Related to: 'War Stories'

Jonathan MacDonald

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John Murray

When Britain Burned the White House

Peter Snow
Authors:
Peter Snow

As heard on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week.Shortlisted for the Paddy Power Political History Book of the Year Award 2014.In August 1814 the United States' army is defeated in battle by an invading force just outside Washington DC. The US president and his wife have just enough time to pack their belongings and escape from the White House before the enemy enters. The invaders tuck into the dinner they find still sitting on the dining-room table and then set fire to the place. 9/11 was not the first time the heartland of the United States was struck a devastating blow by outsiders. Two centuries earlier, Britain - now America's close friend, then its bitterest enemy - set Washington ablaze before turning its sights to Baltimore. In his compelling narrative style, Peter Snow recounts the fast-changing fortunes of both sides of this extraordinary confrontation, the outcome of which inspired the writing of the 'Star-Spangled Banner', America's national anthem. Using a wealth of material including eyewitness accounts, he also describes the colourful personalities on both sides of these spectacular events: Britain's fiery Admiral Cockburn, the cautious but immensely popular army commander Robert Ross, and sharp-eyed diarists James Scott and George Gleig. On the American side: beleaguered President James Madison, whose young nation is fighting the world's foremost military power, his wife Dolley, a model of courage and determination, military heroes such as Joshua Barney and Sam Smith, and flawed incompetents like Army Chief William Winder and War Secretary John Armstrong. When Britain Burned the White House highlights this unparalleled moment in American history, its far-reaching consequences for both sides and Britain's and America's decision never again to fight each other.

John Murray

To War with Wellington

Peter Snow
Authors:
Peter Snow

The seven-year campaign that saved Europe from Napoleon told by those who were there.What made Arthur Duke of Wellington the military genius who was never defeated in battle? In the vivid narrative style that is his trademark, Peter Snow recalls how Wellington evolved from a backward, sensitive schoolboy into the aloof but brilliant commander. He tracks the development of Wellington's leadership and his relationship with the extraordinary band of men he led from Portugal in 1808 to their final destruction of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo seven years. Having described his soldiers as the 'scum of the earth' Wellington transformed them into the finest fighting force of their time. Digging deep into the rich treasure house of diaries and journals that make this war the first in history to be so well recorded, Snow examines how Wellington won the devotion of generals such as the irascible Thomas Picton and the starry but reckless 'Black Bob' Crauford and soldiers like Rifleman Benjamin Harris and Irishman Ned Costello. Through many first-hand accounts, Snow brings to life the horrors and all of the humanity of life in and out of battle, as well as shows the way that Wellington mastered the battlefield to outsmart the French and change the future of Europe. To War with Wellington is the gripping account of a very human story about a remarkable leader and his men.

Andrea Wulf

Andrea Wulf was born in India, moved to Germany as a child, and now lives in England. She is the author of several acclaimed books. The Brother Gardeners won the American Horticultural Society Book Award and was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Her book Founding Gardeners was on the New York Times bestseller list. Andrea has written for many newspapers including the Guardian, LA Times and New York Times. She was the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013 and a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. She appears regularly on TV and radio.

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams worked as a senior producer for the BBC's flagship Panorama and Newsnight programmes, and as a writer and director of history documentaries. He is the author of two bestselling non-fiction books, The Battle of the Atlantic and D-day to Berlin, and four acclaimed novels, The Interrogator, (shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Silver Dagger Award and the Ellis Peters Award), To Kill a Tsar, (shortlisted for the Ellis Peters Award and the Walter Scott Prize), The Poison Tide and The Suicide Club. You can find out more about Andrew Williams and his writing at www.andrewwilliams.tv and www.hodder.co.uk, and you can follow him on twitter at @AWilliamswriter or on Facebook.

Arnold van de Laar

Arnold van de Laar is a surgeon in the Slotervaart Hospital in Amsterdam, specialising in laparoscopic surgery. Born in 1969 in the Dutch town of 's-Hertogenbosch, van de Laar became fascinated by how the human body works in school biology lessons and went on to study medicine at the Belgian University of Leuven. Having travelled the world - the Himalayas, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, Kashmir, and extensively in Africa - van de Laar took his first job as general surgeon on the Caribbean Island of Sint Maarten. He started writing pieces on surgical history in the Dutch medical journal Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Heelkunde in 2009. He now lives in Amsterdam with his wife and two children where, a true Dutchman, he cycles to work every day. This is his first book.

Dan Snow

Dan Snow is a historian, BAFTA-winning broadcaster and television presenter. His hugely popular History Hit podcast is downloaded a million times a month, has over 250,000 keen followers on Twitter and he has recently launched a history TV channel. He has presented shows such asArmada, Grand Canyon and Vikings. He has a regular slot on The One Show on BBC1. He has written several books including Battlefield Britain and The Battle of Waterloo.

Erik Durschmied

Erik Durschmied was born in Vienna in 1930. After the Second World War he emigrated to Canada. A television war correspondent for the BBC and CBS, Durschmied covered every major crisis, from Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Belfast, Beirut, Chile, to Cuba and Afghanistan. Winner of numerous awards, Newsweek wrote 'Durschmied is a supremely gifted reporter who has transformed the media he works in.' And in Le Monde: 'He's survived more battles than any living general.' Erik has just been appointed Professor of Military History at The Military Academy of Austria. He lives in Paris and Provence with his family.

General Sir Richard Shirreff

Born in Kenya in 1955 where he spent his early years, Richard Shirreff commissioned into the British Army as a cavalry officer after reading history at Oxford. In his 37 years of service he commanded soldiers on operations from the most junior to the most senior levels. He saw combat as a tank commander in the First Gulf War, experienced many of the complexities of Northern Ireland during his three tours there and learned first-hand the challenges of bringing peace to the Balkans in both Kosovo and Bosnia. He returned to Iraq as a multinational commander in 2006-7. When not in command he spent time either being educated in the art and science of war on a succession of different command and staff courses or in a range of posts as a formulator or executor of policy in the Ministry of Defence and Army Headquarters. His last seven years in uniform were spent in two senior NATO command posts: Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe; the Alliance's deputy strategic commander and the most senior British general in the Alliance. Since leaving the Army he has set up Strategia Worldwide, a risk management consultancy.

Gerald Seymour

Gerald Seymour exploded onto the literary scene in 1975 with the massive bestseller HARRY'S GAME. The first major thriller to tackle the modern troubles in Northern Ireland, it was described by Frederick Forsyth as 'like nothing else I have ever read' and it changed the landscape of the British thriller forever.Gerald Seymour was a reporter at ITN for fifteen years. He covered events in Vietnam, Borneo, Aden, the Munich Olympics, Israel and Northern Ireland. He has been a full-time writer since 1978.

Giles Milton

Giles Milton is a writer and historian. He is the internationally bestselling author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Big Chief Elizabeth, The Riddle and the Knight, White Gold, Samurai William, Paradise Lost, Wolfram and Russian Roulette. He has also written three novels and three children's books. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in south London.Find out more about Giles and his books on his website, www.gilesmilton.com, and Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giles_Milton, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/survivehistory and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/Giles-Milton-Writer/121068034610842.

Graham Hancock

As East Africa correspondent of The Economist in the early eighties Graham Hancock began to write a series of highly acclaimed books on economics, politics and foreign aid. His life took a whole new turn when he became fascinated by rumours that the Ark of the Covenant is real artefact, hidden somewhere in northern Africa. The story of his detective work, tracking it down to its supposed final resting place became the international bestseller The Sign and the Seal (now in production as a feature film.) More bestsellers in the field of 'alternative history' followed, including Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (the latter co-authored with Robert Bauval) and Heaven's Mirror. In Supernatural he described his experiences journeying to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs amongst tribes people for whom they represent a gateway into supernatural realms. His ideas on exploring new dimensions in consciousness became the subject of his controversial TED talks.Graham Hancock's books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and have sold over nine million copies worldwide. His public lectures and broadcasts, including two major TV series for Channel 4, Quest for the Lost Civilisation, and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, have further established his reputation as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity`s past.

Hannah Jewell

Hannah Jewell is a pop culture host and editor at The Washington Post, and a former senior writer at BuzzFeed UK, where she became known for her humour writing about gender, her satire of British and American politics. She presented BuzzFeed's live 2016 election night show, which was watched by nearly 7 million people. Born in the UK, she grew up in California and did her undergraduate study at UC Berkeley in Middle East Studies, then moved to the UK for an MPhil in International Relations and Politics at Cambridge. Now, she combines her background in history and politics with her love of the internet to write about remarkable women of the past with an accessible, hilarious, and sometimes sweary style.

Jocelyn Davis

Jocelyn Davis is an author and consultant with 25 years' experience in the corporate learning industry. Before founding her company, Seven Learning, she was head of R&D for The Forum Corporation, a global leadership development firm. She is co-author of Strategic Speed: Mobilize People, Accelerate Execution (Harvard Business Press) and has published widely on leadership, strategy execution, and workplace learning. Her clients have included companies such as Microsoft, Disney, and Unilever. Known as an exceptional leader herself, she is the recipient of awards for excellence in management and product innovation. She holds an M.A. in Philosophy. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband and daughter. JocelynRDavis.wordpress.com @JocelynRDavis

Marcus Binney

Marcus Binney went to Cambridge, and has lectured extensively to historical societies in New York, Boston, Rhode Island, and Virginia on architectural preservation and history. He has fronted a 39-part series - Mansions: The Great Houses of Europe - broadcast in the US between 1993 and 1997.

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster whose first novel, For Want of a Nail, was published in 1965. His novels since include The Maid of Buttermere, The Soldier's Return, Credo and Now is the Time, which won the Parliamentary Book Award for fiction in 2016. His books have also been awarded the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the WHSmith Literary Award, and have been longlisted three times for the Booker Prize (including the Lost Man Booker Prize). He has also written several works of non-fiction, including The Adventure of English and The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.

Michael Jones

Michael Jones was awarded a history PhD by Bristol University, and subsequently taught at Glasgow University and Winchester College. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the British Commission for Military History, and works now as a writer, media consultant and presenter. He has written books on the battles of Bosworth, Agincourt and Stalingrad, the siege of Leningrad and the battle for Moscow, as well as Total War: From Stalingrad to Berlin. Most recently he has co-authored The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III.

Neal Bascomb

Neal Bascomb is the author of nine award-winning, national, and international bestselling adult books, including most recently the New York Times bestseller on the sabotage of the German atomic bomb program The Winter Fortress. He also chronicled the search for a Nazi war criminal in Hunting Eichmann and the story of Roger Bannister's four-minute-mile in The Perfect Mile. His work has been translated in over eighteen countries.

Patrick Leigh Fermor

In December 1933, at the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) walked across Europe, reaching Constantinople in early 1935. He travelled on into Greece, where in Athens he met Balasha Cantacuzene, with whom he lived - mostly in Rumania - until the outbreak of war. Serving in occupied Crete, he led a successful operation to kidnap a German general, for which he won the DSO and was once described by the BBC as 'a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene'. After the war he began writing, and travelled extensively round Greece with Joan Eyres Monsell whom he later married. Towards the end of his life he wrote the first two books about his early trans-European odyssey, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. He planned a third, unfinished at the time of his death in 2011, which has since been edited by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper and published as The Broken Road.

Peter Stanford

Peter Stanford's previous investigations into the history, theology, enduring appeal and cultural significance of religious ideas include Martin Luther: Catholic Dissident; Judas: The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle; The Devil - A Biography; Heaven - A Traveller's Guide to the Undiscovered Country; and The She-Pope, an investigation of the Pope Joan legend. His other books include biographies of Bronwen Astor, Lord Longford and the Poet Laureate, C Day-Lewis, plus the polemical Catholics and Sex that became an award-winning Channel 4 series in 1992. He is a senior features writer at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph titles, and contributes to the Independent, the Observer, the Daily Mail and the Catholic weekly, the Tablet, where he is a columnist. He has presented programmes on BBC 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as BBC Radios 2 and 4 and the BBC World Service.

Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes was the first man to reach both poles by surface travel and the first to cross the Antarctic Continent unsupported. In the 1960s he was removed from the SAS Regiment for misuse of explosives but, joining the army of the Sultan of Oman, received that country's Bravery Medal on active service in 1971. He is the only person yet to have been awarded two clasps to the Polar medal for both Antarctic and the Arctic regions. Fiennes has led over 30 expeditions including the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth, and in 2003 he ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents in aid of the British Heart Foundation.In 1993 Her Majesty the Queen awarded Fiennes the Order of the British Empire (OBE) because, on the way to breaking records, he has raised over £14 million for charity. He was named Best Sportsman in the 2007 ITV Great Briton Awards and in 2009 he became the oldest Briton to reach the summit of Everest.