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Coconut Chaos

by Diana Souhami

Moving between fact and fiction, past and present, this dizzyingly inventive novel reimagines the story of the Mutiny on the Bounty It started with a coconut . . . In the early hours of April 27, 1789, Fletcher Christian, master's mate on the HMS Bounty, took a coconut from a pile on the quarterdeck. This random, seemingly inconsequential act set in motion a snowballing series of events that culminated in a revolt. In this strikingly original novel, equal parts time-travel adventure, travelogue, and fictional memoir, Diana Souhami moves across time and place, from eighteenth-century Tahiti to modern-day Pitcairn Island, from Knightsbridge to Tauranga, Mangareva to Tubuai. Along with Fletcher Christian, the sprawling cast of characters includes the unforgettable Captain William Bligh, who is cast adrift in an open boat on ferocious seas with eighteen men and no maps or supplies. Readers will also meet Pitcairn Island sex offenders, the Native American crew of a seventeen-thousand-ton ship called the Tundra Princess, the narrator's elderly mother, and a mysterious lesbian aristocrat known as Lady Myre. Weaving together history, destiny, and chaos theory, this captivating adventure is for anyone who has ever yearned to travel to an exotic, faraway place.

Edith Cavell

by Diana Souhami

Edith Cavell was born on 4th December 1865, daughter of the vicar of Swardeston in Norfolk, and shot in Brussels on 12th October 1915 by the Germans for sheltering British and French soldiers and helping them escape over the Belgian border. Following a traditional village childhood in 19th century England, Edith worked as a governess in the UK and abroad, before training as a nurse in London in 1895. To Edith, nursing was a duty, a vocation, but above all a service. By 1907, she had travelled most of Europe and become matron of her own hospital in Belgium, where, under her leadership, a ramshackle hospital with few staff and little organization became a model nursing school. When war broke out, Edith helped soldiers to escape the war by giving them jobs in her hospital, finding clothing and organizing safe passage into Holland. In all, she assisted over two hundred men. When her secret work was discovered, Edith was put on trial and sentenced to death by firing squad. She uttered only 130 words in her defense. A devout Christian, the evening before her death, she asked to be remembered as a nurse, not a hero or a martyr, and prayed to be fit for heaven.When news of Edith's death reached Britain, army recruitment doubled. After the war, Edith's body was returned to the UK by train and every station through which the coffin passed was crowded with mourners. Diana Souhami brings one of the Great War's finest heroes to life in this biography of a hardworking, courageous and independent woman.

Edith Cavell

by Diana Souhami

Edith Cavell was born on 4th December 1865, daughter of the vicar of Swardeston in Norfolk, and shot in Brussels on 12th October 1915 by the Germans for sheltering British and French soldiers and helping them escape over the Belgian border. Following a traditional village childhood in 19th century England, Edith worked as a governess in the UK and abroad, before training as a nurse in London in 1895. To Edith, nursing was a duty, a vocation, but above all a service. By 1907, she had travelled most of Europe and become matron of her own hospital in Belgium, where, under her leadership, a ramshackle hospital with few staff and little organization became a model nursing school. When war broke out, Edith helped soldiers to escape the war by giving them jobs in her hospital, finding clothing and organizing safe passage into Holland. In all, she assisted over two hundred men. When her secret work was discovered, Edith was put on trial and sentenced to death by firing squad. She uttered only 130 words in her defense. A devout Christian, the evening before her death, she asked to be remembered as a nurse, not a hero or a martyr, and prayed to be fit for heaven.When news of Edith's death reached Britain, army recruitment doubled. After the war, Edith's body was returned to the UK by train and every station through which the coffin passed was crowded with mourners. Diana Souhami brings one of the Great War's finest heroes to life in this biography of a hardworking, courageous and independent woman.

Gluck

by Diana Souhami

Diana Souhami's critically acclaimed biography of lesbian painter Hannah Gluckstein--the woman, the artist, the legend To her family, Hannah Gluckstein was known as Hig. To Edith Shackleton Heald, the journalist with whom she lived for almost forty years, she was Dearest Grub. And to the art world, she was simply Gluck. She was born in 1895 into a life of privilege. Her family had founded J. Lyons & Co., a vast catering empire. From the beginning Gluck was a rebel. At a time when only men wore trousers, she scandalized society with her masculine clothing--though she always dressed with style and turned androgyny into high fashion. Her affairs with high-profile women shocked her conservative family, even while she achieved fame as an artist. During the 1920s and thirties, Gluck's paintings--portraits, flowers, and landscapes, presented in frames designed and patented by her--were the toast of the town. At the height of her success, when wounded in love, her own obsessions caused her to fade for decades from the public eye, but then, at nearly eighty, her return to the spotlight ensured her immortality.

Selkirk's Island

by Diana Souhami

Biographer Diana Souhami tells the story of Alexander Selkirk (1680- 1721), marooned on a remote island west of South America in the early 18th century; his experiences inspired Defoe's novel, Robinson Crusoe. Souhami draws from several resources, including accounts by Selkirk, his rescuers, fellow crewmen, and eighteenth century writers, petitions by two women each claiming to be Selkirk's wife, and historical maritime documents. She combines these with her own experiences of living for three months on the island to give the reader a sense of who Selkirk was, and what he really experienced during his four, solitary years on the desert island. Illustrated with black-and-white maps, charts, and photographs, this academic work is accessible to the general reader. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Selkirk's Island

by Diana Souhami

Winner of the 2001 Whitbread Biography Award:Diana Souhami's gripping true story of the man and the island that inspired Robinson Crusoe This action-filled biography follows Alexander Selkirk, an eighteenth-century Scottish buccaneer who sailed the South Seas plundering for gold. But an ill-fated expedition in 1703 led to shipwreck on remote Juan Fernández Island off the coast of Chile. Selkirk, the ship's master, was accused of inciting mutiny and abandoned on the uninhabited island with nothing but his clothing, his pistol, a knife, and a Bible. Each day he searched the sea for a ship that would rescue him and prayed for help that seemed never to come. In solitude and silence Selkirk gradually learned to adapt. He killed seals and goats for food and used their skin for clothing. He learned how to build a house, forage for food, create stores, plant seeds, light a fire, and tame cats. Then one day, a ship with wooden sails appeared on the horizon. The crew was greeted by a bearded savage, incoherent and fierce. Selkirk had been marooned for four years and four months. Now he was about to return to the world of men. The story of a verdant, mysterious archipelago and its famous castaway is both a parable about nature and a remarkable account of the survival of a man cut off from civilization.

The Trials Of Radclyffe Hall

by Diana Souhami

Biography of the author of The Well Of Loneliness.

The Trials of Radclyffe Hall

by Diana Souhami

From distinguished biographer Diana Souhami comes a fascinating look at one of the twentieth century's most intriguing lesbian literary figures Born in 1880, Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall was a young unwanted child when her parents put an end to their tempestuous marriage by filing for divorce. She had already made tentative forays into lesbian love when her father died, leaving her an heiress at eighteen. Her income assured, Hall moved out of her mother's house, renamed herself John in honor of her great-great-grandfather, and divided her time among hunting, traveling, and pursuing women. She began to write--songs, poetry, prose, and short stories--and achieved success as a novelist, but it was with the publication of The Well of Loneliness in 1928 that Radclyffe Hall became an internationally known figure. Dubbed the "bible of lesbianism," the book caused a scandal on both sides of the Atlantic. Though moralistic in tone, because of its subject matter it was tried as obscene in America and in the United Kingdom, where it was censored under the Obscene Publications Act. The Trials of Radclyffe Hall is a fascinating, no-holds-barred account of the life of this controversial woman, including her torrid relationship with the married artist Una Troubridge, who was Hall's devoted partner for twenty-eight years.

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