217 results 1-20

Battle of Trafalgar

Sam Willis (Author)

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, The Battle of Trafalgar is an accessible and authoritative introduction to the battle that marked the defeat of Napoleon's plans to invade Britain.

Written by the leading lights and most outstanding communicators in their fields, the Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history and culture.

For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.

Crucible

Charles Emmerson (Author)

What comes first: the character of the times, or the characters who give it theirs?

Crucible charts the trajectories of the characters who fell from power in the bloody breakdown of Europe’s old order between 1917 and 1924, and those who for whom the restless chaos marked the beginning of an unlikely rise to fame.

Year by year, we follow Kaiser Wilhelm into his wood-chopping Dutch exile, and Lenin from his Swiss library-desk to his muddled end as an invalid in revolutionary Russia gone stale. Ernest Hemingway criss-crosses the Atlantic in search of himself: soldier, hack journalist, writer, fisherman. Surrealism is born in a Paris attic. Europe suffers a nervous collapse, alternating between revolution and reaction. America takes fright. A Viennese doctor of eclectic tastes becomes an intellectual celebrity. An Austrian ex-soldier touts himself as the tribune of the German people.

Outside the classic frames of war and peace, these all-too-human tales – funny, tragic and fateful – tell a wider story of the exuberant dreams, dark fears, grubby ambition and sheer chance which marked Europe’s post-war metamorphosis, and the century to come.

I You We Them

Dan Gretton (Author)

A landmark historical investigation into crimes against humanity and the nature of evil that is over two decades in the making.

'The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.' Hannah Arendt

I You We Them is a study of the psychology of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, the ‘desk killers’ who ordered and directed some of the worst atrocities of the last two hundred years. It is also an exploration of corporate responsibility and personal culpability today, connecting the bureaucratic blindness that created desk killing to the same moral myopia that exists now in the calm, clean offices of global capitalism.

It is a journal of discovery, based on decades of research, interviews with hundreds of participants, and extensive first-hand experience. It encompasses extended investigations into a number of specific cases, moving from the brutalities of Empire to the scorched gas fields of the Niger Delta, from the industrial complex of Auschwitz to the empty sites of the Bosnian genocide; bearing witness, recording, and attempting to understand.

It is a synthesis of history, reportage and memoir, and a book that will forever change the way we think about the past, and about our future.

A Short History of Europe

Simon Jenkins (Author)

The first short, single-volume history of the continent, from the author of the bestselling A Short History of England

Europe is an astonishingly successful place. In this dazzling new history, bestselling author Simon Jenkins grippingly tells the story of its evolution from warring peoples to peace, wealth and freedom - a story that twists and turns from Greece and Rome, through the Dark Ages, the Reformation and the French Revolution, to the Second World War and up to the present day.

Jenkins takes in leaders from Julius Caesar and Joan of Arc, to Wellington and Angela Merkel, as well as cultural figures from Aristotle to Shakespeare and Picasso. He brings together the transformative forces and dominant eras into one chronological tale - all with his usual insight, colour and authority.

Despite the importance of Europe's politics, economy and culture, there has not been - until now - a concise book to tell this story. Covering the key events, themes and individuals, Jenkins' portrait of the continent could not be more timely - or masterful.

'Full of stand-out facts ... absolutely fascinating' - Richard Bacon, BBC Radio 2, on 'A Short History of England'

'Masterly, perhaps a masterpiece' - Independent, Books of the Year on England's Thousand Best Churches

'Jenkins is, like all good guides, more than simply informative: he can be courteous and rude, nostalgic and funny, elegant, convincing and relaxed' - Adam Nicolson on 'England's Thousand Best Houses', Evening Standard

'Full of the good judgements one might hope for from such a sensible and readable commentator, and they alone are worth perusing for pleasure and food for thought' - Michael Wood on 'A Short History of England', New Statesman

'Any passably cultured inhabitant of the British Isles should ask for, say, three or four copies of this book' - Max Hastings on 'England's Thousand Best Houses', Sunday Telegraph

Nelson: Battle of The Nile

Sam Willis (Author)

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series Nelson: Battle of the Nile is an accessible and authoritative introduction to the naval battle in that established Nelson's fame.

Written by historian, archaeologist, and broadcaster Sam Willis, Nelson: Battle of the Nile details the British Royal Navy's glorious defeat of the French naval expedition, thwarting Napoleon's plans to invade Egypt jeopardising Britain's trade routes and stake in India.

You'll learn how the roots of this significant battle lie in the French Revolution, track Napoleon's rise to prominence and the effect of France's move from revolution to dictatorship on the balance of power in Europe. This book will take you though the dramatic turning points of the battle and Nelson's celebrated tactical leadership.

The only way to stop Napoleon seemed to be at sea, and although Britain claimed victory in Aboukir Bay, the war was far from over.

Written by the leading lights and most outstanding communicators in their fields, the Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history and culture.

For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.

A Political History of the World

Jonathan Holslag (Author)

A three-thousand year history of the world that examines the causes of war and the search for peace

In three thousand years of history, China has spent at least eleven centuries at war. The Roman Empire was in conflict during at least 50 per cent of its lifetime. Since 1776, the United States has spent over one hundred years at war. The dream of peace has been universal in the history of humanity. So why have we so rarely been able to achieve it?

In A Political History of the World, Jonathan Holslag has produced a sweeping history of the world, from the Iron Age to the present, that investigates the causes of conflict between empires, nations and peoples and the attempts at diplomacy and cosmopolitanism. A birds-eye view of three thousand years of history, the book illuminates the forces shaping world politics from Ancient Egypt to the Han Dynasty, the Pax Romana to the rise of Islam, the Peace of Westphalia to the creation of the United Nations.

This truly global approach enables Holslag to search for patterns across different eras and regions, and explore larger questions about war, diplomacy, and power. Has trade fostered peace? What are the limits of diplomacy? How does environmental change affect stability? Is war a universal sin of power? At a time when the threat of nuclear war looms again, this is a much-needed history intended for students of international politics, and anyone looking for a background on current events.

Living with the Gods

Neil MacGregor (Author)

A panoramic exploration of peoples, objects and beliefs over 40,000 years from the celebrated author of A History of the World in 100 Objects and Germany, following the new BBC Radio 4 documentary and British Museum exhibition. Available for pre-order now.

No society on Earth lacks beliefs about where it has come from, its place in the world, and the connection of individuals to the eternal. Neil MacGregor's dazzling new book traces how different societies have understood and articulated their place in the cosmic scheme. He brilliantly turns his kaleidoscope of objects, monuments and ideas to examining mankind's beliefs - not from the perspective of institutional religions, but by focusing on the shared narratives that have shaped our societies, and our relationships with each other.

'The new blockbuster by the museums maestro Neil MacGregor ... The man who chronicles world history through objects is back ... examining a new set of objects to explore the theme of faith in society' Sunday Times

Letters to Change the World

Travis Elborough (Edited by)

‘We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed’ Martin Luther King

In an era where the liberties we often take for granted are under threat, Letters To Change the World is a collection of inspiring letters offering reminders from history that standing up for and voicing our personal and political beliefs is not merely a crucial right but a duty if we want to change the world.

Edited by Travis Elborough, the collection includes George Orwell's warning on totalitarianism, Martin Luther King's 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail', Albert Camus on the reasons to fight a war, Bertrand Russell on peace, Emmeline Pankhurst rallying her suffragettes, Nelson Mandela's letter to his children from prison and Time's Up on the abuse of power.

Endeavour

Peter Moore (Author)

An inventive biography of one of the most famous ships of all time from the oak tree it was made from to its last voyage in the American War of Independence

The Enlightenment was an age of endeavours. From Johnson’s Dictionary to campaigns for liberty to schemes for measuring the dimensions of the solar system, Britain was consumed by the impulse for grand projects, undertaken at speed. ‘Endeavour’ was also the name given to a Whitby collier bought by the Royal Navy in 1768 for an expedition to the South Seas. A commonplace, coal-carrying vessel, no one could have guessed that Endeavour would go on to become the most significant ship in the history of British exploration.

Endeavour famously carried James Cook on his first great voyage, visiting Pacific islands unknown to European geography, charting for the first time New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia and almost foundering on the Great Barrier Reef. But Endeavour was a ship with many lives. She was there at the Wilkes Riots in London in 1768. During the battles for control of New York in 1776 she witnessed the bloody birth of the United States of America. As well as carrying botanists, a Polynesian priest and the remains of the first kangaroo to arrive in Britain, she transported Newcastle coal and Hessian soldiers. According to Charles Darwin, she helped Cook add a hemisphere to the civilised world. NASA named a space shuttle after her. To others she would be a toxic symbol, responsible for the dispossession of the oldest continuous human society and the disruption of many others.

No one has ever told Endeavour’s complete story before. Peter Moore sets out to explore the different lives of this remarkable ship, from the acorn that grew into the oak that made her, to her rich and complex legacy.

The Desert War

James Holland (Author) , Keith Burns (By (artist))

Part of the ALL-NEW LADYBIRD EXPERT SERIES.

____________

Why was North Africa such a key component in Britain's success over Mussolini and his Italian Army?

How did they blunt Italy's actions?

What challenges did they face?

And what new technologies were brought to bear?


When fascist dictator Mussolini declared war against Britain he was taking a huge risk . . .

Italy lacked natural resources, and Britain and France's wealth.

He hoped to create a new Roman Empire across the Mediterranean and into Africa. And with Hitler and the Nazi's by his side he had a great chance of doing so - but what was it that stopped him?

Discover the answers and more inside James Holland's The Desert War, the thrilling and accessible account that explains what happened, who the key figures were and the tactics, triumphs and failures on both sides . . .

The Cold War

Odd Arne Westad (Author)

'Masterly ... a book of resounding importance for appraising our global future as well as understanding our past' Richard Davenport-Hines, The Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year

'A masterful survey that will set the standard for Cold War scholarship for years to come' Jonathan Steele, London Review of Books

As Germany and then Japan surrendered in 1945 there was a tremendous hope that a new and much better world could be created from the moral and physical ruins of the conflict. Instead, the combination of the huge power of the USA and USSR and the near-total collapse of most of their rivals created a unique, grim new environment: the Cold War.

For over forty years the demands of the Cold War shaped the life of almost all of us. There was no part of the world where East and West did not, ultimately, demand a blind and absolute allegiance, and nowhere into which the West and East did not reach. Countries as remote from each other as Korea, Angola and Cuba were defined by their allegiances. Almost all civil wars became proxy conflicts for the superpowers. Europe was seemingly split in two indefinitely.

Arne Westad's remarkable new book is the first to have the distance from these events and the ambition to create a convincing, powerful narrative of the Cold War. The book is genuinely global in its reach and captures the dramas and agonies of a period always overshadowed by the horror of nuclear war and which, for millions of people, was not 'cold' at all: a time of relentless violence, squandered opportunities and moral failure.

The Secret World

Christopher Andrew (Author)

'Almost every page includes a sizzling historical titbit ... captivating, insightful and masterly' (Edward Lucas, The Times)

The history of espionage is far older than any of today's intelligence agencies, yet the long history of intelligence operations has been largely forgotten. The first mention of espionage in world literature is in the Book of Exodus.'God sent out spies into the land of Canaan'. From there, Christopher Andrew traces the shift in the ancient world from divination to what we would recognize as attempts to gather real intelligence in the conduct of military operations, and considers how far ahead of the West - at that time - China and India were. He charts the development of intelligence and security operations and capacity through, amongst others, Renaissance Venice, Elizabethan England, Revolutionary America, Napoleonic France, right up to sophisticated modern activities of which he is the world's best-informed interpreter. What difference have security and intelligence operations made to course of history? Why have they so often forgotten by later practitioners? This fascinating book provides the answers.

Civilization

Niall Ferguson (Author)

Winner of the Estoril Global Issues Distinguished Book Prize 2013

In 1412, Europe was a miserable backwater ravaged by plague, bad sanitation and incessant war, while the Orient was home to dazzling civilizations. Yet, somehow, the West came to dominate the Rest for most of the next half millennium.

In this vital, brilliant book, Niall Ferguson reveals the six 'killer applications' that the Rest lacked: competition, science, property rights, medicine, consumerism and the work ethic. And he asks: do we still have these winning tools? Or is this the end of Western ascendancy?

'Brilliantly written, full of wit and virtuosity, stuffed with memorable lines and gorgeous bits of information. A great read' The Times

'A dazzling history of Western ideas ... epic' Economist

'Vivid and fascinating' Daily Telegraph

'Superb ... brings history alive ... dazzling' Independent

'This is sharp. It feels urgent. Ferguson ... twists his knife with great literary brio' Andrew Marr, Financial Times

Empire

Niall Ferguson (Author)

Niall Ferguson's acclaimed bestseller on the highs and lows of Britain's empire

Once vast swathes of the globe were coloured imperial red and Britannia ruled not just the waves, but the prairies of America, the plains of Asia, the jungles of Africa and the deserts of Arabia. Just how did a small, rainy island in the North Atlantic achieve all this? And why did the empire on which the sun literally never set finally decline and fall? Niall Ferguson's acclaimed Empire brilliantly unfolds the imperial story in all its splendours and its miseries, showing how a gang of buccaneers and gold-diggers planted the seed of the biggest empire in all history - and set the world on the road to modernity.

'The most brilliant British historian of his generation ... Ferguson examines the roles of "pirates, planters, missionaries, mandarins, bankers and bankrupts" in the creation of history's largest empire ... he writes with splendid panache ... and a seemingly effortless, debonair wit' Andrew Roberts

'Dazzling ... wonderfully readable' New York Review of Books

'A remarkably readable précis of the whole British imperial story - triumphs, deceits, decencies, kindnesses, cruelties and all' Jan Morris

'Empire is a pleasure to read and brims with insights and intelligence' Sunday Times

Pale Rider

Laura Spinney (Author)

'Both a saga of tragedies and a detective story... Pale Rider is not just an excavation but a reimagining of the past' Guardian

With a death toll of between 50 and 100 million people and a global reach, the Spanish flu of 1918–1920 was the greatest human disaster, not only of the twentieth century, but possibly in all of recorded history. And yet, in our popular conception it exists largely as a footnote to World War I.

In Pale Rider, Laura Spinney recounts the story of an overlooked pandemic, tracing it from Alaska to Brazil, from Persia to Spain, and from South Africa to Odessa. She shows how the pandemic was shaped by the interaction of a virus and the humans it encountered; and how this devastating natural experiment put both the ingenuity and the vulnerability of humans to the test.

Laura Spinney demonstrates that the Spanish flu was as significant – if not more so – as two world wars in shaping the modern world; in disrupting, and often permanently altering, global politics, race relations, family structures, and thinking across medicine, religion and the arts.

Origin Story

David Christian (Author)

'I have long been a fan of David Christian. In Origin Story, he elegantly weaves evidence and insights from many scientific and historical disciplines into a single, accessible historical narrative' Bill Gates

This is the epic story of the universe and our place in it, from 13.8 billion years ago to the remote future

How did we get from the Big Bang to today's staggering complexity, in which seven billion humans are connected into networks powerful enough to transform the planet? And why, in comparison, are our closest primate relatives reduced to near-extinction?

Big History creator David Christian gives the answers in a mind-expanding cosmological detective story told on the grandest possible scale. He traces how, during eight key thresholds, the right conditions have allowed new forms of complexity to arise, from stars to galaxies, Earth to homo sapiens, agriculture to fossil fuels. This last mega-innovation gave us an energy bonanza that brought huge benefits to mankind, yet also threatens to shake apart everything we have created.

This global origin story is one that we could only begin to tell recently, thanks to the underlying unity of modern knowledge. Panoramic in scope and thrillingly told, Origin Story reveals what we learn about human existence when we consider it from a universal scale.

From Cold War to Hot Peace

Michael McFaul (Author)

A revelatory, behind-the-scenes account of Russian-American relations, from a former US ambassador and 'Obama's top White House advisor on Russia policy' (The New York Times)

In 2008, when Michael McFaul was asked to leave his perch at Stanford and join President-elect Barack Obama's national security team, he had no idea that he would find himself at the beating heart of one of today's most contentious international relationships. McFaul had been studying and visiting Russia for decades, becoming one of America's preeminent scholars on the country during the first Putin era.

During President Obama's first term, McFaul helped craft the policy known as "Reset," which fostered unprecedented collaboration between the two countries under Dmitry Medvedev's presidency. Later, as U.S. ambassador from 2012 to 2014, he witnessed firsthand how Vladimir Putin's new rise interrupted this era of cooperation and returned Russian-American relations to a level of hostility not known since the darkest days of the Cold War. From the outset of his ambassadorship, the Kremlin accused McFaul of being sent by Obama to foment revolution against Putin's regime.

This resulting insider's account - uniquely combining history, politics and intimate personal knowledge of the corridors of power - takes us from Putin's dacha to ornate Kremlin chambers and the Oval Office, to explain how Russia really works, and why the world has entered a dangerous new era of confrontation.

Empire of Booze

Henry Jeffreys (Author)

Winner of the Fortnum and Mason Best Debut Drink Book Award 2017

From renowned booze correspondent Henry Jeffreys comes this rich and full-bodied history of Britain and the Empire, told through the improbable but true stories of how the world’s favourite alcoholic drinks came to be.

Read about how we owe the champagne we drink today to seventeenth-century methods for making sparkling cider; how madeira and India Pale Ale became legendary for their ability to withstand the long, hot journeys to Britain’s burgeoning overseas territories; and why whisky became the familiar choice for weary empire builders who longed for home.

Jeffreys traces the impact of alcohol on British culture and society: literature, science, philosophy and even religion have reflections in the bottom of a glass. Filled to the brim with fascinating trivia and recommendations for how to enjoy these drinks today, you could even drink along as you read…

So, raise your glass to the Empire of Booze!

Football in Sun and Shadow

Eduardo Galeano (Author)

'Football is a pleasure that hurts'

This unashamedly emotional history of football is a homage to the romance and drama, spectacle and passion of a 'great pagan mass'. Through stories of superstition, heartbreak, tragedy, luck, heroes and villains, those who lived for football and those who died for it, Eduardo Galeano celebrates the glory of a game that - however much the rich and powerful try to control it - still retains its magic.

'The Uruguayan whose writing got right to the heart of football ... readers were never in doubt of the warmth of the blood running through his veins' Guardian

'Galeano can run rings round our glamorous football intelligentsia' When Saturday Comes

'Stands out like Pele on a field of second-stringers' New Yorker

The Road to Unfreedom

Timothy Snyder (Author)

'A brilliant and disturbing analysis, which should be read by anyone wishing to understand the political crisis currently engulfing the world' YUVAL NOAH HARARI, author of SAPIENS


The past is another country, the old saying goes. The same might be said of the future. But which country? For Europeans and Americans today, the answer is Russia.

Today's Russia is an oligarchy propped up by illusions and repression. But it also represents the fulfilment of tendencies already present in the West. And if Moscow's drive to dissolve Western states and values succeeds, this could become our reality too.

In this visionary work of contemporary history, Timothy Snyder shows how Russia works within the West to destroy the West; by supporting the far right in Europe, invading Ukraine in 2014, and waging a cyberwar during the 2016 presidential campaign and the EU referendum. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the creation of Donald Trump, an American failure deployed as a Russian weapon.

But this threat presents an opportunity to better understand the pillars of our freedoms, confront our own complacency and seek renewal. History never ends, and this new challenge forces us to face the choices that will determine the future: equality or oligarchy, individualism or totalitarianism, truth or lies.

The Road to Unfreedom helps us to see our world as if for the first time. It is necessary reading for any citizen of a democracy.

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