On 8 March 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen set sail from China. The ships, some nearly five hundred feet long, were under the command of Emperor Zhu Di's loyal eunuch admirals. Their mission was 'to proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas' and unite the world in Confucian harmony. Their journey would last for over two years and take them around the globe but by the time they returned home, China was beginning its long, se..
**FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE MILLION COPY BESTSELLER SAPIENS**Sapiens showed us where we came from. Homo Deus looked to the future. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century explores the present. In this new book, Harari helps us to grapple with a world that is increasingly hard to comprehend. How can we protect ourselves from nuclear war, ecological cataclysms and technological disruptions? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news? Which civilization dominates the world – the West, China, Islam? What c..
Walk a day in a Roman's sandals.
What was it like to live in one of the ancient world's most powerful and bustling cities - one that was eight times more densely populated than modern day New York? In this entertaining and enlightening guide, bestselling historian Philip Matyszak introduces us to 24 characters who lived and worked there. In each hour of the day we meet a new character - from a senator to a slave girl, a gladiator to an astrologer, watchmen to washerwomen - and discover the fasc..
Sail through these fifty 30-second legends to discover what Hercules did to deserve his twelve labours, why Odysseus took ten years to travel 500 miles, and how Narcissus found the love of his life. Full of gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters, story locations and the great storytellers, this book is the fastest way to get up to speed with the world of Greek and Roman mythology. So much modern culture traces its origins back to Greek and Roman mythology (witness 2010’s Clash of the Titans and..
Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries? These are just some of the questions considered in an internationally acclaimed masterpiece by one of the world's greatest thinkers. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time, from the Big Bang to black holes, via spiral galaxies and strong theory. To this dayA Brief Hist..
The 1400-year-old schism between Sunnis and Shi'is has rarely been as toxic as it is today, feeding wars and communal strife in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and many other countries, with tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran escalating.
In this richly layered and engrossing account, John McHugo reveals how this great divide occurred. Charting the story of Islam from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad to the present day, he describes the conflicts that raged over the succession ..
'An absolute godsend ... Goodman has done both Jews and non-Jews a great service with this book, encapsulating most of Jewish thought over four millennia into one extraordinarily readable volume' Julia Neuberger, Literary ReviewA panoramic history of Judaism from its origins to the presentJudaism is by some distance the oldest of the three Abrahamic religions. Despite the extraordinarily diverse forms it has taken, the Jewish people have believed themselves bound to God by the same covenant for ..
In a bestselling work of profound and lasting importance, the late Albert Hourani told the definitive history of the Arab peoples from the seventh century, when the new religion of Islam began to spread from the Arabian peninsula westwards, to the present day. It is a masterly distillation of a lifetime of scholarship and a unique insight into a perpetually troubled region. This updated edition by Malise Ruthven adds a substantial new chapter which includes recent events such as 9/11, the US inv..
The definitive history of the Middle East, now updated in its fifth edition'The best overall survey of the politics, regional rivalries and economics of the contemporary Arab world' Washington PostOver the centuries the Middle East has confounded the dreams of conquerors and peacemakers alike. This now-classic book follows the historic struggles of the region over the last two hundred years, from Napoleon's assault on Egypt, through the slow decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire, to the painful..
Jenni Murray gives the lie to Thomas Carlyle s infamous declaration that the history of the world is but the biography of great men. Women have played just as great a role in the story of humankind, only for their own tales to be marginalised, censored and forgotten. Their names should be shouted from the rooftops.Marie Curie discovered radium and revolutionised medical science. Empress Cixi transformed China. Frida Kahlo turned an unflinching eye on life and death. In A History of the World in ..
In 1935, with a doctorate in art history and no prospect of a job, the 26-year-old Ernst Gombrich was invited to attempt a history of the world for younger readers. Amazingly, he completed the task in an intense six weeks, and Eine kurze Weltgeschichte für junge Leser was published in Vienna to immediate success, and is now available in twenty-five languages across the world. Toward the end of his long life, Gombrich embarked upon a revision and, at last, an English translation. A Little History..
The first short narrative history of the continent, from the author of the bestselling A Short History of EnglandEurope is an astonishingly successful place. In this dazzling new history, bestselling author Simon Jenkins grippingly tells the story of its evolution from warring peoples to peace, wealth and freedom - a story that twists and turns from Greece and Rome, through the Dark Ages, the Reformation and the French Revolution, to the Second World War and up to the present day.Jenkins takes i..
A groundbreaking reexamination of the Holocaust and of how Germans understood their genocidal project Why exactly did the Nazis burn the Hebrew Bible everywhere in Germany on November 9, 1938? The perplexing event has not been adequately accounted for by historians in their large-scale assessments of how and why the Holocaust occurred. In this gripping new analysis, Alon Confino draws on an array of archives across three continents to propose a penetrating new assessment of one of the central mo..
Tamerlane, the Ottomans, the Mughals, the Manchus, the British, the Soviets, the Japanese and the Nazis.All built empires they hoped would last forever: all were destined to fail. But, as John Darwin shows in his magnificent book, their empire building created the world we know today.From the death of Tamerlane in 1405, last of the ‘world conquerors’, to the rise and fall of European empires, and from America’s growing colonial presence to the resurgence of India and China as global economic pow..
In this unique, panoramic account of faded dreams, journalist John Feffer returns to Eastern Europe a quarter of a century after the fall of communism, to track down hundreds of people he spoke to in the initial atmosphere of optimism as the Iron Curtain fell – from politicians and scholars to trade unionists and grass roots activists.What he discovers makes for fascinating, if sometimes disturbing, reading. From the Polish scholar who left academia to become head of personnel at Ikea to the Hun..
An account of all the new and surprising evidence now available that contradicts the standard narrative for the beginnings of the earliest civilizations Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today's states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, pu..
Have you ever wondered why we can afford to buy far more clothes than our grandparents ever could ... but may be less likely to own a home in which to keep them all? Why your petrol bill can double in a matter of months, but it never falls as fast?Behind all of this lies economics.It's not always easy to grasp the complex forces that are shaping our lives. But by following a dollar on its journey around the globe, we can start to piece it all together.The dollar is the lifeblood of globalisation..
Lose yourself in the vast sewer networks that lie beneath the world s great cities past and present. Let detailed archival plans, maps and photographs guide you through these subterranean labyrinths previously accessible only to their builders, engineers and, perhaps, the odd rogue explorer. This execrable exploration traces the evolution of waste management from the ingenious infra-structures of the ancient world to the seeping cesspits and festering open sewers of the medieval period. It inves..
Fascism was the major political invention of the twentieth century and the source of much of its pain. How can we try to comprehend its allure and its horror? Is it a philosophy, a movement, an aesthetic experience? What makes states and nations become fascist?Acclaimed historian Robert O. Paxton shows that in order to understand fascism we must look at it in action - at what it did, as much as what it said it was about. He explores its falsehoods and common threads; the social and political bas..
They gave us democracy, philosophy, poetry, rational science, the joke. They built the Parthenon and the Library of Alexandria. They wrote the timeless myths of Odysseus and Oedipus, and the histories of Leonidas' three hundred Spartans and Alexander the Great.
But who were the ancient Greeks? And what was it that enabled them to achieve so much? Here, Edith Hall gives us a revelatory way of viewing this geographically scattered people, visiting different communities at various key moments du..
Another Kyoto is an insider's meditation on the hidden wonders of Japan's most enigmatic city. Drawing on decades living in Kyoto, and on lore gleaned from artists, Zen monks and Shinto priests, Alex Kerr illuminates the simplest things - a temple gate, a wall, a sliding door - in a new way.
'A rich book of intimate proportions ... In Kyoto, facts and meaning are often hidden in plain sight. Kerr's gift is to make us stop and cast our eyes upward to a temple plaque, or to squint into the gloom ..
Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798 suddenly exposed the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire to a Europe vastly different from the one known to the Arabs of the Middle Ages. At the start of the nineteenth century, Arabs were totally unprepared for the social, economic, and political progress made in Europe. By 1870, however, their vague notions had evolved into a fairly sophisticated knowledge of the historic background and contemporary achievements of various European nations, and the new ref..
Following in the footsteps of great explorers such as Lawrence of Arabia and Wilfred Thesiger, Arabia is Levison Wood's account of his most complex expedition yet: circumnavigating the Arabian Peninsula. Travelling through some of the harshest and most beautiful environments on earth, he seeks to challenge our perceptions of an often misunderstood part of the world, seeing how the region has changed and examining the stories we don't often hear about in the media.
Levison Wood is a great adven..
The theft of high-profile works of art is not new and recurs on a fairly regular basis. In 1994 two important paintings by J.M.W. Turner (then valued at 24 million) were stolen from a public gallery in Frankfurt while on loan from the Tate in London. Sandy Nairne, who was then Director of Programmes at the Tate, became centrally involved in the pursuit of the pictures and in the negotiation for their return. In Art Theft and the Case of the Stolen Turners he relates for the first time this compl..
On the day that Paris fell to the Nazis, R. G. Waldeck was checking into the swankiest hotel in Bucharest, the Athene Palace. A cosmopolitan center during the war, the hotel was populated by Italian and German oilmen hoping to secure new business opportunities in Romania, international spies cloaked in fake identities, and Nazi officers whom Waldeck discovered to be intelligent but utterly bloodless. A German Jew and a reporter for Newsweek, Waldeck became a close observer of the Nazi invasion. ..
A history of the world's first democracy from its beginnings in Athens circa fifth century B.C. to its downfall 200 years later The first democracy, established in ancient Greece more than 2,500 years ago, has served as the foundation for every democratic system of government instituted down the centuries. In this lively history, author Thomas N. Mitchell tells the full and remarkable story of how a radical new political order was born out of the revolutionary movements that swept through the Gr..
At the end of the twentieth century people spoke as if the Balkans had plagued Europe for ever. But two hundred years earlier, the Balkans did not exist. It was not the Balkans but the 'Rumeli' that the Ottomans ruled, the formerly Roman lands they had conquered from Byzantium, together with their Christian inhabitants. In this original account of the region Mark Mazower dispels current Western clichés and replaces stereotypes with a vivid account of how mountains, empires and religions have sha..
In this celebrated, landmark history of the Balkans, Misha Glenny investigates the roots of the bloodshed, invasions and nationalist fervour that have come to define our understanding of the south-eastern edge of Europe. In doing so, he reveals that groups we think of as implacable enemies have, over the centuries, formed unlikely alliances, thereby disputing the idea that conflict in the Balkans is the ineluctable product of ancient grudges. And he exposes the often-catastrophic relationship be..
From the Vikings to the EU the Baltic has been a Nordic Mediterranean, a shared maritime zone with distinct patterns of trade, cultural exchange, and conflict. Covering a thousand years in a part of the globe where seas are more connective than land, Michael North s overview transforms the way we think about one of the world s great waterways.
"The book shines when the author writes about the region's cultural history, particularly in medieval times... North's book provides a valuable service ..
Does Islam as a religion oppress women? Is Islam against democracy? In this classic study, internationally renowned sociologist Fatema Mernissi argues that women's oppression is not due to Islam because this religion celebrates women's power. Women's oppression, she maintains, is due to political manipulation of religion by power-seeking, archaic Muslim male elites.
Mernissi explains that early Muslim scholars portrayed women as aggressive hunters who forced men, reduced to weak hunted victim..
Shortlisted for the Palestine Book Awards 2017A powerful, groundbreaking history of the Occupied Territories from one of Israel's most influential historiansFrom the author of the bestselling study of the 1948 War of Independence comes an incisive look at the Occupied Territories, picking up the story where The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine left off.In this comprehensive exploration of one of the world’s most prolonged and tragic conflicts, Pappe uses recently declassified archival material to a..
‘A litany of fresh heroes to make the embattled heart sing’ Caitlin Moran‘Newman is a brilliant writer’ ObserverA fresh, opinionated history of all the brilliant women you should have learned about in school but didn’t.For hundreds of years we have heard about the great men of history, but what about herstory?In this freewheeling history of modern Britain, Cathy Newman writes about the pioneering women who defied the odds to make careers for themselves and alter the course of modern history; wom..
From the renowned historian, biographer, and novelist A. N. Wilson comes a literary, historical, and deeply personal exploration of the Bible.
In The Book of the People, A. N. Wilson explores how readers and thinkers have approached the Bible, and how it may be read today. Charting his own relationship with the Bible over a lifetime of writing,
Wilson argues that it remains relevant, even in a largely secular society, as a philosophical treatise, a work of literature, and a cultural touchs..
'Anyone who wishes to understand why Brexit is so intractable should read this book. I can think of several MPs who ought to.' The TimesFor the past two decades, you could cross the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic half a dozen times without noticing or, indeed, turning off the road you were travelling. It cuts through fields, winds back-and-forth across roads, and wends from Carlingford Lough to Lough Foyle. It is frictionless - a feat sealed by the Good Friday Agreement. Before..
Shortlisted for the Jabuti Prize for the Best Brazilian Book Published Abroad'Engrossing ... eye-opening ... an enormously refreshing treat' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday TimesSince Europeans first reached Brazil in 1500 it has been an unfailing source of extraordinary fascination. More than any other part of the 'New World' it displayed both the greatest beauty and grandeur and witnessed scenes of the most terrible European ferocity. Its native people both revolutionized Europe's ideas of itself an..
A compelling new portrait of Marcus Brutus delves behind the ancient evidence to set aside the myths that surround the ancient world's most famous assassin Conspirator and assassin, philosopher and statesman, promoter of peace and commander in war, Marcus Brutus (ca. 85-42 BC) was a controversial and enigmatic man even to those who knew him. His leading role in the murder of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, 44 BC, immortalized his name forever, but the verdict on his act remains out to this d..
By the middle of the sixth century the Byzantine emperor ruled a mighty empire that straddled Europe, Asia and North Africa. Within 100 years, this powerful empire had been cut in half. Two centuries later the Byzantine empire was once again a power to be reckoned with, and soon recovered its position as the paramount East Mediterranean and Balkan power, whose fabulous wealth attracted Viking mercenaries and central Asian nomad warriors to its armies, whose very appearance on the field of battle..
The fascinating history of Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son Hernando, guardian of his father’s flame, courtier, bibliophile and catalogue supreme, whose travels took him to the heart of 16th-century Europe’ Honor Clerk, Spectator, Books of the YearThis is the scarcely believable – and wholly true – story of Christopher Columbus' bastard son Hernando, who sought to equal and surpass his father's achievements by creating a universal library. His father sailed across the ocean to explore the..
The extraordinary story of an obscure German princess who became one of the most powerful women in history.Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into empress of Russia by sheer determination. For thirty-four years, the government, foreign policy, cultural development and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution.Robert K. Massie br..
Cats were illustrated in medieval manuscripts throughout the Middle Ages, often in exquisite detail and frequently accompanied by their natural prey, mice. Medieval cats were viewed as treasured pets, as fearsome mousers, as canny characters in fables, as associates of the Devil and as magical creatures.
Featuring an array of fascinating illustrations from the British Library's rich medieval collection, Cats in Medieval Manuscripts includes anecdotes about cats - both real and imaginary - to p..
*WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2018*'As moving as it is painstakingly researched. . . a cracking read' Viv Groskop, ObserverOn 26 April 1986 at 1.23am a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. While the authorities scrambled to understand what was occurring, workers, engineers, firefighters and those living in the area were abandoned to their fate. The blast put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation, contaminating over half of Europ..
'Beguiling ... Limpidly written, effortlessly learned' William Boyd, TLS, Books of the YearIn November 1838 Frédéric Chopin, George Sand and her two children sailed to Majorca to escape the Parisian winter. They settled in an abandoned monastery at Valldemossa in the mountains above Palma, where Chopin finished what would eventually be recognised as one of the great and revolutionary works of musical Romanticism - his 24 Preludes. There was scarcely a decent piano on the island (these were still..
'This book will delight any historian. It's a superb gazetteer of 120 centres of ancient civilization' (Daily Telegraph)From Alexandria to York, this unique illustrated guide allows us to see the great centres of classical civilization afresh.The key feature of Cities of the Classical World is 120 specially drawn maps tracing each city's thoroughfares and defences, monuments and places of worship. Every map is to the same scale, allowing readers for the first time to appreciate visually the rela..
Drawing on a Gramscian theoretical perspective and developing a systematic comparative approach, The Civic Foundations of Fascism in Europe challenges the received Tocquevillian consensus on authoritarianism by arguing that fascist regimes, just like mass democracies, depended on well-organised, rather than weak and atomised, civil societies. In making this argument the book focuses on three crucial cases of interwar authoritarianism: Italy, Spain and Romania, selected because they are all count..
A seminal biography of the underappreciated eleventh-century Scandinavian warlord-turned-Anglo-Saxon monarch who united the English and Danish crowns to forge a North Sea empire Historian Timothy Bolton offers a fascinating reappraisal of one of the most misunderstood of the Anglo-Saxon kings: Cnut, the powerful Danish warlord who conquered England and created a North Sea empire in the eleventh century. This seminal biography draws from a wealth of written and archaeological sources to provide t..
A brilliantly arresting historical work, John Lewis Gaddis's The Cold War takes us as never before to the time when the world stood on the brink of destruction.In 1945 war came to an end. But a whole new terror was only just beginning...Here is the truth behind every spy thriller you've read: why America and the Soviet Union became locked in a deadly stalemate; how close we came to nuclear catastrophe; what was really going on in the minds of leaders from Stalin to Mao Zedong, Ronald Reagan to M..
The Colour of Time spans more than a hundred years of world history from the reign of Queen Victoria and the US Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and beginning of the Space Age. It charts the rise and fall of empires, the achievements of science, industry and the arts, the tragedies of war and the politics of peace, and the lives of men and women who made history.The book is a collaboration between a gifted Brazilian artist and a leading British historian. Marina Amaral has created 200 stunn..
Without an understanding of the Communist Party no one can understand the China in which the Party has dominated the country. This book follows the development of the Communist Party and of Marxism in China from the early years. For the years 1921-49, it relies mainly on revelations in the Communist press of the early 1980s, when Chinese historians of the Party were relatively free to write. In relation to the People's Republic, beginning in 1949, it summarises what was reported by the author in..
One of the common features of communist regimes is the use of art for revolutionary means. Posters in particular have served as beacons of propaganda - vehicles of coercion, instruction, censure and debate - in every communist nation. They have promoted the authority of state and revolution, but have also been used as an effective means of protest. By their nature posters are ephemeral, tied to time and place, but many have had far-reaching, long-lasting impact. They are imbued with both artisti..
As remarkable as Columbus and the conquistador expeditions, the history of Portuguese exploration is now almost forgotten. But Portugal's navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched the expedition of Vasco da Gama to India and beat the Spanish to the spice kingdoms of the East - then set about creating the first long-range maritime empire. In an astonishing blitz of thirty years, a handful of visionary and utterly ruthless empire builders, with few resources but breathtaking ambi..
In this updated edition of his acclaimed history, Marcus Tanner takes us from the first Croat principalities of the Early Middle Ages through to the country's independence in the modern era "Full of absorbing stories and important insights, Croatia deserves to be read."-Aleska Djilas, New York Times Book Review "A lucid, expert account of Croatia's past at the bloody crossroads of big-power ambitions-Turks, Austrians, Italians, Russians-leads smoothly into a riveting close-up view of the 1990s f..
The author takes us on an unexpected journey up the Danube, where we encounter a remarkable and unfamiliar world The magnificent Danube both cuts across and connects central Europe, flowing through and alongside ten countries: Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany. Travelling its full length from east to west, against the river's flow, Nick Thorpe embarks on an inspiring year-long journey that leads to a new perspective on Europe today. Tho..