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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.

The Long Weekend Life in the English Country House Between the Wars

The Long Weekend Life in the English Country House Between the Wars

Author: Adrian Tinniswood Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/06/2016

There is nothing quite as beautiful as an English country house in summer. And there has never been a summer quite like that Indian summer between the two world wars, a period of gentle decline in which the sun set slowly on the British Empire and the shadows lengthened on the lawns of a thousand stately homes. Real life in the country house during the 1920s and 1930s was not always so sunny. By turns opulent and ordinary, noble and vicious, its shadows were darker. In The Long Weekend, Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the truth about a world half-forgotten, draped in myth and hidden behind stiff upper lips and film-star smiles.

ebook of the month
East West Street On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

East West Street On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

Author: Philippe Sands Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/05/2016

WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION SHORTLISTED FOR THE SLIGHTLY FOXED BEST FIRST BIOGRAPHY AWARD AND JQ-WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trial, that the man they are prosecuting may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, were remarkable men, whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms 'crimes against humanity' and 'genocide' in the judgement at Nuremberg. The defendant, Hans Frank, Hitler's personal lawyer and Governor-General of Nazi-occupied Poland, turns out to be an equally compelling character. The lives of these three men lead Sands to a more personal story, as he traces the events that overwhelmed his mother's family in Lviv and Vienna during the Second World War. At the heart of this book is an equally personal quest to understand the roots of international law and the concepts that have dominated Sands' work as a lawyer. Eventually, he finds unexpected answers to his questions about his family, in this powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations, and the haunting gaps left by the secrets of others.

Voices of World War Two Memories of the Last Survivors

Voices of World War Two Memories of the Last Survivors

Author: Sue Elliott, Steve Humphries Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/05/2016

In association with the flagship BBC2 series. Voices of World War Two tells this multi-faceted story through the eye-witness accounts of those who were there, from Japanese prisoner of war Fergus Anckorn to Dame Vera Lynn, from Bletchley Park veteran Jean Valentine to Dad's Army creator Jimmy Perry, and from fighter pilot Tom Neil to the Queen's cousin Margaret Rhodes. Together their testimony creates a vivid, often deeply moving picture of an extraordinary epoch - and the extraordinary people who lived through it.

ebook of the month
The Private Lives of the Tudors Uncovering the Secrets of Britain's Greatest Dynasty

The Private Lives of the Tudors Uncovering the Secrets of Britain's Greatest Dynasty

Author: Tracy Borman Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/05/2016

'I do not live in a corner. A thousand eyes see all I do.' Elizabeth I The Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers. Even in their most private moments, they were accompanied by a servant specifically appointed for the task. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed. These attendants knew the truth behind the glamorous exterior. They saw the tears shed by Henry VII upon the death of his son Arthur. They knew the tragic secret behind 'Bloody' Mary's phantom pregnancies. And they saw the 'crooked carcass' beneath Elizabeth I's carefully applied makeup, gowns and accessories. It is the accounts of these eyewitnesses, as well as a rich array of other contemporary sources that historian Tracy Borman has examined more closely than ever before.

Douglas Haig From the Somme to Victory

Douglas Haig From the Somme to Victory

Author: Professor Gary Sheffield, Saul David Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/05/2016

'Well written and persuasive ...objective and well-rounded...this scholarly rehabilitation should be the standard biography', Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday 'A true judgment of him must lie somewhere between hero and zero, and in this detailed biography Gary Sheffield shows himself well qualified to make it ...a balanced portrait' The Sunday Times 'Solid scholarship and admirable advocacy' Sunday Telegraph Douglas Haig is the single most controversial general in British history. In 1918, after his armies had played a major role in the First World War, he was feted as a saviour. But within twenty years his reputation was in ruins, and it has never recovered.

24 Hours on the Somme My Experiences of the First Day of the Somme 1 July 1916

24 Hours on the Somme My Experiences of the First Day of the Somme 1 July 1916

Author: Edward G.D. Liveing Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/05/2016

There are many accounts of the Battle of the Somme by surviving British soldiers. But the Somme was not a single battle but a series of offensives and small localised attacks fought over four and a half months. What is etched into the British psyche is the huge loss of life suffered by the 'poor bloody infantry' on the first day of the Somme, 1 July 1916. The carnage was such that few survived to tell the tale of that first horrific day and the existing published memoirs are about later in the Battle or by non-infantry troops who while involved in the offensive, didn't actually go 'over the top'. What is also unique about Edward Liveing's vivid and detailed account is that it begins the evening before the attack and ends close to 24 hours later and is entirely focussed on the first day of the Somme. A young junior officer in the London Regiment on the battlefield that infamous day, he was in command of a platoon of about fifty men, when he scaled the crest of his trench into no-mans land.

ebook of the month
The Lost Tommies

The Lost Tommies

Author: Ross Coulthart Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/05/2016

 For much of the First World War, the small French village of Vignacourt was always behind the front lines - as a staging point, casualty clearing station and recreation area for troops of all nationalities moving up to and then back from the battlefields on the Somme. Here, one enterprising photographer took the opportunity of offering portrait photographs. A century later, his stunning images were discovered, abandoned, in a farm house. Captured on glass, printed into postcards and posted home, the photographs enabled soldiers to maintain a fragile link with loved ones at home. In 'Lost Tommies', this collection covers many of the significant aspects of British involvement on the Western Front, from military life to the friendships and bonds formed between the soldiers and civilians. With servicemen from around the world these faces are gathered together for what would become the front line of the Battle of the Somme.

ebook of the month

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.