How to Ruin a Queen
By Jonathan Beckman
'A hell of a tale and Jonathan Beckman gives it all the verve and swagger it deserves . . . I read it with fascination, delight and frequent snorts of incredulity' The Spectator On 5 September 1785, a trial began in Paris that would divide the country, captivate Europe and send the French monarchy tumbling down the slope towards the Revolution. Cardinal Louis de Rohan, scion of one of the most ancient and distinguished families in France, stood accused of forging Marie Antoinette's signature to fraudulently obtain the most expensive piece of jewellery in Europe - a 2,400-carat necklace worth 1.6 million francs.Where were the diamonds now? Was Rohan entirely innocent? Was, for that matter, the queen? What was the role of the charismatic magus, the comte de Cagliostro, who was rumoured to be two-thousand-years old and capable of transforming metal into gold?This is a tale of political machinations and extravagance on an enormous scale; of kidnappings, prison breaks and assassination attempts; of hapless French police disguised as colliers, reams of lesbian pornography and a duel fought with poisoned pigs. It is a detective story, a courtroom drama, a tragicomic farce, and a study of credulity and self-deception in the Age of Enlightenment.
By Michael Arnold
Hunter's Rage, the third in The Civil War Chronicles, Michael Arnold's acclaimed series of historical thrillers, sees battle-scarred hero Captain Stryker, 'the Sharpe of the Civil War', take on his oldest foe. 'Stands in comparison with the best of Cornwell' Yorkshire PostPosted to the hostile territory of Dartmoor, Captain Innocent Stryker and his men are attacked by an elite cavalry unit commanded by the formidable Colonel Gabriel Wild and suffer heavy losses. Stryker has already clashed once with Wild, and the Roundhead has sworn to seek his revenge. After the attack, Stryker is faced with the annihilation of his company as he is hounded across the moor, eventually seeking shelter on an isolated tor populared by an enigmatic former priest who harbours no love for the King's cause. Colonel Wild is assisted in his revenge by Osmyn Hogg, Parliamentarian Witchfinder, who shares his own deadly history with Stryker. To save his honour and his life, Stryker must lead his men to glory from the protection of the lonely granite-topped hill. Into this atmosphere of intrigue and danger comes the beautiful but mysterious Cecily Cade. Stryker comes to her aid, unaware that she carries with her special knowledge that may prove the key to Royalist victory.The battle between Stryker and his old foes takes him from the bleak isolation of Dartmoor, through the war-ravaged lands of southern England and finally to Stratton, where the bloody battle between Cornwall and Devon will decide the fate of the south-west.
A History of England in 100 Places
By John Julius Norwich, John Julius Norwich
From battlefield to sacred building, from castle to cottage, from the Bridgwater Canal to Blackpool Pier, acclaimed historian John Julius Norwich tells the political, cultural, social, religious and economic story of England through one hundred key places you can still visit today. Part narrative history, part exploration of our national heritage, his wide-ranging selection of sites will stimulate, entertain, inform - and certainly provoke - a debate about the most significant moments in English history.
The History of Scotland: Teach Yourself Ebook
By David Allan
Understand Scottish History: Teach Yourself is a comprehensive guide to the exciting story of this nation, from pre-history right through to the present day. With the question of Scottish independence once again on the agenda, this book will allow you to trace the events, both peaceful and bloody, that have brought the country to this point. Tracing events from the pre-history of the land and the coming of the Scots to the rise of the Scottish National Party, it provides an informative and accessible introduction to Scotland's history. Whether it is the Jacobite Rebellion, the advances of the Scottish Enlightenment or its role in WWI and WWII, this is the perfect place to start.
By Leo McKinstry
In the summer of 1940 the fate of Europe hung in the balance. Victory in the forthcoming air battle would mean national survival; defeat would establish German tyranny.The Luftwaffe greatly outnumbered the RAF, but during the Battle of Britain it was the RAF that emerged triumphant, thanks to two key fighter planes, the Spitfire and the Hurricane. The Hurricane made up over half of Fighter Command's front-line strength, and its revolutionary design transformed the RAF's capabilities. Leo McKinstry tells the story of the remarkable plane from its designers to the first-hand testimonies of those brave pilots who flew it; he takes in the full military and political background but always keeps the human stories to the fore - to restore the Hawker Hurricane to its rightful place in history.
By Danny Danziger, Nicholas Purcell, Danny Danziger
Hadrian's Wall is one of the world's best known legacies of the Roman Empire. It has stood for two thousand years as a moment to its creator, and yet he himself remains an enigmatic figure. Now bestselling author Danny Danziger and Nicholas Purcell reveal the details of the extraordinary life of this mysterious man, and the age in which he lived and ruled.Hadrian was Spanish, and a restless, inquiring intellectual. He travelled constantly and spent much time in cultural centres like Athens and Alexandria. Although he was not warlike, he was a good soldier, and was comfortable mingling amongst all ranks. And yet his personal life was a complicated one, rife with scandal and conflicted sexuality.This complex character was also responsible for some of the world's most enduring architectural treasures. He built the Pantheon in Rome, the largest dome built using pre-industrial methods and a sprawling 900-room villa at Tivoli with a towering 'pumpkin dome' - a fittingly idiosyncratic memorial to this most unusual of emperors.
The Hitler Book
By Henrik Eberle, Matthias Uhl
On breaking open the Berlin Bunker on 2 May 1945, Soviet troops captured two of Adolf Hitler's closest associates: his personal valet, Heinz Linge, and his SS adjutant, Otto Guensche. The two men had just disposed of the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun.On Stalin's orders they were questioned for two years, to produce this astonishing fly-on-the wall account of all they saw in Hitler's headquarters, where they had worked since 1933. It has been held in top-level Russian archives since 1949.The book contains remarkable insight into Hitler's daily life before and during the Second World War. Chilling, revealing and compellingly readable, it is one of the most authentic sources of information in existence on the history of the Third Reich, unique in the circumstances of its compilation and its closeness in time to the events described.
HH3626 White Gold (digital download)
By Giles Milton, Tim Pigott-Smith
Hall of a Thousand Columns
By Tim Mackintosh-Smith, Martin Yeoman
All the best armchair travellers are sceptics. Those of the fourteenth century were no exception: for them, there were lies, damned lies, and Ibn Battutah's India.Born in 1304, Ibn Battutah left his native Tangier as a young scholar of law; over the course of the thirty years that followed he visited most of the known world between Morocco and China. Here Tim Mackintosh-Smith retraces one leg of the Moroccan's journey -- the dizzy ladders and terrifying snakes of his Indian career as a judge and a hermit, courtier and prisoner, ambassador and castaway. From the plains of Hindustan to the plateaux of the Deccan and the lost ports of Malabar, the author reveals an India far off the beaten path of Taj and Raj.Ibn Battutah left India on a snake, stripped to his underpants by pirates; but he took away a treasure of tales as rich as any in the history of travel. Back home they said the treasure was a fake. Mackintosh-Smith proves the sceptics wrong. India is a jewel in the turban of the Prince of Travellers. Here it is, glittering, grotesque but genuine, a fitting ornament for his 700th birthday.
The Hiding Place
By Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherill, John Sherrill
As the Nazi madness swept across Europe, a quiet watchmaker's family in Holland risked everything for the sake of others, and for the love of Christ. Despite the danger and threat of discovery, the ten Boom family courageously offered shelter to persecuted Jews during the Nazi occupation of Holland. Then a trap brought about the family's arrest. Could God's love shine through, even in Ravensbruck?
The Hunt for Zerzura
By Saul Kelly
This is a study of the true story behind The English Patient, one of the least known and most extraordinary episodes of World War II. In the 1930s, the Zerzura Club (named after a lost oasis in the Libyan desert) met once a year for dinner at the Cafe Royal in London. Ostensibly, its members were cosmopolitan adventurers indulging a craze for desert travel by motor car and aeroplane, and searching for the lost oases and ancient cities of a vanished civilization. In reality they were mapping the desert for military reasons, marking vital wells and checking terrain. The Club's members were drawn from countries that would soon be enemies, and fellowship masked a vicious rivalry. Mussolini hoped to make Egypt the centrepiece of a new Italian empire, but the British - for whom the Suez Canal was strategically vital - were determined to hold onto that country. When war broke out in 1939, Ralph Bagnold founded the Long Range Desert Group to spy on and disrupt the Axis powers' advance on Cairo under Rommel, while his fellow club member Count Almasy tried to spirit the Egyptian Chief of Staff out of Cairo, and succeeded in inserting German spies. Both of them were using knowledge and desert craft drawn from the hazardous hunt for the Zerzura Oasis, where each had deceived the other about his true purpose. In telling this story, Saul Kelly draws on interviews with survivors as well as previously unknown documentary material in Britain, Italy, Germany, Hungary and Egypt. His book reads like a thriller by John Buchan or Frederick Forsyth - with one key difference: it is true.
How The Irish Saved Civilization
By Thomas Cahill
Ireland played the central role in maintaining European culture when the dark ages settled on Europe in the fifth century: as Rome was sacked by Visigoths and its empire collapsed, Ireland became 'the isle of saints and scholars' that enabled the classical and religious heritage to be saved.In his compelling and entertaining narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Irish monks and scrines copied the mauscripts of both pagan and Christian writers, including Homer and Aristotle, while libraries on the continent were lost forever. Bringing the past and its characters to life, Cahill captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilisation.
The Hinges of Battle
By Erik Durschmied
There is no shortage of stories when it comes to battles. Some were decided by genius, but many more by a quirk of fate, when that thin balance which separates success from disaster lay in a minor decision or a trivial incident that tipped the scales. The thrust of a spear, the blink of an eye, a single phrase or a misinterpreted command is all it takes. A moment of courage or cowardice, energy or weariness, resolution or indecision.Battles have shaped the course of history and decided the fate of mankind. From a brutal Attila the Hun who went down to defeat on the Catalaunian Fields, to an overbearing French artillery colonel at Dien Bien Phu; from the stout walls of Constantinople to a skimpy mealie-bag wall at Rorke's Drift; from the sun of Austerlitz to the snows of Stalingrad, it was always an incident that decided the outcome of battle.
The Hinge Factor
By Erik Durschmied
From the wooden horse of Troy to the Gulf War, military history has been as much marked by chance and error, as by gallantry and heroism. Many conflicts have been decided by the caprice of weather, bad intelligence, heroism where it wasn't expected, or individual incompetence. In military terms, the incident which can swing a battle from victory to defeat in a moment is known as the Hinge Factor.The Hinge Factor vividly describes battles which demonstrate this phenomenon - including the circumstances behind the loss of the Holy Cross, through to the attack of African war bees in 1914, to Star-War weaponry described in the Gulf War.This enthralling book demystifies the general belief that battles are always won due to the brilliance of a general and will both inform and entertain a wide audience.
Highlanders: A History of the Gaels
By John Macleod