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Ian Crofton - Author

About the Author

Ian Crofton was born in Edinburgh and worked for Collins in Glasgow before moving to London, where he has been a freelance writer and editor for 25 years. Previous books include Brewer’s Dictionary of Curious Titles;Brewer’s Britain and Ireland (with John Ayto); Brewer’s Cabinet of Curiosities, A Dictionary of Art Quotations, History without the Boring Bits; Science without the Boring Bits; A Dictionary of Scottish Quotations.

Featured books by Ian Crofton

The Kings and Queens of England

The Kings and Queens of England

Author: Ian Crofton Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2011

From the reign of Alfred the Great - the first king of Wessex to call himself 'king of England' - in the 9th century, to the shock of Norman invasion in the 11th, and from the brutal vicissitudes of late medieval kingship to the comfortable ceremonial of modern-day constitutional monarchy, the story of England's kings and queens is to a large degree that of England herself. Kings and Queens of England offers readable profiles of 59 English monarchs from Harold II to Henry VIII, and from Ethelred the Unready to Elizabeth II. Each monarch is elegantly profiled and the impact of their rule on wider English history clearly and concisely described and analysed. For every king and queen there is a detailed timeline, and the narrative is further amplified by display quotations, feature boxes, panels of key biographical facts, and - last but not least - by 135 lavish full-colour images. Ian Crofton recounts a 1000-year tale of murder, invasion, usurpation, adultery, divorce, civil war and revolution in a manner that is as entertaining as it is informative. The Kings and Queens of England is the perfect choice for anyone looking for an illustrated account of the English monarchy from the Anglo-Saxon era to the present.

Other books by Ian Crofton

A Dictionary of Scottish Phrase and Fable

A Dictionary of Scottish Phrase and Fable

Author: Ian Crofton Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/10/2016

This authoritative, entertaining and eminently browsable reference book, arranged in easily accessible A-Z format, is an absorbing and imaginative feast of Scottish lore, language, history and culture, from the mythical origins of the Scots in Scythia to the contemporary Scotland of the Holyrood parliament and Trainspotting. Here Tartan Tories rub shoulders with Torry girls, the Misery from the Manse exchanges a nod with Stalin's Granny, Thomas the Rhymer and the Wizard of Reay walk hand in hand with Bible John, and the reader is taken for a rollercoaster ride round Caledonia, from Furry Boots City to the Costa Clyde, via the Cold Shoulder of Scotland, the West Lothian Alps and the Reykjavik of the South. The result is a breathtaking and quirky celebration of Scotland, packed with fact and anecdote.

The Little Book of Big History The Story of Life, the Universe and Everything

The Little Book of Big History The Story of Life, the Universe and Everything

Author: Ian Crofton Format: Hardback Release Date: 23/06/2016

From the Big Bang to the future of our planet, The Little Book of Big History divides history into manageable but comprehensive time frames, encompassing the cosmos, the stars, life and everything in between. Big History is the attempt to understand and condense the entire story of the cosmos, from the Big Bang to the current day. Combining methods from history, astronomy, physics and biology to draw together the big story arcs of how the universe was created, why planets formed and how life developed, this creates a unique perspective from which to understand the place of mankind in the universe. Excited by the alternative 'framework for all knowledge' that is offered by this approach, Bill Gates is funding the Big History Project, which aims to bring the subject to a wider audience around the world. The Little Book of Big History breaks down the main themes of Big History into highly informative and accessible parts for all readers to enjoy. By giving a truly complete timeline of world events, this book shines a whole different light on history as we learned it and makes us think of our history - and our future - in a very different way.

Walking the Border A Journey Between Scotland and England

Walking the Border A Journey Between Scotland and England

Author: Ian Crofton Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/07/2015

In this book Ian Crofton makes a journey on foot from Gretna Green in the southwest to Berwick in the northeast, following as close as possible the Anglo-Scottish Border as it has been fixed since the union of the crowns in 1603. Much of the line of the Border runs through a wild, overwhelmingly unvisited no man's land - the sort of trackless waste perfect for keeping two belligerent peoples apart? During the course of his journey Ian Crofton considers a number of questions how 'natural' are borderlines? Sometimes they follow physical barriers, sometimes an arbitrary line on a map, the compromise made by some committee of distant diplomats.

Scottish History without the Boring Bits A Chronicle of the Curious, the Eccentric, the Atrocious and the Unlikely

Scottish History without the Boring Bits A Chronicle of the Curious, the Eccentric, the Atrocious and the Unlikely

Author: Ian Crofton Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2015

As an antidote to more sober accounts of Scotland's history, Ian Crofon offers a colourful chronology of the eccentric, the infamous, the bawdy, the horrific and the hilarious people and events that have spattered across the pages of our nation's story. From the Royal High School riot to Marocco the Wonder Horse, from the War of the One-Eyed Woman to the MP cleared of stealing his ex-mistress's knickers, A History of Scotland Without the Boring Bits includes a host of little-known tales that you won't find in more conventional works of history, including the chatelaine who struck a general over the head with a leg of mutton, the cow that gave birth to fourteen puppies, the clan chief who ripped out the throat of his enemy with his teeth, the surgeon who was so fast with the saw that he inadvertently took off his patient's testicles as well as his leg, the mathematician who calculated that the Christian religion would finally disappear in the year 3153. Ian Crofton's alternative history of Scotland looks at the country's seedy underbelly with a quizzical eye.It is full of the mischievous humour and lightly-worn scholarship so praised by the critics in his Dictionary of Scottish Phrase and Fable.

History without the Boring Bits A Curious Chronology of the World

History without the Boring Bits A Curious Chronology of the World

Author: Ian Crofton Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/02/2015

Conventional chronologies of world history concentrate on the reigns of kings and queens, the dates of battles and treaties, the publication dates of great books, the completion of famous buildings, the deaths of iconic figures, and the years of major discoveries. But there are other more interesting stories to tell - stories which can bring the past vividly and excitingly to life. Imagine a book that tells you the date of the ancient Roman law that made it legal to break wind at banquets; the name of the defunct medieval pope whose putrefying corpse was subjected to the humiliation of a trial before a court of law; the identity of the priapic monarch who sired more bastards than any other king of England; and last but not least the date of the demise in London of the first goat to have circumnavigated the globe - twice. Imagine a book crammed with such deliciously disposable information, and you have History without the Boring Bits. By turns bizarre, surprising, trivial, and enlightening, History without the Boring Bits offers rich pickings for the browser, and entertainment and inspiration aplenty for those who have grown weary of more conventional works of history.

A Dictionary of Scottish Phrase and Fable

A Dictionary of Scottish Phrase and Fable

Author: Ian Crofton Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/11/2012

This authoritative, entertaining and eminently browsable reference book, arranged in easily accessible A-Z format, is an absorbing and imaginative feast of Scottish lore, language, history and culture, from the mythical origins of the Scots in Scythia to the contemporary Scotland of the Holyrood parliament and Trainspotting. Here Tartan Tories rub shoulders with Torry girls, the Misery from the Manse exchanges a nod with Stalin's Granny, Thomas the Rhymer and the Wizard of Reay walk hand in hand with Bible John, and the reader is taken for a rollercoaster ride round Caledonia, from Furry Boots City to the Costa Clyde, via the Cold Shoulder of Scotland, the West Lothian Alps and the Reykjavik of the South. The result is a breathtaking and quirky celebration of Scotland, packed with fact and anecdote.

Big Ideas in Brief 200 World-Changing Concepts Explained In An Instant

Big Ideas in Brief 200 World-Changing Concepts Explained In An Instant

Author: Ian Crofton Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/2012

Big Ideas in Brief provides an accessible and easily understood tour of 200 key concepts that really matter. The ideas covered come from a wide range of subjects - Philosophy, Religion, Science, Politics, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology and the Arts. A series of short and lively articles accompanied by 100 illustrations, introduce a host of diverse topics, from Existentialism to Expressionism, from Consciousness to Constitutionalism, from Feminism to Free Trade, from Class to Cognitive Theory, from Reincarnation to Relativity - all explained simply and clearly. Incredibly quick - clear artworks and simple explanations that can be easily remembered. Based on scientific research that the brain best absorbs information visually. Compact and portable format - the ideal, handy reference.

World History 50 Events You Really Need to Know

World History 50 Events You Really Need to Know

Author: Ian Crofton Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/04/2011

People often complain that in history lessons at school they were taught just a few topics - the Romans, the Tudors, the Nazis - and how they have no idea at all about what happened in between. To remedy this, World History: 50 Key Milestones You Really Need to Know offers brief and stimulating outlines of key developments in the history of the world, from the beginning of agriculture 10,000 years ago to the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11. Ian Crofton, the author of several books of popular history including The Kings and Queens of England, Traitors and Turncoats and History Without the Boring Bits, brings his lively style to bear in a series of essays ranging from ancient Egypt to modern China, from the Vikings and the Mongols to the French Revolution and the Cold War. Each essay is accompanied by a detailed time line of dates and events, and the flavour of the period concerned is brought to life by selected contemporary quotations from figures as diverse as Aristotle, Ashoka, Saladin, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther, Suleiman the Magnificent, Galileo, Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Mary Wollstonecraft, Napoleon, Lincoln, Lenin and Winston Churchill. In addition, box features throw light on a range of related topics, from the Nazca Lines to Renaissance man, from Confucianism and the state to Alexander the Great's horse, from Islamic science and the Barbary corsairs to the Enigma code and the atomic bomb.

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