This ambitious volume, worldwide in scope and ranging from antiquity to the present, examines the human encounter with Unreason in all its manifestations, the challenges it poses to society and our responses to it. In twelve chapters organized chronologically from the Bible to Freud, from exorcism to mesmerism, from Bedlam to Victorian asylums, from the theory of humours to modern pharmacology, Andrew Scull writes compellingly about madness, its meanings, its consequences and our attempts to und..
A wave of internal conquest, settlement and economic growth took place in Europe during the High Middle Ages, which transformed it from a world of small separate communities into a network of powerful kingdoms with distinctive cultures. In this vivid and provocative book Robert Bartlett vividly shows how Europe was itself a product of colonization, as much as it was later a colonizer, and what this did to shape the continent and the world today...
In The Making of Modern Britain, Andrew Marr paints a fascinating portrait of life in Britain during the first half of the twentieth century as the country recovered from the grand wreckage of the British Empire.
Between the death of Queen Victoria and the end of the Second World War, the nation was shaken by war and peace. The two wars were the worst we had ever known and the episodes of peace among the most turbulent and surprising. As the political forum moved from Edwardian smoking rooms ..
Winner of the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2011
Between 1958 and 1962, 45 million Chinese people were worked, starved or beaten to death. Mao Zedong threw his country into a frenzy with the Great Leap Forward, an attempt to catch up with and overtake the Western world in less than fifteen years. It lead to one of the greatest catastrophes the world has ever known.
Dikotter's extraordinary research within Chinese archives brings together for the first time what happened in the corri..
‘A landmark work giving a global panorama of Mao's ideology filled with historic events and enlivened by striking characters’ Jonathan Fenby, author of The Penguin History of China
Since the 1980s, China seems to have abandoned the utopian turmoil of Mao’s revolution in favour of authoritarian capitalism. But Mao and his ideas remain central to the People’s Republic. With disagreements between China and the West on the rise, the need to understand the political legacy of Mao is urgent and growi..
'A lovely debut from a gifted young author. Violet Moller brings to life the ways in which knowledge reached us from antiquity to the present day in a book that is as delightful as it is readable.' Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk RoadsIn The Map of Knowledge Violet Moller traces the journey taken by the ideas of three of the greatest scientists of antiquity – Euclid, Galen and Ptolemy – through seven cities and over a thousand years. In it, we follow them from sixth-century Alexandria to nin..
From bestselling historians Frances and Joseph Gies, authors of the classic "Medieval Life" series, comes this compelling, lucid, and highly readable account of the family unit as it evolved throughout the Medieval period--reissued for the first time in decades."Some particular books that I found useful for Game of Thrones and its sequels deserve mention. Life in a Medieval Castle and Life in a Medieval City, both by Joseph and Frances Gies." --George R. R. Martin, author of Game of ThronesThrou..
On the night of 10 February 1567, an explosion devastated the Edinburgh residence of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. The noise was heard as far away as Holyrood Palace, where Queen Mary was attending a wedding masque. Those arriving at the scene of devastation found, in the garden, the naked corpses of Darnley and his valet. Neither had died in the explosion, but both bodies bore marks of strangulation. It was clear that they had been murdered and the house d..
The Medici are famous as the rulers of Florence at the high point of the Renaissance. Their power derived from the family bank, and this book tells the fascinating, frequently bloody story of the family and the dramatic development and collapse of their bank (from Cosimo who took it over in 1419 to his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent who presided over its precipitous decline). The Medici faced two apparently insuperable problems: how did a banker deal with the fact that the Church regarded inte..
A dazzling history of the modest family which rose to become one of the most powerful in Europe, The Medici is a remarkably modern story of power, money and ambition. Against the background of an age which saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning - of humanism which penetrated and explored the arts and sciences and the 'dark' knowledge of alchemy, astrology, and numerology - Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence, as well as the Ita..
WINNER OF THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE AND THE DUFF COOPER PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION
'Endlessly fascinating and enjoyable' Neil MacGregor
'A marvellous book' David Attenborough
'Full of delights' Tom Stoppard
An extraordinary exploration of the medieval world - the most beguiling history book of the year
This is a book about why medieval manuscripts matter. Coming face to face with an important illuminated manuscript in the original is like meeting a very famous person. We may all pretend th..
The authors trace the emergence of Ataturk and Reza Shah through the constitutional revolutions in Iran and the Ottoman Empire, which led to the introduction of European social models, the establishment of dictatorship and of secularist reforms. This produced in both Turkey and Iran highly authoritarian, nationalist, and quasi-westernised states, where the personality cult of the leader defined the politics of each country...
In 1958, after 14 years of military occupation, Khrushchev withdrew the USSR's troops from Romania as part of a political move intended to encourage the withdrawal of Western military forces from Europe. In analyzing this crucial historical episode, Sergiu Verona's study illustrates the dynamics of Soviet military presence in Romania and provides a framework for understanding Soviet security policy, then and now, as well as the interaction between Soviet military objectives and diplomacy. Drawin..
AN INDEPENDENT BEST BOOKS ON RELIGION 2014 PICK
Few things provoke controversy in the modern world like the religion brought by Prophet Muhammad. Modern media are replete with alarm over jihad, underage marriage and the threat of amputation or stoning under Shariah law. Sometimes rumor, sometimes based on fact and often misunderstood, the tenets of Islamic law and dogma were not set in the religion's founding moments. They were developed, like in other world religions, over centuries by the c..
Why do politicians send troops to foreign soil, to fight battles they rarely win? Is it old-fashioned imperialism tainted with a crusader complex? Or is the West a partisan for the helpless? The fall of the Soviet Union left the West aimless. With no conflicting dogma to reinforce its sense of justice the West assumed the role of global policeman - aid graduated from charitable to economic and, finally, military. Ideological struggle was replaced by a vague and confused concept of international ..
Now a major film starring George Cloooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balan, Jean Dujardin and Dimitri Leonidas. What if I told you that there was an epic story about World War II that has not been told, involving the most unlikely group of heroes? What if I told you there was a group of men on the front lines who didn't carry machine guns or drive tanks; a new kind of soldier, one charged with saving, not destroying. From caves to castles in a th..
An unprecedented portrait of Moses's inner world and perplexing character, by a distinguished biblical scholar No figure looms larger in Jewish culture than Moses, and few have stories more enigmatic. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, acclaimed for her many books on Jewish thought, turns her attention to Moses in this remarkably rich, evocative book. Drawing on a broad range of sources-literary as well as psychoanalytic, a wealth of classical Jewish texts alongside George Eliot, W. G. Sebald, and Werner..
A fresh treatment of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, revealing the close ties between Mussolini and Hitler and their regimes
From 1934 until 1944 Mussolini met Hitler numerous times, and the two developed a relationship that deeply affected both countries. While Germany is generally regarded as the senior power, Christian Goeschel demonstrates just how much history has underrepresented Mussolini’s influence on his German ally.
In this highly readable book, Goeschel, a scholar of twentieth-ce..
From the West African fable of Anansi the Spider, to Michabo, the magical hare who rebuilt the world and Tanuki, the sweet but troublesome racoon-dog of Japanese folklore, Mythopedia is an encyclopedia of mythical creatures that covers legends, tales and myths from around the world.
Lovingly created by the illustration duo behind popular flipbook Myth Match, Good Wives and Warriors, this book contains pages upon pages of cultural folklore from around the world.
Let these weird and wonderful cr..
The Greek Myths retold . . .
No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly or brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses.
In Stephen Fry's vivid retelling we gaze in wonder as wise Athena is born from the cracking open of the great head of Zeus and follow doomed Persephone into the dark and lonely realm of the Underworld. We shiver when Pandora opens her jar of evil torments and watch with joy as the legendary love affair between Eros and Psyche unfolds.
The world's great fables, sagas and legends dramatically retold. Myths are the greatest stories ever told. Passed down over millennia, they are the templates for all our stories, with their eternal themes of creation and destruction, fate and cunning, heroism and cruelty, sensuality and war.
Retold here are nearly 200 myths - from Prometheus defying Zeus to create man to the destruction of Troy; and from valiant battles against Frost Giants and Cyclopes to the heroic quests for the Golden Fle..
'When the last fire goes out, time too will be finished'
Italo Calvino was one of the most joyful and imaginative writers of the twentieth century. Here he muses on what the things we leave behind - whether waxworks or ancient graffiti, enigmatic maps or a crumbling Roman column - tell us about the greater truths of the world, space and time.
One of twenty new books in the bestselling Penguin Great Ideas series. This new selection showcases a diverse list of thinkers who have helped shape our..
From the award-winning author of The Whisperers, Orlando Figes' Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia is a dazzling history of Russia's mighty culture. Orlando Figes' enthralling, richly evocative history has been heralded as a literary masterpiece on Russia, the lives of those who have shaped its culture, and the enduring spirit of a people.
'Wonderfully rich ...magnificent and compelling ...a delight to read' (Antony Beevor). 'A tour de force by the great storyteller of modern Russi..
The Nature of the Nonprofit Sector is a collection of insightful and influential classic and recent readings on the existence, forms and functions of the nonprofit sector—the sector that sits between the market and government. The book encompasses everything from Andrew Carnegie’s turn-of-the-century philosophy of philanthropy to the most recent writings by current scholars and practitioners from a wide variety of perspectives and disciplines. Each part in the book opens with a framing essay by ..
'Europe where the sun dares scarce appearFor freezing meteors and congealed cold.' - Christopher MarloweIn this innovative and compelling work of environmental history, Philipp Blom chronicles the great climate crisis of the 1600s, a crisis that would transform the entire social and political fabric of Europe.While hints of a crisis appeared as early as the 1570s, by the end of the sixteenth century the temperature plummeted so drastically that Mediterranean harbours were covered with ice, birds..
A humbling, inspiring account of some of the real founders of modern day Special Forces soldiering' (Bear Grylls).
The Nazi Hunters is the incredible, hitherto untold story of the most secret chapter in the SAS's history. Officially, the world's most elite special forces unit was dissolved at the end of the Second World War, and not reactivated until the 1950s. Among their last actions was a disastrous commando raid into occupied France in 1944, which ended in the capture, torture and executi..
More than three thousand years ago a sculptor working in the royal city of Amarna carved a limestone bust of an Egyptian queen. The queen was Nefertiti, consort of the 'heretic pharaoh' Akhenaten. Plastered and painted, Nefertiti's bust depicted an extraordinarily beautiful woman. However, Akhenaten's reign was drawing to an end, and the royal family was soon to be written out of Egypt's official history. Not long after its creation the stone Nefertiti was locked in a storeroom and forgotten.In ..
Europe is facing a wave of migration unmatched since the end of World War II - and no one has reported on this crisis in more depth or breadth than the Guardian's migration correspondent, Patrick Kingsley. Throughout 2015, Kingsley travelled to 17 countries along the migrant trail, meeting hundreds of refugees making epic odysseys across deserts, seas and mountains to reach the holy grail of Europe. This is Kingsley's unparalleled account of who these voyagers are.
It's about why they keep co..
In The New Threat renowned expert and prize-winning reporter Jason Burke provides the clearest and most comprehensive guide to Islamic militancy today.
From Syria to Somalia, from Libya to Indonesia, from Yemen to the capitals of Europe, Islamic militancy appears stronger, more widespread and more threatening than ever. ISIS and other groups, such as Boko Haram, together command significant military power, rule millions and control extensive territories. Elsewhere Al-Qaeda remains potent and ..
The Northmen's Fury tells the Viking story, from the first pinprick raids of the eighth century to the great armies that left their Scandinavian homelands to conquer larger parts of France, Britain and Ireland. It recounts the epic voyages that took them across the Atlantic to the icy fjords of Greenland and to North America over four centuries before Columbus and east to the great rivers of Russia and the riches of the Byzantine empire.
One summer's day in 793, death arrived from the sea. Th..
The violent and predatory society of Dark Age Scandinavia left a unique impact on the history of medieval Europe. From their chill northern fastness, Norse warriors, explorers and merchants raided, traded, and settled across wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.
THE VIKING CHRONICLES narrates their story region by region, focusing on places where key events were played out, from the sack of Lindisfarne in 793 to the murder in Iceland in 1..
Acclaimed fantasy author China Miéville plunges us into the year the world was turned upside down
Named One of the Best Books of the Year by Publishers Weekly
On the centenary of the Russian Revolution, China Miéville tells the extraordinary story of this pivotal moment in history.
In February of 1917 Russia was a backwards, autocratic monarchy, mired in an unpopular war; by October, after not one but two revolutions, it had become the world’s first workers’ state, straining to be at th..
How could such a book speak so powerfully to our present moment? The short answer is that we, too, live in dark times' (Washington Post).
Hannah Arendt's chilling analysis of the conditions that led to the Nazi and Soviet totalitarian regimes is a warning from history about the fragility of freedom, exploring how propaganda, scapegoats, terror and political isolation all aided the slide towards total domination. 'A non-fiction bookend to Nineteen Eighty-Four' (The New York Times). 'The politi..
'A sweeping, brilliant overview of the history not only of our species but of the world ... Dartnell has a rare talent in being able to see the big picture – and explaining why it matters' PETER FRANKOPAN, author of The Silk RoadsWhen we talk about human history, we focus on great leaders, mass migration and decisive wars. But how has the Earth itself determined our destiny? How has our planet made us?As a species we are shaped by our environment. Geological forces drove our evolution in East Af..
The Ottoman chronicles recount that the first sultan, Osman, dreamt of the dynasty he would found - a tree, fully-formed, emerged from his navel, symbolising the vigour of his successors and the extent of their domains. This is the first book to tell the full story of the Ottoman dynasty that for six centuries held sway over territories stretching, at their greatest, from Hungary to the Persian Gulf, and from North Africa to the Caucasus. Understanding the realization of Osman's vision is essent..
'Both a saga of tragedies and a detective story... Pale Rider is not just an excavation but a reimagining of the past' Guardian
With a death toll of between 50 and 100 million people and a global reach, the Spanish flu of 1918–1920 was the greatest human disaster, not only of the twentieth century, but possibly in all of recorded history. And yet, in our popular conception it exists largely as a footnote to World War I.
In Pale Rider, Laura Spinney recounts the story of an overlooked pande..
This rich and magisterial work traces Palestine's millennia-old heritage, uncovering cultures and societies of astounding depth and complexity that stretch back to the very beginnings of recorded history.
Starting with the earliest references in Egyptian and Assyrian texts, Nur Masalha explores how Palestine and its Palestinian identity have evolved over thousands of years, from the Bronze Age to the present day. Drawing on a rich body of sources and the latest archaeological evidence, Masalha ..
Winner of the Norman B. Tomlinson, Jr. Prize "The best large-scale synthesis in any language of what we currently know and understand about this multidimensional, cataclysmic conflict." -Richard J. Evans, Times Literary Supplement In this monumental history of the First World War, Germany's leading historian of the period offers a dramatic account of its origins, course, and consequences. Joern Leonhard treats the clash of arms with a sure feel for grand strategy. He captures the slow attrition,..
'Funny, sharp explications of what these sometimes not-very-nice women were up to, and how they sometimes made idiots of . . . but read on!' – Margaret Atwood
The Greek myths are among the world's most important cultural building blocks and they have been retold many times, but rarely do they focus on the remarkable women at the heart of these ancient stories.
Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, from ..
Between January and July 1919, after the war to end all wars, men and women from all over the world converged on Paris for the Peace Conference. At its heart were the leaders of the three great powers - Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Clemenceau. Kings, prime ministers and foreign ministers with their crowds of advisers rubbed shoulders with journalists and lobbyists for a hundred causes - from Armenian independence to women's rights.
Everyone had business in Paris that year - T.E. Lawrence,..
Paul Kennedy's The Parliament of Man: The United Nations and the Quest for World Government is the extraordinary story of the UN - its creation, the threats it has faced, and the possibilities it holds for the future. Can the world be governed by agreement rather than conflict? In 1945 the world's most powerful nation states came together to 'save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and reaffirm faith in the fundamental human rights'. Over sixty years later, the United Nations still d..
The International Bestseller
‘Barney White-Spunner’s book stands out for its judicious and unsparing look at events from a British perspective.’ Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times Review
'This book is at its most powerful in its month-by-month narrative of how Partition tore apart northern and eastern India, with the new state of Pakistan carved out of communities who had lived together for the past millennium.' Zareer Masani BBC History Magazine
‘A highly readable account . . .’ Times Lit..
In Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science, Jim al-Khalili celebrates the forgotten pioneers who helped shape our understanding of the world.
For over 700 years the international language of science was Arabic. Surveying the golden age of Arabic science, Jim Al-Khalili reintroduces such figures as the Iraqi physicist Ibn al-Haytham, who practised the modern scientific method over half a century before Bacon; al-Khwarizmi, the greatest mathematician of the medieval world; and Abu Rayhan ..
The Pax Romana is famous for having provided a remarkable period of peace and stability, rarely seen before or since. Yet the Romans were first and foremost conquerors, imperialists who took by force a vast empire stretching from the Euphrates in the east to the Atlantic coast in the west. Their peace meant Roman victory and was brought about by strength and dominance rather than co-existence with neighbours.
The Romans were aggressive and ruthless, and during the creation of their empire mil..
From the Sunday Times bestselling author, Carl Chinn
The Peaky Blinders as we know them, thanks to the hit TV series, are infused with drama and dread. Fashionably dressed, the charismatic but deeply flawed Shelby family have become cult anti-heroes.
Well-known social historian, broadcaster and author, Carl Chinn, revealed the true story of the notorious gang in his bestselling Peaky Blinders: The Real Story and now in this follow-up book, he explores the legacy they created in Birmingham and ..
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERThe Peaky Blinders as we know them, thanks to the hit TV series, are infused with drama and dread. Fashionably dressed, the charismatic but deeply flawed Shelby family blind enemies by slashing them with the disposable safety razor blades stitched in to the peaks of their flat caps, as they fight bloody gangland wars involving Irish terrorists and the authorities led by a devious Home Secretary, Winston Churchill.But who were the real Peaky Blinders? Did they really ex..
'Burning ice, biting flame; that is how life began'
The extraordinary Scandinavian myth cycle is one of the most enduring, exciting, dramatic and compelling of the world's great stories.
The Penguin Book of the Norse Myths compellingly retells these stories for the modern reader, taking us from the creation of the world through the building of Asgard's Wall to the final end in Ragnarok. You'll discover how Thor got his hammer and how Odin lost his eye, the terrible price of binding th..
This new historical atlas - richly illustrated with photographs, artwork recreations and full-colour maps - explores the Middle Ages from the coming of the barbarian invasions in the fourth century to the first voyages to the New World in the sixteenth. Coverage of major events - the Hundred Years' War, the Christian Reconquest of Spain - is supplemented by discussion of such key topics as the medieval economy, the growth of towns and the spread of printing, resulting in a rich and multi-faceted..
Russia's recent past has encompassed revolution, civil war, mass terror and two world wars, and the country is still undergoing huge change. In his acclaimed history, now updated to 2015, Robert Service provides a superb panoramic viewpoint on Russia, exploring the complex, changing interaction between rulers and ruled from Nicholas II, Lenin and Stalin through to Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Putin and beyond. This new edition also discusses Russia's unresolved economic and social difficulties and its de..
WINNER OF THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION'S JOHN K. FAIRBANK PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE CUNDHILL HISTORY PRIZE 2017
'This is the finest single-volume history of Vietnam in English. It challenges myths, and raises questions about the socialist republic's political future' Guardian
'Powerful and compelling. Vietnam will be of growing importance in the twenty-first-century world, particularly as China and the US rethink their roles in Asia. Christopher Goscha's book is a brilliant accou..
Eight hundred years ago, the Cathars, a group of heretical Christians from all walks of society, high and low, flourished in what is now the Languedoc in Southern France. Their subversive beliefs brought down on them the wrath of Popes and monarchs and provoked a brutal 'Crusade' against them. The final defeat of the Cathars was horrific with mass burnings of men, women and children in the village of Montaillou in the Pyrenees...
The trial of the Knights Templar is one of the most infamous in history. Accused of heresy by the king of France, the Templars were arrested and imprisoned, had their goods seized and their monasteries ransacked. Under brutal interrogation and torture, many made shocking confessions: denial of Christ, desecration of the Cross, sex acts and more.This book follows the everyday reality of the trial, from the early days of scandal and scheming in 1305, via torture, imprisonment and the dissolution o..