'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..
From award-winning historian Mark Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century retells the story of a century of division, charting the struggles of rival ideologies to create a new world order for mankind.
The end of the First World War saw old empires swept away and the opportunity to build a better society from the ruins. Yet the result was division and bloodshed on an unprecedented scale, as liberal democracy, communism and fascism struggled against one another for mastery of the w..
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..
Cook's great voyages marked the end of an era in world history. As he sailed into Hawaii in January 1778 he made contact with the last of the human civilizations to grow up independently of the rest of the world. But equally for the Polynesians and Melanesians of the Pacific, Cook's arrival in their midst merely marked a further (if disastrous) twist in diverse histories already many centuries old.
In this immensely enjoyable and absorbing book Cook's journeys are reimagined, attempting tolea..
‘If great books encourage you to look at the world in an entirely new way, then Dominion is a very great book indeed . . . Written with terrific learning, enthusiasm and good humour, Holland’s book is not just supremely provocative, but often very funny’ Sunday Times History Book of the Year
Christianity is the most enduring and influential legacy of the ancient world, and its emergence the single most transformative development in Western history. Even the increasing number in the West today w..
'Powerful . . . there is rage in his ink. McKay's book grips by its passion and originality. Some 25,000 people perished in the firestorm that raged through the city. I have never seen it better described' Max Hastings, Sunday Times
In February 1945 the Allies obliterated Dresden, the 'Florence of the Elbe'. Explosive bombs weighing over 1,000 lbs fell every seven and a half seconds and an estimated 25,000 people were killed. Was Dresden a legitimate military target or was the bombing a last ac..
Among the brilliant writers and thinkers who emerged from the multicultural and multilingual world of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were Joseph Roth, Robert Musil, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. For them, the trauma of World War I included the sudden loss of the geographical entity into which they had been born: in 1918, the empire was dissolved overnight, leaving Austria a small, fragile republic that would last only twenty years before being annexed by Hitler's Third Reich. In this major reconsiderati..
Meticulously researched and vividly written, Eight Days at Yalta is a remarkable work of intense historical drama.
In the last winter of the Second World War, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin arrived in the Crimean resort of Yalta. Over eight days of bargaining, bombast and intermittent bonhomie they decided on the conduct of the final stages of the war against Germany, on how a defeated and occupied Germany should be governed, on the constitution of the nascent United..
This book is the winner of the 2015 Bancroft Prize and the 2015 Philip Taft Prize. It is the finalist for the 2015 Pulizter Prize for History and shortlisted for the 2015 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature.
For about 900 years, from 1000 to 1900, cotton was the world's most important manufacturing industry. It remains a vast business - if all the cotton bales produced in 2013 had been stacked on top of each other they would have made a somewhat unstable tower 40,000 miles high. Sven Becke..
‘A dense narrative and a wealth of examples’ Literary Review
‘Reid-Henry narrates this story with elegance and gusto’ Washington Post
‘[Reid-Henry] conveys an important message: Individual political action must become accountable to society’s interests’ Kirkus
‘Reid-Henry’s scholarship is impressive, gathering a wide range of historical anecdotes and referencing a diverse set of thinkers’ Publishers Weekly
The first panoramic history of the Western world from the 1970s to the present day: Em..
The revolutionary new understanding of how the gun trade facilitated the expansion of the British Empire and changed the course of world history.History teaches that from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century the industrial revolution transformed Britain from an agricultural and artisanal economy to one dominated by industry and machine, ushering in unprecedented growth in technology and trade and putting the country at the centre of the world.In Empire of Guns, prize-winning historian Priya..
This epic history compares the empires built by Spain and Britain in the Americas, from Columbus’s arrival in the New World to the end of Spanish colonial rule in the early nineteenth century. J. H. Elliott, one of the most distinguished and versatile historians working today, offers us history on a grand scale, contrasting the worlds built by Britain and by Spain on the ruins of the civilizations they encountered and destroyed in North and South America.
Elliott identifies and explains both the..
Abducted by slave traders from her home in Ruthenia – modern-day Ukraine – around 1515, Roxelana was brought to Istanbul and trained in the palace harem as a concubine for Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire and one of the world’s most powerful men.Suleyman became besotted with Roxelana and foreswore all other concubines, freeing and marrying her. The bold and canny Roxelana became a shrewd diplomat and philanthropist, helping Suleyman keep pace with a changing world in ..
ECONOMIST, SUNDAY TIMES, FINANCIAL TIMES AND GUARDIAN BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2017
'Comprehensive and compelling ... A nuanced, landmark study that has deservedly won plaudits from both Palestinian and Israeli historians' Justin Marozzi, The Times
A century after Britain's Balfour Declaration promised a Jewish 'national home' in Palestine, veteran Guardian journalist Ian Black has produced a major new history of one of the most polarising conflicts of the modern age.
Drawing on a wide range o..
Between July 1920 and February 1921, in the territory known as Mesopotamia (now the modern state of Iraq), an Arab revolt came perilously close to inflicting a shattering defeat upon the British Empire. A huge peasant army besieged British garrisons with sand-bagged entrenchments and bombarded them with captured artillery; columns and armoured trains were ambushed and destroyed; and well-armed gunboats were sunk or captured. Britain's quest for oil was central to its Middle East policy during th..
In The English and their History, the first full-length account to appear in one volume for many decades, Robert Tombs gives us the history of the English people, and of how the stories they have told about themselves have shaped them, from the prehistoric 'dreamtime' through to the present day
If a nation is a group of people with a sense of kinship, a political identity and representative institutions, then the English have a claim to be the oldest nation in the world. They first came ..
Shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2020
'A thought-provoking treatise interwoven with blistered-feet-on-the-ground accounts of spots both pretty and gritty' National Geographic
'Compelling, thought-provoking, and courageous, this epic-poetic journey peels back layers of collective emotional and imaginative inheritance. Jubber gets under the skin of our complicated continent and his timing is dead right' Kapka Kassabova
'A genuine epic' Wanderlust
'The prose is colou..
A 'brilliant and sobering' (Paul Kennedy, Wall Street Journal) look at the history and human costs of pandemic outbreaks.
'The World Economic Forum #1 book to read for context on the coronavirus outbreak.'
This sweeping exploration of the impact of epidemic diseases looks at how mass infectious outbreaks have shaped society, from the Black Death to today, and in a new preface addresses the global threat of COVID-19. In a clear and accessible style, Frank M. Snowden reveals the ways that diseas..
The ancient Greeks gave us our alphabet and much of our scientific, medical and cultural language; they invented democracy, atomic theory, and the rules of logic and geometry; laid the foundations of philosophy, history, tragedy and comedy; and debated everything from the good life and the role of women, to making sense of foreigners and the best form of government, all in the most sophisticated terms.
But who were they? In Eureka!, Peter Jones tells their epic story, which begins with the Tr..
The conventional narrative of the Second World War is well known: after six years of brutal fighting on land, sea and in the air, the Allied Powers prevailed and the Nazi regime was defeated. But as in so many things, the truth is somewhat different. Bringing a fresh eye to bear on a story we think we know, Norman Davies.Davies forces us to look again at those six years and to discard the usual narrative of Allied good versus Nazi evil, reminding us that the war in Europe was dominated by two ev..
'The most accessible, up-to-date introduction to its subject ... does full justice to the multifarious forces at work in high gothic Europe' Daily Telegraph
The years from AD 1000 to the beginning of the fourteenth century were the most formative period in European history: a time of intense social, political, cultural and religious change. In this definitive work one of the world's leading medievalists explores a confident, dynamic age, far removed from our own.
'Jordan writes elegantly and i..
'Magnificent. Beautifully written, immaculately researched and thoroughly absorbing from start to finish. A tour de force that explains how Europe's cultural life transformed during the course of the 19th century - and so much more' Peter Frankopan
From the bestselling author of Natasha's Dance, The Europeans is richly enthralling, panoramic cultural history of nineteenth-century Europe, told through the intertwined lives of three remarkable people: a great singer, Pauline Viardot, a great writ..
Celt si crestin, print si sfant, acest om remarcabil din secolul sase a fost cunoscut drept Colmcille in Irlanda natala si drept Clumba din Iona in Scotia si in restul lumii. Cartea prezinta povestea lui si a lumii in care a trait si in care a jucat un rol politic important ca sfetnic al regilor si marilor capetenii din Irlanda si Scotia si ca intemeietor al manastirii din Iona, unde a dezvoltat arta manuscriselor...
SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
The final destruction of the Ottoman Empire - one of the great epics of the First World War, from bestselling historian Eugene Rogan
For some four centuries the Ottoman Empire had been one of the most powerful states in Europe as well as ruler of the Middle East. By 1914 it had been drastically weakened and circled by numerous predators waiting to finish it off. Following the Ottoman decision to join the First World War on the side of the Central Powers the ..
A sweeping narrative of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
The Fall of the Roman Empire has been a best-selling subject since the 18th century. Since then, over 200 very diverse reasons have been advocated for the collapse of the western half of the Roman Empire. Until very recently, the academic view embarrassedly downplayed the violence and destruction, in an attempt to provide a more urbane account of late antiquity: barbarian invasions were mistakenly described as the movement of p..
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SALTIRE NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR
A SCOTSMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR, 2016
Buildings are more like us than we realise. They can be born into wealth or poverty, enjoying every privilege or struggling to make ends meet. They have parents -- gods, kings and emperors, governments, visionaries and madmen -- as well as friends and enemies. They have duties and responsibilities. They can endure crises of faith and purpose. They can succeed or fail. They can live. And, sooner or la..
A personal and urgent examination of Fascism in the twentieth century and how its legacy shapes today’s world, written by one of America’s most admired public servants, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state.
A Fascist, observes Madeleine Albright, ‘is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.’
Glenn Richardson provides the first history in more than four decades of a major Tudor event: an extraordinary international gathering of Renaissance rulers unparalleled in its opulence, pageantry, controversy, and mystery. Throughout most of the late medieval period, from 1300 to 1500, England and France were bitter enemies, often at war or on the brink of it. In 1520, in an effort to bring conflict to an end, England's monarch, Henry VIII, and Francis I of France agreed to meet, surrounded by ..
After Germany’s humiliating World War II defeat, numerous German generals published memoirs claiming that their country’s brilliant military leadership had been undermined by the Führer’s erratic decision making. The author of three highly acclaimed books on the era, Stephen Fritz upends this characterization of Hitler as an ill-informed fantasist and demonstrates the ways in which his strategy was coherent and even competent. That Hitler saw World War II as the only way to retrieve Germany’s fo..
An authoritative and poignant account of the first millennium of Christian history How did a community that was largely invisible in the first two centuries of its existence go on to remake the civilizations it inhabited, culturally, politically, and intellectually? Beginning with the life of Jesus, Robert Louis Wilken narrates the dramatic spread and development of Christianity over the first thousand years of its history. Moving through the formation of early institutions, practices, and belie..
Humanity's last major source of food from the wild, and how it enabled and shaped the growth of civilization In this history of fishing-not as sport but as sustenance-archaeologist and best-selling author Brian Fagan argues that fishing was an indispensable and often overlooked element in the growth of civilization. It sustainably provided enough food to allow cities, nations, and empires to grow, but it did so with a different emphasis. Where agriculture encouraged stability, fishing demanded m..
THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NONFICTION 2019 'An angry and important work of historical detection, calling time on the misogyny that has fed the Ripper myth. Powerful and shaming' GUARDIANPolly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust fr..
'Many books claim to tell an "unknown" story of the Second World War. Few of them actually do. Forgotten Bastards is a rare exception . . . This is gripping history' Duncan Weldon, Prospect
A riveting story of World War II from the author of Chernobyl, winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction
In November 1943, with the outcome of the Second World War hanging in the balance, the Allies needed a new plan. The Americans' audacious suggestion to the Soviets was to open a second air fron..
In this vast and vivid panorama of history, Martin Meredith, bestselling author of The State of Africa, follows the fortunes of Africa over a period of 5,000 years. With compelling narrative, he traces the rise and fall of ancient kingdoms and empires; the spread of Christianity and Islam; the enduring quest for gold and other riches; the exploits of explorers and missionaries; and the impact of European colonisation. He examines, too, the fate of modern African states and concludes with a glimp..
In 2011, a series of anti-government uprisings shook the Middle East and North Africa in what would become known as the Arab Spring. Few could predict that these convulsions, initially hailed in the West as a triumph of democracy, would give way to brutal civil war, the terrors of the Islamic State, and a global refugee crisis. But, as New York Times bestselling author Scott Anderson shows, the seeds of catastrophe had been sown long before.
In this gripping account, Anderson examines the myr..
The fall of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 has become the commemorative symbol of the French Revolution. But this violent and random act was unrepresentative of the real work of the early revolution, which was taking place ten miles west of Paris, in Versailles. There, the nobles, clergy and commoners of France had just declared themselves a republic, toppling a rotten system of aristocratic privilege and altering the course of history forever.
The Revolution was led not by angry mobs, but by ..
For as long as there have been wars there have been fears about the next war. Where are the new dangers? What is the best defence? How might peace come about? This is the history of how over the last 150 years we have tried - rightly and wrongly - to predict war's future.
'Britain's leading academic strategist ... read this book' Economist
'Insightful and opinionated ... expertly covers centuries of evolving mayhem' Gary J. Bass, The New York Times
'A bonfire of predictions ... Freedman..
Uniquely imprisoned, most Palestinians in Gaza cannot travel beyond the confines of the Strip, and in times of war escape is impossible. They live under siege – economic and armed – and yet so many remain courageous, outspoken and steadfast.
Donald Macintyre lays bare Gaza’s human tragedy and reveals how it became a crucible of conflict and a byword for suffering. He identifies the repeated failings – including those of the international community – that have seen countless opportunities for ..
Genghis Khan - creator of the greatest empire the world has ever seen - is one of history's immortals. In Central Asia, they still use his name to frighten children. In China, he is honoured as the founder of a dynasty. In Mongolia he is the father of the nation. In the USA, Time magazine, voted Genghis Khan 'the most important person of the last millennium'. But how much do we really know about this man? How is it that an unlettered, unsophisticated warrior-nomad came to have such a profound ef..
Marx, Freud, Proust, Einstein, Bernhardt and Kafka. Between the middle of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries a few dozen men and women changed the way we see the world. But many have vanished from our collective memory despite their enduring importance in our daily lives. Without Karl Landsteiner, for instance, there would be no blood transfusions or major surgery. Without Paul Ehrlich no chemotherapy. Without Siegfried Marcus no motor car. Without Rosalind Franklin genetic science would loo..
What was the life of an eighteenth-century British genteel woman like? In this lively and controversial book, Amanda Vickery invokes women's own accounts of their intimate and their public lives to argue that in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the scope of female experience did not diminish-in fact, quite the reverse. Refuting the common understanding that in Georgian times the daughters of merchants, the wives of lawyers, and the sisters of gentlemen lost female freedoms and retre..
From the end of the Baroque age and the death of Bach in 1750 to the rise of Hitler in 1933, Germany was transformed from a poor relation among western nations into a dominant intellectual and cultural force more influential than France, Britain, Italy, Holland, and the United States. In the early decades of the 20th century, German artists, writers, philosophers, scientists, and engineers were leading their freshly-unified country to new and undreamed of heights, and by 1933, they had won more ..
WINNER OF THE 2016 PEN HESSELL-TILTMAN PRIZE
The Second World War was a German war like no other. The Nazi regime, having started the conflict, turned it into the most horrific war in European history, resorting to genocidal methods well before building the first gas chambers. Over its course, the Third Reich expended and exhausted all its moral and physical reserves, leading to total defeat in 1945. Yet 70 years on – despite whole libraries of books about the war’s origins, course and atroci..
It made me laugh so hard that I woke up my wife and had to give up reading the book in bed. If Bill Bryson had collaborated with W. G. Sebald to write a book about Germany, they might have wound up with something like this' (Sunday Times).
Germania is a very personal guide to the Germany that Simon Winder loves. Equally passionate about the region's history, folklore, cuisine, architecture and landscape, Winder describes Germany's past afresh -- and in doing so sees a country much like our ow..