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 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.
"Though much is taken, much abides;"
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."
This Very Short Intoduction integrates the political, social and cultural history of the Spanish Civil War. It sets out the domestic and international context of the war for a general readership. In addition to tracing the course of war, the book locates the war's origins in the cumulative social and cultural anxieties provoked by a process of rapid, uneven and accelerating modernism taking place all over Europe.
"A very good very short introduction..."
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......"
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"
For centuries the Celts held sway in Europe. Even after their conquest by the Romans, their culture remained vigorous, ensuring that much of it endured to feed an endless fascination with Celtic history and myths, artwork and treasures. A foremost authority on the Celtic peoples and their culture, Peter Berresford Ellis presents an invigoration overview of their world. With his gift for making the scholarly accessible, he discusses the Celts' mysterious origins and early history and investigates their rich and complex society.
"A full account of today's knowledge of the Celts"
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"
Beginning in the heady days just after the First Crusade, this volume - the third in the series that began with The History of the Ancient World and The History of the Medieval World - chronicles the contradictions of a world in transition. Impressively researched and brilliantly told, The History of the Renaissance World offers not just the names, dates, and facts but the memorable characters who illuminate the years between 1100 and 1453 - years that marked a sea change in mankind's perception of the world.
Between 1995 and 2007, the Republic of Ireland was the worldwide model of successful adaptation to economic globalisation. The success story was phenomenal: a doubling of the workforce; a massive growth in exports; a GDP that was substantially above the EU average. Ireland became the world's largest exporter of software and manufactured the world's supply of Viagra. But there were two big problems....
"Measured, balanced and easy listening"
The 20th century in Europe was an urban century: it was shaped by life in, and the view from, the street. Women were not liberated in legislatures, but liberated themselves in factories, homes, nightclubs, and shops. In Streetlife, Leif Jerram presents a totally new history of the 20th century, with the city at its heart, showing how everything distinctive about the century, from revolution and dictatorship to sexual liberation, was fundamentally shaped by the great urban centres which defined it.
In the early 17th century, a crippled, graying, almost toothless veteran of Spain's wars against the Ottoman Empire published a novel. It was the story of a poor nobleman, his brain addled from studying too many novels of chivalry, who deludes himself that he is a knight errant and sets off on hilarious adventures. That story, Don Quixote, went on to sell more copies than any other book beside the Bible, making its author, Miguel de Cervantes, the single most-read author in human history.
Elizabeth I acceded to the throne in 1558, restoring the Protestant faith to England. At the heart of the new queen's court lay Elizabeth's bedchamber, closely guarded by the favoured women who helped her dress, looked after her jewels and shared her bed. Elizabeth's private life was of public, political concern. Her bedfellows were witnesses to the face and body beneath the make-up and elaborate clothes, as well as to rumoured illicit dalliances with such figures as Robert Dudley. Their presence was for security as well as propriety, as the kingdom was haunted by fears of assassination plots and other Catholic subterfuge.
"Women in Elizabeth's life. "
Beautifully written, intelligent and provocative reflections on the world scene as Ascherson looks first at the painful business of being English in a period of decline marked by public nastiness and private confusion. He goes on to attack - in an important and original series of arguments -the politics of 'Stonehenge': the UK's archaic and undemocratic constitution, and finally examines the temptations of state power in Mrs Thatcher's decade.
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"
In 1940, the Polish Underground wanted to know what was happening inside the recently opened Auschwitz concentration camp. Polish army officer Witold Pilecki volunteered to be arrested by the Germans and report from inside the camp. His intelligence reports, smuggled out in 1941, were among the first eyewitness accounts of Auschwitz atrocities: the extermination of Soviet POWs, its function as a camp for Polish political prisoners, and the "final solution" for Jews. Pilecki received brutal treatment until he escaped in April 1943; soon after, he wrote a brief report....
"Spine chilling stuff"
Madrid, 1936. In a city blasted by a civil war that many fear will cross borders and engulf Europe - a conflict one writer will call "the decisive thing of the century" - six people meet and find their lives changed forever. Ernest Hemingway, his career stalled, his marriage sour, hopes that this war will give him fresh material and new romance; Martha Gellhorn, an ambitious novice journalist hungry for love and experience, thinks she will find both with Hemingway in Spain.
"Gripping Character Driven History"
In 1202, a 32-year-old Italian finished one of the most influential books of all time, which introduced modern arithmetic to Western Europe. Devised in India in the 7th and 8th centuries and brought to North Africa by Muslim traders, the Hindu-Arabic system helped transform the West into the dominant force in science, technology, and commerce, leaving behind Muslim cultures which had long known it but had failed to see its potential.
Paris has long been a storied center of art and culture, and of romance, but in the 1920s its magnetism was especially irresistible. From around the world writers, artists, and composers steamed in, to visit or linger, some to reside. This book - a work of immense erudition spiced with anecdotes and gossip - documents their haunts and habits, their comings and goings, their relationships intimate and artistic.
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.
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"
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"
From one of the greatest political journalists of recent times, an insider's account of four decades of covering the British political scene, packed with tales of the biggest political happenings of the last half century. Philip Webster covered politics for The Times newspaper for 43 years, including 18 years as its political editor.
"Fascinating insight, after the event, of so much in politics over the last 40 years."
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.
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.
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"
"Well told and very interesting"
Dynasty tells the story of Rome's first dynasty of emperors, from its establishment by Augustus Caesar in the last decades of the first century BC to its final, florid extinction less than a century later. The line of autocrats known to historians as the 'Julio-Claudians' remains to this day a byword for depravity. The brilliance of its allure and the blood-steeped shadows cast by its crimes still haunt the public imagination.
To Rule the Waves tells the extraordinary story of how the British Royal Navy allowed one nation to rise to a level of power unprecedented in history. From the navy's beginnings under Henry VIII to the age of computer warfare and special ops, historian Arthur Herman tells the spellbinding tale of great battles at sea, heroic sailors, violent conflict, and personal tragedy - of the way one mighty institution forged a nation, an empire, and a new world.
Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world's most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers all of Europe, both east and west, drawing on research in six languages to sweep readers through 34 nations and 60 years of political and cultural change-all in one integrated, enthralling narrative.
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!"
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.
"Good book, but the wrong format"
A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Führer and was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.
"Inspiring humbling history, from the other side!"
For all the literature about Adolf Hitler, there have been just four seminal biographies; this is the fifth, a landmark work that sheds important new light on Hitler himself. Drawing on previously unseen papers and a wealth of recent scholarly research, Volker Ullrich reveals the man behind the public persona, from Hitler's childhood, to his failures as a young man in Vienna, to his experiences during the First World War, to his rise as a far-right party leader.
"Good book., well read."
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.
Many political and cultural events sent shock waves through the Irish world in the 19th and early 20th centuries as Ireland gradually shook off the shackles of British rule. Alongside a long and painful political process arose one of the greatest flourishings of literature in modern times - a spirited discourse among those who sought to shape their nation's future, finding the significance of their bloody present intimately entwined with their legendary past.
"In depth, incisive & invaluable account of Ireland's story"