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December bestsellers
Seaforth World Naval Review 2018 Yearbook of Astronomy 2018 French Warships in the Age of Sail 1626–1786 The Spitfire

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In Action with Destroyers 1939–1945 The Bramall Papers The Battleship Holiday The History of the Port of London

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British Cruisers Wartime Standard Ships Deborah and the War of the Tanks 1917 Heartbeat and Beyond

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The Spitfire: Icon of the Skies

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As recommended by the Daily Mail as one of their best illustrated books to buy this Christmas: The Spitfire – Icon of the Skies by Philip Kaplan.

The magnificent Vickers Supermarine Spitfire, together with its able partner the Hawker Hurricane, saved Britain from Nazi invasion in the summer of 1940 and irrevocably changed the course of the Second World War. This new book from Philip Kaplan celebrates one of history’s most important weapons in a glorious new light. A British national icon, the Spitfire is the best-known symbol of the war years for generations of Britons. From the deep, haunting growl of its Rolls-Royce engine, to the elegant style of its elliptical wing, it is perhaps the most famous and revered combat aeroplane ever built.

Kaplan investigates just what it is that fuels the Spitfire’s compelling mystique. During wartime, it held an unrivalled reputation amongst Allied and Axis airmen. Today, it continues to hold aviation enthusiasts in thrall. Kaplan highlights the immeasurable contributions of Spitfire designers Reginald J Mitchell and Joseph Smith, test pilots Jeffrey Quill, Mutt Summers and Alex Henshaw, and ace Spitfire pilots including Al Deere, Sailor Malan and Pierre Clostermann.

The origin and evolution of the plane are tracked, and the story of the marvellous Merlin engine that powered so many Spitfires through those challenging war years and beyond is brought to life. Kaplan considers the phenomenon of the burgeoning warbird movement, a worldwide effort to restore, preserve and display scores of Spitfires and many other military aircraft types for air show visitors the world over.

Popular this month: P&S Transport bestsellers
Hereford Locomotive Shed Festiniog Railway London Buses 1970–1980

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The L.B.S.C.R. Brighton Atlantics Great Western Large Wheeled Outside Framed 4-4-0 Tender Locomotives Railways and Industry in the Western Valley

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The London Enviro 400 Great Western Saint Class Locomotives Railway Renaissance

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Editor’s pick: Special Escort Group – Escorting the Monarch

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Out now: Escorting the Monarch; as close to an official history of the Metropolitan Police’s ‘Special Escort Group’ (SEG) as one could hope for.

You may have seen the team at work; as the combination of motorcycles and cars pass you by, they glide elegantly and seemingly effortlessly through busy traffic. Developing a dedicated and diligent team culture, they are masters of their trade. They hold a well-earned reputation for excellence amongst their peers; delivering their passengers (and cargo) on time, safely, in a great deal of style, and without fuss or mishap. Professional and precise in the execution of their operations, they are neither shaken nor stirred. Although the work of the SEG demands exquisitely high levels of presentation there is little room for gloss or glitter. The individuals and property they are charged to protect are assessed by government to need the highest possible levels of protection. From queens, kings, presidents and emperors, to priceless works of art, terrorists and high risk prisoners, the group escort them all.

Written by the son of a retired SEG officer who himself served in the British Government’s security and intelligence community, Escorting the Monarch is told, in part, through first hand stories and anecdotes gleaned from former officers of the group. The insights offered are unique, privileged and first of their kind. Chris Jagger unfolds a collection of fascinating and never before told stories built on high profile events, such as the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, and the visit of Nelson Mandela.

This week’s new releases
Allenby’s Gunners Apocalypse 1692 The Hardest Journey Home

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Wellington and the Siege of San Sebastian, 1813 Combat Over the Trenches Eyewitnesses at the Somme

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The Confederacy at Flood Tide Bloody Bullecourt Joseph of Arimathea

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On the radio!

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Maladies & Medicine authors, Jennifer Evans and Sara Read, will appear on BBC Radio Three on Thursday, 7 December at 10pm as part of All About Eve: Stories of the Fall; Pregnancy and Aphrodisiacs.

Within the programme, Catherine Fletcher talks to Professor Stephen Greenblatt about the Adam and Eve story in the Christian tradition; to Islam Issa about Islam’s version which tells a rather more gender-equality story of the original first couple. Jennifer Evans and Sara Read reveal how the story impacted on mothers and would-be mothers over centuries through their reading of 16th and 17th century medical textbooks. Garlic was one interesting diagnostic of pregnancy while menstrual periods played their part in murder trials.

About the book: Maladies & Medicine offers a lively exploration of health and medical cures in early modern England. The introduction sets out the background in which the body was understood, covering the theory of the four humours and the ways that male and female bodies were conceptualised. It also explains the hierarchy of healers from university trained physicians, to the itinerant women healers who travelled the country offering cures based on inherited knowledge of homemade remedies. It covers the print explosion of medical health guides, which began to appear in the sixteenth century from more academic medical text books to cheap almanacs. Case studies and personal anecdotes taken from doctors notes, personal journals, diaries, letters and even court records show the reactions of individuals to their illnesses and treatments, bringing the reader into close proximity with people who lived around 400 years ago. This fascinating and richly illustrated study will appeal to anyone curious about the history of the body and the way our ancestors lived.

Get this book as part of a bundle with Death, Disease and Dissection for only £19.49

A selection of popular P&S History titles
The Great Houdini Shell Shocked Britain Life of a Teenager in Wartime London Escorting the Monarch

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Women and the Gallows 1797 – 1837 Victorian Policing Hitler’s Girls Dickens and Christmas

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Click to browse all P&S History titles

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