A History of Britain in 36 Postage Stamps by Chris West, Picador '13, $28, 277 pages, ASIN #1250035503. Index, appendix, b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the dust jacket:
"Hailed by The Times of London as 'a splendid reminder of the philatelic glories of the past,' A History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps tells the rich, layered, and breathtaking history of Britain through thirty-six of its fascinating, often beautiful and sometimes eccentric postage stamps. (Chris) West shows that stamps have always mirrored the events, attitudes and styles of their time."
In a brief Q&A, the author discusses the writing of his new book:
Q. What have you learned about collecting from writing this book?
A. What I've learnt is that every collector has his own approach. I'm not hugely interested in rare plate numbers or watermarks: I just want to see the design, and think about what it tells me about the era in which it was produced. (I also like old envelopes -- who was this person, and why did they send this letter?) But I know other people approach the subject differently, and good luck to them. Let 100 flowers bloom!
Q. What surprised you about stamps?
A. It's this powerful ability to summon up past eras -- which is why I wanted to write the book.
Author Chris West has written widely in a variety of genres. His titles include a bestselling business guide, and a quartet of crime novels. He inherited a love of history from his father and an Edwardian 'Lincoln' stamp album from his great uncle as a child.
The Royal Stuarts -- A History of the Family that Shaped Britain by Allan Massie, St. Martin's Press '13 paperback. $15.99, 384 pages, ASIN #1250024927. Index, for further reading, notes, no visual images except several-page family tree.
From the back cover:
"This panoramic history of one of the world's most fascinating royal families tells the complete story of the Stuarts, from the first king to the last. Charting the Stuarts' rise to the thrones of Scotland and England and eventual descent to exile and ruin, author Allan Massie brings the family's most recognizable figures, including Mary, Queen of Scots, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, to life in a remarkable way while uncovering a family of strong affections and fierce rivalries. Massie draws on the accounts of historians past and present, as well as novels and plays, to tell this gripping true story of backstabbing, betrayal, and ambition gone awry."
Author Allan Massie is the author of many novels. He lives in the Scottish Borders and writes for The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, andThe Spectator, where he has a regular column.