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Intensively researched, lovingly compiled, more accessible than ever, whatever your subject of interest - this is where you’ll find it.
Between January and July 1919, after the war to end all wars, men and women from all over the world converged on Paris for the Peace Conference. At its heart were the leaders of the three great powers - Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Clemenceau. Kings, prime ministers and foreign ministers with their crowds of advisers rubbed shoulders with journalists and lobbyists for a hundred causes - from Armenian independence to women's rights. Everyone had business in Paris that year - T.E. Lawrence, Queen Marie of Romania, Maynard Keynes, Ho Chi Minh. There had never been anything like it before, and there never has been since. For six extraordinary months the city was effectively the centre of world government as the peacemakers wound up bankrupt empires and created new countries. They pushed Russia to the sidelines, alienated China and dismissed the Arabs, struggled with the problems of Kosovo, of the Kurds, and of a homeland for the Jews. The peacemakers, so it has been said, failed dismally; failed above all to prevent another war. Margaret MacMillan argues that they have unfairly been made scapegoats for the mistakes of those who came later. They tried to be evenhanded, but their goals - to make defeated countries pay without destroying them, to satisfy impossible nationalist dreams, to prevent the spread of Bolshevism and to establish a world order based on democracy and reason - could not be achieved by diplomacy. This book offers a prismatic view of the moment when much of the modern world was first sketched out.
One of Hardeep Singh Kohli's favourite books. The Communist Manifesto (1848), Marx and Engels's revolutionary summons to the working classes, is one of the most important and influential political theories ever formulated.
The authors had extensive access to documents from the Imperial War Museum to research this book and it certainly shows. The First World War saw some of the bloodiest battles in history and hearing about it in the words of those who witnessed these harrowing events makes for compelling reading.
Setting Nazi Germany in a European context, this text shows how the Third Reich's abandonment of liberal democracy, decency and tolerance was widespread in Europe at the time. It shows how a radical, pseudo-religious movement seemed to offer salvation to a Germany exhausted by war, depression and inflation.
April 2012 Guest Editor Paul Torday on South... I read this book only the other day. I can’t believe I’ve overlooked it until now. The story of Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic in 1914 just before war broke out is absolutely compelling. You can imagine yourself with Shackleton and his team, out on the sea ice with their ship being slowly crushed to death by pressure ridges. What amazing heroism, in circumstances that few people could have survived. An object lesson in how to write simply, yet produce powerful prose.
October 2010 Guest Editor Juliet Gardiner on The Long Weekend... Published at the outbreak of war and largely relying on newspaper cuttings, The Long Weekend by the poet Robert Graves and Alan Hodge, still has a sharpness and immediacy that conjures up the anxieties, eccentricities and dashed hopes of the interwar years ranging over such diverse subjects as hiking and pacifism.
October 2010 Guest Editor Juliet Gardiner on The People's War... Although Angus Calder’s The People’s War was published in 1969, it remains a magisterial work, an eminently readable and moving account of Britain’s Home Front that advances the view that the post war welfare state was the just entitlement for those who had ‘taken it’ during the Second World War.
Written around AD 1200 by an unnamed Icelandic author, the Orkneyinga Saga is an intriguing fusion of myth, legend and history. The only medieval chronicle to have Orkney as the central place of action, it tells of an era when the islands were still part of the Viking world, beginning with their conquest by the kings of Norway in the ninth century. The saga describes the subsequent history of the Earldom of Orkney and the adventures of great Norsemen such as Sigurd the Powerful, St Magnus the Martyr and Hrolf, the conqueror of Normandy. Savagely powerful and poetic, this is a fascinating depiction of an age of brutal battles, murder, sorcery and bitter family feuds.
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.