The Secret Agent's Bedside Reader - A Last Minute Gift For Espionage Readers

  • December 19, 2014 15:00
  • Sarah Thrift

The Secret Agent's Bedside Reader

A Compendium of Spy Writing

Edited by Michael Smith

Hardback RRP: £20 Our Price: £15

eBook RRP: £16.99 Our Price: £10.19

There aren’t many publishers who can claim to publish the likes of Joseph Conrad, Graham Greene, John le Carré, Somerset Maugham, Compton Mackenzie and Ian Fleming. But Biteback can!

We’ve been quietly building up our list of books by former spies in the Dialogue Espionage Classics series and while Conrad wasn’t ever a spy, so far as anyone knows, he and all of the above now appear in print under the Biteback logo! It’s a tremendous coup. 

Not only do we publish them all but we publish them all in one handy book. The Secret Agent’s Bedside Reader, edited by former spook and number-one bestselling author Michael Smith. It’s the perfect Christmas present.

The Secret Agent’s Bedside Reader includes devious plans by Ian Fleming to outwit the Germans during the Second World War, an entire John le Carré chapter on George Smiley and his wartime espionage exploits and one of Somerset Maugham’s wonderful short stories about his alter ego, the British spy Ashenden.

But there’s much more than that, excerpts from novels by John Buchan, Erskine Childers and contemporary spies turned espionage novelists Matthew Dunn and Alan Judd, a guide on how to tail a spy by MI5’s top tradecraft man and a never before published Kim Philby report to the KGB’s Moscow Centre telling his Soviet masters everything that MI5 knew about Russian spies in Britain. 

There are more than forty spy stories in The Secret Agent’s Bedside Reader all bar Conrad’s written by former men who worked for the British intelligence services. It’s a brilliant Christmas present.

 

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Biteback Publishing's Advent Offers

  • December 12, 2014 13:00
  • Sarah Thrift

Christmas is fast approaching, and we are halfway through our eBook Advent Calendar. That means there's still 13 fantastic books to come for just £1.99. Check out the homepage for our Advent offer, which changes daily and lasts for just 24 hours. 

Today's eBook offer: The 10 Football Matches That Changed The World ... And the one that didn't by Jim Murphy. Available on all eReaders for only £1.99 until midnight tonight. 

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Why I Wrote 'Stand By Your Manhood'

  • December 11, 2014 13:00
  • Peter Lloyd

Why I wrote this book

Stand By Your Manhood : A Game-changer for Modern Men 

I waited many years for somebody to write an affirmative, no-bulls**t book about men. Nearly two decades, in fact.

During that time we had a profusion of fun, female equivalents from the likes of Caitlin Moran, Camille Paglia and Hadley Freeman, not to mention novels that include Candace Bushnall's Sex and the City, but there was never anything as bold and fearless for the boys. 

Still, I waited patiently - ever-hopeful that somebody, somewhere, would pen a frank, fun, reality check on the truth of being a modern man. Not something that emphasised the importance of pocket squares or facial hair, or even how to get laid, but something that put life-affirming, dignity-restoring, bloke-buoying truth above the approval of women, and didn't apologise for it. 

A book which rugby-tackled the gritty, controversial issues we aren't supposed to discuss, even though they remain dramatically real: circumcision, unfair paternity laws, gold-diggers, whether enjoying porn makes us sexist (it doesn't), divorce settlements, quotas, military conscription, chivalry, penis dysmorphia, the grim (Reaper) reality of men's health and, dare I say it, feminism. 

Eventually, I gave up waiting - and wrote it myself.

Whether that was A) brave or B) naive is up to you, but the result is Stand By Your Manhood: the first book of its kind by a UK political publisher - which, funnily enough, is out now thanks to the lovely people at Biteback. 

Not only is this perfectly timed for Christmas, but it also coincides with an age where men are routinely patronised over how to sit on trains (legs together!), told which film directors to admire (as Helen Mirren did with Sam Mendes) and what sort of shirt is 'acceptable' for a scientist to wear while landing spacecraft on a moving comet (see poor, brow-beaten Matt Taylor).

Gentlemen, ENOUGH.

Fortunately, my newly-unleashed 'Manhood' will act as a road map through today's battle of the sexes, steering you back to a place of reassuring, common-sense sanity. Best of all, it also imparts some constructive criticism for the sisterhood, too.

See, despite fifty years of so-called solution feminism, life remains contrary for us men: opening doors is considered sexist, but paying for dinner is not. Women fought for the vote, but men - and only men - can still have it taken away (if they don't sign up for the draft), and while the pay gap is contested by some of the world's best economists (yep, you’ve been lied to for decades - it's mostly spin!), our life expectancy gap rages - without a Minister for Men's Health, of course. After all, that would be sexist.

Not that women have it any easier, of course - we're all well-versed on the issues they face, but one thing's for sure: all our problems have worsened in the fifty years that men have surrendered their voice.

Finally, this book gives it back - and tells others to listen up, whether they like it or not.

Stand by Your Manhood: A Game-changer for Modern Men is now available for £13.49 (HB) and £7.79 (eBook). Frank, funny and long overdue, it is the perfect gift to put under the Christmas tree this year. 

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Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer - Our Christmas Recommendations

  • December 10, 2014 13:30
  • Sarah Thrift

Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer

An RAF Officer's Memoir of the Battle of France 1940

By Alastair Panton & Victoria Panton Bacon 

Hardback RRP: 16.99 Our Price: £12 
eBook RRP: £12.99 Our Price: £1.99* 

We say: 

A vivid and unique memoir of life as an RAF reconnaissance pilot in France during the summer of 1940. A must for general readers, history fanatics and military enthusiasts alike. 

They say:

“The clarity of this book … is as surprising as its humanity; it rattles along as both great drama and poignant social commentary … [his story] deserves to be told.” The Times

“What I assumed might be a dutiful skim through yet another war memoir, rapidly turned into one of the most enthralling accounts of a campaign I have ever read.” Best of British

“One can’t help feeling awe and reverence for people like this. There are enough adventures here for a lifetime, let alone six weeks.” Louis de Bernières

“The story is beautifully written … and it is difficult to put down once started. This really would make a wonderful Christmas present.” Iain Carter, Blenheim Society Journal

Victoria says:

Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer is the story of the Battle of France through the eyes of an RAF Reconnaissance pilot. This was a battle lost; beginning with the occupation of Belgium and the Netherlands early in May 1940, it ended just six weeks later when the Germans finally took France, by which time thousands of the Allies had been killed, captured or fearfully injured.   

The pilot was my Grandfather, Flying Officer Alastair Panton, captain of a Bristol Blenheim light bomber.  There is no doubting the moving nature of his book;  there is much grief as he recalls the loss of many of his comrades, his brother, those who perished on the Lancastria and finally, when he is shot down for a fourth time, the death of his gunner. However, in spite of sadness and uncertainty all around him, Grandfather writes, too, of friendship, sunrises, bully-beef sandwiches, refugees, washing naked in a river, candles burning in Chartres Cathedral and of course, the joy of flight. It is a barn-storming page turner of a book which recalls, in his words "the stinging heat of a burning Blenheim; smells, tastes, expressions, sounds of voices, the difficulties of landings, and most of all the fear that gripped deep inside him."

I found the book amongst my own father's belongings after he died, a couple of years ago. My father had often tried to teach me key facts about the Second World War, but it wasn't until I read Blenheim Summer - my dear Grandfather's own words, describing the painful reality, that I began to appreciate the horror of war, and then facts, too, started to sink in. I am sure my Grandfather wrote his memoir in the hope that eventually it might see the light of day, and serve as a tribute to those who died and suffered alongside him.  

Strategically, the Battle of France was very important; vital, but expensive, lessons were learnt and, thankfully, the Battle of Britain that started so soon after France was occupied, ended victoriously.  Next year we will commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War Two, and the seventy-fifth anniversaries of both the Battles of Britain, and France. The Battle of Britain is a well-known, celebrated episode of World War Two that will no doubt - rightfully - be commemorated in all its glory, whilst remembering too those who fell. However, the Battle of France also deserves its rightful place in history and we must remember those who died and suffered during those six weeks too. Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer helps us remember those important, forgotten days.  

*Six Weeks of Blenheim Summer is our eBook offer of the day, and is available for just £1.99 until midnight tonight. The hardback is available for just £12, with free UK delivery up until January 5th 2015. 

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Christmas Picks From Biteback Publishing

  • December 09, 2014 17:00
  • Sarah Thrift

Christmas Day is just over 2 weeks away, and if you're anything like us you are probably hurrying around looking for the ideal Christmas presents for your family, friends, and that colleague you ended up with in Secret Santa...

The search is over! We've handpicked the ideal selection of gifts for you to give this Christmas. They're on offer, and available on free UK delivery too. We do spoil you! Start shopping now.

Remember to order before the 19th to guarantee delivery in time for the big day. 

 

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