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..
**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 abou..
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 se..
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 ..
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 ..
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..
'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 f..
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 ..
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 ..
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 trans..
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..
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 Refo..
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 ..
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 ..
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 disturbin..
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 sett..
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 ..
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 ..
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 wh..
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 ..
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..
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 o..
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 chang..
A riveting, comprehensive history of the Arab peoples and tribes that explores the role of language as a cultural touchstoneThis kaleidoscopic book covers almost 3,000 years of Arab history and shines a light on the footloose Arab peoples and tribes who conquered lands and disseminated their language and culture over vast distances. Tracing this process to the origins of the Arabic language, rathe..
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 th..
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 bloodle..
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..
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 cl..
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 ..
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 re..
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 ear..
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 ..
‘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 ..
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 ..
'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 Carli..
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 th..
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 I..
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 fath..
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..
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 col..
*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 ..
'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 musi..
'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...
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 cruci..
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 ce..
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 catastr..