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Intensively researched, lovingly compiled, more accessible than ever, whatever your subject of interest - this is where you’ll find it.
The story of England's medieval queens is vivid and stirring, packed with tragedy, high drama and even comedy. In the first volume of this epic new series, Alison Weir strips away centuries of romantic mythology and prejudice to reveal the lives of England's queens in the century after the Norman Conquest.
The second tie-in to ITV drama Victoria unveils the complex, passionate relationship of Victoria and Albert.
After the triumph of his intellectual biography, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Miles Hollingworth now turns his attention to one of Augustine's greatest contemporary admirers: a pioneering insight into the life and work of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.
This reads like a first rate crime novel but is in fact an analysis of real life events. It's so good it won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction in 2008. Said to have inspired Dickens, Willkie Collins and many, many more this is a case that will keep you gripped until the final page. Winner of the Galaxy Book of the Year and Popular Non-Fiction awards 2009 and Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2008. The Bloomsbury Modern Classic Series Restless by William Boyd Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
The Second World War was a seminal event in world history. The story of its battles and key events is a familiar one, but The Second World War in 100 Objects offers a unique perspective on this global phenomenon by tracing its history through its objects, such as iconic items like the British Spitfire, the George Cross, and Adolf Hitler's personal revolver, to personal objects which tell the poignant stories of individuals and official documents, maps and orders.
The First World War was one of the seminal events in world history. The First World War in 100 Objects offers a unique perspective on the world's first truly global conflict.
By the 1890s, Queen Victoria had over thirty grandchildren and to maintain and increase royal power in Europe, she knew she had to manoeuvre them into a series of dynastic marriages. In her sights was royalty from across the world. Yet for all their seeming obedience, her grandchildren often had plans of their own, plans fuelled by strong wills and romantic hearts. Her matchmaking plans were only further complicated by their coinciding with tumultuous international upheavals; revolution and war were in the air and after her death, her most carefully laid plans fell to ruin. Queen Victoria's Matchmaking travels through the most glittering, decadent palaces of Russia and Europe, weaving in scandals, political machinations and family tensions, to enthralling effect. It is at once an intimate portrait of the royal family and an examination of the conflict caused by the power, love and duty that shaped the marriages that Queen Victoria arranged. At the heart of it all is Queen Victoria herself: doting grandmother one moment, determined manipulator the next.
Any historian dealing with the Vikings must firstly fight myth – those horned helmets to name but one and then there’s the sparsity of evidence from a people with so little in the way of written record. We do get a lot of sword-play and blood-lust but there are also the sharp-eyed merchants trading across the known world. But mostly it’s the swords with men fighting for dominance and allegiance. While I would have liked to know more about the lives of Viking women (about 12 pages, having checked the index) Tom Williams is very good at putting the Vikings into a historical context, looking at their legacy and the mark they made on our country. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading Vikings by Neil Oliver Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings by Peter Sawyer
Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018 With compelling clarity Tim Grady demonstrates how “Germany’s path through the First World War not only destabilised German politics and society; it also opened people’s minds to the power of violence and destruction”, which – ultimately - created the conditions that led to the rise of National Socialism and the genocide of 6 million Jews. This pioneering work shows that since German Jews stood together with non-Jews in defending their country, they contributed to creating these conditions. They were “joint protagonists”, with some 100,000 Jewish soldiers serving in the German military, and many being passionate patriots, particularly supportive of Germany’s desire to colonise the East, for example. But, at the same time, and fuelled by the emerging “nonchalant attitude towards mass death” and a poisonous fear of “the other”, Jewish citizens found themselves on the wrong side of a unifying Imperialist ‘them and us’ division, and the stab-in-the-back myth began to thrive. Drawing on a breadth of fascinating sources, this is an engrossing and important study - rigorously researched, and written with vigour. ~ Joanne Owen
October 2017 Non Fiction Book of the Month Richard Blandford shows London as represented in art from the C17 to C21, arranged by district it enables us to see the changes – to London and to artistic styles. This is best shown in the illustration of two drawings with a 400-year gap between them – Visscher’s 1616 Panorama of London and Robin Reynolds with Visscher Redrawn in 2016. This book presents a good overall view of London and its portrayal in paint, but I must ask why one of the most beautiful of London street views, George Scharf’s Monument from Crooked Lane hasn’t been included and sadly there is not one single Atkinson Grimshaw who surely deserves a place for his pictures of Hampstead and of the River. However, one of my favourite London paintings, Sir William Logsdail’s St Paul’s and Ludgate Hill graces the cover and although two personal favourites are missing I’ve found many other painters and pictures to enjoy. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: Victorian Babylon: People, Streets and Images in Nineteenth Century London by Lyndon Nead Edward Bawden’s London by Peyton Skipwith
Each chapter centres on different motives, exploring them through the stories of famous spies, such as the Cambridge Five, Sidney Reilly and Aldrich Ames, following the path they took that lead, finally, to their treachery. Through in-depth insider knowledge, Michael Smith also uncovers new and unknown cases, including ISIS, President Trump's links with Russia and Edward Snowden's role as a whistleblower to offer compelling psychological portrait of these men and women, homing unerringly on the fault-lines and shady corners of their characters, their weaknesses and their strengths, the lies they tell other people, and the lies they always end up telling themselves.
June, 1940. German troops enter Paris and hoist the swastika over the Arc de Triomphe. The dark days of Occupation begin. How would you have survived? By collaborating with the Nazis, or risking the lives of you and your loved ones to resist? The women of Paris faced this dilemma every day - whether choosing between rations and the black market, or travelling on the Metro, where a German soldier had priority for a seat. Between the extremes of defiance and collusion was a vast moral grey area which all Parisiennes had to navigate in order to survive.
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.