Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business. This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, considering how the ordinary things in life came to be.
"More Fact Pact Bryson"
A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's fascinating and humorous quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. He takes subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry, and particle physics, and aims to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. In the company of some extraordinary scientists, Bill Bryson reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
"A short Review of Nearly Everything"
The sun is setting on the Western world. Slowly but surely, the direction in which the world spins has reversed: where for the last five centuries the globe turned westward on its axis, it now turns to the east.... For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the West - in the New World of the Americas. Today it is the East that calls out to those in search of adventure and riches. The region stretching from Eastern Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia, deep into China and India, is taking center stage.
"Time, the creation of gods, the needs of commerce"
Examining the espionage and intelligence stories in World War II on a global basis, bringing together the British, American, German, Russian and Japanese histories. In The Secret War, Max Hastings examines the espionage and intelligence machines of all sides in World War II, and the impact of spies, code breakers and partisan operations on events.
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.
In the summer of 1914 most of Europe plunged into a war so catastrophic that it unhinged the continent's politics and beliefs in a way that took generations to recover from. The disaster terrified its survivors, shocked that a civilization that had blandly assumed itself to be a model for the rest of the world had collapsed into a chaotic savagery beyond any comparison.
To look back at the past is to understand the present. In this vivid account of over 4,000 years of British history, Simon Schama takes us on an epic journey which encompasses the very beginnings of the nation's identity, when the first settlers landed on Orkney.
"Brilliantly written, engagingly narrated"
From the earliest civilizations to the 21st century: a global journey through human history, published alongside a landmark BBC One television series. Our understanding of world history is changing, as new discoveries are made on all the continents and old prejudices are being challenged. In this truly global journey, Andrew Marr revisits some of the traditional epic stories, from classical Greece and Rome to the rise of Napoleon, but surrounds them with less familiar material, from Peru to the Ukraine, China to the Caribbean.
"Awsome, educational and epic work"
One Summer: America, 1927, is the new book by Britain's favourite writer of narrative nonfiction, Bill Bryson. Narrated by the man himself, One Summer takes you to the summer when America came of age, took centre stage, and changed the world forever. In the summer of 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day, a semi-crazed sculptor with a plan to carve four giant heads into a mountain called Rushmore, a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial, and a youthful aviator named Charles Lindbergh who started the summer wholly unknown, and finished it as the most famous man on Earth.
"Bryson hits another Home Run"
The point of The Churchill Factor is that one man can make all the difference. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, Boris Johnson explores what makes up the 'Churchill Factor' - the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the 20th century.
"Blood, toil, tears and sweat..."
"A wonderful idea, gloriously put into practice. Greg Jenner as is witty as he is knowledgeable." (Tom Holland) Who invented beds? When did we start cleaning our teeth? How old are wine and beer? Which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? What was the first clock? Every day, from the moment our alarm clocks wake us in the morning until our heads hit our pillows at night, we all take part in rituals that are millennia old.
"History Doesn't Repaet Itself, People Do"
The deep-seated origins and wide-reaching lessons of ancient myths built the foundation for our modern legacies. Explore the mythologies of Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Learn what makes these stories so important, distinctive, and able to withstand the test of time. Discover how, despite geographical implausibilities, many myths from across the oceans share themes, morals, and archetypes.
Are you ready for the truth about World War Two? In the first of an extraordinary three-volume account of the war on land, in the air and at sea, James Holland not only reveals the truth behind the familiar legends of the Second World War but he also unveils those lesser known events which were to have the greatest significance. The first book to consider the economic, political and social as well as the military aspects of World War Two, this is a unique retelling of a monumental event in all its terrible and majestic glory.
The story of Britain from the earliest settlements in 3000BC to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. To look back at the past is to understand the present. In this vivid account of over 4,000 years of British history, Simon Schama takes us on an epic journey which encompasses the very beginnings of the nation's identity, when the first settlers landed on Orkney. From the successes and failures of the monarchy to the daily life of a Roman soldier stationed on Hadrian's Wall, Schama gives a vivid, fascinating account of the many different stories and struggles that lie behind the growth of our island nation.
"A Good Overview of Early British Kings"
In Amsterdam, in the summer of 1942, the Nazis forced teenager Anne Frank and her family into hiding. For over two years, they, another family and a German dentist lived in a 'secret annexe', fearing discovery. All that time, Anne kept a diary.An intimate record of tension and struggle, adolescence and confinement, anger and heartbreak, Anne Frank's diary is one of those unique documents, famed throughout the world.It portrays innocence and humanity, suffering and survival in the starkest and most moving terms.
"Tissues at the ready..."
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"
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.
"Very impressive account"
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Ardennes 1944 by Antony Beever, read by Sean Barrett. On 16 December 1944, Hitler launched his last gamble in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes on the Belgian/German border. Although Hitler's generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east.
January 1991: IRAQ. Eight members of the SAS regiment embark upon a top-secret mission to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines. Under the command of Sergeant Andy McNab, they are to sever a vital underground communication link and to seek and destroy mobile Scud launchers. Their call sign: BRAVO TWO ZERO. Each laden with 15 stones of equipment, they tab 20km across the desert to reach their objective. But within days, their location is compromised. After a fierce fire fight, they are forced into evasive action. Four men are captured. Three die. Only one escapes.
"Even Better Than The Book"
Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology.
"An excellent work slightly spoilt"
History for busy people. Listen to a concise history of World War One in just one hour. World War One brought with it the world's first experience of Total War, involving all of the world's great powers, polarized between the Triple Entente, led by Britain, France and Russia, and the Central Powers, dominated by Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary. Around nine million men lost their lives in a conflict that introduced the horrors of trench warfare, machine guns, and toxic gas attacks.
"Concise History of The Great War"
History for busy people. Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party. Hitler was intent on the supremacy of the Aryan race and persecution of the Jews, which affected every citizen living in Germany at the time. Learn just how and why the Nazi's rose to power in just one hour.
In his ambition to provide a male heir to the throne, Henry VIII married six times. Divorce from his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, caused England's break from the Catholic Church in Rome. He went on to divorce Anne of Cleves and behead Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard for infidelities. Jane Seymour died and Catherine Parr survived Henry. Henry VIII's Wives: History in an Hour will introduce you to these six entirely diverse and captivating personalities and the events that propelled them to their individual fates.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour. During the year 1066, England had three different kings and fought three huge battles in defence of the realm, including the bloody Battle of Hastings. The result was the Norman Conquest which defined England during the Middle Ages. 1066 in an Hour will guide you through the politics and personalities of the Norman invasion. It will help you understand why William the Conqueror was victorious and introduce you to the new king and subsequent ancestor to the Plantagenets and Tudors.
Midnight, Tuesday 6 June 1944: The beginning of D-Day, the operation to invade Nazi-occupied Western Europe and initiate the final phase of World War II. A vast undertaking, it involved 12,000 aircraft and an amphibious assault of almost 7,000 vessels. 160,000 troops would cross the English Channel during Operation Overlord, paving the way for more than three million allied troops to enter France by the end of August 1944.
History for busy people. Listen to a succinct history of World War Two in just one hour.World War Two was one of the most devastating conflicts the world has ever seen. Between 1939 and 1945 almost every country in the world was affected by the war in some way.World War Two: History in an Hour neatly covers all the major facts and events giving you a clear and straightforward overview of the politics involved, the violence that ensued and how it changed the world in unimaginable ways.
"A starting point"
History for busy people. Listen to a concise history of the Vietnam War in just one hour. War, what is it good for? The Vietnam War: History In an Hour gives a gripping account of the most important Cold War-era conflict, fought between the United States and the Viet Cong, the Vietnam People's Army and their Communist allies. It was one of the most traumatic military conflicts America has ever been involved in - and provoked a backlash of anti-war protests at home.
"Bounces a bit too much around the timeline"
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour. Bringing together the military mights of the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United Nations States, the Korean War raged for three years from 1950 to 1953.
'Il Duce', Benito Mussolini, was one of the key figures in the creation of fascism. Famed for his dictatorial style, his political cunning and admired - initially - by Hitler, Mussolini led the National Fascist Party and ruled Italy as Prime Minister from 1922 until his ousting in 1943. In so doing, he paved the way towards Italy's defeat in World War Two, and some of the 20th century's most destructive ideologies and practices.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour. Nicknamed 'The Anarchy' for its unprecedented levels of chaos and disorder, the succession crisis that followed the death of King Henry I in 1135 resulted in England's first civil war. The Medieval Anarchy: History in an Hour neatly covers all the major facts and events giving you a clear and straightforward overview of the plots and violence that ensued during the the nineteen-year conflict.
"An excellent gallop through history"
'Remember, remember, the fifth of November'. The gunpowder plot is a famed tale of treachery that continues to fascinate and capture the imagination four hundred years on. The Gunpowder Plot in an Hour reveals the elaborate background to the infamous plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament and James I, the ultimate act of treason.
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 audio book"
Welcome to Today in History, your daily time capsule to historical happenings by the Associated Press. Featuring multiple moments from years past, Today in History brings you back in time to the world's most impactful events.
Few Americans know that the Revolutionary War did not begin with the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, but over a year earlier, in April 1775. Now historian Derek Beck draws on previously unpublished documents to tell the full story of the war before American independence - from both sides. Spanning the years 1773 to 1776, this audiobook sweeps listeners from the Boston Tea Party to the halls of Parliament - where Ben Franklin was almost run out of England for pleading on behalf of the colonies.
A retired naval aviator (fighter pilot) and former paratrooper, Shanle puts listeners in the cockpit as hundreds of aircraft engage in the biggest and deadliest dog fights in history. Storm the beaches of Pacific Islands with the Marines, parachute into France with the Army Airborne, and stand on the decks of the USS Johnston as the tiny Destroyer charges an entire Imperial Japanese Fleet by itself.
Twenty-four aircrew who flew the iconic aircraft with the Fleet Air Arm, the Royal Air Force, and the South African Air Force (SAAF) relate their experiences and affection for the Blackburn Buccaneer. Arranged in chronological order, the book traces the history of the aircraft and the tasks it fulfilled. In addition to describing events and activities, it provides an insight into the lifestyle of a Buccaneer squadron and the fun and enjoyment of being a "Buccaneer Boy" in addition to being part of a highly professional and dedicated force.
As an RAF medical officer, Aidan McCarthy served in France, survived Dunkirk, and was plunged into adventures in the Japanese-American arena comparable with those of famous war heroes. Interned by the Japanese in Java, he helped his fellow prisoners with amazing ingenuity in awful conditions. En route back to Japan in 1944, his ship was torpedoed, but he was rescued by a whaling boat and re-interned in Japan.
In a riveting account of the dark days leading up to France's defeat and occupation, Martin reveals a great and civilized nation committing a kind of suicide in 1938. When the relative calm in the first quarter ends with Germany's invasion of Austria, France is faced with hard questions about its diplomatic and military posture, and the leftist political alliance called the Popular Front makes its last stand.
When 27-year-old Parisian immigrant Eugène D. Burguières landed at the Port of New Orleans in 1831, one of the oldest Louisiana dynasties began. Seen through the lens of one family, this book traces the Burguières from 17th-century France, to 19th- century New Orleans and rural south Louisiana, and into the 21st century. It's also a rich portrait of an American region that has retained its vibrant French culture.
During World War II, Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker, organized a rescue network of fellow social workers to save 2,500 Jewish children from certain death in the Warsaw ghetto. Incredibly, after the war her heroism, like that of many others, was suppressed by communist Poland and remained virtually unknown for 60 years.
According to a recent international study, the Lightning is the fifth most popular military aircraft of all time. It has many thousands of devotees who are a ready market for this timely and entertaining book which, with over 20 individual stories from former Lightning pilots, relates the highs and lows, and the dramas and the demands of those who operated this iconic aircraft from the sharp end.
Author of three books, this is by far his best. Lee puts you in the cockpit in a riveting account of life as a fighter pilot at the front. At times humorous and dramatic, this thoughtful, enlightening, true account is a classic to be ranked with Winged Victory by W. V. Yeates, also published by Grub Street.
Born in Macedonia, Alexander spent his childhood envious of his father's conquests. He watched his father head off to great battles and read of Greek heroes who were remembered forever for their bravery. All the while, he wished that he too could become a hero in history. With the sudden death of his father, Alexander received his chance to become the hero that he always dreamed of being. Consolidating Greece and raising an army, he prepared for conquests in the Persian Empire.
Augustus, born Gaius Octavius Thurinus in 63 BCE, was the first emperor of Rome. From the moment his great-uncle and adoptive father, Julius Caesar, died when he was 18, his life was one action-packed conflict after another. From the unexpected inheritance of a hefty fortune and a heap of responsibilities, to fighting off a foe who should be a friend, to seeking revenge on Caesar's assassins, he had his work cut out for him.
The Cripple Creek District, on the back of Pikes Peak in central Colorado, first found fame through Bob Womack, the cowboy who publicized his knowledge of gold in the high country and drew thousands to the area. Gold fever allowed the region to flourish, while strikes, fires, and economic hardships threatened the district's survival. The dwindling population's fortitude, plus innovative ideas to boost the economy, carried the city from a struggling gold-miners' paradise to a favored tourist spot.
Cyril Robinson's magnificent history continues with volume two in this four-part series. We now follow the fortunes of two great royal dynasties: Tudor and Stuart. Great names from England's past tumble out one after the other. Henry VIII takes the English out of the Catholic fold. His daughter, Elizabeth, defeats the Spanish Armada of 1588. The arrogance of Charles I leads him to the scaffold. Civil War and Puritanism follow, led by the intrepid Oliver Cromwell.
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 20th century should make sense. It's the period of history that we know the most about, an epic geopolitical narrative that runs through World War One, the Great Depression, World War Two, the American century and the fall of the Berlin Wall. But somehow that story doesn't quite lead into the world we find ourselves in now, this bewildering 21st century, adrift in a network of constant surveillance, unsustainable competition, tsunamis of trivia and extraordinary opportunity.
"Tour through our times."
The Falklands War was one of the strangest in British history - 28,000 men sent to fight for a tiny relic of empire 8,000 miles from home. At the time, many Britons saw it as a tragic absurdity, but the British victory confirmed the quality of British arms and boosted the political fortunes of the Conservative government.
"The best book Max Hastings has released."
Ancient Rome matters. Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today. SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists.
With an introduction read by Max Hastings. Bomber Command's offensive against the cities of Germany was one of the epic campaigns of the Second World War. More than 56,000 British and Commonwealth aircrew and 600,000 Germans died in the course of the RAF's attempt to win the war by bombing. The struggle began in 1939 with a few score primitive Whitleys, Hampdens and Wellingtons, and ended six years later with 1,600 Lancasters, Halifaxes, and Mosquitoes razing whole cities in a single night.
"Target for tonight"
The bloodbath at Waterloo ended a war that had engulfed the world for over 20 years. It also finished the career of the charismatic Napoleon Bonaparte. It ensured the final liberation of Germany and the restoration of the old European monarchies, and it represented one of very few defeats for the glorious French army, most of whose soldiers remained devoted to their Emperor until the very end.
"The best account of the Waterloo campaign.....ever"
The 13 chapters of The Art of War, each devoted to one aspect of warfare, were compiled by the high-ranking Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher Sun-Tzu. In spite of its battlefield specificity, The Art of War has found new life in the modern age with leaders in fields as wide and far-reaching as world politics, human psychology, and corporate strategy finding valuable insight in its timeworn words.
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.
"Enjoyable, clever, funny - but perplexing."
Best-selling author Christopher Winn takes us on a captivating journey around London to discover the unknown tales of our capital's history. Travelling through the villages and districts that make up the world's most dynamic metropolis, I Never Knew That About London unearths the hidden gems of legends, firsts, inventions, adventures and birthplaces that shape the city's compelling and at times turbulent past.
The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.
"Amazing! Wonderful! Couldn't get enough!"
The brilliantly compelling new biography of the treacherous and tyrannical King John, published to coincide with the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Authoritative and dramatic, Marc Morris' King John offers a compelling portrait of an extraordinary king whose reign marked a momentous turning point in the history of Britain and Europe. King John is buried in Worcester Cathedral.
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."
As remarkable as Columbus and the conquistador expeditions, the history of Portuguese exploration is now almost forgotten. But Portugal's navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched the expedition of Vasco da Gama to India and beat the Spanish to the spice kingdoms of the East - then set about creating the first long-range maritime empire.
The Russian decision to mobilize in July 1914 may have been the single most catastrophic choice of the modern era. Some articulate, thoughtful figures around the tsar understood Russia's fragility, yet they were shouted down by those who were convinced that despite Germany's patent military superiority, Russian greatness required decisive action.
"Really terrific, but not a primer for this subject"
This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. This narrative history employs the methods of "history from beneath" - literature, epic traditions, private letters, and accounts - to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled.
"Entertaining and informative"
In the early 1970s, Britain seemed to be tottering on the brink of the abyss. Under Edward Heath, the optimism of the Sixties had become a distant memory. Now the headlines were dominated by strikes and blackouts, unemployment and inflation. As the world looked on in horrified fascination, Britain seemed to be tearing itself apart. And yet, amid the gloom, glittered a creativity and cultural dynamism that would influence our lives long after the nightmarish Seventies had been forgotten.