106 results 21-40
In 1919, Nancy Astor became the first woman to take a seat in parliament.
She was not what had been expected. Far from a virago who had suffered for the cause of female suffrage, she was already near the centre of the ruling society that had for so long resisted the political upheavals of the early twentieth century, having married into the family of one of the richest men in the world. She was not even British. She would prove to be a trailblazer and beacon for the generations of women who would follow her into Parliament.
This new biography charts Nancy Astor's incredible story, from penury in the American South, to a lifestyle of the most immense riches, from the luxury of Edwardian England, through the 'Jazz Age', and on towards the Second World War: a world of great country estates, lavish town houses and the most sumptuous entertainments, peopled by the most famous and powerful names of the age. But hers was not only the life of power, glamour and easy charm: it was also defined by principles and bravery, by war and sacrifice, by love and bitter disputes.
With glorious, page-turning brio, Adrian Fort has brought to life this restless, controversial American dynamo, an unforgettable woman who left a deep and lasting imprint on the political life of our nation.
For decades, Colombia was the 'narcostate'. Now it's seen as one of the rising stars of the global economy. Where does the truth lie? How did a land likened to paradise by the first conquistadores become a byword for hell on earth? And how is it rebuilding itself after decades of violence?
Writer and journalist Tom Feiling has journeyed throughout Colombia, down roads that were until recently too dangerous to travel, talking to people from former guerrilla fighters to nomadic tribesmen and millionaires. Vital, shocking, wry and never simplistic, Short Walks from Bogota unpicks the tangled fabric of Colombia to create a stunning work of reportage, history and travel writing.
Books of the Year 2012 Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
'Creates a portrait of Colombia that is perceptive, unsensational, and full of humanity ... Feiling is a brilliant reporter, lucid, unflinching, morally engaged, and with an occasional deadpan sense of humour .. one of the most consistently intelligent and compelling books to have appeared on any South American country in recent years' Michael Jacobs, Independent
'Tom Feiling takes us on an enlightening journey through a changing country that few understand' Rachel Aspden, Observer
'A deeply political account of one man's journey to the violent heart of modern, rural, Colombia ... a must read' Kevin Howlett, Colombia Politics
'Feiling... venture[s] into areas that have been off limits for decades ... the sense of a vibrant nation worth discovering peeks out' Siobhan Murphy, Metro
'The best British travel writers like Norman Lewis or Bruce Chatwin give the reader more than simple travellers' tales. Feiling is of their company ... a brilliant, penetrating and highly readable account' Robert Carver, Spectator
Some of the best insights in the book come from the people Feiling meets, and memorably portrays ... a well-written, thoughtful book David Gallagher, Times Literary Supplement
Dramatic and captivating Wanderlust
'Elegantly written and knowledgeable. Feiling writes with the eye of a seasoned journalist and the style of a travel writer' Carl Wilkinson, Financial Times
Tom Feiling spent a year living and working in Colombia before making Resistencia: Hip-Hop in Colombia, which won numerous awards at film festivals around the world, and was broadcast in four countries. In 2003 he became Campaigns Director for the TUC's Justice for Colombia campaign, which organizes for human rights in Colombia. His first book was The Candy Machine: How Cocaine Took Over The World, which was based on over sixty interviews with people involved in all aspects of the cocaine business and the 'war on drugs,' and was published by Penguin in 2009.
What lights the spark that ignites a revolution?
What was it that, in 1775, provoked a group of merchants, farmers, artisans and mariners in the American colonies to unite and take up arms against the British government in pursuit of liberty?
Nathaniel Philbrick, the acclaimed historian and bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea and The Last Stand, shines new and brilliant light on the momentous beginnings of the American Revolution, and those individuals – familiar and unknown, and from both sides – who played such a vital part in the early days of the conflict that would culminate in the defining Battle of Bunker Hill.
Written with passion and insight, even-handedness and the eloquence of a born storyteller, Bunker Hill brings to life the robust, chaotic and blisteringly real origins of America.
He knew nothing of celestial navigation or of the existence of the Pacific Ocean. He was a self-promoting and ambitious entrepreneur. His maps were a hybrid of fantasy and delusion. When he did make land, he enslaved the populace he found, encouraged genocide, and polluted relations between peoples. He ended his career in near lunacy.
But Columbus had one asset that made all the difference, an inborn sense of the sea, of wind and weather, and of selecting the optimal course to get from A to B. Laurence Bergreen's energetic and bracing book gives the whole Columbus and most importantly, the whole of his career, not just the highlight of 1492. Columbus undertook three more voyages between 1494 and 1504, each designed to demonstrate that he could sail to China within a matter of weeks and convert those he found there to Christianity. By their conclusion, Columbus was broken in body and spirit, a hero undone by the tragic flaw of pride. If the first voyage illustrates the rewards of exploration, this book shows how the subsequent voyages illustrate the costs - political, moral, and economic.
Published: 28 Feb 2013
Team of Rivals is a brilliant, multi-million selling biography, now the inspiration for a major Stephen Spielberg film starring Daniel Day-Lewis
'A wonderful book . . . a remarkable study in leadership'
'The most uplifting book that I have read in the last two decades. Sensational'
Team of Rivals shows how Abraham Lincoln saved Civil War-torn America by appointing his fiercest rivals to key cabinet positions.
As well as a thrilling piece of narrative history, it's an inspiring study of one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen.
'I have not enjoyed a history book as much for years'
'A brilliant book ... I couldn't get enough of it'
Sir Alex Ferguson
'A fabulously engrossing, exciting narrative in the grand old style ... overflowing with colour and character'
'A portrait of Lincoln as a virtuosic politician and managerial genius'
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
Published: 29 Nov 2012
Indian Peter is the remarkable story of Peter Williamson, who, in 1743 at the age of 13, was snatched from an Aberdeen quayside and transported to the burgeoning American colonies to be sold into indentured servitude. Unlike many others who found themselves in similar circumstances, Peter was fortunate to be bought by a humane man who left him money when he died, enabling him to buy his own farm after marrying.
According to Peter's own account, his farm was attacked in 1754, during what became known as the French and Indian War, and he was captured by the Indians, who forced him to travel with them as a slave. After escaping, he joined the British Army to fight the French and their Indian allies but his regiment was forced to surrender and he was taken to Canada as a prisoner of war.
When he was eventually freed, Peter made his way back to Scotland and tracked down the men who were behind his initial kidnapping. He accused them publicly and took them to court in a landmark case that exposed the scandal of slave trading.
Once settled in Edinburgh, Peter became a publican, writer, publisher and entrepreneur. He developed Edinburgh's first Penny Post system, launched a weekly magazine and shamelessly exploited his experiences for profit.
Brimming with action and adventure, Indian Peter is a true-life tale of abduction, war and courtroom drama. It is an inspiring story of courage, fortitude and one man's determination to survive against seemingly insurmountable odds.
Published: 14 Sep 2012
Berlin,1933. William E. Dodd, a mild-mannered academic from Chicago, has to his own and everyone else's surprise, become America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany, in a year that proves to be a turning point in history.
Dodd and his family, notably his vivacious daughter, Martha, observe at first-hand the many changes - some subtle, some disturbing, and some horrifically violent - that signal Hitler's consolidation of power. Dodd has little choice but to associate with key figures in the Nazi party, his increasingly concerned cables make little impact on an indifferent U.S. State Department, while Martha is drawn to the Nazis and their vision of a 'New Germany' and has a succession of affairs with senior party players, including first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels.
But as the year darkens, Dodd and his daughter find their lives transformed and any last illusion they might have about Hitler are shattered by the violence of the 'Night of the Long Knives' in the summer of 1934 that established him as supreme dictator. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the times, and with brilliant portraits of Hitler, Goebbels, Goering and Himmler amongst others, Erik Larson's new book sheds unique light on events as they unfold, resulting in an unforgettable, addictively readable work of narrative history.
Whether you know him as El Amigo, the Banana Man, the Gringo, or simply Z - whether you even know him at all - Sam Zemurray lived one of the greatest untold American stories of the last hundred years.
A tough, uneducated Russian Jew who found himself and his fortune in turn-of-the-century New Orleans, Zemurray built a fruit-selling empire hustling rotting fruit to market to eke out the slimmest profit, to eventually become a backchannel kingmaker and capitalist revolutionary. The Fish That Ate the Whale spans the transition from Old-World business to New-: from privateer adventurers seeking fortunes in remote frontiers, to buccaneers of high finance and wars fought with media, no-bid contracts, and necessary illusions.
Part of what makes this book so remarkable - and its dubious hero so compelling - is the almost invisible ease with which Cohen's threads intertwine to create a larger pattern that seems so obvious once you step back to see it. Z's story spans the birth of modern foreign relations, the creation of the CIA, smuggling dispossessed Jews out of Europe, the invention of Israel, corporate espionage, the Bay of Pigs, political assassination, and the unspoken motives of the Cold War. It is a twentieth-century epic, and standing at its core is a man unlike any we've seen before or since, who, for good or ill, looked at what was, but saw only what was possible.
Published: 19 Jul 2012
Published: 31 May 2012
All-powerful, brilliant, decisive, ruthlessly effective ... this is the image of the CIA as portrayed in countless films and novels. It is wrong.
This shocking book, based on thousands of declassified documents and interviews with agents at all levels, shows the reality behind the glamorous myth: a blundering, chaotic and dangerously incompetent organization, so ineffective it was nicknamed 'Can't Identify Anything' by Nato forces. In a story of botched coups, missed targets, lost operatives and fatal errors, Tim Weiner shows how the CIA now poses a threat not only to the security of the US, but the world.
The Atlantic and its Enemies is Norman Stone's personal, uncompromising and provocative history of how the West 'won' the Cold War.
For decades after the end of the Second World War, most of the globe either laboured under Communist rule or else was lost in a violent stagnancy that seemed doomed to permanence. For every Atlantic success there seemed to be a dozen Communist or Third World successes, as the USSR and its proxies, whether in Berlin, Cuba, Vietnam or China, crushed dissent and humiliated the United States on both military and cultural grounds.
Then, suddenly, the Atlantic won - economically, ideologically, militarily - with astonishing speed and comprehensiveness.
With wit and brio, Norman Stone's The Atlantic and its Enemies offers a unique perspective on events, from Vietnam to glasnost, and draws on his own experiences - such as his time in a Slovak prison - to show both the tragedy and the absurdity of the struggle that divided the world for over forty years.
'Opinionated, mischievous, enthralling ... an exhilarating read'
Boyd Tonkin, Independent
'Lively, idiosyncratic, rollicking'
Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Observer
'Masterly ... the one book that anyone who wants to understand the Cold War must read'
John Gray, New Statesman
'A swashbuckling survey of the cold war'
Mark Mazower, Financial Times
'[Stone] has a terrific eye for detail, bringing to life everything from the ruins of Germany to Ronald Reagan's White House with a wonderfully waspish turn of phrase'
Norman Stone is one of Britain's most celebrated historians. He is the author of The Eastern Front, 1914-1917, Hitler: An Introduction, Europe Transformed and World War One: A Short History.
In this remarkable book, Jack Rakove offers a new and revealing perspective on the men who shaped the idea of an American nation. Each portrait brims with fresh and fascinating insights: Washington as a flawed tactician but expert manager; Jack Laurens as a slave trader's son who developed a plan to recruit black soldiers; Jefferson as a powerful critic of Europe's social order but a voracious consumer of its culture.
Spanning the most crucial decades of the country's birth, Revolutionaries uses the stories of famous (and not so famous) men to capture - in a way no single biography ever could - the intensely creative period of the republic's founding.
By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution.
Published: 7 Jul 2011
The twentieth century has been called 'the American Century'. Not since the days of the Roman emperors has there been such a succession of rulers holding the fate of the world in their hands. Now, award-winning biographer Nigel Hamilton gives us the lives of the twelve men, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush, who presided over America's imperial fortunes - the good, the bad and the truly awful.
How did these American Caesars reach the White House? What were the challenges they faced when they got there and how did they meet them? And who were these men in their private lives?
Compulsively readable, packed with unforgettable characters as well as stories, lessons and revelations, American Caears is essential reading for our times.
This is the archetypal story of the American West. Whether it is cast as a tale of unmatched bravery in the face of impossible odds or of insane arrogance receiving its rightful comeuppance, Custer's Last Stand continues to captivate the imagination.
Nathaniel Philbrick brilliantly reconstructs the build-up to the Battle of the Little Big Horn through to the final eruption of violence. Two legendary figures dominate the events: George Armstrong Custer and Sitting Bull. Those involved are brought vividly to life, as well as the history, geography and haunting beauty of the Great Plains.
This book provides a thrilling account of what happened there - and why - at the end of June 1876.
'No two nations have ever existed on the face of the earth which could do each other so much good or so much harm'
President Buchanan, State of the Nation Address, 1859
A World on Fire tells, with extraordinary sweep, one of the least known great stories of British and American history.
As America descended into Civil War, British loyalties were torn between support for the North, which was against slavery, and defending the South, which portrayed itself as bravely fighting for its independence. Rallying to their respective causes, thousands of Britons went to America as soldiers - fighting for both Union and Confederacy - racing ships through the Northern blockades, and as observers, nurses, adventurers, guerillas and spies.
At the heart of this international conflict lay a complicated and at times tortuous relationship between four individuals: Lord Lyons, the painfully shy British Ambassador in Washington; William Seward, the blustering US Secretary of State; Charles Francis Adams, the dry but fiercely patriotic U.S. ambassador in London; and the restless and abrasive Foreign Secretary Lord John Russell. Despite their efforts, and sometimes as a result of them, America and Britain came within a whisker of declaring war on each other twice in four years.
The diplomatic story is only one element in this gloriously multifaceted book. Using a wealth of previously unpublished letters and journals, Amanda Foreman gives fresh accounts of Civil War battles by seeing them through the eyes of British journalists and myriad soldiers on both sides, from flamboyant cavalry commanders to forcibly conscripted private soldiers. She also shows how the War took place in England, from the Confederacy's secret ship-building programme in Liverpool to the desperate efforts of its propagandists and emissaries - male and female - to influence British public opinion. She even shows how one of the most famous set-piece naval encounters of the War was fought, remarkably, in the English Channel.
Foreman tells this epic yet intimate story of enormous personalities, tense diplomacy and torn loyalties as history in the round, captivating her readers with the experience of total immersion in this titanic conflict.
Hellhound on His Trail is the story of two very different men whose lives catastrophically interweaved over the course of some nine months in the late 1960s: one was a thief and con man called James Earl Ray, the other one of the greatest American figures of the twentieth century, Martin Luther King Jr.
Hampton Sides follows in Ray's footsteps as he escapes from prison, creates a new identity for himself and becomes convinced of his mission to kill King. Hellhound on His Trail is equally the story of King himself in his last months, fighting to keep his ideals alive in the face of intensive FBI surveillance and his own exhausted frustration.
With relentless storytelling drive, Sides follows Ray and King as they crisscross the country, one stalking the other, until the fateful moment, on 4 April 1968 at a Memphis hotel, when the drifter finally caught up with his prey. Nationwide riots were sparked by the assassination, followed by the largest manhunt in American history.
Published: 7 Apr 2011
More than 27 million Americans today can trace their lineage to the Scots, whose bloodline was stained by centuries of continuous warfare along the border between England and Scotland, and later in the bitter settlements of England's Ulster Plantation in Northern Ireland.
When hundreds of thousands of Scots-Irish migrated to America in the eighteenth century, they brought with them not only long experience as rebels and outcasts but also unparalleled skills as frontiersmen and guerrilla fighters. Their cultural identity reflected acute individualism, dislike of aristocracy and a military tradition; and, over time, the Scots-Irish defined the attitudes and values of the military, of working-class America and even of the peculiarly populist form of American democracy itself.
Born Fighting is the first book to chronicle the epic journey of this remarkable ethnic group and the profound but unrecognised role it has played in shaping the social, political and cultural landscape of America from its beginnings through to the present day.
Published: 25 Jan 2011
The celebrated Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of America. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one-volume life, he carries the reader through Washington's troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian Wars, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention and his magnificent performance as America's first president.
Despite the reverence his name inspires Washington remains a waxwork to many readers, worthy but dull, a laconic man of remarkable self-control. But in this groundbreaking work Chernow revises forever the uninspiring stereotype. He portrays Washington as a strapping, celebrated horseman, elegant dancer and tireless hunter, who guarded his emotional life with intriguing ferocity. Not only did Washington gather around himself the foremost figures of the age, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, he orchestrated their actions to help realise his vision for the new federal government, define the separation of powers, and establish the office of the presidency.
Ron Chernow takes us on a page-turning journey through all the formative events of America's founding. This is a magisterial work from one of America's foremost writers and historians.
Published: 2 Dec 2010
The first part of his trilogy on the Spanish Empire, Hugh Thomas's Rivers of Gold brings the rise of Spain's global empire vividly to life, capturing the spirit of an ebullient age.
Inspired by hopes of both riches and of converting native people to Christianity, the Spanish adventurers of the fifteenth century convinced themselves that an Earthly Paradise existed in the Caribbean. This is the story of the hundreds of conquistadors who set sail on the precarious journey across the Atlantic - taking with them wheat, the horse, the guitar and the wheel as well as guns, malaria and slaves - to create an empire that made Spain the envy of the world.
'Affirms Hugh Thomas's record as one of the most productive and wide-ranging historians of modern times'
The New York Times
'Splendid ... bold and strong in its outlines, rich in fasinating details'
Paul Johnson, Literary Review
'So steeped is he in the spirit of the time, so familiar with its people and places that we almost feel he must have been there at the time'
'A vivid, dramatic and compelling narrative'
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr
'As a historian, Thomas is master of the big picture ... Rivers of Gold sweeps us restlessly on'
Jonathan Keates, Spectator
'An epic history of an extraordinary age'
Michael Kerrigan, Scotsman
Hugh Thomas is the author of, among other books, The Spanish Civil War (1962) which won the Somerset Maugham Award, Conquest: Montezuma, Cortés and the Fall of Old Mexico (1994), An Unfinished History of the World (1979) and The Slave Trade (1997). The second volume of his planned trilogy on the Spanish Empire, The Golden Age: The Spanish Empire of Charles V was published in 2011.