All the Kremlin's Men
By Mikhail Zygar
All the Kremlin's Men is a gripping narrative of an accidental king and a court out of control. Based on an unprecedented series of interviews with Vladimir Putin's inner circle, this book presents a radically different view of power and politics in Russia. The image of Putin as a strongman is dissolved. In its place is a weary figurehead buffeted--if not controlled--by the men who at once advise and deceive him.The regional governors and bureaucratic leaders are immovable objects, far more powerful in their fiefdoms than the president himself. So are the gatekeepers-those officials who guard the pathways to power-on whom Putin depends as much as they rely on him. The tenuous edifice is filled with all of the intrigue and plotting of a Medici court, as enemies of the state are invented and wars begun to justify personal gains, internal rivalries, or one faction's biased advantage.A bestseller in Russia, All the Kremlin's Men is a shocking revisionist portrait of the Putin era and a dazzling reconstruction of the machinations of courtiers running riot.
America's Great Game
By Hugh Wilford
From the 9/11 attacks to waterboarding to drone strikes, relations between the United States and the Middle East seem caught in a downward spiral. And all too often, the Central Intelligence Agency has made the situation worse. But this crisis was not a historical inevitability,far from it. Indeed, the earliest generation of CIA operatives was actually the region's staunchest western ally.In America's Great Game , celebrated intelligence historian Hugh Wilford reveals the surprising history of the CIA's pro-Arab operations in the 1940s and 50s by tracing the work of the agency's three most influential,and colourful,officers in the Middle East. Kermit Kim" Roosevelt was the grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and the first head of CIA covert action in the region his cousin, Archie Roosevelt, was a Middle East scholar and chief of the Beirut station. The two Roosevelts joined combined forces with Miles Copeland, a maverick covert operations specialist who had joined the American intelligence establishment during World War II. With their deep knowledge of Middle Eastern affairs, the three men were heirs to an American missionary tradition that engaged Arabs and Muslims with respect and empathy. Yet they were also fascinated by imperial intrigue, and were eager to play a modern rematch of the Great Game," the nineteenth-century struggle between Britain and Russia for control over central Asia. Despite their good intentions, these Arabists" propped up authoritarian regimes, attempted secretly to sway public opinion in America against support for the new state of Israel, and staged coups that irrevocably destabilized the nations with which they empathized. Their efforts, and ultimate failure, would shape the course of U.S.-Middle Eastern relations for decades to come.Based on a vast array of declassified government records, private papers, and personal interviews, America's Great Game tells the riveting story of the merry band of CIA officers whose spy games forever changed U.S. foreign policy.
An Iron Wind
By Peter Fritzsche
World War II reached into the homes and lives of ordinary people in an unprecedented way. Civilian men, women, and children made up the vast majority of those killed by the war, and the conflict displaced millions more. On Europe's home fronts, the war brought the German blitzkrieg, followed by long occupations and the racial genocide of the Holocaust. In An Iron Wind , historian Peter Fritzsche draws on diaries, letters, and other first-person accounts to show how civilians in occupied Europe struggled to understand this terrifying chaos. As the Third Reich targeted Europe's Jews for deportation and death, confusion and mistrust reigned. What were Hitler's aims? Did Germany's rapid early victories mark the start of an enduring new era? Was collaboration or resistance the wisest response to occupation? How far should solidarity and empathy extend? And where was God? People tried desperately to answer such questions and make sense of the horrors around them, but the stories they told themselves often justified a selfish indifference to their neighbours' fates.Piecing together the broken words of World War II's witnesses and victims,probing what they saw and what they failed to see,Fritzsche offers a haunting picture of the most violent conflict in modern history.
By Richard J. Evans
A bullet misses its target in Sarajevo, a would-be Austrian painter gets into the Viennese academy, Lord Halifax becomes British prime minister in 1940: seemingly minor twists of fate on which world-shaking events might have hinged.Alternative history has long been the stuff of parlour games, war-gaming and science fiction, but over the past few decades it has become a popular stomping ground for serious historians. Richard J. Evans now turns a critical, slightly jaundiced eye on the subject. Altered Pasts examines the intellectual fallout from historical counterfactuals. Most importantly, Evans takes counterfactual history seriously, looking at the insights, pitfalls and intellectual implications of changing one thread in the weave of history.
Among the Headhunters
By Robert Lyman
Flying the notorious "Hump" route between India and China in 1943, a twin-engine plane suffered mechanical failure and crashed in a dense mountain jungle, deep within Japanese-held territory. Among the passengers and crew were celebrated CBS journalist Eric Sevareid, an OSS operative who was also a Soviet double agent, and General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell's personal political adviser. Against the odds, all but one of the twenty-one people aboard the doomed aircraft survived- it remains the largest civilian evacuation of an aircraft by parachute. But they fell from the frying pan into the fire.Disentangling themselves from their parachutes, the shocked survivors discovered that they had arrived in wild country dominated by a tribe with a special reason to hate white men. The Nagas were notorious headhunters who routinely practiced slavery and human sacrifice, their specialty being the removal of enemy heads. Japanese soldiers lay close by, too, with their own brand of hatred for Americans. Among the Headhunters tells- for the first time- the incredible true story of the adventures of these men among the Naga warriors, their sustenance from the air by the USAAF, and their ultimate rescue. It is also a story of two very different worlds colliding- young Americans, exuberant apostles of their country's vast industrial democracy, coming face-to-face with the Naga, an ancient tribe determined to preserve its local power based on headhunting and slaving.
An End To Murder
By Colin Wilson, Damon Wilson
Creatively and intellectually there is no other species that has ever come close to equalling humanity's achievements, but nor is any other species as suicidally prone to internecine conflict. We are the only species on the planet whose ingrained habit of conflict constitutes the chief threat to our own survival. Human history can be seen as a catalogue of cold-hearted murders, mindless blood-feuds, appalling massacres and devastating wars, but, with developments in forensic science and modern psychology, and with raised education levels throughout the world, might it soon be possible to reign in humanity's homicidal habits? Falling violent crime statistics in every part of the world seem to indicate that something along those lines might indeed be happening. Colin and Damon Wilson, who between them have been covering the field of criminology for over fifty years, offer an analysis of the overall spectrum of human violence. They consider whether human beings are in reality as cruel and violent as is generally believed and they explore the possibility that humankind is on the verge of a fundamental change: that we are about to become truly civilised. As well as offering an overview of violence throughout our history - from the first hominids to the twenty-first century, touching on key moments of change and also indicating where things have not changed since the Stone Age - they explore the latest psychological, forensic and social attempts to understand and curb modern human violence. To begin with, they examine questions such as: Were the first humans cannibalistic? Did the birth of civilisation also lead to the invention of war and slavery? Priests and kings brought social stability, but were they also the instigators of the first mass murders? Is it in fact wealth that is the ultimate weapon? They look at slavery and ancient Roman sadism, but also the possibility that our own distaste for pain and cruelty is no more than a social construct. They show how the humanitarian ideas of the great religious innovators all too quickly became distorted by organised religious structures. The book ranges widely, from fifteenth-century Baron Gilles de Rais, 'Bluebeard', the first known and possibly most prolific serial killer in history, to Victorian domestic murder and the invention of psychiatry and Sherlock Holmes and the invention of forensic science; from the fifteenth-century Taiping Rebellion in China, in which up to 36 million died to the First and Second World Wars and more recent genocides and instances of 'ethnic cleansing', and contemporary terrorism. They conclude by assessing the very real possibility that the internet and the greater freedom of information it has brought is leading, gradually, to a profoundly more civilised world than at any time in the past.
By William Philpott
The First World War was too big to be grasped by its participants. In the retelling of their war in the competing memories of leaders and commanders, and the anguished fiction of its combatants, any sense of order and purpose, effort and achievement, was missing. Drawing on the experience of front line soldiers, munitions workers, politicians and those managing the vast economy of industrialised warfare, Attrition explains for the first time why and how this new type of conflict born out of industrial society was fought as it was. It was the first mass war in which the resources of the fully-mobilised societies strained every sinew in a conflict over ideals - and the humblest and highest were all caught up in the national enterprise. In a stunning narrative, this brilliant and necessary reassessment of the whole war cuts behind the myth-making to reveal the determination, organization and ambition on all sides.
By Alex Beam
On June 27, 1844, a mob stormed the jail in the dusty frontier town of Carthage, Illinois. Clamorous and angry, they were hunting down a man they saw as a grave threat to their otherwise quiet lives: the founding prophet of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. They wanted blood.At thirty-nine years old, Smith had already lived an outsized life. In addition to starting his own religion and creating his own Golden Bible",the Book of Mormon,he had worked as a water-dowser and treasure hunter. He'd led his people to Ohio, then Missouri, then Illinois, where he founded a city larger than fledgling Chicago. He was running for president. And, secretly, he had married more than thirty women.In American Crucifixion , Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation,the doctrine of polygamy,created a rift among his people how that schism turned to violence and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride.Mormonism is America's largest and most enduring native religion, and the martyrdom" of Joseph Smith is one of its transformational events. Smith's brutal assassination propelled the Mormons to colonize the American West and claim their place in the mainstream of American history. American Crucifixion is a gripping story of scandal and violence, with deep roots in our national identity.
By Walter R. Borneman
When we look back on our nation's history, the American Revolution can feel almost like a foregone conclusion. In reality, the first weeks of the war were much more tenuous, and a fractured and ragtag group of colonial militias had to coalesce to have even the slimmest chance of toppling the mighty British Army.AMERICAN SPRING follows a fledgling nation from Paul Revere's little-known ride of December 1774 and the first shots fired on Lexington Green through the catastrophic Battle of Bunker Hill, culminating with a Virginian named George Washington taking command of colonial forces on July 3, 1775.Focusing on the colorful heroes John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Benjamin Franklin, and Patrick Henry, and the ordinary Americans caught up in the revolution, Walter Borneman tells the story of how a decade of discontent erupted into an armed rebellion that forged our nation.
All Eyes are Upon Us
By Jason Sokol
The Northeastern United States,home to abolitionism and a refuge for blacks fleeing the Jim Crow South,has had a long and celebrated history of racial equality and political liberalism. After World War II, the region appeared poised to continue this legacy, electing black politicians and rallying behind black athletes and cultural leaders. However, as historian Jason Sokol reveals in All Eyes Are Upon Us , these achievements obscured the harsh reality of a region riven by segregation and deep-seated racism.White fans from across Brooklyn,Irish, Jewish, and Italian,came out to support Jackie Robinson when he broke baseball's colour barrier with the Dodgers in 1947, even as the city's blacks were shunted into segregated neighbourhoods. The African-American politician Ed Brooke won a senate seat in Massachusetts in 1966, when the state was 97% white, yet his political career was undone by the resistance to busing in Boston. Across the Northeast over the last half-century, blacks have encountered housing and employment discrimination as well as racial violence. But the gap between the northern ideal and the region's segregated reality left small but meaningful room for racial progress. Forced to reckon with the disparity between their racial practices and their racial preaching, blacks and whites forged interracial coalitions and demanded that the region live up to its promise of equal opportunity.A revelatory account of the tumultuous modern history of race and politics in the Northeast, All Eyes Are Upon Us presents the Northeast as a microcosm of America as a whole: outwardly democratic, inwardly conflicted, but always striving to live up to its highest ideals.
Anatomy of a Building
By Rowan Moore
The Royal College of Physicians celebrates its 500th anniversary in 2018, and to observe this landmark is publishing this series of ten books. Each of the books focuses on fifty themed elements that have contributed to making the RCP what it is today, together adding up to 500 reflections on 500 years. Some of the people, ideas, objects and manuscripts featured are directly connected to the College, while others have had an influence that can still be felt in its work.Written exactly fifty years after the opening of the building in 1964, this first book in the series, Anatomy of a Building, is a meditation on the architecture of the college, focusing particularly on its current home, a Grade 1 listed building, designed by Denys Lasdun.
By Russell Shorto
Amsterdam is not just any city. Despite its relative size it has stood alongside its larger cousins - Paris, London, Berlin - and has influenced the modern world to a degree that few other cities have. Sweeping across the city's colourful thousand year history, Amsterdam will bring the place to life: its sights and smells; its politics and people. Concentrating on two significant periods - the late 1500s to the mid 1600s and then from the Second World War to the present, Russell Shorto's masterful biography looks at Amsterdam's central preoccupations. Just as fin-de-siecle Vienna was the birthplace of psychoanalysis, seventeenth century Amsterdam was the wellspring of liberalism, and today it is still a city that takes individual freedom very seriously. A wonderfully evocative book that takes Amsterdam's dramatic past and present and populates it with a whole host of colourful characters, Amsterdam is the definitive book on this great city.
The Abacus and the Cross
By Nancy Marie Brown
The medieval Catholic Church, widely considered a source of intolerance and inquisitorial fervor, was not anti-science during the Dark Ages,in fact, the pope in the year 1000 was the leading mathematician and astronomer of his day. Called The Scientist Pope," Gerbert of Aurillac rose from peasant beginnings to lead the church. By turns a teacher, traitor, kingmaker, and visionary, Gerbert is the first Christian known to teach math using the nine Arabic numerals and zero. In The Abacus and the Cross , Nancy Marie Brown skillfully explores the new learning Gerbert brought to Europe. A fascinating narrative of one remarkable math teacher, The Abacus and the Cross will captivate readers of history, science, and religion alike.
The Atlantic and Its Enemies
By Norman Stone
Pre-eminent historian Norman Stone's The Atlantic and Its Enemies is a masterful history of the Cold War. As Soviet influence spread insidiously from nation to nation, the Americans and British were overwhelmed by the coups, collapsing armies, and civil wars that seemed ceaselessly to besiege not just Europe but the Middle East and Asia as well. For every Atlantic success there seemed to be a dozen Communist or Third World triumphs, as the USSR and its proxies crushed dissent and humiliated the United States on both military and cultural grounds. Then, suddenly and against all odds, the Atlantic won - economically, ideologically, militarily - with astonishing speed and finality. Imbued with deep learning and sparks of pugilistic wit, The Atlantic and Its Enemies is an elegantly told path-breaking work,both a monument to the immense suffering and conflict of the 20th century, and an illuminating exploration of how the Western powers ultimately triumphed over the Second World War.
By Harlow Giles Unger
On December 16, 1773, an estimated seven dozen men dumped roughly £10,000 worth of tea in Boston Harbor. This symbolic act unleashed a social, political, and economic firestorm throughout the colonies. Combining stellar scholarship with action-packed history, American Tempest reveals the truth behind the legendary event and examines its lasting consequence- the birth of an independent America.
Armies of Heaven
By Jay Rubenstein
At Moson, the river Danube ran red with blood. At Antioch, the Crusaders, their saddles freshly decorated with sawed-off heads,indiscriminately clogged the streets with the bodies of eastern Christians and Turks. At Ma'arra, they cooked children on spits and ate them. By the time the Crusaders reached Jerusalem, their quest,and their violence, had become distinctly otherworldly: blood literally ran shin-deep through the streets as the Crusaders overran the sacred city. Beginning in 1095 and culminating four bloody years later, the First Crusade represented a new kind of warfare: holy, unrestrained, and apocalyptic. In Armies of Heaven , medieval historian Jay Rubenstein tells the story of this cataclysmic event through the eyes of those who witnessed it, emphasizing the fundamental role that apocalyptic thought played in motivating the Crusaders. A thrilling work of military and religious history, Armies of Heaven will revolutionize our understanding of the Crusades.
America and the Pill
By Elaine Tyler May
In 1960, the FDA approved the contraceptive commonly known as the pill." Advocates, developers, and manufacturers believed that the convenient new drug would put an end to unwanted pregnancy, ensure happy marriages, and even eradicate poverty. But as renowned historian Elaine Tyler May reveals in America and the Pill , it was women who embraced it and created change. They used the pill to challenge the authority of doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and lawmakers. They demonstrated that the pill was about much more than family planning,it offered women control over their bodies and their lives. From little-known accounts of the early years to personal testimonies from young women today, May illuminates what the pill did and did not achieve during its half century on the market.
At the Edge of the Precipice
By Robert V. Remini
In 1850, with Northerners demanding that slavery be outlawed in the vast new territory America had just acquired in the Mexican- American War, Southerners threatened to secede from the Union. Veteran statesman Henry Clay proffered a solution: the Compromise of 1850, which saved the Union from dissolution for the next ten years and gave the North time to build its industrial might so that it could defeat the South once secession was at hand. Historian Robert V. Remini masterfully shows how Clay's recognition of the need for bipartisanship in times of crisis saved the Union,not once, but twice.
America, Empire of Liberty
By David Reynolds
Thomas Jefferson envisioned the United States as a great "empire of liberty." In this single-volume history of the United States, David Reynolds takes Jefferson's phrase as a key to the American saga. He examines how the anti-empire of 1776 became the greatest superpower the world has seen and asks difficult questions about the cost of American greatness, from slavery to the War on Terror. Written with verve, insight, and humour, America, Empire of Liberty is a magisterial depiction of America in all its grandeur and contradictions.
By Eugene Rogan
In this definitive history of the modern Arab world, award-winning historian Eugene Rogan draws extensively on Arab sources and texts to place the Arab experience in its crucial historical context for the first time. Tracing five centuries of Arab history, Rogan reveals that there was an age when the Arabs set the rules for the rest of the world. Today, however, the Arab world's sense of subjection to external powers carries vast consequences for both the region and Westerners who attempt to control it. Updated with a new epilogue, The Arabs is an invaluable, ground-breaking work of history.