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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.

This Month's Featured History Books

Other History Books

Zero Night The Untold Story of the Second World War's Most Daring Great Escape

Zero Night The Untold Story of the Second World War's Most Daring Great Escape

Author: Mark Felton Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/10/2014

Oflag VI-B, Warburg, Germany: On the night of 30 August 1942 - 'Zero Night' - 40 officers from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa staged the most audacious mass escape of the Second World War. It was the first 'Great Escape' - but instead of tunnelling, the escapers boldly went over the huge perimeter fences using wooden scaling contraptions. This was the notorious 'Warburg Wire Job', described by fellow prisoner and fighter ace Douglas Bader as 'the most brilliant escape conception of this war'. Months of meticulous planning and secret training hung in the balance during three minutes of mayhem as prisoners charged the camp's double perimeter fences. Telling this remarkable story in full for the first time, historian Mark Felton brilliantly evokes the suspense of the escape itself and the adventures of those who eluded the Germans, as well as the courage of the civilians who risked their lives to help them in enemy territory. Fantastically intimate and told with a novelist's eye for drama and detail, this is a rip-roaring adventure story, all the more thrilling for being true.

ebook of the month
Zero Hour 100 Years on: Views from the Parapet of the Somme

Zero Hour 100 Years on: Views from the Parapet of the Somme

Author: Jolyon Fenwick Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/06/2016

The first day of the battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, was the most devastating event of the First World War for the British army. In Zero Hour, 14 superlatively photographed panoramas (each one a four-page gatefold, opening to nearly 1 metre wide) show the Somme's major sites as they look today. Taken from the exact viewpoints of the front-line British troops as they began their advance towards the German trenches at 7.30 a.m., these hauntingly peaceful present-day views are annotated (in the handwritten military style of the time) to show the lethal German defensive positions at the moment of the attack.

Zeppelin Nights London in the First World War

Zeppelin Nights London in the First World War

Author: Jerry White Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2014

11pm, Tuesday 4 August 1914: with the declaration of war London becomes one of the greatest killing machines in human history. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers pass through the capital on their way to the front; wounded men are brought back to be treated in London's hospitals; and millions of shells are produced in its factories. The war changes London life for ever. Women escape the drudgery of domestic service to work as munitionettes. Full employment puts money into the pockets of the London poor for the first time. Self-appointed moral guardians seize the chance to clamp down on drink, frivolous entertainment and licentious behaviour. As the war drags on, gloom often descends on the capital. And at night London is plunged into darkness for fear of German bombers and Zeppelins that continue to raid the city. Yet despite daily casualty lists, food shortages and enemy bombing, Londoners are determined to get on with their lives and flock to cinemas and theatres, dance halls and shebeens, firmly resolved not to let Germans or puritans spoil their enjoyment. Peopled with patriots and pacifists, clergymen and thieves, bluestockings and prostitutes, Jerry White's magnificent panorama reveals a struggling yet flourishing city.

Zeppelin Nights London in the First World War

Zeppelin Nights London in the First World War

Author: Jerry White Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/02/2015

11pm, Tuesday 4 August 1914: with the declaration of war London becomes one of the greatest killing machines in human history. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers pass through the capital on their way to the front; wounded men are brought back to be treated in London's hospitals; and millions of shells are produced in its factories. The war changes London life for ever. Women escape the drudgery of domestic service to work as munitionettes. Full employment puts money into the pockets of the London poor for the first time. Self-appointed moral guardians seize the chance to clamp down on drink, frivolous entertainment and licentious behaviour. As the war drags on, gloom often descends on the capital. And at night London is plunged into darkness for fear of German bombers and Zeppelins that continue to raid the city. Yet despite daily casualty lists, food shortages and enemy bombing, Londoners are determined to get on with their lives and flock to cinemas and theatres, dance halls and shebeens, firmly resolved not to let Germans or puritans spoil their enjoyment. Peopled with patriots and pacifists, clergymen and thieves, bluestockings and prostitutes, Jerry White's magnificent panorama reveals a struggling yet flourishing city.

ebook of the month
Young Lawrence A Portrait of the Legend as a Young Man

Young Lawrence A Portrait of the Legend as a Young Man

Author: Anthony Sattin Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/07/2015

T. E. Lawrence was one of the most charismatic characters of the First World War; a young archaeologist who fought with the Arabs and wrote an epic and very personal account of their revolt against the Turks in Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Yet this was not the first book to carry that iconic title. In 1914 the man who would become Lawrence of Arabia burnt the first Seven Pillars of Wisdom, a manuscript in which he described his adventures in the Middle East during the five years before the war. Anthony Sattin uncovers the story Lawrence wanted to conceal: the truth of his birth, his tortuous relationship with a dominant mother, his deep affection for an Arab boy, the intimate details of the extraordinary journeys he took through the region with which his name is forever connected and the personal reasons that drove him from being a student to becoming an archaeologist and a spy. Young Lawrence is the first book to focus on the story of T. E. Lawrence in his twenties, before the war, during the period he looked back on as his golden years. Using first-hand sources, museum records and Foreign Office documents, Sattin sets these adventures against the background of corrosive conflicts in Libya and the Balkans. He shows the simmering defiance of Arabs, Armenians and Kurds under Turkish domination, while uncovering the story of an exceptional young man searching for happiness, love and his place in the world until war changed his life forever.

ebook of the month
Wounded From Battlefield to Blighty, 1914-1918

Wounded From Battlefield to Blighty, 1914-1918

Author: Emily Mayhew Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/09/2013

Wounded traces the journey made by a casualty from the battlefield to a hospital in Britain. It is a story told through the testimony of those who cared for him - stretcher bearers and medical officers, surgeons and chaplains, orderlies and nurses - from the aid post in the trenches to the casualty clearing station and the ambulance train back to Blighty. We feel the calloused hands of the stretcher-bearers; we see the bloody dressings and bandages; we smell the nauseating gangrene and, at London's stations, the gas clinging to the uniforms of the men arriving home. There are the unspeakable injuries: the officer with a hole in his torso so big the doctor can see the sky beyond him; a man with no legs holding a hymnbook for a man with no arms. Together, the experiences in Wounded encapsulate what it was to fight, live and die for four long years at the Western Front. The first comprehensive account of medical care at the Western Front, Wounded is a homage to the courageous and determined men and women who saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

World War Two A Short History

World War Two A Short History

Author: Norman Stone Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/02/2014

 Norman Stone's gripping book tells the narrative of the Second World War in as brief a compass as possible, making a sometimes familiar story utterly fresh and arresting. As with his highly acclaimed World War One: A Short History, there is a compelling sense of a terrible story unfolding, of a sceptical and humorous intelligence at work, and a wish to convey to an audience who may well have no memory of the conflict just how high the stakes were.

ebook of the month
World War II A Beginner's Guide

World War II A Beginner's Guide

Author: Christopher Catherwood Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/08/2014

With over sixty million casualties WW2 was the bloodiest conflict in history. In this incisive introduction, esteemed academic Christopher Catherwood covers all the key battles and campaigns, while also giving the larger story behind them, putting familiar events into the perspective of the war at large. He explores: * The huge impact of the preceding Sino-Japanese War on WW2 itself * The relative unimportance of the British conflict in Africa * The near moral-equivalence of the Red Army and the Nazis * The impact of the Hiroshima bombing Full of text-boxes revealing key details about British intelligence, weaponry, and the social milieu of the conflict, there is no better brief introduction to this landmark event.

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.