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Books > Humanities > History > Asian / Middle Eastern history

Blood Money - Stories Of An Ex-Recce's Missions In Iraq (Paperback): Johan Raath Blood Money - Stories Of An Ex-Recce's Missions In Iraq (Paperback)
Johan Raath 2
R260 R205 Discovery Miles 2 050 Save R55 (21%) Shipped within 4 - 8 working days

A riveting, action-filled account that sheds light on the realities of working in a war-torn country, this is the first book on the war in Iraq by a South African.

Johan Raath and a security team were escorting American engineers to a power plant south of Baghdad when they were ambushed. He had first arrived in Iraq only two weeks before. This was a small taste of what was to come over the next 13 years while he worked there as a private military contractor (PMC). His mission? Not to wage war but to protect lives. Raath acted as a bodyguard for VIPs and, more often, engineers who were involved in construction projects to rebuild the country after the 2003 war. His physical and mental endurance was tested to the limit in his efforts to safeguard construction sites that were regularly subjected to mortar and suicide attacks. Key to his survival was his training as a Special Forces operator, or Recce.

Working in places called the Triangle of Death and driving on the ‘Hell Run’, Raath had numerous hair-raising experiences. As a trained combat medic he also helped to save people’s lives after two suicide bomb attacks on sites he then worked at.

No Room For Small Dreams - Courage, Imagination And The Making Of Modern Israel (Hardcover): Shimon Peres No Room For Small Dreams - Courage, Imagination And The Making Of Modern Israel (Hardcover)
Shimon Peres 1
R587 R358 Discovery Miles 3 580 Save R229 (39%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century. Peres would indeed go on to serve the new state as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries.

He was central to the establishment of the Israeli Defense Forces and the defense industry that would provide the young state with a robust deterrent power. He was crucial to launching Israel’s nuclear energy program and to the creation of its high-tech “Start-up Nation” revolution. His refusal to surrender to conventional wisdom and political norms helped save the Israeli economy and prompted some of the most daring military operations in history, among them the legendary Operation Entebbe. And yet, as important as his role in creating and deploying Israel’s armed forces was, his stunning transition from hawk to dove—with its accompanying unwavering commitment to peace—made him one of the globe’s most recognized, honored, and admired statesmen.

In this, his final work, finished only weeks before his passing, Peres offers a long-awaited examination of the crucial turning points in Israeli history through the prism of having been a decision maker and eyewitness. Told with the frankness of someone aware this would likely be his final statement, No Room for Small Dreams spans decades and events, but as much as it is about what happened, it is about why it happened. Examining pivotal moments in Israel’s rise, Peres explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress, the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the liberating nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation.

In doing so, he not only charts a better path forward for his beloved country but provides deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead—be it in politics, business, or the broader service of making our planet a safer, more peaceful, and just place.

Rise and Kill First - The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations (Hardcover): Ronen Bergman Rise and Kill First - The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations (Hardcover)
Ronen Bergman
R710 R560 Discovery Miles 5 600 Save R150 (21%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, hailed by The New York Times as “an exceptional work, a humane book about an incendiary subject.”

The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively.

In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman—praised by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter”—offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions.

Bergman has gained the exceedingly rare cooperation of many current and former members of the Israeli government, including Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as high-level figures in the country’s military and intelligence services: the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Mossad (the world’s most feared intelligence agency), Caesarea (a “Mossad within the Mossad” that carries out attacks on the highest-value targets), and the Shin Bet (an internal security service that implemented the largest targeted assassination campaign ever, in order to stop what had once appeared to be unstoppable: suicide terrorism).

Including never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of files to which Bergman has gotten exclusive access over his decades of reporting, Rise and Kill First brings us deep into the heart of Israel’s most secret activities. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world.

Code Name: Johnny Walker - The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the US Navy SEALs... Code Name: Johnny Walker - The Extraordinary Story of the Iraqi Who Risked Everything to Fight with the US Navy SEALs (Paperback)
Johnny Walker, Jim DeFelice
R233 R163 Discovery Miles 1 630 Save R70 (30%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Night after night, he guided the U.S. Navy SEALs through Iraq's most dangerous regions. A translator operating under the code name "Johnny Walker," he risked his life on more than a thousand missions and became a legend in the U.S. special-ops community. But in the eyes of Iraq's terrorists and insurgents, he and his family were marked for death because he worked with the Americans. Fearing for Johnny's safety, the SEALs heroically took it upon themselves to bring him and his family to the United States. With inside details on SEAL operations and a deeply personal understanding of the tragic price paid by ordinary Iraqis, Code Name: Johnny Walker is a gripping and unforgettable true story that reveals a side of the war that has never been told before. Includes a new afterword on the rise of ISIS

Ben-Gurion - Father of Modern Israel (Hardcover): Anita Shapira Ben-Gurion - Father of Modern Israel (Hardcover)
Anita Shapira
R444 R419 Discovery Miles 4 190 Save R25 (6%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

David Ben-Gurion cast a great shadow during his lifetime, and his legacy continues to be sharply debated to this day. There have been many books written about the life and accomplishments of the Zionist icon and founder of modern Israel, but this new biography by eminent Israeli historian Anita Shapira strives to get to the core of the complex man who would become the face of the new Jewish nation.

Shapira tells the Ben-Gurion story anew, focusing especially on the period after 1948, during the first years of statehood. As a result of her extensive research and singular access to Ben-Gurion’s personal archives, the author provides fascinating and original insights into his personal qualities and those that defined his political leadership. As Shapira writes, “Ben-Gurion liked to argue that history is made by the masses, not individuals. But just as Lenin brought the Bolshevik Revolution into the world and Churchill delivered a fighting Britain, so with Ben-Gurion and the Jewish state. He knew how to create and exploit the circumstances that made its birth possible.”

Shapira’s portrait reveals the flesh-and-blood man who more than anyone else realized the Israeli state.

American Sniper - The Autobiography Of The Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. Military History (Paperback, Movie Tie-In): Chris Kyle,... American Sniper - The Autobiography Of The Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. Military History (Paperback, Movie Tie-In)
Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen 2
R251 R180 Discovery Miles 1 800 Save R71 (28%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Now a major motion picture directed by Clint Eastwood.

From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States military history. His fellow American warriors, whom he protected with deadly precision from rooftops and stealth positions during the Iraq War, called him "The Legend"; meanwhile, the enemy feared him so much they named him al-Shaitan ("the devil") and placed a bounty on his head.

Kyle, who was tragically killed in 2013, writes honestly about the pain of war—including the deaths of two close SEAL teammates—and in moving first-person passages throughout, his wife, Taya, speaks openly about the strains of war on their family, as well as on Chris. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle's masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.

Includes new material by Taya Kyle about the making of the American Sniper film.

Arik - The Life Of Ariel Sharon (Paperback): David Landau Arik - The Life Of Ariel Sharon (Paperback)
David Landau 1
R382 R310 Discovery Miles 3 100 Save R72 (19%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

From the former editor in chief of "Haaretz", comes the first in-depth, comprehensive biography of Ariel Sharon, the most dramatic and imposing Israeli political and military leader of the last forty years.

The life of Ariel Sharon spans much of modern Israel's history. A commander in the Israeli Army from its inception in 1948, Sharon participated in the 1948 War of Independence, played decisive roles in the 1956 Suez War and the Six-Day War of 1967, and is credited here with the shift in the outcome of the Yom Kippur War of 1973.

After leaving the professional army, Sharon became a political leader and served in numerous governments, most prominently as the defense minister during the 1982 Lebanon War in which he bore "personal responsibility," according to the state's commission of inquiry, for massacres of Palestinian civilians by Lebanese militia. As a general and as a politician, he championed the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. But as prime minister, he performed a dramatic reversal: orchestrating Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

Landau brilliantly chronicles Sharon's surprising about-face, combining the immediacy of firsthand reportage with the analysis and independent insight of a historian's perspective. Sharon suffered a stroke in January 2006 and remains in a persistent vegetative state. This biography recounts the life of the man who is considered by many to be Israel's greatest military leader and political statesman, illustrating how Sharon's leadership transformed Israel, and how his views were shaped by the changing nature of Israeli society.

Vietnam - An Epic History of a Tragic War (Paperback): Max Hastings Vietnam - An Epic History of a Tragic War (Paperback)
Max Hastings 1
R240 R189 Discovery Miles 1 890 Save R51 (21%) In stock

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER `His masterpiece' Antony Beevor, Spectator `A masterful performance' Sunday Times `By far the best book on the Vietnam War' Gerald Degroot, The Times, Book of the Year Vietnam became the Western world's most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh's warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people. Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners' victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas. No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings' readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.

How Violence Shapes Religion - Belief and Conflict in the Middle East and Africa (Paperback): Ziya Meral How Violence Shapes Religion - Belief and Conflict in the Middle East and Africa (Paperback)
Ziya Meral
R564 R440 Discovery Miles 4 400 Save R124 (22%) In stock

Is there an inevitable global violent clash unfolding between the world's largest religions: Islam and Christianity? Do religions cause violent conflicts, or are there other factors at play? How can we make sense of increasing reports of violence between Christian and Muslim ethnic communities across the world? By seeking to answer such questions about the relationship between religion and violence in today's world, Ziya Meral challenges popular theories and offers an alternative explanation, grounded on insights inferred from real cases of ethno-religious violence in Africa and the Middle East.

The relationship between religion and violence runs deep and both are intrinsic to the human story. Violence leads to and shapes religion, while religion acts to enable violence as well as providing responses that contain and prevent it. However, with religious violence being one of the most serious challenges facing the modern world, Meral shows that we need to de-globalise our analysis and focus on individual conflicts, instead of attempting to provide single answers to complex questions.

An Autobiography - 150th Anniversary Edition (Paperback): M K Gandhi An Autobiography - 150th Anniversary Edition (Paperback)
M K Gandhi; Translated by Mahadev Desai 1
R238 R165 Discovery Miles 1 650 Save R73 (31%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

The life of Gandhi, in his own words 'Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood' Albert Einstein upon the death of M. K. Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in western India in 1869. He was educated in London and later travelled to South Africa, where he experienced racism and took up the rights of Indians, instituting his first campaign of passive resistance. In 1915 he returned to British-controlled India, bringing to a country in the throes of independence his commitment to non-violent change, and his belief always in the power of truth. Under Gandhi's lead, millions of protesters would engage in mass campaigns of civil disobedience, seeking change through moral conversion of the colonizers. For Gandhi, the long path towards Indian independence would lead to imprisonment and hardship, yet he never once forgot the principles of truth and non-violence so dear to him. Written in the 1920s, Gandhi's autobiography tells not only of his struggles and inspirations but also speaks frankly of his failures. It is a powerful and enduring account of an extraordinary life. 'Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics' Martin Luther King Jr. 'I have the greatest admiration for Mahatma Gandhi. He was a great human being with a deep understanding of human nature. His life has inspired me' The Dalai Lama 'Gandhi's ideas have played a vital role in South Africa's transformation and with the help of Gandhi's teaching, apartheid has been overcome' Nelson Mandela

Japan Story - In Search of a Nation, 1850 to the Present (Paperback): Christopher Harding Japan Story - In Search of a Nation, 1850 to the Present (Paperback)
Christopher Harding 1
R262 R182 Discovery Miles 1 820 Save R80 (31%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

This is a fresh and surprising account of Japan's culture from the 'opening up' of the country in the mid-nineteenth century to the present. 'How much I admired it, what a lot I learned from it and, above all, how very much I enjoyed it ... Masterly.' Neil MacGregor It is told through the eyes of people who greeted this change not with the confidence and grasping ambition of Japan's modernizers and nationalists, but with resistance, conflict, distress. We encounter writers of dramas, ghost stories and crime novels where modernity itself is the tragedy, the ghoul and the bad guy; surrealist and avant-garde artists sketching their escape; rebel kamikaze pilots and the put-upon urban poor; hypnotists and gangsters; men in desperate search of the eternal feminine and feminists in search of something more than state-sanctioned subservience; Buddhists without morals; Marxist terror groups; couches full to bursting with the psychological fall-out of breakneck modernization. These people all sprang from the soil of modern Japan, but their personalities and projects failed to fit. They were 'dark blossoms': both East-West hybrids and home-grown varieties that wreathed, probed and sometimes penetrated the new structures of mainstream Japan.

Lords of the Desert - Britain's Struggle with America to Dominate the Middle East (Paperback): James Barr Lords of the Desert - Britain's Struggle with America to Dominate the Middle East (Paperback)
James Barr 1
R247 R155 Discovery Miles 1 550 Save R92 (37%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Guardian Book of the Day New Statesman Book of the Year History Today Book of the Year Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year BBC History Magazine Book of the Year 'Bustles impressively with detail and anecdote' -Sunday Times `Consistently fascinating' -The Spectator 'Beautifully written and deeply researched' -The Observer 'Barr draws on a rich and varied trove of sources to knit a sequence of dramatic episodes into an elegant whole. Great events march through these pages' -Wall Street JournalUpon victory in 1945, Britain still dominated the Middle East. She directly ruled Palestine and Aden, was the kingmaker in Iran, the power behind the thrones of Egypt, Iraq and Jordan, and protected the sultan of Oman and the Gulf sheikhs. But her motives for wanting to dominate this crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa were changing. Where `imperial security' - control of the route to India - had once been paramount, now oil was an increasingly important factor. So, too, was prestige. Ironically, the very end of empire made control of the Middle East precious in itself: on it hung Britain's claim to be a great power. Unable to withstand Arab and Jewish nationalism, within a generation the British were gone. But that is not the full story. What ultimately sped Britain on her way was the uncompromising attitude of the United States, which was determined to displace the British in the Middle East. The British did not give in gracefully to this onslaught. Using newly declassified records and long-forgotten memoirs, including the diaries of a key British spy, James Barr tears up the conventional interpretation of this era in the Middle East, vividly portraying the tensions between London and Washington, and shedding an uncompromising light on the murkier activities of a generation of American and British diehards in the region, from the battle of El Alamein in 1942 to Britain's abandonment of Aden in 1967. Reminding us that the Middle East has always served as the arena for great power conflict, this is the tale of an internecine struggle in which Britain would discover that her most formidable rival was the ally she had assumed would be her closest friend. Reviews for A Line In The Sand:- 'Masterful' -The Spectator 'With superb research and telling quotations, Barr has skewered the whole shabby story' -The Times 'Lively and entertaining. He has scoured the diplomatic archives of the two powers and has come up with a rich haul that brings his narrative to life' -Financial Times

No Room For Small Dreams - Courage, Imagination And The Making Of Modern Israel (Paperback): Shimon Peres No Room For Small Dreams - Courage, Imagination And The Making Of Modern Israel (Paperback)
Shimon Peres 1
R234 R192 Discovery Miles 1 920 Save R42 (18%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

In 1934, eleven-year-old Shimon Peres emigrated to the land of Israel from his native Poland, leaving behind an extended family who would later be murdered in the Holocaust. Few back then would have predicted that this young man would eventually become one of the towering figures of the twentieth century. Peres would indeed go on to serve the new state as prime minister, president, foreign minister, and the head of several other ministries. In this, his final work, finished only weeks before his passing, Peres offers a long-awaited examination of the crucial turning-points in Israeli history through the prism of having been a decision-maker and eyewitness.

Told with the frankness of someone aware this would likely be his final statement, No Room For Small Dreams spans decades and events, examining pivotal moments in Israel's rise. Peres explores what makes for a great leader, how to make hard choices in a climate of uncertainty and distress, the challenges of balancing principles with policies, and the liberating nature of imagination and unpredicted innovation. In doing so, he not only charts a better path forward for his beloved country but provides deep and universal wisdom for younger generations who seek to lead - be it in politics, business or the broader service of making our planet a safer, more peaceful and just place.

The British in India - Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience (Paperback): David Gilmour The British in India - Three Centuries of Ambition and Experience (Paperback)
David Gilmour 1
R312 R217 Discovery Miles 2 170 Save R95 (30%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

A SUNDAY TIMES, THE TIMES, SPECTATOR, NEW STATESMAN, TLS BOOK OF THE YEAR 'A richly panoramic exploration of the British experience of India ... hugely researched and elegantly written, sensitive to the ironies of the past and brimming with colourful details' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times The British in this book lived in India from shortly after the reign of Elizabeth I until well into the reign of Elizabeth II. Who were they? What drove these men and women to risk their lives on long voyages down the Atlantic and across the Indian Ocean or later via the Suez Canal? And when they got to India, what did they do and how did they live? This book explores the lives of the many different sorts of Briton who went to India: viceroys and offcials, soldiers and missionaries, planters and foresters, merchants, engineers, teachers and doctors. It evokes the three and a half centuries of their ambitions and experiences, together with the lives of their families, recording the diversity of their work and their leisure, and the complexity of their relationships with the peoples of India. It also describes the lives of many who did not fit in with the usual image of the Raj: the tramps and rascals, the men who 'went native', the women who scorned the role of the traditional memsahib. David Gilmour has spent decades researching in archives, studying the papers of many people who have never been written about before, to create a magnificent tapestry of British life in India. It is exceptional work of scholarly recovery portrays individuals with understanding and humour, and makes an original and engaging contribution to a long and important period of British and Indian history.

No Beast So Fierce - The Champawat Tiger and Her Hunter, the First Tiger Conservationist (Hardcover): Dane Huckelbridge No Beast So Fierce - The Champawat Tiger and Her Hunter, the First Tiger Conservationist (Hardcover)
Dane Huckelbridge 1
R403 R283 Discovery Miles 2 830 Save R120 (30%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

The deadliest animal of all time meets the world's most legendary hunter in a classic battle between man and wild. But this pulse-pounding narrative is also a nuanced story of how colonialism and environmental destruction upset the natural order, placing man, tiger and nature on a collision course. In Champawat, India, circa 1900, a Bengal tigress was wounded by a poacher in the forests of the Himalayan foothills. Unable to hunt her usual prey, the tiger began stalking and eating an easier food source: human beings. Between 1900 and 1907, the Champawat Man-Eater, as she became known, emerged as the most prolific serial killer of human beings the world has ever known, claiming an astonishing 436 lives. Desperate for help, authorities appealed to renowned local hunter Jim Corbett, an Indian-born Brit of Irish descent, who was intimately familiar with the Champawat forest. Corbett, who would later earn fame and devote the latter part of his life to saving the Bengal tiger and its habitat, sprang into action. Like a detective on the tail of a serial killer, he tracked the tiger's movements, as the tiger began to hunt him in return. This was the beginning of Corbett's life-long love of tigers, though his first encounter with the Champawat Tiger would be her last.

Islamic Empires - Fifteen Cities that Define a Civilization (Hardcover): Justin Marozzi Islamic Empires - Fifteen Cities that Define a Civilization (Hardcover)
Justin Marozzi
R590 R395 Discovery Miles 3 950 Save R195 (33%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Islamic civilization was once the envy of the world. From a succession of glittering, cosmopolitan capitals, Islamic empires lorded it over the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and swathes of the Indian subcontinent, while Europe cowered feebly at the margins. For centuries the caliphate was both ascendant on the battlefield and triumphant in the battle of ideas, its cities unrivalled powerhouses of artistic grandeur, commercial power, spiritual sanctity and forward-looking thinking, in which nothing was off limits. Islamic Empires is a history of this rich and diverse civilization told through its greatest cities over the fifteen centuries of Islam, from its earliest beginnings in Mecca in the seventh century to the astonishing rise of Doha in the twenty-first. It dwells on the most remarkable dynasties ever to lead the Muslim world - the Abbasids of Baghdad, the Umayyads of Damascus and Cordoba, the Merinids of Fez, the Ottomans of Istanbul, the Mughals of India and the Safavids of Isfahan - and some of the most charismatic leaders in Muslim history, from Saladin in Cairo and mighty Tamerlane of Samarkand to the poet-prince Babur in his mountain kingdom of Kabul and the irrepressible Maktoum dynasty of Dubai. It focuses on these fifteen cities at some of the defining moments in Islamic history: from the Prophet Mohammed receiving his divine revelations in Mecca and the First Crusade of 1099 to the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and the phenomenal creation of the merchant republic of Beirut in the nineteenth century.

Gilgamesh - The Life of a Poem (Hardcover): Michael Schmidt Gilgamesh - The Life of a Poem (Hardcover)
Michael Schmidt
R450 R362 Discovery Miles 3 620 Save R88 (20%) Shipped within 7 - 11 working days

Reflections on a lost poem and its rediscovery by contemporary poets Gilgamesh is the most ancient long poem known to exist. It is also the newest classic in the canon of world literature. Lost for centuries to the sands of the Middle East but found again in the 1850s, it tells the story of a great king, his heroism, and his eventual defeat. It is a story of monsters, gods, and cataclysms, and of intimate friendship and love. Acclaimed literary historian Michael Schmidt provides a unique meditation on the rediscovery of Gilgamesh and its profound influence on poets today. Schmidt describes how the poem is a work in progress even now, an undertaking that has drawn on the talents and obsessions of an unlikely cast of characters, from archaeologists and museum curators to tomb raiders and jihadis. Incised on clay tablets, its fragments were scattered across a huge expanse of desert when it was recovered in the nineteenth century. The poem had to be reassembled, its languages deciphered. The discovery of a pre-Noah flood story was front-page news on both sides of the Atlantic, and the poem's allure only continues to grow as additional cuneiform tablets come to light. Its translation, interpretation, and integration are ongoing. In this illuminating book, Schmidt discusses the special fascination Gilgamesh holds for contemporary poets, arguing that part of its appeal is its captivating otherness. He reflects on the work of leading poets such as Charles Olson, Louis Zukofsky, and Yusef Komunyakaa, whose own encounters with the poem are revelatory, and he reads its many translations and editions to bring it vividly to life for readers.

Vietnam - An Epic Tragedy: 1945-1975 (Hardcover): Max Hastings Vietnam - An Epic Tragedy: 1945-1975 (Hardcover)
Max Hastings 1
R724 R494 Discovery Miles 4 940 Save R230 (32%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Vietnam became the Western world’s most divisive modern conflict, precipitating a battlefield humiliation for France in 1954, then a vastly greater one for the United States in 1975. Max Hastings has spent the past three years interviewing scores of participants on both sides, as well as researching a multitude of American and Vietnamese documents and memoirs, to create an epic narrative of an epic struggle. He portrays the set pieces of Dienbienphu, the Tet offensive, the air blitz of North Vietnam, and less familiar battles such as the bloodbath at Daido, where a US Marine battalion was almost wiped out, together with extraordinary recollections of Ho Chi Minh’s warriors. Here are the vivid realities of strife amid jungle and paddies that killed 2 million people.

Many writers treat the war as a US tragedy, yet Hastings sees it as overwhelmingly that of the Vietnamese people, of whom forty died for every American. US blunders and atrocities were matched by those committed by their enemies. While all the world has seen the image of a screaming, naked girl seared by napalm, it forgets countless eviscerations, beheadings and murders carried out by the communists. The people of both former Vietnams paid a bitter price for the Northerners’ victory in privation and oppression. Here is testimony from Vietcong guerrillas, Southern paratroopers, Saigon bargirls and Hanoi students alongside that of infantrymen from South Dakota, Marines from North Carolina, Huey pilots from Arkansas.

No past volume has blended a political and military narrative of the entire conflict with heart-stopping personal experiences, in the fashion that Max Hastings’ readers know so well. The author suggests that neither side deserved to win this struggle with so many lessons for the 21st century about the misuse of military might to confront intractable political and cultural challenges. He marshals testimony from warlords and peasants, statesmen and soldiers, to create an extraordinary record.

Syria's Secret Library - The true story of how a besieged Syrian town found hope (Hardcover): Mike Thomson Syria's Secret Library - The true story of how a besieged Syrian town found hope (Hardcover)
Mike Thomson 1
R451 R362 Discovery Miles 3 620 Save R89 (20%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Daraya lies on the fringe of Damascus, just south west of the Syrian Capital. Yet it lives in another world. Besieged by Syrian government forces since 2011, its people were deprived of food, bombarded by bombs and missiles, and shot at by snipers. Its buildings lay in ruins; office buildings, shops and family homes shattered by the constant shelling from government forces. But deep beneath this scene of frightening devastation lay a secret library. No signs marked its presence. While the streets above echoed with rifle fire and shelling, the secret world below was a haven of peace and tranquillity. Books, long rows of them, lined almost every wall. Bloated volumes with grand leather covers. Tattered old tomes with barely readable spines. Pocket sized guides to Syrian poetry. Religious works with gaudy gold-lettering and no-nonsense reference books, all arranged in well-ordered lines. But this precious horde of books was not bought from publishers, book warehouses, or loaned by other libraries. Many people had risked their lives to save books from the devastation of war. Because to them, the secret library was a symbol of hope - of their determination to lead a meaningful existence and to rebuild their fractured society. This is the story of an extraordinary place and the people who made it happen. It is also a book about human resilience and values. And through it all is threaded the very wonderful, universal love for books and the hope they can bring. "Just like the body needs food the soul needs books." Anas Habib (library user)

Asia's Reckoning - The Struggle for Global Dominance (Paperback): Richard McGregor Asia's Reckoning - The Struggle for Global Dominance (Paperback)
Richard McGregor 1
R215 R169 Discovery Miles 1 690 Save R46 (21%) Shipped within 4 - 8 working days

'Stunningly good' Michael Burleigh, Evening Standard, Books of the Year 2017 A Financial Times Best Book of 2017 'A shrewd and knowing book.' Robert D. Kaplan, The Wall Street Journal 'A compelling and impressive read.' The Economist 'Skillfully crafted and well-argued.' Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Financial Times 'An excellent modern history. . . . provides the context needed to make sense of the region's present and future.' Joyce Lau, South China Morning Post The dramatic story of the relationship between the world's three largest economies, one that is shaping the future of us all, by one of the foremost experts on east Asia For more than half a century, American power in the Pacific has successfully kept the peace. But it has also cemented the tensions in the toxic rivalry between China and Japan, consumed with endless history wars and entrenched political dynasties. Now, the combination of these forces with Donald Trump's unpredictable impulses and disdain for America's old alliances threatens to upend the region, and accelerate the unravelling of the postwar order. If the United States helped lay the postwar foundations for modern Asia, now the anchor of the global economy, Asia's Reckoning will reveal how that structure is now crumbling. With unrivalled access to archives in the US and Asia, as well as many of the major players in all three countries, Richard McGregor has written a tale which blends the tectonic shifts in diplomacy with the domestic political trends and personalities driving them. It is a story not only of an overstretched America, but also of the rise and fall and rise of the great powers of Asia. The confrontational course on which China and Japan have increasingly set themselves is no simple spat between neighbors. And the fallout would be a political and economic tsunami, affecting manufacturing centers, trade routes, and political capitals on every continent.

Freedom at Midnight - Inspiration for the Major Motion Picture Viceroy's House (Paperback, Film tie-in edition): Larry... Freedom at Midnight - Inspiration for the Major Motion Picture Viceroy's House (Paperback, Film tie-in edition)
Larry Collins, Dominique Lapierre
R247 R178 Discovery Miles 1 780 Save R69 (28%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

Inspiration for the major film starring Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal and Huma Qureshi and directed by Gurinder Chadha. Seventy years ago, at midnight on 14 August 1947, the Union Jack began its final journey down the flagstaff of Viceroy's House, New Delhi. A fifth of humanity claimed their independence from the greatest empire history has ever seen - but the price of freedom was high, as a nation erupted into riots and bloodshed, partition and war. This is an electrifying and acclaimed account of the dying days of the British Raj and the drama played out between Lord Mountbatten, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah, as an empire undertook a violent transformation into the new India and Pakistan.

Blood, Dreams and Gold - The Changing Face of Burma (Paperback): Richard Cockett Blood, Dreams and Gold - The Changing Face of Burma (Paperback)
Richard Cockett
R302 Discovery Miles 3 020 Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

The best single-volume analysis of Burma, its checkered history, and its attempts to reform Burma is one of the largest countries in Southeast Asia and was once one of its richest. Under successive military regimes, however, the country eventually ended up as one of the poorest countries in Asia, a byword for repression and ethnic violence. Richard Cockett spent years in the region as a correspondent for The Economist and witnessed firsthand the vicious sectarian politics of the Burmese government, and later, also, its surprising attempts at political and social reform. Cockett's enlightening history, from the colonial era on, explains how Burma descended into decades of civil war and authoritarian government. Taking advantage of the opening up of the country since 2011, Cockett has interviewed hundreds of former political prisoners, guerilla fighters, ministers, monks, and others to give a vivid account of life under one of the most brutal regimes in the world. In many cases, this is the first time that they have been able to tell their stories to the outside world.Cockett also explains why the regime has started to reform, and why these reforms will not go as far as many people had hoped. This is the most rounded survey to date of this volatile Asian nation.

The Monk of Mokha (Paperback): Dave Eggers The Monk of Mokha (Paperback)
Dave Eggers 1
R250 R160 Discovery Miles 1 600 Save R90 (36%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

From the best-selling author of The Circle - the gripping true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana'a by civil war Mokhtar Alkhanshali is twenty-four and working as a doorman when he becomes fascinated with the rich history of coffee and Yemen's central place in it. He leaves San Francisco and travels deep into his ancestral home to tour terraced farms high in the country's rugged mountains. He collects samples and organizes farmers and is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs the country. Saudi bombs rain down, the U.S. embassy closes, and Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen with only his hopes on his back. The Monk of Mokha is the story of this courageous and visionary young man following the most American of dreams. 'Extraordinary... No story is more urgent' Observer 'Dramatic, aspirational smartly and engagingly written... Exactly what I want to read right now' The Times 'The antidote to Trumpism... This is a book that celebrates [the] exuberance of the human spirit' Mail on Sunday 'This book... is about the American dream, and the threat that it is under' Spectator 'Remarkable... full of derring-do, tenacity and exceptional luck' Metro

India in the Persianate Age - 1000-1765 (Hardcover): Richard Eaton India in the Persianate Age - 1000-1765 (Hardcover)
Richard Eaton 1
R570 R432 Discovery Miles 4 320 Save R138 (24%) Shipped within 4 - 8 working days

A sweeping, magisterial new history of India from the middle ages to the arrival of the British The Indian subcontinent might seem a self-contained world. Protected by vast mountains and seas, it has created its own religions, philosophies and social systems. And yet this ancient land experienced prolonged and intense interaction with the peoples and cultures of East and Southeast Asia, Europe, Africa and, especially, Central Asia and the Iranian plateau between the eleventh and eighteenth centuries. Richard M. Eaton's wonderful new book tells this extraordinary story with relish and originality. His major theme is the rise of 'Persianate' culture - a many-faceted transregional world informed by a canon of texts that circulated through ever-widening networks across much of Asia. Introduced to India in the eleventh century by dynasties based in eastern Afghanistan, this culture would become thoroughly indigenized by the time of the great Mughals in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. This long-term process of cultural interaction and assimilation is reflected in India's language, literature, cuisine, attire, religion, styles of rulership and warfare, science, art, music, architecture, and more. The book brilliantly elaborates the complex encounter between India's Sanskrit culture - which continued to flourish and grow throughout this period - and Persian culture, which helped shape the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughal Empire and a host of regional states, and made India what it is today.

The League of Wives - The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the US Government to Bring Their Husbands Home (Hardcover):... The League of Wives - The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the US Government to Bring Their Husbands Home (Hardcover)
Heath Hardage Lee
R474 R379 Discovery Miles 3 790 Save R95 (20%) Shipped within 7 - 12 working days

The true story of the fierce band of women who battled Washington - and Hanoi - to bring their husbands home from the jungles of Vietnam. On 12 February, 1973, one hundred and sixteen men who, just six years earlier, had been high flying Navy and Air Force pilots, shuffled, limped, or were carried off a huge military transport plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. These American servicemen had endured years of brutal torture, kept shackled and starving in solitary confinement, in rat-infested, mosquito-laden prisons, the worst of which was The Hanoi Hilton. Months later, the first Vietnam POWs to return home would learn that their rescuers were their wives, a group of women that included Jane Denton, Sybil Stockdale, Louise Mulligan, Andrea Rander, Phyllis Galanti, and Helene Knapp. These women, who formed The National League of Families, would never have called themselves 'feminists', but they had become the POW and MIAs most fervent advocates, going to extraordinary lengths to facilitate their husbands' freedom - and to account for missing military men - by relentlessly lobbying government leaders, conducting a savvy media campaign, conducting covert meetings with antiwar activists, and most astonishingly, helping to code secret letters to their imprisoned husbands. In a page-turning work of narrative non-fiction, Heath Hardage Lee tells the story of these remarkable women for the first time. The League of Wives is certain to be on everyone's must-read list.

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