Showing 1–24 of 39 results
A thought-provoking, authoritative biography of one of history’s most maligned rulersLouis XVI of France, who was guillotined in 1793 during the Revolution and Reign of Terror, is commonly portrayed in fiction and film either as a weak and stupid despot in thrall to his beautiful, shallow wife, Marie Antoinette, or as a cruel and treasonous tyrant. Historian John Hardman disputes both these versions in a fascinating new biography of the ill-fated monarch. Based in part on new scholarship that has emerged over the past two decades, Hardman’s illuminating study describes a highly educated ruler who, though indecisive, possessed sharp political insight and a talent for foreign policy; who often saw the dangers ahead but could not or would not prevent them; and whose great misfortune was to be caught in the violent center of a major turning point in history.H
Semën Kanatchikov, born in a central Russian village in 1879, was one of the thousands of peasants who made the transition from traditional village life to the life of an urban factory worker in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the last years of the nineteenth century. Unlike the others, however, he recorded his personal and political experiences (up to the even of the 1905 Revolution) in an autobiography. First published in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, this memoir gives us the richest and most thoughtful firsthand account we have of life among the urban lower classes in Imperial Russia.W
Galileo’s Idol offers a vivid depiction of Galileo’s friend, student, and patron, Gianfrancesco Sagredo (1571-1620). Sagredo’s life, which has never before been studied in depth, brings to light the inextricable relationship between the production, distribution, and reception of political information and scientific knowledge. Nick Wilding uses as wide a variety of sources as possible – paintings, ornamental woodcuts, epistolary hoaxes, intercepted letters, murder case files, and others – to challenge the picture of early modern science as pious, serious, and ecumenical.
In 1215 a group of English barons, dissatisfied with the weak and despicable King John, decided that they needed a new monarch. They wanted a strong, experienced man, of royal blood, and they found him on the other side of the Channel: astonishingly, the most attractive candidate for the crown of England was Louis, eldest son and heir of the king of France.In this fascinating biography of England’s least-known “king”—and the first to be written in English—Catherine Hanley explores the life and times of “Louis the Lion” before, during, and beyond his quest for the English throne.
Part biography, part cultural history, The Creation of Anne Boleyn is a fascinating reconstruction of Anne’s life and an illuminating look at her afterlife in the popular imagination. Why is Anne so compelling? Why has she inspired such extreme reactions? What did she really look like? Was she the flaxen-haired martyr of Romantic paintings or the raven-haired seductress of twenty-first-century portrayals? (Answer: neither.) And perhaps the most provocative questions concern Anne’s death more than her life.
Nigel Hamilton’s Mantle of Command, long-listed for the National Book Award, drew on years of archival research and interviews to portray FDR in a tight close up, as he determined Allied strategy in the crucial initial phases of World War II. Commander in Chief reveals the astonishing sequel — suppressed by Winston Churchill in his memoirs — of Roosevelt’s battles with Churchill to maintain that strategy. Roosevelt knew that the Allies should take Sicily but avoid a wider battle in southern Europe, building experience but saving strength to invade France in early 1944.
On 14 May 1940, the Evening Standard published a cartoon with the caption “All Behind You, Winston”. It showed Churchill, the freshly installed prime minister, rolling up his sleeves to confront the oncoming menace of Nazi Germany. In his wake, leading the endless ranks of the British people, marched the most prominent figures of his new coalition government.
It was a potent expression of a moment when Britons of every class were truly all in it together. It also contained a truth that Churchill’s titanic historical reputation has since eclipsed: that neither he nor the country would have prevailed but for the joint effort of this remarkable “ministry of all the talents”.
The director of twenty-five films, including My Night at Maud’s (1969), which was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award, and the editor in chief of Cahiers du cinéma from 1957 to 1963, Éric Rohmer set the terms by which people watched, made, and thought about cinema for decades. Such brilliance does not develop in a vacuum, and Rohmer cultivated a fascinating network of friends, colleagues, and industry contacts that kept his outlook sharp and propelled his work forward. Despite his privacy, he cared deeply about politics, religion, culture, and fostering a public appreciation of the medium he loved.T
The story of a fascinating man who connected the great politicians, artists and thinkers at the height of British global power and influence.A famed aesthete and patron, Philip Sassoon’s world was one of luxury and classic English elegance with oriental flair. He gathered a social set that would provide inspiration for Brideshead Revisited. At his famous parties you might find Winston Churchill arguing over the tea cups with George Bernard Shaw, the Prince of Wales playing tennis with Charlie Chaplin, Noël Coward mingling with flamingos and Lawrence of Arabia and Rex Whistler painting murals as the party carried on around him.B
Told completely from the Trans-Siberian and a series of Russian jets, this is the story of a young British poet, who, after becoming engaged to his translator more than 3,500 miles east, embarks on a journey into the very heart of Siberia to marry his fiancée. However, in place of the desolate wasteland he expected to find, Michael discovers the side of Siberia little known outside of Russia. After 30 years of British rain, Michael has to learn the art of sunbathing, in the last place on Earth anyone would think to take a pair of flip-flops.
From the private world of a beloved queen, a story of intimacy, espionage, rumor, and subterfugeQueen Elizabeth I acceded to the throne in 1558, restoring the Protestant faith to England. At the heart of the new queen’s court lay her bedchamber, closely guarded by the favored women who helped her dress, looked after her jewels, and shared her bed.Elizabeth’s private life was of public concern. Her bedfellows were witnesses to the face and body beneath the makeup and raiment, as well as to rumored dalliances with such figures as Earl Robert Dudley.
How did Andrei Sakharov, a theoretical physicist and the acknowledged father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, become a human rights activist and the first Russian to win the Nobel Peace Prize? In his later years, Sakharov noted in his diary that he was “simply a man with an unusual fate.” To understand this deceptively straightforward statement by an extraordinary man, The World of Andrei Sakharov, the first authoritative study of Andrei Sakharov as a scientist as well as a public figure, relies on previously inaccessible documents, recently declassified archives, and personal accounts by Sakharov’s friends and colleagues to examine the real context of Sakharov’s life.
In the course of doing so, Gennady Gorelik answers a fascinating question, whether the Soviet hydrogen bomb was really fathered by Sakharov, or whether it was based on stolen American secrets. Gorelik concludes that while espionage did initiate the Soviet effort, the Russian hydrogen bomb was invented independently. Gorelik also elucidates the reasons that brought about the seemingly sudden transformation of the top-secret physicist into a public figure in 1968, when Sakharov’s famous essay “Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom” was distributed in samizdat in the USSR and smuggled out to the West. Recently declassified documents show that Sakharov’s metamorphosis was caused by professional concerns, particularly regarding the development of an anti-ballistic missile defense. An insider’s view of how the upper echelons of the Soviet regime functioned had led Sakharov to the conclusion that the goals of peace, progress, and human rights were inextricably linked. His free thinking and free feeling were manifested in his hope that scientific thought and religious perception would find a profound synthesis in the future.
The riveting true story of mother-and-daughter queens Catherine de’ Medici and Marguerite de Valois, whose wildly divergent personalities and turbulent relationship changed the shape of their tempestuous and dangerous century.Set in magnificent Renaissance France, this is the story of two remarkable women, a mother and daughter driven into opposition by a terrible betrayal that threatened to destroy the realm.Catherine de’ Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for thirty years.
SOE agent Violette Szabó was one of the most incredible women who operated behind enemy lines during the Second World War. The daughter of an English father and French mother, and widow of a French army officer, she was daring and courageous, conducting sabotage missions, being embroiled in gun battles and battling betrayal. On her second mission she was captured by the Nazis, interrogated and tortured, then deported to Germany where she was eventually executed at Ravensbrück concentration camp.
The Blitz had made many families in the East End of London homeless. One solution was to erect prefabs on fi elds and open spaces to give temporary accommodation to those who had been bombed out. It was in one of these ‘modern’ boxes that young Norman Jacobs grew up through the 1950s and 1960s. In a lively, detailed and humorous picture of a postwar Hackney childhood, Norman takes us back to an age of rationing, bomb sites, street markets, colourful characters and camaraderie. And in reminiscing about stodgy school food, jumpers for goalposts, Listen with Mother, greyhound racing, pie ‘n’ mash, holidaycamps, and the advent of American-style burger bars, he provides a glimpse into a way of life that has vanished for ever.
THE THREE EDWARDS, third in Thomas B. Costain’s survey of Britain under the Plantagenets, covers the years between 1272 and 1377 when three Edwards ruled England. Edward I brought England out of the Middle Ages. Edward II had a tragic reign but gave his country Edward III, who ruled gloriously, if violently."A thrilling narrative. . .history told with all the interest found only in a great novel." (Salt Lake City Tribune)A History of the Plantagenets includes THE CONQUERING FAMILY, THE MAGNIFICENT CENTURY, THE THREE EDWARDS and THE LAST PLANTAGENETS.
Growing up in the beautiful mountains of Berchtesgaden – just steps from Adolf Hitler’s alpine retreat – Irmgard Hunt had a seemingly happy, simple childhood. In her powerful, illuminating, and sometimes frightening memoir, Hunt recounts a youth lived under an evil but persuasive leader. As she grew older, the harsh reality of war – and a few brave adults who opposed the Nazi regime – aroused in her skepticism of National Socialist ideology and the Nazi propaganda she was taught to believe in.I
William Avery Bishop is recognized as the British Empire’s highest-scoring WWI ace, credited with 72 combat victories, third-ranking behind von Richthofen and René Fonck. He scored many of his successes on his own, prevailing only by dint of personal courage, daring and superior marksmanship. This remarkable man’s story has been detailed in many books and articles, but renowned author Peter Kilduff is adamant that so far the full truth has not been told. Famed for his evenhanded, thorough, exhaustive and forensic research, Kilduff sets out to bring new light to missions and kills so far steeped in controversy.
Cold war helicopter ace Terry Peet lived for flying. He was a ‘go anywhere, do anything,’ Royal Air Force pilot with a reputation for ‘sheer guts’. Whether ferrying troops to remote jungle landing zones or snatching casualties from makeshift clearings surrounded by two-hundred-feet high trees, he willingly pushed himself and his primitive Sycamore helicopter to the limit. During two years in the hot spots of Malaya and Borneo with the RAF, he repeatedly cheated death and earned a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air.
On 10 December 1941, the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese bombers in the South China Sea. Amongst the several hundred men who went down with her was her Captain, John Leach, who had fought against frightful odds and to the very end made the best of an impossible situation with courage and calmness. He embodied the best of the service, and truly was ‘in the highest traditions of the Royal Navy’. In this book, Matthew B Wills tells the story of John Leach, and analyses the influences which shaped him and led him ultimately to his heroic end.
Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, Venice transformed itself from a struggling merchant commune to a powerful maritime empire that would shape events in the Mediterranean for the next four hundred years. In this magisterial new book on medieval Venice, Thomas F. Madden traces the city-state’s extraordinary rise through the life of Enrico Dandolo (c. 1107–1205), who ruled Venice as doge from 1192 until his death. The scion of a prosperous merchant family deeply involved in politics, religion, and diplomacy, Dandolo led Venice’s forces during the disastrous Fourth Crusade (1201–1204), which set out to conquer Islamic Egypt but instead destroyed Christian Byzantium.
Running from Home chronicles Rita’s flight from the Nazis as it was perceived by a young child. The sense of bewilderment, loss of home, and suffering from hunger and cold create an indelible mark upon her mind and do not leave when she eventually comes to America. Raised in different cultures, she never feels at home but is always the outsider, trying to reconcile her old life and experiences with her new surroundings. Her youth and adolescence are assaulted by the demons that have been imprinted on her young brain.
Was he a far-sighted war hero, or an ambitious networker promoted well above his natural talent? Admired as a modernising chief of staff, a timely decoloniser, and a genuine player on the world stage, Mountbatten nevertheless continues to attract fierce criticism.
This title offers a fascinating look at the Kennedy clan in heady pre-war Britain and the intricate relationships between the US ambassador, Jack Kennedy, Chamberlain, Churchill and Roosevelt. It includes compelling stories of the glitterati of the time, from the Mitfords and the Astors to the Windsors.With the European dictators Mussolini and Hitler becoming increasingly belligerent, Joseph Kennedy’s appointment to the Court of St James came at an especially dangerous time. In those pivotal years, the Kennedys crystallised their identity as protagonists on the world stage, making public the competitive clannish intra-family dynamics that would fuel their mythic rise to power.T
Showing 1–24 of 39 results