ABBEY'S CHOICE SEPTEMBER 2015
----- Dynasty tells the story of Rome's first dynasty of emperors, from its establishment by Augustus Caesar in the last decades of the 1st century BC to its final, florid extinction less than a century later. The line of autocrats known to historians as the 'Julio-Claudians' remains to this day a byword for depravity. The brilliance of its allure and the blood-steeped shadows cast by its crimes still haunt the public imagination. When people think of imperial Rome, it is the city of Tiberius and Caligula, of Claudius and Nero that is most likely to come into their minds.
In Dynasty, Tom Holland provides not only a compelling history of this fascinating family, but a portrait of the entire Roman world.
The heritage of the Celts turns up from Portugal to Romania, from Scotland to Spain. Yet debate continues about who exactly were the Celts, where ultimately they came from, and whether the modern Celtic-speakers of the British Isles and Brittany are related to the Continental Celts we know from ancient history. So a fresh approach is needed. Blood of the Celts meets this challenge, pulling together evidence from genetics, archaeology, history and linguistics in an accessible and illuminating way, taking the reader on a voyage of discovery from the origins of the ancient Celts to the modern Celtic Revival, with some startling results.
Alice Roberts goes in search of the Celts and their treasures in a narrative history to accompanying a new BBC series.
We know a lot about the Roman Empire. The Romans left monuments to their glories and written histories charting the exploits of their heroes. But there was another ancient people in Europe - feared warriors with chariots, iron swords, exquisite jewellery, swirling tattoos and strange rituals and beliefs. For hundreds of years Europe was theirs, not Rome's. They were our ancestors, and yet the scale of their achievements has largely been forgotten. They were the Celts.
Unlike the Romans they did not write their history, so the stories of many heroic Celtic men and women have been lost. And yet we can discover their deeds... you just have to know where to look. From Denmark to Italy; Portugal to Turkey Alice Roberts takes us on a journey across Europe, revealing the remarkable story of the Celts: their real origins, how they lived and thrived, and their enduring modern legacy.
Using ground-breaking linguistic research, in addition to the latest archaeology and genetics, Alice Roberts will explore how this remarkable and advanced culture grew from the fringes of the continent and humiliated the might of Rome. The Celts accompanies a substantial BBC series presented by Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver, and showing in October 2015.
After Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, he was sent into exile on St Helena. He became an 'eagle in a cage', reduced from the most powerful figure in Europe to a prisoner on a rock in the South Atlantic. But the fallen emperor was charmed by the pretty teenage daughter of a local merchant, Betsy Balcombe...
Anne Whitehead brings to life Napoleon's last years on St Helena, revealing the central role of the Balcombe family. She also lays to rest two centuries of speculation about Betsy's relationship with Napoleon. After Napoleon's death, Betsy travelled to Australia in 1823 with her father, who was appointed the first Colonial Treasurer of New South Wales. When the family lost their fortune, she returned to London and published a memoir that made her a celebrity...
With her extraordinary connections to royalty and high society, Betsy Balcombe led a life worthy of a Regency romance, but she was always fighting for her independence. This new account reveals Napoleon at his most vulnerable, human and reflective, and a woman caught in some of the most dramatic events of her time.
Most Australians have heard of Lone Pine. Too few know why.
Over four days in August 1915, Australians and Turks were thrown into some of the fiercest fighting of the war, on a small plateau in Gallipoli known as Lone Pine. Thousands of lives were lost. Seven of Australia's nine Gallipoli VCs were earned during brutal hand-to-hand combat in dark tunnels and in trenches just metres apart, bombarded by terrifying volleys of grenades.
The Battle for Lone Pine is the first book devoted to this cornerstone of the Anzac legend, drawing on unforgettable first-hand accounts scratched into diaries and letters home. The stories of the diggers, as well as the engineers, nurses, sappers, commanders and more, provide an invaluable record of the battle and serve as moving testimony to their courage in appalling conditions.
Today, pine trees are planted in remembrance around Australia. In Gallipoli, the Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial attracts large crowds to commemorate Anzac Day. David W. Cameron's absorbing history reveals the fate of those who fought on the ground where they gather.
From the author of the bestselling The Patient and Making the Cut comes the compelling story of two medics on the front line. When old friends Jack and Tom volunteer for the army medical corps, both men are unaware that their lives are about to change forever. Jack is a first-class vascular surgeon with a strong sense of duty to his country, and Tom a highly respected anaesthetist with a young child. Given 48 hours to deploy, they leave behind their comfortable lives - and the petty rivalries and mindless bureaucracy of the Victoria Hospital - for a war zone where their emotional and psychological strength will be tested to the limit. Will they both return? And if so, will they be able to take up their lives where they left off?
The common picture of the war correspondent is a heroic, male reporter on the frontline, but women reporters have been more numerous and significant than we ever knew.
Against the vehement opposition of newspaper editors, their male colleagues and military hierarchies, twentieth-century women journalists grew increasingly determined to report war from conflict zones and have their stories printed beyond the women's pages of the newspapers.
In Australian Women War Reporters, Jeannine Baker provides a much-needed account of the pioneering women who reported from the biggest conflicts of the twentieth century. Two women defied the orders of Lord Kitchener to cover the fighting on the Western Front and others such as Agnes Macready, Anne Matheson and Lorraine Stumm witnessed and wrote about momentous events including the South African War at the turn of the century, the rise of Nazism, the liberation of the concentration camps, the return of Australian POWs, the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the beginnings of the Vietnam War. These women carved a path for new generations of women war correspondents who have built upon their legacy.
Jeannine Baker deftly draws out the links between the experiences of these women and the contemporary realities faced by women journalists of war, allowing us to see both in a new light.
On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, and written in conjunction with the Churchill Estate, Boris Johnson explores what makes up the 'Churchill Factor' - the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century.
Taking on the myths and misconceptions along with the outsized reality, he portrays - with characteristic wit and passion - a man of multiple contradictions, contagious bravery, breath-taking eloquence, matchless strategizing, and deep humanity. Fearless on the battlefield, Churchill had to be ordered by the King to stay out of action on D-Day; he embraced large-scale strategic bombing, yet hated the destruction of war and scorned politicians who had not experienced its horrors. He was a celebrated journalist, a great orator and won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
He was famous for his ability to combine wining and dining with many late nights of crucial wartime decision-making. His open-mindedness made him a pioneer in health care, education, and social welfare, though he remained incorrigibly politically incorrect. Most of all, as Boris Johnson says, 'Churchill is the resounding human rebuttal to all who think history is the story of vast and impersonal economic forces'.
The Churchill Factor is a book to be enjoyed not only by anyone interested in history: it is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what makes a great leader.
Why are the French an exceptional nation? Why do they think they are so exceptional? An important reason is that in France intellectual activity is regarded not just as the preserve of the thinking elite but for almost everyone. French thought can sometimes be austere and often opaque, yet it is undeniably bold and innovative, and driven by a relentless quest for the regeneration of humanity. Sudhir Hazareesingh traces its tumultuous history in an enormously enjoyable and highly original manner, showing how the French ways of thought and life connect. This will be one of the most revealing books written about them - or any other European country - for years.
In 1943, Andre Boulloche became de Gaulle's military delegate in Paris, coordinating all the Resistance movements in the nine northern regions of France only to be betrayed by one of his associates, arrested, wounded by the Gestapo, and taken prisoner. His sisters carried on the fight without him until the end of the war. Andre survived three concentration camps and later became a prominent French politician who devoted the rest of his life to reconciliation of France and Germany. This is the extraordinary story of their terrible ordeal.
Nobody asked questions, nobody demanded money. Villagers lied, covered up, procrastinated and concealed, but most importantly they welcomed... This is the story of an isolated community in the upper reaches of the Loire Valley that conspired to save the lives of 3500 Jews under the noses of the Germans and the soldiers of Vichy France. It is the story of a pacifist Protestant pastor who broke laws and defied orders to protect the lives of total strangers. It is the story of an eighteen-year-old Jewish boy from Nice who forged 5000 sets of false identity papers to save other Jews and French Resistance fighters from the Nazi concentration camps. And it is the story of a community of good men and women who offered sanctuary, kindness, solidarity and hospitality to people in desperate need, knowing full well the consequences to themselves... Powerful and richly told, A Good Place to Hide speaks to the goodness and courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
The Second World War was a German war like no other. The Nazi regime, having started the conflict, turned it into the most horrific war in European history, resorting to genocidal methods well before building the first gas chambers. Over its course, the Third Reich expended and exhausted all its moral and physical reserves, leading to total defeat in 1945. Yet 70 years on - despite whole libraries of books about the war's origins, course and atrocities - we still do not know what Germans thought they were fighting for and how they experienced and sustained the war until the bitter end.
When war broke out in September 1939, it was deeply unpopular in Germany. Yet without the active participation and commitment of the German people, it could not have continued for almost six years. What, then, was the war Germans thought they were fighting? How did the changing course of the conflict - the victories of the Blitzkrieg, the first defeats in the east, the bombing of Germany's cities - change their views and expectations? And when did Germans first realise that they were fighting a genocidal war?
Drawing on a wealth of first-hand testimony, The German War is the first foray for many decades into how the German people experienced the Second World War. Told from the perspective of those who lived through it - soldiers, schoolteachers and housewives; Nazis, Christians and Jews - its masterful historical narrative sheds fresh and disturbing light on the beliefs, hopes and fears of a people who embarked on, continued and fought to the end a brutal war of conquest and genocide.
The Gestapo was Hitler's secret police force. Popularly depicted as a central part of an all-powerful 'Big Brother' Nazi totalitarian police state, its primary aim was to hunt down 'the enemies of the people'.
Drawing on a detailed examination of previously unpublished Gestapo case files this book relates the fascinating, vivid and disturbing stories of a cross-section of ordinary and extraordinary people who opposed the Nazi regime. It also tells the equally disturbing stories of their friends, neighbours and sometimes even relatives, people drawn into the Gestapo's web of intrigue, either as informers as staff. The book reveals, too, the cold-blooded and efficient methods of the Gestapo officers.
This book will reveal that the Gestapo lacked the manpower and resources to spy on everyone, that it was reliant on tip offs from the general public. Yet this did not mean the Gestapo was a weak or inefficient instrument of Nazi terror. On the contrary, it ruthlessly and efficiently targeted its officers against clearly defined political and racial 'enemies of the people'.
We have come to see the Holocaust as a factory of death, organised by bureaucrats. Yet by the time the gas chambers became operation more than a million European Jews were already dead: shot at close range over pits and ravines. They had been murdered in the lawless killing zones created by the German colonial war in the East, many on the fertile black earth that the Nazis believed would feed the German people. It comforts us to believe that the Holocaust was a unique event. But as Timothy Snyder shows, we have missed basic lessons of the history of the Holocaust, and some of our beliefs are frighteningly close to the ecological panic that Hitler expressed in the 1920s. As ideological and environmental challenges to the world order mount, our societies might be more vulnerable than we would like to think. Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands was an acclaimed exploration of what happened in eastern Europe between 1933 and 1945, when Nazi and Soviet policy brought death to some 14 million people. Black Earth is a deep exploration of the ideas and politics that enabled the worst of these policies, the Nazi extermination of the Jews. Its pioneering treatment of this unprecedented crime makes the Holocaust intelligible, and thus all the more terrifying.
In the 150 years since the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, the story of race and America has remained a brutally simple one, written on flesh: it is the story of the black body, exploited to create the country's foundational wealth, violently segregated to unite a nation after a civil war, and, today, still disproportionately threatened, locked up and killed in the streets.
What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can America reckon with its fraught racial history? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates' attempt to answer those questions, presented in the form of a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son - and readers - the story of his own awakening to the truth about history and race through a series of revelatory experiences: immersion in nationalist mythology as a child; engagement with history, poetry and love at Howard University; travels to Civil War battlefields and the South Side of Chicago; a journey to France that reorients his sense of the world; and pilgrimages to the homes of mothers whose children's lives have been taken as American plunder. Taken together, these stories map a winding path towards a kind of liberation - a journey from fear and confusion, to a full and honest understanding of the world as it is.
Masterfully woven from lyrical personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me offers a powerful new framework for understanding America's history and current crisis, and a transcendent vision for a way forward.
This a new approach to Stalin's rule in the Soviet Union, focused on the political team he formed in the second half of the 1920s that was still in existence (though in modified form) thirty years later.
This book spans the whole period from the mid 1920s to the mid 1950s - an intensely dramatic time, with one crisis succeeding another in rapid succession (collectivization and forced-pace industrialization, famine, Kirov's assassination, the Great Purges, the Second World War), when the very survival of the regime sometimes seemed in question.
Stalin was the team's undisputed leader, but he was not the only powerful personality or self-willed actor on the team. All of the original members were Old Bolsheviks; many had worked together as comrades either in the pre-revolutionary underground or the Civil War. Viacheslav Molotov, Stalin's no. 2 for many years, eschewed charisma but was less of a yes-man than often thought. Lazar Kaganovich, known for his bullying administrative style but deferential in his relationship to Stalin, was the team's only Jewish member. Anastas Mikoian, the wily Armenian; Sergo Ordzhonikidze, the fiery and charismatic Georgian whose independence often annoyed Stalin in the 1930s, despite their friendship; and Klim Voroshilov, Stalin's Civil War buddy, were all foundation members.
Each had his own personality and modus operandi, his own special friendships within the group, and his own distinctive relationship to Stalin.
On 1 July 1916, after a five-day bombardment, 11 British and 5 French divisions launched their long-awaited 'Big Push' on German positions on high ground above the Rivers Ancre and Somme on the Western Front. Some ground was gained, but at a terrible cost. In killing-grounds whose names are indelibly imprinted on 20th-century memory, German machine-guns - manned by troops who had sat out the storm of shellfire in deep dugouts - inflicted terrible losses on the British infantry. The British Fourth Army lost 57,470 casualties, the French Sixth Army suffered 1,590 casualties and the German 2nd Army 10,000. And this was but the prelude to 141 days of slaughter that would witness the deaths of between 750,000 and 1 million troops. Andrew Roberts evokes the pity and the horror of the blackest day in the history of the British army - a summer's day-turned-hell-on-earth by modern military technology - in the words of casualties, survivors, and the bereaved.
This book is the winner of the Longman's History Today Book of the Year Award and the inaugural Westminster Medal for Military Literature. More than a century had gone by since the Battle of Trafalgar. Generation after generation of British naval captains had been dreaming ever since of a 'new' Trafalgar - a cataclysmic encounter which would decisively change a war's outcome. At last, in the summer of 1916, they thought their moment had come... Andrew Gordon's extraordinary, gripping book brilliantly recreates the atmosphere of the British navy in the years leading up to Jutland and gives a superb account of the battle itself and its bitterly acrimonious aftermath.
Empires at War, 1911-1923 offers a new perspective on the history of the Great War. It expands the story of the war both in time and space to include the violent conflicts that preceded and followed the First World War, from the 1911 Italian invasion of Libya to the massive violence that followed the collapse of the Ottoman, Russian, and Austrian empires until 1923.
It also presents the war as a global war of empires rather than a a European war between nation-states. This volume tells the story of the millions of imperial subjects called upon to defend their imperial governments' interest, the theatres of war that lay far beyond Europe, and the wartime roles and experiences of innumerable peoples from outside the European continent. Empires at War covers the broad, global mobilizations that saw African solders and Chinese labourers in the trenches of the Western Front, Indian troops in Jerusalem, and the Japanese military occupying Chinese territory.
Finally, the volume shows how the war set the stage for the collapse not only of specific empires, but of the imperial world order writ large.
The sun is setting on the Western world. Slowly but surely, the direction in which the world spins has reversed: where for the last five centuries the globe turned westwards on its axis, it now turns to the east...
For centuries, fame and fortune was to be found in the west - in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of adventure and riches. The region stretching from eastern Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia deep into China and India, is taking centre stage in international politics, commerce and culture - and is shaping the modern world. This region, the true centre of the earth, is obscure to many in the English-speaking world. Yet this is where civilization itself began, where the world's great religions were born and took root. The Silk Roads were no exotic series of connections, but networks that linked continents and oceans together. Along them flowed ideas, goods, disease and death. This was where empires were won - and where they were lost. As a new era emerges, the patterns of exchange are mirroring those that have criss-crossed Asia for millennia. The Silk Roads are rising again.
A major reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is an important account of the forces that have shaped the global economy and the political renaissance in the re-emerging east.
In the West, the story of Ancient China is less familiar to us than that of Ancient Egypt or Rome, but it is no less absorbing, and its roll call of achievements is easily as impressive. 30-Second Ancient China unlocks the secrets of its Bronze Age glories and offers summaries of everything from the lost cities of the Zhou kings and the elaborate oracle-bone rituals that were practiced at their courts to the exquisite bronze vessels that gave the age its name, and the birth of Confucianism. It adds topics dealing with everyday life in Ancient China, and succinct biographies of some powerful figures from Wu Ding, king of the Shang, to Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, the first ever treatise on military strategy and 30-Second Ancient China becomes the perfect introduction to one of the great ancient civilizations.
The Mediterranean has been for millennia one of the global cockpits of human endeavour. World-class interpretations exist of its Classical and subsequent history, but there has been remarkably little holistic exploration of how its societies, culture and economies first came into being, despite the fact that almost all the fundamental developments originated well before 500 bc. This book is the first full, interpretive synthesis for a generation on the rise of the Mediterranean world from its beginning, before the emergence of our own species, up to the threshold of Classical times. Extensively illustrated and ranging across disciplines, subject matter and chronology from early humans and the origins of farming and metallurgy to the rise of civilizations Egyptian, Levantine, Hispanic, Minoan, Mycenaean, Phoenician, Etruscan, early Greek the book is a masterpiece of archaeological and historical writing.
Richard Evans revisits the sites of a selection of Greek and Roman battles and sieges to seek new insights. The battle narratives in ancient sources can be a thrilling read and form the basis of our knowledge of these epic events, but they can just as often provide an incomplete or obscure record. Details, especially those related to topographical and geographical issues which can have a fundamental importance to military actions, are left tantalisingly unclear to the modern reader. The evidence from archaeological excavation work can sometimes fill in a gap in our understanding, but such an approach remains uncommon in studying ancient battles. By combining the ancient sources and latest archaeological findings with his personal observations on the ground, Richard Evans brings new perspectives to the dramatic events of the distant past. The campaigns and battles selected for this volume are: Ionian Revolt (499-493BC), Marathon (490 BC), Thermopylai (480 BC), Ilerda (49 BC) and Bedriacum (AD69).
Today, police forces all over the world use archaeological techniques to help them solve crimes - and archaeologists are using the same methods to identify and investigate crimes in the past.
This book introduces some of those techniques, and explains how they have been used not only to solve modern crimes, but also to investigate past wrong-doing. Archaeological and historical evidence of crimes from mankind's earliest days is presented, as well as evidence of how criminals were judged and punished. Each society has had a different approach to law and order, and these approaches are discussed here with examples ranging from Ancient Egypt to Victorian England - police forces, courts, prisons and executions have all left their traces in the physical and written records. The development of forensic approaches to crime is also discussed as ways to collect and analyse evidence were invented by pioneer criminologists.
From the murder of a Neanderthal man to bank fraud in the 19th century, via ancient laws about religion and morality and the changes in social conditions and attitudes, a wide range of cases are included - some terrible crimes, some amusing anecdotes and some forms of ancient law-breaking that remain very familiar.
The Eastern Roman or "Byzantine" Empire had to fight for survival throughout its long history so military ability was a prime requisite for a successful Emperor. John Carr concentrates on the personal and military histories of the more capable war fighters to occupy the imperial throne at Constantinople. They include men like it's founder Constantine I , Julian, Theodosius, Justinian, Heraclius, Leo I, Leo III, Basil I, Basil II (the Bulgar-slayer), Romanus IV Diogenes, Isaac Angelus, and Constantine XI. Byzantium's warrior emperors, and the military establishment they created and maintained, can be credited with preserving Rome's cultural legacy and, from the seventh century, forming a bulwark of Christendom against aggressive Islamic expansion.
After the recapture of Constantinople, Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos was determined to bring glory back to the Byzantine Empire. To achieve this, he established an Imperial Fleet and raised new regiments of elite marine troops. This work provides a comprehensive, illustrated guide to the unit history and appearance of these men, who were at the cutting edge of the last great flourish of Byzantine naval power. They won victory after victory in campaigns throughout the 1260s-70s, and though successive periods of decline and partial resurrection followed, these marine units survived until the very last flickers of Byzantine resistance were extinguished. Drawing upon early literary sources, the rich evidence of period illuminated manuscripts, frescoes and other iconography, Raffaele D'Amato details the lasting legacy of the swansong of Byzantine naval power.
The Northmen's Fury tells the Viking story, from the first pinprick raids of the eighth century to the great armies that left their Scandinavian homelands to conquer larger parts of France, Britain and Ireland. It recounts the epic voyages that took them across the Atlantic to the icy fjords of Greenland and to North America over four centuries before Columbus and east to the great rivers of Russia and the riches of the Byzantine empire.
One summer's day in 793, death arrived from the sea. The raiders who sacked the island monastery of Lindisfarne were the first Vikings, sea-borne attackers who brought two centuries of terror to northern Europe. Before long the sight of their dragon-prowed longships and the very name of Viking gave rise to fear and dread, so much so that monks were reputed to pray each night for delivery from 'the Northmen's Fury'. Yet for all their reputation as bloodthirsty warriors, the Vikings possessed a sophisticated culture that produced art of great beauty, literature of abiding power and kingdoms of surprising endurance.
The Northmen's Fury describes how and why a region at the edge of Europe came to dominate and to terrorise much of the rest of the continent for nearly three centuries and how, in the end, the coming of Christianity and the growing power of kings tempered the Viking ferocity and stemmed the tide of raids. It relates the astonishing achievement of the Vikings in forging far-flung empires whose sinews were the sea and whose arteries were not roads but maritime trading routes. The blood of the Vikings runs in millions of veins in Europe and the Americas and the tale of their conquests, explorations and achievements continues to inspire people around the world.
For at least two centuries the Spartan army was the most formidable war machine in Greece; the purpose of this book is to show the reasons for this. Professor Lazenby looks first at the composition, training and organization of the army, tracing its roots back to the eighth century BC. The second part analyses some of the main campaigns - Thermopylai, Plataea, Sphakteria, Mantineia, The Nemea, Koroneia, Lechaion and Leuktra. The final part continues the story to the end of Greek independence. Since this book was first written over 25 years ago, novels, computer games and films such as 300 have raised interest in the Spartan military to new heights. The return to print of this excellent study is sure to interest academics and more general readers alike.
The Minoans have for decades tantalized all those who have tried to understand this most enigmatic people of the ancient world. The Minoan allure lies in large part in the riddles to which their mysterious culture gives rise.
What is contained in their earliest writing script, the still un-deciphered Linear A? Did their likely extinction by volcanic eruption shape the Atlantis legend? Why was their religion so thoroughly matriarchal, with its symbols of snake goddess, serpent and labrys (double-headed axe)? What was the purpose of their great palaces at Knossos, Phaestos and Malia? What is the meaning of the atmospheric bull dance fresco uncovered at the palace of Knossos? The archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans controversially 'rediscovered' and then restored the Minoan civilization in the early twentieth century, and tied it to King Minos, builder of the famous labyrinth and keeper of the legendary Minotaur.
In this lucid and absorbing new history of Crete from the 9th millennium BCE to the end of the Bronze Age (c 1000 BCE), John Bennet expertly draws on the latest archaeological and textual discoveries to separate fact from imagination, history from myth.
Agincourt (1415) is an exceptionally famous battle, one that has generated a huge and enduring cultural legacy in the six hundred years since it was fought. Everybody thinks they know what the battle was about. Even John Lennon, aged 12, wrote a poem and drew a picture headed 'Agincourt'.
But why and how has Agincourt come to mean so much, to so many? Why do so many people claim their ancestors served at the battle? Is the Agincourt of popular image the real Agincourt, or is our idea of the battle simply taken from Shakespeare's famous depiction of it? Written by the world's leading expert on the battle, this book shows just why it has occupied such a key place in English identity and history in the six centuries since it was fought, exploring a cultural legacy that stretches from bowmen to Beatles, via Shakespeare, Dickens, and the First World War.
Anne Curry first sets the scene, illuminating how and why the battle was fought, as well as its significance in the wider history of the Hundred Years War. She then takes the Agincourt story through the centuries from 1415 to 2015, from the immediate, and sometimes surprising, responses to it on both sides of the Channel, through its reinvention by Shakespeare in King Henry V (1599), and the enduring influence of both the play and the film versions of it, especially the patriotic Laurence Olivier version of 1944, at the time of the D-Day landings in Normandy.
But the legacy of Agincourt does not begin and end with Shakespeare's play: from the eighteenth century onwards, on both sides of the Channel and in both the English and French speaking worlds the battle was used as an explanation of national identity, giving rise to jingoistic works in print and music. It was at this time that it became fashionable for the gentry to identify themselves with the victory, and in the Victorian period the Agincourt archer came to be emphasized as the epitome of 'English freedom'.
Indeed, even today, historians continue to 'refight' the battle - an academic contest which has intensified over recent years, in the run-up to the sixth hundredth anniversary year of 2015.
Alchemy has traditionally been viewed as 'the history of an error', an example of mediaeval gullibility and greed, in which alchemists tried to turn lead into gold, create fabulous wealth and find the elixir of life. But alchemy has also been described as 'the mightiest secret that a man can possess', and it obsessed the likes of Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle and many of the founders of modern science. This book explores its history, from its mysterious beginnings in Egypt and China, through the Hellenistic world and the early years of Islam and into mediaeval Europe.
The Black Death is the name most commonly given to the pandemic of bubonic plague that ravaged the mediaeval world in the late 1340s. From Central Asia the plague swept through Europe, leaving millions of dead in its wake. Between a quarter and a third of Europe's population died. In England, the population fell from nearly six million to just over three million. The Black Death was the greatest demographic disaster in European history. Sean Martin looks at the origins of the disease and traces its terrible march through Europe.
Following the fall of Rome, the sea is increasingly the stage upon which the human struggle of western civilization is played out. In a world of few roads and great disorder, the sea is the medium on which power is projected and wealth sought. Yet this confused period in the history of maritime warfare has rarely been studied - it is little known and even less understood. Charles Stanton uses an innovative and involving approach to describe this fascinating but neglected facet of European medieval history. He depicts the development of maritime warfare from the end of the Roman Empire to the dawn of the Renaissance, detailing the wars waged in the Mediterranean by the Byzantines, Muslims, Normans, Crusaders, the Italian maritime republics, Angevins and Aragonese as well as those fought in northern waters by the Vikings, English, French and the Hanseatic League. This pioneering study will be compelling reading for everyone interested in medieval warfare and maritime history.
Robert Guiscard, William the Conqueror, Roger I of Sicily and Bohemond Prince of Antioch are just four of the exceptional Norman commanders who not only led their armies to victory in battle but also, through military force, created their own kingdoms in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
Their single-minded and aggressive leadership, and the organization, discipline and fighting qualities of their armies, marked them out from their Viking forebears and from many of the armed forces that stood against them. Their brilliant careers, and those of Robert Curthose, William Rufus, Richard I of Capua and Henry I of England, are the subject of Paul Hill's latest study of medieval warfare. In a narrative packed with detail and insight, and with a wide-ranging understanding of the fighting methods and military ethos of the period, he traces the course of their conquests, focusing on them as individual commanders and on their achievements on the battlefield.
The military context of their campaigns, and the conditions of warfare in France and England, in southern Italy and Sicily, and in the Near East, are vividly described, as are their decisive operations and sieges - among them Hastings, Bremule, Tinchebrai, Civitate, Misilmeri, Dyrrhachium and the Siege of Antioch. There is no doubt that the Normans' success in war depended upon the leadership qualities and military capabilities of the commanders as well as the special strengths of the armies they led.
Paul Hill's accessible and authoritative account offers a fascinating portrait of these masters of warfare.
Caesar's Heirs is the first full-length English-language military history in recent times of the wars that wracked Rome from the assassination of Caesar to the Battle of Actium.
Volume I, Wolves in the Forum covers events down to the defeat of the last Republicans at Philippi. It is the story of how ruthless warlords gambled everything and broke every rule in their quest for power. The book describes and analyses the objectives, strategies and forces of such figures as the rakish and implacable Mark Antony, the sinister and brilliant Octavian, Brutus, Cassius and Lepidus. Battles, from the Alps to Syria and across the Mediterranean Sea are described in great detail. Characters such as Cleopatra of Egypt and the doomed orator Cicero also appear in the story. It draws on extensive research, a detailed understanding of the original sources in Latin and Greek and knowledge of the ground where many of these remarkable events took place.
The book is written in a crisp, compelling style, with incidental insights into matters such as Roman food, sex and wine, as well as the great generals and battles of the time.
The Roman conquests of Macedonia in the 2nd century BC led directly to the extension of their authority over the troublesome tribes of Thrace to the south of the Danube. But their new neighbour on the other side of the mighty river, the kingdom of the Dacians, was to pose an increasing threat to the Roman empire. Inevitably this eventually provoked Roman attempts at invasion and conquest.
It is a measure of Dacian prowess and resilience that several tough campaigns were required over more than a century before their kingdom was added to the Roman Empire. It was one of the Empire's last major acquisitions (and a short-lived one at that). Dr Michael Schmitz traces Roman involvement in the Danube region from first contact with the Thracians after the Third Macedonian War in the 2nd century BC to the ultimate conquest of Dacia by Trajan in the early years of the 2nd Century AD.
Like the other volumes in this series, this book gives a clear narrative of the course of these wars, explaining how the Roman war machine coped with formidable new foes and the challenges of unfamiliar terrain and climate. Specially-commissioned colour plates bring the main troop types vividly to life in meticulously-researched detail.
In Hadrian's Wall: A Life, Richard Hingley addresses the post-Roman history of this world-famous ancient monument.
Constructed on the orders of the emperor Hadrian during the 120s AD, the Wall was maintained for almost three centuries before ceasing to operate as a Roman frontier during the fifth century. The scale and complexity of Hadrian's Wall makes it one of the most important ancient monuments in the British Isles. It is the most well-preserved of the frontier works that once defined the Roman Empire. While the Wall is famous as a Roman construct, its monumental physical structure did not suddenly cease to exist in the fifth century.
This volume explores the after-life of Hadrian's Wall and considers the ways it has been imagined, represented, and researched from the sixth century to the internet. The sixteen chapters, illustrated with over 100 images, show the changing manner in which the Wall has been conceived and the significant role it has played in imagining the identity of the English, including its appropriation as symbolic boundary between England and Scotland.
Hingley discusses the transforming political, cultural, and religious significance of the Wall during this entire period and addresses the ways in which scholars and artists have been inspired by the monument over the years.
No Roman emperor had a greater impact on the modern world than did Constantine. The reason is not simply that he converted to Christianity, but that he did so in a way that brought his subjects along after him.
Indeed, this major new biography argues that Constantine's conversion is but one feature of a unique administrative style that enabled him to take control of an empire beset by internal rebellions and external threats by Persians and Goths. The vast record of Constantine's administration reveals a government careful in its exercise of power but capable of ruthless, even savage, actions. Constantine executed (or drove to suicide) his father-in-law, two brothers-in-law, his eldest son, and his once beloved wife. An unparalleled general throughout his life, planning a major assault on the Sassanian Empire in Persia even on his deathbed. Alongside the visionary who believed that his success came from the direct intervention of his God resided an aggressive warrior, a sometimes cruel partner, and an immensely shrewd ruler. These characteristics combined together in a long and remarkable career, which restored the Roman Empire to its former glory.
Beginning with his first biographer Eusebius, Constantine's image has been subject to distortion. More recent revisions include John Carroll's view of him as the intellectual ancestor of the Holocaust (Constantine's Sword) and Dan Brown's presentation of him as the man who oversaw the reshaping of Christian history (The Da Vinci Code).
In Constantine the Emperor, David Potter confronts each of these skewed and partial accounts to provide the most comprehensive, authoritative, and readable account of Constantine's extraordinary life.
Modern Australia was in part defined by its early embrace of China - a turning from the White Australia Policy of the 1950s to the country's acceptance of Asian immigration and engagement with regional neighbours. It saw the far-sighted establishment of an embassy in Beijing in the 1970s by Gough Whitlam, headed by Stephen FitzGerald. Here, FitzGerald's story as diplomat, China scholar, adviser to Gough Whitlam, first ambassador to China under prime ministers Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser, is interwoven with the wider one of this dramatic moment in Australia's history. Comrade Ambassador also highlights the challenge Australia faces in managing itself into an Asian future.
While the first volume in this mini-series spanned the first decade of confrontations between Libya and several of its neighbours, but foremost the USA and France, between 1973 and 1985, the second is to cover the period of less than a year - between mid-1985 and March 1986, when this confrontation reached its first climax.
Through mid and late 1985, relations between France and Libya became tense over the situation in Chad. By early 1986, the French felt forced to deploy their air force for an airstrike on the crucial Libyan air base at Wadi Doum, in the north of that country. Tripoli reacted with a high-profile aerial attack on N'Djamena IAP and by bolstering support for its proxies. This eventually provoked Paris to launch its third military intervention in that country, Operation Epervier. Meanwhile, a series of terror attacks on US citizens and interests in Europe and the Mediterranean area took place. While most of these saw the involvement of Iran and Syria too, Libya was recognized as major supporter of the activities in question.
In the aftermath of several traumatic experiences, the US administration began planning for direct action against the government in Tripoli and various terrorist organizations supported by it. As the Pentagon planners prepared a contingency list of targets in Libya, and the US Air Force began planning its involvement, ships and aircraft of the US Navy launched intensive operations off the Libyan coast with the aim of provoking an incident that could be used as a reason for major military attack on Libya. Eventually, these operations culminated in Operation Prairie Fire - a series of short but sharp clashes between the US Navy and Libyan air defences and the Navy, in March 1986.
Part 2 of this mini-series provides an unprecedentedly detailed and richly illustrated description of the involved air forces, their equipment and markings, and related military aerial operations, many of which have remained unknown until today, while others have been forgotten outright.
Confrontations between Libya, and the USA and France reached their highest point in the period between April 1986 and early 1989. In response to a Libyan-instigated and supported series of terror attacks against US citizens and interests in Europe, in April 1986 the USA launched Operation El Dorado Canoyon - a series of raids against carefully selected targets in Libya.
Simultaneously, the USA and France bolstered the military of the Chadian government, enabling it to subsequently launch an all-out advance against Libyan troops and proxy forces in the north of Libya. This culminated in the series of spectacular campaigns better known as 'Toyota Wars', characterised by high speed of operations and surprise. The Chadian Army defeated its opponents in 1987 and nearly launched an invasion of Libya in 1988, successfully concluding this conflict. This title closes the Libyan Air Wars mini-series with a detailed insight into the final US-Libyan confrontation, which took place in early 1989, and culminated in another high-profile air combat between the most modern jet fighters of the Libyan Arab Air Force, and the US Navy.
As usual, the volume is richly illustrated by well over 150 contemporary and exclusive photographs, colour profiles, and maps, detailing the history, training, equipment, markings and tactics of the involved air forces.
In 1971, Idi Amin Dada, a former officer of the King's African Rifles and commander of the Ugandan Army, seized power in a military coup in Uganda. Characterised by human rights abuses, political repression, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings, nepotism, corruption and gross economic mismanagement, Amin's rule drove thousands into exile.
Amin shifted the country's orientation in international relations from alliances with the West and Israel, to cooperation with the Soviet Union. With Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere offering sanctuary to Uganda's ousted president, Milton Obote, Ugandan relations with Tanzania soon became strained too. Already in 1972, a group of Tanzania-based exiles attempted, unsuccessfully, to invade Uganda and remove Amin. By late 1978, following another attempted coup against him, Amin deployed his troops against the mutineers, some of whom fled across the Tanzanian border. The rebellion against him thus spilled over into Tanzania, against whom Uganda then declared a state of war.
Opening with an overview of the ascent of crucial military and political figures, and the build-up of the Tanzanian and Ugandan militaries during the 1960s and 1970s, this volume provides an in-depth study of the related political and military events, but foremost of military operations during the Kagera War - also known as 'A Just War' - fought between Tanzania and Uganda in 1978-1979. It further traces the almost continuous armed conflict in Uganda of 1981-1994, which became renowned for emergence of several insurgent movements notorious for incredible violence against civilian population, some of which remain active in central Africa to this day.
This book is illustrated with an extensive selection of photographs, colour profiles, and maps, describing the equipment, markings, and tactics of the involved military forces.
Graham Hancock's multi-million bestseller Fingerprints of the Gods remains an astonishing, deeply controversial, wide-ranging investigation of the mysteries of our past and the evidence for Earth's lost civilization. Twenty years on, Hancock returns with the sequel to his seminal work filled with completely new, scientific and archaeological evidence, which has only recently come to light...
Near the end of the last Ice Age 12,800 years ago, a giant comet that had entered the solar system from deep space thousands of years earlier, broke into multiple fragments. Some of these struck the Earth causing a global cataclysm on a scale unseen since the extinction of the dinosaurs. At least eight of the fragments hit the North American ice cap, while further fragments hit the northern European ice cap. The impacts, from comet fragments a mile wide approaching at more than 60,000 miles an hour, generated huge amounts of heat which instantly liquidized millions of square kilometers of ice, destabilizing the Earth's crust and causing the global Deluge that is remembered in myths all around the world.
A second series of impacts, equally devastating, causing further cataclysmic flooding, occurred 11,600 years ago, the exact date that Plato gives for the destruction and submergence of Atlantis. The evidence revealed in this book shows beyond reasonable doubt that an advanced civilization that flourished during the Ice Age was destroyed in the global cataclysms between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago. But there were survivors - known to later cultures by names such as 'the Sages', 'the Magicians', 'the Shining Ones', and 'the Mystery Teachers of Heaven'. They travelled the world in their great ships doing all in their power to keep the spark of civilization burning. They settled at key locations - Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, Baalbek in the Lebanon, Giza in Egypt, ancient Sumer, Mexico, Peru and across the Pacific where a huge pyramid has recently been discovered in Indonesia. Everywhere they went these 'Magicians of the Gods' brought with them the memory of a time when mankind had fallen out of harmony with the universe and paid a heavy price. A memory and a warning to the future... For the comet that wrought such destruction between 12,800 and 11,600 years may not be done with us yet.
Astronomers believe that a 20-mile wide 'dark' fragment of the original giant comet remains hidden within its debris stream and threatens the Earth. An astronomical message encoded at Gobekli Tepe, and in the Sphinx and the pyramids of Egypt,warns that the 'Great Return' will occur in our time...
Burma's Spring is like nothing else written about Burma - compelling, charming and unique. No other book I know of has got under the sking of such a wide variety of Burmese, bringing them to life on the page.
Peter Popham, author of The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi. Burma's Spring documents the struggles of ordinary people made extraordinary by circumstance. Rosalind Russell, a British journalist who came to live in burma with her family, witnessed a time of unprecedented change in a secretive country that had been locked under militay dictatorship for half a century. Through her remarkable encounters as an undercover reporter, she unearthed the real-life stories of a rich array of characters and followed their fortunes over a tumultuous era of uprising, disaster and political reform.
From the world famous democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to the broken-hearted domestic worker Mu Mu, a Buddhist monk to a punk, a palm reader to a girl band, these are stories of tragedy, reilience and hope-woven together in a vivid portrait of a land for so long hidden from view.
Perched atop a five-hundred-meter cliff in the far north of Cambodia, Preah Vihear ranks among the world's holiest sites. It was built a millennium ago as a shrine to Hindu god Shiva by the same civilization that gave the world Angkor Wat. Sadly, it has been transformed recently into a battlefield prize, first with Cambodian factions during the Cambodian civil war, and later (to present) it has been the focus of sometimes violent border disputes with Thailand. In Temple in the Clouds former Washington Post foreign correspondent John Burgess and author of two previous books on Cambodia, draws on extensive research in Cambodia, Thailand, France and the United States to recount the cliff top monument's full history, ancient and modern. He reveals previously unknown legal strategies and diplomatic maneuvering behind a contentious World Court case of 1959-62 that awarded the temple to Cambodia. Written in a lively, accessible style, Temple in the Clouds brings new insight to one of Southeast Asia's greatest temples and most intractable border conflicts. With 50 photographs, plans and maps.
Seemingly from its birth, Pakistan has teetered on the brink of becoming a failed state. Today, it ranks 133rd out of 148 countries in global competitiveness. Its economy is as dysfunctional as its political system is corrupt; both rely heavily on international aid for their existence. Taliban forces occupy 30 percent of the country. It possesses over a hundred nuclear weapons that could easily fall into terrorists' hands. Why, in an era when countries across the developing world are experiencing impressive economic growth and building democratic institutions, has Pakistan been such a conspicuous failure?
In The Warrior State, noted international relations and South Asia scholar T.V. Paul untangles this fascinating riddle. Paul argues that the geostrategic curse -akin to the resource curse that plagues oil-rich autocracies-is at the root of Pakistan's unique inability to progress. Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has been at the center of major geopolitical struggles: the US-Soviet rivalry, the conflict with India, and most recently the post 9/11 wars.
No matter how ineffective the regime is, massive foreign aid keeps pouring in from major powers and their allies with a stake in the region. The reliability of such aid defuses any pressure on political elites to launch the far-reaching domestic reforms necessary to promote sustained growth, higher standards of living, and more stable democratic institutions. Paul shows that excessive war-making efforts have drained Pakistan's limited economic resources without making the country safer or more stable. Indeed, despite the regime's emphasis on security, the country continues to be beset by widespread violence and terrorism.
In an age of transnational terrorism and nuclear proliferation, understanding Pakistan's development, particularly the negative effects of foreign aid and geopolitical centrality, is more important than ever. Painstakingly researched and brilliantly The Warrior State tackles what may be the world's most dangerous powder keg and uncovers the true causes of Pakistan's enormously consequential failure.
Pioneers of Australian Armour tells the story of the only Australian mechanised units of the Great War. The 1st Australian Armoured Car Section, later the 1st Australian Light Car Patrol, and the Special Tank Section were among the trailblazers of mechanisation and represented the cutting edge of technology on the Great War battlefield.
The 1st Armoured Car Section was raised in Melbourne in 1916, the brainchild of a group of enthusiasts who financed, designed and then built two armoured cars. Having persuaded the Australian Army of the vehicles' utility in the desert campaign, the Armoured Car Section, later re-equipped with Model T Fords and retitled the 1st Australian Light Car Patrol, provided valuable service until well after the Armistice.The First World War also saw the emergence of the tank which, despite unpromising beginnings, was to realise its potential in the crucial 1918 battles of Hamel and Amiens. A British Mark IV tank which toured Australia in 1918 demonstrated the power of this new weapon to an awestruck Australian public. Much of the story of the armoured cars is told in the voices of the original members of the section and in newspaper articles of the time which highlight the novelty of these vehicles. Painstaking research has produced a remarkable collection of images to accompany the narrative, many never previously published.
Biographies of the members of these extraordinary units are also a feature of this book, their stories told from the cradle to the grave. Appendixes provide a wealth of supporting biographical and technical information that enriches the text and adds factual detail.
A unique and compelling account of Australia's special forces and intelligence operations - ranging from the early special forces of World War II to the establishment and development of the SAS and Commando Regiments as the elite fighters of today, and from the Australian Security Intelligence Service to the Australian Signals Directorate and ASIO. It is an authoritative, gripping and thoroughly up-to-date account of both the history and current state of our special forces and intelligence bodies - and gives a unique glimpse into the warfare of the future. Our future. Robert Macklin has conducted dozens of exclusive interviews and uncovered incredible, daring and sometimes heartbreaking stories of the elite troops that guard our nation and engage in secret operations around the world. He has had significant cooperation from numerous sources within the special forces and the various intelligence agencies. Both thoroughly researched and colourfully written, this will attract the reader of action memoirs as well as those interested in broader military history and espionage.
Meticulously revised and updated throughout. Four completely new designs of locomotive have entered service, and new examples of existing types have appeared under new ownership as well as to existing operators. Some locomotives have changed hands. New entries for new types and updated information for those types affected by new deliveries, sale or transfer overseas are included. Technical data has been provided in the new entries and these have been included in the correct sequence to maintain the books emphasis on technical development.
The Swan River has been flowing the same course for some sixty million years. This book traces the relationship of European-Australian culture to this ancient river system. This historical narrative is viewed through the lens of schemes proposed for Perth's foreshore, the city's symbolic front garden. The foreshore has been contentious since the first plan for Perth was drawn up, and has subsequently acted as a sinkhole for hundreds of proposals. An investigation of this archaeological stratum of foreshore drawings allows us to understand changing ideas of what Perth was, what it could have been, and indeed what it can be. This fascinating book uncovers hundreds of 'lost' proposals for Perth's foreshore - and sets out a compelling vision for how the city should relate to its river in the 21st century. It is essential reading for those who have a stake in the future of Perth and the Swan River.
Take a cast of archaeologists and historians who inhabit different worlds. Add a medieval king who died in battle, and was revived by Shakespeare as the ultimate anti-hero. Throw in a forensic quest with almost unbelievable twists, and a theatrical modern burial with no parallel, and you have the material for an irresistible story for our times. In the hands of a leading archaeologist and award-winning journalist, the search for a kings grave becomes the page-turning, entertaining, informed narrative that makes Digging for Richard III the must-read title on the most sensational archaeological find for generations.
This engaging and sumptuously illustrated book celebrates the Landmark Trust's achievement in the protection of British heritage since the Trust was established 50 years ago.
From a medieval hall house to the winner of the 2013 Stirling Prize for Architecture, 50 buildings rescued by Landmark from threatened oblivion are presented here that vividly illustrate the history of Britain from 1250 to the present day. Presented in the order in which they were built, the selected buildings include the unusual, the fantastic, the spectacular, the utilitarian and the enchanting, each one offering a fascinating glimpse into the past of the British people. In telling the stories of how the buildings came to be, how they were used and how they were adapted by subsequent generations, this book brings history to life through the evidence in the buildings our ancestors have left behind. Examples include a 15th-century inn in Suffolk, an Elizabethan hospital in Yorkshire, a lighthouse on Lundy and an Italianate railway station.
The Landmark Trust's often heroic rescue of each of these buildings is also placed in the context of the Trust's own evolution to date and the history of British conservation practice. For everyone interested in British history or architecture, this enthralling book will bring fresh insights into both; for everyone interested in buildings conservation, the book will provide an insight into the unique national treasure that is the Landmark Trust.
It was the divorce that scandalised Georgian England...She was a spirited young heiress. He was a handsome baronet with a promising career in government. Their marriage had the makings of a fairy tale but ended as one of the most salacious and highly publicised divorces in history. For over two hundred years the story of Lady Worsley, her vengeful husband, and her lover, George Maurice Bisset, lay forgotten. Now Hallie Rubenhold, in her impeccably researched book, throws open a window to a rarely seen view of Georgian England, one coloured by passion, adventure and the defiance of social convention. The Worsley's story, their struggles and outrageous lifestyle, promises to shock even the modern reader. Originally published with the title Lady Worsley's Whim.
A cathedral is the mother church of a diocese, the seat of a bishop. Together, the 42 English cathedrals of the Church of England constitute one of the world's great achievements in architecture. They are an artistic embodiment of the spiritual sublime as well as a unique record of the history of England. They include the great medieval cathedrals of Canterbury, Winchester, Durham and Ely, which were supported by monastic communities, and the medieval secular glories of Lincoln, Salisbury, Exeter and York Minster. Later, in the wake of the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII was inspired to create several new cathedrals including those at Peterborough, Oxford and Gloucester. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the demands of population growth led to the enlargement and upgrading to cathedral status of a number of fine churches such as Manchester, Birmingham and Southwark, and the building of innovative new cathedrals including Liverpool and Guildford. The destruction of war caused a new cathedral to be built at Coventry. The Cathedral and Church Buildings Division of the Church of England is responsible for national policy on this extraordinary collective heritage.
The Devil in Disguise illuminates the impact of the two British revolutions of the seventeenth century and the shifts in religious, political, scientific, literary, economic, social, and moral culture that they brought about. It does so through the fascinating story of one family and their locality: the Cowpers of Hertford.
Their dramatic history contains a murder mystery, bigamy, a scandal novel, and a tyrannized wife, all set against a backdrop of violently competing local factions, rampant religious prejudice, and the last conviction of a witch in England. Spencer Cowper was accused of murdering a Quaker, and his brother William had two illegitimate children by his second 'wife'. Their scandalous lives became the source of public gossip, much to the horror of their mother, Sarah, who poured out her heart in a diary that also chronicles her feeling of being enslaved to her husband. Her two sons remained in the limelight. Both were instrumental in the prosecution of Henry Sacheverell, a firebrand cleric who preached a sermon about the illegitimacy of resistance and religious toleration. His parliamentary trial in 1710 provoked serious riots in London.
William Cowper also intervened in 1712 to secure the life of Jane Wenham, whose trial provoked a wide-ranging debate about witchcraft beliefs. The Cowpers and their town are a microcosm of a changing world. Their story suggests that an early 'Enlightenment', far from being simply a movement of ideas sparked by 'great thinkers', was shaped and advanced by local and personal struggles.
This is the story of one Norfolk house, told through the lives of its owners, occupants and admirers. It is a tale that spans 750 years and provides a fascinating social history of rural England.
When Elaine Murphy fell in love with the Moated Grange on her first visit, she had no idea that, when she looked into its past, she would find its history had been meticulously documented over the years. She would go on to discover characters ranging from a medieval knight fighting with Henry V, to a Cambridge burgess working with Oliver Cromwell, and a successful tannery owner and his wealthy Victorian feminist daughter. From its beginnings as a moated, timber-framed house dominating a fourteenth-century farming community, the property changed radically over the years, and is now a local landmark due to its distinctive architecture. The author discovered that its owners were generally educated people who hovered on the lower fringes of the gentry: they needed to earn their own livings, but made their mark locally and sometimes further afield. Some knew times of peace and plenty; many lived through famine, riots, plague, religious intolerance and war; their family lives reflect the rigours of country living over more than seven centuries.
This is the history of England in one place, extensively researched and written by its current owner.
In 1885 Victorian England was scandalized by a court case that lifted the veil on prostitution and the sex trade. In the Old Bailey dock stood W.T. Stead, the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, which had recently published a series of articles on the sex trade; Rebecca Jarrett, a reformed brothel keeper; and the second-in-command of The Salvation Army, Bramwell Booth. They were accused of abducting a thirteen-year-old girl, Eliza Armstrong, apparently buying her for the purpose of prostitution. In fact they had done this as a sensational expose of the trade in young girls. The scandal triggered a massive petition and ultimately resulted in the raising of the British age of consent from thirteen to sixteen. Today human trafficking is once again making world headlines - as are recent calls to lower the age of consent. Eliza's story is a thrilling account of what can be achieved by those brave enough to believe that change is not only possible but has to come.
Who could have foreseen the start of World War I twenty-five years before the assassination of a Serbian archduke plunged Europe into war? Who could have predicted the rise of al-Qaeda nearly eight decades before anyone had heard of Osama bin Laden? Winston Churchill did. And for the first time bestselling author James C. Humes reveals these and other shocking predictions from the famous British leader, in his new book Churchill: The Prophetic Statesman. As a skilled historian, Churchill didn't need a crystal ball to tell the future. He studied patterns of the past which led to his eerily accurate forecasts, including: the rise of a Hitler-like figure along with Nazi Germany; the year the Iron Curtain would fall and the Cold War would end; the exact day of his own death as he entered his final years. In fascinating detail, Churchill: The Prophetic Statesman documents the spot-on prophecies Churchill foretold and the political consequences he endured for sharing them.
This book is the winner of the National Book Award 2014. A young army captain who risked execution to swim from free-market Taiwan to Communist China. A barber who made $150 million in the gambling dens of Macau. The richest woman in China, a recycling tycoon known as the 'Wastepaper Queen'. Age of Ambition describes some of the billion individual lives that make up China's story - one that unfolds on remote farms, in glittering mansions, and in the halls of power of the world's largest authoritarian regime. Together they describe the defining clash taking place today: between the individual and the Communist Party's struggle to retain control. Here is a China infused with a sense of boundless possibility and teeming romance. Yet it is also riven by contradictions. It is the world's largest buyer of Rolls Royces and Ferraris yet the word 'luxury' is banned from billboards. It has more Christians than members of the Communist Party. And why does a government that has lifted more people from poverty than any other so strictly restrain freedom of expression? Based on years of research, Age of Ambition is a stunning narrative that reveals China as we have never understood it before.
They were the most powerful rulers on earth. The mighty Qin Shi Huangdu (r. 221-210 BC), who began the construction of the Great Wall. The long-lived Han emperor Wudi (r. 141-87 BC), who developed China as a centralized Confucian state. The soldier-scholar Yongle (r. 1402-24 AD), who raised the Ming dynasty to its military peak. The dowager empress Cixi (r. 1861-1908 AD), who rose from humble Manchu origins to rule over all China. In The Dragon Throne, Jonathan Fenby tells the extraordinary story of imperial China through its 157 emperors, from Qin Shi Huangdu, who crushed his rivals to take supreme power as the first emperor in 221 BC, until the final collapse of the faltering Manchu dynasty amidst the revolutionary chaos of the early twentieth century. The final emperor, the infant Puyi (r. 1908-12) ended his days as an assistant gardener in the very palace where he had been enthroned.
Chinese journalist and intellectual Xu Zhiyuan paints a portrait of the world's second-largest economy via a thoughtful and wide-ranging series of mini essays on contemporary Chinese society. Xu Zhiyuan describes the many stages upon which China's great transformation is taking place, from Beijing's Silicon district to a cruise down the Three Gorges; he profiles China's dissidents, including Liu Xiaobo, Ai Weiwei and Chen Guangcheng; and explores lesser-known stories of scandals that rocked China but which most people outside that country did not hear about - and which shed troubling light on China's dark heart. Xu Zhiyuan understands his homeland in a way no foreign correspondent ever could. This is a unique insider's view of China that is measured and brave, ambitious in scope and deeply personal.
Magnum photographer Bruno Barbey first discovered China when he accompanied President Pompidou of France on an official visit there in 1973. It was a country in transition, although still under the influence of the Cultural Revolution. Most of the population still wore Mao suits and walls were covered in colourful slogans. Some years later, Barbey returned and saw the effects of Deng Xiaopings invitation to the people to Get Rich. Nanjing, Suzhou, Macao, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai Barbey returned to China many times and noted on each visit, with his photos as evidence, the profound changes that were transforming the country. This book comprises a selection of the photographs he has taken over the past 40 years. It is a portrait of a country on the move from post revolutionary state to world economic superpower.
A magnificent and timely examination of an age of fear, subversion, suppression and espionage, Adam Zamoyski explores the attempts of the governments of Europe to police the world in a struggle against obscure forces, seemingly dedicated to the overthrow of civilisation.
The advent of the French Revolution confirmed the worst fears of the rulers of Europe. They saw their states as storm-tossed vessels battered by terrible waves coming from every quarter and threatened by horrific monsters from the deep. Rulers' nerves were further unsettled by the voices of the Enlightenment, envisaging improvement only through a radical transformation of existing structures, with undeniable implications for the future role of the monarchy and the Church. Napoleon's arrival on the European stage intensified these fears, and the changes he wrought across Europe fully justified them. Yet he also brought some comfort to those rulers who managed to survive: he had tamed the revolution in France and the hegemony he exercised over Europe was a kind of guarantee against subversion. Once Napoleon was toppled, the monarchs of Europe took over this role for themselves.
However, the nature of their attempts to impose order were not only ineffectual, they also managed to weaken the bases of that order. As counter-productive as anything, for example, was the use of force. Reliance on standing armies to maintain order only served to politicize the military and to give potential revolutionaries the opportunity to get their hands on a ready armed force. The wave of revolutions in 1848 might have embodied the climactic clash that many had come to expect, but it was no Armageddon, lacking the kind of mass support that rulers had dreaded and revealed the groundlessness of most of their fears. Interestingly, the sense of a great, ill-defined, subversive threat never went away, indeed it lingers on even today in the minds of world leaders.
Adam Zamoyski's compelling history explores how the rulers and governments of the time really did envisage the future and how they meant to assure it.
From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the extraordinary story of a French village that helped save thousands who were pursued by the Gestapo during World War II.
High up in the mountains of the southern Massif Central in France lies a cluster of tiny, remote villages united by a long and particular history. During the Nazi occupation, the inhabitants of the Plateau Vivarais Lignon saved several thousand people from the concentration camps. As the victims of Nazi persecution flooded in - resisters, freemasons, communists and Jews, many of them children - the villagers united to keep them safe. The story of why and how these villages came to save so many people has never been fully told. But several of the remarkable architects of the mission are still alive, as are a number of those they saved. Caroline Moorehead has sought out and interviewed many of the people involved in this extraordinary undertaking, and brings us their unforgettable testimonies.
It is a story of courage and determination, of a small number of heroic individuals who risked their lives to save others, and of what can be done when people come together to oppose tyranny.
In May 1943, a young pregnant Frenchwoman called Lucie Aubrac engineered the escape of her husband Raymond from the clutches of Klaus Barbie, the feared Gestapo chief. She later ambushed the prison vans in which members of the Resistance were being driven to an almost certain death. Spirited out of France by the RAF at the end of 1943, nine months pregnant, she arrived in London a heroine. In 1983, when both Aubracs had retired, Klaus Barbie was put on trial in France. He claimed that the Aubracs had become Gestapo informers in 1943 and betrayed their comrades. The French press and the couple themselves denounced this 'slander', but inconsistencies emerged in her story and led to doubts which have never quite gone away. Who was Lucie Aubrac? What did she really do in 1943? And was she really the spirit of la vraie France, or a woman who could not resist casting herself as a heroine, whatever the cost to the truth?
Adolf Hitler's makeover from rabble-rouser to statesman coincided with a series of dramatic home renovations he undertook during the mid-1930s. This provocative book exposes the dictator's preoccupation with his private persona, which was shaped by the aesthetic and ideological management of his domestic architecture.
Hitler's bachelor life stirred rumors, and the Nazi regime relied on the dictator's three dwellings - the Old Chancellery in Berlin, his apartment in Munich, and the Berghof, his mountain home on the Obersalzberg-to foster the myth of the Fuhrer as a morally upstanding and refined man. Author Despina Stratigakos also reveals the previously untold story of Hitler's interior designer, Gerdy Troost, through newly discovered archival sources. At the height of the Third Reich, media outlets around the world showcased Hitler's homes to audiences eager for behind-the-scenes stories. After the war, fascination with Hitler's domestic life continued as soldiers and journalists searched his dwellings for insights into his psychology.
The book's rich illustrations, many previously unpublished, offer readers a rare glimpse into the decisions involved in the making of Hitler's homes and into the sheer power of the propaganda that influenced how the world saw him.
Dublin has many histories: for a thousand years a modest urban settlement on the quiet waters of the Irish Sea, for the last four hundred it has experienced great - and often astonishing - change. Once a fulcrum of English power in Ireland, it was also the location for the 1916 insurrection that began the rapid imperial retreat. That moment provided Joyce with the setting for the greatest modernist novel of the age, Ulysses, capping a cultural heritage which became an economic resource for the brash 'Tiger Town' of the 1990s. David Dickson's magisterial survey of the city's history brings Dublin to life from its medieval incarnation through the glamorous eighteenth century, when it reigned as the 'Naples of the North', through to the millennium. He reassesses 120 years of Anglo-Irish Union, in which Dublin - while economic capital of Ireland - remained, as it does today, a place in which rival creeds and politics struggled for supremacy. Dublin reveals the rich and intriguing story behind the making of a capital city.
Born into poverty in Russian Poland in 1911, Zosa Szajkowski (Shy-KOV-ski) was a self-made man who managed to make a life for himself as an intellectual, first as a journalist in 1930s Paris, and then, after a harrowing escape to New York in 1941, as a scholar. Although he never taught at a university or even earned a PhD, Szajkowski became one of the world's foremost experts on the history of the Jews in modern France, publishing in Yiddish, English, and Hebrew.
His work opened up new ways of thinking about Jewish emancipation, economic and social modernization, and the rise of modern anti-Semitism. But beneath Szajkowski's scholarly success lay a shameful secret. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, the scholar stole tens of thousands of archival documents related to French Jewish history from public archives and private synagogue collections in France and moved them, illicitly, to New York. There, he used them as the basis for his pathbreaking articles. Eventually, he sold them, piecemeal, to American and Israeli research libraries, where they still remain today.
Why did this respectable historian become an archive thief? And why did librarians in the United States and Israel buy these materials from him, turning a blind eye to the signs of ownership they bore? These are the questions that motivate this gripping tale. Throughout, it is clear that all involved - perpetrator, victims, and buyers - saw what Szajkowski was doing through the prism of the Holocaust. The buyers shared a desire to save these precious remnants of the European Jewish past, left behind on a continent where six million Jews had just been killed by the Nazis and their collaborators. The scholars who read Szajkowski's studies, based largely on the documents he had stolen, saw the treasures as offering an unparalleled window into the history that led to that catastrophe. And the Jewish caretakers of many of the institutions Szajkowski robbed in France saw the losses as a sign of their difficulties reconstructing their community after the Holocaust, when the balance of power in the Jewish world was shifting away from Europe to new centers in America and Israel.
Based on painstaking research, Lisa Leff reconstructs Szajkowski's story in all its ambiguity by taking us backstage at the archives, revealing the powerful ideological, economic and scientific forces that made Holocaust-era Jewish scholars care more deeply than ever before about preserving the remnants of their past.
In 1941, Richard Evan Schultes, often referred to as the father of ethnobotany, took a leave of absence from Harvard University and disappeared into the Columbian Amazon. Twelve years later he resurfaced having traveled to places no outsider had ever visited, mapped uncharted rivers, and lived among two dozen Amazonian tribes. Simultaneously, he conducted secret research missions for the U.S. government and collected some 30,000 botanical specimens, including 2,000 novel medicinal plants and 300 species new to science. The greatest Amazonian botanical explorer of the 20th century, Schultes was a living link to the naturalists of the Victorian era and a world authority on toxic, medicinal, and hallucinogenic plants. Over the course of his time in the Amazonian basin, Schultes took over 10,000 images of plants, landscapes, and the indigenous peoples with whom he lived. Originally published in 2004, The Lost Amazon was the first major publication to examine the work of Dr. Schultes as seen through his photographs and field notes. With text by Schultes s protege and fellow explorer Wade Davis, this impressive document takes armchair travelers where they ve never gone before.
On July 8, 2014, Israel launched air strikes and a ground invasion of Gaza, that lasted 51 days, leaving over 2,000 people dead, the vast majority of whom were Gazan civilians. During the assault, at least 10,000 homes were destroyed and, according to the United Nations, nearly 300,000 Palestinians were displaced. Max Blumenthal was on the ground during what he argues was an entirely avoidable catastrophe. In this explosive work of reportage, Blumenthal reveals the harrowing conditions and cynical deceptions that led to the ruinous war. Here, for the first time, Blumenthal unearths and presents shocking evidence of atrocities he gathered in the rubble of Gaza.
The year is 1953. As the value of oil skyrockets, global power brokers are taking an increased interest in the ruling political regimes of the Middle East. British agents have controlled Iranian oil exports for a generation, with the tacit approval of the Shah, but the landscape there has started to change. Democratically elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh's calls to overthrow the elites and take back Iran resonates among the people, and immediately American, British, and Persian agents begin to hatch plans for insurrection. Deals are made behind closed doors. Every actor has a stake. Iran's oil will flow to the West, by any means necessary. Operation Ajax is the story of the CIA coup that removed Mossadegh and reinstalled the monarchy. Produced by a team of award-winning artists and based on an award-winning interactive storytelling app, Operation Ajax is a thrilling tale of real-life intrigue.
Path of Blood tells the horrifying true story of the underground army which Osama Bin Laden created in order to attack his number one target: his home country, Saudi Arabia. His aim was to conquer the land of the Two Holy Mosques, the birthplace of Islam and, from there, to re-establish a Muslim Empire that could take on the West and win. Thomas Small and Jonathan Hacker use new insider evidence to expose the real story behind the Al Qaeda. Far from the image of single-minded holy warriors they presented to the world, the bands of soldiers are shown to be riven by infighting and lack of discipline. Yet the threat they posed was unquestionable. Ill-disciplined or not, these were men who killed with impunity, and who tried to acquire a nuclear bomb. Drawing on unprecedented access to Saudi government archives, interviews with top intelligence officials in the Middle East and in the West, as well as with captured Al Qaeda militants, and with access to exclusive captured video footage from Al Qaeda cells, Path of Blood tells the full story of the terrorist campaign and the desperate attempt by Saudi Arabia's internal security services to put a stop to it.
At a time when the Middle East dominates media headlines more than ever - and for reasons that become ever more heartbreaking - Shifting Sands brings together fifteen impassioned and informed voices to talk about a region with unlimited potential, and yet which can feel, as one writer puts it, 'as though the world around me is on fire'? Collecting together the thoughts and insights of writers who live or have deep roots in there, Shifting Sands takes a look at aspects of the Middle East from the catastrophic long-term effects of the carving up of the region by the colonial powers after World War One to the hopes and struggles of the Arab spring in relation to Egypt, Iran and Syria. And it asks questions such as: what is it like to be a writer in the Middle East? What does the future hold? And where do we go from here? For all those who are wearied by the debates surrounding the Middle East - often at best ill-informed and at worst, defeatist propaganda - this intelligent, reasoned perspective on life in the Middle East is a breath of fresh air.
In January 2011, as the crowds gathered to protest Mubarak's three decades of rule in Egypt, Wendell Steavenson went to Cairo to cover the story. But the revolution defied historical precedent, and it defied the templates of storytelling. There was no single villain, no lone hero, no neat conclusion that wouldn't be overturned the next day. Tahrir Square changed its moods like the weather; fickle, violent, hopeful, carnival.
As she walks among the tents and the tanks, falling into conversation, sharing cigarettes and cold soda, Steavenson tells the story of a seismic historical moment as it is experienced by ordinary citizens. Here, we meet a young man from the slums with his homemade pistol; a seasoned observer who gives up on analysis; a leader who doesn't want to lead thrust uncomfortably into the spotlight; a Muslim Brotherhood politician trying to smooth over a restless parliament; and a military intelligence officer convinced that only the army can save Egypt. Steavenson captures the cacophony of dizzying events as protests and elections ebbed and flowed around the revolution, tipping it towards democracy and then back into the military's hands.
Mixing reportage and travelogue, Circling the Square shows how the particular and the personal can illuminate more universal questions: what does democracy mean? What happens when a revolution throws everything up in the air?
This book takes a fresh look at the foundations of modern Islam. Scholars often locate the origins of the modern Islamic world in European colonialism or Islamic reactions to European modernity. However, this study focuses on the rise of Islamic movements indigenous to the Middle East, which developed in direct response to the collapse and decentralization of the Islamic gunpowder empires. In other words, the book argues that the Usuli movement as well as Wahhabism and neo-Sufism emerged in reaction to the disintegration and political decentralization of the Safavid, Ottoman, and Mughal empires. The book specifically highlights the emergence of Usuli Shi'ism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The long-term impact of the Usuli revival was that Shi'i clerics gained unprecedented social, political, and economic power in Iran and southern Iraq. Usuli clerics claimed authority to issue binding legal judgments, which, they argue, must be observed by all Shi'is. By the early nineteenth century, Usulism emerged as a popular, fiercely independent, transnational Islamic movement. The Usuli clerics have often operated at the heart of social and political developments in modern Iraq and Iran and today dominate the politics of the region.
A comprehensive examination of the nineteenth century, The Transformation of the World offers a panoramic portrait of a world in flux. Jurgen Osterhammel, a scholar who has been called the Braudel of the nineteenth century, moves beyond conventional Eurocentric and chronological accounts of the era to present a sophisticated global history of breathtaking magnitude and towering erudition. From New York to New Delhi, from Latin American revolutions to the Taiping Rebellion, Osterhammel examines myriad powerful and diverse forces that facilitated global change and spearheaded advancement. In the context of increased interconnectivity across vast terrain and ocean, he provocatively evaluates the changing relationship between humans and nature, the importance of cities, and movements that propelled the emergence of new nations. An indispensable resource, The Transformation of the World offers a fresh perspective on the emergence of global modernity.
The Reformation marked a period of profound upheaval - one of the greatest turning points in the history of Christianity - and sent shock waves through the western world. In this book, Andrew Atherstone traces the dramatic and compelling story from the Renaissance to the sixteenth-century wars of religion, following the action from its beginnings in Germany, through Switzerland, France, Italy, England, Scotland, and the Netherlands. Focusing on the key personalities and events, he explains the often complex ideas that were at stake - and the political as well as religious issues involved. This is a lucid, authoritative account of a movement that changed the face of Europe forever. The great figures, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, are brought vividly to life in an accessible, lively and engaging overview of this critical period.
Geopolitical thought leader Ian Bremmer issues a clarion call to America: redefine your place in the world, or the world will define it for you America's identity abroad has long been defined by the second World War and years of Cold War struggle. But the new America has changed; its role and identity are in flux - and with them, the global balance of power.
In Three Choices for a Superpower, president and founder of the Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer, calls for a completely new definition of America as a superpower - one that adheres to distinct priorities and values. He outlines the three choices facing the new America.
Be independent: America does not have an endless supply of blood and finances to spend on other nations. Rather, America will fare much better if it devotes its energies and resources to rebuilding strength from within. Moneyball: America cannot afford every foreign fight in support of American values, but they must defend their interests wherever they are threatened. They must make tough decisions intelligently, with an open admission of America's limitations.
Be indispensable: To think that America can operate autonomously from the rest of the world is not only ignorant but also extremely dangerous. The world relies on American leadership, and America has international interests - they must continue their role as an indispensable nation and remain actively involved abroad. As the 2016 presidential election approaches, America needs to define its responsibilities, opportunities, and most importantly, its limits. A foreign policy divided against itself cannot stand; as the world's greatest superpower, America must choose which path it will follow into the future.
Ian Bremmer is the president and founder of the Eurasia Group, the leading global political risk research and consulting firm. He has published ten books including the national bestsellers The End of the Free Market and Every Nation For Itself. He is an active public speaker and a contributor to the Financial Times and Reuters, among others.
By recovering a largely forgotten English Renaissance mindset that regarded sovereignty and Providence as being fundamentally entwined, Alexander Haskell reconnects concepts historians had before treated as separate categories and argues that the first English planters in Virginia operated within a deeply providential age rather than an era of early modern entrepreneurialism. These men did not merely settle Virginia; they and their London-based sponsors saw this first successful English venture in America as an exercise in divinely inspired and approved commonwealth creation. When the realities of Virginia complicated this humanist ideal, growing disillusionment and contention marked debates over the colony. Rather than just selling colonization to the realm, proponents instead needed to overcome profound and recurring doubts about whether God wanted English rule to cross the Atlantic and the process by which it was to happen. By contextualizing these debates within a late Renaissance phase in England, Haskell links increasing religious skepticism to the rise of decidedly secular conceptions of state power. Haskell offers a radical revision of accepted narratives of early modern state formation, locating it as an outcome, rather than as an antecedent, of colonial endeavor.
As the war swung in the favor of the Allies, it became clear that no final defeat of the Third Reich would be possible until the armored monsters of the Panzerwaffe were defeated. But who would, or even could, take on the mighty Tigers and Panthers, just a handful of whom could stop entire formations in their tracks? The answer lay with the formation of a new type of unit, the Tank Destroyer Battalion. This is the story of the men and machines who made up the very first Tank Destroyer Battalion, the 601st, from their unique training and formation, to the final, desperate battles in the heart of Nazi Germany. Packed with rare material, letters, diaries and unpublished photographs, this is an intense and intimate chronicle of the men who fought the Panzers in an astonishing 10 campaigns and 546 days of lethal combat.
In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society.
But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.
In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John Wilkes Booth - charismatic ladies' man and impenitent racist - murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country's most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt.
Featuring some of history's most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller.
He fought and beheaded three Turkish adversaries in duels. He was sold into slavery, then murdered his master to escape. He sailed under a pirate flag, was shipwrecked and marched to the gallows to be hanged, only to be reprieved at the eleventh hour. And all this happened before he was thirty years old. This is Captain John Smith's life. Everyone knows the story of Pocahontas, and how in 1607 she saved John Smith. And were it not for Smith's leadership, the Jamestown colony would surely have failed. Yet Smith was a far more ambitious explorer and soldier of fortune than these tales suggest - and a far more ambitious self-promoter, too. With A Man Most Driven, Firstbrook delivers a riveting, enlightening dissection of this myth-making man, England's arrival on the world stage, and the creation of America.
One of America's greatest investigative reporters brings to life the gripping, no-holds-barred clash of two American titans: Robert Kennedy and his nemesis Jimmy Hoffa. From 1957 to 1964, Robert Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa channeled nearly all of their considerable powers into destroying each other. Kennedy's battle with Hoffa burst into the public consciousness with the 1957 Senate Rackets Committee hearings and intensified when his brother named him attorney general in 1961. RFK put together a Get Hoffa squad that became a mini-FBI within the Justice Department, devoted to destroying one man. But Hoffa, with nearly unlimited Teamster funds, was not about to roll over. Drawing upon a treasure trove of previously secret and undisclosed documents, James Neff has crafted a brilliant, heart-pounding epic of crime and punishment, a saga of venom and relentlessness and two men willing to go beyond the lines to demolish each other.
In 1820, a suspicious vessel was spotted lingering off the coast of northern Florida, the Spanish slave ship Antelope. Since the United States had outlawed its own participation in the international slave trade more than a decade before, the ship's almost 300 African captives were considered illegal cargo under American laws. But with slavery still a critical part of the American economy, it would eventually fall to the Supreme Court to determine whether or not they were slaves at all, and if so, what should be done with them.
Bryant describes the captives' harrowing voyage through waters rife with pirates and governed by an array of international treaties. By the time the Antelope arrived in Savannah, Georgia, the puzzle of how to determine the captives' fates was inextricably knotted. Set against the backdrop of a city in the grip of both the financial panic of 1819 and the lingering effects of an outbreak of yellow fever, Dark Places of the Earth vividly recounts the eight-year legal conflict that followed, during which time the Antelope's human cargo were mercilessly put to work on the plantations of Georgia, even as their freedom remained in limbo.
When at long last the Supreme Court heard the case, Francis Scott Key, the legendary Georgetown lawyer and author of The Star Spangled Banner, represented the Antelope captives in an epic courtroom battle that identified the moral and legal implications of slavery for a generation. Four of the six justices who heard the case, including Chief Justice John Marshall, owned slaves. Despite this, Key insisted that by the law of nature all men are free, and that the captives should by natural law be given their freedom. This argument was rejected. The court failed Key, the captives, and decades of American history, siding with the rights of property over liberty and setting the course of American jurisprudence on these issues for the next thirty-five years. The institution of slavery was given new legal cover, and another brick was laid on the road to the Civil War. The stakes of the Antelope case hinged on nothing less than the central American conflict of the nineteenth century.
Both disquieting and enlightening, Dark Places of the Earth restores the Antelope to its rightful place as one of the most tragic, influential, and unjustly forgotten episodes in American legal history.
Not only the erudite Thomas Jefferson, the wily and elusive Ben Franklin, and the underappreciated Thomas Paine, but also Ethan Allen, the hero of the Green Mountain Boys, and Thomas Young, the forgotten Founder who kicked off the Boston Tea Party - these radicals who founded America set their sights on a revolution of the mind.
Derided as infidels and atheists in their own time, they wanted to liberate us not just from one king but from the tyranny of supernatural religion. The ideas that inspired them were neither British nor Christian but largely ancient, pagan, and continental: the fecund universe of the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius, the potent (but nontranscendent) natural divinity of the Dutch heretic Benedict de Spinoza.
Drawing deeply on the study of European philosophy, Matthew Stewart pursues a genealogy of the philosophical ideas from which America's revolutionaries drew their inspiration, all scrupulously researched and documented and enlivened with storytelling of the highest order. Along the way, he uncovers the true meanings of Nature's God, self-evident, and many other phrases crucial to our understanding of the American experiment but now widely misunderstood.
Stewart's lucid and passionate investigation surprises, challenges, enlightens, and entertains at every turn, as it spins a true tale and a persuasive, exhilarating argument about the founding principles of American government and the sources of our success in science, medicine, and the arts.
In 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, the Continental Congress declared independence, and Washington crossed the Delaware. We are familiar with these famous moments in American history, but we know little about the extraordinary events occurring that same year far beyond the British colonies. In this distinctive history, Claudio Saunt tells an intriguing, largely untold story of an immense and restless continent connected in surprising ways.
In that pivotal year, the Spanish established the first European colony in San Francisco and set off a cataclysm for the region's native residents. The Russians pushed into Alaska in search of valuable sea otters, devastating local Aleut communities. And the British extended their fur trade from Hudson Bay deep into the continent, sparking an environmental revolution that transformed America's boreal forests.
While imperial officials in distant Europe maneuvered to control lands they knew almost nothing about, America's indigenous peoples sought their own advantage. Creek Indians navigated the Caribbean to explore trade with Cuba. The Osages expanded their dominion west of the Mississippi River, overwhelming the small Spanish outposts in the area. And the Sioux advanced across the Dakotas. One traditional Sioux history states that they first seized the Black Hills, the territory they now consider their sacred homeland, in 1776.
Two nations were born that year, Saunt writes. The native one would win its final military victory at the Battle of Little Bighorn one hundred years later. From the Aleutian Islands to the Gulf Coast and across the oceans to Europe's imperial capitals, Saunt's masterfully researched narrative reveals an interconnected web of history that spans not just the forgotten parts of North America but the entire globe.
Richly illustrated, with maps that reenvision a familiar landscape, West of the Revolution explores a turbulent continent in a year of many revolutions.
One of the most enduring themes in United States history is that of its religious founding. This narrative is pervasive in school textbooks, political lore, and the popular consciousness. It is central to the way in which many Americans perceive the historical legacy of their nation. It is also largely a myth-one that this book sets out to unravel. Steven K. Green explores the historical record that supports the popular belief about the nation's religious origins. His aim is not to take part in the irresolvable debate over whether the Founders were devout Christians or atheistic deists, or whether the people of the founding generation believed chiefly in divine providence and the role of religion in public life or in separation of church and state. Rather, he seeks to explain how the ideas of America's religious founding and its status as a Christian nation became a leading narrative about the nation's collective identity. Moreover, Green takes seriously the notion that America's religious founding is a myth not merely in the colloquial sense, but also in a deeper sense, as a shared story that shapes the way we define ourselves and gives meaning to our history.
The story of the 'Winter War' between Finland and Soviet Russia is a dramatic David versus Goliath encounter. When close to half a million Soviet troops poured into Finland in 1939 it was expected that Finnish defences would collapse in a matter of weeks. But they held firm. The Finns not only survived the initial attacks but succeeded in inflicting devastating casualties before superior Russian numbers eventually forced a peace settlement. This is a rigorously detailed and utterly compelling guide to Finland's vital, but almost forgotten role in the cataclysmic World War II. It reveals the untold story of iron determination, unparalleled skill and utter mastery of winter warfare that characterized Finland's fight for survival on the hellish Eastern Front. Finland at War: the Winter War 1939-40 is the premiere English-language history of the fighting performance of the Finns, drawing on first-hand accounts and previously unpublished photographs to explain just how they were able to perform military feats that nearly defy belief.
Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone is one of New Zealand's best-known First World War soldiers, having held off fierce Turkish counter-attacks for nearly two days before being killed by a shell from a British warship. The defence of Chunuk Bair has been described as one of New Zealand's finest hours. Malone and his men captured and held the heights of Chunuk Bair on the Gallipoli Peninsula in August 1915... William Malone was not only an outstanding military leader, as commander of the Wellington Infantry Battalion, but also a successful farmer, lawyer and family man. His letters reveal a man unfulfilled by peacetime pursuits, and war offered him a liberation of spirit and a new sense of purpose. Leaving for the front, he wrote, 'I leave a lucrative practice, a happy home, a brave wife and children without any hesitation. I feel I am just beginning to live'. This is the first biography of William Malone.
The story of a forbidden book that became a symbol of freedom and rebellion in the battle between East and West. 1956. Boris Pasternak presses a manuscript into the hands of an Italian publishing scout with these words: 'This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world.' Pasternak knew his novel would never be published in the Soviet Union as the authorities regarded it as seditious, so, instead, he allowed it to be published in translation all over the world - a highly dangerous act. 1958. The life of this extraordinary book enters the realms of the spy novel. The CIA, recognising that the Cold War was primarily an ideological battle, published Doctor Zhivago in Russian and smuggled it into the Soviet Union. It was immediately snapped up on the black market. Pasternak was later forced to renounce the Nobel Prize in Literature, igniting worldwide political scandal. With first access to previously classified CIA files, The Zhivago Affair gives an irresistible portrait of Pasternak, and takes us deep into the Cold War, back to a time when literature had the power to shake the world.
Holding one of the largest collections of Western art in the world, the Hermitage is also a product of Russia and its dramatic history. Founded by Empress Catherine the Great in 1764, the stunning Winter Palace was built to house her growing collection of Old Masters and to serve as a home for the imperial family. Tsars came and went over the years, artworks were acquired and sold, buildings were burned down in terrible fires, and still the collections grew. After the violent upheavals of the Russian Revolution in 1917, the palaces and collections were opened to the public. Now, in an unprecedented collection of illuminating essays, Piotrovsky explores the cultural history of a collection as rich in adventure as art. From fascinating intrigues to revelatory scholarship on the collection's incredible art and artifacts, My Hermitage is a profound and captivating story of art's timelessness and how it brings people together.
Near and Distant Neighbours is the first ever substantiated and complete history of Soviet intelligence. Based on a mass of newly declassified Russian secret intelligence documentation, it reveals the true story of Soviet intelligence from its very beginnings in 1917 right through to the end of the Cold War.
Covering both main branches of Soviet espionage - civilian and military - Jonathan Haslam charts the full range of the Soviet intelligence effort and the story of its development: in cryptography, disinformation, special forces, and counter-intelligence. In a tragic irony, an organization that so casually disposed of others critically depended upon the human factor. Due to their lack of expertise and technological know-how, from early on the Soviets were forced to rely heavily on secret agents instead of the more sophisticated code-breaking techniques of other intelligence agencies. But in this they were highly successful, recruiting spy rings such as the infamous 'Cambridge Five' in the 1930s.
Had it not been for Soviet espionage against Britain's code-breaking effort during the Second World War, Stalin might never have won the victory that later enabled him to dominate half of Europe. Similarly, espionage directed at his allies enabled the Soviets to build an atomic bomb earlier than expected and to take calculated risks in post-war diplomacy, such as his audacious blockade of Berlin which led to the Berlin Airlift. Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin in 1956 alienated many of the foreign 'friends' so valued by the Soviet intelligence services. It also made new recruitment of foreign agents much more difficult, as the USSR rapidly lost its glamour and ideological appeal to potential supporters in the West during the 1950s.
However, the gap was finally bridged through exploiting greedy and disloyal Western intelligence officers, using blackmail and bribery - and with great success. In fact, it was the ultimate irony that the KGB and GRU had never been more effective than when the Soviet Union began to collapse from within.
Imperial Apocalypse describes the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War One. Drawing material from nine different archives and hundreds of published sources, this study ties together state failure, military violence, and decolonization in a single story.
Joshua Sanborn excavates the individual lives of soldiers, doctors, nurses, politicians, and civilians caught up in the global conflict along the way, creating a narrative that is both humane and conceptually rich. The volume opens by laying out the theoretical relationship between state failure, social collapse, and decolonization, and then moves chronologically from the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 through the fierce battles and massive human dislocations of 1914-16 to the final collapse of the empire in the midst of revolution in 1917-18.
Imperial Apocalypse is the first major study which treats the demise of the Russian Empire as part of the twentieth-century phenomenon of modern decolonization, and provides a readable account of military activity and political change throughout this turbulent period of war and revolution.
Sanborn argues that the sudden rise of groups seeking national self-determination in the borderlands of the empire was the consequence of state failure, not its cause. At the same time, he shows how the destruction of state institutions and the spread of violence from the front to the rear led to a collapse of traditional social bonds and the emergence of a new, more dangerous, and more militant political atmosphere.
At dawn on 10 July 1941, massed tanks and motorized infantry of German Army Group Center's Second and Third Panzer Groups crossed the Dnepr and Western Dvina Rivers, beginning what Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer of Germany's Third Reich, and most German officers and soldiers believed would be a triumphal march on Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union.
Less than three weeks before, on 22 June Hitler had unleashed his Wehrmacht's massive invasion of the Soviet Union code-named Operation Barbarossa, which sought to defeat the Soviet Union's Red Army, conquer the country, and unseat its Communist ruler, Josef Stalin. Between 22 June and 10 July, the Wehrmacht advanced up to 500 kilometers into Soviet territory, killed or captured up to one million Red Army soldiers, and reached the western banks of the Western Dvina and Dnepr Rivers, by doing so satisfying the premier assumption of Plan Barbarossa that the Third Reich would emerge victorious if it could defeat and destroy the bulk of the Red Army before it withdrew to safely behind those two rivers. With the Red Army now shattered, Hitler and most Germans expected total victory in a matter of weeks.
The ensuing battles in the Smolensk region frustrated German hopes for quick victory. Once across the Dvina and Dnepr Rivers, a surprised Wehrmacht encountered five fresh Soviet armies. Despite destroying two of these armies outright, severely damaging two others, and encircling the remnants of three of these armies in the Smolensk region, quick victory eluded the Germans. Instead, Soviet forces encircled in Mogilev and Smolensk stubbornly refused to surrender, and while they fought on, during July, August, and into early September, first five and then a total of seven newly-mobilized Soviet armies struck back viciously at the advancing Germans, conducting multiple counterattacks and counterstrokes, capped by two major counteroffensives that sapped German strength and will. Despite immense losses in men and materiel, these desperate Soviet actions derailed Operation Barbarossa. Smarting from countless wounds inflicted on his vaunted Wehrmacht, even before the fighting ended in the Smolensk region, Hitler postponed his march on Moscow and instead turned his forces southward to engage 'softer targets' in the Kiev region.
The 'derailment' of the Wehrmacht at Smolensk ultimately became the crucial turning point in Operation Barbarossa. Serving as both a companion to the previous three text volumes in this monumental study, and as a standalone battlefield atlas, this volume provides over one hundred specially-commissioned colour maps that trace the course of the campaign, each accompanied by a detailed caption.
The world was stunned when Vladimir Putin invaded and seized the seaport region of Crimea in March 2014. In the weeks that followed, separatist rebels aided by Russia took over territory in the area surrounding Crimea in eastern Ukraine. The United States and its Western allies immediately imposed strict sanctions on Russia and have continued to tighten those sanctions. This sharp deterioration in East-West relations has raised basic questions about the policies of Vladimir Putin and the future of Russia.
Marvin Kalb, who reported from Russia in the 1950s for Edward R. Murrow and served as the CBS Moscow bureau chief in the early 1960s, argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Putin did not suddenly decide to invade Crimea and then instigate a pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine. He had been waiting for the right moment in the months after Ukrainians rose up in bloody protests against the pro-Russian president in Kiev's Maidan Square. Those demonstrations had led Putin to the conclusion that Ukraine's opposition constituted an existential threat to Russia.
Imperial Gamble examines how Putin reached that conclusion by taking a critical look at the recent political history of post-Soviet Russia. It also journeys deeper into the Russian past to more fully explain the roots of Russian nationalism that drives both Putin and the Russian people who support his actions in Ukraine. Kalb argues that the post-cold war world today hangs on the resolution of the Ukraine crisis. So long as it is treated as a problem to be resolved by Russia, on the one side, and the United States and Europe, on the other, it will remain a danger zone with global consequences.
The only sensible solution lies in both Russia and Ukraine recognizing that their futures are irrevocably linked by the geography, power, politics, and history that Kalb brings to life in Imperial Gamble .
The First World War was too big to be grasped by its participants. In the retelling of their war in the competing memories of leaders and commanders, and the anguished fiction of its combatants, any sense of order and purpose, effort and achievement, was missing. Drawing on the experience of front line soldiers, munitions workers, politicians and those managing the vast economy of industrialised warfare, Attrition explains for the first time why and how this new type of conflict born out of industrial society was fought as it was. It was the first mass war in which the resources of the fully-mobilised societies strained every sinew in a conflict over ideals - and the humblest and highest were all caught up in the national enterprise. In a stunning narrative, this brilliant and necessary reassessment of the whole war cuts behind the myth-making to reveal the determination, organization and ambition on all sides.
In the new year of 1944 the French Resistance in northern France was on its knees. Relentless attacks on its diverse and disorganised networks by the Gestapo and the Abwehr had put many of its best operatives in prison, or worse. But in the lead up to Operation Overlord, 'D Day', the Resistance had never been more important to the Allied war effort, and many groups were in the pay of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.
One such was organised by a patriot called Dominic Ponchardier. For months he had watched helplessly as his friends and colleagues had been swept up by the Nazi drag net, and cast into the old prison on the eastern outskirts of Amiens. In desperation he asked his MI6 handlers for help, and once London agreed it led to one of the most daring missions of the war. On the morning of 18 February 1944, nineteen Mosquito bombers flew at low level across the channel, skimming just above the ground to drop their bombs on sections of the walls of Amiens Prison. Hundreds escaped, scores of whom evaded recapture to continue the fight against Nazi repression.
It was an epic of precision bombing, in which one of the most notable RAF heroes of the war, Group Captain Charles Pickard, lost his life.
Robert Lyman's book reveals, from previously unseen sources, the full truth of MI6's involvement in the French Resistance, and narrates in vivid detail a stirring tale of courage and skill.
The loss of British bombers over Occupied Europe began to reach alarming levels in 1941. Could it be that the Germans were using a sophisticated form of radar to direct their night fighters and anti-aircraft guns at the British bombers? British aerial reconnaissance discovered what seemed to be a rotating radar tower on a clifftop at Bruneval, near Le Havre. The truth must be revealed. The decision was taken to launch a daring raid on the Bruneval site to try and capture the technology for further examination. The planned airborne assault would be extremely risky. The parachute regiment had only been formed a year before on Churchill's insistence. This night raid would test the men to the extreme limits of their abilities. Night Raid tells the gripping tale of this mission from the planning stages, to the failed rehearsals when the odds seemed stacked against them, to the night of the raid itself, and the scientific secrets that were discovered thanks to the paras' precious cargo - the German radar. Its capture was of immense importance in the next stages of the war and the mission itself marked the birth of the legend of the 'Red Devils'.
The twentieth century should make sense. It's the period of history that we know the most about, an epic geo-political narrative that runs through World War One, the great depression, World War Two, the American century and the fall of the Berlin Wall. But somehow that story doesn't quite lead into the world we find ourselves in now, this bewildering twenty-first century, adrift in a network of constant surveillance, unsustainable competition, tsunamis of trivia and extraordinary opportunity.
Time, then, for a new perspective. With John Higgs as our guide, we step off the main path and wander through some of the more curious backwaters of the twentieth century, exploring familiar and unfamiliar territory alike, finding fresh insight on our journey to the present day. We travel in the company of some of the most radical artists, scientists, geniuses and crazies of their age. They show us that great innovations such as relativity, cubism, quantum mechanics, postmodernism and chaos maths are not the incomprehensible, abstract horrors that we assume them to be, but signposts that bring us to the world we live in now.
John Higgs brings us an alternative history of the strangest of centuries. He shows us how the elegant, clockwork universe of the Victorians became increasingly woozy and uncertain; and how we discovered that our world is not just stranger than we imagine but, in the words of Sir Arthur Eddington, 'stranger than we can imagine'.
Have you ever wondered... Which German asked for a squadron of Spitfires? Who were the Millionaire's Mob? What was a Jericho Trumpet? Telling the stories of the commanders, the campaigns, the air raids, the pilots, the aircraft, and the vital invention of air defence radar, from Churchill's resounding declaration on 18 June 1940 that 'The Battle of Britain is about to begin' to 17 September 1940 when Hitler postponed Operation Sealion, this comprehensive miscellany is a compelling guide to this most crucial of Second World War battles - the first to be fought solely in the air.
Stephen Bungay's magisterial history is acclaimed as the account of the Battle of Britain. Unrivalled for its synthesis of all previous historical accounts, for the quality of its strategic analysis and its truly compulsive narrative, this is a book ultimately distinguished by its conclusions - that it was the British in the Battle who displayed all the virtues of efficiency, organisation and even ruthlessness we habitually attribute to the Germans, and they who fell short in their amateurism, ill-preparedness, poor engineering and even in their old-fashioned notions of gallantry. An engrossing read for the military scholar and the general reader alike, this is a classic of military history that looks beyond the mythology, to explore all the tragedy and comedy; the brutality and compassion of war.
This re-issue of Pyramids and Poppies coincides with the hundredth anniversary of the formation of the First SA Brigade, in August 1915. The book tells the very personal story of the Brigade on the Western Front during the Great War 1914-1918: The war to end all wars. On this front of all fronts, as it was called by the millions of men who lived and died in the mud of trench warfare, South Africans were present. Nearly four and a half thousand men of the South African Brigade were never to return.
John Buchan rated the 1st SA Brigade 'to have had no superior and not many equals'. Yet, since Buchan wrote The South African Forces in France in 1920, no book has been written that covers the whole spectrum of the 1st SA Brigade in the First World War. Pyramids and Poppies updates and expands Buchan's work with a wealth of new material which includes many hitherto unknown photographs and drawings. These are enhanced with previously unpublished personal accounts by the men of the South African Brigade, which the author has been fortunate enough to access. They bring the reader face to face with the frontline and battlefield realities.
The exploits of the Brigade went far beyond the normal expectations from a single Brigade on the Western Front. The huge casualties suffered at Delville Wood were a first. It brought home the real tragedy of the First World War experience to the people of South Africa and made Delville Wood the most famous battle fought by South Africans. Because of this, history has tended to overlook other places and events that were, for the South African Brigade, of far greater significance in terms of achievement and sacrifice. In the broad sweep of the conflict, Delville Wood must take its place as a modest part of the courage of the Springboks, who fought from Libya to France and Belgium. The actions at Halazin and Agagia are covered, as is Delville Wood, and so too are Butte de Warlencourt, Arras, Fampoux, Third Ypes, the crowning achievement at Marrieres Wood, Messines, Meteren, Beaurevoir, The Crossing of the River Selle and Hestrud.
Through the deserts of North Africa and stinking mud of Flanders bursts the bravery and compassion of men who offered themselves in innocence as volunteers and learned the cruel indifference of war waged, by armchair generals.
During World War II, training in the black arts of covert operation was vital preparation for the ungentlemanly warfare waged by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) against Hitler's Germany and Tojo's Japan. In the early years of the war, the SOE set up top secret training schools to instruct prospective agents in the art of being a spy. Soon there was an international network of schools in operation in secluded locations ranging from the Scottish Highlands to Singapore and Canada. Reproduced here is one of the most comprehensive training syllabi used at SOE's Special Training Schools (STSs) instructing agents on how to wreak maximum havoc in occupied Europe and beyond. A staggering array of unconventional skills are covered - from burglary, close combat, and silent killing, to utilizing propaganda, surveillance, and disguise - giving an unprecedented insight into the workings of one of WWII's most intriguing organizations. These files, released from the British National Archive, put covert history in readers' hands. Uncover an exciting, little-known part of WWII history and delve into the inner workings of a real spy network.
Why does writing exist? What does it mean to those who write? Born from the interplay of natural and cultural history, the seemingly magical act of writing has continually expanded our consciousness. Portrayed in mythology either as a gift from heroes or as a curse from the gods, it has been used as both an instrument of power and a channel of the divine; a means of social bonding and of individual self-definition. Now, as the revolution once wrought by the printed word gives way to the digital age, many fear that the art of writing-and the nuanced thinking nurtured by writing-are under threat. But writing itself, despite striving for permanence, is always in the midst of growth and transfiguration. Celebrating the impulse to record, to invent, to make one's mark, Matthew Battles reenchants the written word for all those susceptible to the power and beauty of writing in all its forms.
From the Orwell Prize shortlisted author of Freedom for Sale, The Rich is the fascinating history of how economic elites from ancient Egypt to the present day have gained and spent their money. Starting with the Romans and Ancient Egypt and culminating with the oligarchies of modern Russia and China, it compares and contrasts the rich and powerful down the ages and around the world. What unites them? Have the same instincts of entrepreneurship, ambition, vanity, greed and philanthropy applied throughout? As contemporary politicians, economists and the public wrestle with the inequities of our time - the parallel world inhabited by the ultra-wealthy at a time of broader hardship - it is salutary to look to history for explanations. This book synthesises thousands of years of human behaviour and asks the question: is the development of the globalised super-rich over the past twenty years anything new?
What is slavery? It seems a simple enough question. Despite the long history of the institution and its widespread use around the globe, many people still largely associate slavery, outside of the biblical references in the Old Testament, to the enslavement of Africans in America, particularly the United States. Slavery proved to be essential to the creation of the young nation's agricultural and industrial economies and profoundly shaped its political and cultural landscapes, even until today.
What Is Slavery? focuses on the experience of enslaved black people in the United States from its early colonial period to the dawn of that destructive war that was as much about slavery as anything else. The book begins with a survey of slavery across time and place, from the ancient world to the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade and then describes the commerce in black laborers that ushered in market globalization and brought more than 12 million Africans to the Americas, before finally examining slavery in law and practice.
For those who are looking for a concise and comprehensive treatment of such topics as slave labor, culture, resistance, family and gender relations, the domestic slave trade, the regionalization of the institution in the expanding southern and southwestern frontiers, and escalating abolitionist and proslavery advocacies, this book will be essential reading.
The refrigerator. This white box that sits in the kitchen may seem mundane nowadays, but it is one of the wonders of 20th century science - life-saver, food-preserver and social liberator, while the science of refrigeration is crucial, not just in transporting food around the globe but in a host of branches on the scientific tree.
Refrigerators, refrigeration and its discovery and applications provides the remarkable and eye-opening backdrop to Chilled, the story of how science managed to rewrite the rules of food, and how the technology whirring behind every refrigerator is at play, unseen, in a surprisingly broad sweep of modern life. Part historical narrative, part scientific mystery-lifter, Chilled looks at the ice-pits of Persia (Iranians still call their fridge the 'ice-pit'), reports on a tug of war between 16 horses and the atmosphere, bears witness to ice harvests on the Regents Canal, and shows how bleeding sailors demonstrated to ship's doctors that heat is indestructible, featuring a cast of characters such as the Ice King of Boston, Galileo, Francis Bacon, and the ostracised son of a notorious 18th-century French traitor.
As people learned more about what cold actually was, scientists invented machines for making it, with these first used in earnest to chill Australian lager. The principles behind those white boxes in the kitchen remain the same today, but refrigeration is not all about food - for example, a refrigerator is needed to make soap, penicillin or orange squash; without it, IVF would be impossible.
Refrigeration technology has also been crucial in some of the most important scientific breakthroughs of the last 100 years, from the discovery of superconductors to the search for the Higgs boson. And the fridge will still be pulling the strings behind the scenes as teleporters and intelligent computer brains turn our science-fiction vision of the future into fact.