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Intensively researched, lovingly compiled, more accessible than ever, whatever your subject of interest - this is where you’ll find it.
A day by day, blow by blow account of the outbreak of World War Two. The way the book is set out with short paragraphs recording events as they took place across the world day by day, the feeling of tension and unease builds and builds. Illustrated throughout with photographs this is a fascinating document of the events of 1939. The book’s publication coincides with an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum recording this incredible year.
A collection of scandalous tales which span the ages of military history. These are the stories the military hoped would stay buried in the archives but here Terry Crowdy lays them out in all their embarrassing glory.
A boys book if there ever was one! Fascinating synopsis of the contributions through history of spies and their sponsors. Doesn't get bogged down with irrelevant details and great to cherry pick your favourite moments from man's somewhat bloody past.
'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.
Interest in Bletchley Park has reached dizzying and glamorous heights, so to read a realistic rather than romanticised picture of fifteen women who spent time there is utterly compelling. These Bletchley Park veterans are from various backgrounds, they have widely different memories and experiences, however there is a vein of steadfastness and true spirit that weaves through and marks these women apart. The author introduces backgrounds, routes to, life at and perhaps with most impact, life after Bletchley Park. It does take a little time to get to know and differentiate between the fifteen women, as memories are mixed together on a time line rather than each individual story being highlighted. Even though this is a rational, practical trip down memory lane, from the tip of the Official Secrets Act, to the toe of the continuous repetition of most of their roles, you can not help but be thrilled by this glimpse into a truly fascinating world. ~ Liz Robinson
January 2015 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Interest in Bletchley Park has reached dizzying and glamorous heights, so to read a realistic rather than romanticised picture of fifteen women who spent time there is utterly compelling. These Bletchley Park veterans are from various backgrounds, they have widely different memories and experiences, however there is a vein of steadfastness and true spirit that weaves through and marks these women apart. The author introduces backgrounds, routes to, life at and perhaps with most impact, life after Bletchley Park. It does take a little time to get to know and differentiate between the fifteen women, as memories are mixed together on a time line rather than each individual story being highlighted. Even though this is a rational, practical trip down memory lane, from the tip of the Official Secrets Act, to the toe of the continuous repetition of most of their roles, you can not help but be thrilled by this glimpse into a truly fascinating world. ~ Liz Robinson
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.
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.
Amusing, inspirational and underpinned by a radiant reverence for its subjects, this collection shares the indomitable acts of fifteen fascist-fighting “loose canons”, toppling the perception that Christians of the cloth are meek and mild. The acts of opposition are framed within the context of Christianity’s ideological history: ”Since the days of St Paul, Christianity has had a lack of internal ethnic distinction as a key tenet of its teaching (if not, regrettably, always of its practice). Paul wrote that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female; all are one in Christ.” Within these dynamic accounts we meet a bedazzling band of brave clerics from across the continent. Take Abbé Pierre, the “miraculous mountaineering monk”, for example. He started out as “an awkward and gangly young would-be monk” and“ended his career the most respected and popular man in France” on account of his pivotal role in the Resistance against the Nazis and Italian Fascists. Enduring the massacre of comrades and incarceration, and having engaged in numerous audacious acts of Resistance, plucky Pierre’s spirit and ethos (“to serve the most needy first”) lives on today in his charity that spans thirty-seven countries. The author duly acknowledges that, “for every tale of bravery related above, there were tales of cowardice and collaboration”. He also points out that many of the men and women of the Resistance exhibited “the frailty of humanity” and goes on to posit the view that “true strength is achieved in embracing our weakness”. Sage words to conclude a book that’s suffused in the vitality of its subjects’ inspirational acts and the author’s affable wit.
In the early twentieth century, a teenage Greek girl in Constantinople loses both her parents and, together with her younger sister, gets thrown into a massive population exchange between Greece and Turkey. She ends up in a refugee camp in northern Greece. With determination she creates a life in her new country, becoming a teacher in a small mountain town near Greeces northwestern borders with Albania and Yugoslavia. She meets and marries a young lawyer from a historic and tragic Macedonian family. Her story extends through a century of war and peace and is peppered with likable characters, horrific events, and a love story. Among the protagonists are two strong women, a charming and indomitable man, and a smart but sickly kid. Now and again her drive, perseverance, and common sense will save the day and reward her with happiness, which nevertheless will come and go like interludes of sunshine in otherwise endlessly stormy weather. The reader will also get candid and authentic glimpses on poorly known historical conflicts such as the Balkan Wars, the worlds greatest ethnic cleansing, the occupation loan that the Nazis exacted from Greece, the Greek Civil War, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and the dispute over the use of the name Macedonia.
A fascinating insight in to ordinary lives during the First World War and beyond. In a house clearance the diaries of Thomas Cairns Livingstone were found, detailing domestic dramas along side news of the troop movements during WW1. This is a priceless impression of the effect world events were having on the lives of ordinary people back home before, during and after the Great War. Fascinating and filled with the authors illustrations this is a charming and heartfelt piece of that history.
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.
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.