Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War, a country house called The Firs in Buckinghamshire was requisitioned by the War Office. Sentries were posted at the entrance gates, and barbed wire was strung around the perimeter fence. To local villagers it looked like a prison camp. But the truth was far more sinister. This rambling Edwardian mansion had become home to an eccentric band of scientists, inventors and bluestockings. Their task was to build devastating new weaponry that could be used against the Nazis.
"A wonderful book."
The Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers. Even in their most private moments, they were accompanied by a servant specifically appointed for the task. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed. These attendants knew the truth behind the glamorous exterior.
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis - that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over 40 years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
A tour-de-force of historical imagination, this is the story of three young men at the dawn of the French Revolution. Georges-Jacques Danton: zealous, energetic, debt-ridden. Maximilien Robespierre: small, diligent, and terrified of violence. And Camille Desmoulins: a genius of rhetoric, charming, handsome, but erratic and untrustworthy. As these key figures of the French Revolution taste the addictive delights of power, they must also come to face the horror that follows.
"A fascinating, cold and brutal slice of history"
At the age of 16, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor's numerous concubines. When he died, in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China - behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male.
"Engaging insight into 19th Century China"
Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgement Day, and the battlefield of today's clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of 3,000 years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism, and coexistence. How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the 'centre of the world' and now the key to peace in the Middle East?
"A Rolls Royce Production"
The 25 years between the onset of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Bourbon Restoration after Napoleon in 1814 is an astonishing period in world history. This era shook the foundations of the old world and marked a permanent shift for politics, religion, and society - not just for France, but for all of Europe. An account of the events alone reads like something out of a thrilling novel.
In 1967, not long after the Six-Day War, three young Arab men ventured into the town of Ramle, in what is now Jewish Israel. They were cousins, on a pilgrimage to see their childhood homes; their families had been driven out of Palestine nearly 20 years earlier. One cousin had a door slammed in his face, and another found his old house had been converted into a school. But the third, Bashir Al-Khairi, was met at the door by a young woman called Dalia, who invited them in.
The Pax Britannica trilogy is Jan Morris's epic story of the British Empire from the accession of Queen Victoria to the death of Winston Churchill. It is a towering achievement: informative, accessible, entertaining and written with all her usual bravura. Heaven's Command, the first volume, takes us from the crowning of Queen Victoria in 1837 to the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The story moves effortlessly across the world, from the English shores to Fiji, Zululand, the Canadian prairies and beyond. Totally gripping history!
Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today's developing countries-with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.
"Interesting political narative"
Consider the intense and rapid changes that transformed the political, social, and economic struggles of the world during the 20th century: the first flight and space flight, the Manhattan Project and the Welfare State, Nietzsche and Freud, the Great Depression and inflation, moving pictures and home computers, the Cold War and terrorism - and war and peace.
"More philosophy than history"
McCullough's John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. This is history on a grand scale, an audiobook about politics, war, and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship, and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, it is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.
"A great life that kept me listening"
Christopher Lee's history of Britain provides the definitive radio account of the events and personalities that have shaped our nation. Volume 6, covering the years 1702 to 1760, looks at several firsts: the reign of the first Hanoverian king, George I; the man known as Britain's first prime minister, Robert Walpole; the first renditions of 'Rule Britannia' and 'God Save the King'; and, importantly, the first appearance of gin!
"A good listen"
President Theodore Roosevelt forever transformed America, ushering the country into the arena of world supremacy. His brand of leadership was entirely American: confident, compassionate, energetic, diverse, visionary. But Roosevelt was not a born leader; his ascent to the apex of power was not a foregone conclusion.
Revolutions come in waves and cycles. We are again riding the crest of a revolutionary epic, much like 1848 or 1917, from the Arab Spring to movements against austerity in Greece to the Occupy movement. In Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges - who has chronicled the malaise and sickness of a society in terminal moral decline in his books Empire of Illusion and Death of the Liberal Class - investigates what social and psychological factors cause revolution, rebellion, and resistance.
From the New York Times best-selling author of In Harm's Way comes a true-life story of American soldiers overcoming great odds to achieve a stunning military victory. Horse Soldiers is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war against the Taliban on horses. Outnumbered 40 to 1, they pursued the enemy army across the mountainous Afghanistan terrain and, after a series of intense battles, captured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, which was strategically essential to defeat their opponent throughout the country.
"A should listen, to win does not mean to conquer"
In this magisterial book, Roy Jenkins' unparalleled command of the political history of Britain and his own high-level government experience combine in a narrative account of Churchill's astounding career that is unmatched in its shrewd insights, its unforgettable anecdotes, the clarity of its overarching themes, and the author's nuanced appreciation of his extraordinary subject.
"A biography worthy of Churchill"
With an introduction read by Max Hastings. An exhilarating and uplifting account of the lives of 16 'warriors' from the last three centuries, hand-picked for their bravery or extraordinary military experience by the eminent military historian, author and ex-editor of the Daily Telegraph, Sir Max Hastings. Over the course of 40 years of writing about war, Max Hastings has grown fascinated by outstanding deeds of derring-do on the battlefield (land, sea, or air) - and by their practitioners.
Nigel Hamilton's Mantle of Command, long-listed for the National Book Award, drew on years of archival research and interviews to portray FDR in a tight close-up as he determined Allied strategy in the crucial initial phases of World War II. Commander in Chief reveals the astonishing sequel - suppressed by Winston Churchill in his memoirs - of Roosevelt's battles with Churchill to maintain that strategy.
He was a husband, a father, a preacher - and the preeminent leader of a movement that continues to transform America and the world.
Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms provides the first comprehensive account of what was once hailed by a leading American newspaper as the greatest spy story of World War II. This dramatic yet little-known saga, replete with telephone taps, kidnappings, and police surveillance, centres on the furtive escapades of Tyler Kent, a handsome, womanising 28-year-old Ivy League graduate who doubles as a US Embassy code clerk and Soviet agent.
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......"
Published to commemorate the bicentennial of Thomas Paine's death, these texts have remained two of the most influential arguments for liberty in political thought. Common Sense is a pamphlet that Paine wrote in support of American independence. Thanks to its original and simple style, it spread like wildfire through the colonies, helping to inspire the American Revolution. Rights of Man is Paine's passionate defence of the French Revolution that led to his trial for sedition and libel.
Since the end of the Cold War so-called experts have been predicting the eclipse of America's "special relationship" with Britain. But as events have shown, especially in the wake of 9/11, the political and cultural ties between America and Britain have grown stronger. Blood, Class, and Empire examines the dynamics of this relationship, its many cultural manifestations - the James Bond series, PBS "Brit Kitsch", Rudyard Kipling - and explains why it still persists.
Marcus Cicero, Rome's greatest statesman and orator, was elected to the Roman Republic's highest office at a time when his beloved country was threatened by power-hungry politicians, dire economic troubles, foreign turmoil, and political parties that refused to work together. Sound familiar? Cicero's letters, speeches, and other writings are filled with timeless wisdom and practical insight about how to solve these and other problems of leadership and politics. How to Run a Country collects the best of these writings to provide an entertaining, common-sense guide for modern leaders and citizens
In this Very Short Introduction, Linda Greenhouse draws on her deep knowledge of the court's history and of its written and unwritten rules to show readers how the Supreme Court really works. She offers a fascinating institutional biography of a place and its people--men and women who exercise great power but whose names and faces are unrecognized by many Americans and whose work often appears cloaked in mystery.
A court of law can be as political, prejudiced, and biased as any other arm of the State. The classic instance is the story of the trials of Alfred Dreyfus. In December 1894 a French military tribunal found Alfred Dreyfus guilty of high treason. Dreyfus was a Jew; the War Office was determined that at all costs the honour and good name of the Army must be upheld; and both left and right in the French Parliament used the convulsions of the case for what they believed to be their own advantage. Even now the case provokes arguments of fierce intensity.
This panoramic book tells the story of how revolutionary ideas from the Enlightenment about freedom, equality, evolution, and democracy have reverberated through modern history and shaped the world as we know it today.
Groundbreaking scientific analysis that breaks the JFK assassination wide open! Did a shot from the "grassy knoll" kill President Kennedy? If so, was Oswald part of a conspiracy or an innocent patsy? Why have scientific experts who examined the evidence failed to put such questions to rest? In 2001, scientist Dr. Donald Byron Thomas published a peer-reviewed article that revived the debate over the finding by the House Select Committee on Assassinations that there had indeed been a shot from the grassy knoll, caught on a police dictabelt recording.
"Excellent science, but not Oswald....."
The Venezuelan revolutionary Simón Bolívar, also known as El Libertador, sought to lead Latin America to independence from the Spanish in the early nineteenth century. Ever since he has been held as a model for subsequent Latin American radicals; Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela, has dubbed his own programmes of social reform the Bolívarian Revolution . In his introduction to this collection of Bolívar s writings, Chávez explains why Bolívar continues to inspire.
These early philosophical writings underpinned the Chinese revolutions and their clarion calls to insurrection remain some of the most stirring of all time. Drawing on a dizzying array of references from contemporary culture and politics, Zizek's firecracker commentary reaches unsettling conclusions about the place of Mao's thought in the revolutionary canon.
The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 to end all traffic between the city's two halves: the democratic west and the communist east. The iconic symbol of a divided Europe, the Wall became a focus of western political pressure on East Germany; as Ronald Reagan's famously said in a 1987 speech in Berlin, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
In April 2014, Viktor Orbn, the youngest elected Prime Minister in Hungarian history, became Prime Minister of Hungary for the third time, for the second time with a supermajority, making him the most significant Hungarian politician since the 19th century. Beat that. He changed Eastern Europe, and may well do the same for Western Europe. The Hungarian Tiger is everything you wanted to know about Hungarian politics, but were afraid to ask.
In 1943 Winston Churchill and the British Empire needed millions of Indian troops, all of India's industrial output, and tons of Indian grain to support the Allied war effort. Such massive contributions were certain to trigger famine in India. Because Churchill believed that the fate of the British Empire hung in the balance, he proceeded, sacrificing millions of Indian lives in order to preserve what he held most dear. The result: the Bengal Famine of 1943-44, in which millions of villagers starved to death.
"Interesting reading, marred by pronunciation"
While Vladimir Putin has been president and prime minister of Russia, the Kremlin has deployed the security services to intimidate the political opposition, reassert the power of the state, and carry out assassinations overseas. At the same time, its agents and spies were put beyond public accountability and blessed with the prestige, benefits, and legitimacy lost since the Soviet collapse.
The never-before-told full story of the history-changing break-in at the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, by a group of unlikely activists - quiet, ordinary, hardworking Americans - that made clear the shocking truth and confirmed what some had long suspected, that J. Edgar Hoover had created and was operating, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, his own shadow Bureau of Investigation.
"A true story that will get you mad."