The key to understanding the Arab world today is unlocking its past. In this authoritative account, John McHugo takes the reader through the political, social and intellectual history of the Arabs from the Roman Empire right up to the present day. Going beyond the headlines, he describes in vivid detail a series of key turning points in Arab history - from the mission of the Prophet Muhammad and the expansion of Islam to the region's interaction with Western ideas and the rise of Islamism.
Winner of the Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding 2019Shortlisted for the Cundill History Prize and the Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award'Astonishing, staggering' Ben Okri, Daily TelegraphA groundbreaking new history that will transform our view of West AfricaBy the time of the 'Scramble for Africa' in the late nineteenth century, Africa had already been globally connected for many centuries. Its gold had fuelled the economies of Europe and Islamic world since around 1000, and its..
Continues Neil's landmark exploration of how our land and its people came to be, which began with the acclaimed A HISTORY OF SCOTLAND.
Who were the first Britons, and what sort of world did they occupy? In A HISTORY OF ANCIENT BRITAIN Neil Oliver turns a spotlight on the very beginnings of the story of Britain; on the first people to occupy these islands and their battle for survival. There has been human habitation in Britain, regularly interrupted by Ice Ages, for the best part of a million..
The extraordinary history of Ancient Egyptian civilization - from its earliest origins to the creation of its greatest monument - from specialist John Romer. This exceptional book draws on a lifetime of research and thought to recreate the previously untold story of how a civilization which began with handfuls of semi-itinerant fishermen settled, spread and created a rich, vivid, strange civilization that had its first culmination in the pharaoh Khufu building the Great Pyramid. The book immerse..
Christianity, one of the world's great religions, has had an incalculable impact on human history. This book, now the most comprehensive and up to date single volume work in English, describes not only the main ideas and personalities of Christian history, its organisation and spirituality, but how it has changed politics, sex, and human society.
Diarmaid MacCulloch ranges from Palestine in the first century to India in the third, from Damascus to China in the seventh century and from San Fra..
A History of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr confronts head-on the victory of shopping over politics. It tells the story of how the great political visions of New Jerusalem or a second Elizabethan Age, rival idealisms, came to be defeated by a culture of consumerism, celebrity and self-gratification. In each decade, political leaders think they know what they are doing, but find themselves confounded. Every time, the British people turn out to be stroppier and harder to herd than predicted.
WINNER OF THE 2019 DUFF COOPER PRIZE
A SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
'With emotional and psychological insight, Barton unlocks this sleeping giant of our culture. In the process, he has produced a masterpiece.' Sunday Times
The Bible is the central book of Western culture. For the two faiths which hold it sacred, it is the bedrock of their religion, a singular authority on what to believe and how to live. For non-believers too, it has a commanding status: it is one of the great works of world litera..
In 1916, in the middle of the First World War, two men secretly agreed to divide the Middle East between them. Sir Mark Sykes was a visionary politician; François Georges-Picot a diplomat with a grudge. The deal they struck, which was designed to relieve tensions that threatened to engulf the Entente Cordiale, drew a line in the sand from the Mediterranean to the Persian frontier. Territory north of that stark line would go to France; land south of it, to Britain. Against the odds their pact sur..
With a language disappearing every two weeks and neologisms springing up almost daily, an understanding of the origins and currency of language has never seemed more relevant. In this charming volume, a narrative history written explicitly for a young audience, expert linguist David Crystal proves why the story of language deserves retelling.From the first words of an infant to the peculiar modern dialect of text messaging, A Little Book of Language ranges widely, revealing language's myriad int..
A spirited volume on the great adventures of science throughout history, for curious readers of all ages Science is fantastic. It tells us about the infinite reaches of space, the tiniest living organism, the human body, the history of Earth. People have always been doing science because they have always wanted to make sense of the world and harness its power. From ancient Greek philosophers through Einstein and Watson and Crick to the computer-assisted scientists of today, men and women have wo..
This stimulating history of early Christianity revisits the extraordinary birth of a world religion and gives a new slant on a familiar story The relevance of Christianity is as hotly contested today as it has ever been. A New History of Early Christianity shows how our current debates are rooted in the many controversies surrounding the birth of the religion and the earliest attempts to resolve them. Charles Freeman's meticulous historical account of Christianity from its birth in Judaea in the..
A Short History of Byzantium is renowned historian, and author of A History of Venice, John Julius Norwich's classic history of Byzantium. Constantine the Great moved the seat of Roman power to Constantinople in AD 330 and for eleven brutal, bloody centuries, the Byzantine Empire became a beacon of grand magnificence and depraved decadence . . .Here there are the centuries dominated by ferocious arguments over the nature of Christ and his Church. By knowledge, where scholars and scribes preserve..
From the invaders of the dark ages to the aftermath of the coalition, one of Britain's most respected journalists, Simon Jenkins, weaves together a strong narrative with all the most important and interesting dates in a book that characteristically is as stylish as it is authoritative.
A Short History of England sheds light on all the key individuals and events, bringing them together in an enlightening and engaging account of the country's birth, rise to global prominence and then partial ec..
What did people really believe in the Middle Ages? Much of our sense of the medieval period has come down to us from the writings of the learned: the abbots, priors, magnates, scholastic theologians and others who between them, and across Christendom, controlled the machinery of church and state. For G R Evans too much emphasis has been placed on a governing elite and too little on those - the great mass of the semi-literate and illiterate, and the emergent middle classes - who stood outside the..
As long as we have been human, we have been mythmakers. In A Short History of Myth, Karen Armstrong holds up the mirror of mythology to show us the history of ourselves, and embarks on a journey that begins at a Neanderthal graveside and ends buried in the heart of the modern novel.
Surprising, powerful and profound, A Short History of Myth examines the world's most ancient art form - the making and telling of stories - and why we still need it.
"Elegantly argued and consistently thought..
'Here lies our leader all cut down, the valiant man in the dust.' The elegiac words of the Battle of Maldon, an epic poem written to celebrate the bravery of an English army defeated by Viking raiders in 991, emerge from a diverse literature - including Beowulf and Bede's Ecclesiastical History - produced by the people known as the Anglo-Saxons: Germanic tribes who migrated to Britain from Lower Saxony and Denmark in the early fifth century CE. The era once known as the 'Dark Ages' was marked by..
The Byzantine Empire was one of the most impressive imperial adventures in history. It ruled much of Europe and Anatolia for a remarkable eleven hundred years. From Constantine I's establishment of Byzantium (renamed Constantinople) as his capital in 324 CE, until the fall of the city to the Ottomans in 1453, the Byzantine domain became a powerhouse of literature, art, theology, law and learning. Dionysios Stathakopoulos here tells a compelling story of military conquest, alliance and reversal, ..
The extraordinary creative energy of Renaissance Italy lies at the root of modern Western culture. In her elegant new introduction, Virginia Cox offers a fresh vision of this iconic moment in European cultural history, when between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries Italy led the world in painting, building, science and literature. Her book explores key artistic, literary and intellectual developments, but also histories of food and fashion, map-making, exploration and anatomy. Alongside tow..
The Phoenicians present a tantalizing face to the ancient historian. Latin sources suggest they once had an extensive literature of history, law, philosophy and religion; but all now is lost. Offering new insights based on recent archaeological discoveries in their heartland of modern-day Lebanon, Mark Woolmer presents a fresh appraisal of this fascinating, yet elusive, Semitic people. Discussing material culture, language and alphabet, religion (including sacred prostitution of women and boys t..
When, in October 1517, Martin Luther pinned his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg he shattered the foundations of western Christendom. The Reformation of doctrine and practice that followed Luther's seismic action, and protest against the sale of indulgences, fragmented the Church and overturned previously accepted certainties and priorities. But it did more, challenging the relationship between spiritual and secular authority, perceptions of the supernatural, th..
In 1917 revolutionary fervour swept through Russia, ending centuries of imperial rule and instigating political and social changes that would lead to the formation of the Soviet Union. Arising out of proletariat discontent with the Tsarist autocracy and Lenin's proclaimed version of a Marxist ideology, the revolutionary period saw a complete overhaul of Russian politics and society and led directly to the ensuing civil war. The Soviet Union eventually became the world's first communist state and..
"Masterful...An indispensable warning for our own time." -Samuel Moyn "Magisterial...Covers this dark history with insight and skill...A major intervention into our understanding of 20th-century Europe and the lessons we ought to take away from its history." -The Nation For much of the last century, Europe was haunted by a threat of its own imagining: Judeo-Bolshevism. The belief that Communism was a Jewish plot to destroy the nations of Europe took hold during the Russian Revolution and quickly..
Against Everything is a thought-provoking study and essential guide to the vicissitudes of everyday life under twenty-first-century capitalism. Mark Greif is one of the most exciting writers of his generation. In this invigorating collection, he challenges us to rethink the ordinary world and take life seriously - in short, to stay honest in dishonest times. In a series of coruscating set pieces he asks why we put ourselves through the pains of exercise, what our concerns about diet or sex does ..
The kind of vision the world needs right now...Pankaj Mishra shouldn't stop thinking' Christopher de Bellaigue, Financial Times
'This is the most astonishing, convincing, and disturbing book I've read in years' Joe Sacco
'Urgent, profound and extraordinarily timely' John Banville
How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world - from American 'shooters' and ISIS to Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across t..
Hobsbawm's brilliant history, beautifully repackaged as an Abacus History Great
The first and best, major treatment of the crucial years 1848-1875, a penetrating analysis of the rise of capitalism throught the world.
In the 1860s a new word entered the economic and political vocabulary of the world: 'capitalism'. The global triumph of capitalism is the major theme of history in the decades after 1848. It was the triumph of a society which believed that economic growth rests on competitive ..
Hobsbawm's classic history, repackaged as an Abacus History Great
The splendid finale to Eric Hobsbawm's study of the nineteenth century, THE AGE OF EMPIRE covers the area of Western Imperialism and examines the forces that swept the world to the outbreak of World War One- and shaped modern society.
Magnificent — The GUARDIAN
A superb achievment, incisive, illuminating and readable — Sunday TIMES
A superbly rich and erudite portrait of a society which was evolving rapidly under a avr..
The story of thirteen Empires, showing their key role in the foundation of today’s global civilizationEmpires evoke potent images: Stanley, Livingstone and the colonial gallery of great explorers; the Spanish Conquistador’s quest for gold and silver; and the Dutch heritage of trade in the East Indies. For over 500 years empires have been a feature of the political landscape and – a generation or more after the final collapse of most of the European Empires – the subject is still a major issue fo..
What happened to the European mind between 1605, when an audience watching Macbeth at the Globe might believe that regicide was such an aberration of the natural order that ghosts could burst from the ground, and 1649, when a large crowd, perhaps including some who had seen Macbeth forty-four years earlier, could stand and watch the execution of a king? Or consider the difference between a magus casting a star chart and the day in 1639, when Jonathan Horrock and William Crabtree watched the tran..
The closing months of 2008 saw the world's nations united in financial uncertainty. Amid endless reports of collapsing stock markets, failed banks, fiscal fraud and snowballing unemployment, THE AGE OF NOTHING offers a compelling insight into the demise of capitalism and the beginning of a new era. Peter Watson's scintillating thesis argues that the unprecedented credit crunch of 2008 was the result of a fundamental change in the fabric of society - one that became truly visible only as it reach..
The first volume of Hobsbawm's classic and universally acclaimed trilogy on the 19th century, beautifully repackaged as an Abacus History Great
Eric Hobsbawm traces with brilliant anlytical clarity the transformation brought about in evry sphere of European life by the Dual revolution - the 1789 French revolution and the Industrial Revolution that originated in Britain. This enthralling and original account highlights the significant sixty years when industrial capitalism established itself i..
Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and winner of the Royal Society Prize for Science Books, Richard Holmes’s dazzling portrait of the age of great scientific discovery is a groundbreaking achievement.
The book opens with Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook’s first Endeavour voyage, who stepped onto a Tahitian beach in 1769 fully expecting to have located Paradise. Back in Britain, the same Romantic revolution that had inspired Banks was spurring other great thinkers on to their own v..
The Reformation which engulfed England and Europe in the sixteenth century was one of the most highly-charged, bloody and transformative periods in their history, and has remained one of the most contested. In this dazzling book, Diarmaid MacCulloch explores a turbulent and endlessly fascinating era.
'A masterly take on the Reformation ... absorbing and compelling, full of insights' Linda Hogan, Irish Times
'One of our very best public historians ... as this collection triumphantly confirm..
The idea behind the alphabet - that language with all its wealth of meaning can be recorded with a few meaningless signs - is an extraordinary one. So extraordinary, in fact, that it has occurred only once in human history: in Egypt about 4000 years ago. Alpha Beta follows the emergence of the western alphabet as it evolved into its present form, contributing vital elements to our sense of identity along the way.
The Israelites used it to define their God, the Greeks to capture their myths, t..
Following his hugely popular account of the previous 2,000 years (which won Best Comedy History Book at the 1815 Congress of Vienna), John O'Farrell now comes bang up to date with a hilarious modern history asking 'How the hell did we end up here?'
All the major post-war landmarks are faithfully recorded. The sombre day in 1967 when Harold Wilson went on the television to announce that Britain was converting to flared trousers. The tragic split of Seventies rock superstars The Wombles after G..
What does it mean to be a hero? The ancient Greeks who gave us Achilles and Odysseus had a very different understanding of the term than we do today. Based on the legendary Harvard course that Gregory Nagy has taught for well over thirty years, The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours explores the roots of Western civilization and offers a masterclass in classical Greek literature. We meet the epic heroes of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, but Nagy also considers the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and ..
Graham Robb's new book will change the way you see European civilization. Inspired by a chance discovery, Robb became fascinated with the world of the Celts: their gods, their art, and, most of all, their sophisticated knowledge of science. His investigations gradually revealed something extaordinary: a lost map, of an empire constructed with precision and beauty across vast tracts of Europe. The map had been forgotten for almost two millennia and its implications were astonishing. Minutely rese..
Clear, concise yet wide-ranging, The Ancient World in Minutes is the quickest way to understand the great civilizations of the distant past.
From the first-ever cities of Sumeria and Babylon around 3500 BCE to the fall of Rome and the bloody demise of the Aztecs, here - in 200 mini-essays - are the critical leaders and wars; ideas and inventions; myths and religions; and art and architecture of the first 5000 years of recorded history.
Discover the spiritual, cultural, technological and ar..
At the time of Jesus's birth, the world was in ferment. Across Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia - societies rife with gods and messiahs, priests and warriors - the old certainties of family, village and tribe were being overturned. Religion was becoming the source of order and stability.
And Man Created God takes the reader on a dazzling journey across the empires of the ancient world to reveal how emperors and kings manipulated religion to consolidate their power. In Rome, Augu..
'A magnum opus, an accessible and genuinely global history ... This is a book for today and tomorrow' Financial Times
Capitalist enterprise has existed in some form since ancient times, but the globalization and dominance of capitalism as a system began in the 1860s when, in different forms and supported by different political forces, states all over the world developed their modern political frameworks: the unifications of Italy and Germany, the establishment of a republic in France, the elimi..
** Sunday Times Bestseller **
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL BOOK WRITING 2020
‘Astonishing’ ANTONY BEEVOR
‘One of the most promising young historians to enter our field for years’ MAX HASTINGS
On a wet afternoon in September 1938, Neville Chamberlain stepped off an aeroplane and announced that his visit to Hitler had averted the greatest crisis in recent memory. It was, he later assured the crowd in Downing Street, ‘peace for our time’. Less than a year later, Germany invaded..
A riveting, comprehensive history of the Arab peoples and tribes that explores the role of language as a cultural touchstone.This 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, rather than the advent of Islam, Tim Mackintosh-Smith begins his narrative more than a thousand years be..
Now fully updated to cover the Arab Spring, Eugene Rogan has written an authoritative new history of the Arabs in the modern world. Starting with the Ottoman conquests in the sixteenth century, this landmark book follows the story of the Arabs through the era of European imperialism and the Superpower rivalries of the Cold War, to the present age of unipolar American power. Drawing on the writings and eyewitness accounts of those who lived through the tumultuous years of Arab history, The Arabs ..
Despite dating from the 4th century BC, The Art of Rhetoric continues to be regarded by many as the single most important work on the art of persuasion. As democracy began emerging in 5th-century Athens, public speaking and debate became an increasingly important tool to garner influence in the assemblies, councils, and law courts of ancient Greece. In response to this, both politicians and ordinary citizens became desperate to learn greater skills in this area, as well as the philosophy behind ..
The two political classics in this book are the product of a time of intense turmoil in Chinese history. Dating from the Period of the Warring States (403-221 BC), they anticipate Machiavelli's The Prince by nearly 2000 years. The Art of War is the best known of a considerable body of Chinese works on the subject. It analyses the nature of war, and reveals how victory may be ensured. The Book of Lord Shang is a political treatise for the instruction of rulers. These texts are anything but armcha..
The name Attila the Hun has become a byword for barbarism, savagery and violence. His is a truly household name, but what do we really know about the man himself, his position in history and the world in which he lived? This riveting biography reveals the man behind the myth. In the years 434-454AD the fate of Europe hung upon the actions of one man, Attila, king of the Huns. The decaying Roman empire still stood astride the Western World, from its twin capitals of Rome and Constantinople, but i..
When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Hungarian Jew and a medical doctor, Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared from death for a grimmer fate: to perform "scientific research" on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the infamous "Angel of Death": Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele's personal research pathologist. Miraculously, he survived to give this terrifying and sobering account of the terror of Auschwitz. This new P..
At the terrible heart of the modern age lies Auschwitz. In a total inversion of earlier hopes about the use of science and technology to improve, extend and protect human life, Auschwitz manipulated the same systems to quite different ends. In Sybille Steinbacher's terse, powerful new book, the reader is led through the process by which something unthinkable to any European in the 1930s had become a sprawling, industrial reality during the course of the world war. How Auschwitz grew and mutated ..
In Babylon, Paul Kriwaczek tells the story of ancient Mesopotamia from the earliest settlements around 5400 BC, to the eclipse of Babylon by the Persians in the sixth century BC.
He chronicles the rise and fall of dynastic power during this period; he examines its numerous material, social and cultural innovations and inventions: the wheel, civil, engineering, building bricks, the centralized state, the division of labour, organised religion, sculpture, education, mathematics, law and monumen..
‘Mendelsohn takes the classical costumes off figures like Virgil and Sappho, Homer and Horace … He writes about things so clearly they come to feel like some of the most important things you have ever been told.’ Sebastian Barry
Over the past three decades, Daniel Mendelsohn’s essays and reviews have earned him a reputation as ‘our most irresistible literary critic’ (New York Times). This striking new collection exemplifies the way in which Mendelsohn – a classicist by training – uses the class..
A fresh new look at the Roman Empire, from the point of view of those regarded by the Romans as 'barbarians'. Kershaw builds a narrative around the lives, personalities, successes and failures both of the key opponents of Rome's rise and dominance, and of the those who ultimately brought the empire down.
'And now what will become of us without barbarians?
Those people were a sort of solution.'
'Waiting for the Barbarians'
C. P. Cavafy
History is written by the victors, and Rome had some very ..
How new is atheism?
In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean to recover the stories of those who first refused the divinities.
Long before the Enlightenment sowed the seeds of disbelief in a deeply Christian Europe, atheism was a matter of serious public debate in the Greek world. But history is written by those who prevail, and the Age of Faith mostly suppressed the lively free-thinking voices of antiquity.
Tim Whitmarsh brings to life the fascinating..
In this brilliant work, Amanda Vickery unlocks the homes of Georgian England to examine the lives of the people who lived there. Writing with her customary wit and verve, she introduces us to men and women from all walks of life: gentlewoman Anne Dormer in her stately Oxfordshire mansion, bachelor clerk and future novelist Anthony Trollope in his dreary London lodgings, genteel spinsters keeping up appearances in two rooms with yellow wallpaper, servants with only a locking box to call their own..