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History Books

Intensively researched, lovingly compiled, more accessible than ever, whatever your subject of interest - this is where you’ll find it.

Classical Civilization A History in Ten Chapters

Classical Civilization A History in Ten Chapters

Author: Nigel Spivey Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/11/2016

A masterly account of how the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome came into being, by a prize-winning Cambridge classicist whose writing is as accessible as it is scholarly. A secure grasp of the nature of our Greek and Roman heritage is absolutely fundamental to a true understanding of contemporary European society and culture. Nigel Spivey outlines and explains that heritage with supreme passion, rigour and clarity.

Augustine Conversions and Confessions

Augustine Conversions and Confessions

Author: Robin Lane Fox Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/11/2016

This book offers a major new interpretation of how one of the great figures of Christian history came to write the greatest of all autobiographies. Augustine is the person from the ancient world about whom we know most. He is the author of an intimate masterpiece, the Confessions, which continues to delight its many admirers. In it he writes about his infancy and his schooling in the classics in late Roman North Africa, his remarkable mother, his sexual sins ('Give me chastity, but not yet,' he famously prayed), his time in an outlawed heretical sect, his worldly career and friendships and his gradual return to God. His account of his own eventual conversion is a classic study of anguish, hesitation and what he believes to be God's intervention. It has inspired philosophers, Christian thinkers and monastic followers, but it still leaves readers wondering why exactly Augustine chose to compose a work like none before it. Augustine's heretical years as a Manichaean, his relation to non-Christian philosophy, his mystical aspirations and the nature of his conversion are among the aspects of his life which stand out in a sharper light. For the first time Lane Fox compares him with two contemporaries, an older pagan and a younger Christian, each of whom also wrote about themselves and who illumine Augustine's life and writings by their different choices. More than a decade passed between Augustine's conversion and his beginning the Confessions. Lane Fox argues that the Confessions and their thinking were the results of a long gestation over these years, not a sudden change of perspective, but that they were then written as a single swift composition and that its final books are a coherent consummation of its scriptural meditation and personal biography. This exceptional study reminds us why we are so excited and so moved by Augustine's story.

ebook of the month
A Christmas Cornucopia The Hidden Stories Behind Our Yuletide Traditions

A Christmas Cornucopia The Hidden Stories Behind Our Yuletide Traditions

Author: Mark Forsyth Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/11/2016

The unpredictable origins and etymologies of our cracking Christmas customs. We don't know that the date we celebrate was chosen by a madman, or that Christmas, etymologically speaking, means 'Go away, Christ'. Nor do we know that Christmas was first celebrated in 243 AD on 28 March - and only moved to 25 December in 354 AD. We're oblivious to the fact that the advent calendar was actually invented by a Munich housewife to stop her children pestering her for a Christmas countdown. And we would never have guessed that the invention of crackers was merely a way of popularizing sweet wrappers.

Black and British An Untold Story

Black and British An Untold Story

Author: David Olusoga Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/11/2016

A Waterstones History Book of the Year Shortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak Prize In Black and British, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination and Shakespeare's Othello. It reveals that behind the South Sea Bubble was Britain's global slave-trading empire and that much of the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery. It shows that Black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of the First World War. Black British history can be read in stately homes, street names, statues and memorials across Britain and is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.

The Making of the British Landscape From the Ice Age to the Present

The Making of the British Landscape From the Ice Age to the Present

Author: Nicholas Crane Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/10/2016

How much do we really know about the place we call 'home'? In this sweeping, timely book, Nicholas Crane tells the story of Britain. The British landscape has been continuously occupied by humans for 12,000 years, from the end of the Ice Age to the twenty-first century. It has been transformed from a European peninsula of glacier and tundra to an island of glittering cities and exquisite countryside. In this geographical journey through time, we discover the ancient relationship between people and place and the deep-rooted tensions between town and countryside. The twin drivers of landscape change - climate and population - have arguably wielded as much influence on our habitat as monarchs and politics. From tsunamis and farming to Roman debacles and industrial cataclysms, from henge to high-rise and hamlet to metropolis, this is a book about change and adaptation. AS Britain lurches from an exploitative past towards a more sustainable future, this is the story of our age.

A History of Britain in 21 Women A Personal Selection

A History of Britain in 21 Women A Personal Selection

Author: Jenni Murray Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2016

I was ten years old when I came across Boadicea, and she became the first woman to make me realise that the designated future of a girl born in 1950 - to be sweet, domesticated, undemanding and super feminine - was not necessarily the case. Boadicea battled the Romans. Nancy Astor fought in Parliament. Emmeline Pankhurst campaigned for female suffrage. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson became a pioneering physician in a man's profession. Mary Quant revolutionised the fashion industry. Britain has traditionally been defined by its conflicts, its conquests, its men and its monarchs. It's high time that it was defined by its women.

Between the Wars 1919-1939

Between the Wars 1919-1939

Author: Philip Ziegler Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2016

At the end of 1918 one prescient American historian began to write a history of the Great War. What will you call it? he was asked. The First World War, was his bleak response. In Between the Wars Philip Ziegler examines the major international turning points - cultural and social as well as political and military - that led the world from one war to another. His approach is panoramic, touching on all parts of the world where history was being made, examining Gandhi's March to the Sea and the Chaco War in South America alongside Hitler's rise to power. It is the tragic story of a world determined that the horrors of the First World War would never be repeated, yet committed to a path which in hindsight was inevitably destined to end in a second, even more devastating conflict. Each chapter bears the unmistakable stamp of Ziegler's scholarship: a keen eye for the telling anecdote, elegant and fluid prose, and calm and fair judgments. In a world that grows ever more uncertain, its perspective on how hopes of peace can dissolve into the promise of war becomes more relevant with each passing day.

Blitzed Drugs in Nazi Germany

Blitzed Drugs in Nazi Germany

Author: Norman Ohler Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2016

GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016 'The most brilliant and fascinating book I have read in my entire life' Dan Snow 'Blitzed is making me rethink everything I've ever seen and read about WWII...terrific!' Douglas Coupland 'A huge contribution...remarkable' Antony Beevor, BBC RADIO 4 'Extremely interesting ...a serious piece of scholarship, very well researched' Ian Kershaw  The promiscuous use of drugs at the very highest levels also impaired and confused decision-making, with Hitler and his entourage taking refuge in potentially lethal cocktails of stimulants administered by the physician Dr Morell as the war turned against Germany. While drugs cannot on their own explain the events of the Second World War or its outcome, Ohler shows, they change our understanding of it. Blitzed forms a crucial missing piece of the story.

ebook of the month
The Peter & Dan Snow's Treasures of British History

The Peter & Dan Snow's Treasures of British History

Author: Peter Snow, Dan Snow Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2016

Offers an examination of our nation's history told through 50 key documents. In this book, the authors explain their criteria for the selection of each one and its relevance. From the Magna Carta to Tim Berners Lee's memo for a World Wide Web, it is suitable for all history enthusiasts. Peter and Dan Snow historians with a wealth of experience in politics, military history, and current affairs explore the implications and impact of these treasures, which they personally chose. Ten of these documents appear in facsimile form, and all reproductions are the same size as the original.

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.