570 results 1-20

Double Crossed

Brian Wood (Author)

Honoured by the Queen. Rewarded with betrayal.

At the age of 23, with his superiors killed or wounded, Brian Wood was thrust into the front line in Iraq, in the infamous Battle of Danny Boy. Under ambush, he led a bayonet charge across open ground with at least 30 insurgents firing at just three soldiers. On his return, he was awarded the Military Cross.

But Brian's story had only just begun. Struggling to re-integrate into family life, he suffered severe PTSD. Then, five years later, a letter arrived: it accused him of a series of atrocities and prisoner executions.

After five years of public shame, Brian took the stand in the High Court. His powerful testimony was praised by the judge and instantly led to full vindication. Phil Shiner, the corrupt lawyer who made the accusations, was struck off.

In this compelling memoir, Brian speaks powerfully and movingly about the three battles in his life, from being ambushed with no cover, to the mental battle to adjust at home, to being falsely accused of hideous war crimes. It’s a remarkable and dark curve which ends with his honour restored but, as he says, it was too little, too late.

Big Week

James Holland (Author)

'James Holland is a master' BBC History

It was to be the battle to end the air war once and for all . . .

In the autumn of 1943, the campaign against Germany had reached crisis point. Despite the fact that more bombs were falling on the Reich than ever before, plummeting morale and appalling winter weather were hampering the Allies’ raids. Both the US Eighth Air Force and RAF Bomber Command were suffering catastrophic losses and many began to question whether the bomber campaign was worth the terrible sacrifice.

Something had to be done, and fast.

Big Week tells the story of the moment the air war turned. By the start of 1944, new commanders, new tactics and, crucially, new aircraft were all in place. The result, in the third week of February, was the largest aerial battle of the war.

Following the fortunes of both sides, from commanders to air crews and civilians, Big Week casts fresh light on that week-long battle and reasserts its vital importance in the final outcome of the war. Drawing on little-known material, including long-ignored archival sources, this book provides a new perspective on the German defence of the Reich and a thrilling look at one of the most brutal, violent and dramatic air battles of the Second World War.

The Desert War

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

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, The Desert War is an accessible. insightful and authoritative introduction to the standoff between the Axis and Allies in the harsh deserts of North Africa.

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 of how the British blunted Mussolini's ambitions in Africa, making Italy a liability rather than an asset to Germany.

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.

The Eastern Front 1941-44

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

Part of the Ladybird Expert History of the Second World War series, The Eastern Front 1941-1944, is an authoritative and accessible introduction to the brutal confrontation between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union along a 1,200 mile front.

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 of the largest military campaign in history.

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.

Nuclear Deterrence

Lawrence Freedman (Author)

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Nuclear Deterrence is an accessible and authoritative introduction to the deterrent tactics employed to prevent war, drawing on the unprecedented power of nuclear weapons.

Written by celebrated historian and professor of War Studies Sir Lawrence Freedman, Nuclear Deterrence explores the history behind the world's most lethal weapon.

You'll learn the criticism against the development of nuclear weapons, how the shift in global political power from the Cold War to the current arms crisis has shaped defensive strategies, and what implications nuclear weapons bear on the future of warfare.

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 Certain Idea of France

Julian Jackson (Author)

The definitive biography of the greatest French statesman of modern times

In six weeks in the early summer of 1940, France was over-run by German troops and quickly surrendered. The French government of Marshal Pétain sued for peace and signed an armistice. One little-known junior French general, refusing to accept defeat, made his way to England. On 18 June he spoke to his compatriots over the BBC, urging them to rally to him in London. 'Whatever happens, the flame of French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished.' At that moment, Charles de Gaulle entered into history.

For the rest of the war, de Gaulle frequently bit the hand that fed him. He insisted on being treated as the true embodiment of France, and quarrelled violently with Churchill and Roosevelt. He was prickly, stubborn, aloof and self-contained. But through sheer force of personality and bloody-mindedness he managed to have France recognised as one of the victorious Allies, occupying its own zone in defeated Germany. For ten years after 1958 he was President of France's Fifth Republic, which he created and which endures to this day. His pursuit of 'a certain idea of France' challenged American hegemony, took France out of NATO and twice vetoed British entry into the European Community. His controversial decolonization of Algeria brought France to the brink of civil war and provoked several assassination attempts.

Julian Jackson's magnificent biography reveals this the life of this titanic figure as never before. It draws on a vast range of published and unpublished memoirs and documents - including the recently opened de Gaulle archives - to show how de Gaulle achieved so much during the War when his resources were so astonishingly few, and how, as President, he put a medium-rank power at the centre of world affairs. No previous biography has depicted his paradoxes so vividly. Much of French politics since his death has been about his legacy, and he remains by far the greatest French leader since Napoleon.

Kursk

Robert Moore (Author)

At 11.30 a.m. on Saturday 12 August 2000, two massive explosions roared through the shallow Arctic waters of the Barents Sea. The Kursk, pride of the Northern Fleet and the largest attack submarine in the world, was hurtling towards the ocean floor.

In Kursk (originally published as A Time to Die), award-winning journalist Robert Moore vividly recreates this disaster minute by minute. Venturing into a covert world where the Cold War continues out of sight, Moore investigates the military and political background to the tragedy. But above all, he tells the nail-bitingly poignant human story of the families waiting ashore, of the desperate efforts of British, Norwegian and Russian rescuers, and of the Kursk sailors, trapped in the aft compartnemt, waiting for rescue, as a horrified world followed their battle to stay alive . . .

Arnhem

Antony Beevor (Author)

The great airborne battle for the bridges in 1944 by Britain's Number One bestselling historian

On 17 September 1944, General Kurt Student, the founder of Nazi Germany's parachute forces, heard the growing roar of aeroplane engines. He went out on to his balcony above the flat landscape of southern Holland to watch the air armada of Dakotas and gliders carrying the British 1st Airborne and the American 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions. He gazed up in envy at this massive demonstration of paratroop power.

Operation Market Garden, the plan to end the war by capturing the bridges leading to the Lower Rhine and beyond, was a bold concept: the Americans thought it unusually bold for Field Marshal Montgomery. But could it ever have worked? The cost of failure was horrendous, above all for the Dutch, who risked everything to help. German reprisals were pitiless and cruel, and lasted until the end of the war.

The British fascination with heroic failure has clouded the story of Arnhem in myths. Antony Beevor, using often overlooked sources from Dutch, British, American, Polish and German archives, has reconstructed the terrible reality of the fighting, which General Student himself called 'The Last German Victory'. Yet this book, written in Beevor's inimitable and gripping narrative style, is about much more than a single, dramatic battle.
It looks into the very heart of war.

The Passage to India

Allan Mallinson (Author)

It is 1831, riots and rebellions are widespread . . .

In England, the new government is facing protests against the attempts of the Tory-dominated House of Lords to thwart the passing of the Reform Bill. In India, relations are strained between the presidency of Madras and some of the neighbouring princely states.

Having taken command of the action in Bristol to restore order after one of the bloodiest and most destructive riots in the nation's history, Lieutenant-Colonel Matthew Hervey is out of favour with the new government. But then his old friend, Sir Eyre Somervile, offers him a lifeline. Somervile has persuaded the Court of Directors of the East India Company to approve an increase in the Madras military establishment. Hervey and the 6th Light Dragoons are sent to the princely state of Coorg. The Rajah is in revolt against the East India Company’s terms and Hervey’s regiment is called upon to crush the rebellion. With the stakes raised by an unexpected visitation from his past, for Hervey the question is whether he and his men will get out of this brutal war unscathed?

A Spy Named Orphan

Roland Philipps (Author)

Donald Maclean was a star diplomat, an establishment insider and a keeper of some of the West's greatest secrets.

He was also a Russian spy, driven by passionately held beliefs, whose betrayal and defection to Moscow reverberated for decades.

Christened ‘Orphan’ by his Russian recruiter, Maclean was the perfect spy and Britain’s most gifted traitor. But as he leaked huge amounts of top-secret intelligence, an international code-breaking operation was rapidly closing in on him. Moments before he was unmasked, Maclean vanished.

Drawing on a wealth of previously classified material, Roland Philipps now tells this story for the first time in full. Philipps unravels Maclean’s character and contradictions: a childhood that was simultaneously liberal and austere; a Cambridge education mixing in Communist circles; a polished diplomat with a tendency to wild binges; a marriage complicated by secrets; an accelerated rise through the Foreign Office and, above all, a gift for deception.

Taking us back to the golden age of espionage, A Spy Named Orphan reveals the impact of one of the most dangerous and enigmatic Soviet agents of the twentieth century, whose actions heightened the tensions of the Cold War.

Death in Spring

Mercè Rodoreda (Author) , Martha Tennent (Translator)

With an introduction by Colm Tóibín

'I threw myself on the ground, on top of the pebbles, my heart drained of blood, my hands icy. I was fourteen years old, and the man who had entered the tree to die was my father.'

Death in Spring is a dark and dream-like tale of a young boy's coming of age in a remote town in the Catalan mountains; a town where time is eternal, where cruel customs are blindly followed, and attempts at rebellion swiftly crushed. When his father dies, he must follow the town's bizarre rituals in a journey towards adulthood, his stepmother his only ally, until he seeks freedom of his own. Often seen as an allegory for life under a dictatorship, Death in Spring is an unforgettable and utterly bewitching novel about power, exile, and the hope that comes from even the smallest gestures of independence.

Wade in the Water

Tracy K. Smith (Author)

Even the men in black armor, the ones
Jangling handcuffs and keys, what else

Are they so buffered against, if not love's blade
Sizing up the heart's familiar meat?

In Wade in the Water, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith's signature voice - inquisitive, lyrical and wry - turns over what it means to be a citizen, a mother and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men and violence. The various connotations of the title, taken from a spiritual once sung on the Underground Railroad which smuggled slaves to safety in 19th-century America, resurface throughout the book, binding past and present together. Collaged voices and documents recreate both the correspondence between slave owners and the letters sent home by African Americans enlisted in the US Civil War. Survivors' reports attest to the experiences of recent immigrants and refugees. Accounts of near-death experiences intertwine with the modern-day fallout of a corporation's illegal pollution of a major river and the surrounding land; and, in a series of beautiful lyrical pieces, the poet's everyday world and the growth and flourishing of her daughter are observed with a tender and witty eye. Marrying the contemporary and the historical to a sense of the transcendent, haunted and holy, this is a luminous book by one of America's essential poets.

The Death of Democracy

Benjamin Carter Hett (Author)

‘Brilliant. A timely reminder of the fragility of democracy and the dangers of extreme nationalism.’ Nikolaus Wachsmann, author of KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps

'In this post-truth, alternative-facts American moment, The Death of Democracy is essential reading.’ Kurt Andersen, author of Fantasyland

‘An outstanding accomplishment.’ Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland

A revelatory account of the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler, based on new and award-winning research, and recently discovered archival material.

Drawing on individual stories to illustrate its broader arguments, The Death of Democracy examines the reasons for the fall of one of the most progressive governments in twentieth-century Europe, and the rise of the most terrifying. It focuses on the global dimension of the Nazi phenomenon, as a part of a widespread reaction against a world order of triumphant, cosmopolitan liberal democracy and capitalism after the First World War. This world situation pushed its opponents to embrace authoritarianism, nationalism and economic self-sufficiency, kick starting a revolution reliant upon the innovative exploitation of new media technologies, and the formidable political and self-promotional skills of its leader.

The Death of Democracy is an authoritative and panoramic new survey of one of the most pivotal periods in modern history, and a book with a clear and important message for the world today.

Joseph Gray’s Camouflage

Mary Horlock (Author)

'Art? What has art ever done for us as a family?'

In the First World War, artist-soldier Joseph Gray drew and painted scenes of battle, his illustrations appearing in the popular press and his canvases sold to museums. But after struggling through the next decade and facing the threat of another war, Joseph had found a secret new calling: the art of camouflage.

As he went from representing reality to disguising it, Joseph’s growing interest in camouflage concealed another, deeper subterfuge. He was leading a double life, and would eventually leave his family for the woman that he loved.

Joseph Gray’s Camouflage is a multi-layered story of art, war, love and deception. Beyond attempting to pin down the image of a man who eludes us at every turn, it also traces the development of camouflage between the two wars and shines a light on the unlikely band of artists who made it happen.

Though private letters, diaries, archives and interviews Joseph's great-granddaughter Mary Horlock pieces together the truth that was once lost, and brings his far-from-ordinary life back into focus.

Blitzkrieg: Book 1 of the Ladybird Expert History of the Second World War

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

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Blitzkrieg is an accessible, insightful and authoritative account of the fall of Europe through the use of one of the most successful military strategies in modern warfare.

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.

Battle of the Atlantic: Book 3 of the Ladybird Expert History of the Second World War

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

Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Battle of the Atlantic is an accessible, insightful and authoritative account of WWII's longest battle, the naval campaign to keep supply lines open and enable Britain to continue to fight.

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 of how the siege of Europe was broken.

Inside, you'll discover how tactics, organisation and new technologies were brought to bear, about the different challenges faced by both the Allies and the Axis, and, above all, the skill, bravery and endurance of the sailors and pilots 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.

My Dear Bessie: A Love Story in Letters

Chris Barker (Author), Bessie Moore (Author), Benedict Cumberbatch (Read by), Jane Slavin (Read by), Louise Brealey (Read by)

Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey read a love story in letters, played out against the backdrop of the Second World War.

‘Can you feel, as you read these words, that I am thinking of you now; aglow, alive, alert at the thought that you are in the same world, and by some strange chance loving me.’

A small blue box opened in 2008 revealed a wartime world of love, longing and frustration. Inside were bundles and bundles of letters written neatly in pen, in pencil, on thin blue airmail paper or headed army notepaper. Envelopes covered in postmarks, redirections, censor’s stamps. A love affair in letters, between two people who barely knew each other, thousands of miles apart, in the middle of a war, with no idea when or whether they will ever see each other again.

On September 5th 1943, Chris Barker, a signalman stationed near Tobruk in North Africa, decided to write to a former work colleague, Bessie Moore, a Morse code interpreter at the Foreign Office back in London. The unexpected warmth of Bessie's reply changed their lives forever.

Chris and Bessie's love letters first appeared in Simon Garfield's book To The Letter. They toured literary festivals as part of Letters Live before being published in a book, My Dear Bessie.

Written by Chris Barker and Bessie Moore
Letters compiled by Simon Garfield
Adapted by Sara Davies
Produced and Directed by Gemma Jenkins

Cast
Chris……….Benedict Cumberbatch
Bessie……….Louise Brealey
Irena……….Jane Slavin

The Birth of the RAF, 1918

Richard Overy (Author)

A short, brilliant account of the birth of the RAF for the centenary of its founding

The dizzying pace of technological change in the early 20th century meant that it took only a little over ten years from the first flight by the Wright Brothers to the clash of fighter planes in the Great War. A period of terrible, rapid experiment followed to gain a brief technological edge. By the end of the war the British had lost an extraordinary 36,000 aircraft and 16,600 airmen.

The RAF was created in 1918 as a revolutionary response to this new form of warfare - a highly contentious decision (resisted fiercely by both the army and navy, who had until then controlled all aircraft) but one which had the most profound impact, for good and ill, on the future of warfare.

Richard Overy's superb new book shows how this happened, against the backdrop of the first bombing raids against London and the constant emergency of the Western Front. The RAF's origins were as much political as military and throughout the 1920s still provoked bitter criticism.

Published to mark the centenary of its founding this is an invaluable book, filled with new and surprising material on this unique organization.

Hut 33: The Complete Series 1-3

James Cary (Author) , Alex Macqueen (Read by), Fergus Craig (Read by), Lill Roughley (Read by), Olivia Colman (Read by), Robert Bathurst (Read by), Tom Goodman-Hill (Read by)

Set during World War Two, Hut 33 follows the adventures of a team of codebreakers at Bletchley Park as they work tirelessly to break German codes, matching wits with the fabled Enigma Machine. Unfortunately, they hate each other.

Archie is a stroppy Geordie socialist revolutionary, while Professor Charles Gardner is a toffee-nosed snob. In theory, the immensely stupid 3rd Lt. Joshua Featherstonhaugh-Marshall is in charge of the hut, but he is still struggling with even the most basic concepts such as his name. They are joined by child prodigy Gordon, and the silent Winstanley. There’s also Mrs Best, the lascivious landlady, and the hut’s Polish secretary Minka, the only competent member of the team – although her answers to everything usually involve violence.

Starring Tom Goodman-Hill as Archie, Robert Bathurst as Professor Charles Gardner, Alex MacQueen as 3rd Lt. Joshua Featherstonhaugh-Marshall, Fergus Craig as Gordon, Lill Roughley as Mrs Best, and Olivia Colman as Minka.

Produced by Adam Bromley

Directorate S

Steve Coll (Author)

From the Pulitzer Prize winning of the acclaimed Ghost Wars, this is the full story of America's grim involvement in the affairs of Afghanistan from 2001 to 2016

'The CIA itself would be hard put to beat his grasp of global events' New York Review of Books

In the wake of the terrible shock of 9/11, the C.I.A. scrambled to work out how to destroy Bin Laden and his associates. The C.I.A. had long familiarity with Afghanistan and had worked closely with the Taliban to defeat the Soviet Union there. A tangle of assumptions, old contacts, favours and animosities were now reactivated. Superficially the invasion was quick and efficient, but Bin Laden's successful escape, together with that of much of the Taliban leadership, and a catastrophic failure to define the limits of NATO's mission in a tough, impoverished country the size of Texas, created a quagmire which lasted many years.

At the heart of the problem lay 'Directorate S', a highly secretive arm of the Pakistan state which had its own views on the Taliban and Afghanistan's place in a wider competition for influence between Pakistan, India and China, and which assumed that the U.S.A. and its allies would soon be leaving.

Steve Coll's remarkable new book tells a powerful, bitter story of just how badly foreign policy decisions can go wrong and of many lives lost.

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