“Every day is an anxiety in my ways of getting to the water. . . . I’ve become so attuned to it, so scared of it, so in love with it that sometimes I can only think by the sea. It is the only place I feel at home.”

Many of us visit the sea. Admire it. Even profess to love it. But very few of us live it. Philip Hoare does. He swims in the sea every day, either off the coast of his native Southampton or his adopted Cape Cod. He watches its daily and seasonal changes. He collects and communes with the wrack—both dead and never living—that it throws up on the shingle. He thinks with, at, through the sea.

All of which should prepare readers: RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR is no ordinary book. It mounts no straight-ahead argument. It hews to no single genre. Instead, like the sea itself, it moves, flows, absorbs, transforms. In its pages we find passages of beautiful nature and travel writing, lyrical memoir, seams of American and English history and much more. We find Thoreau and Melville, Bowie and Byron, John Waters and Virginia Woolf, all linked through a certain refusal to be contained, to be strictly defined—an openness to discovery and change. Running throughout is an air of elegy, a reminder that the sea is an ending, a repository of lost ships, lost people, lost ways of being. It is where we came from; for Hoare, it is where he is going.

“Every swim is a little death,” Hoare writes, “but it is also a reminder that you are alive.” Few books have ever made that knife’s edge so palpable. Read RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR. Let it settle into the seabed of your soul. You’ll never forget it.
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year that Sir Ian McKellen called “a shocking tale of heroes and villains—illuminating and upsetting in equal measure.”

The first production of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé in 1918, with American exotic dancer Maud Allan dancing lead, ignited a firestorm in London spearheaded by Noel Pemberton Billing, a member of Parliament and self-appointed guardian of family values. Billing attacked Allan in the right-wing newspaper Vigilante as a member of the “Cult of the Clitoris,” a feminine version of the “Cult of the Wilde,” a catchall for the degeneracy and perversion he was convinced had infected the land. He claimed that a black book was in the hands of their enemies the Germans, a book that contained the names of thousands of the British establishment who without doubt were members of the cult. Threat of exposure was costing England the war.

Allan sued Billing for libel, and the ensuing trial, brought to life in this authoritative, spellbinding book, held the world in thrall. Was there or was there not a black book? What names did it contain? The trial was both hugely entertaining and deadly serious and raised specters of hysteria, homophobia, and paranoia that, like Oscar Wilde himself, continue to haunt us. As in Wilde’s own trial in 1895, libel was hardly the issue; the fight was for control over the country’s moral compass. In Oscar Wilde’s Last Stand, biographer and historian Philip Hoare gives us the full drama of the Billing trial, gavel to gavel, and brings to life this unique, bizarre, and fascinating event.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
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