Derek Wilson - A Brief History of the English Reformation - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781845296469
    • Publication date:21 Jun 2012
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A Brief History of the English Reformation

By Derek Wilson

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Derek Wilson retells the story of how the Tudor monarchs transformed the English religion and why it still matters today

Religion, politics and fear: how England was transformed by the Tudors.

The English Reformation was a unique turning point in English history. Derek Wilson retells the story of how the Tudor monarchs transformed English religion and why it still matters today. Recent scholarly research has undermined the traditional view of the Reformation as an event that occurred solely amongst the elite. Wilson now shows that, although the transformation was political and had a huge impact on English identity, on England's relationships with its European neighbours and on the foundations of its empire, it was essentially a revolution from the ground up. By 1600, in just eighty years, England had become a radically different nation in which family, work and politics, as well as religion, were dramatically altered.

Praise for Derek Wilson:

'Stimulating and authoritative.' John Guy.

'Masterly. [Wilson] has a deep understanding of . . . characters, reaching out across the centuries.' Sunday Times.

Biographical Notes

Derek Wilson is a renowned Tudor historian. He is the author of over 30 books including BHO the Circumnavigators, The Uncrowned Kings of England for Constable as well as recent biographies of Charlemaigne and Holbein (Pimlico). He is the founder of the Cambridge History festival and we are publishing Francis Walsingham in 2007.

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  • ISBN: 9781849018258
  • Publication date: 21 Jun 2012
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  • Imprint: Robinson
Constable

The Fighting Irish

Tim Newark
Authors:
Tim Newark
Robinson

Sugar

James Walvin
Authors:
James Walvin

The story of sugar, and of mankind's desire for sweetness in food and drink is a compelling, though confusing story. It is also an historical story.The story of mankind's love of sweetness - the need to consume honey, cane sugar, beet sugar and chemical sweeteners - has important historical origins. To take a simple example, two centuries ago, cane sugar was vital to the burgeoning European domestic and colonial economies. For all its recent origins, today's obesity epidemic - if that is what it is - did not emerge overnight, but instead evolved from a complexity of historical forces which stretch back centuries. We can only fully understand this modern problem, by coming to terms with its genesis and history: and we need to consider the historical relationship between society and sweetness over a long historical span. This book seeks to do just that: to tell the story of how the consumption of sugar - the addition of sugar to food and drink - became a fundamental and increasingly troublesome feature of modern life.Walvin's book is the heir to Sidney Mintz's Sweetness and Power, a brilliant sociological account, but now thirty years old. In addition, the problem of sugar, and the consequent intellectual and political debate about the role of sugar, has been totally transformed in the years since that book's publication.

Little, Brown

The King's City

Don Jordan
Authors:
Don Jordan

'The cruelty and magnificence of Restoration London provides endless fascination . . . there's much to delight in this volume' The Times'Don Jordan's history captures the shifts [Charles II] engineered in trade and culture' NatureDuring the reign of Charles II, London was a city in flux. After years of civil war and political turmoil, England's capital became the centre for major advances in the sciences, the theatre, architecture, trade and ship-building that paved the way for the creation of the British Empire.At the heart of this activity was the King, whose return to power from exile in 1660 lit the fuse for an explosion in activity in all spheres of city life. London flourished, its wealth, vibrancy and success due to many figures famous today including Christopher Wren, Samuel Pepys and John Dryden - and others whom history has overlooked until now.Throughout the quarter-century Charles was on the throne, London suffered several serious reverses: the plague in 1665 and the Great Fire in 1666, and severe defeat in the Second Anglo-Dutch War, which brought about notable economic decline. But thanks to the genius and resilience of the people of London, and the occasionally wavering stewardship of the King, the city rose from the ashes to become the economic capital of Europe.The King's City tells the gripping story of a city that defined a nation and birthed modern Britain - and how the vision of great individuals helped to build the richly diverse place we know today.

Robinson

Superstition and Science, 1450-1750

Derek Wilson
Authors:
Derek Wilson

'A dazzling chronicle, a bracing challenge to modernity's smug assumptions' - Bryce Christensen, Booklist'O what a world of profit and delightOf power, of honour and omnipotenceIs promised to the studious artisan.'Christopher Marlowe, Dr FaustusBetween the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, Europe changed out of all recognition and particularly transformative were the ardent quest for knowledge and the astounding discoveries and inventions which resulted from it. The movement of blood round the body; the movement of the earth round the sun; the velocity of falling objects (and, indeed, why objects fall) - these and numerous other mysteries had been solved by scholars in earnest pursuit of scientia. Several keys were on offer to thinkers seeking to unlock the portal of the unknown:Folk religion had roots deep in the pagan past. Its devotees sought the aid of spirits. They had stores of ancient wisdom, particularly relating to herbal remedies. Theirs was the world of wise women, witches, necromancers, potions and incantations.Catholicism had its own magic and its own wisdom. Dogma was enshrined in the collective wisdom of the doctors of the church and the rigid scholastic system of teaching. Magic resided in the ranks of departed saints and the priestly miracle of the mass.Alchemy was at root a desire to understand and to exploit the material world. Practitioners studied the properties of natural substances. A whole system of knowledge was built on the theory of the four humours.Astrology was based on the belief that human affairs were controlled by the movement of heavenly bodies. Belief in the casting of horoscopes was almost universal.Natural Philosophy really began with Francis Bacon and his empirical method. It was the beginning of science 'proper' because it was based on observation and not on predetermined theory.Classical Studies. University teaching was based on the quadrivium - which consisted largely of rote learning the philosophy and science current in the classical world (Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Ptolemy, etc.). Renaissance scholars reappraised these sources of knowledge.Islamic and Jewish Traditions. The twelfth-century polymath, Averroes, has been called 'the father of secular thought' because of his landmark treatises on astronomy, physics and medicine. Jewish scholars and mystics introduced the esoteric disciplines of the Kabbalah.New Discoveries. Exploration connected Europeans with other peoples and cultures hitherto unknown, changed concepts about the nature of the planet, and led to the development of navigational skills.These 'sciences' were not entirely self-contained. For example physicians and theologians both believed in the casting of horoscopes. Despite popular myth (which developed 200 years later), there was no perceived hostility between faith and reason. Virtually all scientists and philosophers before the Enlightenment worked, or tried to work, within the traditional religious framework. Paracelsus, Descartes, Newton, Boyle and their compeers proceeded on the a príori notion that the universe was governed by rational laws, laid down by a rational God.. This certainly did not mean that there were no conflicts between the upholders of different types of knowledge. Dr Dee's neighbours destroyed his laboratory because they believed he was in league with the devil. Galileo famously had his run-in with the Curia.By the mid-seventeenth century 'science mania' had set in; the quest for knowledge had become a pursuit of cultured gentlemen. In 1663 The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge received its charter. Three years later the French Academy of Sciences was founded. Most other European capitals were not slow to follow suit. In 1725 we encounter the first use of the word 'science' meaning 'a branch of study concerned either with a connected body of demonstrated truths or with observed facts systematically classified'. Yet, it was only nine years since the last witch had been executed in Britain - a reminder that, although the relationship of people to their environment was changing profoundly, deep-rooted fears and attitudes remained strong.

Basic Books

The Cause of All Nations

Don H. Doyle
Authors:
Don H. Doyle

When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, he had broader aims than simply rallying a war-weary nation. Lincoln realized that the Civil War had taken on a wider significance,that all of Europe and Latin America was watching to see whether the United States, a beleaguered model of democracy, would indeed perish from the earth."In The Cause of All Nations , distinguished historian Don H. Doyle explains that the Civil War was viewed abroad as part of a much larger struggle for democracy that spanned the Atlantic Ocean, and had begun with the American and French Revolutions. While battles raged at Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg, a parallel contest took place abroad, both in the marbled courts of power and in the public square. Foreign observers held widely divergent views on the war,from radicals such as Karl Marx and Giuseppe Garibaldi who called on the North to fight for liberty and equality, to aristocratic monarchists, who hoped that the collapse of the Union would strike a death blow against democratic movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Nowhere were these monarchist dreams more ominous than in Mexico, where Napoleon III sought to implement his Grand Design for a Latin Catholic empire that would thwart the spread of Anglo-Saxon democracy and use the Confederacy as a buffer state.Hoping to capitalize on public sympathies abroad, both the Union and the Confederacy sent diplomats and special agents overseas: the South to seek recognition and support, and the North to keep European powers from interfering. Confederate agents appealed to those conservative elements who wanted the South to serve as a bulwark against radical egalitarianism. Lincoln and his Union agents overseas learned to appeal to many foreigners by embracing emancipation and casting the Union as the embattled defender of universal republican ideals, the last best hope of earth."A bold account of the international dimensions of America's defining conflict, The Cause of All Nations frames the Civil War as a pivotal moment in a global struggle that would decide the survival of democracy.

Basic Books

Europe's Last Chance

Guy Verhofstadt
Authors:
Guy Verhofstadt

Europe is caught in its greatest crisis since the Second World War. The catalogue of ills seems endless: an economic crisis spread through most of Europe's Mediterranean tier that has crippled Greece and driven a wedge between northern and southern Europe terrorist attacks in Paris, Cologne, Brussels, and Nice growing aggression from Russia in Ukraine and the Baltic states and refugees escaping war-torn neighbours. The European Union's inability to handle any of these disasters was a driving factor in Great Britain voting to leave, and others may soon follow. The result won't just be a continent in turmoil, but also a serious threat to American and British security,the Atlantic, let alone the Channel, simply isn't big enough to keep European troubles in Europe. For everyone's sake, Europe must survive.The question is how. In Europe's Last Chance , Guy Verhofstadt,former prime minister of Belgium and current leader of the liberal faction in the European Parliament,provides the essential framework for understanding Europe today, laying bare the absurdity of a system in which each member state can veto legislation, opt in or out of the Euro, or close borders on a whim. But Verhofstadt does not just indict the European Union, he also offers a powerful vision for how the continent can change for the better. The key, argues Verhofstadt, is to reform the European Union along the lines of America's federal government: a United States of Europe strong enough to stand with the United States of America in making a better, safer world.A visionary book from one of today's luminaries of European leadership, Europe's Last Chance is a clarion call to save the European Union, one of the world's greatest chances for peace and prosperity.

PublicAffairs

Suspected of Independence

David McKean
Authors:
David McKean
Constable

On Intelligence

John Hughes-Wilson
Authors:
John Hughes-Wilson

From the ancient Greek and Roman origins of human intelligence to its use in the Catholic church to Francis Walsingham's Elizabethan secret service to the birth of the surveillance state in today's digital hi-tech age, Colonel John Hughes-Wilson, professional military-intelligence officer and author of the bestselling Military Intelligence Blunders and Cover-Ups, gives an extraordinarily broad and wide-reaching perspective on intelligence, providing an up-to-date analysis of the importance of intelligence historically and in the recent past. Drawing upon a variety of sources, ranging from first-hand accounts to his own personal experience, Hughes-Wilson covers everything from undercover agent handling to photographic reconnaissance to today's much misunderstood cyber welfare. This book stands apart from the rest in that it tells the real inside story from a controversial insider's point of view, lifting the veil on what really happened behind the scenes in the intelligence world during some of the most well-known military events that have shaped our lives. On Intelligence is looking for hard answers - there are some tough lessons to be learned from both intelligence failures and successes - why is crucial intelligence so often ignored, misunderstood or spun by politicians and seasoned generals alike? One of the leading military experts of our time, Colonel John Hughes-Wilson skilfully weaves together an accessible and readable narrative on intelligence, accompanied by his unrivalled professional insight.

Basic Books

The Many Faces of Christ

Philip Jenkins
Authors:
Philip Jenkins

The standard account of early Christianity tells us that the first centuries after Jesus' death witnessed an efflorescence of Christian sects, each with its own gospel. We are taught that these alternative scriptures, which represented intoxicating, daring, and often bizarre ideas, were suppressed in the fourth and fifth centuries, when the Church canonized the gospels we know today: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The rest were lost, destroyed, or hidden.In The Many Faces of Christ , the renowned religious historian Philip Jenkins thoroughly refutes our most basic assumptions about the Lost Gospels. He reveals that dozens of alternative gospels not only survived the canonization process but in many cases remained influential texts within the official Church. Whole new gospels continued to be written and accepted. For a thousand years, these strange stories about the life and death of Jesus were freely admitted onto church premises, approved for liturgical reading, read by ordinary laypeople for instruction and pleasure, and cited as authoritative by scholars and theologians.The Lost Gospels spread far and wide, crossing geographic and religious borders. The ancient Gospel of Nicodemus penetrated into Southern and Central Asia, while both Muslims and Jews wrote and propagated gospels of their own. In Europe, meanwhile, it was not until the Reformation and Counter-Reformation that the Lost Gospels were effectively driven from churches. But still, many survived, and some continue to shape Christian practice and belief in our own day.Offering a revelatory new perspective on the formation of the biblical canon, the nature of the early Church, and the evolution of Christianity, The Many Faces of Christ restores these Lost Gospels to their central place in Christian history.

Basic Books

Luther's Fortress

James Reston Jr.
Authors:
James Reston Jr.

In 1521, the Catholic Church declared war on Martin Luther. The German monk had already been excommunicated the year before, after nailing his Ninety-Five Theses,which accused the Church of rampant corruption,to the door of a Saxon church. Now, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V called for Luther to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic." The edict was akin to a death sentence: If Luther was caught, he would almost inevitably be burned at the stake, his fragile movement crushed, and the nascent Protestant Reformation strangled in its cradle.In Luther's Fortress , acclaimed historian James Reston, Jr. describes this crucial but little-known episode in Luther's life and reveals its pivotal role in Christian history. Realizing the danger to their leader, Luther's followers spirited him away to Wartburg Castle, deep in central Germany. There he hid for the next ten months, as his fate,and that of the Reformation,hung in the balance. Yet instead of cowering in fear, Luther spent his time at Wartburg strengthening his movement and refining his theology in ways that would guarantee the survival of Protestantism. He devoted himself to biblical study and spiritual contemplation he fought both his papist critics and his own inner demons (and, legend has it, the devil himself) and he held together his fractious and increasingly radicalized reform movement from afar. During this time Luther also crystallized some of his most significant ideas about Christianity and translated the New Testament into German,an accomplishment that, perhaps more than any other, solidified his legacy and spread his bold new religious philosophy across Europe.Drawing on Luther's correspondence, notes, and other writings, Luther's Fortress presents an earthy, gripping portrait of the Reformation's architect at this transformational moment, revealing him at his most productive, courageous, and profound.

Basic Books

One Nation Under God

Kevin M. Kruse
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Kevin M. Kruse
Sphere

The Traitor's Mark

D. K. Wilson
Authors:
D. K. Wilson

Each novel in this thrilling series of historical mysteries is based on a real unsolved Tudor crime. This second instalment reunites readers with its star, London goldsmith Thomas Treviot.The Real CrimeHans Holbein, King Henry VIII's portrait painter, died in the autumn of 1543. A century later a chronicler reported that the artist had succumbed to plague, yet there is no contemporary evidence to support this. Suspicions have been raised over the centuries, but the mystery of what actually happened remains unsolved to this day.Our StoryYoung London goldsmith Thomas Treviot is awaiting a design for a very important jewellery commission from Hans Holbein. When the design fails to turn up, Thomas sends a servant to track Holbein down, only to discover that the painter has disappeared. In his hunt for Holbein and the lost design, Thomas is led into a morass of dangerous political intrigue, Spanish spies and courtiers that is more treacherous than he could ever have anticipated...

PublicAffairs

The American Health Care Paradox

Elizabeth H. Bradley, Harvey V. Fineberg, Lauren A. Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth H. Bradley, Harvey V. Fineberg, Lauren A. Taylor
Robinson

A Brief Guide To British Battlefields

David Clark
Authors:
David Clark

A very readable work of reference offering a survey in chronological order, from AD 84 to 1746, of the major battles which have taken place on British soil, from the Roman occupation to Culloden, the last battle fought on British soil. In this way, the book can be read as a continuous narrative, while each entry also stands alone as a self-contained guide. The battles are grouped into relevant sections (such as the Wars of the Roses, the English Civil Wars and the Jacobite Rebellions), within broader historical periods. Each period is prefaced by a presentation of the nature of warfare and is enhanced by a feature article of specialist interest. Every entry includes a narrative of events leading up to the battle, a vivid description of the battle itself and an assessment of the long and short-term, consequences. In addition, there is useful information for visits, including precise identification of the location, details of access to and features of each site. The book is illustrated throughout with maps and a plate section.

Basic Books

The Cause of All Nations

Don H. Doyle
Authors:
Don H. Doyle

When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, he had broader aims than simply rallying a war-weary nation. Lincoln realized that the Civil War had taken on a wider significance,that all of Europe and Latin America was watching to see whether the United States, a beleaguered model of democracy, would indeed perish from the earth."In The Cause of All Nations , distinguished historian Don H. Doyle explains that the Civil War was viewed abroad as part of a much larger struggle for democracy that spanned the Atlantic Ocean, and had begun with the American and French Revolutions. While battles raged at Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg, a parallel contest took place abroad, both in the marbled courts of power and in the public square. Foreign observers held widely divergent views on the war,from radicals such as Karl Marx and Giuseppe Garibaldi who called on the North to fight for liberty and equality, to aristocratic monarchists, who hoped that the collapse of the Union would strike a death blow against democratic movements on both sides of the Atlantic. Nowhere were these monarchist dreams more ominous than in Mexico, where Napoleon III sought to implement his Grand Design for a Latin Catholic empire that would thwart the spread of Anglo-Saxon democracy and use the Confederacy as a buffer state.Hoping to capitalize on public sympathies abroad, both the Union and the Confederacy sent diplomats and special agents overseas: the South to seek recognition and support, and the North to keep European powers from interfering. Confederate agents appealed to those conservative elements who wanted the South to serve as a bulwark against radical egalitarianism. Lincoln and his Union agents overseas learned to appeal to many foreigners by embracing emancipation and casting the Union as the embattled defender of universal republican ideals, the last best hope of earth."A bold account of the international dimensions of America's defining conflict, The Cause of All Nations frames the Civil War as a pivotal moment in a global struggle that would decide the survival of democracy.

Basic Books

The Half Has Never Been Told

Edward E. Baptist
Authors:
Edward E. Baptist

Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution,the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America's later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy.As historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told , the expansion of slavery in the first eight decades after American independence drove the evolution and modernization of the United States. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a continental cotton empire, and the United States grew into a modern, industrial, and capitalist economy. Until the Civil War, Baptist explains, the most important American economic innovations were ways to make slavery ever more profitable. Through forced migration and torture, slave owners extracted continual increases in efficiency from enslaved African Americans. Thus the United States seized control of the world market for cotton, the key raw material of the Industrial Revolution, and became a wealthy nation with global influence.Told through intimate slave narratives, plantation records, newspapers, and the words of politicians, entrepreneurs, and escaped slaves, The Half Has Never Been Told offers a radical new interpretation of American history. It forces readers to reckon with the violence at the root of American supremacy, but also with the survival and resistance that brought about slavery's end,and created a culture that sustains America's deepest dreams of freedom.

Sphere

The First Horseman

D. K. Wilson
Authors:
D. K. Wilson

Starring Thomas Treviot, each novel in this thrilling new series of historical mysteries is based on a real unsolved Tudor crime.1536. In the corrupt heart of Tudor London a killer waits in the shadows...The Real CrimeBefore dawn on a misty November morning in 1536, prominent mercer Robert Packington was gunned down as he crossed Cheapside on his way to early morning mass. It was the first assassination by handgun in the history of the capital and subsequently shook the city to its core.The identity of his assassin has remained a mystery.Our StoryThomas Treviot is a young London goldsmith and a close family friend of Robert Packington. Through his own upstanding social connections - and some less upstanding acquaintances he has made along the way - Thomas launches a dramatic investigation into Packington's death. As Thomas searches for revenge, he must travel from the golden heart of merchant London, to the straw-covered backstreets of London's poorest districts before reaching the country's seat of power: the court of King Henry VIII. Before long he is drawn into a dark conspiracy beyond his wildest imaginings and claiming justice for his friend starts to look impossible. Especially when Thomas realises that Robert wasn't the man he thought he knew...In the first of a new series investigating real unsolved Tudor crimes, D.K. Wilson brings the streets of Tudor London to spectacular life as Thomas Treviot faces a fight to bring the truth to light in the corrupt world of Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII.

Robinson

Elizabethan Society

Derek Wilson
Authors:
Derek Wilson

The reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) marked a golden age in English history. There was a musical and literary renaissance, most famously and enduringly in the form of the plays of Shakespeare (2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death), and it was a period of international expansion and naval triumph over the Spanish. It was also a period of internal peace following the violent upheaval of the Protestant reformation. Wilson skilfully interweaves the personal histories of a representative selection of twenty or so figures - including Nicholas Bacon, the Statesman; Bess of Hardwick, the Landowner; Thomas Gresham, 'the Financier'; John Caius, 'the Doctor'; John Norreys, 'the Soldier'; and Nicholas Jennings, 'the Professional Criminal' - with the major themes of the period to create a vivid and compelling account of life in England in the late sixteenth century. This is emphatically not yet another book about what everyday life was like during the Elizabethan Age. There are already plenty of studies about what the Elizabethans wore, what they ate, what houses they lived in, and so on. This is a book about Elizabethan society - people, rather than things. How did the subjects of Queen Elizabeth I cope with the world in which they had been placed? What did they believe? What did they think? What did they feel? How did they react towards one another? What, indeed, did they understand by the word 'society'? What did they expect from it? What were they prepared to contribute towards it? Some were intent on preserving it as it was; others were eager to change it. For the majority, life was a daily struggle for survival against poverty, hunger, disease and injustice. Patronage was the glue that held a strictly hierarchical society together. Parliament represented only the interests of the landed class and the urban rich, which was why the government's greatest fear was a popular rebellion. Laws were harsh, largely to deter people getting together to discuss their grievances. Laws kept people in one place, and enforced attendance in parish churches. In getting to grips with this strange world - simultaneously drab and colourful, static and expansive, traditionalist and 'modern' - Wilson explores the lives of individual men and women from all levels of sixteenth-century life to give us a vivid feel for what Elizabethan society really was.Praise for the author:Masterly. [Wilson] has a deep understanding of characters reaching out across the centuries. Sunday Times Scores highly in thoroughness, clarity and human sympathy. Sunday TelegraphThis masterly biography breaks new ground. Choice MagazineHis book is stimulating and authoritative. Sunday TimesBrilliant, endlessly readable ... vivid, immediate history, accurate, complex and tinged with personality. Sunday Herald

Robinson

Elizabethan Society

Derek Wilson
Authors:
Derek Wilson

The reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) marked a golden age in English history. There was a musical and literary renaissance, most famously and enduringly in the form of the plays of Shakespeare (2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death), and it was a period of international expansion and naval triumph over the Spanish. It was also a period of internal peace following the violent upheaval of the Protestant reformation. Wilson skilfully interweaves the personal histories of a representative selection of twenty or so figures - including Nicholas Bacon, the Statesman; Bess of Hardwick, the Landowner; Thomas Gresham, 'the Financier'; John Caius, 'the Doctor'; John Norreys, 'the Soldier'; and Nicholas Jennings, 'the Professional Criminal' - with the major themes of the period to create a vivid and compelling account of life in England in the late sixteenth century. This is emphatically not yet another book about what everyday life was like during the Elizabethan Age. There are already plenty of studies about what the Elizabethans wore, what they ate, what houses they lived in, and so on. This is a book about Elizabethan society - people, rather than things. How did the subjects of Queen Elizabeth I cope with the world in which they had been placed? What did they believe? What did they think? What did they feel? How did they react towards one another? What, indeed, did they understand by the word 'society'? What did they expect from it? What were they prepared to contribute towards it? Some were intent on preserving it as it was; others were eager to change it. For the majority, life was a daily struggle for survival against poverty, hunger, disease and injustice. Patronage was the glue that held a strictly hierarchical society together. Parliament represented only the interests of the landed class and the urban rich, which was why the government's greatest fear was a popular rebellion. Laws were harsh, largely to deter people getting together to discuss their grievances. Laws kept people in one place, and enforced attendance in parish churches. In getting to grips with this strange world - simultaneously drab and colourful, static and expansive, traditionalist and 'modern' - Wilson explores the lives of individual men and women from all levels of sixteenth-century life to give us a vivid feel for what Elizabethan society really was.Praise for the author:Masterly. [Wilson] has a deep understanding of characters reaching out across the centuries. Sunday Times Scores highly in thoroughness, clarity and human sympathy. Sunday TelegraphThis masterly biography breaks new ground. Choice MagazineHis book is stimulating and authoritative. Sunday TimesBrilliant, endlessly readable ... vivid, immediate history, accurate, complex and tinged with personality. Sunday Herald

Basic Books

The Last Empire

Serhii Plokhy
Authors:
Serhii Plokhy

On Christmas Day, 1991, President George H. W. Bush addressed the nation to declare an American victory in the Cold War: earlier that day Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned as the first and last Soviet president. The enshrining of that narrative, one in which the end of the Cold War was linked to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the triumph of democratic values over communism, took centre stage in American public discourse immediately after Bush's speech and has persisted for decades,with disastrous consequences for American standing in the world.As Prize-winning historian Serhii Plokhy reveals in The Last Empire , the collapse of the Soviet Union was anything but the handiwork of the United States. On the contrary, American leaders dreaded the possibility that the Soviet Union,weakened by infighting and economic turmoil,might suddenly crumble, throwing all of Eurasia into chaos. Bush was firmly committed to supporting his ally and personal friend Gorbachev, and remained wary of nationalist or radical leaders such as recently elected Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Fearing what might happen to the large Soviet nuclear arsenal in the event of the union's collapse, Bush stood by Gorbachev as he resisted the growing independence movements in Ukraine, mouldova, and the Caucasus. Plokhy's detailed, authoritative account shows that it was only after the movement for independence of the republics had gained undeniable momentum on the eve of the Ukrainian vote for independence that fall that Bush finally abandoned Gorbachev to his fate.Drawing on recently declassified documents and original interviews with key participants, Plokhy presents a bold new interpretation of the Soviet Union's final months and argues that the key to the Soviet collapse was the inability of the two largest Soviet republics, Russia and Ukraine, to agree on the continuing existence of a unified state. By attributing the Soviet collapse to the impact of American actions, US policy makers overrated their own capacities in toppling and rebuilding foreign regimes. Not only was the key American role in the demise of the Soviet Union a myth, but this misplaced belief has guided,and haunted,American foreign policy ever since.