Woman of God by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

imageI would also like to read Woman of God by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. This novel is Completely different to the usual fast paced James Patterson thrillers. It tells the story of a remarkable woman named Brigid Fitzgerald who has her faith tested repeatedly by the most diabolical and tragic events.

It starts with a Papal Conclave to choose the next Pope. The world is watching as historic crowds gather in Rome, waiting for news of a new Pope, one who promises to be unlike any other in the Church’s history. Some followers are ecstatic. Brigid Fitzgerald stands to make history by becoming the world’s first Female Pope in history, however along the way she has also made a legion of powerful enemies.

From a difficult childhood with drug addled parents, to a career as a doctor on the front lines in Sudan, as a medical missionary Brigid sees horrendous acts committed by ruthless rebels against the local population. She begins to doubt her faith. In an effort to find her faith again she goes from place to place, including back to the Sudan trying to find God. She encounters tragedy around her and in her personal life. Brigid Fitzgerald’s convictions and callings also make her the target of all those who fear that the Church has lost its way–dangerous adversaries who abhor challenges to tradition. Brigid finds herself Locked in a deadly, high-stakes battle with forces determined to undermine everything she believes in, and Brigid must convert her enemies to her cause before she loses her faith…and her life.

Dissolution by C.J.Samsom

D-cjsAfter I have read Ravenspur: Rise of the Tudors by Conn Iggulden I would like to read Dissolution, another exciting historical novel this time by C.J.Samsom. It is Set in Tudor England during the turbulent reign of Henry VIII shortly after he forms the Church of England and parts ways with the Catholic Pope of Rome, Before divorcing Anne Boleyn. Having decided that the monasteries are all hotbeds of corruption and are getting rich whilst the parishioners are left to starve, King Henry tasks his Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell to remove all traces of idolatry, Roman Catholicism and dissolve all the monasteries in England.

So Cromwell dispatches emissaries to different Monasteries to shut them down. Among them is Commissioner Singleton who is sent to the Monastery of St. Donatus the Ascendent at Scarnsea on the Sussex Coast, to see if he can discover any financial irregularities or crimes of a more disturbing nature And find a legitimate excuse to close it down. Naturally when word of Commissioner Singleton’s true purpose emerges this does not go down too well with the monks who live there and shortly after arriving at Scarnsea Commissioner Singleton is found brutally decapitated with a Black Male Hen’s head placed on the alter of the Monastic Church, This causes the Monks to speculate that evil supernatural forces are at work at Scarnsea.

So lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Mark are dispatched to Scarnsea. At the Monastry they meet Abbott Fabian the Abbott of the Monastry, Brother Edwig the Bursar, Brother Gabriel the sacrist and Precentor, Brother Guy the Infirmarian, Brother Hugh the Chamberlain, Brother Jude the Pittancer, Brother Mortimus, the second in command, who is responsible for discipline at the Abbey and an embittered Carthusian Monk named Brother Jerome, who was taken in at St. Donatus after his own monastery fell victim to Cromwell’s purge.

At Scarnsea, Shardlake learns that Some of the monks have dark secrets and unsavoury pasts which they would rather remain hidden and have their own reasons for not wanting the Monastery closed down. Then Things take a turn for the worse when more people are found murdered including the Novice Monk Simon Whelplay, and Shardlake begins to suspect that more lives may be in jeopardy including his own, so he must hurry to discover the truth of what really happened at the monastery of St. Donatus the Ascendent. However as he makes his enquiries he begins to question his own vocation to Lord Cromwell and begins to suspect that Cromwell himself may not be the righteous force for good he makes out either and may be slightly corrupt himself.

Wars of the Roses: Ravenspur by Conn Iggulden

I would like to read the Historical Novel “War of the Roses: Ravenspur” by Conn Iggulden. This historical novel is the second in the trilogy and follows on from “War of the Roses: Bloodline”. It is set during the Wars of the Roses, and starts in England 1470 with King Edward of York being driven out of England by the Plantagenet forces of the House of Lancaster. Meanwhile His Wife Elizabeth and children find sanctuary in Westminster Abbey. The Wars of the Roses were for control of the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster (red rose), and the House of York (white rose).

The power struggle followed the Hundred Years’ War, and Henry VI troubled reign, reigniting Richard, Duke of York’s claim to the throne. With the Duke of York’s passing, the claim transferred to his heir, Edward, who later became the first Yorkist king of England, as Edward IV. Soon after Edward IV’s death, the throne passed to his younger brother, Richard III, after the disappearances of Edward’s sons, Edward V and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, within the confines of the Tower of London.

Desperate to reclaim the crown King Edward lands at Ravenspur in Wales with his brother Richard at the head of an army and the brothers lead an attack against the Lancastrians. However Henry Tudor also lays claim to the throne and this eventually leads to a decisive and climactic Battle at Bosworth Field to decide the fate of the House of York, the House of Lancaster and the house of Tudor and put an end to the Wars of the Roses and decide whether King Edward or Henry Tudor ascends to the throne and rules England.

The Battle of Bosworth Field (or Battle of Bosworth) was the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York that raged across England in the latter half of the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians. Their leader Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, by his victory became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty. His opponent, Richard III, the last king of the House of York, was killed in the battle. Historians consider Bosworth Field to mark the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, making it a defining moment of English and Welsh history.

Richard’s reign began in 1483. At the request of his brother Edward IV, Richard was acting as Lord Protector for his son Edward V. Richard had Parliament declare Edward V illegitimate and ineligible for the throne, and took it for himself. Richard lost popularity when the boy and his younger brother disappeared after he incarcerated them in the Tower of London, and his support was further eroded by the popular belief that he was implicated in the death of his wife. Across the English Channel in Brittany, Henry Tudor, a descendant of the greatly diminished House of Lancaster, seized on Richard’s difficulties so that he could challenge his claim to the throne. Henry’s first attempt to invade England was frustrated by a storm in 1483, but on his second attempt he arrived unopposed on 7 August 1485 on the southwest coast of Wales. Marching inland, Henry gathered support as he made for London. Richard mustered his troops and intercepted Henry’s army south of Market Bosworth in Leicestershire. Thomas, Lord Stanley, and Sir William Stanley brought a force to the battlefield, but held back while they decided which side it would be more advantageous to support.

Richard divided his army, which outnumbered Henry’s, into three groups (or “battles”). One was assigned to the Duke of Norfolk and another to the Earl of Northumberland. Henry kept most of his force together and placed it under the command of the experienced Earl of Oxford. Richard’s vanguard, commanded by Norfolk, attacked but struggled against Oxford’s men, and some of Norfolk’s troops fled the field. Northumberland took no action when signalled to assist his king, so Richard gambled everything on a charge across the battlefield to kill Henry and end the fight. Seeing the king’s knights separated from his army, the Stanleys intervened; Sir William led his men to Henry’s aid, surrounding and killing Richard. After the battle Henry was crowned king below an oak tree in nearby Stoke Golding, now a residential garden. the Battle of Bosworth was popularised to represent the Tudor dynasty as the start of a new age. From the 15th to the 18th centuries the battle was glamorised as a victory of good over evil.

A.A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh)

WinnieBest known for Winnie the Pooh, the English Author, poet and playwright Alan Alexander Milne was born 18 January 1882 in Hampstead London. He grew up at Henley House School, 6/7 Mortimer Road (now Crescent), Kilburn, a small public school run by his father. One of his teachers was H. G. Wells, who taught there in 1889–90. Milne attended Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he studied on a mathematics scholarship. While there, he edited and wrote for Granta, a student magazine.He collaborated with his brother Kenneth and their articles appeared over the initials AKM. Milne’s work came to the attention of the leading British humour magazine Punch, where Milne was to become a contributor and later an assistant editor. After graduating from Cambridge in 1903, A. A. Milne contributed humorous verse and whimsical essays to Punch, the staff in 1906 and becoming an assistant editor.During this period he published 18 plays and 3 novels, including the murder mystery The Red House Mystery (1922). His son was born in August 1920 and in 1924 Milne produced a collection of children’s poems When We Were Very Young, which were illustrated by Punch staff cartoonist E. H. Shepard. A collection of short stories for children Gallery of Children, and other stories that became part of the Winnie-the-Pooh books, were first published in 1925.

Milne joined the British Army in World War I and served as an officer in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and later, after a debilitating illness, the Royal Corps of Signals. He was recruited into Military Intelligence to write propaganda articles between 1916 and 1918. He was discharged on 14 February 1919, & settled in Mallord Street, Chelsea. After the war, he wrote a denunciation of war titled Peace with Honour (1934), which he retracted somewhat with 1940’s War with Honour. During World War II, Milne was one of the most prominent critics of English writer P. G. Wodehouse, who was captured at his country home in France by the Nazis and imprisoned for a year. Wodehouse made radio broadcasts about his internment, which were broadcast from Berlin. Although the light-hearted broadcasts made fun of the Germans, Milne accused Wodehouse of committing an act of near treason by cooperating with his country’s enemy. Wodehouse got some revenge on his former friend (e.g., in The Mating Season) by creating fatuous parodies of the Christopher Robin poems in some of his later stories, and claiming that Milne “was probably jealous of all other writers…. But I loved his stuff.Milne married Dorothy “Daphne” de Sélincourt in 1913, and their only son, Christopher Robin Milne, was born in 1920. In 1925, A. A. Milne bought a country home, Cotchford Farm, in Hartfield, East Sussex.During World War II, A. A. Milne was Captain of the Home Guard in Hartfield & Forest Row, insisting on being plain “Mr. Milne” to the members of his platoon.

Milne was an early screenwriter for the British film industry, writing four stories filmed in 1920 for the company Minerva Films (founded in 1920 by the actor Leslie Howard and his friend and story editor Adrian Brunel). These were The Bump, starring Aubrey Smith; Twice Two; Five Pound Reward; and Bookworms. Some of these films survive in the archives of the British Film Institute. Milne had met Howard when the actor starred in Milne’s play Mr Pim Passes By in London. Milne is most famous for his two Pooh books about a boy named Christopher Robin after his son, Christopher Robin Milne, and various characters inspired by his son’s stuffed animals, most notably the bear named Winnie-the-Pooh. Christopher Robin Milne’s stuffed bear, originally named “Edward”,was renamed “Winnie-the-Pooh” after a Canadian black bear named Winnie (after Winnipeg), which was used as a military mascot in World War I, and left to London Zoo during the war. “The pooh” comes from a swan called “Pooh”. E. H. Shepard illustrated the original Pooh books, using his own son’s teddy, Growler (“a magnificent bear”), as the model.

The rest of Christopher Robin Milne’s toys, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Tigger, were incorporated into A. A. Milne’s stories,two more characters – Rabbit and Owl – were created by Milne’s imagination. Christopher Robin Milne’s own toys are now under glass in New York. The fictional Hundred Acre Wood of the Pooh stories derives from Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, South East England, where the Pooh stories were set. Milne lived on the northern edge of the Forest and took his son walking there. E. H. Shepard drew on the landscapes of Ashdown Forest as inspiration for many of the illustrations he provided for the Pooh books. The adult Christopher Robin commented: “Pooh’s Forest and Ashdown Forest are identical”. wooden Pooh Bridge in Ashdown Forest, where Pooh and Piglet inventedPoohsticks, is a tourist attraction.Not yet known as Pooh, he made his first appearance in a poem, “Teddy Bear”, published in the British magazine Punch in February 1924. Pooh first appeared in the London Evening News on Christmas Eve, 1925, in a story called “The Wrong Sort Of Bees”.Winnie-the-Pooh was published in 1926, followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928. A second collection of nursery rhymes, Now We Are Six, was published in 1927. All three books were illustrated by E. H. Shepard. Milne also published four plays in this period. He also “gallantly stepped forward” to contribute a quarter of the costs of dramatising P. G. Wodehouse’s A Damsel in Distress.His book The World of Pooh won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958.

Milne, also freed pre-war Punch from its ponderous facetiousness; he had made a considerable reputation as a playwright (like his idol J. M. Barrie) on both sides of the Atlantic; he had produced a witty piece of detective writing in The Red House Mystery (although this was severely criticised byRaymond Chandler for the implausibility of its plot). But once Milne had, in his own words, “said goodbye to all that in 70,000 words” (the approximate length of his four principal children’s books), he had no intention of producing any reworkings lacking in originality, given that one of the sources of inspiration, his son, was growing older.His reception remained warmer in America than Britain, and he continued to publish novels and short stories, but by the late 1930s, the audience for Milne’s grown-up writing had largely vanished:  Even his old literary home, Punch, where the When We Were Very Young verses had first appeared, rejected him, as Christopher Milne details in his autobiography The Enchanted Places. Milne also wrote ‘The Norman Church’ and an assembly of articles entitled Year In, Year Out He also adapted Kenneth Grahame’s novel The Wind in the Willows for the stage as Toad of Toad Hall. A special introduction written by Milne is included in some editions of Grahame’s novel.

A.A Milne sadly passed away in 1956 and The rights to A. A. Milne’s Pooh books were left to four beneficiaries: his family, the Royal Literary Fund, Westminster School and the Garrick Club, his widow sold her rights to the Pooh characters to Stephen Slesinger, whose widow sold the rights after Slesinger’s death to the Walt Disney Company, which has since made many Pooh cartoon movies, a Disney Channel television show, as well as Pooh-related merchandise. In 2001, the other beneficiaries sold their interest in the estate to the Disney Corporation. Forbes magazine ranks Winnie the Pooh the most valuable fictional character; in 2002 Winnie the Pooh merchandising products alone had annual sales of more than $5.9 billion. A memorial plaque in Ashdown Forest, unveiled by Christopher Robin in 1979, commemorates the work of A. A. Milne and Shepard in creating the world of Pooh.Milne once wrote of Ashdown Forest: “In that enchanted place on the top of the forest a little boy and his bear will always be playing”. In 2003, Winnie the Pooh was listed at number 7 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read.Several of Milne’s children’s poems were set to music by the composer Harold Fraser-Simson and his poems have been parodied many times, including with the books When We Were Rather Older and Now We Are Sixty.

Rudyard Kipling

the_jungle_book_poster_a_pEnglish short story writer, poet and Novellist Joseph Rudyard Kipling sadly passed away on 18 January 1936 at the age of 70 of a perforated duodenal ulcer.It was two days before the death of King George V. born 30 December 1865 , He is chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India and his tales for children. He was born in Bombay, in the Bombay Presidency of British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old. Kipling is best known for his works of fiction, including The Jungle Book (a collection of stories which includes “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”), Just So Stories (1902), Kim (1901) (a tale of adventure), many short stories, including “The Man Who Would Be King” (1888); and his poems, including “Mandalay” (1890), “Gunga Din” (1890), “The White Man’s Burden” (1899), and “If—” (1910). In 1891, on the advice of his doctors, Kipling embarked on a sea voyage visiting South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and India. However, he cut short his plans for spending Christmas with his family in India when he heard of Balestier’s sudden death from typhoid fever, and immediately decided to return to London. Before his return, he had used the telegram to propose to and be accepted by Wolcott’s sister Caroline Starr Balestier (1862–1939), called “Carrie”, whom he had met a year earlier, and with whom he had apparently been having an intermittent romance Meanwhile, late in 1891, his collection of short stories of the British in India, Life’s Handicap, was published in London.

Kiplingon 18 January 1892 Rudyard Kipling married Carrie Balestier in London, in the “thick of an influenza epidemic, when the undertakers had run out of black horses and the dead had to be content with brown ones.” The wedding was held at All Souls Church, Langham Place. Henry James gave the bride away.In the short span of four years, he produced, in addition to the Jungle Books, a collection of short stories (The Day’s Work), a novel (Captains Courageous), and a profusion of poetry, including the volume The Seven Seas. The collection of Barrack-Room Ballads was issued in March 1892, first published individually for the most part in 1890, and containing his poems “Mandalay” and “Gunga Din”. He especially enjoyed writing the Jungle Books—both masterpieces of imaginative writing—and enjoyed, too, corresponding with the many children who wrote to him about them.The writing life in naulakha was occasionally interrupted by visitors, including his father, who visited soon after his retirement in 1893 and British writer Arthur Conan Doyle, who brought his golf-clubs, stayed for two days, and gave Kipling an extended golf lesson.]Kipling seemed to take to golf, occasionally practising with the local Congregational minister, and even playing with red-painted balls when the ground was covered in snow.However, wintertime golf was “not altogether a success because there were no limits to a drive; the ball might skid two miles (3 km) down the long slope to Connecticut river.”, Kipling loved the outdoors not least of whose marvels in Vermontwas the turning of the leaves each fall. He described this moment in a letter: “A littlemaple began it, flaming blood-red of a sudden where he stood against the dark green of a pine-belt. Next morning there was an answering signal from the swamp where thesumacs grow. Three days later, the hill-sides as fast as the eye could range were afire, and the roads paved, with crimson and gold. Then a wet wind blew, and ruined all the uniforms of that gorgeous army; and the oaks, who had held themselves in reserve, buckled on their dull and bronzed cuirasses and stood it out stiffly to the last blown leaf, till nothing remained but pencil-shadings of bare boughs, and one could see into the most private heart of the woods.

rikki-tikki-taviHe also became involved in the debate over the British response to the rise in German naval power known as the Tirpitz Plan to build a fleet to challenge the Royal Navy. On a visit to the United States in 1899, Kipling and Josephine developed pneumonia, from which she eventually died. Kipling began collecting material for another of his children’s classics, Just So Stories for Little Children. That work was published in 1902, the year after Kim was first issued. The first decade of the 20th century saw Kipling at the height of his popularity. In 1906 he wrote the song ”Land of our Birth, We Pledge to Thee”. Kipling wrote two science fiction short stories, With the Night Mail (1905) and As Easy As A. B. C (1912), both set in the 21st century in Kipling’s Aerial Board of Controluniverse. These read like modern hard science fiction and introduced the literary technique known as indirect exposition, which would later become one of Heinlein’s trademarks. In 1907 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and Kipling was the first English-language recipient. At the award ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December 1907, the publication of two connected poetry and story collections: Puck of Pook’s Hill (1906), andRewards and Fairies (1910). The latter contained the poem “If Exultation and triumph was what Kipling had in mind as he actively encouraged his young son to go to war. sadly Kipling’s son John died in the First World War, at the Battle of Loos in September 1915, at age 18. John had initially wanted to join the Royal Navy, but having had his application turned down after a failed medical examination due to poor eyesight, he opted to apply for military service as an officer. But again, his eyesight was an issue during the medical examination. In fact, he tried twice to enlist, but was rejected. His father had been lifelong friends with Lord Roberts, commander-in-chief of the British Army, and colonel of the Irish Guards, and at Rudyard’s request, John was accepted into the Irish Guards. He was sent to Loos two days into the battle in a reinforcement contingent. He was last seen stumbling through the mud blindly, screaming in agony after an exploding shell ripped his face apart. A body identified as his was not found until 1992, although that identification has been challenged.At the beginning of World War I, like many other writers, Kipling wrote pamphlets and poems which enthusiastically supported the UK’s war aims of restoring Belgium after that kingdom had been occupied by Germany together with more generalised statements that Britain was standing up for the cause of good.

In September 1914, Kipling was asked by the British government to write propaganda, an offer that he immediately accepted. Kipling’s pamphlets and stories were very popular with the British people during the war with his major themes being glorifying the British military as the place for heroic men to be, German atrocities against Belgian civilians and the stories of women being brutalized by a horrific war unleashed by Germany, yet surviving and triumphing in spite of their suffering. Kipling was enraged by reports of the Rape of Belgium together with the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915, which he saw as a deeply inhumane act, which led him to see the war as a crusade for civilization against barbarism. Kipling was privately deeply critical of how the war was fought by the British Army as opposed to the war itself, which he ardently supported, complaining as early as October 1914 that Germany should have been defeated by now, and something must be wrong with the British Army. Kipling, who was shocked by the heavy losses that the BEF had taken by the autumn of 1914 blamed the entire pre-war generation of British politicians, who he argued had failed to learn the lessons of the Boer War and as a result, thousands of British soldiers were now paying with their lives for their failure in the fields of France and Belgium.

JUNGLE BOOK http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hQS8ihf2rds

After the first world war, Kipling remained sceptical about the Fourteen Points and the League of Nations, but he had great hopes that the United States would abandon isolationism and that the post-war world would be dominated by an Anglo-French-American alliance. Kipling hoped that the United States would take on a League of Nations mandate for Armenia as the best way of preventing isolationism, and hoped that Theodore Roosevelt, whom Kipling admired, would once again become President Kipling was saddened by Roosevelt’s death in 1919, believing that his friend was the only American politician capable of keeping the United States in the “game” of world politics. Kipling joined Sir Fabian Ware’s Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission), the group responsible for the garden-like British war graves that can be found to this day dotted along the former Western Front and all the other locations around the world where troops of the British Empire lie buried. His most significant contribution to the project was his selection of the biblical phrase “Their Name Liveth For Evermore” (Ecclesiasticus 44.14, KJV) found on the Stones of Remembrance in larger war graves and his suggestion of the phrase “Known unto God” for the gravestones of unidentified servicemen. He chose the inscription “The Glorious Dead” on the Cenotaph, Whitehall, London. He also wrote a two-volume history of the Irish Guards, his son’s regiment, that was published in 1923 and is considered to be one of the finest examples of regimental history. Kipling’s moving short story, “The Gardener”, depicts visits to the war cemeteries, and the poem “The King’s Pilgrimage” (1922) depicts a journey which King George V made, touring the cemeteries and memorials under construction by the Imperial War Graves Commission. With the increasing popularity of the automobile, Kipling became a motoring correspondent for the British press, and wrote enthusiastically of his trips around England and abroad, even though he was usually driven by a chauffeur.

ln 1920 Kipling co-founded the Liberty League with Haggard and Lord Sydenham. This short-lived enterprise focused on promoting classic liberal ideals as a response to the rising power of Communist tendencies within Great Britain, or has Kipling put it “to combat the advance of Bolshevism”. In 1922 Kipling, who had made reference to the work of engineers in some of his poems, such as The sons of Martha, Sappers, andMcAndrew’s hymn and in other writings such as short story anthologies, for instance The Day’s Work. He Was asked by University of Toronto civil engineering professorHerbert E. T. Haultain for his assistance in developing a dignified obligation and ceremony for graduating engineering students. Kipling was enthusiastic in his response and shortly produced both, formally entitled “The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer”. Today, engineering graduates all across Canada are presented with an iron ring at the ceremony as a reminder of their obligation to society. In 1922 Kipling also became Lord Rector of St Andrews University in Scotland, a three-year position. Kipling argued very strongly for an Anglo-French alliance to uphold the peace, calling Britain and France in 1920 the “twin fortresses of European civilization”. Along the same lines, Kipling repeatedly warned against revising the Treaty of Versailles in Germany’s favor, which he predicated would lead to a new world war An admirer of Raymond Poincaré, Kipling was one of the few British intellectuals who supported the French Occupation of the Ruhr in 1923 at a time when the British government and most public opinion was against the French position. In contrast to the popular British view of Poincaré as a cruel bully intent on impoverishing Germany by seeking unreasonable reparations, Kipling argued that Poincare was only rightfully trying to preserve France as a great power in the face of an unfavorable situation.

Kipling argued that even before 1914 Germany’s larger economy and birthrate had made that country stronger than France, that with much of France was devastated by the war and the French suffering heavy losses that the low French birthrate would have trouble replacing while Germany was mostly undamaged and with a higher birth rate, that it was madness for Britain to seek to pressure France to revise Versailles in Germany’s favor. In 1924, Kipling was opposed to the Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald as “Bolshevism without bullets”, but believing that Labour was a Communist front organisation took the view that “excited orders and instructions from Moscow” would expose Labour as Communist front organisation to the British people. Kipling’s views were on the right and through he admired Benito Mussolini to a certain extent for a time in the 1920s, Kipling was against fascism, writing that Sir Oswald Mosley was “a bounder and anarriviste”, by 1935 called Mussolini a deranged and dangerous egomaniac and in 1933 wrote “The Hitlerites are out for blood”.Once the Nazis came to power and usurped the swastika, Kipling ordered that it should no longer adorn his books. In 1934 he published a short story in Strand Magazine, “Proofs of Holy Writ”, which postulated that William Shakespeare had helped to polish the prose of the King James Bible Less than one year before his death Kipling gave a speech (titled “An Undefended Island”) toThe Royal Society of St George on 6 May 1935 warning of the danger which Nazi Germany posed to Britain.

Kipling IS regarded as a major “innovator in the art of the short story”; his children’s books are enduring classics of children’s literature; and his best works are said to exhibit “a versatile and luminous narrative gift”.Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Henry James said: “Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known.” In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and to date he remains its youngest recipient. Among other honours, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he declined.Kipling’s subsequent reputation has changed according to the political and social climate of the age and the resulting contrasting views about him continued for much of the 20th century. George Orwell called him a “prophet of British imperialism”. Literary critic Douglas Kerr wrote: “He [Kipling] is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with.Kipling was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium, northwest London, and his ashes were buried in Poets’ Corner, part of the South Transept of Westminster Abbey, next to the graves of Charles Dickens and Thomas HardyIn 2010 the International Astronomical Union approved that a crater on the planet Mercury would be named after Kipling—one of ten newly discovered impact craters observed by the MESSENGER spacecraft in 2008–9. In 2012, an extinct species of crocodile,Goniopholis kiplingi, was named in his honour, “in recognition for his enthusiasm for natural sciences”. More than 50 unpublished poems by Kipling were released for the first time in March 2013 and his novels remain popular to this day and have all been adapted for stage and screen numerous times including a fantastic animated Disney version and a live action version.

Oliver Hardy

LaurelBest known as one half of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, the American comedian and actor Oliver Hardy was born 18th January 1892.Laurel and Hardy were one of the most popular and critically acclaimed comedy double acts of the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. Composed of thin Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and large American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957), they became well known during the late 1920′s to the mid-1940′s for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy and childlike friend of the pompous Hardy. They made over 100 films together, initially two-reelers (short films) before expanding into feature length films in the 1930s. Their films include SONS OF THE DESERT (1933), the Academy Award winning short film The Music Box (1932), BABES IN TOYLAND (1934), and WAY OUT WEST (1937). Hardy’s catchphrase “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” is still widely recognized.

Prior to the double act both were established actors with Laurel appearing in over 50 films and Hardy in over 250 films. Although the two comedians first worked together on the film The Lucky Dog (1921), this was a chance pairing and it was not until 1926, when both separately signed contracts with the Hal Roach film studio, that they began appearing in movie shorts together. Laurel and Hardy officially became a team the following year in the silent short film Putting Pants on Philip (1927). The pair remained with the Roach studio until 1940, then appeared in eight “B” comedies for 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1941 to 1945. After finishing their movie commitments at the end of 1944, they concentrated on stage shows, embarking on a music hall tour of England, Ireland, and Scotland] In 1950 they made their last film, a French/Italian co-production called Atoll K, before retiring from the screen.

In total they appeared together in 107 films. They starred in 40 short sound films, 32 short silent films and 23 full-length feature films, and made 12 guest or cameo appearances, including the recently discovered Galaxy of Stars promotional film (1936).A common comedy routine was a tit-for-tat fight. Their silent film Big Business (1929), which includes one of these routines, was added to the Library of Congress as a national treasure in 1992. Notable Laurel traits included crying like a baby while being berated and scratching his hair when in shock. On December 1, 1954, the team made their only American television appearance, surprised by Ralph Edwards on his live NBC-TV program, This Is Your Life. The works of Laurel and Hardy have been re-released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 16mm and 8mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home videos since the 1930s. They were voted the seventh greatest comedy act in a 2005 UK poll by fellow comedians. The duo’s signature tune, known variously as “The Cuckoo Song”, “Ku-Ku”, or “The Dance of the Cuckoos”, played on the opening credits of their films. The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as The Sons of the Desert, after a fraternal society in their film of the same name.

W.O Bentley

BentleyLuxury automobile Manufacturer Bentley Motors Limited was Founded 18th January 1919 by W. O. Bentley. Bentley had been previously known for his range of rotary aero-engines in World War I, the most famous being the Bentley BR1 as used in later versions of the Sopwith Camel. Before World War I, Walter Owen Bentley had been in partnership with his brother Horace Millner Bentley selling French DFP cars, but he had always wanted to design and build his own range of cars bearing his name. In August 1919, Bentley Motors Ltd. was registered, and a chassis with dummy engine was exhibited at the London Motor Show in October of that year. An innovative 4 valves per cylinder engine designed by ex-Royal Flying Corps officer Clive Gallop was built and running by December, and orders were taken for deliveries starting in June 1920; however, development took longer than estimated, and the first cars were not ready until September 1921. Their durability earned widespread acclaim. Appearances were made in hill climbs and at Brooklands and a single entry in the 1922 Indianapolis 500 mile race driven by Douglas Hawkes finished at an average speed in excess of 80 miles an hour.

Bentley 3 Litre

Bentley 3 Litre

After the war, W. O. Bentley designed and made production cars that won the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1924. Woolf Barnato acquired his first Bentley (a 3-litre) in 1925, just 12 months before he also acquired the business itself. With this car he won numerous Brooklands races. He was a member of a social set of wealthy British motorists known as the “Bentley Boys” who favoured the cars of W. O. Bentley. Many were independently wealthy, often with a background in military service. Barnato was nicknamed “Babe”, in ironic deference to his heavyweight boxer’s stature.The Bentley enterprise was always underfunded, but inspired by the 1924 Le Mans win by John Duff and Frank Clement, Barnato agreed to finance Bentley’s business. Barnato had incorporated Baromans Ltd in 1922, which existed as his finance and investment vehicle. Via Baromans, Barnato initially invested in excess of £100,000, saving the business and its workforce. A financial reorganisation of the original Bentley company was carried out and all existing creditors paid off for £75,000. Existing shares were devalued from £1 each to just 1 shilling, or 5% or their original value. Barnato held 149,500 of the new shares giving him control of the company and he became chairman. Barnato injected further cash into the business: £35,000 secured by debenture in July 1927; £40,000 in 1928; £25,000 in 1929. With renewed financial input, W. O. Bentley was able to design another generation of cars.

1955_R-Type_Bentley_01A group of wealthy British motorists known as the “Bentley Boys”— Woolf Barnato, Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, steeplechaser George Duller, aviator Glen Kidston, automotive journalist S.C.H. “Sammy” Davis, and Dr Dudley Benjafield among them—kept the marque’s reputation for high performance alive. Bentley, located at Cricklewood, north London, was noted for its four consecutive victories at the 24 hours of Le Mans from 1927 to 1930.In 1929, Birkin had developed the lightweight Blower Bentley, including five racing specials that started with the Brooklands racing designed Bentley Blower No.1.In March 1930, during the Blue Train Races, Woolf Barnato raised the stakes on Rover and its Rover Light Six, having raced and beat Le Train Bleu for the first time, to better that record with his 6½-litre Bentley Speed Six on a bet of £100. He drove against the train from Cannes to Calais, then by ferry to Dover, and finally London, travelling on public highways, and won; the H.J. Mulliner-bodied formal saloon he drove during the race as well as a streamlined fastback “Sportsman Coupé” by Gurney Nutting—he took delivery of on 21 May 1930—became known as the “Blue Train Bentleys”; the latter is regularly mistaken for (or erroneously referred to) as being the car that raced the Blue Train, while in fact Barnato named it in memory of his race.

BentleyBentley was Purchased by Rolls-Royce in 1931, when production was moved from London to Derby, and When the new Bentley 3½ litre appeared in 1933, it was a sporting variant of the Rolls-Royce 20/25, which disappointed some traditional customers yet was well received by many others. After World War II production of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars was moved to an ex-wartime engine factory in Crewe, Cheshire and standard-steel Bentleys were slightly lower priced Rolls-Royces without the Rolls’ distinctive square-shouldered grille. The Continental fastback coupé first appeared in 1952 and was an evolution of the 1946 Mark VI produced principally for the domestic home market, the majority of cars produced (165, including a prototype) being right-hand drive. The chassis was produced at the Crewe factory and shared many components with the standard R type. Other than the R-Type standard steel saloon, R-Type Continentals were delivered as rolling chassis to the coachbuilder of choice. Coachwork for most of these cars was completed by H. J. Mulliner & Co. who mainly built them in fastback coupe form. Other coachwork came from Park Ward (London) who built six, later including a drophead coupe version. Franay (Paris) built five, Graber (Wichtrach, Switzerland) built three, one of them later altered by Köng (Basle, Switzerland), and Pininfarina made one. James Young (London) built in 1954 a Sports Saloon for the owner of James Young’s, James Barclay. Sadly financial problems brought about a collapse of Bentley in 1970.

2011BentleyContiin 1998, Vickers decided to sell Rolls-Royce Motors. The leading contender was BMW, who already supplied engines and other components for Bentley (and Rolls-Royce) cars and because of their long-lasting joint efforts in building aero engines. However Their final offer of £340m was outbid by Volkswagen Group, who offered £430m. Volkswagen Group got the Crewe works and found it held the rights to Rolls-Royce’s “Spirit of Ecstasy” mascot and the shape of that radiator grille but no rights to the Rolls-Royce name or logo. In 1998 BMW started supplying components for the new range of Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars – notably V8 engines for the Bentley Arnage and V12 engines for the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. It also emerged that BMW was able to terminate its supply deal with Rolls-Royce with 12 months’ notice, which would not be enough time for Volkswagen Group to re-engineer the cars. Bentley reintroduced the venerable Rolls-Royce V8 engine into the Arnage, initially as an additional model, and all BMW engine supply ended in 2003 with the end of Silver Seraph production. From 1 January 2003 forward, Volkswagen Group would be the sole provider of cars with the “Bentley” marque. Rolls-Royce production was relocated to their Goodwood plant in Goodwood, West Sussex, England.

Bentley has been owned by the Volkswagen Group of Germany since 1998. After acquiring the business, Volkswagen modernised the Crewe factory in order to increase production capacity. In 2002, Bentley presented Queen Elizabeth II with an official State Limousine to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. In 2003, Bentley’s two-door convertible, the Bentley Azure, ceased production, and Bentley introduced a second line, Bentley Continental GT, a large luxury coupé powered by a W12 engine built in Crewe. The Flying Spur, a four-door version of the Continental GT, was also introduced. In April 2005, Bentley confirmed plans to produce a four-seat convertible model—the Azure, derived from the Arnage Drophead Coupé prototype—at Crewe beginning in 2006. By the autumn of 2005, the convertible version of the successful Continental GT, the Continental GTC, was also presented. These two models were successfully launched in late 2006. A limited run of a Zagato modified GT was also announced in March 2008, dubbed “GTZ”and A new version of the Bentley Continental was introduced at the 2009 Geneva Auto Show: The Continental Supersports. This new Bentley combines extreme power with environmentally friendly FlexFuel technology, capable of using petrol (gasoline) and biofuel (E85 ethanol).