Description : Based on 20 years of research, Gianluca Barneschi has uncovered the true story of a real-life James Bond. The debonair Special Operations Executive agent Richard 'Dick' Mallaby was the first Briton to be sent to Italy as an SOE operative, parachuted unceremoniously into Lake Como in August 1943. Arrested and initially tortured by the Italian authorities, he managed to sweet-talk his way out of trouble, and helped Marshal Pietro Badoglio and King Victor Emmanuel III escape to the Allied lines. He also helped negotiate the armistice with Italy, for which he was awarded the Military Cross. He was back in action in 1945, when he crossed into Fascist-controlled northern Italy from Switzerland but was swiftly captured and interrogated by the SS. Narrowly avoiding a firing squad once again, he helped to secure the surrender of 800,000 German forces in Italy in May 1945.
Description : The emergent national awareness in Europe during the early modern period revealed itself as patriotism and xenophobia during the age of Elizabeth. These sentiments were mainly induced by England's stance in the politico-religious debate that divided Europe, and by the arrival of refugees from abroad who placed a burden on the national economy. The popular feeling led to a multifaceted crystallization of matters native and foreign on the London stage. One manifestation of the new preoccupation was the presentation of stage characters with distinct nationalities. Drawing on stock traits, the dramatists initially created a stage world in which the Englishman was almost invariably superior to the foreigner, both in the native environment and in a continental setting. The glorification of the nation's self-image at the expense of others, however, was not to persist. English society largely absorbed the original shock induced by the influx of foreigners, and toward the end of the 1590s xenophobia lost its strident tone. Patriotism, too, was modified. The year 1588 became a historical date as James I's peace policy grew into the most popular news topic of his reign. These sociopolitical changes challenged the original images of Englishmen and foreigners in the drama. Under a climate with England ignominiously vacating the European political stage, it was difficult to uphold the once unquestioned self-image of the warlike nation. One group of dramatists, therefore, came to present the image as a forsaken ideal that could only be realized if the nation resumed its international duties. Other dramatists presented it as a past ideal and accepted it as an object for nostalgic self-gratification. The favorable self-image also became a target for the satirists. They attacked the old definition of the English and assigned to their own countrymen those properties which had previously been attributed to the foreigner. The caustic speculation on national character traits in Stuart drama was not only induced by the playwrights' discontent with the anachronistic and complimentary Elizabethan self-image. It also represented a budding skepticism with regard to the generalizing tendency involved in the definitions of national character. Inevitably, the image of the foreigner in the drama profited from the redefinition of the Englishman's auto-stereotyped image. As the satire which had previously been aimed at the foreigner came to be largely directed against the Englishman, a degree of rapprochement was established. There was a new exchange, as Richard Brome formulated it in the subtitle to his New Academy. Until the closing of the theaters in 1642, the satirical redefinition of the English national character persisted alongside the nostalgic confirmation of the favorable Elizabethan self-image. These divergent views expressed on the London stage bring into focus a national identity crisis. It parallels the growing contemporary conviction that the nation had traded in its decisive role on the European political scene for that of a passive onlooker.
Description : The latest act of David Beckham's career, played out on foreign fields, has outshone all previous drama: His falling out with Ferguson and leaving Old Trafford; the bitter power struggle for his signature betweenBarca and Real; the hype of his inauguration and medical (watched by a live TV audience of 2 billion); the star-studded tour of the Far East; the behind the scenes politics of marketing and spin and accusations that he was being bought not to play but to sell shirts, and silencing his critics with performances on the pitch that have made him the fulcrum of Real's 'Galacticos' and the darling of the Spanish media. This is the story of that season finally told in full through Spanish eyes - the players, agents, pundits and ordinary fans - by a man who was there as it happened.
Description : This book is about the Booker Prize – the London-based literary award made annually to “the best novel written in English” by a writer from one of those countries belonging to, or formerly part of, the British Commonwealth. The approach to the Prize is thematically historical and spans the award period to 1999. The novels that have won or shared the Prize in this period are examined within a theoretical framework mapping the literary terrain of the fiction. Individual chapters explore themes that occur within the larger narrative formed by this body of novels - collectively invoked cultures, social trends and movements spanning the stages of imperial heyday and decline as perceived over the past three decades. Individually and collectively, the novels mirror, often in terms of more than a single static image, British imperial culture after empire, contesting and reinterpreting perceptions of the historical moment of the British Empire and its legacy in contemporary culture.The body of Booker novels narrates the demise of empire and the emergence of different cultural formations in its aftermath. The novels are grouped for discussion according to the way in which they deal with aspects of the transition from empire to a post-imperial culture - from early imperial expansion, through colonization, retrenchment, decolonization and postcolonial pessimism, to the emergence of tribal nationalisms and post-imperial nation-states. The focus throughout is primarily literary and contingently cultural.