By John Julius Norwich
I can still feel, as if it were yesterday, the excitement of my first Channel crossing (as a child of nearly 7) in September 1936; the regiment of porters, smelling asphyxiatingly of garlic in their blue-green blousons; the raucous sound all around me of spoken French; the immense fields of Normandy strangely devoid of hedges; then the Gare du Nord at twilight, the policemen with their képis and their little snow-white batons; and my first sight of the Eiffel Tower...This book is written in the belief that the average English-speaking man or woman has remarkably little knowledge of French history. We may know a bit about Napoleon or Joan of Arc or Louis XIV, but for most of us that's about it. In my own three schools we were taught only about the battles we won: Crécy and Poitiers, Agincourt and Waterloo. The rest was silence. So here is my attempt to fill in the blanks...John Julius Norwich (at 88) has finally written the book he always wanted to write, the extremely colourful story of the country he loves best. From frowning Roman generals and belligerent Gallic chieftains, to Charlemagne (hated by generations of French children taught that he invented schools) through Marie Antoinette and the storming of the Bastille to Vichy, the Resistance and beyond, FRANCE is packed with heroes and villains, adventures and battles, romance and revolution. Full of memorable stories and racy anecdotes, this is the perfect introduction to the country that has inspired the rest of the world to live, dress, eat -- and love better.
By John Julius Norwich
'Never before had the world seen four such giants co-existing. Sometimes friends, more often enemies, always rivals, these four men together held Europe in the hollow of their hands.' Four great princes - Henry VIII of England, Francis I of France, Charles V of Spain and Suleiman the Magnificent - were born within a single decade. Each looms large in his country's history and, in this book, John Julius Norwich broadens the scope and shows how, against the rich background of the Renaissance and destruction of the Reformation, their wary obsession with one another laid the foundations for modern Europe. Individually, each man could hardly have been more different - from the scandals of Henry's six wives to Charles's monasticism - but, together, they dominated the world stage. From the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a pageant of jousting, feasting and general carousing so lavish that it nearly bankrupted both France and England, to Suleiman's celebratory pyramid of 2,000 human heads (including those of seven Hungarian bishops) after the battle of Mohács; from Anne Boleyn's six-fingered hand (a potential sign of witchcraft) that had the pious nervously crossing themselves to the real story of the Maltese falcon, Four Princes is history at its vivid, entertaining best. With a cast list that extends from Leonardo da Vinci to Barbarossa, and from Joanna the Mad to le roi grand-nez, John Julius Norwich offers the perfect guide to the most colourful century the world has ever known and brings the past to unforgettable life.
Fascinating Footnotes From History
By Giles Milton
'Giles Milton is a man who can take an event from history and make it come alive . . . an inspiration for those of us who believe that history can be exciting and entertaining' Matthew Redhead, The TimesDid you know that Hitler took cocaine? That Stalin robbed a bank? That Charlie Chaplin's corpse was filched and held to ransom? Giles Milton is a master of historical narrative: in his characteristically engaging prose, Fascinating Footnotes From History details one hundred of the quirkiest historical nuggets; eye-stretching stories that read like fiction but are one hundred per cent fact.There is Hiroo Onoda, the lone Japanese soldier still fighting the Second World War in 1974; Agatha Christie, who mysteriously disappeared for eleven days in 1926; and Werner Franz, a cabin boy on the Hindenburg who lived to tell the tale when it was engulfed in flames in 1937. Fascinating Footnotes From History also answers who ate the last dodo, who really killed Rasputin and why Sergeant Stubby had four legs. Peopled with a gallery of spies, rogues, cannibals, adventurers and slaves, and spanning twenty centuries and six continents, Giles Milton's impeccably researched footnotes shed light on some of the most infamous stories and most flamboyant and colourful characters (and animals) from history.
By Eric Carter, Anthony Loveless
Second World War fighter pilot Eric Carter is one of only four surviving members of a secret mission, code-named 'Force Benedict'. Sanctioned by Winston Churchill in 1941 Force Benedict was dispatched to defend Murmansk, the USSR's only port not under Nazi occupation. If Murmansk fell, Soviet resistance against the Nazis would be hard to sustain and Hitler would be able to turn all his forces on Britain...Force Benedict was under the command of New Zealand-born RAF Wing Commander Henry Neville Gynes Ramsbottom-Isherwood, who led two squadrons of Hurricane fighters, pilots and ground crew which were shipped to Russia in total secrecy on the first ever Arctic Convoy. They were told to defend Murmansk against the Germans 'at all costs'. 'We all reckoned the government thought we'd never survive' - but Eric Carter did, and was threatened with Court Martial if he talked about where he'd been or what he'd done. Now he reveals his experiences of seventy years ago in the hell on earth that was Murmansk, the largest city north of the Arctic Circle. It will also include previously unseen photos and documents, as well as exploring - for the first time - other intriguing aspects of Force Benedict.
Fighting on the Home Front
By Kate Adie
'History at its most celebratory' Daily Telegraph'Adie uses her journalistic eye for personal stories and natural compassion to create a book definitely worthy of her heroines' Big Issue'Fascinating, very readable . . . provides a complete wartime women's history' Discover Your History* * * * * *Bestselling author and award-winning former BBC Chief News Correspondent Kate Adie reveals the ways in which women's lives changed during World War One and what the impact has been for women in its centenary year.IN 1914 THE WORLD CHANGED forever. When World War One broke out and a generation of men went off to fight, bestselling author and From Our Own Correspondent presenter Kate Adie shows how women emerged from the shadows of their domestic lives.Now a visible force in public life, they began to take up essential roles - from transport to policing, munitions to sport, entertainment, even politics. They had finally become citizens, a recognised part of the war machine, acquiring their own rights and often an independent income.The former BBC Chief News Correspondent charts the seismic move towards equal rights with men that began a century ago and through unique first-hand research shows just how momentous the achievements of those pioneering women were.This is history at its best - a vivid, compelling account of the women who helped win the war as well as a revealing assessment of their legacy for women's lives today.
From Armageddon to the Fall of Rome
By Erik Durschmied
In the Mediterranean, this most fought-over region in the world, the figures of potentates and conquerors appear god-like: Thutmosis, Leonidas, Xerxes, Pyrrhus, Hannibal, Caesar and Vercingetorix. Ancient history, from Pharaonic Egypt and the Shahs of Persia, to the Golden Age of Greece and the conquests of Alexander the Great and his dream of a universal brotherhood, is dominated by these incredible characters. And then comes Rome, the supreme political event of Ancient History and the world's first superpower.Ancient Battles is the history of incredible men, brave and reckless, lucky and ill-fated, engaging their forces in battles that are prime examples of ruse, chance, and military brilliance. Erik Durschmied looks at seventeen of ancient history's most fascinating battles, many of which have been almost forgotten, but which in reality changed both the world and time itself.
By Phil Craig, Tim Clayton
Seventy years ago, as Hitler's army continued its relentless advance across Europe, Britain - a country ill-prepared for war - faced its darkest hour.Acclaimed as 'Brilliant' by the Daily Mail and 'Compelling' by the Telegraph, Finest Hour recreates the terror, tragedy and triumph of the Battle of Britain through the testimony of the very men and women who were there. Taken from the diaries, letters and memoirs of those who survived it - and those who lost their lives - Finest Hour creates a powerful and incisive account of the events of 1940. Containing individual accounts of love and loss by these witnesses of war, the book also contains a provocative analysis of the conflicts and the politics of the period, and questions some cherished national myths. Cutting through the nostalgic haze, Finest Hour enables readers to experience a time when a nation's darkest hour became its finest.
From Nyet to Da
By Yale Richmond
In the wake of the Cold War and perestroika, the New Russia is finding its place in the global world. No longer a superpower, but still a nation with great influence, Russia remains an enigmatic and mysterious land. Like earlier editions, the new fourth edition of From Nyet to Da illuminates the dynamics of traditional Russian culture in the framework of contemporary events, such as the March 2008 elections and the Georgian conflict. With a new preface, and updates and revisions throughout, From Nyet to Da enlightens readers about virtually every aspect of Russian life, covering social and interpersonal skills as well as the underlying cultural assumptions and values of the Russian people.
By Brenda Maddox
Ernest Jones was a born empire builder, who imported the intellectual ferment of early twentieth-century European analysis to our shores. In 1938 he daringly flew to Vienna to rescue Freud from the Nazi threat. With the media frenzy that greeted Freud's arrival in England, psychoanalysis hit the mainstream. When Jones subsequently wrote the definitive, three-volume biography of his mentor, Freud's trailblazing reputation was secured. Jones himself was a remarkable man, mercurial and quixotic. The son of a colliery clerk in South Wales, his insinuation into the inner circle of psychoanalysis is an improbable story. Likewise, the devastating, if dubious, sexual success he enjoyed with female patients caused intrigue among his contemporaries. As Jones's analytic reputation reached new heights, rumours as to what Freud dubbed his 'dark inconsistencies' grew. Award-winning biographer Brenda Maddox insightfully and gracefully breathes life into this enigmatic character. Freud's Wizard is a riveting resurrection of a critical, heretofore overlooked, architect of our modern intellectual landscape.
Foreign Devils on the Silk Road
By Peter Hopkirk