145 results 1-20

Crossing Continents

Duncan Campbell-Smith (Author)

Bundled together in 1969 to stymie an international takeover attempt on the part of Chase Manhattan Bank of New York, Standard Chartered Bank has come to consolidate its status as one of the world's leading international banks with remarkable success. Crossing Continents draws together into one narrative the evolution both of the modern banking group and of the separate banks - originally established in 19th Century South Africa and the Far East - that preceded it. In so doing, it offers glimpses not just into seminal developments in financial history, but also into the world-historical events which have provided their backdrop, into the young men who turned their backs on careers in Britain to cross continents in search of a more adventurous life and, colourfully, into the 1980s Big Bang that so transformed the City of London.

Written with complete access to the bank's archives and personnel, Duncan Campbell-Smith's authorized history of Standard Chartered Bank shows us why British overseas banking was so often seen in the past, at home and abroad, less as a single-minded pursuit of money for its own sake than as a true hybrid of commerce and public service.

Our Story

Rao Pingru (Author) , Nicky Harman (Translator)

Rao Pingru was a twenty-six-year-old soldier when he saw Mao Meitang, a girl he’d known from childhood who had grown up to be a beautiful woman – the woman his father had arranged for him to marry. One glimpse of her through a window as she put on lipstick was enough to capture Rao’s heart, the moment that sparked a union that would last almost sixty years.

Our Story is that epic romance told through his paintings and accompanying text. We see Pingru and Meitang through the decades, through both poverty and good fortune – looking for work, opening a restaurant, moving cities, mending shoes, raising their children, and being separated for seventeen years by the government when Pingru is sent to a labour camp. As they age, China undergoes extraordinary growth, political turmoil and cultural change. When Meitang passes away in 2008, Pingru memorialises his wife and their relationship the only way he knows how: painting. In an outpouring of love and grief, he puts it all on paper. It’s a tale at once tragic and inspiring, of enduring love and simple values, an old-fashioned story that unfolds in a nation rapidly becoming modern. Spanning from 1923 to 2008, Our Story is a truly singular graphic memoir.

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.

Inglorious Empire

Shashi Tharoor (Author)

The Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller on India's experience of British colonialism, by the internationally-acclaimed author and diplomat Shashi Tharoor

'Tharoor's impassioned polemic slices straight to the heart of the darkness that drives all empires ... laying bare the grim, and high, cost of the British Empire for its former subjects. An essential read' Financial Times

In the eighteenth century, India's share of the world economy was as large as Europe's. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. The Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalised racism, and caused millions to die from starvation.

British imperialism justified itself as enlightened despotism for the benefit of the governed, but Shashi Tharoor takes demolishes this position, demonstrating how every supposed imperial 'gift' - from the railways to the rule of law - was designed in Britain's interests alone. He goes on to show how Britain's Industrial Revolution was founded on India's deindustrialisation, and the destruction of its textile industry.

In this bold and incisive reassessment of colonialism, Tharoor exposes to devastating effect the inglorious reality of Britain's stained Indian legacy.

Enemies and Neighbours

Ian Black (Author)

A century after Britain's Balfour Declaration promised a Jewish 'national home' in Palestine, veteran Guardian journalist Ian Black has produced a major new history of one of the most polarising conflicts of the modern age.

Drawing on a wide range of sources - from declassified documents to oral testimonies and his own decades of reporting - Enemies and Neighbours brings much-needed perspective and balance to the long and unresolved struggle between Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land.

Beginning in the final years of Ottoman ruleand the British Mandate period, when Zionist immigration transformed Palestine in the face of mounting Arab opposition, the book re-examines the origins of what was a doomed relationship from the start. It sheds fresh light on critical events such as the Arab rebellion of the 1930s; Israel's independence and the Palestinian catastrophe (Nakba in Arabic) of 1948; the watershed of the 1967 war; two Intifadas; the Oslo Accords and Israel's shift to the right. It traces how - after five decades of occupation, ever-expanding Jewish settlements and the construction of the West Bank 'separation wall' - hopes for a two-state solution have all but disappeared, and explores what the future might hold.

Yet Black also goes beyond the most newsworthy events - wars, violence and peace initiatives - to capture thereality of everyday life on the ground in Jerusalem and Hebron, Tel Aviv,Ramallah, Haifa and Gaza, for both sides of an unequal struggle. Lucid, timelyand gripping, Enemies and Neighbours illuminates a bitter conflict that shows no sign of ending - which is why it is so essential that we understand it.

Lost Kingdom

Serhii Plokhy (Author)

An astonishingly wide-ranging history of Russian nationalism chronicling Russia's yearning for Empire and how it has affected its politics for centuries

In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and attempted to seize a portion of Ukraine. While the world watched in outrage, this violation of national sovereignty was in fact only the latest iteration of a centuries-long effort to expand Russian boundaries and create a pan-Russian nation. In Lost Kingdom, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues that we can only understand the merging of imperialism and nationalism in Russia today by delving into its history.

Spanning over two thousand years, from the end of the Mongol rule to the present day, Plokhy shows how leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Putin have exploited existing forms of identity, warfare and territorial expansion to achieve imperial supremacy. A strikingly ambitious book, Lost Kingdom chronicles the long and belligerent history of Russia's empire and nation-building quest.

First They Killed My Father

Loung Ung (Author)

A major film, co-written and directed by Angelina Jolie

Until the age of five, Loung Ung lived in Phnom Penh, one of seven children of a high-ranking government official. She was a precocious child who loved the open city markets, fried crickets, chicken fights and being cheeky to her parents.

When Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge army stormed into Phnom Penh in April 1975, Loung's family fled their home and were eventually forced to disperse to survive. Loung was trained as a child soldier while her brothers and sisters were sent to labour camps. The surviving siblings were only finally reunited after the Vietnamese penetrated Cambodia and started to destroy the Khmer Rouge.

Bolstered by the bravery of one brother, the vision of the others and the gentle kindness of her sister, Loung forged on to create for herself a courageous new life.

First They Killed My Father is an unforgettable book told through the voice of the young and fearless Loung. It is a shocking and tragic tale of a girl who was determined to survive despite the odds.

Asia's Reckoning

Richard McGregor (Author)

The dramatic story of the relationship between the world's three largest economies, one that is shaping the future of us all, by one of the foremost experts on east Asia

For more than half a century, American power in the Pacific has successfully kept the peace. But it has also cemented the tensions in the toxic rivalry between China and Japan, consumed with endless history wars and entrenched political dynasties. Now, the combination of these forces with Donald Trump's unpredictable impulses and disdain for America's old alliances threatens to upend the region, and accelerate the unravelling of the postwar order. If the United States helped lay the postwar foundations for modern Asia, now the anchor of the global economy, Asia's Reckoning will reveal how that structure is now crumbling.

With unrivalled access to archives in the US and Asia, as well as many of the major players in all three countries, Richard McGregor has written a tale which blends the tectonic shifts in diplomacy with the domestic political trends and personalities driving them. It is a story not only of an overstretched America, but also of the rise and fall and rise of the great powers of Asia. The confrontational course on which China and Japan have increasingly set themselves is no simple spat between neighbors. And the fallout would be a political and economic tsunami, affecting manufacturing centers, trade routes, and political capitals on every continent.

Amazons

John Man (Author)

Since the time of the ancient Greeks we have been fascinated by accounts of the Amazons, an elusive tribe of hard-fighting, horse-riding female warriors. Equal to men in battle, legends claimed they cut off their right breasts to improve their archery skills and routinely killed their male children to purify their ranks.

For centuries people believed in their existence and attempted to trace their origins. Artists and poets celebrated their battles and wrote of Amazonia. Spanish explorers, carrying these tales to South America, thought they lived in the forests of the world’s greatest river, and named it after them.

In the absence of evidence, we eventually reasoned away their existence, concluding that these powerful, sexually liberated female soldiers must have been the fantastical invention of Greek myth and storytelling. Until now.

Following decades of new research and a series of groundbreaking archeological discoveries, we now know these powerful warrior queens did indeed exist. In Amazons, John Man travels to the grasslands of Central Asia, from the edge of the ancient Greek world to the borderlands of China, to discover the truth about the warrior women mythologized as Amazons.

In this deeply researched, sweeping historical epic, Man redefines our understanding of the Amazons and their culture, tracking the ancient legend into the modern world and examining its significance today.

The Penguin History of Modern Vietnam

Christopher Goscha (Author)

WINNER OF THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION'S JOHN K. FAIRBANK PRIZE

LONGLISTED FOR THE CUNDHILL HISTORY PRIZE 2017

'This is the finest single-volume history of Vietnam in English. It challenges myths, and raises questions about the socialist republic's political future' Guardian

'Powerful and compelling. Vietnam will be of growing importance in the twenty-first-century world, particularly as China and the US rethink their roles in Asia. Christopher Goscha's book is a brilliant account of that country's history.' - Rana Mitter

'A vigorous, eye-opening account of a country of great importance to the world, past and future' - Kirkus Reviews

Over the centuries the Vietnamese have beenboth colonizers themselves and the victims of colonization by others. Their country expanded, shrunk, split and sometimes disappeared, often under circumstances far beyond their control. Despite these often overwhelming pressures, Vietnam has survived as one of Asia's most striking and complex cultures.

As more and more visitors come to this extraordinary country, there has been for some years a need for a major history - a book which allows the outsider to understand the many layers left by earlier emperors, rebels, priests and colonizers. Christopher Goscha's new work amply fills this role. Drawing on a lifetime of thinking about Indo-China, he has created a narrative which is consistently seen from 'inside' Vietnam but never loses sight of the connections to the 'outside'. As wave after wave of invaders - whether Chinese, French, Japanese or American - have been ultimately expelled, we see the terrible cost to the Vietnamese themselves. Vietnam's role in one of the Cold War's longest conflicts has meant that its past has been endlessly abused for propaganda purposes and it is perhaps only now that the events which created the modern state can be seen from a truly historical perspective.

Christopher Goscha draws on the latest research and discoveries in Vietnamese, French and English. His book is a major achievement, describing both the grand narrative of Vietnam's story but also the byways, curiosities, differences, cultures and peoples that have done so much over the centuries to define the many versions of Vietnam.

The Souls of China

Ian Johnson (Author)

'Masterfully opens up a little explored realm: how the quest for religion and spirituality drives hundreds of millions of Chinese' Pankaj Mishra

'A fascinating odyssey ... a nuanced group portrait of Chinese citizens striving for non-material answers in an era of frenetic materialism' Julia Lovell, Guardian

'The reappearance and flourishing of religion is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the dramatic changes in China in recent decades...this is a beautiful, moving and insightful book' Michael Szonyi

In no society on Earth was there such a ferocious attempt to eradicate all trace of religion as in modern China. But now, following a century of violent antireligious campaigns, China is awash with new temples, churches, and mosques - as well as cults, sects, and politicians trying to harness religion for their own ends. Driving this explosion of faith is uncertainty - over what it means to be Chinese, and how to live an ethical life in a country that discarded traditional morality and is still searching for new guideposts.

The Souls of China is the result of some fifteen years of studying and travelling around China. The message of Ian Johnson's extraordinary book is that China is now experiencing a 'Great Awakening' on a vast scale. Everywhere long-suppressed religions are rebuilding, often in new forms, and reshaping the values and behaviours of entire communities.

Ian Johnson is as happy explaining the wonders of the lunar calendar as talking to the yinyang man who ensures proper burials. He visits meditation masters and the charismatic head of a Chengdu church. The result is a rich and funny work that challenges conventional wisdom about China. Xi Jinping, China's current leader, has put a return to morality and Chinese tradition at the heart of his ideas for his country - but, Johnson asks, at what point will the rapid spread of belief form an unmanageable challenge to the Party's monopoly on power?

Incarnations

Sunil Khilnani (Author)

'Incarnations makes the mind fly across time, place and history. You may smile as, mentally, you walk alongside Khilnani up some flinty slope. You will keep thinking about what he said long after' Daily Telegraph

For all of India's myths, its sea of stories and moral epics, Indian history remains a curiously unpeopled place. Sunil Khilnani's Incarnations fills that space: recapturing the human dimension of how the world's largest democracy came to be. In this stunningly illustrated and deeply researched book, accompanying his major BBC Radio 4 series, Khilnani explores the lives of 50 Indians, from the spiritualist Buddha to the capitalist Dhirubhai Ambani - lives that light up India's rich, varied past and its continuous ferment of ideas. Khilnani's trenchant portraits of emperors, warriors, philosophers, poets, stars, and corporate titans - some famous, some unjustly forgotten - bring feeling, wry humour, and uncommon insight to social dilemmas that extend from ancient times to our own.

As he journeys across the country, and through its past, Khilnani uncovers more than just history. In rocket launches and ayurvedic call centres, in slum temples and Bollywood studios, in California communes and grimy ports, he examines the continued, and often surprising, relevance of the men and women who have made India - and the world - what it is. Their stories will inform, move and entertain this book's many readers.

The New Koreans

Michael Breen (Author)

'As good a guide to a fascinating country in transformation as you will get.' Management Today

In the course of a couple of generations, South Koreans took themselves out of the paddy fields and into Silicon Valley, establishing themselves as a democracy alongside the advanced countries of the world. Yet for all their ambition and achievement, the new Koreans are a curiously self-deprecating people. Theirs is a land with a rich and complex past, certain aspects of which they would prefer to forget as they focus on the future.

Having lived and worked in South Korea for many years, Michael Breen considers what drives the nation today, and where it is heading. Through insightful anecdotes and observations, he provides a compelling portrait of Asia's most contradictory and polarized country. South Koreans are motivated by defiance, Breen argues: defiance of their antagonistic neighbour, North Korea, of their own history and of international opinion. Here is an overlooked nation with, great drive, determined to succeed on its own terms.

The Islamic Enlightenment

Christopher de Bellaigue (Author)

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE

‘Brilliant' Orhan Pamuk

'The best sort of book for our disordered days: timely, urgent and illuminating' Pankaj Mishra

'It strikes a blow … for common humanity.' Sunday Times

The Islamic Enlightenment: a contradiction in terms?

The Muslim world has often been accused of a failure to modernise, reform and adapt. But, from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day, Islamic society in its Middle Eastern heartlands has in fact been transformed by modern ideals and practices, including the adoption of modern medicine, the emergence of women from purdah and the development of democracy.

Who were the scholars and scientists, writers and politicians that brought about these remarkable changes? And why is their legacy now under threat?

Beginning with the dramatic collision of East and West following Napoleon’s arrival in Egypt, and taking us through 200 tumultuous years of Middle Eastern history, Christopher de Bellaigue introduces us to key figures and reformers; from Egypt’s visionary ruler Muhammad Ali to brave radicals like Iran’s first feminist Qurrat al-Ayn and the writer Ibrahim Sinasi, who transformed Ottoman Turkey’s language and literature.

This book tells the forgotten story of the Islamic Enlightenment. It shows us how to look beyond sensationalist headlines to foster a genuine understanding of modern Islam and Muslim culture, and is essential reading for anyone engaged with the state of the world today.

No Wall Too High

Xu Hongci (Author) , Erling Hoh (Translator)

‘ONE OF THE GREATEST ESCAPE STORIES I'VE EVER READ’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

It was one of the greatest prison breaks of all time, during one of the worst totalitarian tragedies of the 20th Century.

Xu Hongci was an ordinary medical student when he was incarcerated under Mao’s regime and forced to spend years of his youth in some of China’s most brutal labour camps. Three times he tried to escape. And three times he failed. But, determined, he eventually broke free, travelling the length of China, across the Gobi desert, and into Mongolia.

This is the extraordinary memoir of his unrelenting struggle to retain dignity, integrity and freedom; but also the untold story of what life was like for ordinary people trapped in the chaos of the Cultural Revolution.

A History of the Crusades I

Steven Runciman (Author)

The first volume of Steven Runciman's classic, hugely influential trilogy on the history of the Crusades

'On a February day in the year AD 638 the Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem, riding upon a white camel'

An enthralling work of grand historical narrative, Steven Runciman's A History of the Crusades overturned the traditional view of the Crusades as a romantic Christian adventure, and instead shifted the focus of the story to the East. With verve and drama, volume one of Runciman's trilogy tells the story of the First Crusade - from its unlikely beginnings in pilgrimage to the horrors of the siege of Jerusalem and the carving out of new territory on the edge of the eastern Mediterranean.

'Without question one of the major feats of contemporary historical writing' The New York Times

'The historian whose magisterial works transformed our understanding of Byzantium, the medieval church and the crusades' Guardian

A History of the Crusades II

Steven Runciman (Author)

The second volume of Steven Runciman's classic, hugely influential trilogy on the history of the Crusades

'There was magic about. Saladin himself was troubled by terrible dreams...'

Steven Runciman's unrivalled history of the Crusades is a classic of learning and vivid, compelling storytelling, which brilliantly brings to life the personalities, battles, massacres, triumphs and follies of these epochal events. In this second volume of his trilogy Runciman tells the story of the foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the disastrous, bloody Second Crusade and the inexorable rise of the crusaders' nemesis, Saladin.

'The pre-eminent historian of the Byzantine Empire and of the Crusades ... a surefooted guide who could render the past visible and familiar' Daily Telegraph

'He tells his story plain ... always pleasurable to read' Gore Vidal

A History of the Crusades III

Steven Runciman (Author)

The third volume of Steven Runciman's classic, hugely influential trilogy on the history of the Crusades

'The whole tale is one of faith and folly, courage and greed, hope and disillusion'

Steven Runciman's triumphant three-volume A History of the Crusades remains an unsurpassed account of the events that changed the world and continue to resonate today. This final volume of the trilogy begins with the glamorous Third Crusade and ends with the ruinous collapse of the crusader states and the degeneration of their ideals, which reached its nadir in the tragic destruction of Byzantium.

'When historical events are written about with this sort of command, they take on not only the universality of a fairy tale but also a certain moral weight. Runciman writes both seductively and instructively about the dignity and beauty of different religious beliefs and about the difficulties of their co-existence' Independent

The Ottoman Endgame

Sean McMeekin (Author)

'An outstanding history ... one of the best writers on the First World War' Simon Sebag Montefiore

Shortlisted for the Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature

The Ottoman Endgame is the first, and definitive, single-volume history of the Ottoman empire's agonising war for survival. Beginning with Italy's invasion of Ottoman Tripoli in September 1911, the Empire was in a permanent state of emergency, with hardly a frontier not under direct threat. Assailed by enemies on all sides, the Empire-which had for generations been assumed to be a rotten shell-proved to be strikingly resilient, beating off major attacks at Gallipoli and in Mesopotamia before finally being brought down in the general ruin of the Central Powers in 1918.

As the Europeans planned to partition all its lands between them and with even Istanbul seemingly helpless in the face of the triumphant Entente, an absolutely unexpected entity emerged: modern Turkey. Under the startling genius of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a powerful new state emerged from the Empire's fragments.

This is the first time an author has woven the entire epic together from start to finish - and it will cause many readers to fundamentally re-evaluate their understanding of the conflict. The consequences, well into the 21st century, could not have been more momentous - with countries as various as Serbia, Greece, Libya, Armenia, Iraq and Syria still living with them.

Generation Revolution

Rachel Aspden (Author)

In 2003, Rachel Aspden arrived in Egypt as a 23-year-old trainee journalist. She found a country on the brink of change. Of Egypt's 80 million citizens, two-thirds were under 30. The new generation were stifled, broken and frustrated – caught between a dictatorship with nothing to offer them and autocratic parents still clinging to tradition and obedience after a lifetime of fear.

In January 2011, the young people’s patience ran out. They thought the revolution that followed would change everything for them. But as violence escalated, the economy collapsed and as the united front against Mubarak shattered into sectarianism, many found themselves wavering, hesitant to discard the old ways.

What happens when a revolution unravels?

Why is a generation raised on Hollywood movies and global brand names turning to religion?

How do you choose between sex and tradition, consumerism and faith?

Why would people who once chanted for freedom support a military state?

And where will the next generation take the Middle East?

Following the stories of four young Egyptians – Amr the atheist software engineer, Amal the village girl who defied her family and her entire community, Ayman the one-time religious extremist and Ruqayah the would-be teenage martyr – Generation Revolution unravels the complex forces shaping the lives of young people caught between tradition and modernity, and what their stories mean for the future of the Middle East.

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