Beyond the Call
By Eileen Rivers
By Nicholas Blincoe
The town of Bethlehem carries so many layers of meaning--some ancient, some mythical, some religious--that it feels like an unreal city, even to the people who call it home. Today, the city is hemmed in by a wall and surrounded by forty-one Israeli settlements and hostile settlers and soldiers. The population is undergoing such enormous strains it is close to falling apart. Any town with an eleven-thousand-year history has to be robust, but Bethlehem may soon go the way of Salonica or Constantinople: the physical site might survive, but the long thread winding back to the ancient past will have snapped, and the city risks losing everything that makes it unique.Still, for many, Bethlehem remains the "little town" of the Christmas song. Nicholas Blincoe will tell the history of the famous little town, through the visceral experience of living there, taking readers through its stone streets and desert wadis, its monasteries, aqueducts and orchards, showing the city from every angle and era. Inevitably, a portrait of Bethlehem will shed light on one of the world's most intractable political problems. Bethlehem is a much-loved Palestinian city, a source of pride and wealth but also a beacon of co-existence in a region where hopelessness, poverty and violence has become the norm. Bethlehem could light the way to a better future, but if the city is lost then the chances of an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict will be lost with it.
The Beastly Battles Of Old England
By Nigel Cawthorne
Throughout history the English have been a warlike lot. Often we fight among ourselves - there have been a good few civil wars - and when we were not slaughtering each other, we practiced on our neighbours, the Scots, the Irish, the French . . . When that got too easy, we set off around the world to find other people to fight. This was usually done with a hubris that invited some ludicrous pratfall. In THE BEASTLY BATTLES OF OLD ENGLAND, Nigel Cawthorne takes us on a darkly humorous journey through some of our ill-advised military actions. From the war over a severed ear to a general seeking out his rival's mistresses to even the score, it is a miscellany of insufferable arrogance, reckless gallantry, stunning stupidity, massive misjudgements and general beastliness.
A Brief History of the Private Life of Elizabeth II, Updated Edition
By Michael Paterson
Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning British monarch. A personally quiet, modest and dutiful person, she is far better-informed about the lives of her subjects than they often realize. She has known every Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and every American President since Eisenhower. Yet what of the woman behind the crown?This book seeks to take a new look at this exhaustively-documented life and show how Queen Elizabeth became the person she is. Who, and what, have been the greatest influences upon her? What are her likes and dislikes? What are her hobbies? Who are her friends? What does she feel about the demands of duty and protocol? Is she really enjoying herself when she smiles during official events? How differently does she behave when out of the public eye? Examining the places in which she grew up or has lived, the training she received and her attitudes to significant events in national life, it presents a fresh view of one of recent history's most important figures.In recent years, Queen Elizabeth has become the longest-reigning monarch in our history and has cut back on commitments. Nevertheless she is still very active and has made some wise decisions about who takes over a number of her duties.
The Bone and Sinew of the Land
By Anna-Lisa Cox
The story of America's forgotten black pioneers, who escaped slavery, settled the frontier, and proved that racial equality was possible even as the country headed toward civil war.The American frontier is one of our most cherished and enduring national images. We think of the early settlers who tamed the wilderness and built the bones of our great country as courageous, independent--and white.In this groundbreaking work of deep historical research, Anna-Lisa Cox shows that this history simply isn't accurate. In fact, she has found a stunning number of black settlements on the frontier--in the thousands. Though forgotten today, these homesteads were a matter of national importance at the time; their mere existence challenged rationalizations for slavery and pushed the question toward a crisis--one that was not resolved until the eruption of the Civil War.Blending meticulous detail with lively storytelling, Cox brings historical recognition to the brave people who managed not just to secure their freedom but begin a battle that is still going on today--a battle for equality.
A Brief History of Italy
By Jeremy Black
'Jeremy Black skilfully sketches social, cultural and political trends' - Christina Hardyment, Times audiobook of the week'A remarkable mixture of cold history, wide culture and personal experience'Ciro Paoletti, Secretary General of the Italian Commission of Military HistoryDespite the Roman Empire's famous 500-year reign over Europe, parts of Africa and the Middle East, Italy does not have the same long national history as states such as France or England. Divided for much of its history, Italy's regions have been, at various times, parts of bigger, often antagonistic empires, notably those of Spain and Austria. In addition, its challenging and varied terrain made consolidation of political control all the more difficult. This concise history covers, in very readable fashion, the formative events in Italy's past from the rise of Rome, through a unified country in thrall to fascism in the first half of the twentieth century right up to today. The birthplace of the Renaissance and the place where the Baroque was born, Italy has always been a hotbed of culture. Within modern Italy country there is fierce regional pride in the cultures and identities that mark out Tuscany, Rome, Sicily and Venice to name just a few of Italy's many famous regions. Jeremy Black draws on the diaries, memoirs and letters of historic travellers to Italy to gain insight into the passions of its people, first chronologically then regionally. In telling Italy's story, Black examines what it is that has given Italians such cultural clout - from food and drink, music and fashion, to art and architecture - and explores the causes and effects of political events, and the divisions that still exist today.
By Lian Xi
The staggering story of the most influential Chinese political dissident of the Mao era, a devout Christian who was imprisoned, tortured, and executed by the regimeBlood Letters tells the astonishing tale of Lin Zhao, a Chinese poet and journalist arrested by the regime in 1960 and executed eight years later, at the height of the Cultural Revolution. Alone among the victims of Mao's dictatorship, she maintained a stubborn and open opposition during the years she was imprisoned. She rooted her dissent in her Christian faith--and expressed it in long, prophetic writings done in her own blood, and at times on her clothes and on cloth torn from her bedsheets.Miraculously, Lin Zhao's prison writings survived, though they have only recently come to light. Drawing on these works and others from the years before her arrest, as well as interviews with friends, family, and classmates, Lian Xi paints an indelible portrait of courage and faith in the face of unrelenting evil.
The Battered Body Beneath the Flagstones, and Other Victorian Scandals
By Michelle Morgan
'Ghoulishly entertaining' Jacqueline Banerjee, Times Literary SupplementA grisly book dedicated to the crimes, perversions and outrages of Victorian England, covering high-profile offences - such as the murder of actor William Terriss, whose stabbing at the stage door of the Adelphi Theatre in 1897 filled the front pages for many weeks - as well as lesser-known transgressions that scandalised the Victorian era.The tales include murders and violent crimes, but also feature scandals that merely amused the Victorians. These include the story of a teenage man who married an actress, only to be shipped off to Australia by his disgusted parents; and the Italian ice-cream man who only meant to buy his sweetheart a hat but ended up proposing marriage instead. When he broke it off, his fiancée's father sued him and the story was dubbed the 'Amusing Aberdeen Breach of Promise Case'. Also present is the gruesome story of the murder of Patrick O Connor who was shot in the head and buried under the kitchen flagstones by his lover Maria Manning and her husband, Frederick. The couple's subsequent trial caused a sensation and even author Charles Dickens attended the grisly public hanging.Drawing on a range of sources from university records and Old Bailey transcripts to national and regional newspaper archives, Michelle Morgan's research sheds new light on well-known stories as well as unearthing previously unknown incidents.
Burke and Wills
By Peter FitzSimons
'They have left here today!' he calls to the others. When King puts his hand down above the ashes of the fire, it is to find it still hot. There is even a tiny flame flickering from the end of one log. They must have left just hours ago.'MELBOURNE, 20 AUGUST 1860. In an ambitious quest to be the first Europeans to cross the harsh Australian continent, the Victorian Exploring Expedition sets off, farewelled by 15,000 cheering well-wishers. Led by Robert O'Hara Burke, a brave man totally lacking in the bush skills necessary for his task; surveyor and meteorologist William Wills; and 17 others, the expedition took 20 tons of equipment carried on six wagons, 23 horses and 26camels.Almost immediately plagued by disputes and sackings, the expeditioners battled the extremes of the Australian landscape and weather: its deserts, the boggy mangrove swamps of the Gulf, the searing heat and flooding rains. Food ran short and, unable to live off the land, the men nevertheless mostly spurned the offers of help from the local Indigenous people.In desperation, leaving the rest of the party at the expedition's depot on Coopers Creek, Burke, Wills and John King made a dash for the Gulf in December 1860. Bad luck and bad management would see them miss by just hours a rendezvous back at Coopers Creek, leaving them stranded in the wilderness with practically no supplies. Only King survived to tell the tale.Yet, despite their tragic fates, the names of Burke and Wills have become synonymous with perseverance and bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. They live on in Australia's history - and their story remains immediate and compelling.
By Michael Veitch
The incredible untold World War II story of Australian hero BARNEY GREATREX - from Bomber Command to French Resistance fighter. A school and university cadet in Sydney, Barney Greatrex signed up for RAF Bomber Command in 1941, eager to get straight into the very centre of the Allied counterattack. Bombing Germany night after night, Barney's 61 Squadron faced continual enemy fighter attacks and anti-aircraft fire - death or capture by the Nazis loomed large. Very few survived more than 20 missions, and it was on his 20th mission, in 1944, that Barney's luck finally ran out: he was shot down over occupied France.But his war was far from over. Rescued by the French Resistance, Barney seized the opportunity to carry on fighting and joined the Maquis in the liberation of France from the occupying German forces, who rarely took prisoners.Later, Barney was awarded the French Legion of Honour, but for seventy years he said almost nothing of his incredible war service - surviving two of the most dangerous battlefronts. Aged 97, Barney Greatrex revealed his truly great Australian war story to acclaimed bestselling author Michael Veitch.'fascinating . . . Veitch brings the story vividly to life' Sydney Morning Herald Pick of the Week'Veitch has done a wonderful job . . . a fast-paced and thrilling tale' Daily Telegraph
Bumper: The Life and Times of Frank 'Bumper' Farrell
By Larry Writer
The sprawling saga of legendary Australian cop, Bumper Farrell, the most feared and revered policeman in Australia's history.Frank 'Bumper' Farrell was the roughest, toughest street cop and vice-squad leader Australia has ever seen. Strong as a bull, with cauliflowered ears and fists like hams, Bumper's beat from 1938 to 1976 was the most lawless in the land - the mean streets of Kings Cross and inner Sydney. His adversaries were such notorious criminals as Abe Saffron, Lennie McPherson, Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh and their gangs as well as the hooligans, sly groggers, SP bookies, pimps and spivs.Criminals knew just where they stood: he would catch them, he would hurt them, and then he would lock them away. He was a legendary Rugby League player for Newtown, and represented Australia against England and New Zealand.Here's Bumper Farrell in brutal, passionate and hilarious action . . . saving Ita Buttrose from a stalker; sparking a national scandal when accused of biting off a rival player's ear; beating Lennie McPherson so severely the hard man cried; single-handedly fighting a mob of gangsters in Kings Cross and winning; terrorising the hoons who harassed the prostitutes in the brothel lanes by driving over the top of them; commandeering the police launch to take him home to his beach home, diving overboard in full uniform and catching a wave to shore; dispensing kindness and charity to the poor.Bumper Farrell: lawman, sportsman, larrikin . . . legend.'fascinating . . . [a] fine biography' SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker
By Roger Hutchinson
At the beginning of each decade for 200 years the national census has presented a self-portrait of the British Isles.The census has surveyed Britain from the Napoleonic wars to the age of the internet, through the agricultural and industrial revolutions, possession of the biggest empire on earth and the devastation of the 20th century's two world wars.In The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker, Roger Hutchinson looks at every census between the first in 1801 and the latest in 2011. He uses this much-loved resource of family historians to paint a vivid picture of a society experiencing unprecedented changes.Hutchinson explores the controversial creation of the British census. He follows its development from a head-count of the population conducted by clerks with quill pens, to a computerised survey which is designed to discover 'the address, place of birth, religion, marital status, ability to speak English and self-perceived national identity of every twenty-seven-year-old Welsh-speaking Sikh metalworker living in Swansea'.All human life is here, from prime ministers to peasants and paupers, from Irish rebels to English patriots, from the last native speakers of Cornish to the first professional footballers, from communities of prostitutes to individuals called 'abecedarians' who made a living from teaching the alphabet.The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker is as original and unique as those people and their islands on the cutting edge of Europe.
Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits
By John Merriman
Paris, 1911. Picasso, Debussy, and Proust were revolutionizing art, music, and literature. Electricity had transformed the City of Lights. And the Parisian elites were mad about their fancy new cars. The Belle Époque was well underway, yet it was not without incident. That year, Paris was gripped by a violent crime streak that obsessed and frightened its citizens. Before Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger, the Bonnot Gang, led by the coarse Jules Bonnot, captured the minds of a nation with their Robin Hood-esque capers. With guns blazing, the Bonnot Gang robbed banks and wealthy Parisians and killed anyone who got in their way in spectacularly cinematic fashion--all in the name of their particular brand of anarchism.In Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits, John Merriman describes the Bonnot Gang's murderous tear and the Parisian police force's botched efforts to stop them. At the heart of the book are two anarchist idealists who wanted to find an alternative to Bonnot's crimes and the French government's unchecked violence. Victor Kibaltchiche and Rirette Maîtrejean met and fell in love at an anarchist rally, and together ran the radical Parisian newspaper L'Anarchie, which covered the Bonnot Gang with great sympathy. The couple and their anarchist friends occupied a world far apart from the opulent Paris of the Champs-Élysées. Their Paris was a vast city of impoverished workers who lived near bleak canals, cemeteries, and empty lots around smoky factories. Victor and Rirette found hope in radical politics, Bonnot and his gang in crime, but none could escape the full might of the French military. The lovers were arrested and imprisoned for their political views, Bonnot was murdered after an hours-long standoff with the police, and his gang was hunted down and sentenced to death by guillotine or lifelong imprisonment.Ballad of the Anarchist Bandits is a classic tale of lost causes, tragic heroes, and the true costs of justice and revenge.
A Brief History of Atlantis
By Stephen P. Kershaw
The Atlantis story remains one of the most haunting and enigmatic tales from antiquity, and one that still resonates very deeply with the modern imagination. But where did Atlantis come from, what was it like, and where did it go to?Atlantis was first introduced by the Greek philosopher Plato in two dialogues the Timaios and Kritias, written in the fourth century BC. As he philosophises about the origins of life, the Universe and humanity, the great thinker puts forward a stunning description of Atlantis, an island paradise with an ideal society. But the Atlanteans degenerate and become imperialist aggressors: they fight against antediluvian Athens, which heroically repels their mighty forces, before a cataclysmic natural disaster destroys the warring states. His tale of a great empire that sank beneath the waves has sparked thousands of years of debate over whether Atlantis really existed. But did Plato mean his tale as history, or just as a parable to help illustrate his philosophy?The book is broken down into two main sections plus a coda - firstly the translations/commentaries which will have the discussions of the specifics of the actual texts; secondly a look at the reception of the myth from then to now; thirdly a brief round-off bringing it all together.
A Brief History of France, Revised and Updated
By Cecil Jenkins
When we think of France, we tend think of fine food and wine, the elegant boulevards of Paris or the chic beaches of St Tropez. Yet, as the largest country in Europe, France is home to extraordinary diversity. The idea of 'Frenchness' emerged through 2,000 years of history and it is this riveting story, from the Roman conquest of Gaul to the present day, that Cecil Jenkins tells: of the forging of this great nation through its significant people and events and and its fascinating culture. As he unfolds this narrative, Jenkins shows why the French began to see themselves as so different from the rest of Europe, but also why, today, the French face the same problems with regard to identity as so many other European nations.
The Birth of a Movement
By Dick Lehr
In 1915, two men,one a journalist agitator, the other a technically brilliant filmmaker,incited a public confrontation that roiled America, pitting black against white, Hollywood against Boston, and free speech against civil rights.Monroe Trotter and D. W. Griffith were fighting over a film that dramatized the Civil War and Reconstruction in a post-Confederate South. Griffith's film, The Birth of a Nation , included actors in blackface, heroic portraits of Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and a depiction of Lincoln's assassination. Freed slaves were portrayed as villainous, vengeful, slovenly, and dangerous to the sanctity of American values. It was tremendously successful, eventually seen by 25 million Americans. But violent protests against the film flared up across the country.Almost fifty years earlier, Monroe's father, James, was a sergeant in an all-black Union regiment that marched into Charleston, South Carolina, just as the Kentucky cavalry,including Roaring Jack Griffith, D. W.'s father,fled for their lives. Monroe Trotter's titanic crusade to have the film censored became a blueprint for dissent during the 1950s and 1960s. This is the fiery story of a revolutionary moment for mass media and the nascent civil rights movement, and the men clashing over the cultural and political soul of a still-young America standing at the cusp of its greatest days.
By Taylor Downing
Paralysis. Stuttering. The 'shakes'. Inability to stand or walk. Temporary blindness or deafness.When strange symptoms like these began appearing in men at Casualty Clearing Stations in 1915, a debate began in army and medical circles as to what it was, what had caused it and what could be done to cure it. But the numbers were never large.Then in July 1916 with the start of the Somme battle the incidence of shell shock rocketed. The high command of the British army began to panic. An increasingly large number of men seemed to have simply lost the will to fight. As entire battalions had to be withdrawn from the front, commanders and military doctors desperately tried to come up with explanations as to what was going wrong. 'Shell shock' - what we would now refer to as battle trauma - was sweeping the Western Front.By the beginning of August 1916, nearly 200,000 British soldiers had been killed or wounded during the first month of fighting along the Somme. Another 300,000 would be lost before the battle was over. But the army always said it could not calculate the exact number of those suffering from shell shock. Re-assessing the official casualty figures, Taylor Downing for the first time comes up with an accurate estimate of the total numbers who were taken out of action by psychological wounds. It is a shocking figure.Taylor Downing's revelatory new book follows units and individuals from signing up to the Pals Battalions of 1914, through to the horrors of their experiences on the Somme which led to the shell shock that, unrelated to weakness or cowardice, left the men unable to continue fighting. He shines a light on the official - and brutal - response to the epidemic, even against those officers and doctors who looked on it sympathetically. It was, they believed, a form of hysteria. It was contagious. And it had to be stopped.Breakdown brings an entirely new perspective to bear on one of the iconic battles of the First World War.
By Martin Torgoff
Bop Apocalypse, a narrative history from master storyteller Martin Torgoff, details the rise of early drug culture in America by weaving together the disparate elements that formed this new segment of the American fabric.Channeling his decades of writing experience, Torgoff connects the birth of jazz in New Orleans, the first drug laws, Louis Armstrong, Mezz Mezzrow, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, swing, Lester Young, Billie Holliday, the Savoy Ballroom, Reefer Madness, Charlie Parker, the birth of bebop, the rise of the Beat Generation, and the coming of heroin to Harlem.Having spent a lifetime immersed in the world where music and drugs overlap, Torgoff reveals material that is completely new and has never been disclosed before, not even in his own litany of work. Bop Apocalypse is truly a new and fresh contribution to the understanding of jazz, race, and drug culture.
By Johnny Smith, Randy Roberts
In 1962, boxing writers and fans considered Cassius Clay an obnoxious self-promoter, and few believed that he would become the heavyweight champion of the world. But Malcolm X, the most famous minister in the Nation of Islam,a sect many white Americans deemed a hate cult,saw the potential in Clay, not just for boxing greatness, but as a means of spreading the Nation's message. The two became fast friends, keeping their interactions secret from the press for fear of jeopardizing Clay's career. Clay began living a double life,a patriotic good Negro" in public, and a radical reformer behind the scenes. Soon, however, their friendship would sour, with disastrous and far-reaching consequences.Based on previously untapped sources, from Malcolm's personal papers to FBI records, Blood Brothers is the first book to offer an in-depth portrait of this complex bond. Acclaimed historians Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith reconstruct the worlds that shaped Malcolm and Clay, from the boxing arenas and mosques, to postwar New York and civil rights-era Miami. In an impressively detailed account, they reveal how Malcolm moulded Cassius Clay into Muhammad Ali, helping him become an international symbol of black pride and black independence. Yet when Malcolm was barred from the Nation for criticizing the philandering of its leader, Elijah Muhammad, Ali turned his back on Malcolm,a choice that tragically contributed to the latter's assassination in February 1965.Malcolm's death marked the end of a critical phase of the civil rights movement, but the legacy of his friendship with Ali has endured. We inhabit a new era where the roles of entertainer and activist, of sports and politics, are more entwined than ever before. Blood Brothers is the story of how Ali redefined what it means to be a black athlete in America,after Malcolm first enlightened him. An extraordinary narrative of love and deep affection, as well as deceit, betrayal, and violence, this story is a window into the public and private lives of two of our greatest national icons, and the tumultuous period in American history that they helped to shape.
A Brief History of the Martial Arts
By Jonathan Clements
Folk tales of the Shaolin Temple depict warrior monks with superhuman abilities. Today, dozens of East Asian fighting styles trace their roots back to the Buddhist brawlers of Shaolin, although any quest for the true story soon wanders into a labyrinth of forgeries, secret texts and modern retellings.This new study approaches the martial arts from their origins in military exercises and callisthenics. It examines a rich folklore from old wuxia tales of crime-fighting heroes to modern kung fu movies. Centre stage is given to the stories that martial artists tell themselves about themselves, with accounts (both factual and fictional) of famous practitioners including China's Yim Wing-chun, Wong Fei-hong, and Ip Man, as well as Japanese counterparts such as Kano Jigoro, Itosu Anko and So Doshin.The history of martial arts encompasses secret societies and religious rebels, with intimate glimpses of the histories of China, Korea and Japan, their conflicts and transformations. The book also charts the migration of martial arts to the United States and beyond. Special attention is paid to the turmoil of the twentieth century, the cross-cultural influence of Japanese colonies in Asia, and the post-war rise of martial arts in sport and entertainment - including the legacy of Bruce Lee, the dilemma of the ninja and the global audience for martial arts in fiction.