On This Day in History
By Dan Snow
On which day was history's shortest war waged and won (in roughly 40 minutes)? How was Napoleon bested by a group of rabbits in 1807? Why did a dispute about beer in an Oxford pub lead to over 100 deaths and 470 years of penance? Why in 1752 did Britain go to bed on 2nd September and wake up on the 14th? How did a women's march in 1917 set off the Russian Revolution?On This Day in History brings to life a key event that happened on each day of the year.From the most important British battle that you've never heard of (20 May 685) to the first meeting of Lennon and McCartney (6 July 1957), and from why Julius Caesar should have been wary of the Ides of March (15 March 44BC) to the day Jeanne de Clisson became a pirate and single-handedly declared war on the King of France (2 August 1343), history is full of unlikely heroes and fascinating turning points.In this book Dan Snow shows us how each day offers a different and unexpected insight into our past. And story by gripping story, this year grows into a vivid, very human history of the world.
By Leo McKinstry
'Superbly written and gripping' Daily ExpressThe thrilling true account of Hitler's first defeat.In the summer of 1940, the Nazi war machine was at its zenith. France, Denmark, Norway and the Low Countries were all under occupation after a series of lightning military campaigns. Only Britain stood in the way of the complete triumph of Nazi tyranny. But for the first time in the war, Hitler did not prevail. The traditional narrative of 1940 holds that Britain was only saved from German conquest by the pluck of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. The image of Dad's Army recruits training with broomsticks is a classic symbol of the nation's supposed desperation in the face of the threat from Operation Sealion, as the German plan for invasion was code-named. Yet as Leo McKinstry details, the British were far more ruthless and proficient than is usually recognised. The brilliance of the RAF was not an exception but part of a pattern of magnificent organisation. In almost every sphere of action, such as the destruction of the French naval fleet or the capture of German spies, Britain's approach reflected an uncompromising spirit of purpose and resolution. Using a wealth of primary materials from both British and German archives, Leo McKinstry provides a ground-breaking new assessment of the six fateful months in mid-1940, beginning with Winston Churchill's accession to power in May and culminating in Germany's abandonment of Operation Sealion.
Our Kind of People
By Uzodinma Iweala
HIV/AIDS has profoundly affected life in sub-Saharan Africa. It has been reported as one of the most destructive diseases in recent memory - tearing apart communities and ostracising the afflicted. But the emphasis on death, despair and destruction hardly captures the many and varied impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Award-winning novelist and doctor Uzodinma Iweala embarks on a remarkable journey in Nigeria meeting individuals and communities that are struggling daily to understand both the impact and meaning of the disease. He speaks with people from all walks of life, those living with HIV/AIDS and those who aren't, doctors, nurses, truck drivers, sex workers, shopkeepers, students, parents and children who are all trying to make sense of life, love, and our connections to each other as people in the face of an unprecedented epidemic. Beautifully written and heart-breakingly honest, Our Kind of People goes behind the headlines of this epidemic to show the real lives affected by it, illuminating the scope of the crisis and a continent's valiant struggle.
By Peter Hessler
Peter Hessler's previous book River Town was a prize-winning, poignant and deeply compelling portrait of China. Now, in Oracle Bones, Hessler returns to the country, excavating its long history and immersing himself in the lives of young Chinese as they migrate from the traditional Chinese countryside to the booming ever-changing cities and try to cope with their society's modern transformation.
By Caroline Finkel
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 essential for anyone who seeks to understand the modern world.
On Secret Service East of Constantinople
By Peter Hopkirk