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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.

Dangerous Days in the Roman Empire Terrors and Torments, Diseases and Deaths

Dangerous Days in the Roman Empire Terrors and Torments, Diseases and Deaths

Author: Terry Deary Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/11/2013

'Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in-for-me,' Julius Caesar cried as he fell under the thrusts of twenty daggers. Oh, all right, Caesar didn't cry that, Kenneth Williams did in the movie Carry on Cleo. But nor did he sigh 'Et tu, brute?' as Shakespeare would have us believe. The history we think we know is full of misconceptions, mischiefs, misunderstandings ...and monks who misused their spell-checkers. What the general reader needs is a history that explores our ancestors with humour and compassion. 'Humour' and 'history' are not two words you often see in the same sentence: our past was a dangerous and dirty place full of cruel rulers, foul food and terrible toilets. A short life, not a merry one, for most. Dangerous days in which to live and, inevitably, die. Die dreadfully too. 'Murder breathed her bloody steam.' That's what rhymester Byron said when he looked at the crumbling Coliseum. The Roman Emperors: they came, they saw, they left behind their bloody steam. This is their story - it could be the funniest history you'll ever read.

Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey

Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey

Author: The Countess of Carnarvon Format: Paperback Release Date: 11/09/2014

Charming and charismatic, Catherine caught the eye of Lord Porchester (or 'Porchey', as he was known) when she was just 20 years old, and wearing a pale yellow dress at a ball. She had already turned down 14 proposals before she eventually married Porchey in 1922. But less than a year later Porchey's father died suddenly, and he became the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, inheriting a title and a Castle that changed both their lives forever. Catherine found herself suddenly in charge of a small army of household staff, and hosting lavish banquets and weekend house parties. Although the couple were very much in love, considerable challenges lay ahead for Catherine. They were immediately faced with the task of saving Highclere when debts threatened to destroy the estate. As the 1920s moved to a close, Catherine's adored brother died and she began to lose her husband to the distractions London had to offer. When the Second World War broke out, life at the Castle would never be the same again. Drawing on rich material from the private archives at Highclere, including beautiful period photographs, the current Countess of Carnarvon transports us back to the thrilling and alluring world of the 'real Downton Abbey' and its inhabitants.

ebook of the month
In Their Own Words Letters from History

In Their Own Words Letters from History

Author: The National Archives Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/08/2016

The book includes letters from: Karl Marx, requesting UK citizenship, an anonymous writer purporting to be Jack the Ripper, Josef Kramer, the commandant of Bergen Belsen, from Winston Churchill to President Roosevelt requesting US support against Hitler, Clement Atlee to Harry S Truman following Hiroshima, the spies Burgess and Maclean, as well as the 'real Charlotte Gray' spy, Christine Granville, amongst others. Topics covered include: the Monteagle letter that warned about the Gunpowder plot, letters from the Wright brothers trying to get the War Office to fund their aeronautical research, a despatch on the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Christine Keeler's Russian/British love triangle that begat the Profumo affair, US disapproval of British trade with Cuba, a letter reporting on the first day of the trial of Nelson Mandela, the anonymous letter that framed the Krays.

ebook of the month
Hanns and Rudolf The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz

Hanns and Rudolf The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz

Author: Thomas Harding Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/05/2014

This is shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award. A gripping thriller, an unspeakable crime, an essential history . (John Le Carre). Hanns Alexander was the son of a prosperous German family who fled Berlin for London in the 1930s. Rudolf Hoss was a farmer and soldier who became the Kommandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp and oversaw the deaths of over a million men, women and children. In the aftermath of the Second World War, the first British War Crimes Investigation Team is assembled to hunt down the senior Nazi officials responsible for the greatest atrocities the world has ever seen. Lieutenant Hanns Alexander is one of the lead investigators, Rudolf Hoss his most elusive target. In this book Thomas Harding reveals for the very first time the full account of Hoss' capture. Moving from the Middle-Eastern campaigns of the First World War to bohemian Berlin in the 1920s, to the horror of the concentration camps and the trials in Belsen and Nuremberg, Hanns and Rudolf tells the story of two German men whose lives diverged, and intersected, in an astonishing way.

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.