On 8 March 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China. The ships, some nearly five hundred feet long, were under the command of Emperor Zhu Di's loyal eunuch admirals. Their mission was 'to proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas' and unite the world in Confucian harmony. Their journey would last for over two years..
**FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE MILLION COPY BESTSELLER SAPIENS**
Sapiens showed us where we came from. Homo Deus looked to the future. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century explores the present. In this new book, Harari helps us to grapple with a world that is increasingly hard to comprehend. How can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms and technological disruptions? What can we d..
Walk a day in a Roman's sandals.
What was it like to live in one of the ancient world's most powerful and bustling cities - one that was eight times more densely populated than modern day New York? In this entertaining and enlightening guide, bestselling historian Philip Matyszak introduces us to 24 characters who lived and worked there. In each hour of the day we meet a new character - from a se..
Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries? These are just some of the questions considered in an internationally acclaimed masterpiece by one of the world's greatest thinkers. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and ..
The 1400-year-old schism between Sunnis and Shi'is has rarely been as toxic as it is today, feeding wars and communal strife in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and many other countries, with tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran escalating.
In this richly layered and engrossing account, John McHugo reveals how this great divide occurred. Charting the story of Islam from the lifetime of..
'An absolute godsend ... Goodman has done both Jews and non-Jews a great service with this book, encapsulating most of Jewish thought over four millennia into one extraordinarily readable volume' Julia Neuberger, Literary ReviewA panoramic history of Judaism from its origins to the presentJudaism is by some distance the oldest of the three Abrahamic religions. Despite the extraordinarily diverse f..
In a bestselling work of profound and lasting importance, the late Albert Hourani told the definitive history of the Arab peoples from the seventh century, when the new religion of Islam began to spread from the Arabian peninsula westwards, to the present day. It is a masterly distillation of a lifetime of scholarship and a unique insight into a perpetually troubled region. This updated edition ..
Unrivalled in scope and brimming with human drama, A People’s Tragedy is the most vivid, moving and comprehensive history of the Russian Revolution available today.
‘A modern masterpiece’ Andrew Marr
‘The most moving account of the Russian Revolution since Doctor Zhivago’ Independent
Opening with a panorama of Russian society, from the cloistered world of the Tsar to the brutal life of the peas..
The first short narrative history of the continent, from the author of the bestselling A Short History of EnglandEurope is an astonishingly successful place. In this dazzling new history, bestselling author Simon Jenkins grippingly tells the story of its evolution from warring peoples to peace, wealth and freedom - a story that twists and turns from Greece and Rome, through the Dark Ages, the Refo..
Tamerlane, the Ottomans, the Mughals, the Manchus, the British, the Soviets, the Japanese and the Nazis.All built empires they hoped would last forever: all were destined to fail. But, as John Darwin shows in his magnificent book, their empire building created the world we know today.From the death of Tamerlane in 1405, last of the ‘world conquerors’, to the rise and fall of European empires, and ..
Have you ever wondered why we can afford to buy far more clothes than our grandparents ever could ... but may be less likely to own a home in which to keep them all? Why your petrol bill can double in a matter of months, but it never falls as fast?Behind all of this lies economics.It's not always easy to grasp the complex forces that are shaping our lives. But by following a dollar on its journey ..
Fascism was the major political invention of the twentieth century and the source of much of its pain. How can we try to comprehend its allure and its horror? Is it a philosophy, a movement, an aesthetic experience? What makes states and nations become fascist?Acclaimed historian Robert O. Paxton shows that in order to understand fascism we must look at it in action - at what it did, as much as wh..
They gave us democracy, philosophy, poetry, rational science, the joke. They built the Parthenon and the Library of Alexandria. They wrote the timeless myths of Odysseus and Oedipus, and the histories of Leonidas' three hundred Spartans and Alexander the Great.
But who were the ancient Greeks? And what was it that enabled them to achieve so much? Here, Edith Hall gives us a revelatory way of ..
Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798 suddenly exposed the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire to a Europe vastly different from the one known to the Arabs of the Middle Ages. At the start of the nineteenth century, Arabs were totally unprepared for the social, economic, and political progress made in Europe. By 1870, however, their vague notions had evolved into a fairly sophisticated knowledge o..
Following in the footsteps of great explorers such as Lawrence of Arabia and Wilfred Thesiger, Arabia is Levison Wood's account of his most complex expedition yet: circumnavigating the Arabian Peninsula. Travelling through some of the harshest and most beautiful environments on earth, he seeks to challenge our perceptions of an often misunderstood part of the world, seeing how the region has chang..
'An enjoyable, highly readable history that manages to bring murky, often fiendishly complex events into the light' Sunday TimesItaly emerged from the Second World War in ruins. Divided, invaded and economically broken, it was a nation that some claimed had ceased to exist. By the 1960s, Italy could boast the fastest-growing economy in the world, as rural society disappeared almost overnight.In Th..
Does Islam as a religion oppress women? Is Islam against democracy? In this classic study, internationally renowned sociologist Fatema Mernissi argues that women's oppression is not due to Islam because this religion celebrates women's power. Women's oppression, she maintains, is due to political manipulation of religion by power-seeking, archaic Muslim male elites.
Mernissi explains that ..
Shortlisted for the Palestine Book Awards 2017A powerful, groundbreaking history of the Occupied Territories from one of Israel's most influential historiansFrom the author of the bestselling study of the 1948 War of Independence comes an incisive look at the Occupied Territories, picking up the story where The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine left off.In this comprehensive exploration of one of the ..
‘A litany of fresh heroes to make the embattled heart sing’ Caitlin Moran‘Newman is a brilliant writer’ ObserverA fresh, opinionated history of all the brilliant women you should have learned about in school but didn’t.For hundreds of years we have heard about the great men of history, but what about herstory?In this freewheeling history of modern Britain, Cathy Newman writes about the pioneering ..
From the renowned historian, biographer, and novelist A. N. Wilson comes a literary, historical, and deeply personal exploration of the Bible.
In The Book of the People, A. N. Wilson explores how readers and thinkers have approached the Bible, and how it may be read today. Charting his own relationship with the Bible over a lifetime of writing,
Wilson argues that it remains relevant, even ..
The fascinating history of Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son Hernando, guardian of his father’s flame, courtier, bibliophile and catalogue supreme, whose travels took him to the heart of 16th-century Europe’ Honor Clerk, Spectator, Books of the YearThis is the scarcely believable – and wholly true – story of Christopher Columbus' bastard son Hernando, who sought to equal and surpass his fath..
Cats were illustrated in medieval manuscripts throughout the Middle Ages, often in exquisite detail and frequently accompanied by their natural prey, mice. Medieval cats were viewed as treasured pets, as fearsome mousers, as canny characters in fables, as associates of the Devil and as magical creatures.
Featuring an array of fascinating illustrations from the British Library's rich medieval col..
*WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2018*'As moving as it is painstakingly researched. . . a cracking read' Viv Groskop, ObserverOn 26 April 1986 at 1.23am a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. While the authorities scrambled to understand what was occurring, workers, engineers, firefighters and those living in the area were abandoned to their ..
'This book will delight any historian. It's a superb gazetteer of 120 centres of ancient civilization' (Daily Telegraph)From Alexandria to York, this unique illustrated guide allows us to see the great centres of classical civilization afresh.The key feature of Cities of the Classical World is 120 specially drawn maps tracing each city's thoroughfares and defences, monuments and places of worship...
Drawing on a Gramscian theoretical perspective and developing a systematic comparative approach, The Civic Foundations of Fascism in Europe challenges the received Tocquevillian consensus on authoritarianism by arguing that fascist regimes, just like mass democracies, depended on well-organised, rather than weak and atomised, civil societies. In making this argument the book focuses on three cruci..
A brilliantly arresting historical work, John Lewis Gaddis's The Cold War takes us as never before to the time when the world stood on the brink of destruction.In 1945 war came to an end. But a whole new terror was only just beginning...Here is the truth behind every spy thriller you've read: why America and the Soviet Union became locked in a deadly stalemate; how close we came to nuclear catastr..
The top five Sunday Times bestseller.'Breathtaking' Daily Mail. 'Astonishing' Sun. 'Shimmering' Spectator. 'Extraordinary' Daily Telegraph.The Colour of Time spans more than a hundred years of world history from the reign of Queen Victoria and the US Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and beginning of the Space Age. It charts the rise and fall of empires, the achievements of science, industry a..
As remarkable as Columbus and the conquistador expeditions, the history of Portuguese exploration is now almost forgotten. But Portugal's navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched the expedition of Vasco da Gama to India and beat the Spanish to the spice kingdoms of the East - then set about creating the first long-range maritime empire. In an astonishing blitz of thirty years, a..
In the spring of 1453, the Ottoman Turks advanced on Constantinople in pursuit of an ancient Islamic dream: capturing the thousand-year-old capital of Christian Byzantium. During the siege that followed, a small band of badly organised defenders, outnumbered ten to one, confronted the might of the Ottoman army in a bitter contest fought on land, sea and underground, and directed by two remarkabl..
*A TIMES AND TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR*WHAT CAUSED THE FALL OF THE MOST PROGRESSIVE GOVERNMENT IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY EUROPE, AND THE RISE OF THE MOST TERRIFYING?In the 1930s, Germany was at a turning point, with many looking to the Nazi phenomenon as part of widespread resentment towards cosmopolitan liberal democracy and capitalism. This was a global situation that pushed Germany to embrace autho..
For nearly two years the two most infamous dictators in history actively collaborated with one another. The Nazi-Soviet Pact stunned the world when it was announced, the Second World War was launched under its auspices with the invasion and division of Poland, and its eventual collapse led to the war’s defining and deciding clash.
It is a chapter too often skimmed over by popular histories of..
A Book of the Year for The Times and the Sunday Times‘The writer is the engineer of the human soul,’ claimed Stalin. Although one wonders how many found nourishment in Turkmenbashi’s Book of the Soul (once required reading for driving tests in Turkmenistan), not to mention Stalin’s own poetry. Certainly, to be considered great, a dictator must write, and write a lot. Mao had his Little Red Book, M..
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, leader of the October 1917 uprising, is one of the most misunderstood leaders of the twentieth century. In his own time, there were many, even among his enemies, who acknowledged the full magnitude of his intellectual and political achievements. But his legacy has been lost in misinterpretation; he is worshipped but rarely read. Tariq Ali explores the two major influences on..
Winner of the the National Book Critics Circle Award for Non-Fiction'Spellbinding ... a magisterial account of the great tragedy of our age ... it is a classic' Evening Standard'In the finest traditions of American investigative journalism' The Times'Spectacular ... makes Bourne movies pale in comparison' Financial TimesFrom the Pulitzer Prize winning of the acclaimed Ghost Wars, this is the full ..
Featured in New York Times: 100 Notable Books of 2015Michael Pye's The Edge of the World is an epic adventure: from the Vikings to the Enlightenment, from barbaric outpost to global centre, it tells the amazing story of northern Europe's transformation by sea.'An utterly beguiling journey into the dark ages of the north sea. A complete revelation . . . Pye writes like a dream. Magnificent' Jerry B..
Through his foreign conquests and internal reforms, Charlemagne is a defining figure of both Western Europe and the Middle Ages. Crowned king of the Franks in 768, he expanded their kingdoms into an empire that incorporated much of western and central Europe, recreating a single Christian imperium in the heartlands of the old Western Roman empire for the first time since the decline and fall of th..
Once vast swathes of the globe were coloured imperial red and Britannia ruled not just the waves, but the prairies of America, the plains of Asia, the jungles of Africa and the deserts of Arabia. Just how did a small, rainy island in the North Atlantic achieve all this? And why did the empire on which the sun literally never set finally decline and fall? Niall Ferguson's acclaimed Empire brillia..
From the Ice Age to the Cold War and beyond, from Reykjavik to Riga, from Archimedes to Einstein, Alexander to Yeltsin, here between the covers of a single volume Norman Davies tells the story of Europe, East and West, from prehistory to the present day. The book's absorbing narrative lays down the chronological and geographical grid on which the dramas of European history have been played out. It..
'Vivid, thrilling, a delight ... Tim Flannery is a palaeontologist and ecologist of global standing, and this is a compelling and authoritative narrative of the evolution of Europe's flora and fauna, from the formation of the continent to its near future ... an exciting book, full of wonder' James McConnachie, Sunday TimesA place of exceptional diversity, rapid change, and high energy, Europe has ..
Brendan Simms's formidable, game-changing history of EuropeIn this marvelously ambitious and exciting book, Brendan Simms tells the story of Europe's constantly shifting geopolitics and the peculiar circumstances that have made it both so impossible to dominate, but also so dynamic and ferocious. It is the story of a group of highly competitive and mutually suspicious dynasties, but also of a cont..
Misha Glenny's acclaimed account of the war in former Yugoslavia contains substantial new material that discusses the end of the five-year conflict and looks ahead to an uneasy future in this turbulent region.
Writing in the Evening Standard, Fitzroy Maclean said ‘Misha Glenny’s deeply disturbing book is, to my mind, essential reading for anyone trying to understand, or even just follow, events i..
It is the most persistent myth of our time: religion is the cause of all violence. But history suggests otherwise. Karen Armstrong, former Roman Catholic nun and one of our foremost scholars of religion, speaks out to disprove the link between religion and bloodshed.
* Religion is as old as humanity: Fields of Blood goes back to the Stone Age hunter-gatherers and traces religion through the c..
Like their modern counterparts, the 'first ladies' of Rome were moulded to meet the political requirements of their emperors, be they fathers, husbands, brothers or lovers. But the women proved to be liabilities as well as assets - Augustus' daughter Julia was accused of affairs with at least five men, Claudius' wife Messalina was a murderous tease who cuckolded and humiliated her elderly husband,..
I can still feel, as if it were yesterday, the excitement of my first Channel crossing (as a child of nearly 7) in September 1936; the regiment of porters, smelling asphyxiatingly of garlic in their blue-green blousons; the raucous sound all around me of spoken French; the immense fields of Normandy strangely devoid of hedges; then the Gare du Nord at twilight, the policemen with their képis and t..
Great Books of China invites readers to discover--or rediscover--some of the major achievements of Chinese culture and civilization. The literature of China remains largely unknown in the West, yet it offers much insight into Chinese life. The long continuity of Chinese culture means that texts created more than two thousand years ago are still part of the education and background of today's China..
The centuries between 800 and 300 BC saw an explosion of new religious concepts. Their emergence is second only to man's harnessing of fire in fundamentally transforming our understanding of what it is to be human. But why did Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jeremiah, Lao Tzu and others all emerge in this five-hundred-year span? And why do they have such similar ideas about humanity?In The Great Tr..
Having written enthralling biographies of London and of its great river, the Thames, Peter Ackroyd now turns to England itself. This first volume of six takes us from the time that England was first settled, more than 15,000 years ago, to the death in 1509 of the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII. In Foundation, Ackroyd takes us from Neolithic England, which we can only see in the most tantalizing gl..
Revolution, the fourth volume of Peter Ackroyd's enthralling History of England begins in 1688 with a revolution and ends in 1815 with a famous victory.
In it, Ackroyd takes readers from William of Orange's accession following the Glorious Revolution to the Regency, when the flamboyant Prince of Wales ruled in the stead of his mad father, George III, and England was – again –at war with France, a..