The Soviet Union was founded on a fairytale. It was built on 20th-century magic called 'the planned economy', which was going to gush forth an abundance of good things that the penny-pinching lands of capitalism could never match. And just for a little while, in the heady years of the late fifties, the magic seemed to be working.
Red Plenty is about that moment in history, and how it came and went away; about the brief era when, under the rash leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union..
'Superb' The Economist'Elegant, entertaining and frequently surprising' New York TimesThe fascinating story of the Regency period in Britain - an immensely colourful and chaotic decade that marked the emergence of the modern world.The Regency began on 5 February 1811 when the Prince of Wales replaced his violently insane father George III as the sovereign de facto. It ended on 29 January 1820, when George III died and the Prince Regent became King as George IV. At the centre of the era is of cou..
A Longman-History Today Book Prize Finalist Winner of the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year "Deeply thoughtful...A delight." -The Economist "[A] tour de force...Bevilacqua's extraordinary book provides the first true glimpse into this story...He, like the tradition he describes, is a rarity." -New Republic In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a pioneering community of Western scholars laid the groundwork for the modern understanding of Islamic c..
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE 2013
'Dazzling' Sunday Times
'Sparkling' Daily Telegraph
In the spring of 1839, Britain invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk.
On the way in, the British faced little resistance. But after two years of occupation, the Afghan people rose in answer to the call for jihad and the country e..
For more than 40 years after the Second World War the Iron Curtain divided Europe physically, with 300 km of walls and barbed wire fences; ideologically, between communism and capitalism; psychologically, between people imprisoned under totalitarian dictatorships and their neighbours enjoying democratic freedoms; and militarily, by two mighty, distrustful power blocs, still fighting the cold war. At the start of 1989, ten European nations were still Soviet vassal states. By the end of the year, ..
The definitive history of the Iran-Iraq war, and revolutionary Iran, essential for understanding the country today
For over 30 years the Islamic Republic has resisted widespread condemnation, sanctions, and sustained attacks by Iraq in an eight-year war. Many policy-makers today share a weary wish that Iran would somehow just disappear as a problem. But with Iran's continuing commitment to a nuclear programme and its reputation as a trouble-maker in Afghanistan, Lebanon and elsewhere, this is..
What caused the Russian Revolution? Did it succeed or fail? Do we still live with its consequences?
Orlando Figes teaches history at Birkbeck, University of London and is the author of many acclaimed books on Russian history, including A People's Tragedy, which The Times Literary Supplement named as one of the '100 most influential books since the war', Natasha's Dance, The Whisperers, Crimea and Just Send Me Word. The Financial Times called him 'the greatest storyteller of modern Russian his..
Revolutions – peaceful or violent, radical or reactionary – have shaped the political landscape of the world we live in today. But what led revolutionaries to action? What were they fighting against and what were they seeking to achieve? Each revolution is a product of its time, its society, its people – and the outcomes vary dramatically, from liberal reform to brutal dictatorship.
This is an essential primer on twenty-four of the most significant revolutions in modern history, from England’s ..
How do we find the life that's right for each of us?More and more of us are feeling overwhelmed by the everyday struggle to lead the lives to which we aspire. Children are placed under unbearable pressure to achieve; adults fight a constant battle to balance family life with work and economic demands; old people suffer from social isolation and a lack of emotional security. People of every age are feeling increasingly at odds with the world, and less able to live a life that corresponds to their..
Sunday Times History Book of the Year 2014
Winner of the 2014 Wolfson History Prize, the 2014 Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History, the Society for Military History's 2015 Distinguished Book Award and the 2015 British Army Military Book of the Year
For the empires of Germany and Austria-Hungary the Great War - which had begun with such high hopes for a fast, dramatic outcome - rapidly degenerated as invasions of both France and Serbia ended in catastrophe. For four years the f..
The Husayni family of Jerusalem dominated Palestinian history for 250 years, from the Ottoman times through to the end of the British Mandate. At the height of the family's political influence, positions in Jerusalem could only be obtained through its power base.In this compelling political biography, Ilan Pappe traces the rise of the Husaynis from a provincial Ottoman elite clan into the leadership of the Palestinian national movement in the twentieth century. In telling their story, Pappe..
Winner of the 2010 W.J.M. Mackenzie Prize for Best Political Science Book of the Year 2010.
The relentless rise of Communism was the most momentous political development of the first half of the twentieth century. No political change has been more fundamental than its demise in Europe and its decline elsewhere. In this hugely acclaimed book Archie Brown provides an indispensable history that examines the origins of the ideology, its development in different countries, its collapse in many sta..
Rise and Fall opens with the Akkadian Empire, which ruled over a vast expanse of the region of ancient Mesopotamia, then turns to the immense Roman Empire, where we trace back our western and eastern roots. Next Strathern describes how a great deal of western classical culture was developed in the Abbasid and Umayyid Caliphates. Then, while Europe was beginning to emerge from a period of cultural stagnation, it almost fell to a whirlwind invasion from the East, at which point we meet the Emperor..
A gripping account of the ascent of Rome – from agrarian backwater to capital of the world's greatest empire.
'An elegant, swift and faultless introduction to the subject' The Spectator
Starting with the founding myth of Romulus and Remus, Anthony Everitt charts Rome's development from its origins as a small market town in the 8th century BC, through various forms of patrician government, up to Caesar's victory in the Civil War that defeated the Roman Republic and paved the way for Augustus to ..
In the late Iron Age, Rome was a small collection of huts arranged over a few hills. By the third century BC, it had become a large and powerful city, with monumental temples, public buildings and grand houses. It had conquered the whole of Italy and was poised to establish an empire. But how did it accomplish this historic transformation?
This book explores the development of Rome during this period, and the nature of its control over Italy, considering why and how the Romans achieved this s..
Following on from his epic ‘1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow’, bestselling author Adam Zamoyski has written the dramatic story of the Congress of Vienna.
In the wake of his disastrous Russian campaign of 1812, Napoleon's imperious grip on Europe began to weaken, raising the question of how the Continent was to be reconstructed after his defeat. There were many who dreamed of a peace to end all wars, in which the interests of peoples as well as those of rulers would be taken into account. ..
The Sunday Times bestseller'Astonishing and compelling' Bernard Cornwell‘Replete with witches, human sacrifice, Greek fire and funeral orgies… one of the most thrilling works of archaeological detective work I have ever read’ William Dalrymple, FT
Follow bioarchaeologist Cat Jarman – and the cutting-edge forensic techniques central to her research – as she uncovers epic stories of the Viking age and follows a small ‘Carnelian’ bead found in a Viking grave in Derbyshire to its origins thousands o..
Roma is the story of the ancient city of Rome, from its mythic beginnings as a campsite along a trade route to its emergence as the centre of the most extensive, powerful empire in the ancient world. Beginning with the prehistory days when Roma was a way station among seven hills for traders and merchants and the founding of the city itself by Romulus and Remus, critically acclaimed historical novelist Steven Saylor tells the epic saga of a city and its people, its rise to prominence among the c..
No other political entity has shaped the modern world like the Roman Empire. Encompassing close to a quarter of the world’s population and 3 million km2 of land, it represented a diverse and dynamic collection of nations, states and tribes, all bound to Rome and the ideal of a Roman identity. In the lively and engaging style that he’s known for, Philip Matyszak traces the history of the Roman Empire from the fall of the Assyrians and the rise of the Roman Republic through to the ages of expans..
The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?
This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Montefiore's gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by p..
Nominated for the 2017 Pen Hessell-Tiltman
Daily Telegraph's Best History Books of 2017
Sunday Times' Best History Books of 2017
A sweeping history of the city of Rome, seen through the eyes of its most significant sackings, from the Gauls to the Nazis and everything in between.
No city on earth has preserved its past as Rome has. Visitors can cross bridges that were crossed by Julius Caesar and explore temples visited by Roman emperors. These architectural survivals are all the more rem..
'Excellent ... much to ponder' Financial Times
'Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the world of today' - Margaret MacMillan, author of War: How Conflict Shaped Us
'A masterpiece' David Motadel, author of Revolutionary World
1945. Europe lies in ruins - its cities and towns destroyed by conflict, its economies crippled, its societies ripped apart by war and violence. In the wake of the physical devastation came profound moral questions: how could Europe - once proudly confide..
A silent midnight over the Danube, and this vast Bavarian pantheon towering over me like an arcane, mystical force. I walked through the snow, keeping outside the ring of floodlights which threw giant shadows from the goddesses. The circle of petrified Valkyries symbolised das großdeutsche Reich, that empire of the soul which has bewitched every Germanic despot from Barbarossa to Hitler.
So begins a journey into the German Reich, through the eighteen territories memorialised in the Hall of Libe..
'Brilliantly original ... shimmering book. ... What binds this book together and gives it a numinous quality is the tenderness that the author displays for other people's ingenious leftovers, from brotherly teeth to Puritan kites.' Guardian
'Rich, meticulous, lively' Sunday Times
Rummage tells the overlooked story of our throwaway past. Emily Cockayne extracts glittering gems from the rubbish pile of centuries past and introduces us to the visionaries, crooks and everyday do-gooders who have sh..
'Brilliant, disturbing . . . an important story that needed to be told. A fast-moving and most compelling read.' - Helen Rappaport, author of Four Sisters and The Race to Save the Romanovs
The gripping human story of how American volunteers fought famine in Bolshevik Russia, saving Lenin’s revolutionary government from chaos and millions of people from starvation
In 1921, after six years of unrelenting war and revolution, Russia was in ruins. The economy had collapsed, the country was ravaged ..
The Russian Revolution had a decisive impact on the history of the twentieth century. In the years following the collapse of the Soviet regime and the opening of its archives, it has become possible to step back and see the full picture.
Starting with an overview of the roots of the revolution, Fitzpatrick takes the story from 1917, through Stalin's 'revolution from above', to the great purges of the 1930s. She tells a gripping story of a Marxist revolution that was intended to transform the wo..
1917: the year a series of rebellions toppled three centuries of autocratic rule and placed a group of political radicals in charge of a world power. Here, suddenly, was the first modern socialist state, "a kingdom more bright that any heaven had to offer”. But the dream was short-lived, bringing in its wake seventy years of conflict and instability that nearly ended in nuclear war.
How could such a revolution take place and what caused it to go so very wrong? Presenting a uniquely long view ..
At the turn of the century, the Russian economy was growing by about 10% annually and its population had reached 150 million. By 1920 the country was in desperate financial straits and more than 20 million Russians had died. And by 1950, a third of the globe had embraced communism.
The triumph of Communism sets a profound puzzle. How did the Bolsheviks win power and then cling to it amid the chaos they had created? Traditional histories remain a captive to Marxist ideas about class struggle. ..
Part of a new series Legends from the Ancient North, The Saga of the Volsungs is one of the classic books that influenced JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
'They summoned their friends, readied
their horses, and prepared their helmets,
shields, swords, coats of mail'
J.R.R. Tolkien spent much of his life studying, translating and teaching the great epic stories of northern Europe, filled with heroes, dragons, trolls, dwarves and magic. He was hugely influential for his advocac..
The idea of the sword-wielding samurai, beholden to a strict ethical code and trained in deadly martial arts, dominates popular conceptions of the samurai. As early as the late seventeenth century, they were heavily featured in literature, art, theater, and even comedy, from the Tale of the Heike to the kabuki retellings of the 47 Ronin. This legacy remains with us today in the legendary Akira Kurosawa films, the shoguns of HBO's Westworld, and countless renditions of samurai history in anime, m..
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us.
We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens?
In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going.
Sapiens is a thrilling account of humankind’s extraordinary history – from..
The second volume of an epic, beautifully illustrated graphic history of humankind, based on Yuval Noah Harari's internationally bestselling phenomenon
When nomadic Homo sapiens settled to live in one place, they started working harder and harder. But why didn't they get a better life in return?
In The Pillars of Civilization, Yuval Noah Harari and his companions including Prof. Saraswati and Dr. Fiction travel the length and breadth of human history to investigate how the Agricultural Revolut..
A landmark account that reveals the long history behind the current Catalan and Scottish independence movements A distinguished historian of Spain and Europe provides an enlightening account of the development of nationalist and separatist movements in contemporary Catalonia and Scotland. This first sustained comparative study uncovers the similarities and the contrasts between the Scottish and Catalan experiences across a five-hundred-year period, beginning with the royal marriages that brought..
Brilliant horsemen and great fighters, the Scythians were nomadic horsemen who ranged wide across the grasslands of the Asian steppe from the Altai mountains in the east to the Great Hungarian Plain in the first millennium BC. Their steppe homeland bordered on a number of sedentary states to the south - the Chinese, the Persians and the Greeks - and there were, inevitably, numerous interactions between the nomads and their neighbours. The Scythians fought the Persians on a number of occasions, i..
Winner of the 2020 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for nonfiction and the 2019 NSW Premier's History Awards for general history
‘Wonderfully researched and beautifully written’ Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan
‘Succeeds in conjuring a lost world’ Dava Sobel, author of Longitude
For more than a millennium, Polynesians have occupied the remotest islands in the Pacific Ocean, a vast triangle stretching from Hawaii to New Zealand to Easter Island. Until the arrival of European explorer..
One of the most eminent historians of our age investigates the extraordinary success of five small maritime states Andrew Lambert, author of The Challenge: Britain Against America in the Naval War of 1812-winner of the prestigious Anderson Medal-turns his attention to Athens, Carthage, Venice, the Dutch Republic, and Britain, examining how their identities as "seapowers" informed their actions and enabled them to achieve success disproportionate to their size. Lambert demonstrates how creating m..
Repression, control, manipulation and elimination of enemies assisted in the establishment of the Soviet state, and helped maintain it in power, but could not, in the end, prevent its collapse.
Citizens of the West have, for the most part, been told a very simplified story of the repressive 'totalitarian' state that was the USSR. In fact, it was sustained by more than just policing and force. No amount of revisionist history can erase the reality of millions controlled, imprisoned and killed, b..
The Knights Templar are one of the most secretive and powerful religious orders in history: for over two centuries they were the elite fighting force of the Crusades. Highly trained, and adhering to a strict chivalric code, their success on the battlefield brought them both wealth and political influence. But it is the legends and secrecy surrounding the order and its Grand Masters that continue to fascinate historians and general readers alike.
Secrets of the Knights Templar examines ea..
Eric Berkowitz evokes the entire sweep of Western sex law, from the savage impalement of an Ancient Mesopotamian adulteress to the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in 1895 for 'gross indecency'.
The cast of Sex and Punishment is as varied as the forms taken by human desire itself: royal mistresses, gay charioteers, medieval transvestites, lonely goat-lovers, prostitutes of all stripes and London rent boys. Each of them had forbidden sex, and each was judged - and justice, as Berkowitz shows - rare..
In medieval England, man was the ruler of woman, and the King was the ruler of all. How, then, could royal power lie in female hands?
In She-Wolves, celebrated historian, Helen Castor, tells the dramatic and fascinating stories of four exceptional women who, while never reigning queens, held great power: Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France and Margaret of Anjou. These were women who paved the way for Jane Grey, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I - the Tudor queens who finally confronted..
LONDON: a settlement founded by the Romans, occupied by the Saxons, conquered by the Danes and ruled by the Normans. This changeful place became a medieval maze of alleys and courtyards, later to be chequered with grand estates of Georgian splendour. It swelled with industry and became the centre of the largest empire in history. And having risen from the rubble of the Blitz, it is now one of the greatest cities in the world.
From the prehistoric occupants of the Thames Valley to the preoccupie..
READ IN AN AFTERNOON. REMEMBER FOR A LIFETIME.
In this short, entertaining and thought-provoking book, acclaimed historian John Hirst provides a fascinating exploration of the qualities that have made Europe a world-changing civilisation.
Starting with a rapid historical overview from the ancient Greeks to the present day (the 'shortest history' itself), Hirst goes on to explore in detail what makes Europe unique: its political evolution; the shaping influence of its linguistic boundaries;..
Read in an afternoon. Remember for a lifetime.
In his acclaimed new bestseller, now in paperback, James Hawes tells the story of Europe's most admired and feared country, from Julius Caesar to Angela Merkel. With more than 100 maps and images, this is a fresh, concise and entertaining attempt to answer the question: are the Germans really us, or them?
*240 PAGES. 100+ MAPS AND IMAGES. 2,000 YEARS OF GERMAN HISTORY.*
'Comprehensive and vivid... I don't know of a better short history of..
The first comprehensive history of the most decisive military campaign of the Third Crusade and one of the longest wartime sieges of the Middle AgesThe two-year-long siege of Acre (1189–1191) was the most significant military engagement of the Third Crusade, attracting armies from across Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Maghreb. Drawing on a balanced selection of Christian and Muslim sources, historian John D. Hosler has written the first book-length account of this hard-won victory fo..
Diarmaid MacCulloch, acknowledged master of the big picture in Christian history, unravels a polyphony of silences from the history of Christianity and beyond. He considers the surprisingly mixed attitudes of Judaism to silence, Jewish and Christian borrowings from Greek explorations of the divine, and the silences which were a feature of Jesus's brief ministry and witness. Besides prayer and mystical contemplation, there are shame and evasion; careless and purposeful forgetting.
The No. 1 Sunday Times and international bestseller - a major reassessment of world history in light of the economic and political renaissance in the re-emerging east.
'Magnificent’ Sunday Times
'Immensely entertaining ... so ambitious, so detailed, so fascinating' The Times
For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the west – in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of riches and adventure. Sweeping right across Central Asia a..
'Alison Weir transforms Henry VIII's much-maligned fourth wife into a woman of passion, courage and mystery' Tracy BormanAlison Weir, historian and author of the Sunday Times bestsellers Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession and Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen, paints a spellbinding portrait of Anna of Kleve, Henry VIII's fourth queen.'This six-book series looks likely to become a landmark in historical fiction' The TimesA GERMAN PRINCESS WITH A GUILTY SECRET.The K..
One of the most powerful monarchs in British history, Henry VIII ruled England in unprecedented splendour. In this remarkable composite biography, Alison Weir brings Henry's six wives vividly to life, revealing each as a distinct and compelling personality in her own right. Drawing upon the rich fund of documentary material from the Tudor period, The Six Wives of Henry VIII shows us a court where personal needs frequently influenced public events and where a life of gorgeously ritualised pleasur..
Since the late 1980s the dominant theory of human origins has been that a 'cognitive revolution' (C.50,000 years ago) led to the advent of our species, Homo sapiens. As a result of this revolution our species spread and eventually replaced all existing archaic Homo species, ultimately leading to the superiority of modern humans.
Or so we thought.
As Clive Finlayson explains, the latest advances in genetics prove that there was significant interbreeding between Modern Humans and the Neanderthal..
Charles the king, our emperor great,
Has been a full seven years in Spain.
As far as the sea he conquered this haughty land.
Not a single castle remains standing in his path
Charlemagne (768-814) was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 800 and presided over a huge empire. He frequently appears in literature as a great warlord and pious crusading figure. In 778, the rearguard of Charlemagne's retreating army was ambushed and defeated at the battle of Roncevaux. This became the inspiration for songs an..
At the heart of this history of the Julio-Claudian dynasty are the lives of six men – Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius Caligula, Claudius and Nero – men who mastered Rome and changed it from a democracy to a personal possession. It was no easy task: Caesar and Caligula were assassinated, Nero committed suicide and Claudius was poisoned. Only Augustus and Tiberius died natural deaths – and even that is uncertain. The Julio-Claudian saga has a host of other characters, from Cicero, the las..
The reappearance and flourishing of religion is perhaps the most surprising aspect of the dramatic changes in China in recent decades...this is a beautiful, moving and insightful book' Michael Szonyi
In no society on Earth was there such a ferocious attempt to eradicate all trace of religion as in modern China. But now, following a century of violent antireligious campaigns, China is awash with new temples, churches, and mosques - as well as cults, sects, and politicians trying to harness rel..