Wednesday 12 February 2014

Compass Points 74

Propaganda: Truth and Lies in Wartime is a companion volume to Cartoons of World War II and is a full-colour collection of the greatest propaganda images ever. Propaganda is one of the key weapons of war. Appealing to the emotions rather than intellect, it dehumanizes the enemy and creates hatred. Without propaganda, it would be almost impossible to send soldiers to the battlefront with the intention of annihilating the enemy. This book takes us from Napoleonic war paintings to anti-Hitler posters, and also contains plenty of the brutal cutting edge material of today’s propaganda. It features plenty historic material which gives you a unique insight into past times as well as really making you think about how propaganda is used today.  It also shows how each country has its own style of propaganda.  The British seem to like understatement and fortitude in the face of great odds; while the US concentrates on mockery; during the Second World War, the Germans chose to paint Churchill as a drunken buffoon. Edited by Tony Husband, Propaganda: Truth and Lies in Wartime is published by Arcturus in April (full colour paperback £12.99 978 1782122791). As Goebbels said, and I’m afraid it’s true; “If you tell a big enough lie and keep repeating it, people will come to believe it.”

There’s a nice selection of World War II propaganda posters to look at on YouTube here.

 And here are some amazing Russian ones too!

And while we’re on the subject of World War II; War of Shadows by W. Stanley Moss, is a brand new edition of the sequel to Ill Met by Moonlight (a phenomenally successful title which has never been out of print since 1950 and was of course made into the 1957 film starring Dirk Bogarde). Billy Moss was 18 when he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards, and then fought with his regiment North Africa before being seconded to SOE to operate behind enemy lines in Crete, Macedonia and Siam (Thailand).After the war he became a writer, broadcaster and journalist travelling round the world. He died in 1965. In War of Shadows Billy Moss, (brother-in-arms to Patrick Leigh Fermor) gives his version of the final months of World War II It is published in April (pb, £12.99, 978,1909657380) by Bene Factum  to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the pair’s abduction of German General Kreipe from enemy occupied Crete in 1944. Moss reflects movingly about what it means to fight and deal in death and how the turmoil of operations behind enemy lines in a foreign country are dependent on the goodwill of local inhabitants. There are also many moments of high humour. It is exciting and reflective stuff. There is a current fascination for the adventures and style of Patrick Leigh Fermor and Billy Moss has proved himself the authoritative teller of their tales together. With the 70th anniversary of their Cretan exploits and the beginning of the end of the war, there will be a fervent interest in these old heroes. The popularity of Moss’s other work can only help to make War of Shadows as success. The book contains some original photos, and has a terrific jacket, giving it just the right Boys Own adventure retro feel. All the royalties from the sales of this book will be dedicated to Cretan educational charities.

Here’s an exciting little 4 minute clip from Ill Met By Moonlight just to put you in the mood – all good adventurous stuff involving German officers  and brave  Brits  in Crete!

Of whom do you think that Boyd Tonkin, of the Independent said “His poetry opens windows on a rich and restless imagination”? Well, it is none other than Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and The Poems of Rowan Williams is published by Carcanet (pb, £9.95, 978 1847774521) in April, to coincide with Easter. This is a momentous gathering of poems which includes poems from Rowan Williams’ first two collections, alongside previously uncollected work. The poems explore faith, nature, loss and the ancient Celtic world. Rowan Williams is a frequent broadcaster and media coverage is anticipated in the major broadsheets and theological journals.

Can anyone write poems do you think? And if you’re famous does it automatically mean your poetry is any good? Well evidently not – have a look at this horrendous effort from Twilight star Kirsten Stewart. I don’t think Carcanet are going to be knocking at her door any time soon, do you?

Almost as impressive as the time Rick from The Young Ones read out his poem about Cliff Richard!

Now, here’s something you didn’t know you needed in your life until you saw it – the Sherlock Holmes Tarot: Wisdom from the First Consulting Detective. This is the first complete tarot deck based on the famous sleuth and includes 79 stunningly illustrated cards from a bestselling tarot author and artist. Original characters make up the Major Arcana, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories are featured throughout. The Fool is transformed into the bumbling Inspector Lestrade, the Devil becomes Professor Moriarty and the Magician turns into the Great Detective himself! Then turn to the Minor Arcana and allow yourself to be drawn in by the suits of Observation, Evidence, Analysis and Deduction. Victorian London, with its shadowy buildings and fog-bound streets, forms the perfect setting for the card imagery. There’s also an additional wild card that can be used to enhance and qualify a reading. Specially created spreads enable you to investigate your personal dilemmas, just as Sherlock Holmes sought answers to crimes. Prepare to be amazed as you apply Holmesian wisdom – allied with the universal strengths of the tarot – to your daily life. It’s elementary! The Sherlock Holmes Tarot by John Matthews & Will Kinghan (£19.99 9781859063705) is published by Connections in April. The box set contains a paperback book and 70 full colour tarot cards.

And here is one of the many Sherlock tributes out there on the web (personally I did not find Benedict Cumberbatch on Sesame Street particularly amusing – although I guess 4 million views is impressive stuff) – this one is an imagined meeting between one great man and another: Wholock - pretty brilliant I think!

An Everywhere: A Little Book about Reading by Heather Reyes is a delightful, inspiring and utterly compelling defence of the joys (and sometimes uses) of reading. Orange Prize winning author Helen Dunmore called it “a brilliant travel guide to the city of books: the city we hold within us, and the one we share with all its other citizens. I love Heather's passion for reading and the blend of erudition and intimacy that she brings to the discussion of what reading is and what books can do within a life. It is such a truthful book.”  It came about when its author Heather Reyes had to ensure several months of cancer treatment; and decided to turn a necessary evil into an opportunity: the luxury of reading whatever took her fancy. This little book about reading is a quietly passionate and witty defence of the joys and consolations of reading in both the difficult and day-to-day aspects of our lives. It is already a Bookseller Buyers' Guide Spring 2014 Highlight of the Season and there will be an extensive PR and book blog and book group campaign. This short but in-depth book is aimed at the general reader and that requires no prior reading of the books mentioned. An Everywhere (pb, £8.99 9780992636401) is published by Oxygen in April.

Talking of the pleasures of reading, who likes a literary quiz? Oooh yes, me me me. Well click here to find out which Roald Dahl character you are! I have to say I’m not best pleased to find myself cast as Miss Truchbull, although I would have to agree with her that children are indeed maggots.

As Britain is battered by yet more storms it seems hard to believe that any of us are ever going to be able to enjoy leisure time on our wonderful island ever again. But surely as spring arrives, so will the holidaymakers and don’t forget that the Official Tourist Board Guides published by Hudson’s are here to help your customers make the most of the UKCamping, Touring and Holiday Parks 2014: Britain’s Star Rated Holiday Parks (paperback £8.99 978 0851015262), B&Bs and Hotels 2014: England’s Star Rated Guest Accommodation (pb, £8.99 978 0851015248) and Self Catering 2104: England’s Star rated Holiday Homes 2014 (pb, £8.99 978 0851015255.) These are the only official British guides from VisitBritain, which is the authoritative voice on national tourism. They have an easy to use layout, and contain masses of helpful information. They were published in December, and you can order all the Hudson’s titles here.

Have a look at the Hudson's Heritage Website here – at the moment you can track down the best snowdrop walks, as well as places to book for a romantic weekend away – which might just help you out if you've failed to do anything for Valentine’s Day today! There is also a rather good blog, – written under the pseudonym Mrs Hudson – a fun and accessible friendly branding for this classic series.

Now, it requires even more of a leap of faith to imagine any of us venturing onto the British coastline just at the moment – but let’s hope we have a glorious spring and summer this year to enable us all to do just that. Hidden Beaches: Explore the Secret Coast of Britain by Daniel Start (paperback, £16.99 978 0957157378) is published in April by Wild Things Publishing and now includes even more for walkers and explorers as well as swimmers. This is a revised and expanded edition of Wild Swimming, which redefined the adventure genre when it was published in 2008. This new edition gives full national coverage of the UK’s most beautiful beaches – containing lagoons, sea caves and amazing places to snorkel. It has all new 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey mapping so the reader can easily find where to walk, sea kayak and even swim with dolphins! There are the best beach cafes, local food, pubs and campsites as well as loads of activities for children and families. The combination of stunning photography, engaging travel writing and practical guidance is a winning formula and Hidden Beaches (a much better title I think) is set to continue as the definitive guide to Britain’s hidden beaches and secret coastline.

Well, as we look out at our battered country at the moment, maybe it’s some consolation to realise that it is not the first time the floods have engulfed us. Have a look at these historic pictures of Thames floods in times gone by.

And if things just get too grim and gloomy; maybe we should all do what they did during the great depression in the 1930’s and watch a Shirley Temple film to cheer ourselves up. RIP Shirley who died this week aged 85 – here are some of her best bits!

That’s all for now folks, more next week!

This blog is read weekly by over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

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