543 results 1-20

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?

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 . . .

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 early days of 1944, as the build-up to D-Day intensified, an audacious plan was taking shape in the form of Operation Argument – a brutal and systematic strategy to finally sledgehammer the Luftwaffe into submission and ensure the skies were clear for the Allied invasion of France later that summer. In one fatal stroke they planned to deplete not only the German air force, but also the aircraft and munitions industry which supported it.

On Sunday 20th February, an airborne assault, the like of which had never before been seen, was unleashed. The Americans launched their first-ever thousand bomber raids by day while the RAF attacked by night.What followed over that week was one of the largest and most dramatic air battles ever witnessed.

In the first ever narrative history of Big Week, best-selling historian James Holland recounts the story of that extraordinary and brutal battle, underpinned by painstaking research and analysis. In day-by-day and often hour-by-hour detail, he follows the fortunes of some of the men - and women - who took part on both sides; commanders, pilots, air crew, ground staff, and civilians, revealing in forensic and heart-stopping detail the conditions, fear and drama of war in the air.

Big Week is the elemental story of bomber against flak gun, of fighter against fighter, in which tens of thousands of young men were pitted against each other in a punitive, bludgeoning clash of arms. It was one hell of a week.

A Spy Named Orphan

Roland Philipps (Author)

Donald Maclean is the most infamous of Britain’s twentieth-century spies, a double agent who defected to the Soviet Union, and whose betrayal plunged the Cold War alliance between Britain and the United States into crisis.

Part of the ‘Cambridge Five’, Maclean was a true ideologue and the most complex and compelling character of the group. Making use of previously classified material from the SIS and Foreign Office archives, Roland Philipps unravels the man and his many contradictions: a childhood and upbringing filled with strictures; an adult life of repressions, deceptions and binges; a marriage complicated by secrets of its own; and a looming sense of his fate closing in on him.

Taking us back to the golden age of espionage, A Spy Named Orphan examines the character, motivation and impact of the most ardent, dangerous and enigmatic spy of the twentieth century. At the same time it illuminates the changes in world power after the Second World War, tracing the decline of American and British relations as well as the growing chill of the Cold War that brought us to the verge of catastrophe.

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.

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.

Battle of the Atlantic: A Ladybird Expert Book

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 how the Allied naval blockade maintained control of the seas, keeping supply lines open and enabling 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 in the longest military campaign of WW2.

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), 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.

A small blue box opened in 2008 revealed a wartime world of love, longing and frustration.

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 have toured literary festivals as part of Letters Live before being published in a book, My Dear Bessie.

Duration: 45 mins

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.

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 are 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

White King

Leanda de Lisle (Author)

Less than forty years after the golden age of Elizabeth I, England was at war with itself. The bloody, devastating civil wars set family against family, friend against friend. At the head of this disintegrating kingdom was Charles I. His rule would change the face of the monarchy for ever.

Charles I’s reign is one of the most dramatic in history, yet Charles the man remains elusive. Too often he is recalled as weak and stupid, his wife, Henrietta Maria, as spoilt and silly: the cause of his ruin. In this portrait -- informed by newly disclosed manuscripts, including letters between the king and his queen -- Leanda de Lisle uncovers a Charles I who was principled and brave, but also fatally blinkered. He is revealed as a complex man who pays the price for bringing radical change; Henrietta Maria as a warrior queen and political player as impressive as any Tudor. Here too are the cousins who befriended and betrayed them: the peacocking Henry Holland, whose brother engineered the king’s fall; and the magnetic ‘last Boleyn girl’, Lucy Carlisle.

This is a tragic story for our times, of populist politicians and religious war, of a new media and the reshaping of nations, in which women vied with men for power. For Charles it ended on the scaffold. Condemned as a traitor and murderer, he was also heralded as a martyr: his reign destined to sow the seeds of democracy across Britain and the New World.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Robert Dallek (Author)

From the acclaimed author of John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life, the autobiography of one of America's greatest presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was the only American president ever to serve four terms. He came from the highest echelons of American society, and though progressively incapacitated by polio from the age of thirty-nine, never showed the slightest self-pity, refusing to allow the disease to constrain his ambition or his place in public life. During the Depression of the 1930s he became the foremost presidential champion of the needy, instituted the famous New Deal and brought about revolutionary changes in America's social and political institutions. Two years into the Second World War he persuaded Americans that it was their unavoidable duty to fight, and brought about a profound reversal in the country's foreign policy. During that titanic conflict he formed a unique friendship with Winston Churchill, and became the central figure in the Western Alliance.

Dallek attributes FDR's success to two remarkable political insights. First, more than any other president, he understood that effectiveness in American politics depended on building a national consensus and commanding stable long-term popular support. Second, he made the presidency the central, most influential institution in modern America's political system. In addressing the country's international and domestic problems, Roosevelt recognized the vital importance of remaining closely attentive to the full range of public sentiment around the decisions made by government-perhaps his most enduring lesson in effective leadership. In an era of national and international division, there could be no more timely biography of America's preeminent twentieth-century leader than one that demonstrates his unparalleled ability as a uniter and consensus maker.

Auntie's War

Edward Stourton (Author)

On 15th October 1940 during the BBC Nine O’Clock News, a 500 pound bomb hit Broadcasting House. It crashed through two floors, killing seven. Listeners heard a muffled thud and a whisper, 'Are you alright?', but the duty newsreader continued the bulletin almost without a pause ...
The British Broadcasting Corporation is unlike any other British institution. Its story during the Second World War is our story. This was Britain’s first total war and the wireless brought it into every living room for the first time. And in those key moments of our collective memory – from Chamberlain announcement of War to D-Day - the BBC was a presence, sometimes playing a critical role and more than often defining how these events were passed on to us.
Auntie’s War is a love letter to radio. While these were the years when her sometimes bossy tones earned the BBC the nickname Auntie, they were also a period of truly remarkable voices: Churchill’s fighting speeches, De Gaulle’s exile broadcasts, JB Priestley, Ed Murrow, George Orwell, Noel Coward and Richard Dimbleby. Radio offered an incomparable tool for propaganda; it was how allies sent coded messages across Europe; it was home to ‘black radio’, a means of sending less than truthful information to the enemy. At the same time, eyewitness testimonies gave a voice to the everyman securing the BBC’s reputation as reliable purveyor of the truth.
Following the BBC’s wartime journey, Edward Stourton is a brilliant companion, sharp-eyed, wry and affectionate while investigating archives, diaries, letters and memoirs to examine what the BBC was and what it stood for. Recounting extraordinary stories and priceless anecdotes he has written much more than a portrait of a beloved institution at a critical time. Auntie’s War provides a vivid new perspective on the war; it also offers an incomparable insight into the broadcasting culture we still have today.

The Future of War

Lawrence Freedman (Author)

A new approach to ideas about war, from one of the UK's leading strategic thinkers

In 1912 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a short story about a war fought from underwater submersibles that included the sinking of passenger ships. It was dismissed by the British admirals of the day, not on the basis of technical feasibility, but because sinking civilian ships was not something that any civilised nation would do. The reality of war often contradicts expectations, less because of some fantastic technical or engineering dimension, but more because of some human, political, or moral threshold that we had never imagined would be crossed.

As Lawrence Freedman shows, ideas about the causes of war and strategies for its conduct have rich and varied histories which shape predictions about the future. Freedman shows how looking at how the future of war was conceived about in the past (and why this was more often than not wrong) can put into perspective current thinking about future conflicts. The Future of War - which takes us from preparations for the world wars, through the nuclear age and the civil wars which became the focus for debate after the end of the Cold War, to present preoccupations with hybrid and cyber warfare - is filled with fascinating insights from one of the most brilliant military and strategic historians of his generation.

The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches

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

From Moses to Nelson Mandela, speeches have changed the way we see the world and the way the world is shaped.

The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches gathers together the world's greatest speeches, bringing together the words of over one hundred men and women. These brilliant and passionate declarations by Socrates, Robespierre, Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth I, Churchill, Washington, Pankhurst, Gandhi and many others provide a vivid glimpse of history in the making while retaining their power to move and inspire today.

'Impeccable. MacArthur prefaces each address with a short but scholarly historical explanation that sets the scene perfectly. An attractive volume' Andrew Roberts, Sunday Times

'Works well not just as an anthology but as a history' Independent on Sunday

Six Minutes in May

Nicholas Shakespeare (Author)

London, early May 1940: Britain is on the brink of war and Neville Chamberlain’s government is about to fall. It is hard for us to imagine the Second World War without Winston Churchill taking over at the helm, but in SIX MINUTES IN MAY Nicholas Shakespeare shows how easily events could have gone in a different direction.

The first land battle of the war was fought in the far north, in Norway. It went disastrously for the Allies and many blamed Churchill. Yet weeks later he would rise to the most powerful post in the country, overtaking Chamberlain and the favourite to succeed him, Lord Halifax.

It took just six minutes for MPs to cast the votes that brought down Chamberlain. Shakespeare shows us both the dramatic action on the battlefield in Norway and the machinations and personal relationships in Westminster that led up to this crucial point. Uncovering fascinating new research and delving deep into the backgrounds of the key players, he has given us a new perspective on this critical moment in our history.

Passchendaele

Nick Lloyd (Author)

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLER

'A timely re-appraisal . . . a masterpiece' General Lord Richard Dannatt

The Third Battle of Ypres was a 'lost victory' for the British Army in 1917. Between July and November 1917, in a small corner of Belgium, more than 500,000 men were killed or maimed, gassed or drowned - and many of the bodies were never found. The Ypres offensive represents the modern impression of the First World War: splintered trees, water-filled craters, muddy shell-holes.

The climax was one of the worst battles of both world wars: Passchendaele. The village fell eventually, only for the whole offensive to be called off. But, as Nick Lloyd shows, notably through previously overlooked German archive material, it is striking how close the British came to forcing the German Army to make a major retreat in Belgium in October 1917. Far from being a pointless and futile waste of men, the battle was a startling illustration of how effective British tactics and operations had become by 1917 and put the Allies nearer to a major turning point in the war than we have ever imagined.

Published for the 100th anniversary of this major conflict, Passchendaele is the most compelling and comprehensive account ever written of the climax of trench warfare on the Western Front.

Darkest Hour

Anthony McCarten (Author)

From the prize-winning screenwriter of The Theory of Everything, this is a cinematic, behind-the-scenes account of a crucial moment which takes us inside the mind of one of the world's greatest leaders - and provides a revisionist, more rounded portrait of his leadership.

May, 1940. Britain is at war, European democracies are falling rapidly and the public are unaware of this dangerous new world. Just days after his unlikely succession to Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, faces this horror - and a sceptical King and a party plotting against him. He wonders how he can capture the public mood and does so, magnificently, before leading the country to victory.

It is this fascinating period that Anthony McCarten captures in this deeply researched, gripping day-by-day (and often hour-by-hour) narrative. In doing so he revises the familiar view of Churchill - he made himself into the iconic figure we remember and changed the course of history, but through those turbulent and dangerous weeks he was plagued by doubt, and even explored a peace treaty with Nazi Germany. It's a scarier, and more human story, than has ever been told.

Diary of a Wartime Affair

Doreen Bates (Author)

'Unflinchingly honest... this diary is exceptional' Elizabeth Buchan

'Tuesday 23 October, 1934
Another glorious sunny day. Lunch in Kens Gdns. E had not slept well "as I longed and longed for you". It made me happy that he wanted me. I suppose that is mean. He said, "I could pick you out in the dark from fifty women . . ." '

The diary of Doreen Bates is a candid, spellbinding portrait of a gutsy young woman working in London in the years before and during the Second World War, as well as an extraordinary account of her long affair with an older, married colleague - one that brazenly challenged the strict conventions of the day.

'Startlingly frank and readable' David Kynaston

'Absolutely engrossing' Virginia Nicholson

'Astute, passionate, remarkably intimate, showing us the day-to-day picture of a long relationship' Guardian

The Holocaust

Laurence Rees (Author)

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLER AND THE FIRST AUTHORITATIVE ACCOUNT FOR 30 YEARS.

'By far the clearest book ever written about the Holocaust, and also the best at explaining its origins and grotesque mentality, as well as its chaotic development' Antony Beevor

'Groundbreaking. You might have thought that we know everything there is to know about the Holocaust but this book proves there is much more' Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday

Two fundamental questions about the Holocaust must be answered:

How did it happen? And why?

More completely than any other single work of history yet published, Laurence Rees's Holocaust definitively answers them.

'With The Holocaust Rees has set himself the task of writing an accessible chronological account of the murder of six million Jews in conditions of scarcely imaginable horror. He's done it excellently. There is no shortage of books on the Holocaust but Rees's stands out as a readable and authoritative exposition of how and why it happened, and the barbarous methods by which it was pursued. The amount of ground it covers in 500 pages is remarkable - from the anti-Semitism of popular German literature of the 19th century to Hitler's suicide and the surrender of his regime. It's excellently written and skilfully interweaves narrative history, sound interpretation and the recollections (through interviews, listed in the notes as "previously unpublished testimony") of survivors. Rees provides an exemplary account of how the greatest crime in modern history came about' The Times

'Rees has distilled 25 years of research into this compelling study, the finest single-volume account of the Holocaust. It is not a book for the faint-hearted. Some of the first-hand testimony is both shocking and heart-rending. Yet it has important things to say about human nature - what our species is capable of doing if not prevented by civilized laws - and demands to be read' Saul David, Telegraph

'Anyone wanting a compelling, highly readable explanation of how and why the Holocaust happened, drawing on recent scholarship and impressively incorporating moving and harrowing interviews need look no further than Laurence Rees's brilliant book' Professor Ian Kershaw, bestselling author of Hitler

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