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Brunel's Hidden Kingdom

Geoffrey Tudor (Modern History, 1945)

For the first time ever this is the story of Brunel – aided by wife Mary and gardener Forsyth – laying out a garden and designing a landscape. Recently Brunel’s ‘Watcombe Garden Book’ has come to light and is now at the University of Bristol. This little notebook of 32 pages provides a summary of Brunel’s scheming: water-supply, shelter-belts, water gardens, Italian Garden, Sea Walk – all are considered in turn. Pride of place, though, goes to the thousands of trees and to the under-planting of shrubs and creepers that make Watcombe such an outstanding creation.


Alice in I.D 25

Edward Wakeling (Education Studies, 1981)

Alice in I. D. 25 by Frank Birch and Dilly Knox, with introductions by Mavis Batey MBE and Edward Wakeling, is a fascinating parody of Alice based on a performance given in London at the end of 1918 and then immediately suppressed because it identified cryptographers working for the Admiralty during WWI. At last it has been released and reprinted with Mavis Batey's annotations giving the background to the code-breaking story (she was a code-breaker herself during WWII at Bletchley Park and knew the original writers), with a paper by Edward Wakeling explaining the Carrollian connections.

Grand Canal, Great River

Philip Watson (Oriental Studies, 1963)

In July 1170, a Chinese poet, politician and historian made a journey from west to east China. Lu You (pronounced 'loo yo') kept a daily record of his experiences: the people he met, the unfolding landscape and the famous historical sites he visited. What emerges is a detailed panorama of twelfth-century China, an exotic mixture of travelogue, literature and politics. This new modern translation by Philip Watson of the whole of the diary makes the entirety of this fascinating work of literature accessible to the general reader for the first time, and his detailed commentary fills in all the essential background information. Contemporary paintings and other artworks, together with photographs of the places described, complete this beautifully produced book, which brings the world of Lu You dramatically to life.  To buy this book please visit the publisher's website here.

The Desert Road South of Jerusalem

John Wright (PPE, 1954)

This collection of mostly one page wonder stories takes us straight back to the Acts of the Apostles. They tell of the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel today to strangers with miraculous signs through ordinary people. John Wright, a good Anglican and member of the College of Evangelists, tells of his often hilarious adventures with great humour and honesty. The stories also cover marriage, money, business, and blessing those who persecute you! Perfect as a bedside book to send you to sleep with a laugh. Also perfect as an inexpensive Christmas present.Commended by Anglican and Catholic Bishops, it has gone to five editions in five years. A full refund if you are not delighted with it!  £3 from  or call 01508 494366.

Robert Louis Stevenson: A Literary Life

Bill Gray (Modern Languages, 1971)

More than most writers, Robert Louis Stevenson requires a Literary Life. As Henry James commented on reading Balfour’s 1901 biography: ‘Louis ... has superseded, personally, his books, and this last replacement of himself ... has killed the literary baggage.’ Serious critical attention to Stevenson’s literary works has been relatively slow to appear, though the ‘Life of Stevenson’ continues to flourish, having become a minor literary genre in its own right. The version of Stevenson’s literary life presented here embraces Stevenson’s own reservations about the role of linear chronology in biography, and is more of a literary geography than a literary history. Its structure is defined by the various geographical and cultural contexts (England, France, Scotland, America and the South Seas) in which Stevenson lived and worked. This is the first literary biography of Stevenson since the publication of his Collected Letters; it has also made use of hitherto unpublished letters.  To find out more about this book click here.

Prof: The Life of Frederick Lindemann

Adrian Fort (Law, 1966)

The dramatic story of Lord Cherwell, Churchill’s closest friend and adviser for a quarter of a century. He was also a Christ Church don, international tennis star, and scientist of world renown. As a young man in Germany he was admired by the world’s leading physicists, including Einstein, whom he introduced to Oxford, and he then found fame in England by acts of suicidal courage in order to solve the lethal problem of aircraft spin. A very rich man, he moved in pre-war upper-class circles and entered the political arena by standing for Parliament in Oxford. His arrogance and wit upset many colleagues: of one don at the House he said “I would like to castrate him – not that it would make any difference”, while – paraphrasing Hobbes – he dismissed one of Oxford’s most celebrated philosophers as ‘nasty, brutish and long-winded.’ Yet as Churchill’s scientific adviser he played a crucial part in the story of Britain’s atom bomb, the V-weapon battles, and the saturation bombing of Germany – a saga which arose out of a conversation at dinner at the House – and he remained at Churchill’s right hand through the most desperate years in the country’s history.

The author has kindly made this book available to old members of the House at a special discount.  Please send cheques for £10 per book (plus £2 postage) payable to 'Christ Church, Oxford' to the Development Office, Christ Church, OXFORD OX1 1DP.  Please call +44 (0)1865 286598 if you have any queries.

The Deceivers

Thaddeus Holt (Law, 1952)

THE DECEIVERS is the first comprehensive history of Allied military deception in World War II, based on recently declassified British and American documentary sources, and on interviews with surviving participants.  Focusing on the individuals who conducted deception operations (including, among many others, House old members John Bevan, chief of the central British deception staff in London, and Peter Fleming, head of deception in India-Burma, as well as the former House don Sir John Masterman, who presided over the use of double agents to feed false information to the Germans), it covers the development of deception techniques from its beginnings in the Middle East to its climax in covering the Normandy invasion, together with deception against the Japanese.  The House's Sir Michael Howard, sometime Regius Professor of Modern History, called it "definitive ... as comprehensive as it is readable and entertaining ... an astonishing achievement, and no library of the war can afford to be without it." 

To find out more about this book click here.

The Quest

Philip Brown (Chemistry, 1944)

The Quest involves a history of the Augustinian Priory of the Holy Trinity, Michelam, founded in 1229. However the QUEST of the Title was asking for my wife, Gounil`s healing from terminal cancer, from Prior John Leem of Michelam and Abbot Marc Foulque the twelfth century third Abbot of the Abbey of Grestain in Normandy who gives my psychic collaborator Zoi Hartley visions of the past. The Seal of Prior John, which we made in glass for the Priory many years ago, bore the words in Latin, TO BE LOVED YOU MUST FIRST LOVE. Three months before Gounil passed on, our five daughters took over her care so that she could stay at home and not end her days in Hospital.She passed away to the Other Side, in utter calmness completely healed in spirit.

For more information about this book please click here.

Creation, Evolution and Meaning

Robin Attfield (Literae Humaniores, 1960)

This book presents the case for belief in both creation and evolution at the same time as rejecting creationism. Issues of meaning supply the context of inquiry; the book defends the meaningfulness of language about God, and also relates belief in both creation and evolution to the meaning of life. Meaning, it claims, can be found in our consciously adopting the role of stewards of the planetary biosphere, and thus of the fruits of creation.  For more information on this book please click here.

Tower of Skulls

David Crackanthorpe (Law, 1949)

Belgrade, July and August 1914, the last twelve days of peace. Theo Harris, First Secretary, is left in charge of the British Legation where an alleged accomplice of the Sarajevo assassins of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand takes refuge. The arrest and extradition of this boy, brother of Harris's Serbian mistress, is historically among the demands in the Austrian ultimatum leading to the outbreak of the First World War. But Harris doubts that to give up one perhaps innocent victim to the mercy of Austrian interrogators would save any of the thousands who may be called to die on battlefields. His doubts grow as war becomes more certain with the passing days. Personal ethic and the claims of love fatally conflict with professional duty and self-interest.

To buy this novel please click here.

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