Sword and Scimitar
By Raymond Ibrahim, Victor Davis Hanson
The West and Islam--the sword and the scimitar--have clashed since the mid-seventh century, when, according to Muslim tradition, the Byzantine emperor rejected Prophet Muhammad's order to abandon Christianity and convert to Islam, unleashing a centuries-long jihad on Christendom.Sword and Scimitar chronicles the significant battles that arose from this ages-old Islamic jihad, beginning with the first major Islamic attack on Christian land in 636, through the occupation of the Middle East that prompted the Crusades and the far-flung conquests of the Ottoman Turks, to the European colonization of the Muslim world in the 1800s, when Islam largely went on the retreat--until its reemergence in recent times. Using original sources in Arabic, Greek, Latin, and Turkish, preeminent historian Raymond Ibrahim describes each battle in vivid detail and explains the effect the outcome had on larger historical currents of the age and how the military lessons of the battle reflect the cultural faultlines between Islam and the West.The majority of these landmark battles are now forgotten or considered inconsequential. Yet today, as the West faces a resurgence of this enduring Islamic jihad, Sword and Scimitar provides the needed historical context to understand the current relationship between the West and the Islamic world, and why the Islamic State is merely the latest chapter of an old history.
Shakespeare and the Resistance
By Clare Asquith
The 1590s were black years for England. The queen was old, the succession unclear, and the treasury empty after decades of war. Amid the rising tension, William Shakespeare published a pair of poems dedicated to the young Earl of Southampton: Venus and Adonis in 1593 and The Rape of Lucrece a year later. Although wildly popular during Shakespeare's lifetime, to modern readers both works are almost impenetrable. But in her enthralling new book, the Shakespearean scholar Clare Asquith reveals their hidden contents: two politically charged allegories of Tudor tyranny that justified--and even urged--direct action against an unpopular regime. The poems were Shakespeare's bestselling works in his lifetime, evidence that they spoke clearly to England's wounded populace and disaffected nobility, and especially to their champion, the Earl of Essex.Shakespeare and the Resistance unearths Shakespeare's own analysis of a political and religious crisis which would shortly erupt in armed rebellion on the streets of London. Using the latest historical research, it resurrects the story of a bold bid for freedom of conscience and an end to corruption which was erased from history by the men who suppressed it. This compelling reading situates Shakespeare at the heart of the resistance movement, and sees him correctly identifying the factors that would before long plunge the country into civil war.
The Storm Before the Storm
By Mike Duncan
The Roman Republic was one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of civilization. Beginning as a small city-state in central Italy, Rome gradually expanded into a wider world filled with petty tyrants, barbarian chieftains, and despotic kings. Through the centuries, Rome's model of cooperative and participatory government remained remarkably durable and unmatched in the history of the ancient world.In 146 BC, Rome finally emerged as the strongest power in the Mediterranean. But the very success of the Republic proved to be its undoing. The republican system was unable to cope with the vast empire Rome now ruled: rising economic inequality disrupted traditional ways of life, endemic social and ethnic prejudice led to clashes over citizenship and voting rights, and rampant corruption and ruthless ambition sparked violent political clashes that cracked the once indestructible foundations of the Republic.Chronicling the years 146-78 BC, The Storm Before the Storm dives headlong into the first generation to face this treacherous new political environment. Abandoning the ancient principles of their forbearers, men like Marius, Sulla, and the Gracchi brothers set dangerous new precedents that would start the Republic on the road to destruction and provide a stark warning about what can happen to a civilization that has lost its way.
See You Again in Pyongyang
By Travis Jeppesen
From ballistic missile tests to stranger-than-fiction stories of purges and assassinations, news from North Korea never fails to dominate the global headlines. But what is life there actually like?In See You Again in Pyongyang, Jeppesen culls from his experiences living, traveling, and studying in North Korea to create a multi-faceted portrait of the country and its idiosyncratic capital city. Not quite memoir, not quite travelogue, not quite history book, Jeppesen offers a poignant and utterly original examination of the world's strangest country. Anchored by the experience of his five trips to North Korea, Jeppesen weaves in his observations and interactions with citizens from all walks of life, constructing a narrative rich in psychological detail, revealing how the North Korean system actually functions and perpetuates itself in the day-to-day, beyond the propaganda-fueled ideology.He challenges the Western notion that Pyongyang is merely a "showcase capital" where everything is staged for the benefit of foreigners, as well as the idea that Pyongyangites are brainwashed robots. Going beyond the clichés of "taboo tourism" and the "good versus evil" tenor of politicians and media reports, See You Again in Pyongyang is an essential addition to the literature about one of the world's most fascinating and mysterious places.
The Suitcase Baby
By Tanya Bretherton
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 NED KELLY AWARD, DANGER PRIZE AND WAVERLEY LIBRARY NIBTrue history that is both shocking and too real, this unforgettable tale moves at the pace of a great crime novel.In the early hours of Saturday morning, 17 November 1923, a suitcase was found washed up on the shore of a small beach in the Sydney suburb of Mosman. What it contained - and why - would prove to be explosive.The murdered baby in the suitcase was one of many dead infants who were turning up in the harbour, on trains and elsewhere. These innocent victims were a devastating symptom of the clash between public morality, private passion and unrelenting poverty in a fast-growing metropolis.Police tracked down Sarah Boyd, the mother of the suitcase baby, and the complex story and subsequent murder trial of Sarah and her friend Jean Olliver became a media sensation. Sociologist Tanya Bretherton masterfully tells the engrossing and moving story of the crime that put Sarah and her baby at the centre of a social tragedy that still resonates through the decades.
The Swamp Fox
By John Oller
In the darkest days of the American Revolution, Francis Marion and his band of militia freedom fighters kept hope alive for the patriot cause during the critical British "southern campaign." Employing insurgent guerrilla tactics that became commonplace in later centuries, Marion and his brigade inflicted enemy losses that were individually small but cumulatively a large drain on British resources and morale.Although many will remember the stirring adventures of the "Swamp Fox" from the Walt Disney television series of the late 1950s and the fictionalized Marion character played by Mel Gibson in the 2000 film The Patriot, the real Francis Marion bore little resemblance to either of those caricatures. But his exploits were no less heroic as he succeeded, against all odds, in repeatedly foiling the highly trained, better-equipped forces arrayed against him.In this action-packed biography we meet many colorful characters from the Revolution: Banastre Tarleton, the British cavalry officer who relentlessly pursued Marion over twenty-six miles of swamp, only to call off the chase and declare (per legend) that "the Devil himself could not catch this damned old fox," giving Marion his famous nickname; Thomas Sumter, the bold but rash patriot militia leader whom Marion detested; Lord Cornwallis, the imperious British commander who ordered the hanging of rebels and the destruction of their plantations; "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, the urbane young Continental cavalryman who helped Marion topple critical British outposts in South Carolina; but most of all Francis Marion himself, "the Washington of the South," a man of ruthless determination yet humane character, motivated by what his peers called "the purest patriotism."In The Swamp Fox, the first major biography of Marion in more than forty years, John Oller compiles striking evidence and brings together much recent learning to provide a fresh look both at Marion, the man, and how he helped save the American Revolution.
Separate and Unequal
By Steven M. Gillon
The definitive history of the Kerner Commission, whose report on urban unrest reshaped American debates about race and inequalityIn Separate and Unequal, historian Steven M. Gillon offers a revelatory new history of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders-popularly known as the Kerner Commission. Convened by President Lyndon Johnson after riots in Newark and Detroit left dozens dead and thousands injured, the commission issued a report in 1968 that attributed the unrest to "white racism" and called for aggressive new programs to end racism and poverty. "Our nation is moving toward two societies," they warned, "one black, and one white-separate and unequal."Johnson refused to accept the Kerner Report, and as his political coalition unraveled, its proposals when nowhere. For the right, the report became a symbol of liberal excess, and for the left, one of opportunities lost. Separate and Unequal is essential for anyone seeking to understand the roots of our vexed racial debates today.
The Second World Wars
By Victor Davis Hanson
A definitive account of World War II by America's preeminent military historianWorld War II was the most lethal conflict in human history. Never before had a war been fought on so many diverse landscapes and in so many different ways, from rocket attacks in London to jungle fighting in Burma to armor strikes in Libya.The Second World Wars examines how combat unfolded in the air, at sea, and on land to show how distinct conflicts among disparate combatants coalesced into one interconnected global war. Drawing on 3,000 years of military history, Victor Davis Hanson argues that despite its novel industrial barbarity, neither the war's origins nor its geography were unusual. Nor was its ultimate outcome surprising. The Axis powers were well prepared to win limited border conflicts, but once they blundered into global war, they had no hope of victory.An authoritative new history of astonishing breadth, The Second World Wars offers a stunning reinterpretation of history's deadliest conflict.
The Strategy of Victory
By Thomas Fleming
Led by the Continental Congress, the Americans almost lost their war for independence because their military thinking was badly muddled. The embryo nation narrowly escaped from the disastrous results of these misconceptions thanks to the levelheaded intelligence of one man: General George Washington.Following the flush of small victories in 1775, patriot leaders were convinced that the key to victory was the homegrown militia--local men defending their families and homes. Washington knew that having and maintaining an army of regular professional soldiers was the only way to win independence. He fought bitterly with the leaders in Congress over the creation of a regular army. In the end, he and his army prevailed.In Strategy of Victory, prolific historian Thomas Fleming examines the battles that created American independence, revealing how the strategy of a professional army, backed by a corps of citizen soldiers determined to fight for their freedom, worked on the battlefield, securing victory, independence and a lasting peace for the young nation.
By Reed Tucker
Over the years, the companies have deployed an arsenal of schemes in an attempt to outmaneuver the competition, whether it be stealing ideas, poaching employees, planting spies, ripping off characters or launching price wars. Sometimes the feud has been vicious, at other times, more cordial. But it has never completely disappeared, and it simmers on a low boil to this day.This is the story of the greatest corporate rivalry never told. Other books have revealed elements of the Marvel-DC battle, but this will be the first one to put it all together into a single, juicy narrative. It will also serve as an alternate history of the superhero, told through the lens of these two publishers.
By Nicholas J.C. Pistor
Their long rivalry climaxed with the spilled blood of an American president. Mathew Brady, nearly blind and hoping to rekindle his artistic photographic magic, competed against his former understudy, Alexander Gardner, to record the epic moments of President Abraham Lincoln's death; the hunt for his murderer, John Wilkes Booth; and the execution of the men and women who conspired with Booth to cripple the United States government. The two photographers rushed to the theater where Lincoln was slain, to the gallows where the conspirators were hanged, and to the autopsy table where Booth was identified, hoping to capture the iconic images of their times . . . and to emerge as the nation's unrivaled master of the new media.Shooting Lincoln tells the heart-pounding story of their race for lasting camera-lens glory-and shows how, at the end of the Civil War, photography had become the photojournalism that would our change culture forever. Brady and Gardner took some of the most memorable images ever recorded in history, invented a new media industry, and became the fathers of modern media, unlocking the passion of Americans for close-up views of history as it happened.
The Shadow of the Great Game
By Narendra Singh Sarila
The untold story of India's Partition.The partition of India in 1947 was the only way to contain intractable religious differences as the subcontinent moved towards independence - or so the story goes. But this dramatic new history reveals previously overlooked links between British strategic interests - in the oil wells of the Middle East and maintaining access to its Indian Ocean territories - and partition. Narendra Singh Sarela reveals here how hte Great Gane against the Soviet Union cast a long shadow. The top-secret documentary evidence unearthed by the author sheds new light on several prominent figures, including Gandhi, Jinnah, Mountbatten, Churchill, Attlee, Wavell and Nerhu. This radical reassessment of one of the key events in British colonial history is important in itself, but its claim that many of the roots of Islamic terrorism sweeping the world today lie in the partition of India has much wider implications.
By James Walvin
An 'entertaining, informative and utterly depressing global history of an important commodity . . . By alerting readers to the ways that modernity's very origins are entangled with a seemingly benign and delicious substance, Sugar raises fundamental questions about our world.'Sven Beckert, the Laird Bell professor of American history at Harvard University and the author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History, in the New York Times'A brilliant and thought-provoking history of sugar and its ironies'Bee Wilson, Wall Street Journal'Shocking and revelatory . . . no other product has so changed the world, and no other book reveals the scale of its impact.' David Olusoga'This study could not be more timely.' Laura Sandy, Lecturer in the History of Slavery, University of LiverpoolHow did a simple commodity, once the prized monopoly of kings and princes, become an essential ingredient in the lives of millions, before mutating yet again into the cause of a global health epidemic?Prior to 1600, sugar was a costly luxury, the preserve of the rich. But with the rise of the European sugar colonies in the Americas in the seventeenth century, sugar became cheap, ubiquitous and hugely popular - an everyday necessity.As recently as the 1970s, very few people suggested that sugar posed a global health problem;yet today, sugar is regularly denounced as a dangerous addiction, on a par with tobacco, and the cause of a global obesity epidemic. While sugar cosumption remains higher than ever - in some countries as high as 50kg per head per year - some advertisements proudly proclaim that their product contains no sugar. Sugar, while still clearly much loved, has taken on a pariah status.Sugar grown by enslaved workers - people who had been uprooted and shipped vast distances to undertake the gruelling, intensive labour on plantations - brought about revolutionary changes in the landscape of the sugar colonies while transforming the tastes of the Western world.Only now is the extensive ecological harm caused by sugar plantations being fully recognised, but it is the brutal human cost, from the first slave gangs in sixteenth-century Brazil, through to indentured Indian labourers in Fiji, the Japanese in Hawaii or the 'South Sea Islanders' shipped to Australia in the late nineteenth century, that has struck us most forcibly in the recent past. We can only fully understand our contemporary dietary concerns with regard to sugar by coming to terms with the relationship between society and sweetness over a long historical span dating back two centuries to a time when sugar was vital to the burgeoning European domestic and colonial economies. This is exactly what Walvin helps us to do.
A Sovereign People
By Carol Berkin
Today the United States is the dominant power in world affairs, and that status seems assured. Yet in the decade following the ratification of the Constitution, the republic's existence was contingent and fragile, challenged by domestic rebellions, foreign interference, and the always-present danger of collapse into mob rule.Carol Berkin reveals that the nation survived almost entirely due to the actions of the Federalist leadership-George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams. Reacting to successive crises, they extended the power of the federal government and fended off foreign attempts to subvert American sovereignty. As Berkin argues, the result was a spike in nationalism, as ordinary citizens began to identify with their nation first, their home states second.While the Revolution freed the states and the Constitution linked them as never before, this landmark work shows that it was the Federalists who transformed the states into an enduring nation.
Superstition and Science
By 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.
By Christopher Tauchen, Jochen Hellbeck
The turning point of World War II came at Stalingrad. Hitler's soldiers stormed the city in September 1942 in a bid to complete the conquest of Europe. Yet Stalingrad never fell. After months of bitter fighting, 100,000 surviving Germans, huddled in the ruined city, surrendered to Soviet troops.During the battle and shortly after its conclusion, scores of Red Army commanders and soldiers, party officials and workers spoke with a team of historians who visited from Moscow to record their conversations. The tapestry of their voices provides ground-breaking insights into the thoughts and feelings of Soviet citizens during wartime.Legendary sniper Vasily Zaytsev recounted the horrors he witnessed at Stalingrad: You see young girls, children hanging from trees in the park.[...] That has a tremendous impact." Nurse Vera Gurova attended hundreds of wounded soldiers in a makeshift hospital every day, but she couldn't forget one young amputee who begged her to avenge his suffering. Every soldier and officer in Stalingrad was itching to kill as many Germans as possible," said Major Nikolai Aksyonov.These testimonials were so harrowing and candid that the Kremlin forbade their publication, and they were forgotten by modern history,until now. Revealed here in English for the first time, they humanize the Soviet defenders and allow Jochen Hellbeck, in Stalingrad , to present a definitive new portrait of the most fateful battle of World War II.
By Alan Palmer
Ypres today is an international 'Town of Peace', but in 1914 the town, and the Salient, the 35-mile bulge in the Western Front, of which it is part, saw a 1500-day military campaign of mud and blood at the heart of the First World War that turned it into the devil's nursery. Distinguished biographer and historian of modern Europe Alan Palmer tells the story of the war in Flanders as a conflict that has left a deep social and political mark on the history of Europe. Denying Germany possession of the historic town of Ypres and access to the Channel coast was crucial to Britain's victory in 1918. But though Flanders battlefields are the closest on the continent to English shores, this was always much more than a narrowly British conflict. Passchendaele, the Menin Road, Hill 60 and the Messines Ridge remain names etched in folk memory. Militarily and tactically the four-year long campaign was innovative and a grim testing ground with constantly changing ideas of strategy and disputes between politicians and generals. Alan Palmer details all its aspects in an illuminating history of the place as much as the fighting man's experience.
By Robert Macklin, Clint Palmer
Clint Palmer has spent much of his adult life in the SAS and has fought in this elite military unit as it developed from its fledgling beginnings into the highly trained, specialised fighting force it is today. He is an insider with the long view and this is his unique story of life in the SAS.As a bush kid in the Northern Territory of Australia, growing up in a one-dog mining town, Palmer's best friends were mostly Aboriginal kids, and the outside world barely existed. But he always had one driving ambition - the army. Enduring the toughest of tough training, Palmer soon demonstrated his fighting capabilities and became part of the Australian SAS. So began almost thirty years of service. We go with him to Iraq and Afghanistan, where he is at the heart of some of the worst fighting in Operation Anaconda in the Shahi-Kot Valley in 2002. He lets us in on what it's like to have made well over a thousand parachute jumps, many of them in terrible conditions and into treacherous terrain which may have ended not just his career but his life. And he shares with us how this adrenalin fuelled world has become a lifelong commitment.Palmer is the man who knows the regiment almost better than anyone, so SAS INSIDER really is the inside story of the SAS - and a gripping account of one Australian soldier's life at the sharp end. Now part of the HACHETTE MILITARY COLLECTION.
Suspected of Independence
By David McKean
The last signatory to the Declaration of Independence was one of the earliest to sign up for the Revolution: Thomas McKean lived a radical, boisterous, politically intriguing life and was one of the most influential and enduring of America's Founding Fathers.Present at almost all of the signature moments on the road to American nationhood, from the first Continental Congress onward, Thomas McKean was a colonel in the Continental Army president of the Continental Congress governor of Pennsylvania and, perhaps most importantly, chief justice of the new country's most influential state, Pennsylvania, a foundational influence on American law. His life uniquely intersected with the many centres of power in the still-formative country during its most vulnerable years, and shows the degree of uncertainty that characterized newly independent America, unsure of its future or its identity.Thomas McKean knew intimately not only the heroic figures of the Revolutionary era,George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin,but also the fascinating characters who fought over the political identity of the new country, such as Caesar Rodney, Francis Hopkinson, and Alexander Dallas. His life reminds us that America's creation was fraught with dangers and strife, backstabbing and bar-brawling, courage and stubbornness. McKean's was an epic ride during utterly momentous times.
Stand by Me
By Jim Downs
Despite the tremendous gains of the LGBT movement in recent years, the history of gay life in this country remains poorly understood. According to conventional wisdom, gay liberation started with the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village in 1969. The 1970s represented a moment of triumph- both political and sexual- before the AIDS crisis in the subsequent decade, which, in the view of many, exposed the problems inherent in the so-called gay lifestyle".In Stand by Me , the acclaimed historian Jim Downs rewrites the history of gay life in the 1970s, arguing that the decade was about much more than sex and marching in the streets. Drawing on a vast trove of untapped records at LGBT community centres in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia, Downs tells moving, revelatory stories of gay people who stood together- as friends, fellow believers, and colleagues- to create a sense of community among people who felt alienated from mainstream American life.As Downs shows, gay people found one another in the Metropolitan Community Church, a nationwide gay religious group in the pages of the Body Politic , a newspaper that encouraged its readers to think of their sexuality as a political identity at the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore, the hub of gay literary life in New York City and at theatres putting on Gay American History," a play that brought to the surface the enduring problem of gay oppression.These and many other achievements would be largely forgotten after the arrival in the early 1980s of HIV/AIDS, which allowed critics to claim that sex was the defining feature of gay liberation. This reductive narrative set back the cause of gay rights and has shaped the identities of gay people for decades.An essential act of historical recovery, Stand by Me shines a bright light on a triumphant moment, and will transform how we think about gay life in America from the 1970s into the present day.