The History Press

Michelle Morgan and Astrid Franse

Before Marilyn

The Blue Book Modelling Years

The History Press (July 2015)

Franse Morgan Before MarilynBefore Marilyn tells the story of Marilyn Monroe’s modelling career, during which time she was signed to the famous Blue Book Agency in Hollywood. The head of the agency, Miss Emmeline Snively, saw potential in the young woman and kept detailed records and correspondence throughout their professional relationship and beyond. On the day of Monroe’s funeral, Snively gave an interview from her office, talking about the girl she had discovered, before announcing, rather dramatically, that she was closing the lid on her Marilyn Monroe archive that day – to ‘lock it away forever’. This archive was purchased by Astrid Franse, and together with bestselling Marilyn Monroe biographer Michelle Morgan they draw on this collection of never-before-seen documents, letters and much, much more. Before Marilyn explores an aspect of Monroe’s life that has never been fully revealed – by charting every modelling job she did, and illustrating the text with rare and unpublished photographs of the young model and her mentor.

Jamie Green and Mike Dunn

The Freshwater Five

A Fishing Crew’s Fight For Justice After Being Jailed For 104 Years. Jamie Green’s Story as told to Mike Dunn and Nicky Green.

The History Press (June 2021)

Green Dunn The Freshwater FiveIt was the biggest haul of cocaine ever discovered in the UK – £53m worth stashed inside eleven rucksacks that had snarled underneath fishing nets on the Isle of Wight. Within three hours, the police pounced, and in June 2011 five fishermen were found guilty of conspiracy to import Class A drugs. A jury believed they’d taken their boat into the Channel, then waited for someone to throw the bags into the ocean from a passing cargo ship. The men were handed prison sentences that totalled 104 years. However, when reexamined, the evidence (some of it new) proves they didn’t do it. Their boat was struggling to survive a Force Eight storm; crucial facts known only to the police were withheld; surveillance reports mysteriously disappeared; key intelligence was inexplicably spoilt; radio communications conveniently broke down; and expert radar analysis, which effectively sealed the men’s fate, was incorrect. Still imprisoned, the five men and their families continue to battle for their release. 104 Years is their story as told by the skipper of the crew on the night they found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

David R. L. Litchfield

Hitler’s Valkyrie

The Uncensored Biography of Unity Mitford

The History Press (October 2013)

The first biography of Unity Valkyrie Mitford to show the real nature of her extraordinarily close relationship with Adolf Hitler conducted mostly in his beloved Munich throughout the 1930s. As with Hitler’s other women, Unity was expected to end her own life, and, like Wagner’s Valkyrie, wait for him in the afterlife of Valhalla, which she duly tried to do with a bullet in Munich upon Britain’s declaration of war. The intertwining lives of Hitler and this clever, attractive and promiscuous young woman, supported by the frequent visits to Germany of her sister, Diana, whose marriage to Oswald Mosley in Berlin was attended by Hitler, and the Nazi sympathies of other members of her family, make for spellbinding reading.

Maurice Mayne

with Mark Ryan

Down But Not Out

The moving true story of a WW2 airman

The History Press (April 2014)

A tremendous memoir by a 92-year-old World War II veteran airman, Maurice Mayne. His life in action as a torpedo gunner came to a dramatic end, when his Beaufort was shot down into the sea off the Norwegian coast in 1942. Badly wounded, he miraculously managed to evacuate the plane, survive near drowning, but was picked up by a German boat and taken to a POW camp, Stalag VII B. From there he made a daring escape across Germany to the North Sea. Reunited with his sweetheart, Sylvia, they married at the end of the War, and still are, 68 years later.

James Moore

Murder by Numbers

Fascinating Figures behind the World’s Worst Crimes

The History Press (January 2018)
Moore Murder by NumbersWhat is the connection between the number 13 and Jack the Ripper? Why was the number 18 crucial in catching Acid Bath murderer John George Haigh? And what is so puzzling about the number 340 in the chilling case of the Zodiac killer? The answers to all these questions and many more are revealed in a unique, number-crunching history of the ultimate crime. James Moore’s Murder by Numbers tells the story of murder through the centuries in an entirely new way … through the key digits involved. Each entry starts with a number and leads into a different aspect of murder, be it a fascinating angle to a case or revealing insights into murder methods, punishments and, of course, the chilling figures behind the most notorious killers from our past. From the grizzly death toll of the world’s worst serial killer to your own odds of being murdered, this guide will appeal to the connoisseur of true crime and the casual reader alike.

James Moore

Murder at the Inn

A criminal history of Britain’s pubs and hotels

The History Press (February 2015)

Moore Murder at the InnIn which pub did the Krays murder George Cornell and so achieve notoriety as Britain’s most feared gangsters? Where is the hostelry in which Jack the Ripper’s victims drank? How did Burke and Hare befriend their victims in a Scottish watering hole before luring them to their deaths? What is the name of the pub where the Lord Lucan mystery first came to light? And how did a pub become the scene of the murder that led to Ruth Ellis going to the gallows? For centuries, the history of beer and pubs has gone hand in hand with some of the nation’s most despicable and fascinating crimes. Packed with grizzly murders – including fascinating little-known cases – as well as sinister stories of smuggling, robbery and sexual intrigue, Murder at the Inn is a treasure trove of dark tales linked to the best drinking haunts and historic hotels across the land.

James Moore and Paul Nero

History’s Narrowest Escapes

The History Press (August 2013)

James Moore and Paul Nero reveal the dramatic attempts to kill Winston Churchill as well as 49 other narrow escapes in history covering everything from wars that were averted to invasions, revolutions and apocalyptic scenarios, that we escaped by the skin of our teeth. Included are the stories of how Prince Albert from his deathbed stopped war between Britain and the US in the 1860s; how Nelson’s heroics at the Battle of Trafalgar might never have happened, if it hadn’t been for the quick thinking of his son-in-law eight years before; and how the actions of a single Soviet Army colonel avoided World War Three in 1983. History’s Narrowest Escapes reveals how our history could have been very different…and possibly much worse!

James Moore and Paul Nero

Ye Olde Good Inn Guide

A Tudor Traveller’s Guide to the Nation’s Finest Taverns

The History Press (April 2013)

Moore & Nero Ye Olde Good Inn Guide (1)Packed with the finest hostelries to grace the 16th century and written with all the flavour of the language of the day, this witty and meticulously researched tome covers every county in the land and directs you to all its celebrated and charming pubs, many of which still exist today.  Ye Olde Good Inn Guide is an essential aid to both the pub historian and the drinker, who yearns for the lost age of the trusty tavern.

James Moore and Paul Nero

Pigeon-Guided Missiles

and 49 other ideas that never took off

The History Press (August 2011)

Moore & Nero Pigeon Guided MissilesDiscover British Rail’s plan for a spaceship, the scheme to cover Manhattan in a glass dome, and why the Victorian Channel Tunnel hit a dead end.  From nuclear-powered cars to Thomas Edison’s concrete furniture, this book explores fifty exciting ideas that either became victims of the eccentric figures behind them, succumbed to financial and political misfortune, or were simply just too far ahead of their time.

Michelle Morgan

Carole Lombard

Twentieth-Century Star

The History Press (October 2016)

Morgan Carole LombardCarole Lombard was the very opposite of the typical 1930s starlet. A no-nonsense woman, she worked hard, took no prisoners and had a great passion for life. As a result, she became Hollywood’s highest-paid star.

From the outside, Carole’s life was one of great glamour and fun, yet privately she endured much heartache. As a child, her mother moved Carole and her brothers across the country away from their beloved father. Carole then began a film career, only to have it cut short after a devastating car accident. Picking herself back up, she was rocked by the accidental shooting of her lover; a failed marriage to actor William Powell; and the sorrow of infertility during her marriage to Hollywood’s King, Clark Gable.

Lombard marched forward, promising to be positive. Sadly her life was cut short in a plane crash so catastrophic that pieces of the aircraft are still buried in the mountain today. In Carole Lombard, bestselling author Michelle Morgan accesses previously unseen documents to tell the story of a woman whose remarkable life and controversial death continues to enthrall.

Alan Moss and Keith Skinner

Scotland Yard’s History of Crime in 100 Objects

The History Press (October 2015)

Moss Skinner Scotland Yard's History of Crime in 100 ObjectsExplore Britain’s dark criminal history through the fascinating objects that have been hidden away in the Crime Museum at Scotland Yard, a collection that, although world famous, is so sensitive it has never before been opened to the public. Each object tells its own story: the briefcase with a concealed syringe owned by the notorious Kray twins; the gun Ruth Ellis used to murder her lover David Blakely; a burnt-out computer from the Glasgow airport car bomb; a picture from the property of serial killer Dennis Nilsen of the grisly drain that was blocked with human body parts; and the gun that Edward Oxford fired at Queen Victoria on 10 June 1840 in a failed assassination attempt. This is an absorbing, shocking and sometimes gruesome journey through 100 objects of criminal history, some of which have never before seen the light of day. Peer within to experience a unique insight into the crimes and criminals that have passed through Scotland Yard.

Marnie Palmer

with Tom Morgan

Goldfinger and Me

Bullets, bullion and betrayal: John Palmer’s true story

The History Press (August 2018)

Palmer Morgan Goldfinger and MeJohn ‘Goldfinger’ Palmer was a multi-millionaire kingpin of the British underworld, who would go on to mastermind a criminal empire to dwarf any crook of his generation. Palmer hit the big time in 1983 with the Brink’s-Mat gold bullion raid, netting £500 million in today’s money for himself and Kenneth Noye – the biggest heist in UK criminal history at the time. While murders and lethal accidents befell at least 20 accomplices and police officers connected to the raid, Palmer somehow remained unscathed. His luck finally ran out on 24 June 2015 when he was shot six times by an assassin. The killer remains unknown and, until now, so too did most of Palmer’s secrets. Few gangsters have attracted as many newspaper column inches in recent decades, but only one woman saw it all from the start and lives to tell the tale. In Goldfinger and Me, his wife Marnie lifts the lid on Palmer’s rise from a deprived childhood in Birmingham to a life of yachts, private jets, helicopters, fast cars, cocaine addiction and infidelity. His criminal exploits in Tenerife as well as his links to the Hatton Garden jewellery heist are also laid bare in this book.

David Slattery-Christy

Mildred on the Marne

Mildred Aldrich, front-line witness 1914-1918

The History Press (November 2013)

Within weeks of reserved 61 year-old American journalist, Mildred Aldrich, retiring in 1914 to live quietly in a small hill-top house near Paris, she was to have a grandstand view of the first bloody battles of World War I in the Marne Valley. The author skilfully weaves Mildred’s own published and unpublished words into his detailed and moving account of her war, especially of the British and French soldiers, whom she befriended, fed and cared for as best she could, without thought of the danger she was in.

Paul Stickler

The Long Silence

The Story of James Hanratty and the A6 Murder by Valerie Storie, the Woman who Lived to Tell the Tale

The History Press (August 2021)

Stickler The Long Silence22-year-old Valerie Storie and her fiancé, 36-year-old Michael Gregsten, were the victims of gunman, James Hanratty, 60 years ago in the notorious ‘A6 Murder’. After a 5-hour ordeal, ending in a lay-by on the A6 in Bedfordshire, Michael was shot dead; and Valerie was raped, shot and left for dead. She survived, but was paralysed and in a wheelchair until her death in 2016. In 1962, Hanratty became one of the last men in the UK to be hanged, so unleashing 40 years of fierce and passionate debate, as many were convinced of his innocence. Valerie, however, was never in any doubt, and easily picked out Hanratty in an identity parade. She always intended to write a book, to which end she had secretly over the years drafted its contents, written hundreds of notes, and made numerous tape recordings. Yet for over 50 years she gave no interviews, despite persistent media pressure to do so. The Long Silence is, in essence, Valerie’s posthumous autobiography, explaining for the first time every explicit detail of those ‘cat and mouse’ five hours, as Michael and Valerie tried on 22 occasions to deter and thwart the apparently indecisive Hanratty.

Neil R. Storey

The Dracula Secrets

Jack the Ripper and the darkest sources of Bram Stoker

The History Press ( 2012)

Storey The Dracula SecretsThough nine years separate the Jack the Ripper murders and the publication of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897, academic historian, Neil Storey, has discovered many fascinating and hitherto unknown links between Stoker’s circle of literary and theatrical friends and one of the key police suspects for the Whitechapel murders.

Monica Weller

Injured Parties

Solving the Murder of Dr Helen Davidson

The History Press (May 2016)

Weller Injured Parties On 9 November 1966, popular GP Dr Helen Davidson was battered to death in dense woodland while birdwatching and exercising her dog a few miles from her Buckinghamshire home. Her body was found the next day, her eyes having been pushed into her skull.

‘She had binoculars round her neck, spied illicit lovers, was spotted, and one or both of them killed her,’ surmised Detective Chief Superintendent Jack ‘Razor’ Williams of New Scotland Yard. He had received fifty police commendations in his career, yet not one for a murder enquiry. Unsurprisingly, within weeks the police operation was wound down, Williams retired, and another cold case hit the statistics.

Fifty years later, amateur sleuth and author Monica Weller set about solving the murder – without the help of the prohibited files. As she sifted the evidence, a number of suspects and sinister motives began to emerge; it was clear it was not a random killing after all. Weller uncovered secret passions, deep jealousies, unusual relationships and a victim with a dark past. Her persistence and dedication were dramatically rewarded when she uncovered the identity of the murderer – revealed here for the first time.