China's Great Wall north of Beijing is one of the world's most famous sights. Millions every year climb the line of stone snaking over mountains. We all feel we know the Wall. But we are wrong. It is too big, too varied, too complex to be captured by a few images or a day-trip.
Myths surround it. Many believe that the stone barrier marches across all China, that it has been in existence for over 2,000 years, and that it is the only man-made structure visible from the Moon. In fact, most of it..
Robert Fisk’s bestselling eyewitness account of the events that have shaped the Middle East is alive with vivid reporting and incisive historical analysis.
The history of the Middle East is an epic story of tragedy, betrayal and world-shaking events. It is a story that Robert Fisk has been reporting for over thirty years. His masterful narrative spans the most volatile regions of the Middle East, chronicling with both rage and compassion the death by deceit of tens of thousands of Muslims, Ch..
The Great War was the first truly global conflict, and it changed the course of world history
In this magnum opus, critically-acclaimed historian Peter Hart examines the conflict in every arena around the world, in a history that combines cutting edge scholarship with vivid and unfamiliar eyewitness accounts, from kings and generals, and ordinary soldiers. He focuses in particular on explaining how technology and tactics developed during the conflict - and determines which battles were crucia..
Charles Darwin's masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, shook society to its core on publication in 1859. Darwin was only too aware of the storm his theory of evolution would provoke but he would surely have raised an incredulous eyebrow at the controversy still raging a century and a half later. Evolution is accepted as scientific fact by all reputable scientists and indeed theologians, yet millions of people continue to question its veracity.
In The Greatest Show on Earth Richard Dawkins ta..
'The best history of Greece around... Beautifully written and packed with insights about the culture and the people. I will be dipping into this book for the rest of my life' Victoria Hislop
We think we know ancient Greece, the civilisation that shares the same name and gave us just about everything that defines 'western' culture today, in the arts, sciences, social sciences and politics. Yet, as Greece has been brought under repeated scrutiny during the financial crises that have convulsed the..
*The definitive and comprehensive edition of Robert Graves's classic retelling of the Greek myths*
'Icarus disobeyed his father's instructions and began soaring towards the sun, rejoiced by the lift of his great sweeping wings. Presently, when Daedalus looked over his shoulder, he could no longer see Icarus; but scattered feathers floated on the waves below...'
These are the greatest stories ever told - the labours of Hercules, the voyage of the Argonauts, Theseus and the minotaur, Midas a..
This landmark book uncovers for the first time in detail one of the greatest horrors of the twentieth century: the vast system of Soviet camps that were responsible for the deaths of countless millions.
Gulag is the only major history in any language to draw together the mass of memoirs and writings on the Soviet camps that have been published in Russia and the West. Using these, as well as her own original research in NKVD archives and interviews with survivors, Anne Applebaum has written a ..
The book that immerses the Cold War in the warm bath of nostalgia.
Q: Why, despite all the shortages, was the toilet paper in East Germany always 2-ply?
A: Because they had to send a copy of everything they did to Moscow.
Communist jokes are the strangest, funniest, most enchanting and meaningful legacy of the 80 years of political experimentation in Russia and Eastern Europe, known as Communism. The valiant and sardonic citizens of the former Communist countries - surrounded by an invisi..
Despite its reputation for religious intolerance, the Middle East has long sheltered many distinctive and strange faiths: one regards the Greek prophets as incarnations of God, another reveres Lucifer in the form of a peacock, and yet another believes that their followers are reincarnated beings who have existed in various forms for thousands of years. These religions represent the last vestiges of the magnificent civilizations in ancient history: Persia, Babylon, Egypt in the time of the Pharao..
We think the way we do because Socrates thought the way he did. His aphorism 'The unexamined life is not worth living' may have originated twenty-five centuries ago, but it is a founding principle of modern life. For seventy years Socrates was a vigorous citizen of Golden Age Athens, philosophising in the squares and public arenas rather than in the courts of kings, before his beloved city turned on him, condemning him to death by poison. Socrates lived in and contributed to a city that nurtured..
These are the stories of women, famous, infamous and unknown, who shaped the course of medieval history. The lives and actions of medieval women were restricted by the men who ruled the homes, countries and world they lived in. It was men who fought wars, made laws and dictated religious doctrine. It was men who were taught to read, trained to rule and expected to fight. Today, it is easy to think that all women from this era were downtrodden and obedient housewives, whose sole purpose was to gi..
With the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815, the next two centuries for France would be tumultuous.
Bestselling historian and political commentator Jonathan Fenby provides an expert and riveting journey through this period as he recounts and analyses the extraordinary sequence of events of this period from the end of the First Revolution through two others, a return of Empire, three catastrophic wars with Germany, periods of stability and hope interspersed wit..
The greatest history of an event I know' (C.L.R. James).
Regarded by many as among the most powerful works of history ever written, The History of the Russian Revolution offers an unparalleled account of one of the most pivotal and hotly debated events in world history. This book presents, from the perspective of one of its central actors, the profound liberating character of the early Russian Revolution.
Originally published in three parts, Trotsky's masterpiece is collected here in a sin..
The fifteenth century saw the crown of England change hands seven times as the great families of England fought to the death for power, majesty and the right to rule. The Hollow Crown completes Dan Jones' epic history of medieval England, and describes how the Plantagenets tore themselves apart to be finally replaced by the Tudors.
Some of the greatest heroes and villains in British history were thrown together in these turbulent times: Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt and pruden..
THE SUNDAY TIMES AND ECONOMIST BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016.
'A definitive study of the amorphous state that lasted a thousand years ...The Holy Roman Empire deserves to be hailed as a magnum opus' (Tom Holland, Daily Telegraph). 'Engrossing ...staggering ...a book that is relevant to our own times' (The Times). 'Masterly ...If, like most people, you know little more about the Holy Roman Empire other than Voltaire's bon mot - "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire" - then this is the book for you'..
Chris Stringer's Homo Britannicus is the epic history of life in Britain, from man's very first footsteps through to the present day.
When did the first people arrive here? What did they look like? How did they survive? Who were the Neanderthals?
Chris Stringer takes us back to when it was so tropical we lived here alongside hippos, elephants and sabre-toothed tigers or to times so cold we hunted reindeer and mammoth, and to others even colder when we were forced to flee a wall of ice. Her..
Hopes and Prospects is Noam Chomsky's indispensable analysis of the world at present and a roadmap for the future. In Hopes and Prospects, Noam Chomsky examines the challenges of our early twenty-first century. He explores obstacles and threats such as the widening gap between North and South America, US exceptionalism (which continues under Obama), the fiascos of Iraq and Afghanistan, the US-Israeli assault on Gaza and the recent financial bailouts. He sees hope for the future and opportunities..
Readers can discover all the foul facts about the Twentieth Century, including who shocked the world by showing her knickers, how two monkey's and a dog became astronauts and why a posh London restaurant served stewed cat. With a bold, accessible new look and a heap of extra-horrible bits, these bestselling titles are sure..
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE, THE PUSHKIN HOUSE RUSSIAN BOOK PRIZE and THE LONGMAN HISTORY TODAY PRIZE 2017, THE TIMES, BBC HISTORY and TLS BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2016. 'Masterful, gripping ...filled with astonishing, vivid and heartbreaking stories of crime and punishment, of redemption, love and terrifying violence. It has an amazing cast of despots, murderers, whores and heroes. It's a wonderful read' (Simon Sebag Montefiore).
It was known as 'the vast prison without a roof'. From ..
For centuries following the fall of Rome, Western Europe was backward and benighted, locked into the Dark Ages and barely able to tell the time of day. Arab culture, however, was thriving, and had become a powerhouse of intellectual exploration and discussion that dazzled the likes of British adventurer Adelard of Bath. The Arabs could measure the earth's circumference (a feat not matched in the West for eight hundred years); they discovered algebra; were adept at astronomy and navigation, devel..
The real Wolf Hall - a time traveller's guide to daily life in Tudor England
The Tudor era encompasses some of the greatest changes in our history. But while we know about the historical dramas of the times - most notably in the court of Henry VIII - what was life really like for a commoner like you or me? The real Wolf Hall - a time traveller's guide to daily life in Tudor England
To answer this question, the renowned "method historian" and historical advisor to the BBC Ruth Goodman has s..
How to be a Victorian - a time traveller's guide to Victorian Britain by the BBC's Ruth Goodman
We know what life was like for Victoria and Albert. But what was it like for a commoner like you or me? How did it feel to cook with coal and wash with tea leaves? Drink beer for breakfast and clean your teeth with cuttlefish? Dress in whalebone and feed opium to the baby? Surviving everyday life came down to the gritty details, the small necessities and tricks of living
Drawing on Ruth's u..
'Wry, readable and often astonishing... A provocative and absorbing history of the United States' New York TimesThe United States denies having dreams of empire.We know America has spread its money, language and culture across the world, but we still think of it as a contained territory, framed by Canada above, Mexico below, and oceans either side. Nothing could be further from the truth.This is the story of the United States outside the United States – from nineteenth-century conquests like Ala..
'Superbly explained' Washington Post'Fascinating' Sunday Times'Engrossing' Evening StandardEvery phase since the advent of the industrial revolution - from the fate of the British Empire, to the global challenges from Germany, Japan and Russia, to America's emergence as a sole superpower, to the Arab Spring, to the long-term decline of economic growth that started with Japan and has now spread to Europe, to China's meteoric economy, to Brexit and the presidency of Donald Trump - can be explained..
‘F*cking brilliant’ Sarah Knight‘Very funny’ Mark Watson An exhilarating journey through the most creative and catastrophic f*ck ups in human history, from our very first ancestor falling out of that tree, to the most spectacular fails of the present day. In the seventy thousand years that modern human beings have walked this earth, we've come a long way. Art, science, culture, trade - on the evolutionary food chain, we're real winners. But, frankly, it's not exactly been plain sailing, and som..
'A wholly pleasing book, which offers a tasty side dish to anyone exploring the narrative history of the British Empire' Max Hastings, Sunday Times
WINNER OF THE GUILD OF FOOD WRITERS BOOK AWARD 2018
The glamorous daughter of an African chief shares a pineapple with a slave trader… Surveyors in British Columbia eat tinned Australian rabbit… Diamond prospectors in Guyana prepare an iguana curry…
In twenty meals The Hungry Empire tells the story of how the British created a global network..
In 2012, on the eve of Vladimir Putin's inauguration for a controversial third term as president, mass protests ended in violent clashes between demonstrators and the police. ‘They ruined my big day, now I'm going to ruin their lives,' Putin was alleged to have said. Now Boris Nemtsov is dead, other key opposition leaders are either in prison or under house arrest and the Kremlin is using the situation in Ukraine to further its domestic aims, encouraging the rise of violent pro-Pu..
Imperial Triumph presents the history of Rome at the height of its imperial power. Beginning with the reign of Hadrian in Rome and ending with the death of Julian the Apostate on campaign in Persia, it offers an intimate account of the twists and often deadly turns of imperial politics in which successive emperors rose and fell with sometimes bewildering rapidity. Yet, despite this volatility, the Romans were able to see off successive attacks by Parthians, Germans, Persians and Goths and to ext..
This edition of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" locates his writings within the broader cultural concerns of his day. Examining Wilde's aestheticism, his sexual politics, his socialist ideas, and his allegiances to Irish nationalism, this edition looks closely at the ways in which Wilde's best-known comedy managed both to challenge the ruling order and enjoy considerable contemporary success. By comparing Wilde's provocative views on art and life in his major essay "The Critic as..
Geert Mak spent the year 1999 criss-crossing the continent, tracing the history of Europe from Verdun to Berlin, St Petersburg to Auschwitz, Kiev to Srebrenica. He set off in search of evidence and witnesses, looking to define the condition of Europe at the verge of a new millennium. The result is mesmerising: Mak's rare double talent as a sharp-eyed journalist and a hugely imaginative historian makes In Europe a dazzling account of that journey, full of diaries, newspaper reports and memoirs, a..
What did it mean to be `civilized' in Early Modern England? Keith Thomas's seminal studies Religion and the Decline of Magic, Man and the Natural World, and The Ends of Life, explored the beliefs, values and social practices of the years between 1500 and 1800. In Pursuit of Civility continues this quest by examining what the English people thought it meant to be `civilized' and how that condition differed from being `barbarous' or `savage' . Thomas shows how the upper ranks of society sought to ..
The five centuries between the end of Roman Britain (410) and the death of Alfred the Great (899) have left few voices save a handful of chroniclers, but Britain's 'Dark Ages' can still be explored through their material remnants: buildings, books, metalwork, and, above all, landscapes.
Max Adams explores Britain's lost early medieval past by walking its paths and exploring its lasting imprint on valley, hill and field. From York to Whitby, from London to Sutton Hoo, from Edinburgh to Anglese..
As the dust settled after World War II, America controlled half the world s manufacturing capacity. By the end of the Cold War it possessed nearly half the planet s military forces, spread across eight hundred bases, and much of its wealth. Beyond what was on display, the United States had also built a formidable diplomatic and clandestine apparatus. Indeed, more than anything else, it is this secretive tier of global surveillance and covert operations that distinguishes the US from the great em..
'Remarkable ... this brilliant book stands as an important monument to an almost forgotten world' William Dalrymple, Spectator
A sweeping, magisterial new history of India from the middle ages to the arrival of the British
The Indian subcontinent might seem a self-contained world. Protected by vast mountains and seas, it has created its own religions, philosophies and social systems. And yet this ancient land experienced prolonged and intense interaction with the peoples and cultures of East a..
Rome is an empire with a bad reputation. From its brutal games to its depraved emperors, its violent mobs to its ruthless wars, its name resounds down the centuries like a scream in an alley. But was it as bad as all that? Join the historian Jerry Toner on a detective's hunt to discover the extent of Rome's crimes.
From the sexual peccadillos of Tiberius and Nero to the chances of getting burgled if you left your apartment unguarded (pretty high, especially if the walls were thin enough to knock..
"One of the most important voices in contemporary American journalism." (Independent). "Matt Taibbi is one of the few journalists in America who speaks truth to power." (Bernie Sanders). "Matt Taibbi is the best polemic journalist in America." (Felix Salmon).
"The thing is, when you actually think about it, it's not funny. Given what's at stake, it's more like the opposite, like the first sign of the collapse of the United States as a global superpower. Twenty years from now, when we're all l..
This is the story of the House of Osman, the imperial dynasty that ruled the Ottoman Empire for more than seven centuries, an empire that once stretched from central Europe to North Africa and from Persia to the Adriatic. The capital of this empire was Istanbul, ancient Byzantium, a city that stands astride Europe and Asia on the Bosphorus. And it was in the great palace of Topkapi Sarayi that the sultans of this empire ruled. Inside the Seraglio - a classic of Ottoman history - takes us behind ..
'It will change the way you remember the 20th century and read the news in the 21st' Steven Pinker
'A clarion call to preserve law and order across our planet' Philippe Sands
'A fascinating and important book ... given the state of the world, The Internationalists has come along at the right moment' Margaret MacMillan, Financial Times
Since the end of the Second World War, we have moved from an international system in which war was legal, and accepted as the ultimate arbiter of disputes..
WINNER OF THE ORWELL PRIZE 2016.
How did a country that liberated itself from seventy years of Soviet rule end up as one of the biggest threats to the West and, above all, to its own future? Why did the people who rejected Communist ideology come to accept state propaganda?
In this bold and important book, Arkady Ostrovsky takes the reader on an enthralling journey through Russia's tumultuous post-Soviet transformation and illuminates the key turning points that often took the world by sur..
Ming and Beata share neither the same language nor cultural background, yet their stories are remarkably similar. Both are single mothers in their thirties and both came to Britain in search of a new life: Ming from China and Beata from Poland. Neither imagined that their journey would end in a British brothel. In this chilling expose, investigative journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai works undercover as a housekeeper in a brothel and unveils the terrible reality of the British sex trade. Workers are trap..
Iran often appears in the media as a hostile and difficult country. But beneath the headlines there is a fascinating story of a nation of great intellectual variety and depth, and enormous cultural importance. A nation whose impact has been tremendous, not only on its neighbours in the Middle East but on the world as a whole - and through ideas and creativity rather than by the sword.
From the time of the prophet Zoroaster, to the powerful ancient Persian Empires, to the revolution of 1979, t..
At the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union unexpectedly found itself in control of a huge swathe of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to a completely new political and moral system: communism. In Iron Curtain, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete.
Winner of the Wolfson History Prize, Christopher Clark's Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1947 is a compelling account of a country that played a pivotal role in Europe's fortunes and fundamentally shaped our world. Prussia began as a medieval backwater, but transformed itself into a major European power and the force behind the creation of the German empire, until it was finally abolished by the Allies after the Second World War. With great flair and authority, Christopher Cl..
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2017
'An eye-opening, well-written and very timely book' Yuval Noah Harari
'The best sort of book for our disordered days: timely, urgent and illuminating' Pankaj Mishra
'It strikes a blow…for common humanity' Sunday Times
The Muslim world has often been accused of a failure to modernise and adapt. Yet in this sweeping narrative and provocative retelling of modern history, Christopher de Bellaigue charts the forgotten story of the Islami..
Islamic State stunned the world when it overran an area the size of Britain on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border in a matter of weeks and proclaimed the birth of a new Caliphate.
In this timely and important book, Abdel Bari Atwan draws on his unrivalled knowledge of the global jihadi movement and Middle Eastern geopolitics to reveal the origins and modus operandi of Islamic State. Based on extensive field research and exclusive interviews with IS insiders, Atwan outlines the group's leader..
The SUNDAY TIMES-bestselling biography of one of the world's greatest cities - Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul
Istanbul has always been a place where stories and histories collide and crackle, where the idea is as potent as the historical fact. From the Qu'ran to Shakespeare, this city with three names - Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul - resonates as an idea and a place, and overspills its boundaries - real and imagined. Standing as the gateway between the East and West, it has served..
Despite the 1989 global ivory trade ban, poaching and ivory smuggling have not abated. More than half of Tanzania's elephants have been killed for their ivory since 2007. A similarly alarming story can be told of the herds in northern Mozambique and across swathes of central Africa. But why the new upsurge? The popular narrative blames a meeting of two evils - criminal poaching and terrorism. But the answer is not that simple.Since ancient times, large-scale killing of elephants for their tusks ..
Horrific, horrendous, unspeakable, The Whitechapel Murderer, Jack the Ripper, stalked the streets of East London in 1888, slaughtering prostitutes and bewildering the police who were hunting him. They never succeeded in apprehending him, and to this day the mystery of his identity remains an enigma. But he did leave clues to his identity, and numerous theories have been entertained throughout the one hundred and twenty years since he held London's East End in his grip of terror. This book l..
The epic story of Jerusalem told through the lives of the men and women who created, ruled and inhabited it.
Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgement Day and the battlefield of today's clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of 3,000 years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism a..
The works of the Jewish writer Flavius Josephus represent one of the most important records of Judaism and the Jews that survive from the ancient world. The Jewish Antiquities, his largest historical enterprise, is an account in twenty books of Jewish history from the creation to the outbreak of the Jewish revolt against Rome in AD 66. Here is all the drama of the Old Testament transformed into a historical narrative of Greco-Roman character; and more important, our only continuous account of Mi..
Joan of Arc s life and death mark a turning point in the destiny both of France and England and the history of their monarchies. It is a great shame, wrote Étienne Pasquier in the late sixteenth century, for no one ever came to the help of France so opportunely and with such success as that girl, and never was the memory of a woman so torn to shreds.
Biographers have crossed swords furiously about her inspiration, each according to the personal conviction of the writer. As Moya Longstaffe point..