198 results 1-20

The Road to Unfreedom

Timothy Snyder (Author)

With the end of the Cold War, the victory of liberal democracy was thought to be final. Observers declared the end of history, confident in a peaceful, globalized future. This faith was misplaced. Authoritarianism returned to Russia, as Putin found fascist ideas that could be used to justify rule by the wealthy. In the 2010s, it has spread from east to west, aided by Russian warfare in Ukraine and cyberwar and information war in Europe and the United States.

Russia found allies among nationalists and oligarchs everywhere, and its drive to dissolve Western institutions, states, and values found resonance within the West itself. The rise of populism, the British vote against the EU, and the election of Donald Trump were all Russian goals, but their achievement reveals the vulnerability of Western societies and the uncertain character of Western political order.

This threat to Western democracy presents an opportunity to better understand the pillars of our own political order. In this forceful and unsparing work of contemporary history, based on vast research as well as personal reporting, Snyder goes beyond the headlines to expose the true nature of the threat to democracy and law. By showcasing the stark choices before us – between equality or oligarchy, individuality or totality, truth and falsehood – Snyder restores our understanding of the basis of our way of life, offering a way forward in a time of terrible uncertainty.

Money

Yuval Noah Harari (Author)

Selected from Yuval Noah Harari's books Sapiens and Homo Deus.

VINTAGE MINIS: GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS.

A series of short books by the world’s greatest writers on the experiences that make us human

Blitzkrieg: A Ladybird Expert Book (WW2 #2)

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

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Blitzkrieg is an accessible, insightful and authoritative account of one of the fall of Europe to the most notorious military tactics in modern history.

Historian, author and broadcaster James Holland draws on the latest research and interviews with participants to bring colour, detail and a fresh perspective to the story.

Inside, you'll discover how tactics, organisation and new technologies were brought to bear, about the different challenges faced by both the Axis and the Allies, and, above all, the skill, bravery and endurance of those engaged in a contest that was of critical importance to the outcome of the war.

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.

Timbuktu: A Ladybird Expert Book

Gus Caseley-Hayford (Author)

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Timbuktu is a clear, simple and entertaining introduction to the land once considered the jewel of the medieval world.

Written by curator and cultural historian Gus Caseley-Hayford, this book delves into the rise of the largest empire in West Africa and what made Timbuktu the most significant Saharan desert-port of the age.

You'll see the Mali Empire in its golden age, teeming with riches, scholars and trade. A history steeped in magicians, epic wars, story-tellers and missing ships. You'll learn what made Timbuktu so notorious and irresistible to the Emperor, and why centuries later it still enchants the Western World with its beauty, wealth, mystery, intellectual excellence and legacy.

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.

Living with the Gods

Neil MacGregor (Author)

A panoramic new history of belief from Neil MacGregor, the celebrated author of A History of the World in 100 Objects and Germany, coinciding with a new BBC Radio 4 documentary and an exhibition at the British Museum.

The Accidental President

A J Baime (Author)

Heroes are often defined as ordinary characters who find themselves facing extraordinary circumstances and, through courage and a dash of luck, cement their place in history. Chosen as President Roosevelt's fourth term Vice President for his admired work ethic, good judgement and lack of enemies, Harry S. Truman was the prototypical ordinary man from small-town America. That is, until he was thrust in over his head following the sudden death of Roosevelt.

With the world still caught up in the inferno of the Second World War, Truman found himself playing the roles of both judge and jury during the founding of the UN, the Potsdam Conference, the Manhattan Project, the German surrender, the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the decision to drop the Bomb and bring the war to the end.

Tightly focused, meticulously researched and drawing on documentation not available to previous biographers, The Accidental President escorts readers into the situation room with Truman during this tumultuous, history-making four months - when the stakes were high and the challenges even higher . . .

Global Discontents

Noam Chomsky (Author) , David Barsamian (Author)

'If I were a voter in Britain, I would vote for [Jeremy Corbyn]' - Noam Chomsky, 2017

Global Discontents is an essential guide to geopolitics and how to fight back, from the world's leading public intellectual

What kind of world are we leaving to our grandchildren? How are the discontents kindled today likely to blaze and explode tomorrow?

From escalating climate change to the devastation in Syria, pandemic state surveillance to looming nuclear war, Noam Chomsky takes stock of the world today. Over the course of ten conversations with long-time collaborator David Barsamian, spanning 2013-2016, Chomsky argues in favour of radical changes to a system that cannot possibly cope with what awaits tomorrow.

Interwoven with personal reflections spanning from childhood to his eighth decade of life, Global Discontents also marks out Chomsky's own intellectual journey, mapping his progress to revolutionary ideas and global prominence.

God

Reza Aslan (Author)

In God, Reza Aslan sheds new light on mankind’s relationship with the divine and challenges our perspective on faith and the birth of religion.

From the origins of spiritual thought to the concept of an active, engaged, divine presence that underlies all creation, Aslan examines how the idea of god arose in human evolution, was gradually personalized, endowed with human traits and emotions, and eventually transformed into a single Divine Personality: the God known today by such names as Yahweh, Father, and Allah.

Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, God challenges everything we thought we knew about the origins of religious belief, and with it our relationship with life and death, with the natural and spiritual worlds, and our understanding of the very essence of human existence.

The Penguin Book of Modern Speeches

Brian MacArthur (Edited by) , Brian MacArthur (Author)

*FULLY REVISED AND UPDATED*

Whether it was Churchill rousing the British to take up arms or the dream of Martin Luther King, Fidel Castro inspiring the Cuban revolution or Barack Obama on Selma and the meaning of America, speeches have profoundly influenced the way we see ourselves and society.

Gathered here are some of the most extraordinary and memorable speeches of the last century - from Lenin to Reagan, Thatcher to Malala. Some are well known, others less so, but all helped form the world we now inhabit.

The Square and the Tower

Niall Ferguson (Author)

'Silicon Valley needed a history lesson and Ferguson has provided it' Eric Schmidt

'The most brilliant British historian of his generation' The Times

What if everything we thought we knew about history was wrong? From Niall Ferguson, the global bestselling author of Empire, The Ascent of Money and Civilization, this is a whole new way of imagining the world.

Most history is hierarchical: it's about popes, presidents, and prime ministers. But what if that's simply because they create the historical archives? What if we are missing equally powerful but less visible networks - leaving them to the conspiracy theorists, with their dreams of all-powerful Illuminati?

The twenty-first century has been hailed as the Networked Age. But in The Square and the Tower Niall Ferguson argues that social networks are nothing new. From the printers and preachers who made the Reformation to the freemasons who led the American Revolution, it was the networkers who disrupted the old order of popes and kings. Far from being novel, our era is the Second Networked Age, with the computer in the role of the printing press. Once we understand this, both the past, and the future, start to look very different indeed.

The Internationalists

Oona Hathaway (Author) , Scott Shapiro (Author)

'It will change the way you remember the 20th century and read the news in the 21st' Steven Pinker

'A clarion call to preserve law and order across our planet' Philippe Sands

'A fascinating and important book ... given the state of the world, The Internationalists has come along at the right moment' Margaret MacMillan, Financial Times

Since the end of the Second World War, we have moved from an international system in which war was legal, and accepted as the ultimate arbiter of disputes between nations, to one in which it was not. Nations that wage aggressive war have become outcasts and have almost always had to give up their territorial gains. How did this epochal transformation come about? This remarkable book, which combines political, legal, and intellectual history, traces the origins and course of one of the great shifts in the modern world.

'Sweeping and yet personable at the same time, The Internationalists explores the profound implications of the outlawry of war. Professors Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro enrich their analysis with vignettes of the many individuals (some unknown to most students of History) who played such important roles in this story. None have put it all together in the way that Hathaway and Shapiro have done in this book' Paul Kennedy

'In this timely, elegant and powerful book, Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro help us understand the momentous significance of the individuals who imagined an end to war. As the world stands on the cusp of a return to an earlier age, The Internationalists is a clarion call to preserve law and order across our planet' Philippe Sands

The Cold War

Odd Arne Westad (Author)

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.

This is a book of extraordinary scope and daring. It is conventional to see the first half of the 20th century as a nightmare and the second half as a reprieve. Westad shows that for much of the world the second half was by most measures even worse.

The Sceptred Isle: The Dynasties

Christopher Lee (Author) , Anna Massey (Read by)

The Sceptred Isle provided the definitive radio account of the British nation, from 55BC to the end of the 20th century. Now its attention turns towards the incredibly powerful families which have wielded power behind the scenes for the past 1,000 years. The Dynasties relates how the loyalties of this privileged elite, many of whom are older than the monarchy itself, were tested and rewarded; it also uncovers a multitude of murderous plots, bloody battles, adulteries, intrigues and shocking executions.

The first volume examines three powerful houses: The Godwines, the north-dwelling Percys and the royalist Despensers.

Volume two looks at the Mortimers, the Berkeleys and a triumvirate of warring Irish dysnasties: the Macmurroughs, the Fitzgeralds and the O'Neills.

The third volume investigates the Churchills, the Cecils and the Scottish Dalrymples.

In the fourth volume the Cavendishes appear, along with the Comptons and the Russells.

In the fifth and final volume, the families examined include the Carringtons, the Waldegraves and the Norfolks. There is also a look at the families who today continue the tradition of dynastical power at the highest levels.

I Fought at Dunkirk

Mike Rossiter (Author)

SURVIVOR STORIES FROM DUNKIRK, NOW THE SUBJECT OF A MAJOR FILM FROM CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

When Britain declared war against Germany in September 1939, thousands of young men sailed across the English Channel to fight for their country. Among them were the seven soldiers who share their stories in this book. Some joined up out of patriotism, others for adventure or the prospect of a secure wage. They were fit, trained and proud to wear the armband of the British Expeditionary Forces.

For many, the first months were strangely peaceful, but when the Germans invaded in May 1940 they advanced with shocking speed. The German armoured columns sliced through neutral Holland and Belgium. The French Army collapsed and within a week the soldiers of the BEF were forced to retreat. Fighting tough and bloody rearguard actions, they endured relentless shelling and fearsome dive-bomb attacks. Constantly on the move, and facing a German onslaught on three fronts, they were soon exhausted, hungry and low on ammunition. They headed finally to their one chance of salvation: the beaches of Dunkirk.

Mike Rossiter tells the stories of seven veterans who went through a hellish baptism of fire in the first battles on the front line, and fought in the last-ditch defence of Dunkirk. They saw their comrades bombed and drowned off the beaches. Their accounts give us a fascinating and privileged insight into the reality of the war and what it was really like to face the German Blitzkrieg in 1940. They take us from the confident, idyllic days of the phoney war in the French countryside to the sudden shock of battle, from the fear and confusion of retreat to the wait for an uncertain rescue. These are the compelling stories of seven men who are proud to say I Fought at Dunkirk.

Stamped from the Beginning

Ibram Kendi (Author)

Winner of the US National Book Award for Non-Fiction -- Stamped from the Beginning is a redefining history of anti-Black racist ideas that dramatically changes our understanding of the causes and extent of racist thinking itself.

Its deeply researched and fast-moving narrative chronicles the journey of racist ideas from fifteenth-century Europe to present-day America through the lives of five major intellectuals – Puritan minister Cotton Mather, President Thomas Jefferson, fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis – showing how these ideas were developed, disseminated and eventually enshrined in American society.

Contrary to popular conception, it reveals that racist ideas did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Instead, they were devised and honed by some of the most brilliant minds of each era, including anti-slavery and pro-civil rights advocates, who used their gifts and intelligence wittingly or otherwise to rationalize and justify existing racial disparities in everything from wealth to health. Seen in this piercing new light, racist ideas are shown to be the result, not the cause, of inequalities that stretch back over centuries, brought about ultimately through economic, political and cultural self-interest.

Stamped from the Beginning offers compelling new answers to some of the most troubling questions of our time. In forcing us to reconsider our most basic assumptions about racism and also about ourselves, it leads us to a true understanding on which to build a real foundation for change.

The Vanquished

Robert Gerwarth (Author)

'A breathtaking, magisterial panorama, telling the epic story of post-war anarchy, dying empires and rising nation states. It makes us rethink our understanding of Europe's twentieth century' David Motadel, The Times Literary Supplement

For the Western allies 11 November 1918 has always been a solemn date - the end of fighting which had destroyed a generation, and also a vindication of a terrible sacrifice with the total collapse of their principal enemies: the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. But for much of the rest of Europe this was a day with no meaning, as a continuing, nightmarish series of conflicts engulfed country after country. In this highly original, gripping book Robert Gerwarth asks us to think again about the true legacy of the First World War.

'Lucid, incisive and packed with fascinating details' Financial Times, Books of the Year

'Important and timely ... obliges us to reconsider a period and a battlefront that has too often been neglected' Margaret MacMillan, The New York Times Review of Books

'This narrative of continent-wide chaos performs a valuable service by chronicling the postwar turmoil of Europe ... helps us understand why few wars reach tidy conclusions' Max Hastings, Sunday Times

'Reminds us, in vivid and often shocking detail, that only some countries saw killing end on the 11th day of the 11th month ... leaves a sense of foreboding for our own time' Robert Tombs, The Times

Pale Rider

Laura Spinney (Author)

'Magisterial' Observer
'Riveting' Sunday Times

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. Telling the story from the point of view of those who lived through it, 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.

Drawing on the latest research in history, virology, epidemiology, psychology, and economics, Laura Spinney narrates a catastrophe that changed humanity for decades to come, and continues to make itself felt today. In the process she 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.

Into the Black

Rowland White (Author)

On 12th April 1981 a revolutionary new spacecraft blasted off from Florida on her maiden flight. NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia was the most advanced flying machine ever built – the high watermark of post-war aviation development. A direct descendant of the record-breaking X-planes the likes of which Chuck Yeager had tested in the skies over the Mojave Desert, Columbia was a winged rocket plane, the size of an airliner, capable of flying to space and back before being made ready to fly again. She was the world’s first real spaceship.

On board were men with the Right Stuff. The Shuttle’s Commander, moonwalker John Young, was already a veteran of five spaceflights. Alongside him, Pilot Bob Crippen was making his first, but Crip, taken in by the space agency after the cancellation of a top secret military space station programme in 1969, had worked on the Shuttle’s development for a decade. Never before had a crew been so well prepared for their mission.

Yet less than an hour after Young and Crippen’s spectacular departure from the Cape it was clear that all was not well. Tiles designed to protect Columbia from the blowtorch burn of re-entry were missing from the heatshield. If the damage to their ship was too great the astronauts would be unable to return safely to earth. But neither they nor mission control possessed any way of knowing.

Instead, NASA turned to the National Reconnaissance Office, a spy agency hidden deep inside the Pentagon whose very existence was classified. To help, the NRO would attempt something that had never been done before. Success would require skill, pinpoint timing and luck …

Drawing on brand new interviews with astronauts and engineers, archive material and newly declassified documents, Rowland White, bestselling author of Vulcan 607, has pieced together the dramatic untold story of the mission for the first time. Into the Black is a thrilling race against time; a gripping high stakes cold-war story, and a celebration of a beyond the state-of-the-art machine that, hailed as one of the seven new wonders of the world, rekindled our passion for spaceflight.

*With a foreword by Astronaut Richard Truly*

‘Beautifully researched and written, Into the Black tells the true, complete story of the Space Shuttle better than it’s ever been told before.’
Colonel Chris Hadfield, former Astronaut and Space Station Commander

‘Brilliantly revealed, Into the Black is the finely tuned true story of the first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Rowland White has magnificently laid bare the unknown dangers and unseen hazards of that first mission … Once read, not forgotten.’
Clive Cussler

Passchendaele

Paul Ham (Author)

'Outstanding . . . thought-provoking, readable and informative' Soldier

One hundred years on...

On 18 July 1917, a heavy artillery barrage was unleashed by the Allied forces against an entrenched German army outside the town of Ypres. it was to be the opening salvo of one of the most ferociously fought and debilitating encounters of the First World War.

Few battles would encapsulate the utter futility of the war better that what became known as the Battle of Passchendaele. By the time the British and Canadian forces finally captured Passchendaele village on 6 November, the Allies had suffered over 271,000 casualties and the German army over 217,000.

Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth shows how ordinary men on both sides endured this constant state of siege, with a very real awareness that they were being gradually, deliberately felled. Here, Paul Ham tells the story of an army caught in the grip of an extraordinary power struggle – both global and national. As Prime Minister Lloyd George and Commander Haig’s relationship deteriorated beyond repair, so a terrible battle of attrition was needlessly and painfully prolonged.

Ham lays down a powerful challenge to the ways in which we have previously seen this monumental battle. Through an examination of the culpability of governments and military commanders in a catastrophe that destroyed the best part of a generation, Paul Ham argues that Passchendaele, far from being a breakthrough moment, was the battle that nearly lost the Allies the war.

‘Paul Ham brings new tools to the job, unearthing fresh evidence of a deeply disturbing sort. He has a magpie eye for the telling detail.’ Ben Macintyre, The Times

This Sceptred Isle: Collection 1: 55BC - 1702

Christopher Lee (Author) , Anna Massey (Read by) , Paul Eddington (Read by)

The first five volumes from the landmark BBC radio series This Sceptred Isle. Christopher Lee’s epic history tells the story of Britain from the Romans to the death of Victoria. This collection includes the original first five volumes:

55BC-1087: Julius Caesar to William the Conqueror From Britannia under the Romans to the Dark Ages and the invasions of Angles, Saxons, Danes, and Norwegians.

1087-1327: The Making of the Nation The Crusades, Welsh and Scottish rebellions and the foundations of the modern state – including Magna Carta and the fledgling English Parliament.

1327-1547 The Black Prince to Henry VIII The Hundred Years’ War, the Peasants’ Revolt, the Wars of the Roses and the reign of Henry VIII.

1547-1660 Elizabeth I to Cromwell Elizabeth I’s long reign; the Civil War, the execution of Charles I and the establishment of Cromwell as Lord Protector.

1660-1702 Restoration and Glorious Revolution The return of Charles II, the Great Plague and Great Fire of London, and a ruler from a different country on the throne: William of Orange.

Narrated by Anna Massey, with extracts from Sir Winston Churchill’s A History of the English-speaking Peoples read by Paul Eddington and Peter Jeffrey, this is the definitive radio account of the events and personalities that have shaped our nation.

Duration: 15 hours approx.

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