The second edition of the definitive book on how modern Japan works, now fully updated up to include the new 'Reiwa' Era and the year of the Olympics'A superb book that, better than any other I have read, manages to get the reader inside the skin of Japanese society ... astutely observed ... a great read brimming with insights' Japan TimesDespite years of stagnation, Japan remains one of the world's largest economies and a country which exerts a remarkable cultural fascination. David Pilling's n..
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 plaques, then I recommend this book to you. I loved it. It deserves a shelf of its own' David Aaronovi..
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 catastrophic East-West crisis and plunging the entire world for the first time into the fear..
From brilliant young polymath Andrew Rader – an MIT-credentialled scientist, popular podcast host and SpaceX mission manager – an illuminating chronicle of exploration that spotlights humans’ insatiable desire to continually push into new and uncharted territory, from civilisation’s earliest days to current planning for interstellar travel.
For the first time in history, the human species has the technology to destroy itself. But having developed that power, humans are also able to leave Earth ..
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.
Karen Armstrong begins her analysis with the origins of the very earliest books of the Hebrew Bible, in which God wa..
'The Penguin History of Europe series ... is one of contemporary publishing's great projects' New Statesman
To an extraordinary extent we continue to live in the shadow of the classical world. At every level from languages to calendars to political systems, we are the descendants of a 'classical Europe', using frames of reference created by ancient Mediterranean cultures.
As this consistently fresh and surprising new book makes clear, however, this was no less true for the inhabitants of those..
Stimulating, encyclopaedic, and often downright funny, this is a book worth remembering." , Stephen O'Shea, Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada) A lively, full-to-bursting history of the turbulent tenth century in Europe, . Collins presents chaotic upheaval across Europe in an organized and riveting fashion." , Kirkus (starred review)The tenth century dawned in violence and disorder. Charlemagne's empire was in ruins, most of Spain had been claimed by Moorish invaders, and even the papacy in Rome wa..
In this vital re-examination of a shared history, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tells the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean.
Drawing on new genealogical research, original records, and expert testimony, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination, Elizabethan ‘blackamoors’ and the global slave-trading empire. It shows that the great industrial boom of the nineteenth centu..
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 on the fertile black earth that the Nazis believed would feed the German people. It comforts us to beli..
'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 posterity as 'the Black Prince'.
Michael Jones tells the remarkable story of a great warrior-prince – a..
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 Christian Goths; the Tatar Khanates; the growth of Russian power across the grasslands, and the centuries..
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 stories of Africans who lived free in Tudor England…
They were present at some of the defining moment..
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...
The heritage of the Celts turns up from Portugal to Romania, from Scotland to Spain. Yet debate continues about who exactly were the Celts, where ultimately they came from, and whether the modern Celtic-speakers of the British Isles and Brittany are related to the Continental Celts we know from ancient history. So a fresh approach is needed. Blood of the Celts meets this challenge, pulling together evidence from genetics, archaeology, history and linguistics in an accessible and illuminating way..
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, not one of these fourteen million was killed in combat. They were victims of a murderous policy, not ..
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 National Circle of Critics Award 2017
When Kapka Kassabova was a child, the borderzone between ..
‘A wickedly entertaining read’ The Times
A Daily Mail Book of the Week
The sensational story of the rise and fall of one of the most notorious families in history, by the author of The Medici.
The Borgias have become a byword for evil. Corruption, incest, ruthless megalomania, avarice and vicious cruelty – all have been associated with their name. But the story of this remarkable family is far more than a tale of sensational depravities, it also marks a decisive turning point in Europea..
WINNER OF THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE 2020
A SUNDAY TIMES, FINANCIAL TIMES, THE TIMES AND BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE BOOK OF THE YEAR
For most of human history, the seas and oceans have been the main means of long-distance trade and communication between peoples - for the spread of ideas and religion as well as commerce. This book traces the history of human movement and interaction around and across the world's greatest bodies of water, charting our relationship with the oceans from the time of the f..
As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on "a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise" (Elizabeth Gilbert).
Drawing on her life as an indigenous scienti..
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 compelling book replaces the standard chronological approach of most histories of Byzantium. Instead, each sh..
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 Eastern Europeans, live in another time zone. We live in the twentieth century, but at the same time we in..
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 the most powerful political entity in western Eurasia. In an era when Paris and London boasted a few ..
A controversial examination of the internal Israeli debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a best-selling Israeli author Since the Six-Day War, Israelis have been entrenched in a national debate over whether to keep the land they conquered or to return some, if not all, of the territories to Palestinians. In 2017, best-selling Israeli author Micah Goodman published a balanced and insightful analysis of the situation that quickly became one of Israel's most debated books of the year. N..
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 - wildly flamboyant and sublimely talented - was the love of her life and her co-ruler. Together they seiz..
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 leaderships modern China has ever seen. In CEO China, the noted China expert Kerry Brown reveals the hidd..
‘As convoluted and deadly as the plot of a novel by John le Carre, but all too real’ Daily Mail, Must Reads
‘With a gripping narrative and vivid interviews with those on all sides whose lives were directly affected by that grim symbol of the East-West divide that poisoned Europe for almost half a century, [MacGregor] has made an important contribution to the history of our times‘ Jonathan Dimbleby
‘Captures brilliantly and comprehensively both the danger and exhilaration that I and other rep..
Since the first atomic bomb was dropped, humankind has been haunted by the idea of nuclear apocalypse. That nightmare almost became reality in 1986, when an accident at the USSR s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant triggered the world s worst radiological crisis. The events of that night are well documented but history didn t stop there. Chernobyl, as a place, remains very much alive today.
In Chernobyl: A Stalkers Guide, researcher Darmon Richter journeys into the contemporary Exclusion Zone, ventu..
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 Western Europe as we know it. From peasants to princes, no one was untouched by the spiritual and intel..
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 of all the key surviving texts of early Christianity, Geza Vermes illuminates the origins of a faith an..
This book, which includes a new preface by the author, offers an engrossing portrayal of the early years of the Christian movement from the perspective of the Romans. "A fascinating . . . account of early Christian thought. . . . Readable and exciting."-Robert McAfee Brown, New York Times Book Review "Should fascinate any reader with an interest in the history of human thought."-Phoebe-Lou Adams, Atlantic Monthly "The pioneering study in English of Roman impressions of Christians during the firs..
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 a massive wall. The King, the fable reported, ordered 6,000 men to bring down the wall, thereby exposi..
Pulitzer Prize Finalist Silver Gavel Award Finalist "A sobering history of how American communities and institutions have relied on torture in various forms since before the United States was founded." -Los Angeles Times "That Americans as a people and a nation-state are violent is indisputable. That we are also torturers, domestically and internationally, is not so well established. The myth that we are not torturers will persist, but Civilizing Torture will remain a powerful antidote in confro..
An encyclopedic A-to-Z guide, this beautifully designed and illustrated volume offers hundreds of rich and fascinating definitions of 700 major and minor characters, creatures, and places of classical mythology. The perfect companion to the 75th anniversary illustrated edition of Edith Hamilton's Mythology.
Classical Mythology A-to-Z is a comprehensive and engrossing guide to Greek and Roman mythology. Written by Annette Giesecke, PhD, Professor of Classics and Chair of Ancient Greek and Roman ..
The Cold War is one of the furthest-reaching and longest-lasting conflicts in modern history. It spanned the globe - from Greece to China, Hungary to Cuba - and lasted for almost half a century. It has shaped political relations to this day, drawing new physical and ideological boundaries between East and West.
In this meticulously researched account, Bridget Kendall explores the Cold War through the eyes of those who experienced it first-hand. Alongside in-depth analysis that explains ..
From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive is a visionary study of the mysterious downfall of past civilizations.Now in a revised edition with a new afterword, Jared Diamond's Collapse uncovers the secret behind why some societies flourish, while others founder - and what this means for our future.What happened to the people who made the forlorn long-abandoned statues of Easter Island?What happened to the architects of the crumblin..
One of the primary triggers of the outbreak of World War I was undoubtedly the myriad alliances and suspicions that existed between the Russian, German, and Austro-Hungarian empires in the early 20th century. Yet much of the actual fighting between these nations has been largely forgotten in the West. Driven by first-hand accounts and detailed archival research, Collision of Empires seeks to correct this imbalance. The first in a four-book series on the Eastern Front in World War I, Prit Buttar'..
At the outset of the twentieth century, malaria was Italy’s major public health problem. It was the cause of low productivity, poverty, and economic backwardness, while it also stunted literacy, limited political participation, and undermined the army. In this book Frank Snowden recounts how Italy became the world center for the development of malariology as a medical discipline and launched the first national campaign to eradicate the disease.
Snowden traces the early advances, the setbacks of..
Orlando Figes' Crimea is a powerful history of the Crimean War, the conflict that dominated the nineteenth century. The Crimean War one of the fiercest battles in Russia's history, killing nearly a million men and completely redrawing the map of Europe. Pitting the Tsar's empire against an alliance of Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire, it was the first conflict to use photography, the telegraph and newspapers; a war over territory, from the Balkans to the Persian Gulf; a war of religion, dr..
The Crimean War was the most destructive conflict of Queen Victoria’s reign, the outcome of which was indecisive; most historians regard it as an irrelevant and unnecessary conflict despite its fame for Florence Nightingale and the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Here Hugh Small shows how the history of the Crimean War has been manipulated to conceal Britain’s – and Europe’s – failure. The war governments and early historians combined to withhold the truth from an already disappointed nation in ..
A major new history of the Crusades that illuminates the strength and sophistication of the Western and Muslim armies During the Crusades, the Western and Muslim armies developed various highly sophisticated strategies of both attack and defense, which evolved during the course of the battles. In this ambitious new work, Steve Tibble draws on a wide range of Muslim texts and archaeological evidence as well as more commonly cited Western sources to analyze the respective armies' strategy, adaptat..
From the bestselling author of The Templars.
'Voyages, battles, sieges and slaughter: Dan Jones's tumultuous and thrilling history of the crusades is one of the best' SUNDAY TIMES.
'A powerful story brilliantly told. Dan Jones writes with pace, wit and insight' HELEN CASTOR.
'A fresh and vibrant account of a conflict that raged across medieval centuries' JONATHAN PHILLIPS.
Dan Jones, best-selling chronicler of the Middle Ages, turns his attention to the history of the Crusades the sequence of..
European and Arab versions of the Crusades have little in common. For Arabs, the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were years of strenuous efforts to repel a brutal and destructive invasion by barbarian hordes. Under Saladin, an unstoppable Muslim army inspired by prophets and poets finally succeeded in destroying the most powerful Crusader kingdoms. The memory of this greatest and most enduring victory ever won by a non-European society against the West still lives in the minds of millions of Ar..
'Asbridge can't help but tell a ripping yarn, often breezily dramatic, whipping the narrative along.' The Times
In the eleventh century, a vast Christian army, summoned to holy war by the Pope, rampaged through the Muslim world of the eastern Mediterranean, seizing possession of Jerusalem, a city revered by both faiths. Over the two hundred years that followed this First Crusade, Islam and the West fought for dominion of the Holy Land, clashing in a succession of chillingly brutal wars, both f..
SHORTLISTED FOR THE PEN HESSELL-TILTMAN PRIZE 2017
After the economic disaster of the Great Leap Forward that claimed tens of millions of lives between 1958 and 1962, an ageing Mao launched an ambitious scheme to shore up his reputation and eliminate those he viewed as a threat to his legacy. The stated goal of the Cultural Revolution was to purge the country of bourgeois, capitalist elements he claimed were threatening genuine communist ideology. But the Chairman also used the Cultural Revolut..
A fresh and insightful history of how the German arts-and-letters scene was transformed under the Nazis
Culture was integral to the smooth running of the Third Reich. In the years preceding WWII, a wide variety of artistic forms were used to instill a Nazi ideology in the German people and to manipulate the public perception of Hitler’s enemies. During the war, the arts were closely tied to the propaganda machine that promoted the cause of Germany’s military campaigns.
Michael H. Kater’s enga..
The definitive history of how witchcraft and black magic have survived, through the modern era and into the present day
Cursed Britain unveils the enduring power of witchcraft, curses and black magic in modern times. Few topics are so secretive or controversial. Yet, whether in the 1800s or the early 2000s, when disasters struck or personal misfortunes mounted, many Britons found themselves believing in things they had previously dismissed – dark supernatural forces.
Historian Thomas Waters he..
Cursed Victory tells the story of Israel's troubled presence in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula since its sweeping victory in the 1967 Six Day War. Drawing on countless high-level interviews, never-before-seen letters and top secret memos, distinguished Israeli historian Ahron Bregman traces the evolution of the military occupation over four decades. Cursed Victory provides vivid portraits of the key players in this unfolding drama, including Moshe Dayan, Bil..
For centuries much of Europe was in the hands of the very peculiar Habsburg family. An unstable mixture of wizards, obsessives, melancholics, bores, musicians and warriors, they saw off - through luck, guile and sheer mulishness - any number of rivals, until finally packing up in 1918. From their principal lairs along the Danube they ruled most of Central Europe and Germany and interfered everywhere - indeed the history of Europe hardly makes sense without them.
Simon Winder's extremely funny..
In The Darkening Age, Catherine Nixey tells the little-known - and deeply shocking - story of how a militant religion deliberately tried to extinguish the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in unquestioning adherence to the 'one true faith'.
The Roman Empire had been generous in embracing and absorbing new creeds. But with the coming of Christianity, everything changed. This new faith, despite preaching peace, was violent, ruthless and intolerant. And once it became the religion of em..
From the prize-winning screenwriter of The Theory of Everything, this is a cinematic, behind-the-scenes account of a crucial moment which takes us inside the mind of one of the world's greatest leaders - and provides a revisionist, more rounded portrait of his leadership.
May, 1940. Britain is at war, European democracies are falling rapidly and the public are unaware of this dangerous new world. Just days after his unlikely succession to Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, faces this horror -..
The dictator who grew so rich on his country's cocoa crop that he built a 35-storey-high basilica in the jungles of the Ivory Coast. The austere, incorruptible leader who has shut Eritrea off from the world in a permanent state of war and conscripted every adult into the armed forces. In Equatorial Guinea, the paranoid despot who thought Hitler was the saviour of Africa and waged a relentless campaign of terror against his own people. The Libyan army officer who authored a new work of political ..
A New Statesman, Financial Times and Economist Book of the Year
'Brilliant' NEW STATESMAN, BOOKS OF THE YEAR
'Enlightening and a good read' SPECTATOR
'Moving and perceptive' NEW STATESMAN
Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, Ceausescu, Mengistu of Ethiopia and Duvalier of Haiti.
No dictator can rule through fear and violence alone. Naked power can be grabbed and held temporarily, but it never suffices in the long term. A tyrant who can compel his own people to acclaim him wil..