In 1916, in the middle of the First World War, two men secretly agreed to divide the Middle East between them. Sir Mark Sykes was a visionary politician; François Georges-Picot a diplomat with a grudge. The deal they struck, which was designed to relieve tensions that threatened to engulf the Entente Cordiale, drew a line in the sand from the Mediterranean to the Persian frontier. Territory nort..
A Short History of Byzantium is renowned historian, and author of A History of Venice, John Julius Norwich's classic history of Byzantium. Constantine the Great moved the seat of Roman power to Constantinople in AD 330 and for eleven brutal, bloody centuries, the Byzantine Empire became a beacon of grand magnificence and depraved decadence . . .Here there are the centuries dominated by ferocious..
From the invaders of the dark ages to the aftermath of the coalition, one of Britain's most respected journalists, Simon Jenkins, weaves together a strong narrative with all the most important and interesting dates in a book that characteristically is as stylish as it is authoritative.
A Short History of England sheds light on all the key individuals and events, bringing them together in an e..
What did people really believe in the Middle Ages? Much of our sense of the medieval period has come down to us from the writings of the learned: the abbots, priors, magnates, scholastic theologians and others who between them, and across Christendom, controlled the machinery of church and state. For G R Evans too much emphasis has been placed on a governing elite and too little on those - the g..
As long as we have been human, we have been mythmakers. In A Short History of Myth, Karen Armstrong holds up the mirror of mythology to show us the history of ourselves, and embarks on a journey that begins at a Neanderthal graveside and ends buried in the heart of the modern novel.
Surprising, powerful and profound, A Short History of Myth examines the world's most ancient art form - the mak..
'Here lies our leader all cut down, the valiant man in the dust.' The elegiac words of the Battle of Maldon, an epic poem written to celebrate the bravery of an English army defeated by Viking raiders in 991, emerge from a diverse literature - including Beowulf and Bede's Ecclesiastical History - produced by the people known as the Anglo-Saxons: Germanic tribes who migrated to Britain from Lower..
The Byzantine Empire was one of the most impressive imperial adventures in history. It ruled much of Europe and Anatolia for a remarkable eleven hundred years. From Constantine I's establishment of Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) as his capital in 324 CE, until the fall of the city to the Ottomans in 1453, the Byzantine domain became a powerhouse of literature, art, theology, law and learning..
The extraordinary creative energy of Renaissance Italy lies at the root of modern Western culture. In her elegant new introduction, Virginia Cox offers a fresh vision of this iconic moment in European cultural history, when between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries Italy led the world in painting, building, science and literature. Her book explores key artistic, literary and intellectual de..
The Mongol Empire was the mightiest land empire the world has ever seen. At its height it was twice the size of its Roman equivalent. For a remarkable century and a half it commanded a population of 100 million people, while the rule of Chinggis (Genghis) Khan marched undefeated from the Pacific Ocean to the Caspian Sea. George Lane argues that the Mongols were not only subjugators who swept all..
Few documents in world history can match the inspirational impact of the New Testament. For all its variety - gospels, letters and visions - this firstcentury collection of texts keeps always at its centre the enigmatic figure of Joshua/Jesus: the Jewish prophet who gathered a group around him, proclaimed the imminent end of the world, but was made captive by the authorities of Rome only to suff..
The Phoenicians present a tantalizing face to the ancient historian. Latin sources suggest they once had an extensive literature of history, law, philosophy and religion; but all now is lost. Offering new insights based on recent archaeological discoveries in their heartland of modern-day Lebanon, Mark Woolmer presents a fresh appraisal of this fascinating, yet elusive, Semitic people. Discussin..
When, in October 1517, Martin Luther pinned his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg he shattered the foundations of western Christendom. The Reformation of doctrine and practice that followed Luther's seismic action, and protest against the sale of indulgences, fragmented the Church and overturned previously accepted certainties and priorities. But it did more, cha..
In 1917 revolutionary fervour swept through Russia, ending centuries of imperial rule and instigating political and social changes that would lead to the formation of the Soviet Union. Arising out of proletariat discontent with the Tsarist autocracy and Lenin's proclaimed version of a Marxist ideology, the revolutionary period saw a complete overhaul of Russian politics and society and led direc..
One of the most devastating portraits ever drawn of a human society - life in Hitler's Germany during the Third Reich.
The Nazis developed a social system unprecedented in history. It was rigidly hierarchical, with the seemingly beneficent and ascetic figure of Hitler at the top - focus for the homage and aspirations of every man,woman and child. How did the 'ordinary citizen' live under such..
A history of the twentieth century which covers all the ideas, people, great events, literary and artistic movements, scientific discoveries which have shaped the twentieth century. Terrible Beauty presents a unique narrative of the twentieth century. Unlike more conventional histories, where the focus is on political events and personalities, on wars, treaties and elections, this book concentra..
Deemed unfit for service when the Germans invaded in 1941, Vasily Grossman became a special correspondent for Red Star, the Red Army newspaper, observing on the Eastern front with a writer's eye the most pitiless fighting ever known.
Grossman witnessed almost all the major events: the appalling defeats and desperate retreats of 1941, the defence of Moscow and fighting in the Ukraine. In Augus..
THE STORY OF AELFRED THE GREAT, HIS WAR AGAINST THE VIKINGS AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF MODERN BRITAIN. In AD 865, a 'great host' of battle-hardened Norse warriors landed on England's eastern coast, overwhelmed East Anglia with terrifying swiftness and laid the North to waste. Ghosting along estuaries and inshore waters, in 871 they penetrated deep into the southern kingdom of Wessex, r..
A fantastic voyage through 15,000 years of history that laid the foundations for civilisation as we know it by award-winning science writer Steven Mithen.
Twenty thousand years ago Earth was in the midst of an ice age. Then global warming arrived, leading to massive floods, the spread of forests and the retreat of the deserts. By 5,000 BC a radically different human world had appeared. In pla..
Against Everything is a thought-provoking study and essential guide to the vicissitudes of everyday life under twenty-first-century capitalism. Mark Greif is one of the most exciting writers of his generation. In this invigorating collection, he challenges us to rethink the ordinary world and take life seriously - in short, to stay honest in dishonest times. In a series of coruscating set pieces..
The kind of vision the world needs right now...Pankaj Mishra shouldn't stop thinking' Christopher de Bellaigue, Financial Times
'This is the most astonishing, convincing, and disturbing book I've read in years' Joe Sacco
'Urgent, profound and extraordinarily timely' John Banville
How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close..
Hobsbawm's brilliant history, beautifully repackaged as an Abacus History Great
The first and best, major treatment of the crucial years 1848-1875, a penetrating analysis of the rise of capitalism throught the world.
In the 1860s a new word entered the economic and political vocabulary of the world: 'capitalism'. The global triumph of capitalism is the major theme of history in the decades..
Hobsbawm's classic history, repackaged as an Abacus History Great
The splendid finale to Eric Hobsbawm's study of the nineteenth century, THE AGE OF EMPIRE covers the area of Western Imperialism and examines the forces that swept the world to the outbreak of World War One- and shaped modern society.
Magnificent — The GUARDIAN
A superb achievment, incisive, illuminating and readable — Su..
THE AGE OF EXTREMES is eminent historian Eric Hobsbawm's personal vision of the twentieth century. Remarkable in its scope, and breathtaking in its depth of knowledge, this immensely rewarding book reviews the uniquely destructive and creative nature of the troubled twentieth century and makes challenging predicitions for the future.
A magnificent piece of historical exposition... an essentia..
What happened to the European mind between 1605, when an audience watching Macbeth at the Globe might believe that regicide was such an aberration of the natural order that ghosts could burst from the ground, and 1649, when a large crowd, perhaps including some who had seen Macbeth forty-four years earlier, could stand and watch the execution of a king? Or consider the difference between a magus..
The closing months of 2008 saw the world's nations united in financial uncertainty. Amid endless reports of collapsing stock markets, failed banks, fiscal fraud and snowballing unemployment, THE AGE OF NOTHING offers a compelling insight into the demise of capitalism and the beginning of a new era. Peter Watson's scintillating thesis argues that the unprecedented credit crunch of 2008 was the re..
The first volume of Hobsbawm's classic and universally acclaimed trilogy on the 19th century, beautifully repackaged as an Abacus History Great
Eric Hobsbawm traces with brilliant anlytical clarity the transformation brought about in evry sphere of European life by the Dual revolution - the 1789 French revolution and the Industrial Revolution that originated in Britain. This enthralling and o..
Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes’s dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery is a groundbreaking achievement.
The book opens with Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook’s first Endeavour voyage, who stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769 fully expecting to have located Paradise. Back in Britain, th..
‘A masterpiece . . . a contribution to the effort of recuperation of human dignity at the end of this atrocious century . . . This is the account Joan of Arc would have given if she had been charged with interrogating Faust’ John Banville, Observer
‘A remarkable new biography – arguably the most important and certainly the most fascinating book about the Nazi era published in the last ten yea..
The Reformation which engulfed England and Europe in the sixteenth century was one of the most highly-charged, bloody and transformative periods in their history, and has remained one of the most contested. In this dazzling book, Diarmaid MacCulloch explores a turbulent and endlessly fascinating era.
'A masterly take on the Reformation ... absorbing and compelling, full of insights' Linda Hog..
The idea behind the alphabet - that language with all its wealth of meaning can be recorded with a few meaningless signs - is an extraordinary one. So extraordinary, in fact, that it has occurred only once in human history: in Egypt about 4000 years ago. Alpha Beta follows the emergence of the western alphabet as it evolved into its present form, contributing vital elements to our sense of ident..
Since the time of the ancient Greeks we have been fascinated by accounts of the Amazons, an elusive tribe of hard-fighting, horse-riding female warriors. Equal to men in battle, legends claimed they cut off their right breasts to improve their archery skills and routinely killed their male children to purify their ranks.
For centuries people believed in their existence and attempted to trace ..
Following his hugely popular account of the previous 2,000 years (which won Best Comedy History Book at the 1815 Congress of Vienna), John O'Farrell now comes bang up to date with a hilarious modern history asking 'How the hell did we end up here?'
All the major post-war landmarks are faithfully recorded. The sombre day in 1967 when Harold Wilson went on the television to announce that Britai..
Many of us were put off history by the dry and dreary way it was taught at school. Back then ‘The Origins of the Industrial Revolution' somehow seemed less compelling than the chance to test the bold claim on Timothy Johnson's ‘Shatterproof' ruler.But here at last is a chance to have a good laugh and learn all that stuff you feel you really ought to know by now…
In this ‘Horrible History for ..
It's time for us to re-examine the past. Our lives are infinitely richer if we take the time to look at what the Greeks and Romans have given us in politics and law, religion and philosophy and education, and to learn how people really lived in Athens, Rome, Sparta and Alexandria. This is a book with a serious point to make but the author isn't simply a classicist but a comedian and broadcaster ..
Graham Robb's new book will change the way you see European civilization. Inspired by a chance discovery, Robb became fascinated with the world of the Celts: their gods, their art, and, most of all, their sophisticated knowledge of science. His investigations gradually revealed something extaordinary: a lost map, of an empire constructed with precision and beauty across vast tracts of Europe. Th..
Clear, concise yet wide-ranging, The Ancient World in Minutes is the quickest way to understand the great civilizations of the distant past.
From the first-ever cities of Sumeria and Babylon around 3500 BCE to the fall of Rome and the bloody demise of the Aztecs, here - in 200 mini-essays - are the critical leaders and wars; ideas and inventions; myths and religions; and art and architecture ..
"A bold and imaginative page-turner that challenges ideas about the world of antiquity." (Peter Frankopan, The Silk Roads). "This vivid and engaging book brings to life some of the most important moments in ancient history, moments that have shaped not only the politics and culture of bygone eras, but the institutions, thoughts and fantasies of our time." (Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens). "As panora..
Across the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Nile Delta, awe-inspiring, monstrous ruins are scattered across the landscape - vast palaces, temples, fortresses, shattered statues of ancient gods, carvings praising the eternal power of long-forgotten dynasties. These ruins - the remainder of thousands of years of human civilization - are both inspirational in their grandeur, and terrible in t..
At the time of Jesus's birth, the world was in ferment. Across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia - societies rife with gods and messiahs, priests and warriors - the old certainties of family, village and tribe were being overturned. Religion was becoming the source of order and stability.
And Man Created God takes the reader on a dazzling journey across the empires of the ancient..
The Arab-Israeli conflict goes far beyond the wars waged in the Middle East. There is a war of narratives revolving around the two defining traumas of the conflict: the Holocaust and the Nakba. One side is charged with Holocaust denial, the other with exploiting a tragedy while denying the tragedies of others.
In this path-breaking book, political scientist Gilbert Achcar explores these confl..
Now fully updated to cover the Arab Spring, Eugene Rogan has written an authoritative new history of the Arabs in the modern world. Starting with the Ottoman conquests in the sixteenth century, this landmark book follows the story of the Arabs through the era of European imperialism and the Superpower rivalries of the Cold War, to the present age of unipolar American power. Drawing on the writin..
Despite dating from the 4th century BC, The Art of Rhetoric continues to be regarded by many as the single most important work on the art of persuasion. As democracy began emerging in 5th-century Athens, public speaking and debate became an increasingly important tool to garner influence in the assemblies, councils, and law courts of ancient Greece. In response to this, both politicians and ordi..
The two political classics in this book are the product of a time of intense turmoil in Chinese history. Dating from the Period of the Warring States (403-221 BC), they anticipate Machiavelli's The Prince by nearly 2000 years. The Art of War is the best known of a considerable body of Chinese works on the subject. It analyses the nature of war, and reveals how victory may be ensured. The Book of..
‘Opportunities multiply as they are seized.’
Written in the 6th century BC, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is a Chinese military treatise that is still revered today as the ultimate commentary on war and military strategy. Focussing on the principle that one can outsmart your foe mentally by thinking very carefully about strategy before resorting to physical battle, this philosophy continues to be ..
Bread, cash, dosh, dough, and loot. Call it what you like, it matters now more than ever. In The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson shows that finance is the foundation of all human progress and the lifeblood of history. From the cash injection that funded the Italian Renaissance to the stock market bubble that sparked the French Revolution, from the bonds that fuelled Britain's war effort to the W..
Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote a lot more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business - eating, sleeping and merely endeavouring to get more comfortable. And that most of the key discoveries for humankind can be found in the very fabric of the house..
The name Attila the Hun has become a byword for barbarism, savagery and violence. His is a truly household name, but what do we really know about the man himself, his position in history and the world in which he lived? This riveting biography reveals the man behind the myth. In the years 434-454AD the fate of Europe hung upon the actions of one man, Attila, king of the Huns. The decaying Roman ..