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Michael Wood - Author

About the Author

Michael Wood is the writer and presenter of many critically acclaimed series on television, including Art of the Western World, Legacy and In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great. He is author of over sixty TV films which have been shown worldwide and of several best selling and highly praised books.


He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Oriel College Oxford where he did postgraduate research in Anglo-Saxon history. Since then he has worked as a journalist, broadcaster and film maker.


Indian civilisation has long been a special interest: Over the years Michael Wood has made a dozen visits to India and in addition to his films, Darshan and Legacy, he has written The Smile of Murugan, about a small town inTamil Nadu and its annual pilgrimage.


His academic background was in early medieval English history; among his publications are In Search of the Dark Ages and Domesday. He published a recent series of medieval essays as In Search of England.

Michael Wood lives in North London with his wife and their two daughters.

Featured books by Michael Wood

Other books by Michael Wood

In Search of Myths and Heroes Exploring Four Epic Legends of the World

In Search of Myths and Heroes Exploring Four Epic Legends of the World

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/10/2018

In this compelling new book, accompanying the PBS television series of the same name, historian Michael Wood, whose renowned adventures have taken him to many remote and exciting places around the globe, now goes in search of four powerful legends: Shangri-La, the Golden Fleece, the Queen of Sheba, and the Holy Grail. Gorgeously illustrated by Steve Razzetti, with full-color photographs of some of the most beautiful landscapes and cities on earth, In Search of Myths and Heroes is a series of real journeys to real places and an encounter with the living descendants of the ancient cultures that produced the four legends. From the mountains of Tibet to the coasts of Ethiopia and Yemen to the city of Jerusalem and the far west of Ireland, Wood brings us along as he separates fact from fiction and discovers why these famous stories still captivate us. Michael Wood's In Search of Myths & Heroes explores four remarkable legends that have endured from ancient eras to modern times. Shangri-la: The Paradise Myth - From Babylonia to ancient Tibet to Frank Capra's movie Lost Horizon - the story of an earthly paradise has been immortalized through the ages. But was there a real Shangri-la? Jason & the Golden Fleece: The Hero's Quest - Possibly the oldest story in world literature and one still told today - from Gilgamesh to Star Wars - Jason's quest is that of a young man who must venture into the unknown to complete an impossible task. It is a story of bravery, treachery, and love, but what price must our hero pay for achieving his 'mission impossible'? The Queen of Sheba: The Woman of Power - The tale of Sheba, told for more than two and half millennia in Arabia, the Near East, Africa, and Europe, is the story of a woman who is a founder of nations, a fantasy lover, the personification of wisdom, adored and demonized in equal measure. Is this the fate of powerful women even today? Arthur: The Once & Future King - Arthur, said to have ruled in a golden age, had his power broken by human weakness and greed. His story, the myth of the king who will one day return, is echoed in nearly every culture in the world. But who was Arthur and why do we need to believe in him and his future reign? It is co-published by BBC.

The Hangman's Hold A Gripping Serial Killer Thriller That Will Keep You Hooked

The Hangman's Hold A Gripping Serial Killer Thriller That Will Keep You Hooked

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/09/2018

Your life is in his hands. In the gripping new serial killer thriller from Michael Wood, Matilda Darke faces a vicious killer pursuing his own brand of lethal justice. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons and Helen Fields. There's a killer in your house. The Hangman waits in the darkness. He knows your darkest secrets. He'll make you pay for all the crimes you have tried desperately to forget. And he is closer than you think. DCI Matilda Darke is running out of time. Fear is spreading throughout the city. As the body count rises, Matilda is targeted and her most trusted colleagues fall under suspicion. But can she keep those closest to her from harm? Or is it already too late?

Habits of Distraction

Habits of Distraction

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/07/2018

Starting with Walter Benjamin's idea of 'reception in a state of distraction' and looking briefly at some antecedents for Benjamin's thinking, this book develops a working model of distraction in interpretation. Examples are taken from film (Benjamin's test case), literature, music, painting and photography; the book closes with a 'distracted' reading of a classic work of concentration: Milton's Paradise Lost.

Habits of Distraction

Habits of Distraction

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/07/2018

Starting with Walter Benjamin's idea of 'reception in a state of distraction' and looking briefly at some antecedents for Benjamin's thinking, this book develops a working model of distraction in interpretation. Examples are taken from film (Benjamin's test case), literature, music, painting and photography; the book closes with a 'distracted' reading of a classic work of concentration: Milton's Paradise Lost.

Tbc30 6 Steps to a Stronger, Healthier You

Tbc30 6 Steps to a Stronger, Healthier You

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/06/2018

Alfred Hitchcock The Man Who Knew Too Much

Alfred Hitchcock The Man Who Knew Too Much

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/03/2018

Are You a Christian? No, I Mean Really?

Are You a Christian? No, I Mean Really?

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/09/2017

Heiner Muller's Democratic Theater The Politics of Making the Audience Work

Heiner Muller's Democratic Theater The Politics of Making the Audience Work

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/06/2017

The East German playwright Heiner Muller (1929-1995) is one of the most influential European dramatists and theater directors since Brecht. While critical literature on Muller often discusses the politics of his works, analysis tends to stop at the level of the text, neglecting the theatrical events that emerge from it and the audiences for which it was written and performed. Situating his study within Muller's interests in democracy and audience activity, Michael Wood addresses these gaps in scholarship, making an original contribution to the understanding of Muller's work as playwright and director. In 1985, Muller spoke of the importance of a democratic theater: one that confronts theatergoers with densely contradictory material that they must interpret for themselves, reflecting the complexity of material reality and encouraging them to question their participation in political life. Wood's study shows that Muller sought to do this in his combined 1988 production of Der Lohndrucker, Der Horatier, and Wolokolamsker Chaussee IV: Kentauren, staged at a time when questions of democracy were at the forefront of East German consciousness. It also demonstrates that from the beginning of his career Muller tried to make theater that would create a form of democracy both within and outside the theater. Michael Wood is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, where he received his PhD in 2014.

A Room Full of Killers A Gripping Crime Thriller with Twists You Won't See Coming

A Room Full of Killers A Gripping Crime Thriller with Twists You Won't See Coming

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/05/2017

`DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine' Elly Griffiths The third book in Michael Wood's darkly compelling crime series featuring DCI Matilda Darke. Perfect for fans of Peter James, Lee Child and Karin Slaughter. Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder... Starling House is home to some of the nation's deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison. When the latest arrival is found brutally murdered, DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, and discover a prison manager falling apart and a sabotaged security system. Neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted. The only person Matilda believes is innocent is facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate, and find a murderer in a house full of killers...

On Empson

On Empson

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/04/2017

From one of today's most distinguished critics, a beautifully written exploration of one of the twentieth century's most important literary critics Are literary critics writers? As Michael Wood says, Not all critics are writers--perhaps most of them are not--and some of them are better when they don't try to be. The British critic and poet William Empson (1906-84), one of the most important and influential critics of the twentieth century, was an exception--a critic who was not only a writer but also a great one. In this brief book, Wood, himself one of the most gifted writers among contemporary critics, explores Empson as a writer, a distinguished poet whose criticism is a brilliant literary performance--and proof that the act of reading can be an unforgettable adventure. Drawing out the singularity and strength of Empson's writing, including its unfailing wit, Wood traces the connections between Empson's poetry and criticism from his first and best-known critical works, Seven Types of Ambiguity and Some Versions of Pastoral, to later books such as Milton's God and The Structure of Complex Words. Wood shows why this pioneer of close reading was both more and less than the inventor of New Criticism--more because he was the greatest English critic since Coleridge, and didn't belong to any school; and less because he had severe differences with many contemporary critics, especially those who dismissed the importance of an author's intentions. Beautifully written and rich with insight, On Empson is an elegant introduction to a unique writer for whom literature was a nonstop form of living.

Room Full of Killers: A gripping crime thriller with twists you won't see coming (DCI Matilda Darke Series, Book 3)

Room Full of Killers: A gripping crime thriller with twists you won't see coming (DCI Matilda Darke Series, Book 3)

Author: Michael Wood Format: eBook Release Date: 17/02/2017

'DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine' Elly GriffithsThe third book in Michael Wood's darkly compelling crime series featuring DCI Matilda Darke. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid.Eight killers. One house. And the almost perfect murder...Starling House is home to some of Britain's deadliest teenagers, still too young for prison.When the latest arrival is found brutally murdered, DCI Matilda Darke and her team investigate, and discover a prison manager falling apart and a sabotaged security system. Neither the staff nor the inmates can be trusted.The only person Matilda believes is innocent is facing prison for the rest of his life. With time running out, she must solve the unsolvable to save a young man from his fate, and find a murderer in a house full of killers...

Fallen: A DCI Matilda Darke short story

Fallen: A DCI Matilda Darke short story

Author: Michael Wood Format: eBook Release Date: 23/12/2016

'DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine' Elly GriffithsA short story and prequel featuring DCI Matilda Darke, star of Michael Wood's darkly compelling crime series. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid.It's Christmas in Sheffield. But not everyone is enjoying the festive season...A man has been found brutally murdered in his own home. The victim is Iain Kilbride, a once-famous TV star who has faded into obscurity. All signs point to a break-in, but why has nothing been taken?For DCI Matilda Darke, this is the perfect chance to prove her newly formed Murder Investigation Team are up to the task. Matilda suspects the clue to finding the killer lies in Iain's past, but she's about to discover how dark that past really is...

From Creation to the Gospel

From Creation to the Gospel

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/10/2016

Outside Looking In A Darkly Compelling Crime Novel with a Shocking Twist

Outside Looking In A Darkly Compelling Crime Novel with a Shocking Twist

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/07/2016

`DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine' Elly Griffiths The second book in Michael Wood's darkly compelling new crime series featuring DCI Matilda Darke. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid. When elderly George Rainsford goes to investigate a suspicious noise one night, the last thing he expects to find is a bloodbath. A man has been killed and a woman brutally beaten, left for dead. The victims are Lois Craven and Kevin Hardaker - both married, but not to each other. Their spouses swear they knew nothing of the affair and, besides, they both have alibis for the attack. With nothing else to link the victims, the investigation hits a dead end. The pressure is on for investigating officer, DCI Matilda Darke: there's a violent killer on the loose, and it looks like her team members are the new targets. With no leads and no suspects, it's going to take all Matilda's wits to catch him, before he strikes again.

Outside Looking In: A darkly compelling crime novel with a shocking twist (DCI Matilda Darke, Book 2)

Outside Looking In: A darkly compelling crime novel with a shocking twist (DCI Matilda Darke, Book 2)

Author: Michael Wood Format: eBook Release Date: 26/05/2016

'DCI Matilda Darke is the perfect heroine' Elly GriffithsThe second book in Michael Wood's darkly compelling new crime series featuring DCI Matilda Darke. Perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Mark Billingham and Val McDermid.When elderly George Rainsford goes to investigate a suspicious noise one night, the last thing he expects to find is a bloodbath. A man has been killed and a woman brutally beaten, left for dead.The victims are Lois Craven and Kevin Hardaker - both married, but not to each other. Their spouses swear they knew nothing of the affair and, besides, they both have alibis for the attack. With nothing else to link the victims, the investigation hits a dead end.The pressure is on for investigating officer, DCI Matilda Darke: there's a violent killer on the loose, and it looks like her team members are the new targets. With no leads and no suspects, it's going to take all Matilda's wits to catch him, before he strikes again.

For Reasons Unknown A Gripping Crime Debut That Keeps You Guessing Until the Last Page

For Reasons Unknown A Gripping Crime Debut That Keeps You Guessing Until the Last Page

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/11/2015

Two murders. Twenty years. Now the killer is back for more... A darkly compelling debut crime novel. The start of a brilliant series, perfect for fans of Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, and James Oswald. DCI Matilda Darke has returned to work after a nine month absence. A shadow of her former self, she is tasked with re-opening a cold case: the terrifyingly brutal murders of Miranda and Stefan Harkness. The only witness was their eleven-year-old son, Jonathan, who was too deeply traumatized to speak a word. Then a dead body is discovered, and the investigation leads back to Matilda's case. Suddenly the past and present converge, and it seems a killer may have come back for more...

Pauline Paradoxes Decoded

Pauline Paradoxes Decoded

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2013

Conquistadors

Conquistadors

Author: Michael Wood Format: eBook Release Date: 01/03/2013

Film: A Very Short Introduction

Film: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/01/2012

Film is considered by some to be the most dominant art form of the twentieth century. It is many things, but it has become above all a means of telling stories through images and sounds. The stories are often offered to us as quite false, frankly and beautifully fantastic, and they are sometimes insistently said to be true. But they are stories in both cases, and there are very few films, even in avant-garde art, that don't imply or quietly slip into narrative. This story element is important, and is closely connected with the simplest fact about moving pictures: they do move. Even the older meanings of the word 'film' - a membrane, a covering, a veil, an emanation - now seem to have something to do with moving pictures. Many people believe films are an instrument of illusion, an emphatic way of seeing what is not there; and this capacity has been both celebrated and condemned. 'Like a movie' mostly means like some sort of fairy-tale. But what about the reverse proposition: that more than any other invention film brings us close to the world as it actually is? 'Photography is truth', a character says in a film by Jean-Luc Godard. 'And cinema is the truth twenty-four times per second'. The same claim is made every day, albeit less epigrammatically, by newsreels and surveillance cameras. In this Very Short Introduction Michael Wood provides a brief history and examination of the nature of the medium of film, considering its role and impact on society as well as its future in the digital age. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Paul on Homosexuality

Paul on Homosexuality

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/12/2011

The Jerome Conspiracy

The Jerome Conspiracy

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/10/2010

The Hidden Bible

The Hidden Bible

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/10/2010

Yeats and Violence

Yeats and Violence

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/06/2010

The night can sweat with terror as before We pieced our thoughts into philosophy, And planned to bring the world under a rule, Who are but weasels fighting in a hole. W.B. Yeats, 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen' This is a book about how poetry, seen through the instance of a single poem, seeks to make sense of a turbulent and dangerous world. Poetry must introduce order and shape where there is none, and also, in certain crucial cases, remain faithful to the disorder and shapelessness of experience. Many poems manage the first of these tasks; very few manage both. W.B. Yeats 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen' (written and first published in 1921) is one of them. It is a work which asks what happens when what is taken to be civilization crumbles. What apocalyptic events wait in the wings? What are history's victims (and executors) to do except mock and mourn? Successive chapters investigate the six parts of the poem, connecting them to Yeats' broader poetic practice, his interest in the occult and his changing vision of Irish nationalism; to the work of other poets (Irish, English, Russian German); and to Irish and European history between 1916 (the date of the Easter Uprising in Dublin) and 1923 (the date of the end of the Irish Civil War). Theoretical considerations of the shape and meaning of violence, both political and religious, link the chapters to each other.

Conquistadors

Conquistadors

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/03/2010

The Spanish conquest of the Americas in the 16th century was one of the most important and cataclysmic events in history. Spanish expeditions endured incredible hardships in order to open up the lands of the 'New World', and few stories in history can match these for drama and endurance. In Conquistadors, Michael Wood follows in the footsteps of some of the greatest of the Spanish adventurers travelling from the forests of Amazonia to Lake Titicaca, the deserts of North Mexico, the snowpeaks of the Andes and the heights of Machu Picchu. He experiences the epic journeys of Cortes, Pizarro, Orellana and Cabeza de Vaca, and explores the turbulent and terrifying events surrounding the Spanish conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires. Wood brings these stories to vivid life, highlighting both the heroic accomplishments and the complex moral legacy of the European invasion. Conquistadors is Michael Wood at his best - thoughtful, provocative and gripping history.

The Great Turning Points of British History The 20 Events That Made the Nation

The Great Turning Points of British History The 20 Events That Made the Nation

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/04/2009

Twenty of the most crucial moments in Britain's history. BBC History Magazine asked a selection of leading historians to choose and describe the twenty most important turning points in British history from AD 1000 to 2000. Collected together, their choices present a new way of looking at our nation's story. From the Danish invasion of Britain in 1016, to the Suez crisis in 1956, the key moments include victories (or defeats) both at home and abroad, plague, reform and even revolutions that have reshaped the British way of life. Each contribution brings the past to life, offering new perspectives and food for debate: did the Battle of Agincourt change England's role in Europe? What was the impact of American independence on Britain? Was 1916 more important than 1939? Thought-provoking and inspiring accounts.

A South Indian Journey The Smile of Murugan

A South Indian Journey The Smile of Murugan

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/08/2007

Michael Wood's A South Indian Journey is a brilliantly written travel narrative of personal and geographical exploration. Inspired by a temple astrologer (who had accurately predicted his marriage and the birth of his two daughters), the writer and broadcaster Michael Wood travelled on a magical journey through south-east India. A South Indian Journey is a magical mixture of history and travelogue, and an unforgettable portrait of India - past, present and future. 'A wonderful introduction to the history and culture of the south, and a work of love' William Dalrymple 'A supremely well-informed and affectionate portrait of Tamil Nadu and its people...One of the most enlightening books on South India ever written' Rough Guide to India Michael Wood was born and educated in Manchester. He was an open scholar in Modern History at Oriel College, Oxford, where he held a Bishop Fraser scholarship in Medieval History as a postgraduate. He has made a number of internationally successful tv series, including In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, and four of his books have been UK non-

Deja Vu

Deja Vu

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2007

Exciting 'keep you guessing' science fiction adventure set in the year 2092. Good 'Earth against the Aliens' base storyline, with many intriguing additional sub-plots and plenty of twists. If you have any imagination, you should enjoy this book. Donation made to COMIC RELIEF from each sale!

The Empson Lectures Literature and the Taste of Knowledge

The Empson Lectures Literature and the Taste of Knowledge

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/09/2005

What does literature know? Does it offer us knowledge of its own or does it only interrupt and question other forms of knowledge? This 2005 book seeks to answer and to prolong these questions through the close examination of individual works and the exploration of a broad array of examples. Chapters on Henry James, Kafka, and the form of the villanelle are interspersed with wider-ranging inquiries into forms of irony, indirection and the uses of fiction, with examples ranging from Auden to Proust and Rilke, and from Calvino to Jean Rhys and Yeats. Literature is a form of pretence. But every pretence could tilt us into the real, and many of them do. There is no safe place for the reader: no literalist's haven where fact is always fact; and no paradise of metaphor, where our poems, plays and novels have no truck at all with the harsh and shifting world.

The Empson Lectures Literature and the Taste of Knowledge

The Empson Lectures Literature and the Taste of Knowledge

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/09/2005

What does literature know? Does it offer us knowledge of its own or does it only interrupt and question other forms of knowledge? This 2005 book seeks to answer and to prolong these questions through the close examination of individual works and the exploration of a broad array of examples. Chapters on Henry James, Kafka, and the form of the villanelle are interspersed with wider-ranging inquiries into forms of irony, indirection and the uses of fiction, with examples ranging from Auden to Proust and Rilke, and from Calvino to Jean Rhys and Yeats. Literature is a form of pretence. But every pretence could tilt us into the real, and many of them do. There is no safe place for the reader: no literalist's haven where fact is always fact; and no paradise of metaphor, where our poems, plays and novels have no truck at all with the harsh and shifting world.

The Road To Delphi

The Road To Delphi

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/07/2005

An endlessly intriguing topic - exploring the human desire to know the future, and the way this is linked to our passion for riddles and puzzles. The Road to Delphi combines vivid storytelling and perceptive analysis to give a sympathetic and entertaining account of humanity's persistent belief in 'signs'. Michael Wood begins with the oracles of ancient Greece, eagerly consulted in times of need, or at moments of crucial choice. Yet the oracles gave ambiguous answers - it was up to humans to interpret what they said. As with horoscopes today, this allowed the hearers to fit the message to what they wanted, and sometimes, as in the tragic drama of Oedipus and the oracle of Delphi, or the disastrous take of Lydian King Croesus, they could get the answer all too right or horribly wrong. For thousands of years the oracles have spoken, in Europe, in Africa, in the old civilisations of the East, and elsewhere. Wood explores the way such consultations evolved over the years in literature and in popular culture, from the witches in Macbeth to the cryptic confrontations in the works of Kafka or the film The Matrix. He shows, too, how the culture of the oracle still lingers on in the way we accept or 'interpret' authorities - as in the doctor's consulting room - or avidly puzzle out the meaning of astrology columns of the press. Lively, engaging and revealing, full of warmth and humanity, The Road to Delphi is remarkable both for the stories it tells, and for the way it makes us think again about our age-old longing for the certainties we know we can never have.

In Search of the Dark Ages

In Search of the Dark Ages

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/06/2005

This edition of Michael Wood's groundbreaking first book explores the fascinating and mysterious centuries between the Romans and the Norman Conquest of 1066. In Search of the Dark Ages vividly conjures up some of the most famous names in British history, such as Queen Boadicea, leader of a terrible war of resistance against the Romans, and King Arthur, the 'once and future king', for whose riddle Wood proposes a new and surprising solution. Here too, warts and all, are the Saxon, Viking and Norman kings who laid the political foundations of England - Offa of Mercia, Alfred the Great, Athelstan, and William the Conqueror, whose victory at Hastings in 1066 marked the end of Anglo-Saxon England. Reflecting recent historical, textual and archaeological research, this revised edition of Michael Wood's classic book overturns preconceptions of the Dark Ages as a shadowy and brutal era, showing them to be a richly exciting and formative period in the history of Britain. 'With In Search of the Dark Ages, Michael Wood wrote the book for history on TV.' The Times 'Michael Wood is the maker of some of the best TV documentaries ever made on history and archaeology.' Times Literary Supplement

The Domesday Quest In search of the Roots of England

The Domesday Quest In search of the Roots of England

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/06/2005

In 1086, Domesday Book, perhaps the most remarkable historical document in existence, was compiled. This tremendous story of England and its people was made at the behest of the Norman king William the Conqueror. It was called Domesday, the day of judgement, because 'like the day of judgement, its decisions are unalterable'. In Search of the Roots of England is not only a study of the ancient manuscript but an attempt to analyse the world that Domesday Book so vividly portrayed. By skilful use of the Domesday record historian Michael Wood examines Norman society and the Anglo-Saxon, Roman, and even the Iron Age cultures that preceded it. 'Wood is a perceptive, entertaining and enthusiastic companion.' Sunday Times 'Wood is a lively storyteller.' Washington Post

In Search Of The First Civilizations

In Search Of The First Civilizations

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2005

Five thousand years ago there began the most momentous revolution in human history. Starting in Mesopotamia, city civilization emerged for the first time on earth, to be followed in Egypt, India, China and the Americas. The ideals of these ancient civilizations still shape the lives of the majority of mankind. In Search of the First Civilizations (previously published as Legacy) asks the intriguing question: what is civilization? Did it mean the same to the Chinese, the Indians and the Greeks? What can the values of the ancient cultures teach us today? And do the ideals of the West - a latecomer to civilization - really have universal validity? In this fascinating historical search, Michael Wood explores these ancient cultures, looking for their essential character and their continuing legacy. A brilliant exploration. Sunday Times Well-written, gorgeous and guaranteed to induce thought... Wood takes great care to put everything in a large historical perspective, which is actually more disturbing than comforting. New York Post

In Search Of The Trojan War

In Search Of The Trojan War

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2005

For thousands of years we have been enthralled by tales of Troy and its heroes. Achilles and Hector, Paris and the famed beauty Helen remain some of the most enduring figures in art and literature. But did these titanic characters really walk the earth? Was there ever an actual siege of Troy? In this extensively revised edition, historian Michael Wood takes account of the latest dramatic developments in the search for Troy. His wide-ranging study of the complex archaeological, literary and historical records has been brought up-to-date. Detailing the rediscovery in Moscow of the so-called jewels of Helen and the re-excavation of the site of Troy begun in 1988, which continues to yield new evidence about the historical city, In Search of the Trojan War takes a fresh look at some of the most excited discoveries in archaeology. A dazzling and exhaustive analysis. Washington Post This beautifully illustrated book vividly evokes themes that are central to our civilizations quest for its past. The New York Times Book Review

In Search Of Myths And Heroes

In Search Of Myths And Heroes

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/02/2005

In this entrancing new book, historian Michael Wood journeys to some of the remotest places on earth in search of four of our most powerful myths: Shangri-La, Jason and the Golden Fleece, the Queen of Sheba and King Arthur. His adventures take him from the fantastic landscapes of Tibet and the mountains of Georgia to the coasts of Ethiopa and Yemen. Michael asks why these famous legends still captivate us as he goes in search not just of the historical past and literal truth but also the mythic past. In the first of these journeys, Michael investigates the legend of the hidden valley of Shangri-La - a place where the ancient wisdom of humanity is preserved for future ages - immortalized in James Hilton's novel and Frank Capra's Hollywood movie. The Greek legend of Jason's search for the Golden Fleece is the ultimate quest, older even than Homer's Iliad and Odyssey - but was there really an expedition beyond the limits of the known world back in the mists of prehistory, before the Trojan War? Travelling from Jerusalem to the Horn of Africa, Michael uncovers the legends of the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon and the Ark of the Covenant, stories found in the Jewish and Christian Bible, the Ethiopian Book of Kings and the Muslim Koran. FInally, Michael travels through the Celtic countries of the British Isles in search of the tales of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table and the Holy Grail. Where do these stories come from? And why are we still fascinated by the once and future king? Illustrated with a wonderful series of specially commissioned photographs by the Himalayan photographer and mountaineer Steve Razzetti, In Search of Myths and Heroes is at once a book of great journeys, a historical adventure and an exploration of some of humanity's most enduring myths.

In The Footsteps Of Alexander The Great

In The Footsteps Of Alexander The Great

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/10/2004

Michael Wood retraces Alexander the Greats amazing journey from Greece to India, searching for the truth behind the legend and experiencing the tremendous scale of his achievements. Using the ancient historians as his guides, Wood follows Alexanders journey as closely as possible, crossing deserts and rivers, from Turkey to war-torn Afghanistan. As the journey progresses, he recreates the drama of Alexanders epic marches and bloody battles. All along the way he finds proof of the survival of the legends surrounding Alexander, a leader whose life has excited the worlds imagination for the 2,000 years. 'Wood tells a glorious story with some very dark shadows.' New York Times 'Wood is a perceptive, entertaining and enthusiastic companion.' Sunday Times 'Wood is a lively storyteller.' The Washington Post

The Road To Delphi The Life and Afterlife of Oracles

The Road To Delphi The Life and Afterlife of Oracles

Author: Michael Wood Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/01/2004

In this fascinating and highly original book Michael Wood combines vivid story-telling and acutely perceptive analysis to give a sympathetic and entertaining account of humanity's persistent belief in 'signs'. He begins with the oracles of ancient Greece, explaining how people consulted them when they had to make crucial choices. Yet the key point was that the oracles spoke in riddles and gave ambiguous answers - it was up to humans to interpret what they said. Like horoscopes today, this allowed the hearers to fit the message to what they wanted, and sometimes, as in the disastrous tale of the Persian general Xerxes, or in the great drama of Oedipus and the riddle of the Sphinx, - and much later in Shakespeare's tale of Macbeth and the witches' prophesy - the listeners have got things horribly wrong. Michael Wood does not only look at Europe - he considers oracles in the old civilisations of the East, and particularly in pre-Hispanic America. He also explores modern examples, like the puzzles in the Kafka's fiction. And he brings the story up into our own lives, examining oracles in the film The Matrix and looking at the way we 'interpret' authorities we don't quite understand - as in the doctor's consulting room - or avidly puzzle out the meaning of astrology columns of the press. Lively, engaging and revealing, full of warmth and humanity as well as scholarship, The Road to Delphi is a book that sticks in the mind. It is remarkable both for the stories it tells, and the way it makes us think again about our dangerous longing to trust in signs - just as long as we have that tiny bit of freedom to twist them to promise what we hope for.

Making Sense of Statistics A Non-Mathematical Approach

Making Sense of Statistics A Non-Mathematical Approach

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/08/2003

Making Sense of Statistics provides a thorough, but accessible, introduction to statistics and probability, without the distractions of mathematics. The book does not require you to use any algebraic formulae or equations, but it does explain how and why methods work, and exactly what answers mean. Guidance is provided on how to design investigations, analyze data and interpret results. There are exercises and case studies from a variety of areas of application, and an accompanying website from which interactive spreadsheet models and data files can be downloaded.

In Search Of The Trojan War

In Search Of The Trojan War

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/06/2001

For thousands of years we have been enthralled by tales of Troy and its heroes. Achilles and Hector, Paris and the famed beauty Helen remain some of the most enduring figures in art and literature. But did these titanic characters really walk the earth? Was there ever an actual siege of Troy? In this new, extensively revised edition Michael Wood takes account of the latest dramatic developments in the search for Troy. A new preface, a new final chapter and an addendum to the bibliography bring his wide-ranging study of the complex, archaeological, literary and historical records up to date. Detailing the rediscovery in Moscow of the so-called jewels of Helen and the re-excavation of the site of Troy begun in 1988, which continues to yield new evidence about the historical city, this superbly illustrated book takes a fresh look at some of the most exciting discoveries in archaeology.

In Search Of Shakespeare

In Search Of Shakespeare

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2001

Almost 400 years after his death, William Shakespeare is still acclaimed as the world's greatest writer, and yet the man himself remains shrouded in mystery. In this absorbing historical detective story, the acclaimed broadcaster and historian Michael Wood takes a fresh approach to Shakespeare's life, brilliantly recreating the turbulent times through which the poet lived: the age of the Reformation, the Spanish Armada, the Gunpowder Plot and the colonization of the Americas. Drawing on an extensive range of sources, Michael Wood takes us back into Elizabethan England to reveal a man who is the product of his time - a period of tremendous upheaval that straddled the medieval and modern worlds. Using a wealth of unexplored archive evidence the author vividly conjures up the neighbourhoods of the Elizabethan London where Shakespeare lived and worked during his glittering career. Full of fresh insights and fascinating new discoveries, this book presents us with a Shakespeare for the twenty-first century: a man of the theatre, a thinking artist, playful and cunning who held up a mirror to his age, but who was also, as his friend Ben Jonson said, 'not of an age, but for all time'.

Belle de Jour

Belle de Jour

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/12/2000

Severine (Catherine Deneuve) is a listless haute bourgeouise wife with a secret afternoon life of prostitution. Her life twists repression and guilt together with uninhibited behaviour, strangled libido with its liberated counterpart. Luis Bunuel was catapulted into cinematic history by his groundbreaking Dali collaboration, Un Chien Andalou, in 1929, but it is Belle de Jour (1967) which inaugurates the extraordinary late phase of his work. It is a film shimmering with reflections on truth, fiction and fantasy, in addition to caustic social insight, as it tells the story of a woman clearing her mind, perhaps, of its ghosts.

Domesday

Domesday

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/09/1999

In 1086 the Domesday Book was compiled - a survey of England made at the behest of the Norman Conqueror. This text presents the manuscript, attempts to analyse the world it portrays, examines Norman society, and penetrates beyond it into the Anglo Saxon, Roman and even Iron Age cultures.

Children Of Silence Studies in Contemporary Fiction

Children Of Silence Studies in Contemporary Fiction

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/05/1998

In this absorbing series of essays Michael Wood probes and plays with the dilemmas of twentieth century fiction - the myth of lost paradise, lost certainties, the suspension between contrary ideals, the lure of fantasy, the quest for the silence beneath speech. Wood's net is cast wide, from fables to novels, and he takes due account of personal and political context and of wider cultural and critical currents, noting fiction's swerving resistance to `history'. A superb essay on Roland Barthes is juxtaposed with a dissection of Beckett's prose comedy; an investigation of three Cuban writers -Cortazar, Cabrera Infante and Arenas - is followed by illuminating essays on Milan Kundera and Italo Calvino. In the second half of the book, the exploration of time, form and fantasy, and of the break with modernism, continues in studies of Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, Angela Carter, Kazuo Ishiguro, Salman Rushdie, Paul Auster and Jeanette Winterson. Rich with pleasures, spiked with insights, provocative and satisfying, this is one of the most exciting explorations of contemporary literature in recent years.

The Magician's Doubts Nabokov and the Risks of Fiction

The Magician's Doubts Nabokov and the Risks of Fiction

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/12/1997

As a child in Russia, Vladimir Nabokov enjoyed conjuring: I loved doing simple tricks--turning water into wine, that kind of thing. In this engrossing book Michael Wood explores the blend of arrogance and mischief that makes Nabokov such a fascinating and elusive master of fiction. Wood argues that Nabokov is neither the aesthete he liked to pretend to be nor the heavy-handed moralist recent critics make him. Major works like Pnin, Lolita, Pale Fire and Ada appear in a new light, but there are also chapters on earlier works, like the Real Life of Sebastian Knight; on selected short stories; and on the translation of Eugene Onegin, as well as detailed discussions of Nabokov's ideas of literature, memory, pity, and pain. The book comes fully to terms with Nabokov's blend of playfulness and seriousness, delving into the real delight of reading him and the odd disquiet that lurks beneath that pleasure. Wood's speculations spin outward to illuminate the ambiguities and aspirations of the modern novel, and to raise the question of how we uncover the author in a work, without falling into the obvious biographical traps. The Magician's Doubts slices through the dustier conventions of criticism and never loses sight of the emotional and sensual pleasure of reading.

Landmarks of World Literature Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Landmarks of World Literature Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/05/1990

One Hundred Years of Solitude is perhaps the most important landmark of the so-called 'Boom' in contemporary Latin American fiction. Published in 1967, the novel was an instant success, running to hundreds of editions, winning four international prizes, and being translated into 27 languages. In 1982, its author received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Michael Wood places the novel in the context of modern Colombia's violent history, and helps the reader to explore the rich and complex vision of the world which Garcia Marquez presents in it. Close reference is made to the text itself (in English translation), and there is a guide to further reading.

America in the Movies Or, Santa Maria, It Had Slipped My Mind

America in the Movies Or, Santa Maria, It Had Slipped My Mind

Author: Michael Wood Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/10/1989

-- New York Times Book Review

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