enquiries@hartsbooks.co.uk

Tel: 01799 524 552

Hart's Books

26 King Street  -  Saffron Walden  -  CB10 1ES01799 524 552
FB Twitter

What We’re Reading

Lords of the Desert: Britain’s Struggle with America to Dominate the Middle East

Recommended by Max

£9.99

Available in Paperback

Published July 2019

Published by Simon & Schuster

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 524 552 or in the shop.

Upon victory in 1945, Britain still dominated the Middle East. She directly ruled Palestine and Aden, was the kingmaker in Iran, the power behind the thrones of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, and protected the sultan of Oman and the Gulf sheikhs. But her motives for wanting to dominate this crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa were changing. Where `imperial security’ – control of the route to India – had once been paramount, now oil was an increasingly important factor. So, too, was prestige. Ironically, the very end of empire made control of the Middle East precious in itself: on it hung Britain’s claim to be a great power.

Unable to withstand Arab and Jewish nationalism, within a generation the British were gone. But that is not the full story. What ultimately sped Britain on her way was the uncompromising attitude of the United States, which was determined to displace the British in the Middle East.

The British did not give in gracefully to this onslaught. Using newly declassified records and long-forgotten memoirs, including the diaries of a key British spy, James Barr tears up the conventional interpretation of this era in the Middle East, vividly portraying the tensions between London and Washington, and shedding an uncompromising light on the murkier activities of a generation of American and British diehards in the region, from the battle of El Alamein in 1942 to Britain’s abandonment of Aden in 1967. Reminding us that the Middle East has always served as the arena for great power conflict, this is the tale of an internecine struggle in which Britain would discover that her most formidable rival was the ally she had assumed would be her closest friend.

At the Pond: Swimming at the Hampstead Ladies’ Pond

Recommended by Max

£9.99

Available in Paperback

Published June 2019

Published by Daunt Books

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 524 552 or in the shop.

Tucked away along a shady path towards the north-east edge of Hampstead Heath is a sign: Women Only. This is the Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond.

Floating in the Pond’s silky waters, hidden by a canopy of trees, it’s easy to forget that you are in the middle of London. On a hot day, thousands of swimmers from eight to eighty-plus can be found waiting to take a dip before sunbathing in the adjoining meadow. As summer turns to autumn and then winter, the Pond is still visited by a large number of hardy regulars in high-vis hats, many of whom have been swimming here for decades.

In these essays we see the Pond from the perspectives of writers who have swum there. Esther Freud describes the life-affirming sensation of swimming through the seasons; Lou Stoppard pays tribute to the winter swimmers who break the ice; Margaret Drabble reflects on the golden Hampstead days of her youth; Sharlene Teo visits for the first time; and Nell Frizzell shares the view from her yellow lifeguard’s canoe.

Combining personal reminiscence with reflections on the history of the place over the years and through the changing seasons, At the Pond captures fourteen contemporary writers’ impressions of this unique place.

Contributors:

Ava Wong Davies | Margaret Drabble | Esther Freud

Nell Frizzell | Eli Goldstone | Amy Key

Jessica J. Lee | Sophie Mackintosh | So Mayer

Deborah Moggach | Nina Mingya Powles

Leanne Shapton | Lou Stoppard | Sharlene Teo

‘The Ladies’ bathing ponds on Hampstead Heath are a London institution, whether it’s sunny or snowy, so what better way to immortalise them than with a book?’ – Red

‘In this collection of work, writers including Margaret Drabble, Esther Freud, Deborah Moggach and Sophie Mackintosh share their stories of the pond and reflect on its history and present.’ –Stylist

‘A joyous collection of essays celebrating the sanctuary of the women’s pond on Hampstead Heath.’ –  New Statesman

‘A small but wonderful collection that shares the joy of the Ladies’ Pond … At the Pond is a series of essays about a body of water but these essays are about so much more than that.’  – Outdoor Swimming Society

‘If you’re a pond dipper / wild swimmer / have ever front-crawled alongside a family of fuzzy buttercup ducklings / peculiarly adored silt in your pores / swum in water so cold you can feel your blood wrapping your heart and lungs in an invisible thermal blanket… this beautiful collection of essays is for you.’ – Dolly Alderton

‘Captures the exhilaration of a visit to the Ladies’ Pond.’ – The Herald

‘There’s a ringing clarity, like the most purposeful swim. And also, there’s the kind of poetry I love, found in prosaic things like bus routes and mobile phones and in the way old cucumber goes mushy inside its shrink wrap. There’s lots of wit and perspicacity. There’s cool honesty, insight and warmth, even in the coldest months… It struck me as clever and appropriate, what Daunt have done: produced a thing about a thing which is a perfect accompaniment to doing the thing. For completion, this should be read near water.’ – Jenny Landreth, Caught by the River

‘In this collection of work, writers including Margaret Drabble, Esther Freud, Deborah Moggach and Sophie Mackintosh share their stories of the pond and reflect on its history and present.’ – Stylist2019’s best non-fiction books

‘This book is made of memories, and sunny days . . . It’s a collection of essays about swimming in the Hampstead Ladies’ Pond, written by an impressive roster of some of the most luminous literary voices in the UK. I especially loved Nina Mingya Powles’ piece, Small Bodies Of Water, which took me beyond North London, to Shanghai and New Zealand, with powerful, poetic descriptions of everything that is beautiful and bewildering about the natural world. I found that I fell in love with many new voices, as well as rediscovering old favourites like Margaret Drabble and Esther Freud. This is a perfect book to dip into when you’re travelling, and it will probably make you want to maintain your adventurous spirit when you’re back at home.’ – Daisy Buchanan

‘The Ladies’ Pond has truly been one of the wonders of my life. Slipping into its waters is slipping into bliss.’ – Deborah Moggach

‘I loved to lower myself down the rungs of the ladder and launch myself into the silky waters of the Pond. There was something magical about the unplumbed depths, the moorhens, the dragonflies, the waterlilies, the willows, the floating rings and rafts.’ – Margaret Drabble, ‘Out of Time’

A Long Night in Paris

Recommended by Max

£8.99

Available in Paperback

Published June 2019

Published by Quercus

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 524 552 or in the shop.

From a former Israeli intelligence officer, comes the most realistic, thrilling and authentic thriller of the year.

When an Israeli tech entrepreneur disappears from Charles de Gaulle airport with a woman in red, logic dictates youthful indiscretion. But Israel is on a state of high alert nonetheless. Colonel Zeev Abadi, the new head of Unit 8200’s autonomous Special Section, who just happens to be in Paris, also just happens to have arrived on the same flight.

For Commissaire Leger of the Paris Police coincidences have their reasons, and most are suspect. When a second young Israeli is kidnapped soon after arriving on the same flight, this time at gunpoint from his hotel room, his suspicions are confirmed – and a diplomatic incident looms.

Back in Tel Aviv, Lieutenant Oriana Talmor, Abadi’s deputy, is his only ally, applying her sharp wits to the race to identify the victims and the reasons behind their abduction. In Paris a covert Chinese commando team listens to the investigation unfurl and watches from the rooftops. While by the hour the morgue receives more bodies from the river and the city’s arrondissements.

The clock has been set. And this could be a long night in the City of Lights.

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love by Dani Shapiro

Recommended by Max

£9.99

Available in Paperback

Published June 2019

Published by Daunt Books

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 524 552 or in the shop.

‘All my life I had known there was a secret. What I hadn’t known: the secret was me.’

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. Everything she had believed about her identity was a lie.

Shapiro’s parents were no longer alive. With only a handful of figures on a webpage, Shapiro set out to discover the truth about herself and her history.

Inheritance is a genetic detective story; a memoir that reads like a thriller. It is a book about secrets – secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in – a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

‘Shapiro writes with poetic precision in prose that sometimes sings. And she knows how to tell a story… Fascinating.’ – Sunday Times

‘Those who like to insist that blood is always thicker than water should read Inheritance, and let their own hearts slowly and gently expand.’ – The Observer 

‘Moving and emotionally raw, Shapiro’s memoir opens out from a painful reassessment of her life to grapple with the ethics of reproductive medicine in the 1960s.’ – Scottish Herald

‘An intensely personal story, and a beautifully written enquiry into belonging and self. So warm and deft. I envy those yet to read it.’ – Nigella Lawson (via Twitter)

‘Engaging and thought-provoking … the worlds of nature and nurture collide in this gripping and deeply personal account.’ – Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine

‘A compulsively-readable investigation into selfhood that burrows to the heart of what it means to accept, to love and to belong.’ – Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

‘A gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family.’ – Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach

‘A writer of rare talent.’ – Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

‘Beautiful … A fantastic writer.’ – Dolly Alderton, The High Low podcast

‘Reads like a beautiful, lived novel, moving and personal and true.’ – Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion

‘Searing… How do we live with ourselves after finding we are not who we thought we were? The answer is not disquieting. It is beautiful.’ – André Aciman, author of Call Me by Your Name

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free

Recommended by Max

£8.99

Available in Paperback

Published June 2019

Published by Hodder & Stoughton

Available to buy over the phone on 01799 524 552 or in the shop.

‘The plot grips and surprises. Miller’s prose remains poetic and taut, with an eye for the telling detail… Historical or otherwise, this is fiction — storytelling — at its best.’ – The Spectator

Somerset , 1809: a ravaged soldier drags himself across the threshold of his home, destined to perish were it not the efforts of his housekeeper to save him. This is Captain John Lacroix, a combatant of the Peninsular War, a man shattered by something so unspeakable his only instinct is to flee from himself. With his healing comes command to return to his regiment: instead, Lacroix chooses the Hebrides.

Meanwhile, across the moors and fields follow his possible nemesis: the English corporal Calley and a Spanish officer by the name of Medina, under secret orders. An atrocity was committed on the British retreat to Corunna, and justice must be delivered. Lacroix is unaware of this fresh danger, consumed only by his blighted past and his current action of treason. Soon, the paths of these men must converge, and the moment of reckoning will be upon them all.