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Marthe McKenna, the WWI nurse who became a British spy

We’re seeing tremendous interest in the books of Marthe McKenna (1892-1966) after the New York Times ran an “overlooked” obituary. A nurse, McKenna, who was Belgian, spied on the Germans for almost two years in World War I. Her book I Was a Spy! became a massive bestseller after the war. It’s still in print […]

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Stand firm & carry on: Churchill’s 1940 instruction leaflet on surviving the German invasion

April 1940. Britain’s darkest hour as the country braced for invasion by German forces. Prime Minister Winston Churchill took the extraordinary step of printing and distributing 14 million leaflets, titled Beating the Invader, featuring instructions on what to do when German troops reached British soil. The key messages were quintessential Churchill – “Stand firm” and […]

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Illicit notebook detailing Newgate Prison’s executions sells for £5,000

A handwritten notebook – belonging to the chaplain of London’s Newgate Prison, which details numerous executions of notable 19th century criminals – has sold for £5,000 ($7,341) via the AbeBooks.co.uk marketplace for used and rare books. ‘Convicts Executed Since the Year 1812 at Newgate’ was the Reverend Horace Salusbury Cotton’s personal and illicit record of the […]

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Omar Sharif, Boris Pasternak, The KGB and the CIA

Midway through the year, while scanning a report of our recent high-value orders, a sale caught my eye. It was a copy of Boris Pasternak’s classic novel Doctor Zhivago, in its original Russian, bound in plain, blue cloth. It sold for $11,000. The bookseller’s description mentioned that this was the edition “covertly published by the […]

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3D Charles Dickens captured in Ivorex

Do you know what Ivorex is? Well, you are looking at an image of Charles Dickens in his study created from Ivorex, which was a wax-like material created by the B. Osborne Company who operated from 1899 to 1965.  These three-dimensional plaques are collectible and quite rare. This particular plaque is offered by Tiger Books […]

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Stefan Zweig: The Tragic Author Who Inspired The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was the talk of Sunday’s 2015 Academy Awards. The delightful, unusual film was being nominated for nine Oscars, and won four, in the categories of Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Only Birdman, the best picture-winner, won as many. What few […]

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AbeBooks Explains Why Shakespeare’s First Folio is so Important

Our latest video explains why William Shakespeare’s First Folio is so significant. It’s full title is Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies and it was published in 1623. The First Folio is arguably the most important book in the English language.

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Alan Turing’s ‘Imitation Game’ paper on artificial intelligence sells for £1,250

An academic journal from 1950 containing a seminal essay on computer intelligence by British codebreaker Alan Turing has sold for £1,250 (approx $1,970) on AbeBooks.co.uk. Turing, who cracked the German secret code in World War II, is currently being played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the movie, The Imitation Game. Turing wrote a paper titled ‘Computer […]

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Le Crapouillot – France’s 80-Year Political Satire Magazine

While foraging about the internet’s forest floor to learn all I could about our latest Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Patrick Modiano, I discovered Le Crapouillot. The first discovery was that Modiano had contributed to an issue of a magazine about drugs. The actual title of the issue was: “LSD une bombe atomique dans la […]

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Hilary Mantel and “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher”

Two-time Booker Award-Winner Hilary Mantel has everyone in quite an uproar. The bestselling author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies has released a new short story, titled The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: August 6th, 1983. And as if the title wasn’t shocking enough, even more incredible is Mantel’s admission that the inspiration for […]

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