In 1474, a 23-year-old woman ascended the throne of Castile, the largest and strongest kingdom in Spain. Ahead of her lay the considerable challenge not only of being a young female ruler in an overwhelmingly male-dominated world but also of reforming a major European kingdom that was riddled with crime, corruption, and violent political factionism. Her pivotal reign was long and transformative, uniting Spain and setting the stage for its golden era of global dominance.
Napoleon Bonaparte lived one of the most extraordinary of all human lives. In the space of just 20 years, from October 1795, when as a young artillery captain he cleared the streets of Paris of insurrectionists, to his final defeat at the (horribly mismanaged) battle of Waterloo in June 1815, Napoleon transformed France and Europe. After seizing power in a coup d'état, he ended the corruption and incompetence into which the revolution had descended.
"Napoleon pyscopath or hero?"
The most profound characteristic of Western Europe in the Middle Ages was its cultural and religious unity, a unity secured by a common alignment with the Pope in Rome and a common language - Latin - for worship and scholarship. The Reformation shattered that unity, and the consequences are still with us today.
The Pursuit of Power draws on a lifetime of thinking about 19th-century Europe to create an extraordinarily rich, surprising and entertaining panorama of a continent undergoing drastic change. The aim of this audiobook is to reignite the sense of wonder that permeated this remarkable era, as rulers and ruled navigated overwhelming cultural, political and technological changes.
"Very disappointing performance"
Prominent English social critic Peter Hitchens writes of the period between the death of Winston Churchill and the funeral of Princess Diana, a time he believes has seen disastrous changes in English life. The Abolition of Britain is bitingly witty and fiercely argued, yet also filled with somber appreciation for what the idea of England has always meant to the West and to the world.
"what can i say ?"
The Golden Age of the Spanish Empire would establish five centuries of Western supremacy across the globe and usher in an era of transatlantic exploration that eventually gave rise to the modern world. It was a time of discovery and adventure, of great political and social change - it was a time when Spain learned to rule the world.
"Brilliant intro to a history I knew little about"
The Vikings maintain their grip on our imagination, but their image is too often distorted by medieval and modern myth. It is true that they pillaged, looted, and enslaved. But they also settled peacefully and developed a vast trading network. They traveled far from their homelands in swift and sturdy ships, not only to raid, but also to explore. Despite their fearsome reputation, the Vikings didn't wear horned helmets, and even the infamous berserkers were far from invincible.
"A good history of the Viking"
In Exorcising Hitler, Frederick Taylor tells the story of Germany's year zero and what came after. Despite almost total destruction, a combination of conservatism, enterprise and pragmatism in relation to former Nazis enabled the economic miracle of the 1950s. And we see how it was only when the '60s generation (the children of the Nazi era) began to question their parents with increasing violence that Germany began to awake from its sleep cure.
"A forgotten period"
January, 1649. After seven years of fighting in the bloodiest war in Britain's history, Parliament had overpowered King Charles I and now faced a problem: what to do with a defeated king, a king who refused to surrender?Parliamentarians resolved to do the unthinkable, to disregard the Divine Right of Kings and hold Charles I to account for the appalling suffering and slaughter endured by his people.
"Wow! Balanced, interesting and entertaining."
In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany. In a country where the headquarters of the secret police could become a museum literally overnight, and one in 50 East Germans were informing on their fellow citizens, there are thousands of captivating stories.
"Great project, well written but underdone"
When Money Dies is the classic history of what happens when a nations currency depreciates beyond recovery. In 1923, with its currency effectively worthless (the exchange rate in December of that year was one dollar to 4,200,000,000,000 marks), the German republic was all but reduced to a barter economy. Expensive cigars, artworks, and jewels were routinely exchanged for staples such as bread; a cinema ticket could be bought for a lump of coal; and a bottle of paraffin for a silk shirt....
"Entertaining and sometimes scarey real-life story"
In one of the most inventive travel books in years, Ina Caro invites listeners on 25 one-day train trips that depart from Paris and transport us back through 700 years of French history. Whether taking us to Orléans to evoke the visions of Joan of Arc or to the Place de la Concorde to witness the beheading of Marie Antoinette, Caro animates history with her lush descriptions of architectural splendors and tales of court intrigue. "[An] enchanting travelogue" (Publishers Weekly), Paris to the Past has become one of the classic guidebooks of our time.
A century after his death, Grigory Rasputin remains fascinating: the Russian peasant with hypnotic eyes who befriended Tsar Nicholas II and helped destroy the Russian Empire, but the truth about his strange life has never fully been told. Written by the world's leading authority on Rasputin, this new biography draws on previously closed Soviet archives to offer new information on Rasputin's relationship with Empress Alexandra, sensational revelations about his sexual conquests, a re-examination of his murder, and more.
"An extraordinaire story for a quite normal man."
Conventional histories of the Great War have tended to focus on the terrible attritional battles of Ypres, of Arras and of the Somme. What they do not tell us is what life was like for the ordinary soldier, what mattered to him, and how he survived, both physically and mentally. Now for the first time, one of Britain's leading military historians, Richard van Emden tells the story of the Great War exclusively through the words and images of soldiers on the ground.
"Great personal accounts"
Lower provides the most complete assessment available of German colonization and the Holocaust in Ukraine, the "jewel" of the Nazi empire. In this unprecedented attempt at Nazi empire building, violence, racism, antisemitism, and militarism pervaded all aspects of everyday life. Lower argues that it was in the eastern outposts of the Reich, such as Ukraine, that the regime's core beliefs, aims, and practices were revealed.
A smart, provocative account of the erotic current running just beneath the surface of a stuffy and stifling Victorian London.
In 1860s London, two loosely overlapping groups of bohemians - the Cannibal Club and the Aesthetes - challenged the buttoned-up Victorian propriety to promote erotic freedom and expression. Sensually attuned and politically radical, they were among the most influential thinkers and artists of the day, from Richard Burton to Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris.
"Well worth a listen!"
Written with a thrilling narrative pull, The Butcher's Trail chronicles the pursuit and capture of the Balkan war criminals indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. Borger recounts how Radovan Karadžic and Ratko Mladic - both now on trial in The Hague - were finally tracked down and describes the intrigue behind the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic, the Yugoslav president who became the first head of state to stand before an international tribunal for crimes perpetrated in a time of war.
During the European Renaissance, an age marked equally by revolutionary thought and constant warfare, it was armies, rather than philosophers, who shaped the modern European nation state. "Mobile cities" of mercenaries and other paid soldiers - made up of astonishingly diverse aggregations of ethnicities and nationalities - marched across the land, looting and savaging enemy territories. In the 15th century, Poland hired German, Spanish, Bohemian, Hungarian, and Scottish soldiers.
"Untroubled by the narration"
At 9.51pm on Tuesday, 13 February 1945, Dresden's air-raid sirens sounded as they had done many times in the previous five years - until then most always a false alarm. No searchlights probed the skies above the unprotected target city; the guns had mostly been moved East to counter the Russian advance. By the next morning, 796 RAF Lancasters and 311 USAAF Flying Fortresses had dropped more than 4,500 tons of high explosives and incendiary devices.
The appearance of a hastily constructed barbed wire entanglement through the heart of Berlin during the night of 12-13 August 1961 was both dramatic and unexpected. Within days, it had started to metamorphose into a structure that would come to symbolise the brutal insanity of the Cold War: the Berlin Wall. A city of almost four million was cut ruthlessly in two, unleashing a potentially catastrophic East-West crisis and plunging the entire world for the first time into the fear of imminent missile-borne apocalypse.
"Ultimately a little disapointing......"
Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer's monumental study of Hitler's German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century's blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.
"A unique account"
The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all? This is the intimate story of 20 tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition.
"Disappointing in form and narration"
Closely modeled on his NATO experience of war gaming future conflicts, War with Russia is a chilling account of where we are heading if we fail to recognise the threat posed by the Russian president. Written by the recently retired Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe and endorsed by senior military figures, this audiobook shows how war with Russia could erupt, with the bloodiest and most appalling consequences, if the necessary steps are not taken urgently.
"good but scary"
The millennium between the breakup of the western Roman Empire and the Reformation was a long and hugely transformative period - one not easily chronicled within a single book. Yet distinguished historian Chris Wickham has taken up the challenge in this landmark book, and he succeeds in producing the most riveting account of medieval Europe in a generation.
For centuries in Europe, innocent men and women were murdered for the imaginary crime of witchcraft. This was a mass delusion and moral panic, driven by pious superstition and a deadly commitment to religious conformity. In Witch: A Tale of Terror, best-selling author Sam Harris introduces and reads from Charles Mackay's beloved book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
Homage to Catalonia is George Orwell's account of his experiences fighting in the Spanish Civil War, and a portrait of disillusionment with his early politics. Orwell's experiences include being shot in the neck by a sniper, and being forced into hiding as factions of the Left battled on the streets of Barcelona. Orwell entered Spain intending to gather an experience worth writing as well as to fight Fascism, and wrote Homage to Catalonia within months of his return.
A thriller of a war that never was - of survival in an impossible city - of surreal cataclysm. In The Last Days of New Paris, China Miéville entwines true historical events and people with his daring, uniquely imaginative brand of fiction, reconfiguring history and art into something new. It's 1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer and occult disciple Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including surrealist theorist André Breton.
Reinhard Heydrich is widely recognized as one of the great iconic villains of the 20th century, an appalling figure even within the context of the Nazi leadership. Chief of the Nazi Criminal Police, the SS Security Service, and the Gestapo, ruthless overlord of Nazi-occupied Bohemia and Moravia, and leading planner of the "Final Solution," Heydrich played a central role in Hitler's Germany.
"Trying subject matter"
The first-hand account of the life, career, and the practices of horror at Auschwitz, written by Auschwitz Kommandant SS Rudolf Hoss as he awaited execution for his crimes. Including his psychological interviews at Nuremberg.
"story of a monster"
"Well told and very interesting"
Here is the story of how the English acquired their vast domain; how they ruled, maintained, and exploited it; and how, within decades, they presided over its dissolution. Here are Britain's triumphs and also her stinging defeats, her heroes and her scoundrels. It is a full and fascinating chronicle of the growth of the British Empire and its people and of the impact that empire had on the rest of the world.
What were the forces that thrust the British Empire to its extraordinary position of greatness and then just as powerfully drove it into decline? And why is nearly every nation on earth, in one way or another, the consequence of the British Empire?In these 36 lectures, Professor Allitt leads you through four centuries of British power, innovation, influence, and, ultimately, diminishment-four profound centuries that literally remade the world and bequeathed the complex global legacy that continues to shape your everyday life.
"I'm not yet finished but I am hooked"
The civil war that tore Spain apart between 1936 and 1939 and attracted liberals and socialists from across the world to support the cause against Franco was one of the most hard-fought and bitterest conflicts of the 20th century: a war of atrocities and political genocide and a military testing ground before WWII for the Russians, Italians and Germans, whose Condor Legion so notoriously destroyed Guernica.
"Great, but just too much"
Rejecting fragmented histories of nations in the making, this bold revision surveys the shared institutions that bridged difference and distance to bring stability and meaning to the far-flung empire. By supporting new schools, law courts, and railroads along with scientific and artistic advances, the Habsburg monarchs sought to anchor their authority in the cultures and economies of Central Europe. A rising standard of living throughout the empire deepened the legitimacy of Habsburg rule.
History for busy people. Listen to a concise history of the Siege of Leningrad in just one hour. In 1917 the world changed forever. One of the most influential and contentious events in recent history, the Russian Revolution unleashed the greatest political experiment ever conducted, one which continues to influence both Eastern and Western politics today.
"Great Value for £1.75!"
Helen Rappaport's masterful telling of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution through eyewitness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold. Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin's Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd was in turmoil - felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt, where the foreign visitors and diplomats who filled hotels, clubs, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out.
"Interesting stories - well told"