The Spartan legend has inspired and captivated subsequent generations with evidence of its legacy found in both the Roman and British Empires. The Spartans are our ancestors, every bit as much as the Athenians. But while Athens promoted democracy, individualism, culture and society, their great rivals Sparta embodied militarism, totalitarianism, segregation and brutal repression. As ruthless as they were self-sacrificing, their devastatingly successful war rituals made the Spartans the ultimate ..
At the beginning of 1917, the three empires fighting on the Eastern Front were reaching their breaking points, but none was closer than Russia. After the February Revolution, Russia's ability to wage war faltered and her last desperate gamble, the Kerensky Offensive, saw the final collapse of her army. This helped trigger the Bolshevik Revolution and a crippling peace, but the Central Powers had no opportunity to exploit their gains and, a year later, both the German and Austro-Hungarian empires..
Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller
Shortlisted for a British Book Industry Book of the Year Award 2016
The new series Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit is on BBC2 now
Ancient Rome matters.
Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the Rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence ..
An indispensable literary companion that vividly evokes the life of St Petersburg in the voices of both residents and visitors through the centuries Featuring a vivid selection from biographies, novels, letters, poems, diaries and memoirs, this volume traces the story of St Petersburg from earliest times. Through these pieces, readers can observe the city's foundation by Peter the Great on the marshy shores of the Gulf of Finland; see how literature and the other arts flowered during the n..
'This extraordinary book brings to life an astonishing place. Beautiful prose renders brutality vivid' The Times - BOOK OF THE WEEK
From Peter the Great to Putin, this is the unforgettable story of St Petersburg – one of the most magical, menacing and influential cities in the world.
St Petersburg has always felt like an impossible metropolis, risen from the freezing mists and flooded marshland of the River Neva on the western edge of Russia. It was a new capital in an old countr..
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION
War-torn, unstable and virtually bankrupt, revolutionary Russia tried to light its way to the future with the fitful glow of science. It succeeded through terror, folly and crime – but also through courage, imagination and even genius. Stalin believed that science should serve the state and with many disciplines having virtually unlimited funds, by the time of his death in 1953, the Soviet Union boasted the largest and best-funded scien..
In January 1928 Stalin, the ruler of the largest country in the world, boarded a train bound for Siberia where he would embark upon the greatest gamble of his political life. He was about to begin uprooting and collectivization of agriculture and industry across the entire Soviet Union. Millions would die, and many more would suffer. Where did such great, monstrous power come from?
The first of three volumes, the product of a decade of intrepid research, this landmark book offers the most con..
A SUNDAY TIMES HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017
'A brilliant, compelling, propulsively written, magnificent tour de force' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard
'The second volume of what will surely rank as one of the greatest historical achievements of our age ... The War and Peace of history: a book you fear you will never finish, but just cannot put down' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
Well before 1929, Stalin had achieved dictatorial power over the Soviet empire, but now he decide..
'A learned, wise, wonderfully written single volume history of a civilisation that I knew I should know more about' Tom Holland
'Masterful and engrossing...well-paced, eminently readable and well-timed. A must-read for those who want – and need – to know about the China of yesterday, today and tomorrow' Peter Frankopan
China’s story is extraordinarily rich and dramatic. Now Michael Wood, one of the UK's pre-eminent historians, brings it all together in a major new one-volume history of C..
Ancient Egypt brought vividly to life by TV historian and one of the world's leading Egyptologists, Professor Joann Fletcher
The story of the world's greatest civilisation spans more than 4000 years of history that has shaped the world. It is full of spectacular sites and epic stories, an evolving society rich in heroes and villains, inventors and intellectuals, artisans and pioneers. Now Professor Joann Fletcher pulls together the complete Story of Egypt - charting the rise and fal..
The extraordinary story of the intermingled civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome, spanning more than six millennia from the late Bronze Age to the seventh century The magnificent civilization created by the ancient Greeks and Romans is the greatest legacy of the classical world. However, narratives about the "civilized" Greek and Roman empires resisting the barbarians at the gate are far from accurate. Tony Spawforth, an esteemed scholar, author, and media contributor, follows the thread of ..
We are going on a long mysterious journey to find out what we can about the Island of Ireland... The Story of Ireland begins 'After the Ice' and lasts 9000 years. It tells the story of the whole island and its people. The book's 27 chapters chronicle the big picture of invasions, wars, Christianity, famine and a divided island, mixed with tales of Celtic head hunters, mysterious stone tombs, the Vikings, the black death, life in castles, the Titanic tragedy, music, mobiles and computers. When it..
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE
SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 BY THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, MAIL ON SUNDAY AND OBSERVER
Belonging is a magnificent cultural history abundantly alive with energy, character and colour. From the Jews’ expulsion from Spain in 1492 it tells the stories not just of rabbis and philosophers but of a poetess in the ghetto of Venice; a boxer in Georgian England; a general in Ming China; an opera composer in nineteenth-century Germany. The story unfolds in K..
This classic guide to Istanbul by Hilary Summer-Boyd and John Freely - the 'best travel guide to Istanbul' ("The Times"), 'a guide book that reads like a novel' ("New York Times") - is here, for the first time since its original publication thirty-seven years ago, published in a completely revised and updated new edition. Taking the reader on foot through this captivating city - European City of Culture 2010 - the authors describe the historic monuments and sites of what was once Constantinople ..
The cultural heritage of the Ottoman Empire has traditionally been presented to us through its monuments and high arts. Our understanding of its culture has thus come from a world created by and for sultans, viziers and the elite of the Empire. But what of the world of the craftsmen and tradesmen who produced the monuments and artefacts? Or the townspeople who prayed in the mosques, drank water from the sebils or passed by the mausolea in the ordinary course of their lives? How did they live and..
THE USA TODAY BESTSELLER
‘As fast paced as a thriller’ Fred Burton, Stratfor Talks‘ Pen and Sword Podcast
‘Jacobsen here presents a tour de force exploring the CIA’s paramilitary activities…this excellent work feels like uncovering the tip of the iceberg …Highly recommended for those seeking a better understanding of American foreign policy in action’ Jacob Sherman, Library Journal
‘A behind-the-scenes look at the most shadowy corners of the American intelligence community…Well-sourced and we..
Want to know more about how the Normans changed Britain? Keen to find out more about the Black Death? Curious as to how the Native Americans lost their land? The answers to all these and more can be found in this encyclopedic volume, updated and revised with a brand new design following the success of the bestselling Tell Me series. Perfect for settling arguments and helping with school projects, Tell Me About History will satisfy even the most curious minds and provide in-depth, up-to-date info..
An order of warrior monks founded to protect pilgrims to Jerusalem, the Templars were among the wealthiest and most powerful bodies in the medieval world. Yet two centuries later, they were arrested, accused of blasphemy, heresy and orgies, and their leaders were burnt at the stake.
Part guide, part history, this book investigates the Templar legends and legacy - from the mysteries of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, via nineteenth century development of the Freemasons, through to Templar appea..
THE SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The Knights Templar were the wealthiest, most powerful – and most secretive – of the military orders that flourished in the crusading era. Their story – encompassing as it does the greatest international conflict of the Middle Ages, a network of international finance, a swift rise in wealth and influence followed by a bloody and humiliating fall – has left a comet's tail of mystery that continues to fascinate and inspire historians, novelists and..
The Terracotta Army is one of the greatest, and most famous, archaeological discoveries of all time. 6,000 life-size figures of warriors and horses were interred in the Mausoleum of the First Emperor of China - each is individually carved, and they are thought to represent real members of the emperor's army. This is the remarkable story of their creation, the man who ordered them made, their rediscovery and their continuing legacy as a pre-eminent symbol of Chinese greatness.
The First Empero..
"These Truths is a crucial work for presenting a fresh and clear-sighted narrative of the entire story, Columbus soup to Trump nuts, of what is at present a most terribly troubled nation." Simon Winchester, New StatesmanThe American experiment rests on three ideas-"these truths", Jefferson called them-political equality, natural rights and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, "on a dedication to inquiry, fearless and unflinching", writes Jill Lepore in a ground-breaking investigatio..
A SUNDAY TIMES, THE TIMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH, SPECTATOR, FINANCIAL TIMES, GUARDIAN, BBC HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR'This is the biography we have been awaiting for 400 years' Hilary Mantel 'A masterpiece' Dan Jones, Sunday TimesThomas Cromwell is one of the most famous - or notorious - figures in English history. Born in obscurity in Putney, he became a fixer for Cardinal Wolsey in the 1520s. After Wolsey's fall, Henry VIII promoted him to a series of ever greater offices, and by the end of the 1530s..
This is a comprehensively updated account of where China stands today, covering the generational change in the leadership completed in March 2013, the Bo Xilai scandal and the changing course of the world's second largest economy and the last major state ruled by a Communist Party. Named as a book of the year by the Guardian, the Financial Times and Bloombery Business Week, it lays out the reality behind the spectacular statistics and explains why China has to change if it is to maintain its dev..
The past is a foreign country: this is your guidebook.
If you could travel back in time, the period from 1660 to 1700 would make one of the most exciting destinations in history. It is the age of Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London; bawdy comedy and the libertine court of Charles II — the civil wars are over and a magnificent new era has begun.
But what would it really be like to live in Restoration Britain? Where would you stay and what would you eat? How much should you pay for one..
In To Explain the World, pre-eminent theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg offers a rich and irreverent history of science from a unique perspective - that of a scientist. Moving from ancient Miletus to medieval Baghdad to Oxford, and from the Museum of Alexandria to the Royal Society of London, he shows that the scientists of the past not only did not understand what we understand about the world - they did not understand what there is to understand. Yet eventually, through the struggle to solv..
Superb ... likely to become a classic' (Observer).
In the summer of 1914 most of Europe plunged into a war so catastrophic that it unhinged the continent's politics and beliefs in a way that took generations to recover from. The disaster terrified its survivors, shocked that a civilization that had blandly assumed itself to be a model for the rest of the world had collapsed into a chaotic savagery beyond any comparison. In 1939 Europeans would initiate a second conflict that managed to be eve..
'As much as anything, World War I turned on the fate of Ukraine'
The decision to go to war in 1914 had catastrophic consequences for Russia. The result was revolution, civil war and famine in 1917-20, followed by decades of communist rule. Dominic Lieven's powerful and original book, based on exhaustive and unprecedented study in Russian and many other foreign archives, explains why this suicidal decision was made and explores the world of the men who made it, thereby consigning their entire ..
In 1187, nearly a century after the victorious First Crusade, Saladin captured Jerusalem. The Templars, headquartered on the Temple Mount, were driven from the city along with the Frankish population.The fall of Jerusalem was a turning point, the start of a narrative of desperate struggle and relentless loss. In little more than a century Acre would be destroyed, the Franks driven from Outremer, and the Templars themselves, reviled and disgraced, would face their final immolation.
We might think we are through with the past, but the past isn't through with us. Tragedy permits us to come face to face with the things we don't want to know about ourselves, but which still make us who we are. It articulates the conflicts and contradictions that we need to address in order to better understand the world we live in.A work honed from a decade's teaching at the New School, where 'Critchley on Tragedy' is one of the most popular courses, Tragedy, the Greeks and Us is a compelling ..
This new, third edition of Bradt's Romania: Transylvania remains the only standalone English language guide to this legendary and enchanting region. Comprehensive chapter-per-county coverage is offered, including details to cater for the diverse range of travellers to the region, from city breaks to rural escapes, ski enthusiasts to charity volunteers. Thoroughly updated, this new edition reflects all the changes of the past few years, from improved transport infrastructure (in particular the re..
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
One of the Daily Telegraph’s Best Books of 2017
A Guardian ‘Readers’ Choice’ Best Book of 2017
Without the benefit of hindsight, how do you interpret what’s right in front of your eyes?
The events that took place in Germany between 1919 and 1945 were dramatic and terrible but there were also moments of confusion, of doubt – of hope. How easy was it to know what was actually going on, to grasp the essence of National Socialism, to remain untouched by the pr..
Robin Lane Fox's Travelling Heroes: Greeks and their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer proposes a new way of thinking about ancient Greeks, showing how real-life journeys shaped their mythical tales. The tales of the ancient Greeks have inspired us for thousands of years. But where did they originate?
Esteemed classicist Robin Lane Fox draws on a lifetime's knowledge of the ancient world, and on his own travels, to open up the age of Homer. His acclaimed history explores how the intrepid seafare..
Longlisted for the JQ Wingate Prize
On the evening of November 8, 1923, the thirty-four-year-old Adolf Hitler stormed into a beer hall in Munich, fired his pistol in the air, and proclaimed a revolution. Seventeen hours later, all that remained of his bold move was a trail of destruction. Hitler was on the run from the police. His career seemed to be over.
In The Trial of Adolf Hitler, the acclaimed historian David King tells the true story of the monumental criminal proceeding that follow..
Who was the historical Merlin? Merlin the Magician has remained an enthralling and curious individual since he was first introduced in the twelfth century though the pages of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae. But although the Merlin of literature and Arthurian myth is well known, Merlin the "historical" figure and his relation to medieval magic are less familiar. In this book Anne Lawrence-Mathers explores just who he was and what he has meant to Britain. The historical Merlin wa..
Born in London to a Turkish mother and British father, Alev Scott moved to Istanbul to discover what it means to be Turkish in a country going through rapid political and social change, with an extraordinary past still linked to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and an ever more surprising present under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
From the European buzz of modern-day Constantinople to the Arabic-speaking towns of the south-east, Turkish Awakening investigates mass migration, urbanisation and ..
The Islamic State movement (ISIS/ISIL/IS) burst onto the world stage in 2014. From its heartland in Syria, where it arose from the chaos of the Syrian Revolt, the organisation has expanded in ideology and membership and now poses a significant threat to the region, if not to the wider world.
Moubayed, a Beirut-based journalist who has been analysing Syria and the region for 20 years, has unrivalled access to the movement and its participants. His book is the first inside account of an organis..
Turkey stands at the crossroads of the Middle East--caught between the West and ISIS, Syria and Russia, and governed by an increasingly forceful leader. Acclaimed writer Kaya Genc has been covering his country for the past decade. In Under the Shadow he meets activists from both sides of Turkey's political divide: Gezi park protestors who fought tear gas and batons to transform their country's future, and supporters of Erdogan's conservative vision who are no less passionate in their activism. H..
Language is mankind's greatest invention - except of course, that it was never invented.'
So begins Guy Deutscher's fascinating investigation into the evolution of language. No one believes that the Roman Senate sat down one day to design the complex system that is Latin grammar, and few believe, these days, in the literal truth of the story of the Tower of Babel. But then how did there come to be so many languages, and of such elaborate design? If we started off with rudimentary utterances o..
In this engrossing retelling of Greek myth, Jean-Pierre Vernant combines his profound knowledge of the subject with brilliant and original story-telling. Beginning with the creation of Earth out of Chaos, Vernant continues with the castration of Uranus, the war between the Titans and the gods of Olympus, the wily ruses of Prometheus and Zeus, and the creation of Pandora, the first woman. His narrative takes us from the Trojan War to the voyage of Odysseus, from the story of Dionysus to the terri..
'An enthralling, elegantly written and, ultimately, profoundly alarming history' EconomistA bold new perspective on the history of South Asia, telling its story through its climate, and the long quest to tame its watersSouth Asia's history has been shaped by its waters. In Unruly Waters, historian Sunil Amrith reimagines this history through the stories of its rains, rivers, coasts, rivers and seas - and of the weather-watchers and engineers, mapmakers and farmers who have sought to control them..
Homosexuality is still taboo in the Arab world. While clerics denounce it as a heinous sin, newspapers, reluctant to address it directly, talk cryptically of 'shameful acts' and 'deviant behaviour'. Despite growing acceptance of sexual diversity in many parts of the world, attitudes in the Middle East have been hardening against it.
In this absorbing account, Guardian journalist Brian Whitaker paints a disturbing picture of people who live secretive, often fearful lives; of daughters and sons..
'A must read' - Margaret Atwood
'It would be hard to find a book that feels more important or original' - Viv Groskop, Observer
Extraordinary stories from Soviet women who fought in the Second World War - from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
"Why, having stood up for and held their own place in a once absolutely male world, have women not stood up for their history? Their words and feelings? A whole world is hidden from us. Their war remains unknown... I want to write the hi..
'A riveting and illuminating tour of how nations deal with crises - which might hopefully help humanity as a whole deal with our present global crisis' YUVAL NOAH HARARI, author of SAPIENS
** NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
Author of the landmark international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond has transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, at a time when crises are erupting around the world, heexplores what makes certain nations resili..
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
'Listen out for Rutger Bregman. He has a big future shaping the future' Observer
'The Dutch wunderkind of new ideas' Guardian
In Utopia for Realists, Rutger Bregman shows that we can construct a society with visionary ideas that are, in fact, wholly implementable. Every milestone of civilisation – from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy – was once considered a utopian fantasy. New utopian ideas such as universal basic in..
From Norman Davies, the acclaimed author of Europe: A History, comes the magical history of Europe's lost realms, selected as a Book of the Year by the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, Independent, Guardian and Financial Times.
Europe's history is littered with kingdoms, duchies, empires and republics which have now disappeared but which were once fixtures on the map of their age. What happened to the once-great Mediterranean 'Empire of Aragon'? Where did the half-forgotten kingd..
In 1869, some seven hundred Catholic bishops traveled to Rome to participate in the first church-wide council in three hundred years. The French Revolution had shaken the foundations of the church. Pope Pius IX was determined to set things right through a declaration by the council that the pope was infallible. John W. O'Malley brings to life the bitter, schism-threatening conflicts that erupted at Vatican I. The pope's zeal in pressing for infallibility raised questions about the legitimacy of ..
Now a major motion picture starring Dame Judi Dench, Ali Fazal and Eddie Izzard, directed by Stephen Frears
'A tale of Empire and intrigue brought vividly back to life' - VIKAS SWARUP, author of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE
Tall, handsome Abdul Karim was just twenty-four years old when he arrived in England from Agra to wait at tables during Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. An assistant clerk at Agra Central Jail, he suddenly found himself a personal attendant to the Empress of India herself. ..
SHORTLISTED FOR THE DUFF COOPER PRIZE 2018
'This is stupendous. The British nineteenth century, in all its complexity, all its horror, all its energy, all its hopes is laid bare. This is the definitive history, and will remain so for generations' A.N. Wilson
To live in nineteenth-century Britain was to experience an astonishing series of changes, of a kind for which there was simply no precedent in the human experience. There were revolutions in transport, communication, work; cities grew ..
The Vikings famously took no prisoners, relished cruel retribution, and prided themselves on their blood-thirsty skills as warriors. But their prowess in battle is only a small part of their story, which stretches from their Scandinavian origins to America in the west and as far as Baghdad in the east. As the Vikings did not write their history, we have to discover it for ourselves, and that discovery, as Neil Oliver reveals, tells an extraordinary story of a people who, from the brink of destru..
A UNIQUE INSIGHT INTO THE WORLD'S MOST MYSTERIOUS MANUSCRIPT
Since its creation in the first half of the 15th century, The Voynich Manuscript has fascinated and obsessed students of the esoteric, of magic and of alchemy, yet to date no one has managed to crack its code. It truly is one of a kind: the only book in existence that has been written in its particular language and alphabet - a language that no one can read.
This magnificent edition presents stunning f..
The beginning of the twentieth century saw human civilization at its most enlightened, well-educated, globalized and wealthy. What turned it into a bloodbath?
Niall Ferguson re-tells the story of history's most savage century as a continual war that raged for 100 years. From the plains of Poland to the killing fields of Cambodia, he reveals how economic boom-and-bust, decaying empires and, above all, poisonous ideas of race led men to treat each other as aliens. It was an age of hatred that e..
The war on heresy obsessed medieval Europe in the centuries after the first millennium. R. I. Moore's vivid narrative focuses on the motives and anxieties of those who declared and conducted the war: what were the beliefs and practices they saw as heretical? How might such beliefs have arisen? And why were they such a threat? In western Europe at AD 1000 heresy had barely been heard of. Yet within a few generations accusations had become commonplace and institutions were being set up to identify..