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..
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 ..
When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Hungarian Jew and a medical doctor, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared from death for a grimmer fate: to perform "scientific research" on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the infamous "Angel of Death": Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele's personal research pathologist. Miracul..
At the terrible heart of the modern age lies Auschwitz. In a total inversion of earlier hopes about the use of science and technology to improve, extend and protect human life, Auschwitz manipulated the same systems to quite different ends. In Sybille Steinbacher's terse, powerful new book, the reader is led through the process by which something unthinkable to any European in the 1930s had beco..
In Babylon, Paul Kriwaczek tells the story of ancient Mesopotamia from the earliest settlements around 5400 BC, to the eclipse of Babylon by the Persians in the sixth century BC.
He chronicles the rise and fall of dynastic power during this period; he examines its numerous material, social and cultural innovations and inventions: the wheel, civil, engineering, building bricks, the centralized..
Britain's greatest religious historian chronicles the rise and rise of fundamentalism. One of the most potent forces bedevilling the modern world is religious extremism, and the need to understand it has never been greater. Focusing in detail on Protestant fundamentalism in the United States, Jewish fundamentalism from sixteenth century Spain onwards and Muslim fundamentalism over the last four ..
How new is atheism?
In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean to recover the stories of those who first refused the divinities.
Long before the Enlightenment sowed the seeds of disbelief in a deeply Christian Europe, atheism was a matter of serious public debate in the Greek world. But history is written by those who prevail, and the Age of Faith mostly su..
Human history is a tale not just of constant change, but of perpetual restlessness. In Beneath Another Sky the esteemed historian Norman Davies embarks upon a journey round the world to show the layers of experience that underpin our present - and brilliantly complicate our view of the past.
'If you are someone, or know someone, who is romanced by stamps, or maps, or names, or journeys, or pl..
The appearance of a hastily-constructed barbed wire entanglement through the heart of Berlin during the night of 12-13 August 1961 was both dramatic and unexpected. Within days, it had started to metamorphose into a structure that would come to symbolise the brutal insanity of the Cold War: the Berlin Wall. A city of almost four million was cut ruthlessly in two, unleashing a potentially catastr..
The first single-volume biography of Berlin, one of the world's great cities - told via twenty-one portraits, from medieval times to the twenty-first century. A city devastated by Allied bombs, divided by a Wall, then reunited and reborn, Berlin today resonates with the echo of lives lived, dreams realised and evils executed. No other city has repeatedly been so powerful and fallen so low. And f..
This acclaimed book by Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct and The Blank Slate, argues that, contrary to popular belief, humankind has become progressively less violent, over millenia and decades. Can violence really have declined? The images of conflict we see daily on our screens from around the world suggest this is an almost obscene claim to be making. Extraordinarily, however, St..
This book offers a vivid and human glimpse into Europe's borderlands as they emerged from Soviet rule - back in print after nearly 20 years.
'In this superb book, in which one senses the spirit of Franz Kafka and Bruno Schulz, the dramatic world of the Eastern borderlands comes to life.' (Ryszard Kapuscinski).
As Europe's borderlands emerged from Soviet rule, Anne Applebaum travelled from ..
Renowned biographer and historian Philip Ziegler tackles the great cultural and social events, flashpoints and diplomatic wrangles that led the world from the First to the Second World War
At the end of 1918 one prescient American historian began to write a history of the Great War. "What will you call it?" he was asked. "The First World War," was his bleak response.
In Between the Wa..
The Bible is the most widely distributed book in the world. Translated into over two thousand languages, it is estimated that more than six billion copies have been sold in the last two hundred years alone. In this seminal account, Karen Armstrong traces the gestation of the Bible to reveal a complex and contradictory document created by scores of people over hundreds of years.
This book is long listed for the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize.
We have come to see the Holocaust as a factory of death, organised by bureaucrats. Yet by the time the gas chambers became operation more than a million European Jews were already dead: shot at close range over pits and ravines. They had been murdered in the lawless killing zones created by the German colonial war in the East, many o..
'A clear-eyed and thrilling vision of the man behind the legend' DAN JONES.
In 1346, at the age of sixteen, he won his spurs at Crécy; nine years later he conducted a brutal raid across Languedoc; in 1356 he captured the king of France at Poitiers; as lord of Aquitaine he ruled a vast swathe of southwestern France. He was Edward of Woodstock, eldest son of Edward III, but better known to post..
Black Sea is a homage to an ocean and its shores and a meditation on Eurasian history, from the earliest times to the present. It explores the culture, history and politics of the volatile region which surrounds the Black Sea.
Ascherson recalls the world of Herodotus and Aeschylus; Ovid's place of exile on what is now the coast of Romania; the decline and fall of Byzantium; the mysterious Chr..
Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018
A Book of the Year for the Evening Standard and the Observer
A black porter publicly whips a white Englishman in the hall of a Gloucestershire manor house. A Moroccan woman is baptised in a London church. Henry VIII dispatches a Mauritanian diver to salvage lost treasures from the Mary Rose. From long-forgotten records emerge the remarkable st..
Jack Metcalf was blinded by smallpox at the age of six, but he did not let this stop him from leading an astonishing and adventurous life - becoming an expert horseman, gambler and guide. He eloped at the age of twenty-one; ran numerous enterprises; joined the military as a musician, and led the Yorkshire Blues onto the battlefield at Culloden...
A history of resilience ... sweeping, comprehensive ... it's a story that has been waiting to be told' (Guardian). 'An account sorely needed ...a kaleidoscopic view of Native American history, refreshing and rollicking, and not unlike its fractured reality' (Standpoint).
Blood and Land is a dazzling, panoramic account of the history and achievements of Native North Americans, and why they mat..
Under Hitler and Stalin the Nazi and Soviet regimes murdered fourteen million people in the bloodlands between Berlin and Moscow. The killing fields extended from central Polads to western Russia. For twelve savage years, on this bloodsoaked soil an average of one million individuals - mostly women, children and the aged - were murdered every year. Though in 1939 these lands became battlefields,..
The Book of Alexander the Great - or the Phyllada - has for three centuries been the most popular account of Alexander's career in modern Greece. After circulating in manuscript form, it was first published in 1680 in Venice, and has been continuously in print in Greek ever since. The Phyllada broadly follows the structure of the ancient Alexander Romance, but is much better organised and is a wor..
The story of the Nazis' systematic pillaging of Europe's libraries, and the small team of heroic librarians now working to return the stolen books to their rightful owners.
"A most valuable book." —Christian Science Monitor
For readers of The Monuments Men and The Hare with Amber Eyes, the story of the Nazis' systematic pillaging of Europe's libraries, and the small team of heroic libraria..
Winner of the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2017
Winner of the 2017 Highland Book Prize
Winner of the Saltire Society Book of the Year 2017
Shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018
Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2017
Shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize 2017
Shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award 2018
Shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize 2017
Shortlisted for ..
The name Borgia is synonymous with the corruption, nepotism, and greed that were rife in Renaissance Italy. The powerful, voracious Rodrigo Borgia, better known to history as Pope Alexander VI, was the central figure of the dynasty. Two of his seven papal offspring also rose to power and fame - Lucrezia Borgia, his daughter, whose husband was famously murdered by her brother, and that brother, C..
The Borgias have become a byword for pride, lust, cruelty, avarice, splendour and venomous intrigue. An inspiration for many works of fiction, most famously Mario Puzo's The Godfather, they have aroused abomination and fascination in almost equal measure, while their patronage of the arts created some of the great masterpieces of the Renaissance. From the powerful, merciless Rodrigo Borgia, bett..
Dazzling ...a trenchant, provocative account of the intimate relations of Britain and Europe and how each shaped the other' (Prospect Magazine). 'Elegant, refreshing and wide-ranging ...this is essentially a brief history of the UK but a deliciously different one' (Literary Review).
Britain has always had a tangled, complex, paradoxical role in Europe's history. It has invaded and been invade..
The ideas and people who inspired and shaped the great Victorian cities, with all their energy, achievements and pride
This is a history of the ideas that shaped not only London, but Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield and other power-houses of 19th-century Britain. It charts the controversies and visions that fostered Britain's greatest civic renaissance.
For a thousand years an extraordinary empire made possible Europe’s transition to the modern world: Byzantium. An audacious and resilient but now little known society, it combined orthodox Christianity with paganism, classical Greek learning with Roman power, to produce a great and creative civilization which for centuries held in check the armies of Islam.
Judith Herrin’s concise and compell..
In the 50s BC, Julius Caesar conducted a brutal war against the tribes of ancient Gaul. On the pretext of curbing an imminent barbarian threat to the Roman Republic, he first defeated and decimated the Helvetii tribe, before subjugating the other Celtic peoples who occupied the territory of what is now France.
Caesar laid Gallic civilization to waste, but the cultural revolution the Romans br..
Europe is still a divided continent. In the place of a fallen Berlin wall, there is a chasm between the East and the West. Are these differences a communist legacy, or do they run even deeper? What divides us today? To say simply that it is the understanding of the past, or a different concept of time, is not enough.
But a visitor to this part of the world will soon discover that we, the East..
What is a caliphate? What is the history of the idea? How is the term used and abused today?
In the first modern account of a subject of critical importance today, acclaimed historian Hugh Kennedy answers these questions by chronicling the rich history of the caliphate, from the death of Muhammad to the present. At its height, the caliphate stretched from Spain to the borders of China and was..
One of the great love stories of history, in a league with Napoleon and Josephine, and Antony and Cleopatra ...Excellent, with dazzling mastery of detail and literary flair' (Economist).
It was history's most successful political partnership - as sensual and fiery as it was creative and visionary. Catherine the Great was a woman of notorious passion and imperial ambition. Prince Potemkin - wi..
China has become the powerhouse of the world economy, its incredible boom overseen by the elite members of the secretive and all-powerful communist party. But since the election of Xi Jinping as General Secretary, life at the top in China has changed. Under the guise of a corruption crackdown, which has seen his rivals imprisoned, Xi Jinping has been quietly building one of the most powerful lea..
One of the few Western commentators to have lived in the region, journalist Nick Holdstock travels into the heart of the province reveals the Uyghur story as one of repression and hardship. With Islamic terrorism in China likely to increase over the next decade, how the Party responds will have global repercussions. China's Forgotten People explains why terrorism is on the rise in the world's mo..
Mark Greengrass' gripping, major, original account of Europe in an era of tumultuous change Sunday Times and Financial Times Books of the Year 2014. This addition to the landmark Penguin History of Europe series is a fascinating study of 16th and 17th century Europe and the fundamental changes which led to the collapse of Christendom and established the geographical and political frameworks of W..
Geza Vermes, translator and editor of The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls and worldwide expert on the life and times of Jesus, tells the enthralling story of early Christianity and the origins of a religion.
The creation of the Christian Church is one of the most important stories in the development of the world's history, yet one of the least understood. With a forensic, brilliant re-examination o..
In Civil War, Peter Ackroyd continues his dazzling account of England's history, beginning with the progress south of the Scottish king, James VI, who on the death of Elizabeth I became the first Stuart king of England, and ends with the deposition and flight into exile of his grandson, James II. The Stuart dynasty brought together the two nations of England and Scotland into one realm, albeit a..
A short history of the ancient civilization of Angkor, home to the spectacular temple of Angkor Wat. In the late sixteenth century a mythical encounter was reported on an elephant hunt in the dense jungle north of the Tonle Sap, or Great Lake, of central Cambodia. King Satha of Cambodia and his retainers were beating a path through the undergrowth when they were halted by stone giants, and then ..