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Intensively researched, lovingly compiled, more accessible than ever, whatever your subject of interest - this is where you’ll find it.
And it is an intimate portrait of the Thirties that Gardiner gives us, renowned for the Great Depression, strikes and hunger marches she shows that the Thirties were also a decade of growing wealth and increased leisure - for some at least. With her extensive use of personal accounts, memoir and media reports we hear from the people themselves - from Wigan Pier to Wimbledon, a portrait of a country undergoing huge change, a decade ticking down into yet another fatal World War. Like for Like Reading Among the Bohemians: Experiments in Living 1900-1939, Virginia Nicholson1930’s Scrapbook, Robert Opie
1492- the year pinpointed by the author as the end of the ancient world and the beginning of the modern world – our world. We are taken on a global journey finding out what was taking place in this year; expeditions, collapsing civilisations new empires beginning, Diasporas and discoveries. Using contemporary sources this inventive and highly original history gives us a unique picture of the times.Like for Like ReadingGod’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science, James Hannam1491: The Americas before Columbus, Charles C Mann
While we read history, Charlie Connolly decides to actually walk through it, acknowledging that he’s no power walker; he nevertheless decides to take to the road and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Boudica, King Harold and Bonnie Prince Charlie. His novel approach adds a new dimension of sore feet and slog to the historical facts but we can also marvel at the difficult journeys undertaken and share Charlie Connolly’s amazement at what historical evidence can still be found in the land around us. Like for Like ReadingAttention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast, Charlie ConnollyGreat British Journeys, Nicholas Crane
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 20 May 2010. The author who brought us Agent Zigzag has written about another great mission of the Second World War that used fake documents hidden on a dead body to fool the Germans into believing false military plans. As good as any spy novel but real!
Featured on The TV Book Club on More4 on 21 March 2010. We have in Andrew Robinson Stoney the deepest dyed of villains, we have a heroine in Mary Eleanor Bowes and we have Georgian society and law showing little mercy for women fighting for release from men such as Stoney. And if this incredible story resembles fiction we discover that Thackeray based his novel, Barry Lyndon on this whole sorry case. Like for Like ReadingLady Worsley’s Whim: An Eighteenth Century Tales of Sex, Scandal and Divorce, Hallie RubenholdThe Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England, A Vickery
Starting with Austerity Britain, volume one, took us from 1945 to 1951 and we rejoin David Kynaston with the second volume of his post-war history of Britain. Family Britain takes us up to 1957; this is history in every riveting detail - from every possible perspective. A large tome at 776 pages but don’t let that put you off; remember your first enthralled reading of say, Harry Potter or Gone with the Wind? Kynaston employs that same compelling narrative drive and is the master of his facts and sources. This really is developing into one of the best histories of recent times.Like for Like ReadingAusterity Britain 1945-51, David KynastonNella Last’s Peace: The Postwar Diaries, Nella LastOur Hidden Lives: The Remarkable Diaries of Postwar Britain, Simon Garfield (Editor)
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 10 December 2009. John O’Farrell brings his unique style to the history of Britain over the last century. “Utterly exasperated” is exactly what he is and this makes for a thoroughly enjoyable read that’s not quite so stuffy and formal as the usual take on Britain’s past.
A nostalgic look back on games, quizzes, jokes and various ways that people passed the time through the black-outs of the war. This is a thoroughly charming book capturing a bygone time. Illustrated throughout it is delightful and a great gift either for someone who lived through the Blitz or as a piece of social history.
Shortlisted for the inaugural Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction 2010. Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 29 October 2009. This is the second part of Harris's historical trilogy which began with Imperium. More political intrigue from 60BC and Cicero’s rule over Rome. Harris stays true to historical fact while still creating a terrific and fast-paced tale.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 17 December 2009. The book to accompany the brilliant TV series is equally as engrossing. Andrew Marr looks at one of the most interesting and complex times of British history with the fall of the empire at the end of Victoria's reign through to the end of World War Two. Marr is passionate and knowledgeable and very accessible. A really interesting and insightful read.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 10 December 2009. Alison Weir brings history to life yet again in this study of the last few days of Anne Boleyn's life. This reads as well as any fictional conspiracy theory novel with Weir delving in to historical documents to figure out if Henry plotted his wife's downfall, in order to marry Jane Seymour, or whether evidence was brought before him leaving him no options but to order her execution. Whatever the case, Anne Boleyn's short reign as Queen of England is one of the most fascinating periods of British History and Alison Weir makes it accessible and enthralling.
The past is a foreign country: this is your guidebook. Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see? What would you smell? More to the point, where are you going to stay? Should you go to a castle or a monastic guesthouse? And what are you going to eat? What sort of food are you going to be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord? This radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down. It shows us that the past is not just something to be studied; it is also something to be lived. It sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking you, the reader, to the middle ages, and showing you everything from the horrors of leprosy and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and haute couture. Being a guidebook, many questions are answered which do not normally occur in traditional history books. How do you greet people in the street? What should you use for toilet paper? How fast - and how safely - can you travel? Why might a physician want to taste your blood? And how do you test to see if you are going down with the plague? The result is the most astonishing social history book you are ever likely to read: revolutionary in its concept, informative and entertaining in its detail, and startling for its portrayal of humanity in an age of violence, exuberance and fear.
History is such a broad and universal subject. After all, we’re all living through it and we all have our own. Here’s where you can get new perspectives on past events, discover a subject you’ve never explored or broaden your existing knowledge.
Our resident expert, Sue Baker, has compiled a wide range of great books covering everything from the major wars, or the creation of nations to the life-journeys of world-changing individuals. From social history (Family Britain by David Kynaston) and the World Wars (Swansong 1945 by Walter Kempowski) to the much loved periods of popular fiction authors (The Wars of the Roses by Dan Jones; The Rise of the Tudors: The Family that Changed Britain by Chris Skidmore): From the realities of often romanticised times (The Knight who saved England by Richard Brooks) to the lives of history’s extraordinary people (Cecily Neville: Mother of Kings by Amy Licence). You’ll find a resource here to fascinate on many levels. History without histrionics.