By Lesley Adkins, Roy Adkins
For over three and a half years, from 1779 to 1783, the tiny territory of Gibraltar was besieged and blockaded, on land and at sea, by the overwhelming forces of Spain and France. It became the longest siege in British history, and the obsession with saving Gibraltar was blamed for the loss of the American colonies in the War of Independence. Located between the Mediterranean and Atlantic, on the very edge of Europe, Gibraltar was a place of varied nationalities, languages, religions and social classes. During the siege, thousands of soldiers, civilians and their families withstood terrifying bombardments, starvation and diseases. Very ordinary people lived through extraordinary events, from shipwrecks and naval battles to an attempted invasion of England and a daring sortie out of Gibraltar into Spain. Deadly innovations included red-hot shot, shrapnel shells and a barrage from immense floating batteries.This is military and social history at its best, a story of soldiers, sailors and civilians, with royalty and rank-and-file, workmen and engineers, priests, prisoners-of-war, spies and surgeons, all caught up in a struggle for a fortress located on little more than two square miles of awe-inspiring rock. Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History is an epic page-turner, rich in dramatic human detail - a tale of courage, endurance, intrigue, desperation, greed and humanity. The everyday experiences of all those involved are brought vividly to life with eyewitness accounts and expert research.
By Colour-Sergeant Kailash Limbu
In this Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling memoir that 'reads like a thriller', (Joanna Lumley) Colour-Sargent Kailash Limbu shares a riveting account of his life as a Gurkha soldier-marking the first time in its two-hundred-year history that a soldier of the Brigade of Gurkhas has been given permission to tell his story in his own words.In the summer of 2006, Colour-Sargeant Kailash Limbu's platoon was sent to relieve and occupy a police compound in the town of Now Zad in Helmand. He was told to prepare for a forty-eight hour operation. In the end, he and his men were under siege for thirty-one days - one of the longest such sieges in the whole of the Afghan campaign.Kailash Limbu recalls the terrifying and exciting details of those thirty-one days - in which they killed an estimated one hundred Taliban fighters - and intersperses them with the story of his own life as a villager from the Himalayas. He grew up in a place without roads or electricity and didn't see a car until he was fifteen.Kailash's descriptions of Gurkha training and rituals - including how to use the lethal Kukri knife - are eye-opening and fascinating. They combine with the story of his time in Helmand to create a unique account of one man's life as a Gurkha. 'I was completely bowled over by Kailash's book and read it with a beating heart and dry mouth. I felt as though I was at his side, hearing the shells and bullets, enjoying the jokes and listening in the scary dead of night. The skill with which he has included his childhood and training is immense, always discovered with ease in the narrative: it actually felt as though I was watching, was IN a film with him. It brought me nearer than I have ever been not only to the mind of the universal soldier but to a hill boy of Nepal and a hugely impressive Gurkha. I raced through it and couldn't put it down: it reads like a thriller. If you want to know anything about the Gurkhas, read this book, and be prepared for a thrilling and dangerous trip' Joanna Lumley
The Guns at Last Light
By Rick Atkinson
In the first two volumes of his bestselling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted how the American-led coalition fought through North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now he tells the most dramatic story of all - the titanic battle for Western Europe. D-Day marked the commencement of the European war's final campaign, and Atkinson's riveting account of that bold gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows. The brutal fight in Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the disaster that was Market Garden, the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and finally the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich - all these historic events and more come alive with a wealth of new material and a mesmerizing cast of characters. With the stirring final volume of this monumental trilogy, Rick Atkinson's remarkable accomplishment is manifest. He has produced the definitive chronicle of the war that unshackled a continent and preserved freedom in the West.
The Great Race
By David Hill
On the afternoon of 8 April 1802, in the remote southern ocean, two explorers had a remarkable chance encounter. Englishman Matthew Flinders and Frenchman Nicolas Baudin had been sent by their governments on the same quest: to explore the uncharted coast of the great south land and find out whether the west and east coasts, four thousand kilometres apart, were part of the same island. And so began the race to compile the definitive map of Australia. These men's journeys were the culmination of two hundred years of exploration of the region by the Dutch - most famously Abel Tasman - the Portuguese, the Spanish and by Englishmen such as the colourful pirate William Dampier and, of course, James Cook. The three-year voyages of Baudin and Flinders would see them endure terrible hardships in the spirit of discovery. They suffered scurvy and heat exhaustion, and Flinders was shipwrecked and imprisoned - always knowing he was competing with the French to produce the first map of this mysterious continent. Written from diaries and other first-hand accounts, this is the thrilling story of men whose drawings recorded countless previously unknown species and turned mythical creatures into real ones, and whose skill and determination enabled Terra Australis Incognita to become Australia.
Globalisation, Democracy And Terrorism
By Eric Hobsbawm
In this collection of illuminating, incisive and thought-provoking essays, Eric Hobsbawm examines every aspect of the issues that have inspired the greatest debate - not only among politicians, academics and commentators but among all of us - in recent years: that is, the effects of globalisation, the plight of democracy and the threat of terrorism. As we are only too aware, all of these have the power to affect our daily lives, from the state of our economies to the fear of murderous bomb attacks in our cities. Hobsbawm discusses war and peace in our lifetime, problems of public order, anarchy and terrorism, nationalism and the changing nature of the nation-state, and the future prospects for democracy, setting out the historical background and the lessons it can offer us. Above all, he turns his piercing gaze to the Middle East and Western imperialism.Engaging, erudite and demonstrating his characteristically firm grasp of the facts and statistics, Hobsbawm's essays are indispensable to our understanding of the world we live in.
Germany: Jekyll And Hyde
By Sebastian Haffner
A few years ago, Sebastian Haffner's DEFYING HITLER, a memoir about growing up in interwar Germany, sold over forty thousand copies. After he moved to Britain in the 1930s Haffner became so shocked about the situation in his native country that he wrote this book, GERMANY: JEKYLL AND HYDE, in an effort to help people understand the danger Hitler presented to the world. An incredibly accessible book, it is packed with acute analysis of both Hitler and the German people - from the Nazi leaders all the way down to those who opposed them - and is a must-read for anyone interested in the literature of the Second World War.
Great Tales From English History
By Robert Lacey
From ancient times to the present day, the story of England has been laced with drama, intrigue, courage and passion - a rich and vibrant narrative of heroes and villains, kings and rebels, artists and highwaymen, bishops and scientists. Now, in Great Tales of English History, Robert Lacey captures one hundred of the most pivotal moments: the stories and extraordinary characters who helped shape a nation. This first volume begins in 7150 BC with the life and death of Cheddar Man and ends in 1381with Wat Tyler and the Peasants' Revolt. We meet the Greek navigator Pytheus, whose description of the Celts as prettanike (the 'painted people') yielded the Latin word Britannici. We witness the Roman victory celebrations of AD 43, where a squadron of elephants were paraded through Colchester. And we visit the New Forest, in 1100, and the mysterious shooting of King William Rufus. Packed with insight, humour and fascinating detail, Robert Lacey brings the stories that made England brilliantly to life. From Ethelred the Unready to Richard the Lionheart, the Venerable Bede to the Black Prince, this is, quite simply, history as history should be told.
The Glorious Revolution
By Edward Vallance
In 1688, a group of leading politicians invited the Dutch prince William of Orange over to England to challenge the rule of the catholic James II. When James's army deserted him he fled to France, leaving the throne open to William and Mary. During the following year a series of bills were passed which many believe marked the triumph of constitutional monarchy as a system of government. In this radical new interpretation of the Glorious Revolution, Edward Vallance challenges the view that it was a bloodless coup in the name of progress and wonders whether in fact it created as many problems as it addressed. Certainly in Scotland and Ireland the Revolution was characterised by warfare and massacre. Beautifully written, full of lively pen portraits of contemporary characters and evocative of the increasing climate of fear at the threat of popery, this new book fills a gap in the popular history market and sets to elevate Edward Vallance to the highest league of popular historians.
By Charles Allen
The brutal assasination of Commissioner Frederick Mackeson on British India's North-West Frontier in 1853 was a bloody and public declaration of a conflict that was to stretch well into the next one hundred and fifty years. The Wahhabi tribe, extreme Islamist fundamentalists, set out to restore purity to their faith by declaring violent jihad on all who opposed them. Their history has long been forgotten and yet their vicious brand of political ideology lives on. The Wahhabi deeply influenced not only the formation of modern Saudi Arabia, but Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Their teachings educate orphan boys in Afghanistan and press rifles into their hands, for the sake of jihad. The parallels between this pivotal terrorist network and our post-9/11 political climate are staggering. Charles Allen sheds lights on the historical roots of modern terrorism and shows how this dangerous nineteenth-century theology lives on today.
By Jon Lee Anderson
Prior to gaining international renown for his definitive biography of Che Guevara and his firsthand reports on the war in Iraq in the acclaimed THE FALL OF BAGHDAD, Jon Lee Anderson wrote GUERRILLAS, a daring on-the-ground account of five diverse insurgent movements around the world: the mujahedin of Afghanistan, the FMLN of El Salvador, the Karen of Burma, the Polisario of Western Sahara, and a group of young Palestines fighting against Israel in the Gaza Strip. Making the most of unprecedented, direct access to his subjects, Anderson combines powerful storytelling with a balanced, penetrating analysis of each situation. A work of phenomenal range, analytical acuity, and human empathy, GUERRILLAS amply demonstrates why Jon Lee Anderson is one of our most important chroniclers of societies in crisis.
By Hampton Sides
On a parched evening in the Philippines 53 years ago, 511 American POWs were saved from almost certain death. A force of elite US troops from the Sixth Ranger Battalion slipped 30 miles behind enemy lines and marched for three days through jungle and peat swamps. They stormed the camp at dusk, killing over 250 Japanese soldiers, rounded up the dazed prisoners and led them out of the gate. With bullets and mortars whining past, the Rangers hauled the prisoners across the Pampanga river and led them down a network of secret paths, past an 8000-man-strong phalanx of Japanese troops. A guerilla force of a few hundred men ambushed the Japanese, destroying a series of bridges along the river, holding off the enemy long enough for the POWs to escape.Today, the raid on Cabanatuan remains the largest and most successful operation of its kind ever undertaken by the US army. A mission of mercy, the raid was of immense symbolic importance for the USA in its fight against the Japanese. Dramatic, gripping, horrifying, GHOST SOLDIERS is narrative history at its best.
By Charles Jennings
There is probably not a London suburb with more intense historical connections, more diversity and more astonishing buildings and artefacts than Greenwich. There are sections on MARITIME GREENWICH - home of the Maritime museum and the CUTTY SARK; ROYAL GREENWICH - Greenwich Park was Henry VIII's favourite residence and where he met Anne Boelyn; SCIENTIFIC GREENWICH - home of the Royal Observatory and GMT and of course The Dome itself...What's it going to be like compared to similar vast jamborees - the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Festival Britain of 1951, what is that strange fabric stretched over those yellow spikes and WHO is going to settle in the 1400-home Millennium Village, to be opened in 2000, with the remains of the old gasworks lying a couple of feet below?
The Golden Warrior
By Lawrence James
'The best study of Lawrence of Arabia' Sunday TimesControversial and provocative, revised and updated, this edition of Lawrence James' acclaimed biography penetrates and overturns the mythology which surrounds T. E. Lawrence, yet remains dispassionate and generous in spirit throughout. It presents a fascinating study of one of the twentieth century's most remarkable figures.