- orchestrated genocidal massacre in just four days, how is it possible for the guilty to evade justice? This shocking exposé of a true-life Orwellian plot of nightmarish proportions reveals how they did it.


1984: India’s Guilty Secret by Pav Singh | Kashi House / non-fiction / tpb / £12.99 / 1 November 2017

 1984: India's Guilty Secret by Pav Singh

In November 1984, the ruling elite of the world's largest democracy conspired to murder thousands of their country's citizens in genocidal massacres reminiscent of Nazi-era Germany while the world watched on. Over four days, armed mobs brutally and systematically butchered, torched and raped members of the minority Sikh community living in Delhi and elsewhere. The sheer scale of the killings exceeded the combined civilian death tolls of the conflict in Northern Ireland, Tiananmen Square and 9/11. In Delhi alone 3,000 people were killed. The full extent of what took place has yet to be fully acknowledged.

This definitive account based on harrowing victim testimonies and official accounts reveals how the largest mass crime against humanity in India's modern history was perpetrated by politicians and covered up with the help of the police, judiciary and media. The failings of Western governments - who turned a blind eye to the atrocities for fear of losing trade contracts worth billions - are also exposed.

  • This is the first book to expose the chilling events of November 1984, the Indian government's 33- year cover-up and the moral indifference of Thatcher cabinet.
  • Reveals for the first time the high-level conspiracy at the heart of the Indian establishment by connecting the lower level actors to senior politicians, high-ranking policemen, judges and ultimately, to the Gandhi family itself
  • A powerful and compelling account exposing the dark underbelly of a key global and economic powerhouse - hailed as ‘a timely reminder of India's shameful inability to account for that explosion of racial and religious hatred’ in Delhi and elsewhere in November 1984 (Geoffrey Robertson QC)
  • Includes an analysis of the previously unrecognised issue of mass genocidal rape against women and the killing of children: 'long overdue in coming since there is far too little writing on 1984' (Dr Uma Chakravarti, Indian historian & feminist).

About Pav Singh

Pav Singh was born in Leeds, England, the son of Punjabi immigrants. He has been instrumental in campaigning on the issues surrounding the 1984 massacres. In 2004, he spent a year in India researching the full extent of the pogroms and the subsequent cover-up. He met with survivors and witnessed the political fall-out and protests following the release of the flawed Nanavati Report into the killings. His research led to the pivotal and authoritative report 1984 Sikhs' Kristallnacht, which was first released in the UK Parliament in 2005 and substantially expanded in 2009. In his role as a community advocate at the Wiener (Holocaust) Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, London, he curated the exhibition 'The 1984 Anti-Sikh Pogroms Remembered' in 2014 with Delhi-based photographer Gauri Gill.


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Sevastopol’s Wars: Crimea from Potemkin to Putin by Mungo Melvin

Published in hardback by Osprey Publishing on 20 April 2017 at £30

From award-winning historian Mungo Melvin, the first book to cover the full history of Russia's historic Crimean naval citadel, from its founding in 1783 through to the current tensions that threaten the region’s peace and stability.

Founded by Catherine the Great, the maritime city of Sevastopol has been fought over for centuries. Crucial battles of the Crimean War were fought on the hills surrounding the city, and the memory of this stalwart defence inspired those who fought the Germans during the Second World War. Twice the city has faced complete obliteration yet twice it has risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes. Rebuilt from scratch during the Cold War, it remains a formidable bastion of Russian military power.

In this ground-breaking volume, award-winning author Mungo Melvin explores how Sevastopol became a crucible of three major conflicts – the Crimean War, the Russian Civil War and the Second World War – witnessing the death and destruction of countless soldiers, sailors and civilians yet creating the indomitable 'spirit of Sevastopol'.  By weaving together historical accounts, first-hand interviews, detailed operational reports and expert battle analysis, Melvin creates a rich tapestry of history, brought further to life through 16 colour maps and over 80 pictures.

Talking Points

  • The significance of both Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia since 1783, and why they were re-annexed in 2014 at the expense of Ukraine.
  • The background to the tensions surrounding Russia, Ukraine, Crimea and the West.
  • The close bonds between the Crimea generally and Sevastopol specifically to the Russian people – explaining why the Russian action was widely welcomed by local inhabitants in 2014.
  • A deeply researched study of the operational and tactical methods used by Russian and Soviet forces during the 19th and 20th centuries, and most recently in 2014.
  • Russian author Leo Tolstoy and his service as a junior artillery officer during the Crimean War.  (Sevastopol’s Wars includes fascinating excerpts from his vivid accounts of the city under siege in 1854–55, Sevastopol Sketches.)

About Major General Mungo Melvin

Major General Mungo Melvin CB OBE is the author of award-winning Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010). He is a retired senior Army officer - commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1975, he saw operational service in Northern Ireland, the Middle East and the Balkans. During the latter part of his 37-year career he specialised in strategic analysis and professional military education and doctrine, becoming one of the British Army's leading thinkers and writers. Mungo Melvin is president of the British Commission for Military History, and is currently advising the British Army on the First World War centenary commemorations. He is a senior associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute and a senior visiting research fellow of the Department of War Studies of King's College London. He lectures widely on strategy and military history in both the public and commercial sectors.  For more information about Major General Mungo Melvin please visit www.mungomelvin.com.

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The Tartan Turban: In Search Of Alexander Gardner by John Keay

In this compelling investigative biography, bestselling author of India: A History, John Keay, takes readers on a quest from the American West to the Asian East to unravel the greatest enigma in the history of travel.  Alexander Gardner – a 19th-century Scots-American traveller, adventurer and mercenary – lived a life many found too outrageous to believe and using a wealth of original material and compelling new evidence, Keay uncovers the truth about a character seemingly from the ‘Flashman’ stories.

Among the many gripping tales of travel and exploration the tale of Alexander Gardner is surely one of the most extraordinary. Master storyteller John Keay deftly sifts truth from myth-making to uncover fascinating new evidence, revealing an amazing tale worthy of Kipling or Flashman of a life lived further out on the edge than most could even imagine.
— Michael Wood

HB ǀ £25.00 ǀ 9781911271000 ǀ 16 February 2017 ǀ Kashi House (distributed by Allison and Busby)

The Tartan Turban by John Keay

Like the travels of Marco Polo, those of Alexander Gardner clip the white line between credible adventure and creative invention. Either he is the nineteenth century’s most intrepid traveller or its most egregious fantasist, or a bit of both. Contemporaries generally believed him; posterity became more sceptical. And as with Polo, the investigation of Gardner’s story enlarged man’s understanding of the world and upped the pace of scientific and political exploration.

For before more reputable explorers notched up their own discoveries in innermost Asia, this lone Scots-American had roamed the deserts of Turkestan, ridden round the world’s most fearsome knot of mountains and fought in Afghanistan ‘for the good cause of right against wrong’. From the Caspian to Tibet and from Kandahar to Kashgar, Gardner had seen it all. At the time, the 1820s, no other outsider had managed anything remotely comparable. When word of his feats filtered out, geographers were agog.

Historians were more intrigued by what followed. After thirteen years as a white-man-gone-native in Central Asia, Gardner re-emerged as a colonel of artillery in the employ of India’s last great native empire. He witnessed the death throes of that Sikh empire at close quarters and, sparing no gruesome detail, recorded his own part in the bloodshed (the very same featuring as the exploits of ‘Alick’ Gardner in the ‘Flashman’ series).

Fame finally caught up with him during his long retirement in Kashmir. Dressed in tartan yet still living as a native, he mystified visiting dignitaries and found a ready audience for the tales of his adventurous past - including saving the city of Lahore in 1841 by singlehandedly killing 300 invaders. But one mystery he certainly took to the grave: the whereabouts of his accumulated fortune has still to be discovered. 

JOHN KEAY has been a professional writer, scholar, broadcaster and traveller for more than 40 years. He has written and presented over 100 documentaries for BBC Radios 3 and 4 and is the author of some two dozen books mainly on Asia and exploration. His narrative histories India: A History, China: A History and The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company are widely regarded as standard works. A Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, his prose has been described as ‘exquisite’ (Observer) and his historical analysis as ‘forensic’ (The Guardian). He has also edited The Royal Geographical Society’s History of World Exploration and encyclopaedias of both Scotland and London. For his literary contribution to Asian studies he was awarded the Royal Society for Asian Affairs' Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal in 2009. He lives in Argyll.


Talking Points

Exploration and travel

The travels of a maverick mercenary who, having crossed Central Asia's arid deserts and high
mountain passes in the hope of finding ‘happiness among wild races and in exploring unknown lands’, astounded his contemporaries in ways no man had since Marco Polo

Lone Survivor

What are the odds of a lone traveller surviving thirteen years amidst some of the harshest conditions in Asia, roaming the deserts of Turkestan, trekking round the world’s most fearsome knot of mountains, fending off a wolf-pack, evading the clutches of Central Asian slave-traders, engaging in raids and ambushes against bandits in Afghanistan, and spending nine months in an underground dungeon?

Lost treasure

The fabulous treasure horde, amassed by an American soldier of fortune who had the opportunity to steal the Koh-i-Noor diamond, remains waiting to be discovered somewhere in the subcontinent

Inspiration for Kipling?

As the first white man to trek across the secretive anti-Islamic mountain enclave of Kafiristan (‘Land of the Unbeliever’) and live to tell the tale, was Alexander Gardner the real inspiration behind Kipling’s famous novel, The Man Who Would Be King?

The First American in Afghanistan

Revealing the remarkable tale of a lone American who, two centuries before the United States’ began its military action, became the first of his nation to venture into Afghanistan.

A Son of Scotland & His Tartan Turban

Exploring the ancestry, shifting identities, achievements and tartan tastes of a pioneering Scots American who went native in Asia.

The fashion of white men wearing turbans

Alexander Burnes - British political agent in Afghanistan who lost Alexander Gardner’s crucial Kafiristan journal in the 1840s

Queen Victoria’s sons - they were dressed up like Sikh princes by Maharaja Duleep Singh
(who Gardner had guarded when he ruled at Lahore) soon after his arrival in the UK in 1854
William Simpson - war artist who, like George Landseer who captured Gardner’s portrait, was in
Kashmir in 1860s; the works of both artists are in the collections of the Victoria & Albert
Museum

George Hayward - a military man who turned explorer consulted Gardner on routes into the
Pamir mountains

August Schoefft - painter who travelled across India in the 1830s-40s and produced works
connected to the court of Lahore (captured other white officers but not Gardner, who may
have been away on campaign)

Victorian / Edwardian military officers - men like General Sir Samuel James Browne VC (Sam Browne’s Cavalry), Captain Robert Shebbeare VC (15th Punjab Infantry) and Sir John Smyth VC, who wore turbans on campaign, all commanded men (or their descendants in the case of Smyth) from the disbanded Sikh army when Britain took control of Punjab


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