Intensively researched, lovingly compiled, more accessible than ever, whatever your subject of interest - this is where you’ll find it.
The new book from the author of A Higher Call (a Sunday Times top 5 bestseller) is an overwhelming and moving war story and one of the most incredible rescue missions you will ever read.
Five days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a twenty-one-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. Suddenly a German Messerschmitt fighter pulled up on the bomber's tail - the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger. This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day - the American - 2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown and the German - 2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler.
One of our Great Reads you may have missed in 2011. August 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Stripping the story of its Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton overtones, Adrian Goldsworthy goes back to available evidence to tell the true story of Antony and Cleopatra. He is an ideal guide to the political complexities of the time, the dynastic jostling, the power struggles and ambitions. In his hands, Antony and Cleopatra transform from legend to reality.Like for Like ReadingHow to Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Mark CollierThe Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Ian Shaw The Lovereading view... In this absolutely fascinating biography, based exclusively on ancient sources and archaeological evidence, Goldsworthy exposes many myths and gives us a fresh and truer account of these two iconic people. Did you know Cleopatra was Greek not Egyptian and that rather than being a bluff soldier it was Antony’s political skills that made him irresistible to Queen of the Nile? Read the opening extract and you will be hooked.
In the year 44 BC, when Julius Caesar was killed, Augustus was a mere teenager who had been adopted into Caesar's household. His reaction to Caesar's death was to step forward and proclaim himself Caesar's rightful successor. The Senate did not take him seriously, but over the following months he raised his own army and, after defeating Mark Antony in battle, became one of the three most powerful men in Rome. He was not yet 20 years old. Over the next ten years he consolidated his power in Rome, and finally overthrew the last of his rivals in 31 BC. From that moment on Rome became an empire, and Augustus its first emperor. This is the story of how one man rose to become the most powerful man in the world, and stabilised an empire that had been racked by decades of civil war. Augustus's achievements, and his legacy, are almost unparalleled. Like Julius Caesar, he presided over a huge expansion in wealth and territory. Like Caesar he was honoured by having a month of the year named after him. But unlike Caesar he was able to keep hold of power for over 40 years, and bequeath the empire, whole, to his successors.
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.
More than three-and-a-half million men served in the British Army during the Second World War, the vast majority of them civilians who had never expected to become soldiers and had little idea what military life, with all its strange rituals, discomforts, and dangers, was going to be like. Alan Allport's rich and luminous social history examines the experience of the greatest and most terrible war in history from the perspective of these ordinary, extraordinary men, who were plucked from their peacetime families and workplaces and sent to fight for King and Country. Allport chronicles the huge diversity of their wartime trajectories, tracing how soldiers responded to and were shaped by their years with the British Army, and how that army, however reluctantly, had to accommodate itself to them. Touching on issues of class, sex, crime, trauma, and national identity, through a colorful multitude of fresh individual perspectives, the book provides an enlightening, deeply moving perspective on how a generation of very modern-minded young men responded to the challenges of a brutal and disorienting conflict.
This insightful volume offers a radical reassessment of the infamous Gulag Archipelago by exploring the history of Vorkuta, an arctic coal-mining outpost originally established in the 1930s as a prison camp complex. Author Alan Barenberg's eye-opening study reveals Vorkuta as an active urban centre with a substantial nonprisoner population where the borders separating camp and city were contested and permeable, enabling prisoners to establish social connections that would eventually aid them in their transitions to civilian life. With this book, Barenberg makes an important historical contribution to our understanding of forced labour in the Soviet Union and its enduring legacy.
April 2015 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. The Centenary of Gallipoli, the First World War campaign that was doomed to failure, bringing about the tragic loss of so many men. First published in 1956, Alan Moorehead’s history of Gallipoli still remains as the definitive study. Now republished with a new introduction from Sir Max Hastings, who recalls how Moorehead’s books became an inspiration for his journalistic career and his own writing. With in-depth analysis of the campaign, the objectives both sides set themselves, and with character sketches of the main players, it brings the complex operation to life, showing how and why it went so terribly wrong and a century on, remains a by word for the loss of human life. Like for Like Reading Gallipoli, Julian Thompson Gallipoli, Peter Hart
In Fulton Missouri, Churchill alerted America to the reality of 'Uncle Joe' - a tyrant determined to dominate Europe at any cost. Churchill called for an Anglo-American alliance based on their shared values and the deterrent of America's possession of the atomic bomb. Churchill also urged the Americans to recognise the debt they owed Britain for opposing Hitler in 1940. In doing so, he contributed to the US thinking behind the need for the Marshall Plan. In Zurich, Churchill boldly proposed a partnership between France and Germany: a United States of Europe. The hatred stirred up by the war had to be replaced by partnership for Europe to recover its economic vitality and regain its moral stature. Together, the Anglo-American Alliance and a United States of Europe led by France and Germany would have the power to 'smite the crocodile' of Soviet ambition. To understand what Churchill intended with these two speeches requires perspective. The daring of his imagination and the scale of his architecture for a new Western Alliance was extraordinary. At the time, not many recognized the symmetry of what was proposed. At Churchill's funeral in 1965, commentators bemoaned the end of an era. In truth, Churchill was the catalyst of a new era-one built upon effective defence, economic revival, and European unity. His speeches have been added to UNESCO'S International Memory of the World Register.
Born in London to a Turkish mother and British father, Alev Scott moved to Istanbul to discover what it means to be Turkish in a country going through rapid political and social change, with an extraordinary past still linked to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and an ever more surprising present under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. From the European buzz of modern-day Constantinople to the Arabic-speaking towns of the south-east, Turkish Awakening investigates mass migration, urbanisation and economics in a country moving swiftly towards a new position on the world stage. This is the story of discovering a complex country from the outside-in, a candid account of overturned preconceptions and fresh understanding. Relating wide-ranging interviews and colourful personal experience, the author charts the evolving course of a country bursting with surprises - none more dramatic than the unexpected political protests of 2013 in Taksim Square, which have brought to light the emerging demands of a newly awakened Turkish people. Mass migration, urbanisation and a growing awareness of human rights have changed the social, economic and physical landscapes of a powerful country, and the 2013 protests were just one indication of the changes afoot in today's Turkey.
Featuring the beauties of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, combined with the dark and hidden side of the Renaissance, by an acclaimed historian and expert in the period. Renowned as an age of artistic rebirth, the Renaissance is cloaked with an aura of beauty and brilliance. But behind the Mona Lisa's smile lurked a seamy, vicious world of power politics, perversity and corruption that has more in common with the present day than anyone dares to admit. Enter a world of corrupt bankers, greedy politicians, sex-crazed priests, rampant disease, and lives of extravagance and excess. Enter the world of the ugly Renaissance. Uncovering the hidden realities beneath the surface of the period's best-known artworks, historian Alexander Lee takes the reader on a breathtaking and unexpected journey through the Italian past and shows that, far from being the product of high-minded ideals, the sublime monuments of the Renaissance were created by flawed and tormented artists who lived in an ever-expanding world of bigotry and hatred. The only question is: Will you ever see the Renaissance in quite the same way again?
For the empires of Germany and Austria-Hungary the Great War - which had begun with such high hopes for a fast, dramatic outcome - rapidly degenerated as invasions of both France and Serbia ended in catastrophe. For four years the fighting now turned into a siege on a quite monstrous scale. Europe became the focus of fighting of a kind previously unimagined. Despite local successes - and an apparent triumph in Russia - Germany and Austria-Hungary were never able to break out of the the Allies' ring of steel. In Alexander Watson's compelling new history of the Great War, all the major events of the war are seen from the perspective of Berlin and Vienna. It is fundamentally a history of ordinary people. In 1914 both empires were flooded by genuine mass enthusiasm and their troubled elites were at one with most of the population. But the course of the war put this under impossible strain, with a fatal rupture between an ever more extreme and unrealistic leadership and an exhausted and embittered people. In the end they failed and were overwhelmed by defeat and revolution.
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.