Jim Dale started his professional career as a seventeen year old comedian playing the Music Halls of Britain. A little down the road he became a pop singing star during the early days of rock and roll and appeared in fourteen of the legendary Carry On films for the British cinema.

At the request of Laurence Olivier he joined the British National Theatre. He starred in the first Musical by Cameron Mackintosh, The Card, and played Fagin in Oliver! at the London Palladium. He first appeared on the American stage in 1973 - in 1980 he won the Tony Award for his work in Barnum.

    In January, 1649 -- after seven years of fighting in the bloodiest war in Britain's history, Parliament had overpowered King Charles I and now faced a problem: what to do with a defeated king, a king who refused to surrender? Parliamentarians resolved to do the unthinkable, to disregard the Divine Right of Kings and hold Charles I to account for the appalling suffering and slaughter endured by his people. A tribunal of 135 men was hastily gathered in London, and although Charles refused to acknowledge the power of his subjects to try him, the death sentence was unanimously passed. On an icy winter's day on a scaffold outside Whitehall, in an event unique in English history, the King of England was executed. When the dead king's son, Charles II, was restored to the throne, he set about enacting a deadly wave of retribution against all those - the lawyers, the judges, the officers on the scaffold - responsible for his father's death. Some of the 'regicides' - the killers of the king - pleaded for mercy, while others stoically awaited their sentence.

Bestselling historian Charles Spencer explores this violent clash of ideals through the individuals whose fates were determined by that one, momentous decision in his book Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I.

  From the immense staff running a lavish Edwardian estate and the lonely maid-of-all-work cooking in a cramped middle-class house to the poor child doing chores in a slightly less poor household, servants were essential to the British way of life. They were hired not only for their skills but also to demonstrate the social standing of their employers—even as they were required to tread softly and blend into the background. More than simply the laboring class serving the upper crust—as popular culture would have us believe—they were a diverse group that shaped and witnessed major changes in the modern home, family, and social order.

Lucy Lethbridge explores the servants' stories in her book, Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times.

    When Lions Roar begins in the mid-1930s at Chartwell, Winston Churchill's country estate, with new revelations surrounding a secret business deal orchestrated by Joseph P. Kennedy, the soon-to-be American ambassador to Great Britain and the father of future American president John F. Kennedy. From London to America, these two powerful families shared an ever-widening circle of friends, lovers, and political associates – soon shattered by World War II, spying, sexual infidelity, and the tragic deaths of JFK's sister Kathleen and his older brother Joe Jr. By the 1960s and JFK's presidency, the Churchills and the Kennedys had overcome their bitter differences and helped to define the “greatness” in each other.

Acclaimed biographer Thomas Maier tells this dynastic saga through fathers and their sons – and the remarkable women in their lives – providing keen insight into the Churchill and Kennedy families and the profound forces of duty, loyalty, courage and ambition that shaped them.


  Fearless on the battlefield, Churchill had to be ordered by the king to stay out of action on D-Day; he pioneered aerial bombing and few could match his experience in organizing violence on a colossal scale, yet he hated war and scorned politicians who had not experienced its horrors. He was the most famous journalist of his time and perhaps the greatest orator of all time, despite a lisp and chronic depression he kept at bay by painting.

On the fiftieth anniversary of Churchill’s death, Boris Johnson celebrates the brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century in the book, The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History.

  If you're an Indo-Muslim-British-American actor who has spent more time in bars than mosques over the past few decades, turns out it's a little tough to explain who you are or where you are from.

In No Land's Man, Aasif Mandvi explores this and other conundrums through stories about his family, ambition, desire, and culture that range from dealing with his brunch-obsessed father, to being a high-school-age Michael Jackson impersonator, to joining a Bible study group in order to seduce a nice Christian girl, to improbably becoming America's favorite Muslim/Indian/Arab/Brown/Doctor correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

  American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted stateside, she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation, Me Before You.

Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story. One Plus One tells the tale of Jess Thomas, a single mother and housecleaner in a southern England seaside town, and the thrown-together relationship she develops with one of her clients, the wealthy, hopelessly geeky Ed Nicholls.

    A dark tale of greed, corruption, and unquenchable ambition, House of Cards reveals that no matter the country, politics, intrigue and passion reign in the corridors of power. More than twenty years since its first publication it is still considered to be the definitive political thriller.

Michael Dobbs' novel - both its 1989 and 2014 incarnations - is a delicious wallow in British bad behavior, both public and private.

Michael Dobbs is also Lord Dobbs of Wylye, a member of the British House of Lords. He is Britain's leading political novelist and has been a senior adviser to Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron. House of Cards was made into an award winning TV series in the UK and for Netflix in the USA, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright and directed by David Fincher.

    In his comprehensive history, The Rise of the Tudors, Chris Skidmore chronicles the early story of the Tudors, beginning with the birth of the future Henry VII and following his life through the tumultuous Wars of the Roses, which ended with Henry’s coronation.

A strong willed and device of figure in British and International politics- Margaret Thatcher was the longest serving Prime Minister in the 20th century, and the first woman to hold the office. She oversaw Britain’s biggest social and political revolution in its post war history.

Jonathan Aitken, Cabinet administer under Thatcher, and a close family friend of 40 years- had a unique vantage point, and brings new light to many crucial episodes of the Thatcher era. He writes about it in his new book, Margaret Thatcher: Power and Personality.

He speaks about the source of the boundless ambition, and what gave root to her astonishing force of personality.