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Bibliophile price: £4.50
40 tiny and trivial events and trifling decisions that changed British history - lighthouses, lemons, lockers, lampreys and Lawrence of Arabia have all been key players to have shaped Britain. Factual adventurer Dixe Wills delves into the past to uncover split-second decisions, unlikely coincidences, unfortunate episodes, and chance meetings that have had huge repercussions in our history. Grouped by War, Food, Science, Politics, Music and Literature and Health and Safety, we read about the sailor who had an ear cut off (and possibly pickled), Leopold Lojka makes a wrong turn, a physicist demonstrates his invention for softening bones, a Mughal emperor fears chicken bones and a Glasgow bus driver makes a complaint, Captain Robert FitzRoy is in need of a dinner companion, an English metallurgist aims to improve the rifle, a cyberspace prank is played on Prince Philip before the Internet even exists and a mender of kettles refuses to leave prison. From the casual coffeehouse bet that gave us the greatest scientific book ever written to the ill-advised act of chivalry on an Essex field that has made it easier for the British to tell jokes, anyone anywhere can change a nation. 224pp, line art.

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