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Orwell in Spain

George Orwell (Author) , Peter Davison (Edited by) , Christopher Hitchens (Introducer)

The volume collects together, for the first time ever, Orwell's writings on his experience of the Spanish Civil War - the chaos at the Front, the futile young deaths for what became a confused cause, the antique weapons and the disappointment many British Socialists felt on arriving in Spain to help. ORWELL IN SPAIN includes the complete text of HOMAGE TO CATALONIA.

Down and Out in Paris and London

George Orwell (Author)

George Orwell's vivid memoir of his time living among the desperately poor and destitute, Down and Out in Paris and London is a moving tour of the underworld of society.

'You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them.'

Written when Orwell was a struggling writer in his twenties, it documents his 'first contact with poverty'. Here, he painstakingly documents a world of unrelenting drudgery and squalor - sleeping in bug-infested hostels and doss houses of last resort, working as a dishwasher in Paris's vile 'Hôtel X', surviving on scraps and cigarette butts, living alongside tramps, a star-gazing pavement artist and a starving Russian ex-army captain. Exposing a shocking, previously-hidden world to his readers, Orwell gave a human face to the statistics of poverty for the first time - and in doing so, found his voice as a writer.

Homage to Catalonia

George Orwell (Author)

Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism as I understand it'. Thus wrote Orwell following his experiences as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War, chronicled in Homage to Catalonia. Here he brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and clarity, describing with bitter intensity the bright hopes and cynical betrayals of that chaotic episode: the revolutionary euphoria of Barcelona, the courage of ordinary Spanish men and women he fought alongside, the terror and confusion of the front, his near-fatal bullet wound and the vicious treachery of his supposed allies.

A firsthand account of the brutal conditions of the Spanish Civil War, George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia includes an introduction by Julian Symons in Penguin Modern Classics.

1759

Frank McLynn (Author)

Although 1759 is not a date as well known in British history as 1215, 1588, or 1688, there is a strong case to be made that it is the most significant year since 1066. In 1759 - the fourth year of the Seven Years War - the British defeated the French in arduous campaigns on four continents and also achieved absolute mastery of the seas.

Drawing on a mass of primary materials - from texts in the Vatican archives to oral histories of the North American Indians - Frank McLynn shows how the conflict between Brtiain and France triggered the first 'world war', raging from Europe to Africa; the Caribbean to the Pacific; the plains of the Ganges to the Great Lakes of North America. It also brought about the War of Independence, the acquisition by Britain of the Falkland Islands and, ultimately, the French Revolution.

Hell's Gorge

Matthew Parker (Author)

2014 is the 100-year-anniversary of the panama canal: one of the most extraordinary engineering feats in world history.

Hell's Gorge traces a heroic dream that spanned four centuries: to build a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.The human cost was immense: in appalling working conditions and amid epidemics of fever, tens of thousands perished fighting the jungle, swamps and mountains of Panama, a scale of attrition comparable to many great battles.

Matthew Parker explores the fierce geo-political struggle behind the heroic vision of the canal, and the immense engineering and medical battles that were fought. But he also weaves in the stories of the ordinary men and women who worked on the canal, to evoke everyday life on the construction and depict the battle on the ground deep in 'Hell's Gorge'. Using diaries, memoirs, contemporary newspapers and previously unseen private letters, he draws a vivid picture of the heart-breaking struggle on the Isthmus, in particular that of the British West Indians who made up the majority of the canal workforce.

Hell's Gorge is a tale of politics, finance, press manipulation, scandal and intrigue, populated by a dazzling cast of idealists and bullies, heroes and conmen. But it is also a moving tribute to the 'Forgotten Silvermen', so many of whom died to fulfil the centuries-old canal dream.

In Europe

Geert Mak (Author) , Sam Garrett (Translator)

Geert Mak spent the year 1999 criss-crossing the continent, tracing the history of Europe from Verdun to Berlin, St Petersburg to Auschwitz, Kiev to Srebrenica. He set off in search of evidence and witnesses, looking to define the condition of Europe at the verge of a new millennium.

The result is mesmerising: Mak's rare double talent as a sharp-eyed journalist and a hugely imaginative historian makes In Europe a dazzling account of that journey, full of diaries, newspaper reports and memoirs, and the voices of prominent figures and unknown players; from the grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II to Adriana Warno in Poland, with her holiday job at the gates of the camp at Birkenau.

But Mak is above all an observer. He describes what he sees at places that have become Europe's well-springs of memory, where history is written into the landscape. At Ypres he hears the blast of munitions from the Great War that are still detonated twice a day. In Warsaw he finds the point where the tram rails that led to the Jewish ghetto come to a dead end in a city park. And in an abandoned crèche near Chernobyl, where tiny pairs of shoes still stand in neat rows, he is transported back to the moment time stood still in the dying days of the Soviet Union.

Mak combines the larger story of twentieth-century Europe with details that suddenly give it a face, a taste and a smell. His unique approach makes the reader an eyewitness to his own half-forgotten past, full of unknown peculiarities, sudden insights and touching encounters. In Europe is a masterpiece; it reads like the epic novel of the continent's most extraordinary century.

Hidden Treasures of London

Michael McNay (Author)

A beautifully illustrated guide to over 400 of London's lesser-known cultural gems.

Nobody could deny that London is one of the most culturally and architecturally rich places in the world. We cannot think of it without calling to mind buildings such as the Houses of Parliament and St Paul's Cathedral, monuments such as Nelson's Column and the Cenotaph, and the incredible collections of museums such as the V&A and Natural History Museum. But such glories can make us overlook some of the other, less obvious wonders that the city has to offer.

In Hidden Treasures of London Michael McNay has collected these more esoteric attractions, highlighting masterpieces and locations of significance the length and breadth of the city and its suburbs. In some cases an entire building may draw his attention; perhaps a beautiful church tucked away on a backstreet or an unobtrusive townhouse which lodged some great figure. In other cases it may be only a particular object or feature; a display of photographs, or some particularly fine relief sculpture. In every case McNay describes the subject at hand in vivid detail and provides the reader with the cultural and historical context needed to fully appreciate it.

However well you may think you know the capital, Hidden Treasures of London is certain to unlock more of its secrets to you, leading you away from well-trodden tourist destinations to explore the amazing secret history of this great city.

The Dukes

Brian Masters (Author)

The origins of the non-royal dukes in the British peerage divide nicely into Tudor looters, Royal bastards, opportunist generals, territorial, metropolitan or Scottish magnates. Lloyd George said that a duke, fully equipped, cost more than a dreadnought to maintain and with their palaces, possessions and retinues, they are nearly all splendid. Some of them are, of course, now poor; some of them have great wealth; some of them hit every headline and others are obscure. But within each duchy, Brian Masters tells the story of quaint grandees determined to survive.

The Dukes is an essential guide that provides vital biographical information and explores the history of the dukes in unprecedented depth. This revised edition includes new information which was not available on first publication, and brings up to date the accounts of families whose titles have passed to a subsequent generation in the intervening years.

Stars Beneath The Sea

Trevor Norton (Author)

This is the remarkably funny true story of some of the brave, brilliant and often barmy men that invented diving. It is a story of explosive tempers and exploding teeth, of how to juggle live hand grenades and steer a giant rubber octopus. A series of vivid portraits reveal the eccentric exploits of these underwater pioneers. They include Guy who held a world altitude record when only sixteen, wrote a film for Humphrey Bogart, invented snorkelling and loved his wife enough to shoot her. Roy wore a backet over his head and stole a coral reef. Bill wearied of fishing with dynamite and wrestling deadly snakes, so he sealed himself in a metal coffin to dangle half a mile beneath the ocean. Cameron, testing the bouncing bomb for dam busters, made a plastic ear for a dog, a false testicle for a stallion and invented a mantrap disguised as a lavatory. He ascended from a depth of 200 feet without breathing equipment to see if his lungs would burst, then studied the effects of underwater explosions by standing closer and closer until shattered by the blast. The book also traces the evolution of underwater exploration, from spear fishermen to conversationalists, from treasure hunters to archaeologists, from photographers to philosophers. The sea is a secretive and seductive place and the author describes, with incredible humour, knowledge and historical accuracy, the magic and mystery of being beneath the waves.

A History Of The World

Neil MacGregor (Author) , Neil MacGregor (Read by)

In 2010, the BBC and the British Museum embarked on an ambitious project: to tell the story of two million years of human history using one hundred objects selected from the Museum’s vast and renowned collection. Presented by the British Museum’s Director Neil MacGregor, each episode focuses on a single object - from a Stone Age tool to a solar-powered lamp - and explains its significance in human history. Music, interviews with specialists and quotations from written texts enrich the listener’s experience. On each CD, objects from a similar period of history are grouped together to explore a common theme and make connections across the world. Seen in this way, history is a kaleidoscope: shifting, interlinked, constantly surprising and shaping our world in ways that most of us have never imagined. This box set also includes an illustrated booklet with additional background information and photographs, and each CD includes PDF images of the featured objects.

20 CDs. 25 hrs.

Nick Robinson's The Prime Ministers Series 1

Nick Robinson (Author) , Nick Robinson (Read by)

This series explores how Prime Ministers have used their power and responded to the great challenges of their time and how they made the job what it is today. Nick Robinson explores the life and times of the following: Sir Robert Walpole, the first and longest-serving prime minister; Lord North, remembered as the prime minister who lost America; Sir Robert Peel, who put national interest before party; Lord Palmerston, who cultivated a cavalier image and dominated mid-Victorian politics; Benjamin Disraeli, who turned his skills as a novelist to politics and became Britain’s first Jewish-born prime minister; David Lloyd George, a Welsh radical who set up the early welfare state, became a presidential PM in the First World War and split the Liberal party; Stanley Baldwin, the first prime minister to master radio broadcasting, whose notion of Englishness shaped inter-war Britain and Clement Attlee, who lacked any charisma, but created the modern welfare state and managed the big political beasts in his Cabinet. Extract from speech by Lloyd George: British Library Board. All Rights Reserved.

2 CDs. 1 hr 52 mins.

America Empire Of Liberty

David Reynolds (Author) , David Reynolds (Read by)

This epic narrative tells America’s story through the voices of those who lived it – Presidents and farmers, mothers and children, settlers and soldiers, slaves and Indians. The series celebrates the country’s achievements but also examines its paradoxes by investigating three abiding themes of American life: empire, liberty and faith. These first thirty episodes start with the Native Americans, who arrived from Asia around 15,000 years ago. In a fascinating journey that takes in the impact of Columbus, the founding of Puritan New England, the Declaration of Independence, the slave trade and the forced relocation of the Indians, Reynolds shows how the U.S. expanded to cover a whole continent, laying the foundations of a superpower – if the country could stay united. And that seemed a big ‘if’ in 1861 as the conflicts over liberty and slavery brought America to the brink of Civil War.

6 CDs. 7 hrs 30 mins.

The Condition of the Working Class in England

Friedrich Engels (Author) , Victor Kiernan (Edited by)

This forceful polemic explores the staggering human cost of the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England. Engels paints an unforgettable picture of daily life in the new industrial towns, and for miners and agricultural workers in a savage indictment of the greed of the bourgeoisie. His later preface, written for the first English edition of 1892 and included here, brought the story up to date in the light of forty years' further reflection.

The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus (Author) , J. Cohen (Translator)

No gamble in history has been more momentous than the landfall of Columbus's ship the Santa Maria in the Americas in 1492 - an event that paved the way for the conquest of a 'New World'. The accounts collected here provide a vivid narrative of his voyages throughout the Caribbean and finally to the mainland of Central America, although he still believed he had reached Asia. Columbus himself is revealed as a fascinating and contradictory figure, fluctuating from awed enthusiasm to paranoia and eccentric geographical speculation. Prey to petty quarrels with his officers, his pious desire to bring Christian civilization to 'savages' matched by his rapacity for gold, Columbus was nonetheless an explorer and seaman of staggering vision and achievement.

The Loss of the Ship Essex Sunk By a Whale

Owen Chase (Author), Thomas Nickerson (Author), Nathaniel Philbrick (Edited by), Thomas Philbrick (Edited by)

The gripping first-hand story of the disaster that inspired Melville's Moby-Dick and is the basis for a major new feature film, In the Heart of the Sea.

In 1820, the Nantucket whaleship Essex was sailing in the South Pacific when it was rammed by an angry sperm whale. The ship sank, leaving twenty crew members floating in three small boats for ninety days. By taking drastic measures, eight men survived to reveal their astonishing tale. This authoritative edition brings together the harrowing tales of the survivors, including Owen Chase's 'Narrative of the Wreck of Whaleship Essex' and an account by Thomas Nickerson, the 15-year old cabin boy who was steering the ship when the whale attacked.

Thomas Nickerson and Owen Chase were two of the eight surviving crew members of the Ship Essex.

Thomas Philbrick is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Pittsburg and has edited critical editions of the works of Joshua Slocum and Henry Dana Jr.

Nathaniel Philbrick is the author of In the Heart of the Sea and director of the Egan Institute of Maritime Studies. He is also a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association.

Governing the World

Mark Mazower (Author)

The compelling and provocative history of world government, from acclaimed author Mark Mazower

Shortlisted for the RUSI 2013 Duke of Wellington Medal for Military Literature

In 1815 the shocked and exhausted victors of the decades of fighting that had engulfed Europe for a generation agreed to a new system for keeping the peace. Instead of independent states changing sides, doing deals and betraying one another, a new, collegial 'Concert of Europe' would ensure that the brutal chaos of the Napoleonic Wars never happened again.

Mark Mazower's remarkable new book recreates two centuries of international government - the struggle to spread values and build institutions to bring order to an anarchic and dangerous state system.

The Broken Boy

Patrick Cockburn (Author)

It is very easy to get polio. Patrick Cockburn was six when he woke up one day in the summer of 1956 with a headache and a sore throat. His parents, Claud and Patricia Cockburn, had recently returned to Ireland, to their house in East Cork, careless of the fact that a polio epidemic had broken out in Cork City. He caught the disease and was taken to the fever hospital. The virus attacks the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord leading to paralysis of the muscles. Patrick could no longer walk.

The Broken Boy is at once a memoir of Patrick Cockburn's own experience of polio, a portrait of his parents, both prominent radicals, and the story of the Cork epidemic, the last great polio epidemic in the world.

Apocalypses

Eugene Weber (Author)

In these secular times, confessing to a belief in the apocalypse consigns a person to Christian fundamentalism or to cult status. But for centuries the Judaeo-Christian version of apocalypse - its Revelations-driven belief in the destruction of evil and the Second Coming of Christ - was accepted as the literal truth and ultimate destination of human existence.

The distinguished historian Eugen Weber redresses the historical and religious amnesia that has consigned the study of apocalyptic and millennial thought to the lunatic fringe. Elegantly written, as witty and entertaining as its profound, this is more a travel book of the apocalypse than a definitive academic treatment. And at its heart is a profound respect for the resilience of alternative rationalities, and for the luxuriant current growth of millenarianism in Africa, Asia and South America.

Luck of the Devil

Ian Kershaw (Author)

'It is now time that something was done. But the man who has the courage to do something must do it in the knowledge that he will go down in German history as a traitor. If he does not, however, he will be a traitor to his own conscience' Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, July 1944

The July 1944 Plot to kill Adolf Hitler was a desperate attempt by a group of senior officers to redeem Germany's honour and end the Second World War. They were heroic because they knew their chances of success were slight and that the result of their failure would undoubtedly be a terrible death. They wanted to leave a message for later generations: that there were Germans who understood the evils of Nazism and were willing to act against it.

This extraordinary story is the basis for Bryan Singer's major new film Valkyrie, due to be released in February 2009. Published for the first time as a separate book, Luck of the Devil is taken from Ian Kershaw's bestselling Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis and is a brilliant account of just what happened in those fateful days at Hitler's Wolf's Lair headquarters, when his opponents came so astonishingly close to assassinating what is one of the modern era's most terrible figures.

Dear Zari

Zarghuna Kargar (Author)

Dear Zari gives voice to the secret lives of women across Afghanistan and allows them to tell their stories in their own words: from the child bride given as payment to end a family feud; to a life spent in a dark, dusty room weaving carpets; to a young girl brought up as a boy; to life as a widow shunned by society. Compelling and enlightening, Dear Zari uncovers the reality of life in Afghanistan in stories that are by turn heart-breaking and uplifting.

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