Category 20th Century Books

The King has gone – God Save the King

Wednesday 12th May 1937 saw the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. This was the day that had originally been chosen for the coronation of Edward VIII, before he abdicated. As a result the whole thing appears to have been quite a shambles behind the scenes. All the planned images of ‘King Edward […]

A story From Ragtime to Rock ‘n’ Roll

I first started pulling the pieces of this story together some 15 or so years ago.  At that time I was a tutor/speaker for the Workers Educational Association (WEA) and, among many other courses I presented, I offered ‘From Ragtime to Rock ‘n’ Roll’.   In due time I moved on, my activities changed and ‘FRT […]

The story of the ‘Lovers’ and the result

I am sorry this is a day late – I should have posted it yesterday but I forgot!! In 1960 Penguin Books wanted to publish a particular novel but when they tried to publish it in a new, uncut, version, an attempt was made to prosecute them for obscenity.  In the trial the Jurors were […]

Coping in a POW camp

Available through many sources, and one of the many books on my book shelves, is ‘The Diaries of Captain John Mansel, Prisoner of War and Camp Forger, in Germany, 1940-45’.  I’ve just picked up a short piece that he recorded on Wednesday 29th October 1941 during his stay at a typical POW camp: Lunch is […]

The story behind a story that sold 4,000 copies an hour after mid-night and 100,000 by the end of the day

It was on Wednesday 25th September 1963 that the most hotly anticipated report in British history hit the shelves.  Official reports – known as Blue Books – are usually dull affairs but this one was different – VERY DIFFERENT.  Public interest was so great, remarked ‘The Spectator’ newspaper that the Stationary Office “opened half an […]

A new type of book is available.

It was on Tuesday 30th July 1935 that book publishers Bodley Head published their first ten paperback books.  They called the publication Penguin and each book cost six pence/6d – hardcover books were priced at seven (7/-) or eight (8/-) shillings each, These 10 books revolutionized publishing – and the buying of books. Within a […]