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French and Germans, Germans and French

Richard Cobb (Author)

An extraordinary history of French lives under occupation in the First and Second World Wars, this is an intimate, unforgettable meditation on the strange mixture of compromise and betrayal, collaboration and resistance that marks defeat, written by one of the greatest historians of France.

'A splendid book for comprehending human kind ... Cobb has a strong sense of how ordinary life has to go on, even through disasters, and a sensitivity for what it was like at the time, matched by a gift for the telling phrase' Economist

'Prophet of the past, Richard Cobb is a visionary' New York Review of Books

'His France - urban, northern, provincial, pedestrian, noisy, unpuritanical, festive - was in contrast to, and predicated upon, another France: bureaucratic, official, suburban, safe' Julian Barnes

The Making of the English Working Class

E. P. Thompson (Author)

Fifty years since first publication, E. P. Thompson's revolutionary account of working-class culture and ideals is published in Penguin Modern Classics, with a new introduction by historian Michael Kenny

This classic and imaginative account of working-class society in its formative years, 1780 to 1832, revolutionized our understanding of English social history. E. P. Thompson shows how the working class took part in its own making and re-creates the whole-life experience of people who suffered loss of status and freedom, who underwent degradation, and who yet created a cultured and political consciousness of great vitality.

Reviews:

'A dazzling vindication of the lives and aspirations of the then - and now once again - neglected culture of working-class England' Martin Kettle, Observer

'Superbly readable . . . a moving account of the culture of the self-taught in an age of social and intellectual deprivation' Asa Briggs, Financial Times

'Thompson's work combines passion and intellect, the gifts of the poet, the narrator and the analyst' E. J. Hobsbawm, Independent

'An event not merely in the writing of English history but in the politics of our century' Michael Foot, Times Literary Supplement

'The greatest of our socialist historians' Terry Eagleton, New Statesman

About the author:

E. P. Thompson was born in 1924 and read history at Corpus Christi, Cambridge, graduating in 1946. An academic, writer and acclaimed historian, his first major work was a biography of William Morris. The Making of the English Working Class was instantly recognized as a classic on its publication in 1963 and secured his position as one of the leading social historians of his time. Thompson was also an active campaigner and key figure in the ending of the Cold War. He died in 1993, survived by his wife and two sons.

Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account

Miklos Nyiszli (Author) , Richard Sevear (Translator) , Tibere Kremer (Translator)

When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Hungarian Jew and a medical doctor, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared from death for a grimmer fate: to perform "scientific research" on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the infamous "Angel of Death": Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele's personal research pathologist. Miraculously, he survived to give this terrifying and sobering account of the terror of Auschwitz.

This new Penguin Modern Classics edition contains an introduction by Richard Evans.

Story of a Secret State: My Report to the World

Jan Karski (Author)

'Insistently asks the question: What would you do? Would you fight, or acquiesce, or collaborate? ... Karski was deeply patriotic and ludicrously brave ... an astonishing testament of survival' Ben Macintyre, author of Operation Mincemeat

It is 1939. Jan Karski, a brilliant young Polish student, enjoys a life of parties and pleasure. Then war breaks out and his familiar world is destroyed. Now he must live under a new identity, in the resistance. And, in a secret mission that could change the course of the war, he must risk his own life to try and save those of millions.

Night

Elie Wiesel (Author) , Marion Wiesel (Author)

Elie Wiesel's harrowing first-hand account of the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, Night is translated by Marion Wiesel with a preface by Elie Wiesel in Penguin Modern Classics.

Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of a people from a survivor's perspective, Night is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust. A compelling consideration of the darkest side of human nature and the enduring power of hope, it remains one of the most important works of the twentieth century.

Elie Wiesel (b. 1928) was fifteen years old when he and his family were deported by the Nazis to Auschwitz. After the war, Wiesel studied in Paris and later became a journalist. During an interview with the distinguished French writer, Francois Mauriac, he was persuaded to write about his experiences in the death camps. The result was his internationally acclaimed memoir, La Nuit or Night, which has since been translated into more than thirty languages.

If you enjoyed Night, you might also like Primo Levi's The Periodic Table, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'A slim volume of terrifying power'
The New York Times

'To the best of my knowledge no one has left behind him so moving a record'
Alfred Kazin

'Wiesel has taken his own anguish and imaginatively metamorphosed it into art'
Curt Leviant, Saturday Review

Storm of Steel

Ernst Junger (Author)

Presenting the desperate conflict of the First World War through the eyes of an ordinary German soldier, Ernst Jünger's Storm of Steel is translated by Michael Hofmann in Penguin Modern Classics.

'As though walking through a deep dream, I saw steel helmets approaching through the craters. They seemed to sprout from the fire-harrowed soil like some iron harvest.'

A memoir of astonishing power, savagery and ashen lyricism, Storm of Steel depicts Ernst Jünger's experience of combat on the front line - leading raiding parties, defending trenches against murderous British incursions, and simply enduring as shells tore his comrades apart. One of the greatest books to emerge from the catastrophe of the First World War, it illuminates like no other book not only the horrors but also the fascination of a war that made men keep fighting for four long years.

Ernst Jünger (1895-1998) the son of a wealthy chemist, ran away from home to join the Foreign Legion. His father dragged him back, but he returned to military service when he joined the German army on the outbreak of the First World War. Storm of Steel (Stahlgewittern) was Jünger's first book, published in 1920. Greatly admired by the Nazis, Jünger remained at a distance from the regime, with books such as his allegorical work On the Marble Cliffs (1939) functioning as a covert criticism of Nazi ideology and methods.

If you enjoyed Storm of Steel, you might like Edward Blunden's Undertones of War, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'To read this extraordinary book is to gain a unique insight into the compelling nature of organized, industrialized violence'
Niall Ferguson, author of War of the World

'Hofmann's interpretation is superb'
The Times

'Unique in the literature of this or any other war is its brilliantly vivid conjuration of the immediacy and intensity of battle'
Telegraph

'Storm of Steel is what so many books claim to be but are not: a classic account of war'
Evening Standard

The Captive Mind

Czeslaw Milosz (Author) , Jane Zielonko (Translator)

Written in Paris in the early 1950s, this book created instant controversy in its analysis of modern society that had allowed itself to be hypnotized by socio-political doctrines, and to accept totalitarian terror on the strength of a hypothetical future.

A Russian Journal

John Steinbeck (Author) , Susan Shillinglaw (Introducer)

Just after the iron curtain fell on Eastern Europe John Steinbeck and acclaimed war photographer, Robert Capa ventured into the Soviet Union to report for the New York Herald Tribune. This rare opportunity took the famous travellers not only to Moscow and Stalingrad - now Volgograd - but through the countryside of the Ukraine and the Caucasus. A RUSSIAN JOURNAL is the distillation of their journey and remains a remarkable memoir and unique historical document. Steinbeck and Capa recorded the grim realities of factory workers, government clerks, and peasants, as they emerged from the rubble of World War II. This is an intimate glimpse of two artists at the height of their powers, answering their need to document human struggle

Undertones of War

Edmund Blunden (Author) , Hew Strachan (Introducer)

In what is one of the finest autobiographies to come out of the First World War, the distinguished poet Edmund Blunden records his experiences as an infantry subaltern in France and Flanders. Blunden took part in the disastrous battles of the Somme, Ypres and Passchendaele, describing the latter as 'murder, not only to the troops, but to their singing faiths and hopes'. In his compassionate yet unsentimental prose, he tells of the heroism and despair found among the officers. Blunden's poems show how he found hope in the natural landscape; the only thing that survives the terrible betrayal enacted in the Flanders fields.

Flight to Arras

Antoine Saint-Exupery (Author)

The French Writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), was born in Lyon. His first two books, SOUTHERN MAIL and NIGHT FLIGHT, are distinguished by a poetic evocation of the romance and discipline of flying. Later works, including WIND, SAND AND STARS and FLIGHT TO ARRAS, stress his humanistic philosophy. Saint-Exupéry's popular children's book THE LITTLE PRINCE is also read by adults for its allegorical meaning. Saint-Exupéry's plane disappeared during a mission in World War II.

Christ Stopped at Eboli

Carlo Levi (Author) , Frances Frenaye (Translator)

'We're not Christians, Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli.' Exiled to a remote and barren corner of Italy for his opposition to Mussolini, Carlo Levi entered a world cut off from history and the state, hedged in by custom and sorrow, without comfort or solace, where, eternally patient, the peasants lived in an age-old stillness and in the presence of death - for Christ did stop at Eboli.

The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank (Author) , Mirjam Pressler (Edited by), Otto Frank (Edited by), Elie Wiesel (Introducer) , Susan Massotty (Translator)

Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is an inspiring and tragic account of an ordinary life lived in extraordinary circumstances that has enthralled readers for generations. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler, translated by Susan Massotty, and includes an introduction by Elie Wiesel, author of Night.

'June, 1942: I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.'

In Amsterdam, in the summer of 1942, the Nazis forced teenager Anne Frank and her family into hiding. For over two years, they, another family and a German dentist lived in a 'secret annexe', fearing discovery. All that time, Anne kept a diary. Since its publication in 1947, Anne Frank's diary has been read by tens of millions of people. This Definitive Edition restores substantial material omitted from the original edition, giving us a deeper insight into Anne Frank's world. Her curiosity about her emerging sexuality, the conflicts with her mother, her passion for Peter, a boy whose family hid with hers, and her acute portraits of her fellow prisoners reveal Anne as more human, more vulnerable and more vital than ever.

If you enjoyed The Diary of a Young Girl, you might also like Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, available in Penguin Classics.

'One of the greatest books of the twentieth century'
Guardian

'A modern classic'
Julia Neuberger, The Times

Eminent Victorians

Lytton Strachey (Author) , Michael Holroyd (Introducer)

Eminent Victorians marked an epoch in the art of biography; it also helped to crack the old myths of high Victorianism and to usher in a new spirit by which chauvinism, hypocrisy and the stiff upper lip were debunked. In it Strachey cleverly exposes the self-seeking ambitions of Cardinal Manning and the manipulative, neurotic Florence Nightingale; and in his essays on Dr Arnold and General Gordon his quarries are not only his subjects but also the public-school system and the whole structure of nineteenth-century liberal values.

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