*Listed as one of the Guardian's 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time*
'Some books simply exude excitement and self-confidence, as if the writer is on fire with ideas, or intoxicated with information. This is one of those titles...remains unsurpassed' Robert McCrum, The Guardian
'Brilliantly written and researched, The Last Days of Hitler remains the most vivid account of the final Wagnerian chapter of Hitler's tyranny' Max Hastings
In September 1945 the fate of Adolf Hitler ..
On Christmas Day 1991 Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union. By the next day the USSR was officially no more and the USA had emerged as the world's sole superpower. Award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy presents a page-turning account of the preceding five months of drama, filled with failed coups d'état and political intrigue.
Honing in on this previously disregarded but crucial period and using recently declassified documents and original interviews with key participan..
Late in the tenth century, the Norse Vikings embarked on a voyage of no return. Leaving Iceland first for Greenland, from there they sailed onwards to North America, setting foot on its shores five hundred years before Columbus's first journeys of discovery. But by about AD 1500 their settlements were abandoned and the Norse Greenlanders and their explorations of the New World receded into the realms of myth. What happened between these momentous events? How did the Vikings really live - and die..
Selected as a Book of the Year 2019 by The Times and Telegraph
'Astonishing. . . Like the great Russian novels, these testimonials ring with emotional truth' - Caroline Moorehead, Guardian
Extraordinary stories about what it was like to be a Soviet child during the upheaval and horror of the Second World War, from Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich
What did it mean to grow up in the Soviet Union during the Second World War? In the late 1970s, Svetlana Alexievich started interviewing people wh..
The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller 2014
New York Times top ten bestseller 2014
Amazon.com's Top Ten History Books of the Year 2014
New York Times Book of the Year 2014
The Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War One was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, 'a sideshow of a sideshow'. Amidst the slaughter in European trenches, the Western combatants paid scant attention to the Middle Eastern theatre. As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by a small handful of adventurers and..
'A fresh, powerful portrait of Lenin' Anne Applebaum, author of Red Famine
'Richly readable ... An enthralling but appalling story' Francis Wheen, author of Karl Marx
The cold, one-dimensional figure of Lenin the political fanatic is only a partial truth. Drawing on extensive material that has only recently become available, Sebestyen's gripping biography casts an intriguing new light on the character behind the politics.
In reality, Lenin was a man who loved nature as much as he loved ..
An eloquent call to draw on the lessons of the past to address current threats to international order The ancient Greeks hard-wired a tragic sensibility into their culture. By looking disaster squarely in the face, by understanding just how badly things could spiral out of control, they sought to create a communal sense of responsibility and courage-to spur citizens and their leaders to take the difficult actions necessary to avert such a fate. Today, after more than seventy years of great-power..
'Superbly researched and enormously entertaining... One of the outstanding books of the year' The Times
An epic story of empire-building and bloody conflict, this ground-breaking biography of one of history’s most venerated military and religious heroes opens a window on the Islamic and Christian worlds’ complex relationship.
WINNER OF THE SLIGHTLY FOXED BEST FIRST BIOGRAPHY PRIZE
When Saladin recaptured Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187, returning the Holy City to Islamic rule, he sent sh..
From acclaimed historians Frances and Joseph Gies comes the reissue of this definitive classic on medieval castles, which was a source for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series
“Castles are crumbly and romantic. They still hint at an age more colorful and gallant than our own, but are often debunked by boring people who like to run on about drafts and grumble that the latrines did not work. Joseph and Frances Gies offer a book that helps set the record straight—and keeps the romance too.”..
"Some particular books I found useful for A Game of Thrones and its sequels deserve mention... Life in a Medieval Castle and Life in a Medieval City, both by Joseph and Frances Gies." —George R.R. Martin, author of the series A Song of Ice and FireMedieval history comes alive in Frances and Joseph Gies’s Life in a Medieval City, used as a research resource by George R. R. Martin in creating the world of Game of Thrones.Reissued for the first time in decades, Life in a Medieval City is the classi..
The reissue of Joseph and Frances Gies s classic bestseller on life in medieval villages.This new reissue of Life in a Medieval Village, by respected historians Joseph and Frances Gies, paints a lively, convincing portrait of rural people at work and at play in the Middle Ages. Focusing on the village of Elton, in the English East Midlands, the Gieses detail the agricultural advances that made communal living possible, explain what domestic life was like for serf and lord alike, and describe the..
Long before the European Renaissance, while the western world was languishing in what was once called the 'Dark Ages', the Arab world was ablaze with the creativity of its Golden Age. This is the story of how Islamic science, which began in eighth-century Baghdad, enhanced the knowledge acquired from Greece, Mesopotamia, India and China. Through the astrologers, physicians, philosophers, mathematicians and alchemists of the Muslim world, this knowledge influenced western thinkers from Thomas Aqu..
Travel back in time with the latest instalment in the bestselling Big Ideas series, in a brand new portable format.
The Little Book of History charts world history from the dawn of civilisation to the modern culture we live in today. From the origins of homo-sapiens to the release of Nelson Mandela, from the French Revolution to the Space Race, The Little Book of History is a stunning exploration of the human timeline up to and including modern Islam, the world wide web, and the global financia..
The turbulent Tudor age never fails to capture the imagination. But what was it actually like to be a woman during this period? This was a time when death in infancy or during childbirth was rife; when marriage was usually a legal contract, not a matter for love, and the education of women was minimal at best. Yet the Tudor century was also dominated by powerful and characterful women in a way that no era had been before.
Elizabeth Norton explores the seven ages of the Tudor woman, from child..
THE PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING BESTSELLER, NOW A MAJOR NEW TV SERIES STARRING JEFF DANIELS AND ALEC BALDWIN
This is the definitive account of the run-up to 9/11: from the man who lit the spark of radical Islam in 1948, to those who built up a terror network, and to the FBI agent whose warnings of 'something big' coming were ignored until the Twin Towers fell.
'The Looming Tower is a thriller. And it's a tragedy, too' The New York Times
'The most detailed (and thrilling) account we have of the eve..
'An entertaining and insightful human story of obsession about books.' Daily Telegraph
'A lively tale of historical innovation, the thrill of the bibliophile's hunt, greed and betrayal.' New York Times
The never-before-told story of one extremely rare copy of the Gutenberg Bible, and its impact on the lives of the fanatical few who were lucky enough to own it.
For rare book collectors, an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible - there are only forty-six in existence - is the undisputed gem of ..
'Brisk and thoughtful, this book could hardly be more timely' Dominic Sandbrook, BBC History Magazine, Books of the Year
An astonishingly wide-ranging history of Russian nationalism chronicling Russia's yearning for Empire and how it has affected its politics for centuries
In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and attempted to seize a portion of Ukraine. While the world watched in outrage, this violation of national sovereignty was in fact only the latest iteration of a centuries-long effort to e..
"Fascinating...This is history as it used to be, history as storytelling. Brownworth covers a thousand years of bloodletting, outrageous luxury, bitter religious disputes and vaulting ambition without giving the slightest impression of being rushed or crowded. The page turns unaided." --Anthony Everitt, bestselling author of Augustus, Cicero, and The First Emperor
Filled with unforgettable stories of emperors, generals, and religious patriarchs, as well as fascinating glimpses into the life of t..
A fresh, concise, and accessible history of one of the medieval world’s greatest empires
For more than a millennium, the Byzantine Empire presided over the juncture between East and West, as well as the transition from the classical to the modern world. Jonathan Harris, a leading scholar of Byzantium, eschews the usual run-through of emperors and battles and instead recounts the empire’s extraordinary history by focusing each chronological chapter on an archetypal figure, family, place, or even..
This ambitious volume, worldwide in scope and ranging from antiquity to the present, examines the human encounter with Unreason in all its manifestations, the challenges it poses to society and our responses to it. In twelve chapters organized chronologically from the Bible to Freud, from exorcism to mesmerism, from Bedlam to Victorian asylums, from the theory of humours to modern pharmacology, Andrew Scull writes compellingly about madness, its meanings, its consequences and our attempts to und..
A wave of internal conquest, settlement and economic growth took place in Europe during the High Middle Ages, which transformed it from a world of small separate communities into a network of powerful kingdoms with distinctive cultures. In this vivid and provocative book Robert Bartlett vividly shows how Europe was itself a product of colonization, as much as it was later a colonizer, and what this did to shape the continent and the world today...
In The Making of Modern Britain, Andrew Marr paints a fascinating portrait of life in Britain during the first half of the twentieth century as the country recovered from the grand wreckage of the British Empire.
Between the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the Second World War, the nation was shaken by war and peace. The two wars were the worst we had ever known and the episodes of peace among the most turbulent and surprising. As the political forum moved from Edwardian smoking rooms ..
Winner of the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2011
Between 1958 and 1962, 45 million Chinese people were worked, starved or beaten to death. Mao Zedong threw his country into a frenzy with the Great Leap Forward, an attempt to catch up with and overtake the Western world in less than fifteen years. It lead to one of the greatest catastrophes the world has ever known.
Dikotter's extraordinary research within Chinese archives brings together for the first time what happened in the corri..
‘A landmark work giving a global panorama of Mao's ideology filled with historic events and enlivened by striking characters’ Jonathan Fenby, author of The Penguin History of China
Since the 1980s, China seems to have abandoned the utopian turmoil of Mao’s revolution in favour of authoritarian capitalism. But Mao and his ideas remain central to the People’s Republic. With disagreements between China and the West on the rise, the need to understand the political legacy of Mao is urgent and growi..
'A lovely debut from a gifted young author. Violet Moller brings to life the ways in which knowledge reached us from antiquity to the present day in a book that is as delightful as it is readable.' Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk RoadsIn The Map of Knowledge Violet Moller traces the journey taken by the ideas of three of the greatest scientists of antiquity – Euclid, Galen and Ptolemy – through seven cities and over a thousand years. In it, we follow them from sixth-century Alexandria to nin..
From bestselling historians Frances and Joseph Gies, authors of the classic "Medieval Life" series, comes this compelling, lucid, and highly readable account of the family unit as it evolved throughout the Medieval period--reissued for the first time in decades."Some particular books that I found useful for Game of Thrones and its sequels deserve mention. Life in a Medieval Castle and Life in a Medieval City, both by Joseph and Frances Gies." --George R. R. Martin, author of Game of ThronesThrou..
On the night of 10 February 1567, an explosion devastated the Edinburgh residence of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. The noise was heard as far away as Holyrood Palace, where Queen Mary was attending a wedding masque. Those arriving at the scene of devastation found, in the garden, the naked corpses of Darnley and his valet. Neither had died in the explosion, but both bodies bore marks of strangulation. It was clear that they had been murdered and the house d..
The Medici are famous as the rulers of Florence at the high point of the Renaissance. Their power derived from the family bank, and this book tells the fascinating, frequently bloody story of the family and the dramatic development and collapse of their bank (from Cosimo who took it over in 1419 to his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent who presided over its precipitous decline). The Medici faced two apparently insuperable problems: how did a banker deal with the fact that the Church regarded inte..
A dazzling history of the modest family which rose to become one of the most powerful in Europe, The Medici is a remarkably modern story of power, money and ambition. Against the background of an age which saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning - of humanism which penetrated and explored the arts and sciences and the 'dark' knowledge of alchemy, astrology, and numerology - Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence, as well as the Ita..
WINNER OF THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE AND THE DUFF COOPER PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION
'Endlessly fascinating and enjoyable' Neil MacGregor
'A marvellous book' David Attenborough
'Full of delights' Tom Stoppard
An extraordinary exploration of the medieval world - the most beguiling history book of the year
This is a book about why medieval manuscripts matter. Coming face to face with an important illuminated manuscript in the original is like meeting a very famous person. We may all pretend th..
The authors trace the emergence of Ataturk and Reza Shah through the constitutional revolutions in Iran and the Ottoman Empire, which led to the introduction of European social models, the establishment of dictatorship and of secularist reforms. This produced in both Turkey and Iran highly authoritarian, nationalist, and quasi-westernised states, where the personality cult of the leader defined the politics of each country...
In 1958, after 14 years of military occupation, Khrushchev withdrew the USSR's troops from Romania as part of a political move intended to encourage the withdrawal of Western military forces from Europe. In analyzing this crucial historical episode, Sergiu Verona's study illustrates the dynamics of Soviet military presence in Romania and provides a framework for understanding Soviet security policy, then and now, as well as the interaction between Soviet military objectives and diplomacy. Drawin..
AN INDEPENDENT BEST BOOKS ON RELIGION 2014 PICK
Few things provoke controversy in the modern world like the religion brought by Prophet Muhammad. Modern media are replete with alarm over jihad, underage marriage and the threat of amputation or stoning under Shariah law. Sometimes rumor, sometimes based on fact and often misunderstood, the tenets of Islamic law and dogma were not set in the religion's founding moments. They were developed, like in other world religions, over centuries by the c..
Why do politicians send troops to foreign soil, to fight battles they rarely win? Is it old-fashioned imperialism tainted with a crusader complex? Or is the West a partisan for the helpless? The fall of the Soviet Union left the West aimless. With no conflicting dogma to reinforce its sense of justice the West assumed the role of global policeman - aid graduated from charitable to economic and, finally, military. Ideological struggle was replaced by a vague and confused concept of international ..
Now a major film starring George Cloooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balan, Jean Dujardin and Dimitri Leonidas. What if I told you that there was an epic story about World War II that has not been told, involving the most unlikely group of heroes? What if I told you there was a group of men on the front lines who didn't carry machine guns or drive tanks; a new kind of soldier, one charged with saving, not destroying. From caves to castles in a th..
An unprecedented portrait of Moses's inner world and perplexing character, by a distinguished biblical scholar No figure looms larger in Jewish culture than Moses, and few have stories more enigmatic. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, acclaimed for her many books on Jewish thought, turns her attention to Moses in this remarkably rich, evocative book. Drawing on a broad range of sources-literary as well as psychoanalytic, a wealth of classical Jewish texts alongside George Eliot, W. G. Sebald, and Werner..
A fresh treatment of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, revealing the close ties between Mussolini and Hitler and their regimes
From 1934 until 1944 Mussolini met Hitler numerous times, and the two developed a relationship that deeply affected both countries. While Germany is generally regarded as the senior power, Christian Goeschel demonstrates just how much history has underrepresented Mussolini’s influence on his German ally.
In this highly readable book, Goeschel, a scholar of twentieth-ce..
From the West African fable of Anansi the Spider, to Michabo, the magical hare who rebuilt the world and Tanuki, the sweet but troublesome racoon-dog of Japanese folklore, Mythopedia is an encyclopedia of mythical creatures that covers legends, tales and myths from around the world.
Lovingly created by the illustration duo behind popular flipbook Myth Match, Good Wives and Warriors, this book contains pages upon pages of cultural folklore from around the world.
Let these weird and wonderful cr..
The Greek Myths retold . . .
No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly or brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses.
In Stephen Fry's vivid retelling we gaze in wonder as wise Athena is born from the cracking open of the great head of Zeus and follow doomed Persephone into the dark and lonely realm of the Underworld. We shiver when Pandora opens her jar of evil torments and watch with joy as the legendary love affair between Eros and Psyche unfolds.
The world's great fables, sagas and legends dramatically retold. Myths are the greatest stories ever told. Passed down over millennia, they are the templates for all our stories, with their eternal themes of creation and destruction, fate and cunning, heroism and cruelty, sensuality and war.
Retold here are nearly 200 myths - from Prometheus defying Zeus to create man to the destruction of Troy; and from valiant battles against Frost Giants and Cyclopes to the heroic quests for the Golden Fle..
'When the last fire goes out, time too will be finished'
Italo Calvino was one of the most joyful and imaginative writers of the twentieth century. Here he muses on what the things we leave behind - whether waxworks or ancient graffiti, enigmatic maps or a crumbling Roman column - tell us about the greater truths of the world, space and time.
One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinkers who have helped shape our..
The Nature of the Nonprofit Sector is a collection of insightful and influential classic and recent readings on the existence, forms and functions of the nonprofit sector—the sector that sits between the market and government. The book encompasses everything from Andrew Carnegie’s turn-of-the-century philosophy of philanthropy to the most recent writings by current scholars and practitioners from a wide variety of perspectives and disciplines. Each part in the book opens with a framing essay by ..
'Europe where the sun dares scarce appearFor freezing meteors and congealed cold.' - Christopher MarloweIn this innovative and compelling work of environmental history, Philipp Blom chronicles the great climate crisis of the 1600s, a crisis that would transform the entire social and political fabric of Europe.While hints of a crisis appeared as early as the 1570s, by the end of the sixteenth century the temperature plummeted so drastically that Mediterranean harbours were covered with ice, birds..
A humbling, inspiring account of some of the real founders of modern day Special Forces soldiering' (Bear Grylls).
The Nazi Hunters is the incredible, hitherto untold story of the most secret chapter in the SAS's history. Officially, the world's most elite special forces unit was dissolved at the end of the Second World War, and not reactivated until the 1950s. Among their last actions was a disastrous commando raid into occupied France in 1944, which ended in the capture, torture and executi..
Europe is facing a wave of migration unmatched since the end of World War II - and no one has reported on this crisis in more depth or breadth than the Guardian's migration correspondent, Patrick Kingsley. Throughout 2015, Kingsley travelled to 17 countries along the migrant trail, meeting hundreds of refugees making epic odysseys across deserts, seas and mountains to reach the holy grail of Europe. This is Kingsley's unparalleled account of who these voyagers are.
It's about why they keep co..
In The New Threat renowned expert and prize-winning reporter Jason Burke provides the clearest and most comprehensive guide to Islamic militancy today.
From Syria to Somalia, from Libya to Indonesia, from Yemen to the capitals of Europe, Islamic militancy appears stronger, more widespread and more threatening than ever. ISIS and other groups, such as Boko Haram, together command significant military power, rule millions and control extensive territories. Elsewhere Al-Qaeda remains potent and ..
The violent and predatory society of Dark Age Scandinavia left a unique impact on the history of medieval Europe. From their chill northern fastness, Norse warriors, explorers and merchants raided, traded, and settled across wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.
THE VIKING CHRONICLES narrates their story region by region, focusing on places where key events were played out, from the sack of Lindisfarne in 793 to the murder in Iceland in 1..
Acclaimed fantasy author China Miéville plunges us into the year the world was turned upside down
Named One of the Best Books of the Year by Publishers Weekly
On the centenary of the Russian Revolution, China Miéville tells the extraordinary story of this pivotal moment in history.
In February of 1917 Russia was a backwards, autocratic monarchy, mired in an unpopular war; by October, after not one but two revolutions, it had become the world’s first workers’ state, straining to be at th..
How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? The short answer is that we, too, live in dark times' (Washington Post).
Hannah Arendt's chilling analysis of the conditions that led to the Nazi and Soviet totalitarian regimes is a warning from history about the fragility of freedom, exploring how propaganda, scapegoats, terror and political isolation all aided the slide towards total domination. 'A non-fiction bookend to Nineteen Eighty-Four' (The New York Times). 'The poli..
'A sweeping, brilliant overview of the history not only of our species but of the world ... Dartnell has a rare talent in being able to see the big picture – and explaining why it matters' PETER FRANKOPAN, author of The Silk RoadsWhen we talk about human history, we focus on great leaders, mass migration and decisive wars. But how has the Earth itself determined our destiny? How has our planet made us?As a species we are shaped by our environment. Geological forces drove our evolution in East Af..
The Ottoman chronicles recount that the first sultan, Osman, dreamt of the dynasty he would found - a tree, fully-formed, emerged from his navel, symbolising the vigour of his successors and the extent of their domains. This is the first book to tell the full story of the Ottoman dynasty that for six centuries held sway over territories stretching, at their greatest, from Hungary to the Persian Gulf, and from North Africa to the Caucasus. Understanding the realization of Osman's vision is essent..
'Both a saga of tragedies and a detective story... Pale Rider is not just an excavation but a reimagining of the past' Guardian
With a death toll of between 50 and 100 million people and a global reach, the Spanish flu of 1918–1920 was the greatest human disaster, not only of the twentieth century, but possibly in all of recorded history. And yet, in our popular conception it exists largely as a footnote to World War I.
In Pale Rider, Laura Spinney recounts the story of an overlooked pande..