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Welcome to Shire Books

Shire has a new look!

The Shire Library series has received a beautiful revamp from renowned heritage designer and author Peter Ashley. Look out for nearly 100 of the new covers appearing here and on spinners everywhere over the course of 2014, and for a limited time only you can buy 3 books for the price of 2 here on the website. Happy reading!

A Century of Royalty

Over the last century Britain has witnessed a royal family saga compelling, tumultuous and heartwarming. The constitution has been thrown into crisis by an abdication, royal divorces have become commonplace, coronations and jubilees have brought the nation together – and though Princess Diana’s death precipitated perhaps the most serious turn in public opinion yet, the Windsors’ place in our hearts was confirmed beyond any doubt by Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son, Prince George. With full-page illustrations from the Daily Mirror’s archives and illuminating explanatory text, this book is a unique look at one hundred years of royalty in Britain.

A Century of Hairstyles

Nothing defines a person like their hairstyle – and what a century it has been for hair! Bangs, bobs, buns, beehives and bouffants have vied with pixie cuts, pin curls, perms and pageboys for ascendancy in an ever-changing parade of ladies’ looks and trends, and amongst the men we’ve seen caesers, comb overs, ducktails, faux hawks, flattops, quiffs and slick backs. From the Edwardian era through the seismic changes of the 1920s and ‘60s, and including every quirky twist hair history took on its way to the turn of the millennium, this book is a lush visual survey of a hundred years of hairstyles.

A Century of Railway Travel

From the Edwardian golden age of steam to the present, the railway has captured the hearts and imaginations of the British people like no other mode of travel. In wartime and peace, along major routes and minor, steam, diesel and electric trains have carried commuters to work, families to holiday destinations and provided the means to myriad other adventures – the train a constant presence in an ever-changing way of life. A Century of Railway Travel presents one hundred years of the British passenger’s story, using striking full-page imagery with commentary from bestselling author Paul Atterbury.

What Tommy Took to War: 1914–1918

Peter Doyle & Chris Foster

On the centenary of the Great War comes this poignant look at fifty objects never far from Tommy’s side – official uniform, good-luck charms, phrasebooks, a sweetheart’s letter – some unexpected and others more familiar. With sumptuous original photography and thoughtful text, this is life as the ordinary First World War soldier knew it.

Animals in the First World War

Neil R. Storey

The burden of the Great War was not shouldered by soldiers alone: the tasks, the camaraderie, the day-to-day life and the devastation were all shared with the animals that accompanied the forces abroad. The horses that took part in the last cavalry charges or hauled heavy guns are the most famous examples, but were far from alone: pigeons carried vital messages, dogs sniffed out wounded soldiers, camels were used as beasts of burden in the desert, and even ships’ cats and baby orang-utans had their parts to play. From noted historian Neil R. Storey, this book looks at all the practical ways in which animals were essential to the war effort, but is equally interested in their roles as companions, mascots and morale boosters – on land, in the air and at sea.

The British Airman of the First World War

David Hadaway & Stuart Hadaway

1914–18: the first air war, fought by true pioneers not only of aerial combat but of flight itself. British pilots, observers and gunners played a vital part in the Allied war effort around the globe, from the desolation of the Western Front and the mountains of Italy to the deserts of Egypt and Mesopotamia, and the freezing Russian steppes. But with aviation still in its infancy, many of the machines and techniques, and much of the equipment employed, were shockingly basic, and sometimes posed more of a threat to the crews than did enemy action. This fully illustrated book looks at the daily life and experiences of the remarkable young men who for the first time in history took to the skies in defence of Great Britain.

Medical Services in the First World War

Susan Cohen

The number of wounded in the First World War was unprecedented, and inadequate military planning presented the medical and voluntary community with huge and daunting challenges. Yet in the face of tremendous adversity both tackled their work with resourcefulness, courage and great humanity. This book is the illustrated story of those who risked their lives collecting casualties from the front line, of the various transport and treatment facilities at their disposal and of the eclectic mix of buildings in which the wounded were cared for at home, including many famous country houses. The vital part played by nurses, both in terms of essential medical duties and in boosting morale among the patients, is also examined, rounding off this perfect introduction to medical care in the First World War.