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.
""History is a set of lies agreed upon." Napoleon"
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.
"Varied essay collection"
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"
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.
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 ?"
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."
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"
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"
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"
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 February 1981, just as Spain was finally leaving Franco's dictatorship and during the first democratic vote in parliament for a new prime minister - Colonel Tejero and a band of right-wing soldiers burst into the Spanish parliament and began firing shots. Only three members of Congress defied the incursion and did not dive for cover: Adolfo Suarez, the then-outgoing prime minister, who had steered the country away from the Franco era; Guttierez Mellado, a conservative general who had loyally served democracy; and Santiago Carillo, the head of the Communist Party.
"History as a novel"
Richard II was young, handsome, and elegant. Last living child of the brilliant Black Prince, he came to the throne bearing the hopes of his people on his shoulders. His court glittered; his tastes were refined; his portraits shone with gold. Regal, composed, aloof, he was the very picture of majesty. He became a murderous, capricious tyrant. His favorites plotted against his family. He rewrote the laws of England to give himself absolute power. He raised an army against his own subjects. His subjects deposed him.
When Isaac Newton died in 1727 without a will, he left behind a wealth of papers that, when examined, gave his followers and his family a deep sense of unease. Some of what they contained was wildly heretical and alchemically obsessed, hinting at a Newton altogether stranger and less palatable than the one enshrined in Westminster Abbey as the paragon of English rationality. These manuscripts had the potential to undermine not merely Newton's reputation, but that of the scientific method he embodied.
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.
France is in a rut, and so is French cuisine. Twenty-five years ago it was hard to have a bad meal in France; now, in some cities and towns, it is a challenge to find a good one. For the first time in the annals of modern cooking, the most influential chefs and the most talked-about restaurants in the world are not French. Within France, large segments of the wine industry are in crisis, cherished artisanal cheeses are threatened with extinction, and bistros and brasseries are disappearing at an alarming rate.
"Au Revoir to happiness and romance"
Here at last is a history of England that is designed to entertain as well as inform and that will delight the armchair traveler, the tourist, or just about anyone interested in history. No people have engendered quite so much acclaim or earned so much censure as the English: extolled as the Athenians of modern times, yet hammered for their self-satisfaction and hypocrisy. But their history has been a spectacular one.
Part biography, part cultural history, The Creation of Anne Boleyn is a fascinating reconstruction of Anne's life and an illuminating look at her afterlife in the popular imagination. Why is Anne so compelling? Why has she inspired such extreme reactions? What did she really look like? Was she the flaxen-haired martyr of Romantic paintings or the raven-haired seductress of twenty-first-century portrayals? (Answer: Neither.) And perhaps the most provocative questions concern Anne's death more than her life.
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"
A journalist writing in the first flush of revolutionary enthusiasm, John Reed gives a gripping record of the events in Petrograd in November 1917, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks finally seized power. Containing verbatim reports both of speeches by leaders and the chance comments of bystanders, set against an idealized backcloth of the proletariat, soldiers, sailors, and peasants uniting to throw off oppression, Reed's account is the product of passionate involvement and remains a classic of reporting.
When we think of France we often evoke images of fine food and wine, the elegant boulevards of Paris, the chic beaches of St Tropez. Yet, as the largest country in Europe, it is a place of huge diversity. The idea of 'Frenchness' emerged from over 2,000 years of history and it is a riveting story from Roman conquest to the present day.
"Mostly modern history"
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.
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"
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.
"Life's Rich Pageant"
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 Housekeeper's Tale reveals the personal sacrifices, bitter disputes and driving ambition that shaped these women's careers. Using secret diaries, unpublished letters, and the neglected service archives of our stately homes, Tessa Boase tells the extraordinary stories of five working women who ran some of Britain's most prominent households.
"Too many stars? Not really."
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"
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.
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"
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"
In the wake of its 30th birthday celebrations in 2006, BBC Radio Ulster marked the beginning of a new broadcasting era by embarking on the station's most ambitious project to date: a recounting of the history of Ireland.
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.
"not bad but not what I was expecting"
At 01:23:40 on April 26th 1986, Alexander Akimov pressed the emergency shutdown button at Chernobyl's fourth nuclear reactor. It was an act that forced the permanent evacuation of a city, killed thousands, and crippled the Soviet Union. The event spawned decades of conflicting, exaggerated, and inaccurate stories.
"Interesting content but terrible delivery"
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.
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."
Putting history into a perspective, this is an engaging, entertaining and educational trip through time, packing in equal parts fun and facts. Recently updated, British History For Dummies introduces listeners to recent events, including British actions in Afghanistan, and David Cameron's formation of Britain's first coalition Cabinet since World War II. But don't worry - British History For Dummies doesn't skimp on the old stuff! It's a riotous, irreverent account of the people and events that have shaped Britain.
"Spearheads you thru British History"