Winston Churchill dominates our view of the history of Britain in the twentieth century - the brash, brave and ambitious young aristocrat who sought out danger in late Victorian wars, the mercurial First Lord of the Admiralty who was responsible for the Dardanelles disaster in 1915, the Colonial Secretary who rode with T. E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell at the Pyramids, the Chancellor who took the country back to the Gold Standard and crushed the General Strike in 1926, and then spent more than ten years in the political wilderness - and who, finally, was summoned to save his country in 1940. 'I felt that I was walking with destiny, and all my life had been but preparation for that hour.'
Andrew Roberts' titanic new biography re-interprets all these events, especially Churchill's leadership during the Second World War, which he sees through the prism of all Churchill's earlier life. He gives full visibility to Churchill's flaws, and brilliantly explains his genius. He has used over forty collections of papers not available to Churchill's previous biographer Roy Jenkins (2001) and he is the first Churchill biographer to be granted access by the Queen to the private diaries of King George VI. This is the Churchill biography for our times.
When Sara Rose returns to live in her recently deceased grandmother's Tasmanian cottage, her past and that of her mother and grandmother is ever-present. Sara's grandmother, Nina Barsova, a Russian post-war immigrant, lovingly raised Sara in the cottage at the foot of Mt Wellington but without ever explaining why Sara's own mother, Helena, abandoned her as a baby.
Sara, a geneticist, also longs to know the identity of her father, and Helena won't tell her. Now, estranged not only from her mother, but also from her husband, Sara raises her daughter, Ellie, with a central wish to spare her the same feeling of abandonment that she experienced as a child.
When Sara meets an Afghani refugee separated from his beloved wife and family, she decides to try to repair relations with Helena - but when a lie told by her grandmother years before begins to unravel, a darker truth than she could ever imagine is revealed.
Matryoshka is a haunting and beautifully written story about the power of maternal love, and the danger of secrets passed down through generations.
A new account of America's most controversial diplomat that moves beyond praise or condemnation to reveal Kissinger as the architect of America's current imperial stance.
In his fascinating new book, acclaimed historian Greg Grandin argues that to understand the crisis of contemporary America - its never-ending wars abroad and political polarization at home - we have to understand Henry Kissinger. Examining Kissinger's own writings, as well as a wealth of newly declassified documents, Grandin reveals how Richard Nixon's top foreign policy advisor, even as he was presiding over defeat in Vietnam and a disastrous, secret, and illegal war in Cambodia, was helping to revive a militarized version of American exceptionalism centered on an imperial presidency. Believing that reality could be bent to his will, insisting that intuition is more important in determining policy than hard facts, and vowing that past mistakes should never hinder future bold action, Kissinger anticipated, even enabled, the ascendance of the neoconservative idealists who took America into crippling wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Going beyond accounts focusing either on Kissinger's crimes or accomplishments, Grandin offers a compelling new interpretation of the diplomat's continuing influence on how the United States views its role in the world.
Can You Solve My Problems? is not just a random list of skull-warping brain-teasers, but rather a skilfully curated anthology of puzzles... Bellos takes us back to the origins of various types of puzzle and explains their historical development... [he] reveals how intellectual giants, such as the mathematician John Conway, the Bletchley park codebreaker Max Newman, the Nobel physicist George Gamow and many other smart cookies, devoted a significant amount of their time to playing with puzzles .. . Excellent. ' - Simon Singh, Observer A good puzzle is ingenious, frustrating and a-ha!
-inducing. In this entertaining and utterly addictive book, Bellos will challenge you to pit your wits against pangrams, hidatos, chessboard puzzles and a Singaporean schoolchild's maths paper. Piece of cake, right? Only if you know the scientific method for cutting cake correctly.
Organised from easy-peasy to ninja level - with stories of puzzle mysteries, histories and scandals along the way this book will make your hippocampus happy.
Nuclear weapons exist and so does the possibility of worldwide annihilation. How did we reach this terrifying reality?
In 1945, the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and old ideas of warfare came to an end. This book tells how the power of the atom was harnessed to produce weapons capable of destroying human civilisation.
There were few villains in the story. On both sides of the Iron Curtain, dedicated scientists cracked the secrets of nature, dutiful military men planned to use the bomb in war, politicians contemplated with a potentially intolerable decision. Patriotic citizens acquiesced in the idea that their country needed the ultimate means of defence. Some tried to grapple with the unanswerable question: what end could possibly be served by such a fearsome means? Those who protested went unheard. None wanted to start a nuclear war, but all were paranoid. The danger of war by accident or misjudgement was never entirely absent.
Rodric Braithwaite, author of bestsellers Moscow 1941 and Afgantsy, paints a vivid and thought-provoking portrait of this intense period in history. Its implications are as relevant today as they ever were, as ignorant and thoughtless talk about nuclear war begins to spread once more.
WINNER OF THE 2016 FT & McKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD, this is the biography of one of the titans of financial history over the last fifty years.
Born in 1926, Alan Greenspan was raised in Manhattan by a single mother and immigrant grandparents during the Great Depression but by quiet force of intellect, rose to become a global financial `maestro'. Appointed by Ronald Reagan to Chairman of the Federal Reserve, a post he held for eighteen years, he presided over an unprecedented period of stability and low inflation, was revered by economists, adored by investors and consulted by leaders from Beijing to Frankfurt. Both data-hound and eligible society bachelor, Greenspan was a man of contradictions. His great success was to prove the very idea he, an advocate of the Gold standard, doubted: that the discretionary judgements of a money-printing central bank could stabilise an economy. He resigned in 2006, having overseen tumultuous changes in the world's most powerful economy. Yet when the great crash happened only two years later many blamed him, even though he had warned early on of irrational exuberance in the market place. Sebastian Mallaby brilliantly shows the subtlety and complexity of Alan Greenspan's legacy. Full of beautifully rendered high-octane political infighting, hard hitting dialogue and stories, The Man Who Knew is superbly researched, enormously gripping and the story of the making of modern finance.
`In 1605 a crippled, greying, almost toothless veteran of Spain's wars against the Ottoman Empire published a book. That book, Don Quixote, went on to sell more copies than any other book beside the Bible, making its author, Miguel de Cervantes, the most widely read author in human history. Cervantes did more than just publish a bestseller, though. He invented a way of writing.' In Cervantes' time, `fiction' was synonymous with a lie. Books were either history, and true, or `poetry' which might be invented, but had to conform to strict principles. Don Quixote tells the story of a poor nobleman, addled from reading too many books on chivalry, who deludes himself that he is a knight errant and sets off to put the world to rights. The book was hugely entertaining, broke the existing rules, devised a new set and, in the process, created a new, modern hybrid form we know today as the novel.
The Man Who Invented Fiction explores Cervantes's life and the world he lived in, showing how his life and influences converged in his work, and how his work - especially Don Quixote - radically changed the nature of literature and created a new way of viewing the world. Finally, it explains how that worldview went on to infiltrate art, politics and science, and how the world today would be unthinkable without it.
A. N. Wilson's powerful new novel explores the life and times of one of the greatest British explorers, Captain Cook, and the golden age of Britain's period of expansion and exploration.
Wilson's protagonist, witness to Cook's brilliance and wisdom, is George Forster, who travelled with Cook as botanist on board the HMS Resolution, on Cook's second expedition to the southern hemisphere, and penned a famous account of the journey. Resolution moves back and forth across time, to depict Forster's time with Cook, and his extraordinary later life, which ended with his death in Paris, during the French Revolution. Wilson once again demonstrates his great powers as a master craftsman of the historical and the human in this richly evoked novel, which brings to life the real and the extraordinary, brilliantly drawing together a remarkable cast of characters in order to look at human endeavour, ingenuity and valour.
As the acknowledged 'Queen of Crime', P D James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write a special short story for Christmas. Four of the best of these have been drawn from the archives and published here.
While she delights in the secrets that lurk beneath the surface at family gatherings, her Christmas stories also provide tantalising puzzles to keep the reader guessing.
She embraces the challenge of the short-story form, ingeniously weaving the strands of plot, setting, characterisation and surprise to create a satisfying whole within only a few thousand words.
From the title story about a strained party at a country house on Christmas Eve to another about an illicit affair that ends in murder, as well as two cases for her poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh, each story treats us to masterfully atmospheric storytelling, always with the lure of a mystery to be solved.
Roger Lowenstein tells the story of how America created the Federal Reserve, thereby taking its first steps onto the world stage as a global financial power. America's Bank showcases Lowenstein at his very finest: illuminating complex financial and political issues with striking clarity, infusing the debates of our past with all the gripping immediacy of today, and painting unforgettable portraits of Gilded Age bankers, presidents, and politicians.
Lowenstein focuses on the four men at the heart of the struggle to create the Federal Reserve. These were Paul Warburg, a refined, German-born financier, recently relocated to New York, who was horrified by the primitive condition of America's finances; Rhode Island's Nelson W. Aldrich, the reigning power broker in the U.S. Senate and an archetypal Gilded Age legislator; Carter Glass, the ambitious, if then little-known, Virginia congressman who chaired the House Banking Committee at a crucial moment of political transition; and President Woodrow Wilson, the academician turned progressive politician who forced Glass to reconcile his deep-seated differences with bankers and accept the principle (anathema to southern Democrats) of federal control.
Weaving together a raucous era in American politics with a storied financial crisis and intrigue at the highest levels of Washington and Wall Street, Lowenstein brings the beginnings of one of the country's most crucial institutions to vivid and unforgettable life. Readers of this gripping historical narrative will wonder whether they're reading about one hundred years ago or the still-seething conflicts that mark our discussions of banking and politics today.
Written by the Oxford historian Henrietta Leyser, Bede's England is a gazetteer to the remaining Anglo-Saxon ruins in England, many of them from the time of the Venerable Bede. For those who have bought Simon Jenkins' 100 Best Churches and now want something different, this is an invaluable window onto the world of the author of the Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Concentrating on Bede himself (our most valuable historical source on Anglo Saxon England, and author of books that played a key role in the development of English national identity), this book is an accessible history and a guidebook simultaneously, illustrated with maps and photographs. Since Sr Benedicta Ward's book on Bede, with its endorsement by Rowan Williams, general interest in Anglo-Saxon Britain has been growing. This book serves as a perfect introduction to the subject, and is the only book of its kind.
On 28 January 1547, the sickly and obese King Henry VIII died at Whitehall. Just hours before his passing, his last will and testament had been read, stamped and sealed. The will confirmed the line of succession as Edward, Mary and Elizabeth; and, following them, the Grey and Suffolk families. It also listed bequests to the king's most trusted councillors and servants. Henry's will is one of the most intriguing and contested documents in British history. Historians have disagreed over its intended meaning, its authenticity and validity, and the circumstances of its creation. As well as examining the background to the drafting of the will and describing Henry's last days, Suzannah Lipscomb offers her own, illuminating interpretation of one of the most significant constitutional documents of the Tudor period. Illustrated with portraits of key figures at Henry's court, including the executors named by Henry in his will, this is a Tudor gift book to cherish, as authoritative as it is beautiful.
Hidden inside all of us - every human being on Earth - is the story of our ancestry.
Printed on our DNA are the origins of our lineages, the time in history and prehistory when they arose, and the epic journeys people have made across the globe. Based on exciting new research involving the most wide-ranging sampling of DNA ever made in Britain, Alistair Moffat, author of the bestselling The Scots: A Genetic Journey, shows how all of us who live on these islands are immigrants.
The last ice age erased any trace of more ancient inhabitants, and the ancestors of everyone who now lives in Britain came here after the glaciers retreated and the land greened once more.
In an epic narrative, sometimes moving, sometimes astonishing, always revealing, Moffat writes an entirely new history of Britain. Instead of the usual parade of the usual suspects - kings, queens, saints, warriors and the notorious - this is a people's history, a narrative made from stories only DNA can tell which offers insights into who we are and where we come from.
This book is a collection of virtual time-travellings back to Australia’s past. Australian History Live! is a compelling look at Australian history using first person accounts as reported in the press and in journals and diaries. Included in the collection are gripping accounts of occasions both great and minor. Here you can find the heart wrenching account of a bewildered little terrier dog refusing to leave the bayoneted dead body of its master just killed at the Eureka Stockade. Read an amazing description of Bert Hinkler landing his absurdly tiny little aeroplane (he’d just flown it across the world in a world-record time) on the straight at Flemington Racecourse. Share scientist Francis Ratcliffe’s experience of being caught and shaken by a very wild willy-willy.
England, 1454. A kingdom sliding into chaos. The mentally unstable King Henry VI, having struggled for a decade to contain the violent feuding of his magnates, loses his mind. Disgruntled nobles back the regal claims of Richard, Duke of York, great-grandson of Edward III. The stage is set for civil war.
The first volume of an enthralling two-part history of the dynastic wars fought between the houses of Lancaster and York, Battle Royal traces the conflict from its roots in the 1440s to the early 1460s - a period marked by the rise and fall of Richard of York, the deposition of Henry VI following the Lancastrian defeat at Towton, and the subsequent seizure of his throne by Richard's son Edward. Populating this late-medieval saga of ambition, intrigue and bloodshed are such fascinating characters as the vacillating Henry himself, his indefatigable queen Marguerite of Anjou, Richard of York (father of kings but never king himself), his opportunist ally Richard Neville, 'the Kingmaker', and the precociously virile Edward of York.
Charting a clear course through the dynastic and factional complexities of fifteenth-century power politics, and offering crisply authoritative analysis of the key battles of the Wars of the Roses, Battle Royal is a compelling and rigorously researched account of England's longest and bloodiest civil war.
For the first time, Sam Willis offers a fascinating naval perspective to one of the greatest of all historical conundrums: How did thirteen isolated colonies, who, in 1775 began a war with Britain without a navy or an army, win their independence from the greatest naval and military power on earth?
The American Revolution was a naval war of immense scope and variety, including no less than twenty-two navies fighting on five oceans - to say nothing of rivers and lakes. In no other war were so many large-scale fleet battles fought, one of which was the most strategically significant naval battle in all of British, French and American history. Simultaneous naval campaigns were fought in the English Channel, the North and Mid-Atlantic, the Mediterranean, off South Africa, in the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, the Pacific, the North Sea and, of course, off the Eastern Seaboard of America. Not until the Second World War would any nation actively fight in so many different theatres.
In The Struggle for Sea Power, Sam Willis traces every key military event in the path to American Independence from a naval perspective and he also brings this important viewpoint to bear on economic, political and social developments that were fundamental to the success of the Revolution. In doing so Willis offers valuable new insights to American, British, French, Spanish, Dutch and Russian history.
The result is a far more profound understanding of the influence of sea power upon history, of the American path to independence and of the rise and fall of the British Empire.