The Empire Must Die
By Mikhail Zygar
The Empire Must Die portrays the vivid drama of Russia's brief and exotic experiment with civil society before it was swept away by the despotism of the Communist Revolution. The window between two equally stifling autocracies - the imperial family and the communists - was open only briefly, in the last couple of years of the 19th century until the end of WWI, by which time the revolution was in full fury. From the last years of Tolstoy until the death of the Tsar and his family, however, Russia experimented with liberalism and cultural openness. In Europe, the Ballet Russe was the height of chic. Novelists and playwrights blossomed, political ideas were swapped in coffee houses and St Petersburg felt briefly like Vienna or Paris. The state, however couldn't tolerate such experimentation against the backdrop of a catastrophic war and a failing economy. The autocrats moved in and the liberals were overwhelmed. This story seems to have strangely prescient echoes of the present.
By Simon Jenkins
England's cathedrals are the nation's glory. They tower over its landscape, outranking palaces, castles and mansions. They attract roughly half the nation's population each year. For a millennium they have been objects of pilgrimage for those seeking faith, consolation and beauty. Still at the start of the twenty-first century, they remain unequalled in their size and splendour.More than any other English institution, cathedrals reflect the vicissitudes of history and should be treasured as such. They are custodians of culture and of the rituals of civic life. They offer welfare and relieve suffering. They uplift spirits with their beauty. In a real sense they are still what they were when first built a millennium ago, a glimpse of the sublime.Gloriously illustrated throughout, England's Cathedrals not only offers us a companion to England's Thousand Best Churches, it takes us on an enthralling tour of the nation and its history, through some of our most astonishing buildings.
By Juliet Barker
The dramatic and shocking events of the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 are to be the backdrop to Juliet Barker's latest book: a snapshot of what everyday life was like for ordinary people living in the middle ages. The same highly successful techniques she deployed inAgincourt and Conquest will this time be brought to bear on civilian society, from the humblest serf forced to provide slave-labour for his master in the fields, to the prosperous country goodwife brewing, cooking and spinning her distaff and the ambitious burgess expanding his business and his mental horizons in the town.The book will explore how and why such a diverse and unlikely group of ordinary men and women from every corner of England united in armed rebellion against church and state to demand a radical political agenda which, had it been implemented, would have fundamentally transformed English society and anticipated the French Revolution by four hundred years. The book will not only provide an important reassessment of the revolt itself but will also be an illuminating and original study of English medieval life at the time.
By Alfred Lansing
In August 1914, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded the Endurance and set sail for Antarctica, where he planned to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. In January 1915, after battling its way through a thousand miles of pack ice and only a day's sail short of its destination, the Endurance became locked in an island of ice. Thus began the legendary ordeal of Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men. For ten months the ice-moored Endurance drifted northwest before it was finally crushed between two ice floes. With no options left, Shackleton and a skeleton crew attempted a near-impossible journey over 850 miles of the South Atlantic's heaviest seas to the closest outpost of civilization. Their survival, and the survival of the men they left behind, depended on their small lifeboat successfully finding the island of South Georgia,a tiny dot of land in a vast and hostile ocean. In Endurance , the definitive account of Ernest Shackleton's fateful trip, Alfred Lansing brilliantly narrates the harrowing and miraculous voyage that has defined heroism for the modern age.
The Eve of Destruction
By James T. Patterson
At the beginning of 1965, the U.S. seemed on the cusp of a golden age. Although Americans had been shocked by the assassination in 1963 of President Kennedy, they exuded a sense of consensus and optimism that showed no signs of abating. Indeed, political liberalism and interracial civil rights activism made it appear as if 1965 would find America more progressive and unified than it had ever been before. In January 1965, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed that the country had no irreconcilable conflicts."Johnson, who was an extraordinarily skillful manager of Congress, succeeded in securing an avalanche of Great Society legislation in 1965, including Medicare, immigration reform, and a powerful Voting Rights Act. But as esteemed historian James T. Patterson reveals in The Eve of Destruction , that sense of harmony dissipated over the course of the year. As Patterson shows, 1965 marked the birth of the tumultuous era we now know as The Sixties," when American society and culture underwent a major transformation. Turmoil erupted in the American South early in the year, when police attacked civil rights demonstrators in Selma, Alabama. Many black leaders, outraged, began to lose faith in nonviolent and interracial strategies of protest. Meanwhile, the U.S. rushed into a deadly war in Vietnam, inciting rebelliousness at home. On August 11th, five days after Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, racial violence exploded in the Watts area of Los Angeles. The six days of looting and arson that followed shocked many Americans and cooled their enthusiasm for the president's remaining initiatives. As the national mood darkened, the country became deeply divided. By the end of 1965, a conservative resurgence was beginning to redefine the political scene even as developments in popular music were enlivening the Left.In The Eve of Destruction , Patterson traces the events of this transformative year, showing how they dramatically reshaped the nation and reset the course of American life.
By 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
Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England
By Lesley Adkins, Roy Adkins
Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England explores the real England of Jane Austen's lifetime. It was a troubled period, with disturbing changes in industry and agriculture and a constant dread of invasion and revolution. The comfortable, tranquil country of her fiction is a complete contrast to the England in which she actually lived. From forced marriages and the sale of wives in marketplaces to boys and girls working down mines or as chimney sweeps, this enthralling social history reveals how our ancestors worked, played and struggled to survive. Taking in the horror of ghosts and witches, bull baiting, highwaymen and the stench of corpses swinging on roadside gibbets, this book is a must-read for anyone wanting to discover the genuine story of Jane Austen's England and the background to her novels.
Escape from the Deep [special reprint 2013 edition / WWII Museum]
By Alex Kershaw
By Alex Kershaw
In July 1944, thirty-two-year-old Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg arrived in Budapest on a mission to rescue the last Jews of Europe.Over the next six months, he repeatedly risked his life to save tens of thousands of Jews, defying mass murderer Adolf Eichmann and crazed Hungarian fascists while enduring one of the bloodiest sieges of World War II. Tragically, when Budapest was finally liberated, the Holocaust's greatest hero had disappeared into the Soviet gulag to this day, his exact fate is unknown.
Engines of War
By Christian Wolmar
The birth of the railway in the early 1830's revolutionized the way the world waged war. From armored engines with swiveling guns, to the practice of track sabotage, to the construction of tracks that crossed frozen Siberian lakes, the iron road" facilitated conflict on a scale that was previously unimaginable. It not only made armies more mobile, but widened fighting fronts and increased the power and scale of available weaponry a deadly combination. In Engines of War , Christian Wolmar examines all the engagements in which the railway played a part: the Crimean War the American Civil War both world wars the Korean War and the Cold War, with its mysterious missile trains and illustrates how the railway became a deadly weapon exploited by governments across the world.
Empire of the Summer Moon
By S.C. Gwynne
In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all. Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second is the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches. Although readers may be more familiar with the tribal names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and when the American West opened up. Comanche boys became adept bareback riders by age six; full Comanche braves were considered the best horsemen who ever rode. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. Against this backdrop Gwynne presents the compelling drama of Cynthia Ann Parker, a nine-year-old girl who was kidnapped by Comanches in 1836. She grew to love her captors and became infamous as the "White Squaw" who refused to return until her tragic capture by Texas Rangers in 1860. More famous still was her son Quanah, a warrior who was never defeated and whose guerrilla wars in the Texas Panhandle made him a legend. S. C. Gwynne's account of these events is meticulously researched, intellectually provocative, and, above all, thrillingly told.
By Charles Bowden, Molly Molloy
In this unprecedented and chilling monologue, a repentant Mexican hitman tells the unvarnished truth about the war on drugs on the American. El Sicario is the hidden face of America's war on drugs. He is a contract killer who functioned as a commandante in the Chihuahuan State police, who was trained in the US by the FBI, and who for twenty years kidnapped, tortured and murdered people for the drug industry at the behest of Mexican drug cartels. He is a hit man who came off the killing fields alive. He left the business and turned to Christ. And then he decided to tell the story of his life and work. Charles Bowden first encountered El Sicario while reporting for the book "Murder City". As trust between the two men developed, Bowden bore witness to the Sicario's unfolding confession, and decided to tell his story. The well-spoken man that emerges from the pages of El Sicario is one who has been groomed by poverty and driven by a refusal to be one more statistic in the failure of Mexico. He is not boastful, he claims no major standing in organized crime. But he can explain in detail not only torture and murder, but how power is distributed and used in the arrangement between the public Mexican state and law enforcement on the ground - where terror and slaughter are simply tools in implementing policy for both the police and the cartels. And he is not an outlaw or a rebel. He is the state. When he headed the state police anti-kidnapping squad in Juarez, he was also running a kidnapping ring in Juarez. When he was killing people for money in Juarez, he was sharpening his marksmanship at the Federal Police range. Now he lives in the United States as a fugitive. One cartel has a quarter million dollar contract on his head. Another cartel is trying to recruit him. He speaks as a free man and of his own free will - there are no charges against him. He is a lonely voice - no one with his background has ever come forward and talked. He is the future - there are thousands of men like him in Mexico and there will be more in other places. He is the truth no one wants to hear.
Eclipse of the Sunnis
By Deborah Amos
From Amman to Beirut and Damascus, award-winning NPR reporter Deborah Amos follows Sunnis living in exile- the largest exile population in postwar history. Husbands are separated from wives, children from parents, and many are cast into a violent and uncaring subculture in which they have few rights and no roots. Even college-educated women are forced to turn to prostitution. The decisions they make illuminate the human side of the post-conflict displacement in the Middle East and give voice to the trauma of the exiles who must choose daily between dignity and survival.
East to the Dawn (Media tie-in)
By Susan Butler
Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) captured the hearts of America after becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1928. Nine years later, her disappearance on an around-the-world flight brought her extraordinary life to an abrupt and mysterious end.Based on a decade of archival research through Earhart's letters, journals, and diaries, and drawing on interviews with the aviator's friends and relatives, East to the Dawn provides the most authoritative and richly textured account of both Earhart's record-setting aviation career and her personal life: her early years with her grandparents, her experiences as a nurse and social worker, her famous marriage to publisher George Putnam, and her secret affair with Gene Vidal, head of the Bureau of Air Commerce. As the Los Angeles Times raved, East to the Dawn is a "fully realized portrait of a truly remarkable woman."
Escape from the Deep
By Alex Kershaw
In the early morning hours of October 24, 1944, the legendary U.S. Navy submarine Tang was hit by one of its own faulty torpedoes. The survivors of the explosion struggled to stay alive one hundred-eighty feet beneath the surface, while the Japanese dropped deadly depth charges. As the air ran out, some of the crew made a daring ascent through the escape hatch. In the end, just nine of the original eighty-man crew survived. But the survivors were beginning a far greater ordeal. After being picked up by the Japanese, they were sent to an interrogation camp known as the Torture Farm." When they were liberated in 1945, they were close to death, but they had revealed nothing to the Japanese, including the greatest secret of World War II. With the same heart-pounding narrative drive that made The Bedford Boys and The Longest Winter national bestsellers, Alex Kershaw brings to life this incredible story of survival and endurance.
The End of the Old Order
By Frederick Kagan
In this monumental account and brilliant new analysis of the Napoleonic era in Europe, Frederick W. Kagan, distinguished historian and military policy expert, reveals the complex interaction of continental politics and war that dominated Europe in the early nineteenth century. Using hitherto untapped archival materials from Austria, Prussia, France, and Russia, Kagan tells the story of Napoleon and Europe that is vastly different from previous histories. He presents these crucial years from the perspective of all the major players of Europe, as well as countless others. With clear and lively prose, Kagan deftly guides the reader through the intriguing and complex web of international politics and war. The End of the Old Order is the first in a new and comprehensive series of studies of Napoleon and Europe.
By Roy Hattersley
Edwardian Britain is the quintessential age of nostalgia, often seen as the last long summer afternoon before the cataclysmic changes of the twentieth century began to take form. The class system remained rigidly in place and thousands were employed in domestic service. The habits and sports of the aristocracy were an everyday indulgence. But it was an age of invention as well as tradition. It saw the first widespread use of the motor car, the first aeroplane and the first use of the telegraph. It was also a time of vastly improved education and the public appetite for authors such as Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and E. M. Forster was increased by greater literacy. There were signs too, of the corner history was soon to turn, with the problematic Boer War hinting at a new British weakness overseas and the drive for Votes for Women and Home Rule for Ireland pushing the boundaries of the social and political landscape. In this major work of history, Roy Hattersley has been given exclusive access to many new documents to produce this magisterial new appraisal of a legendary age.
The Essential Art of War
By Ralph D. Sawyer
Ralph D. Sawyer is the preeminent scholar and translator on Sun-tzu's masterful work. More than 200,000 copies of his Sun-tzu Art of War and more than 55,000 copies of The Complete Art of War have been sold. The Art of War is the most famous study of strategy ever written and has had an extraordinary influence on the history of warfare. The Essential Art of War brings Sun-tzu's classic work to a new, uninitiated readership. This clear and compact volume presumes no prior knowledge of the subject and presents only the material that is essential to understanding this text. Using his best-selling Art of War translation as the centrepiece, Sawyer has re-approached every chapter to include an introduction and closing commentary that deliver the key concepts. An introduction to the volume on the relevance of Sun-tzu's teachings, a chronology, historical background on the translation itself, and a bibliographic essay are also included. The Essential Art of War is presented in an attractive 208-page hardcover volume with foiled jacket, stamped case, and ribbon marker, in a convenient gift size.
The Epic of New York City
By Edward Robb Ellis
In swift, witty chapters that flawlessly capture the pace and character of New York City, acclaimed diarist Edward Robb Ellis presents his masterpiece: a thorough, and thoroughly readable, history of America's largest metropolis. Ellis narrates some of the most significant events of the past three hundred years and more,the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr's fatal duel, the formation of the League of Nations, the Great Depression,from the perspective of the city that experienced, and influenced, them all. Throughout, he infuses his account with the strange and delightful anecdotes that a less charming tour guide might omit, from the story of the city's first, block-long subway to that of the blizzard of 1888 that turned Macy's into one big slumber party. Playful yet authoritative, comprehensive yet intimate, The Epic of New York City confirms the words of its own epigraph, spoken by Oswald Spengler: "World history is city history," particularly when that city is the Big Apple.
The Essence Of War
By Ralph D. Sawyer
From antiquity, the history of China has been marked by invading tribes, warring states, and popular uprisings. This heritage of conflict produced a body of martial literature exploring the fundamental principles of warfare and their methods of employment. Fully aware of the tragic consequences of battle, the authors of these texts emphasized that bloodshed and war should be avoided whenever possible. But, they argued, this is possible only when the principles of leadership and strategy have been mastered and the dynamics of conflict thoroughly analyzed. Over the centuries, these texts have been studied throughout Asia, not only by generals on the battlefield but by leaders of all kinds concerned with the management of human conflict in all its forms. The Essence of War presents eight of these classics (written from 500 B.C.E. to 700 C.E.), including Sun-tzu's Art of War and Sun Pin's Military Methods . The book introduces the core principles of Chinese military science, grouping selected passages and key quotations into five thematic sections encompassing forty-one topical chapters: Fundamentals, Tao of Warfare, Tao of Command, Tactical Essentials, and Tactical Specifics. Translator Ralph D. Sawyer provides here a concise introduction to Chinese military thought and influential materials not only of traditional import, but also for contemporary study and enduring value in both business and military circles throughout the world.