This week’s new releases – save 20% off RRPs!

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Introductory offer: Save 20% off RRPs on new releases
Hitler’s Executioner Entertaining the Braganzas Rebel With a Cause Cathedrals of Britain: Central and East

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Forgotten Tanks and Guns of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s The War With Hitler’s Navy Comet! The World’s First Jet Airliner The Anglo-Boer War in 100 Objects

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Sir Alan Cobham Aircraft Carrier Victorious British Railways in Transition The Gunpowder Plot Deceit

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Out now – The Polish ‘Few’

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The Polish ‘Few’ – Polish Airmen in the Battle of Britain by Peter Sikora.

They came to fight for freedom and their country, they came to fight Germans. Men of the Polish Air Force, who had escaped first to France and then to Britain, to fly alongside the Royal Air Force just as Fighter Command faced its greatest challenge – the Battle of Britain.

Many of the Polish airmen joined existing RAF squadrons. The Poles also formed their own squadrons, but only four became operational during the Battle of Britain: Nos. 300 and 301, were bomber squadrons, with another two, Nos. 302 and 303, being fighter squadrons. Flying Hawker Hurricanes, both 302 and 303 squadrons were active by the middle of August 1940, just when they were most needed, at the height of the Battle of Britain, with Fighter Command stretched to its limit.

The Polish squadrons, battle-hardened from their encounters with the Luftwaffe during the invasion of Poland and Battle of France, soon made their mark. In particular, 303 Squadron become the highest-scoring unit of Fighter Command.

In total, 145 Polish pilots, the largest non-British contingent in Fighter Command at the time, fought in the Battle of Britain. While Winston Churchill praised the contribution of the ‘Few’, the pilots of many nationalities who had defended Britain, Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding was more specific: ‘Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of the Battle would have been the same.’

Just in: New titles looking at the lives of women through history
Struggle and Suffrage in Huddersfield

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Struggle and Suffrage in Huddersfield – Women’s Lives and the Fight for Equality by Vivien Teasdale.

If you’ve ever wondered how life changed so much for women over the hundred years between 1850 and 1950, this is a great introduction. During this period, women went from being seen as merely possessions of their fathers or husbands to being individuals who had the right to own property, to enter the professions and to keep the proceeds of their employment. They gained access to education and began to take part in the running of local councils, leading eventually to becoming part of the Government of the country.

Focussing on women in Huddersfield during these years, the stories range from the well-known ladies who were instrumental in obtaining the vote for women or led the much needed work to support the armed forces during both world wars to those who simply battled to keep their families fed, clothed and healthy during all the changes of those momentous years.

Struggle and Suffrage in Manchester

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Struggle and Suffrage in Manchester – Women’s Lives and the Fight for Equality by Glynis Cooper.

‘Women are not persons.’ That was the ruling of the Court of Appeal when Gwynneth Bebb challenged the Law Society to allow her to take exams and become a solicitor. The case was dismissed because only ‘persons’ (i.e. males) could become members of the Law Society and it proved the depth of misogyny within the Establishment at that time.

‘Suffrage and Struggle in Manchester’ celebrates the struggle for the recognition of female rights, the centenary of female suffrage and the 90th anniversary of universal suffrage, as well as the female achievements and freedoms gained during those years. For much of the 19th century hundreds of thousands of women were simply legalised slaves with no rights. The suffrage movement was born in the appalling conditions of the 19th century Manchester millscapes, although the later militant suffrage campaign was led by Emmeline Pankhurst, together with her daughters Christabel, Sylvia and Adela. Opposition to female suffrage came from other women, like Margot Asquith and Beatrice Webb, but it was the effort of all women during the Great War which finally won women the vote. Marie Stopes also played a part in female emancipation through her pioneering work in birth control, but her motives had sinister undertones. This is also the story of the countless thousands of women of Manchester, whose names are lost to us, but without whose strength, willingness and determination the development of modern Britain would have been very different. This is their story as much as the story of those who made the headlines and gained their place in the history books.

Click to browse more titles in the new Struggle and Suffrage series

A History of Women’s Lives in Hove and Portslade

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A History of Women’s Lives in Hove and Portslade by Judy Middleton.

This book looks at the lives of the women from Hove and Portslade, ranging from artists, musicians, writers, performers, reformers, pioneering doctors and business-women to those employed in factories, shops, laundries and as domestic servants, not forgetting, of course, women’s contribution to war-work in both of the world wars. There are facts about their ordinary lives, birth, marriage and death; their education; their leisure activities from guns to cycling, the gym, swimming and horse riding.

It is also appropriate to reflect on the Votes for Women movement, when brave souls battled against prejudice to achieve the franchise. Not all women felt the same, of course, and although there was apathy at first, Brighton and Hove was home to an early group of suffragists who were passionate in their beliefs but disliked the violence embraced by the suffragettes.

If you ever thought women deserved more than being a mere footnote in history, then this is the book for you.

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Date for the diary…

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Join Military Medical Historian Dr Emily Mayhew at East Grinstead Bookshop on Friday, 30 November for a talk and signing of her new book, The Guinea Pig Club.

The evening will start with a meet and greet drinks reception at 7pm, followed by a talk at Sackville College about The Guinea Pig Club. Tickets are £8 and available to purchase from the bookshop. Booking is essential.

About the book:

The history of the Guinea Pig Club, the band of airmen who were seriously burned in aeroplane fires, is a truly inspiring, spine-tingling tale.

Plastic surgery was in its infancy before the Second World War. The most rudimentary techniques were only known to a few surgeons worldwide. The Allies were tremendously fortunate in having the maverick surgeon Archibald McIndoe nicknamed the Boss or the Maestro operating at a small hospital in East Grinstead in the south of England. McIndoe constructed a medical infrastructure from scratch. After arguing with his superiors, he set up a revolutionary new treatment regime. Uniquely concerned with the social environment, or holistic care, McIndoe also enlisted the help of the local civilian population. He rightly secured his group of patients dubbed the Guinea Pig Club an honoured place in society as heroes of Britain’s war. For the first time official records have been used to explain fully how and why this remarkable relationship developed between the Guinea Pig Club, the RAF and the Home Front.

First-person recollections bring to life the heroism of the airmen with incredible clarity. This is a revised and expanded edition with new material, including a foreword by HRH Prince Harry.

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