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In the follow-up to his bestselling JFK in Ireland, the Emerald Isle's favourite son delves into his country's past to celebrate the Irish people who through their skills and endeavours helped make the British Isles Great. Britain and Ireland - two countries separated by a small stretch of water but for so long divided politically, socially, culturally and emotionally. So how come so many of the UK's funniest and best-loved entertainers hail from Ireland? And why have so many of the finest actors on British stage and television emanated from the Emerald Isle? In The Irish Are Coming, celebrated chat show host and radio presenter Ryan Tubridy chooses an eclectic array of Irishmen and -women who travelled a small distance to make a big impact - everyone from Terry Wogan, who won the hearts of the British people during the darkest days of the Troubles, to hellraiser Richard Harris, via latter-day saint Bob Geldof and Harry Potter actress Fiona Shaw. It is an affectionate and often hilarious look at the Irish who have helped to make Britain Great.
Tiny Histories is a fond, fun and informative look at the seemingly insignificant coincidences, decisions and tiny moments that triggered major events and changed the course of British history. It might be difficult to believe when watching the news but the world we live in is often shaped not by the whim of governments and the decisions of world leaders but by tiny, apparently trivial events. In many cases, they can have enormous repercussions that mould both the society we live in today and the people we are. From the innocent wrong turn by a chauffeur driving Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914 that led to World War I, to the Saxon leader, Byrhtnoth's act of chivalry in 991 that paved the way for British comedy as we know it today, this brilliant new addition to Dixe Will's bestselling books Tiny Churches, Tiny Islands and Tiny Stations looks behind the scenes of wars, politics, the arts, food, science, and even health and safety. Perfect for history buffs and pub-quiz fans, this brilliant book also serves to make us all more aware that in an age of so many dramatic changes, challenges and unknowns, it is not always what makes the headlines that shapes the future for generations to come.
The sixth volume to be published in the major ten-volume new history of the county of Kent, and the first detailed study of the development of Kent over the past hundred years. Each of the ten chapters begins by evoking a picture of Kent on the eve of the First World War and looking at the changes that have taken place between then and the present day in the area under discussion. Particular attention is paid to the impact of the two World Wars on Kent; to the influence of national events on local institutions and people; to the role of the county council in the development of many aspects of life in Kent; and to the major economic and social changes of the last thirty years, many of them associated with Britain's entry into the European economic community and Kent's strategic importance as a corridor linking London and Britain to Europe. NIGEL YATES is senior research fellow in church history, University of Wales, Lampeter.
The reign of Richard III was one of the shortest in British history, yet he remains one of the most enigmatic and controversial personalities who occupied the throne. This informative guide traces the life of Richard and his seemingly contradictory qualities, of loyalty and perfidy, generosity and self-interest, honesty and manipulation. From his initial position far down the line of succession to his position as Lieutenant-General of the North and move to the throne in 1483, Richard's story is fascinatingly explored. Sections engagingly cover the controversies surrounding Richard such as the Princes in the Tower and the Battle of Bosworth. In February 2013, a skeleton uncovered in the ruins of Grey Friars Church in Leicester was identified as the remains of Richard III. The remains found were proved to be Richard's 'beyond reasonable doubt' through DNA tests. But what was this man really like? A ruthless manipulator, or a tragic figure? Michael St John Parker's guide delves into the life of Richard with colour photographs, illustrations and artefacts.
Eggs or Anarchy is one of the great, British stories of the Second World War yet to be told in full. It reveals the heroic tale of how Lord Woolton, Minister for Food, really fed Britain. As a nation at war, with supply routes under attack from the Axis powers and resources scarce, it was Woolton's job to fulfil his promise to the British people, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in particular, that there would be food on the shelves each week. Persuading the public to not resort to the black market and to manage on the very limited ration was one thing, but Woolton had to fulfil his side of the bargain and maintain supplies in time of crisis. A grammar school-educated genius, he was a fish out of water in Churchill's cabinet and the PM himself doubted Woolton would survive due to the unstinting criticism he faced from colleagues, the press and public. This is the story of how he battled to save his own career while using every trick in his entrepreneurial book to secure supplies. He battled to outwit unscrupulous dealers on the black market streets of cities within the British Empire - such as Alexandria in Eygpt - persuading customs authorities to turn a blind eye to his import schemes. If Britain had gone hungry the outcome of the war could have been very different. This book, for the first time, finds out the real story of how Lord Woolton provided food for Britain and her colonies and discovers that for him there were days when it was literally a choice of 'eggs or anarchy'.
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING 'Davies's absorbing study serves up just enough sensationalism - and eccentricity - along with its serious inquiry' SUNDAY TIMES '[A] revealing account of the jail's 164-year history' DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5* review 'Insightful and thought-provoking and makes for a ripping good read' JEREMY CORBYN 'A much-needed and balanced history' OBSERVER 'Davies explores how society has dealt with disobedient women - from suffragettes to refugees to women seeking abortions - for decades, and how they've failed to silence those who won't go down without a fight' STYLIST Society has never known what to do with its rebellious women. Those who defied expectations about feminine behaviour have long been considered dangerous and unnatural, and ever since the Victorian era they have been removed from public view, locked up and often forgotten about. Many of these women ended up at HM Prison Holloway, the self-proclaimed 'terror to evil-doers' which, until its closure in 2016, was western Europe's largest women's prison. First built in 1852 as a House of Correction, Holloway's women have come from all corners of the UK - whether a patriot from Scotland, a suffragette from Huddersfield, or a spy from the Isle of Wight - and from all walks of life - socialites and prostitutes, sporting stars and nightclub queens, refugees and freedom fighters. They were imprisoned for treason and murder, for begging, performing abortions and stealing clothing coupons, for masquerading as men, running brothels and attempting suicide. In Bad Girls, Caitlin Davies tells their stories and shows how women have been treated in our justice system over more than a century, what crimes - real or imagined - they committed, who found them guilty and why. It is a story of victimization and resistance; of oppression and bravery. From the women who escaped the hangman's noose - and those who didn't - to those who escaped Holloway altogether, Bad Girls is a fascinating look at how disobedient and defiant women changed not only the prison service, but the course of history.
A bulwark against invasion, a conduit for exchange and a challenge to be conquered, the English Channel has always been many things to many people. Today it's the busiest shipping lane in the world and hosts more than 30 million passenger crossings every year but this sliver of choppy brine, just 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, represents much more than a conductor of goods and people. Criss-crossing the Channel - not to mention regularly throwing himself into it for a bracing swim - Charlie Connelly collects its stories and brings them vividly to life, from tailing Oscar Wilde's shadow through the dark streets of Dieppe to unearthing Britain's first beauty pageant at the end of Folkestone pier (it was won by a bloke called Wally). We learn that Louis Bleriot was actually a terrible pilot, the tragic fate of the first successful Channel swimmer, and that if a man with a buttered head and pigs' bladders attached to his trousers hadn't fought off an attack by dogfish we might never have had a Channel Tunnel. Here is a cast of extraordinary characters - geniuses, cheats, dreamers, charlatans, visionaries, eccentrics and at least one pair of naked, cuddling balloonists - whose stories are all united by the English Channel to ensure the sea that makes us an island will never be the same again.
In Advancing Empire, L. H. Roper explores the origins and early development of English overseas expansion. Roper focuses on the networks of aristocrats, merchants, and colonial-imperialists who worked to control the transport and production of exotic commodities, such as tobacco and sugar, as well as the labor required to produce them. He is primarily interested in the relationship between the English state and the people it governed, the role of that state in imperial development, the socio-political character of English colonies and English relations with Asians, Africans, American Indians, and other Europeans overseas. The activities stimulated the expansion and integration of global territorial and commercial interests that became the British Empire in the eighteenth century. In exploring these activities from a wider perspective, Roper offers a novel conclusion that revises popular analyses of the English Empire and of Anglo-America.
Explore the fascinating history of Scotland in an easy-to-read guide Want to discover how a small country on the edge of Northern Europe packs an almighty historical punch? Scottish History For Dummies is your guide to the story of Scotland and its place within the historical narratives of Britain, Europe and the rest of the world. You'll find out how Scotland rose from the ashes to forge its own destiny, understand the impact of Scottish historical figures such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and David Hume and be introduced to the wonderful world of Celtic religion, architecture and monuments. History can help us make connections with people and events, and it gives us an understanding of why the world is like it is today. Scottish History For Dummies pulls back the curtain on how the story of Scotland has shaped the world far beyond its borders. From its turbulent past to the present day, this informative guide sheds a new and timely light on the story of Scotland and its people. * Dig into a wealth of fascinating facts on the Stone, Bronze and Iron ages * Get to know how Scotland was built into an industrial economy by inventors, explorers and missionaries * Discover the impact of the world wars on Scotland and how the country has responded to challenges created by them * Find up-to-the-minute information on Scotland's referendum on independence If you're a lifelong learner looking for a fun, factual exploration of the grand scope of Scotland or a traveler wanting to make the most of your trip to this captivating country, Scottish History For Dummies has you covered.
The kingdom of Scotland has had a turbulent history, at points the site of a tribal contest and of a far-reaching political controversy. This guide traces the history of the Scottish crown from Kenneth MacAlpin in 843 AD to Jame VI in 1603 when the crown became one with England. This informative guide is filled with family trees and colour photographs of fascinating portraits and artefacts from Scotland's history. It provides an accessible and informative introduction to the story of the country's monarchy and the complex and dangerous competition that surrounded the crown. This well-researched guide covers each Scottish house and ruler in separate comprehensively detailed sections, all the way until George III was acknowledged as the Stuart successor in 1807. Look out for more Pitkin Guides on the very best of British history, heritage and travel, including others in a series of historical titles about Scotland.
A fresh, witty, accessible life of Queen Victoria. Not since Lytton Strachey has the irony, contradictions and influence of this Queen been treated with such flourish or biographical insight. Reigning over a lifetime, Queen Victoria embodied the spirit of the contradictory era to which she lent her name. She championed modern art and photography but resisted education for the working classes and woman's suffrage; she advocated cultural imperialism, tempered by imperial compassion; in her deference to her husband Prince Albert and her protracted mourning of his death, she combined wifely submission with regal obstinacy. Original and accessible, `Queen Victoria' is a compelling assessment of the ruler's mercurial character, her key relationships and her impact on her own age and beyond.
Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived. For over four centuries, popular imagination has been gripped by the story of King Henry VIII and his six wives - and by the tangled web of passion and intrigue that lies behind it. Henry's desperate hope for a son, a male heir for the throne of England, drove him until his death. This attractive guide looks at the King, each of his wives and the background of religious change that surrounds their stories. From Henry's first marriage to his brother's widow Catherine of Aragon until the end of his life with Catherine Parr and three heirs, this guide tells these stories with fascinating facts, artworks, illustrations and colour photographs. Perfect for students of history and anyone with an interest in one of England's most famous monarchs and his six wives. Look out for more Pitkin Guides on the very best of British history, heritage and travel.
Majesty is the enthralling story of the House of Windsor, focussing on the personal and political intrigues that have characterized the reign of Elizabeth II. Fully illustrated with contemporary photographs, it describes the fluctuating fortunes of the Windsors, from the dramatic abdication of the Queen's uncle, Edward VIII, to the tumultuous relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Set against the colourful backdrop of key events - such as the 'Great Smog' that brought London to a halt in 1952; the IRA murder of Lord Mountbatten during the Northern Ireland 'Troubles'; the crisis triggered by the death of Princess Diana; the wedding of Prince William to 'commoner' Kate Middleton; and the changing face of world politics - this is the story not only of a family, but also a history of our times.
In the middle of the eighteenth century, English literature, composition, and rhetoric were introduced almost simultaneously into colleges throughout the British cultural provinces. Professorships of rhetoric and belles lettres were established just as print was reaching a growing reading public and efforts were being made to standardize educated taste and usage. The provinces saw English studies as a means to upward social mobility through cultural assimilation. In the educational centers of England, however, the introduction of English represented a literacy crisis brought on by provincial institutions that had failed to maintain classical texts and learned languages.
Today, as rhetoric and composition have become reestablished in the humanities in American colleges, English studies are being broadly transformed by cultural studies, community literacies, and political controversies. Once again, English departments that are primarily departments of literature see these basic writing courses as a sign of a literacy crisis that is undermining the classics of literature. "The Formation of College English" reexamines the civic concerns of rhetoric and the politics that have shaped and continue to shape college English.
'Ackroyd makes history accessible to the layman' - Ian Thomson, Independent
The penultimate volume of Peter Ackroyd’s masterful History of England series, Dominion begins in 1815 as national glory following the Battle of Waterloo gives way to post-war depression, spanning the last years of the Regency to the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901.
In it, Ackroyd takes us from the accession of the profligate George IV whose government was steered by Lord Liverpool, who was firmly set against reform, to the reign of his brother, William IV, the 'Sailor King', whose reign saw the modernization of the political system and the abolition of slavery.
But it was the accession of Queen Victoria, aged only eighteen, that sparked an era of enormous innovation. Technological progress – from steam railways to the first telegram – swept the nation and the finest inventions were showcased at the first Great Exhibition in 1851. The emergence of the middle classes changed the shape of society and scientific advances changed the old pieties of the Church of England, and spread secular ideas across the nation. But though intense industrialization brought boom times for the factory owners, the working classes were still subjected to poor housing, long working hours and dire poverty.
It was a time that saw a flowering of great literature, too. As the Georgian era gave way to that of Victoria, readers could delight not only in the work of Byron, Shelley and Wordsworth but also the great nineteenth-century novelists: the Brontė sisters, George Eliot, Mrs Gaskell, Thackeray, and, of course, Dickens, whose work has become synonymous with Victorian England.
Nor was Victorian expansionism confined to Britain alone. By the end of Victoria’s reign, the Queen was also an Empress and the British Empire dominated much of the globe. And, as Ackroyd shows in this richly populated, vividly told account, Britannia really did seem to rule the waves.
"Amazing & Extraordinary Facts about Kings and Queens" unearths a wealth of fascinating truths about British monarchs from pre-Roman times to the present day. Discover revealing stories about the lives and personalities of each monarch and how they have shaped history. Tales of wickedness, greed, adultery and madness make this guide to Britain's kings and queens utterly compelling. "The Amazing and Extraordinary Facts series" presents interesting, surprising and little-known facts and stories about a wide range of topics which are guaranteed to inform, absorb and entertain in equal measure. Brief, accessible and entertaining pieces on a wide variety of subjects make them the perfect books to dip in to.
For most of the 2nd World War the RAF flew small aircraft into Occupied France at night, landing and taking off in total secrecy. Their mission was to transport agents to and from France to support the activities of the French Resistance and SOE. The chronicle of these operations tells an extraordinary adventure story, full of danger for both agent and aviator. Hugh Verity flew many of the missions recounted in We Landed by Moonlight and was probably the most outstanding pick-up pilot of them all.
In UNDER FIRE, Stephen Bourne tells the whole story of Britain's black community during the Second World War. On the home front, civilians came under fire from the Blitz in cities such as Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, London and Manchester. Meanwhile, black servicemen and women, many of them volunteers from places as far away as Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana and Nigeria, risked their lives fighting for the Mother Country in the air, at sea and on land. Drawing on first-hand testimonies, Bourne sheds light on a wealth of experiences, from evacuees to entertainers, government officials, prisoners of war and community leaders. Despite facing the discriminatory 'colour bar', many black civilians were determined to contribute to the war effort where they could, volunteering as civilian defence workers - air-raid wardens, fire-fighters, stretcher-bearers and first-aiders. Among those remembered are men and women whose stories have only recently come to light, making UNDER FIRE the definitive account of the bravery and sacrifices of black Britons in wartime.
Oxford greatly expanded and flourished under the Tudors, as the reviving University provided a growing body of consumers and trade for shopkeepers and craftsmen. They needed apprentices - and in huge numbers, as the material in this volume demonstrates. It calendars the enrolments of over two thousand apprenticeship contracts made during this period; they are a familiar source for social and economic history and genealogy, but the Oxford material, in both quantity and detail, is quite exceptional. Moreover, sixteenth-century enrolments are much fuller than their more familiar seventeenth-century successors, containing miscellaneous information of great interest, notably lists of working tools, details of journeymen's wages, and stipulations about apprentices' behaviour. The data is discussed in an Introduction which re-examines the apprenticeship system on the basis of the unusually plentiful statistics, throwing new light on such matters as length of service, payment of premiums, and the rates of career failure and success. Oxford recruited apprentices from an astonishingly wide area; their places of origin are identified and mapped, and an analysis of their social and geographical origins breaks new ground in the field of migration studies. More prosaically the calendar provides the genealogist and local historian with the names, parentage, and places of origin of thousands of young men from all over England and Wales - crucial raw material for much-needed further research.on the later movements of qualified apprentices. Alan Crossley is a member of the modern history faculty, University of Oxford.
A provocative reappraisal of Wellington's military career, his victory at Waterloo, and the source of his genius as a general Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, lives on in popular memory as the "Invincible General," loved by his men, admired by his peers, formidable to his opponents. This incisive book revises such a portrait, offering an accurate-and controversial-new analysis of Wellington's remarkable military career. Unlike his nemesis Napoleon, Wellington was by no means a man of innate military talent, Huw J. Davies argues. Instead, the key to Wellington's military success was an exceptionally keen understanding of the relationship between politics and war. Drawing on extensive primary research, Davies discusses Wellington's military apprenticeship in India, where he learned through mistakes as well as successes how to plan campaigns, organize and use intelligence, and negotiate with allies. In India Wellington encountered the constant political machinations of indigenous powers, and it was there that he apprenticed in the crucial skill of balancing conflicting political priorities. In later campaigns and battles, including the Peninsular War and Waterloo, Wellington's genius for strategy, operations, and tactics emerged. For his success in the art of war, he came to rely on his art as a politician and tactician. This strikingly original book shows how Wellington made even unlikely victories possible-with a well-honed political brilliance that underpinned all of his military achievements.
London at the outset of war in 1939 was the greatest city in the world, the heart of the British Empire. The defiant capital had always been Hitler's prime target and 1945, the last year of the war, saw the final phase of the battle of London. The Civil Defence could not have succeeded without the spirit, courage, resilience and co-operation of the people. London 1945 describes how a great city coped in crisis, how morale was sustained, shelter provided, food and clothing rationed, and work and entertainment carried on. Then, as the joy of VE Day and VJ Day passed into memory, Londoners faced severe shortages and all the problems of post-war adjustment. Women lost the independence the war had lent them, husbands and wives had to learn to live together again, and children had a lot of catching up to do. The year of victory, 1945, represents an important chapter in London's - and Britain's - long history.
Lochaber is a sparsely-populated area, remote but romantic, centred on Fort William. It contains no mediaeval burgh, no major monastic site, and for its size, not even many castles. However, it does include the highest mountain in Great Britain (Ben Nevis, 4406 ft, the deepest lake in Western Europe (Loch Morar) and the most westerly point of the British mainland (Ardnamurchan Point). Daniel Defoe described it as a `mountainous barren and frightful country . . . full of hideous desert mountains and unpassable'. Much of the land surface is mountain or bog, and its coastline is indented by long sea lochs, while the interior contains some very large fresh water lochs, the longest of which are Loch Shiel, at 17 1/2 miles, and Loch Arkaig at 12 miles. The name Lochaber first appears in Adamnan's Life of St Columba (written c.690). It probably refers either to the top of Loch Linnhe, or to a possible loch, later a bog, east of Banavie. Much of the scattered population of Lochaber has always lived close to its long and sheltered coastline, and until the last 200 years most communication was by water. One local minister in the 1790s claimed, probably correctly, that Tahiti and other Pacific islands were better surveyed than parts of the west coast of Scotland. Only a few intrepid travellers came here before the nineteenth century, when roads, steam-boats and then the railway rapidly opened up the area to tourism. Attempts to introduce new industries during the twentieth century had mixed success, but the population, having declined for almost two centuries, has now stabilised. Perhaps a better understanding and de-mythologising of the past may help to develop a sustainable economy for the future.
A rich account of the impact of the Second World War on the lives of people living in the farms and villages of Britain. On the outbreak of war, the countryside was invaded by service personnel and evacuee children by the thousand; land was taken arbitrarily for airfields, training grounds and firing ranges, and whole communities were evicted. Prisoner-of-war camps brought captured enemy soldiers to close quarters, and as horses gave way to tractors and combines farmers were burdened with aggressive new restrictions on what they could and could not grow. Land Girls and Lumber Jills worked in fields and forests. Food - or the lack of it - was a major preoccupation and rationing strictly enforced. And although rabbits were poached, apples scrumped and mushrooms gathered, there was still not enough to eat. Drawing from diaries, letters, books, official records and interviews, Duff Hart Davis revisits rural Britain to describe how ordinary people survived the war years. He tells of houses turned over to military use such as Bletchley and RAF Medmenham as well as those that became schools, notably Chatsworth in Derbyshire. Combining both hardship and farce, the book examines the profound changes war brought to Britain's countryside: from the Home Guard, struggling with the provision of ludicrous equipment, to the role of the XII Corps Observation Unit. whose task was to enlarge rabbit warrens and badger setts into bunkers for harassing the enemy in the event of a German invasion; to the unexpected tenderness shown by many to German and Italian prisoners-of-war at work on the land. Fascinating, sad and at times hilarious, this warm-hearted book tells great stories - and casts new light on Britain during the war.
A groundbreaking history of mothers who worked for pay that will change the way we think about gender, work and equality in modern Britain. In Britain today, three-quarters of mothers are in employment and paid work is an unremarkable feature of women's lives after childbirth. Yet a century ago, working mothers were in the minority, excluded altogether from many occupations, whilst their wage-earning was widely perceived as a social ill. In Double Lives, Helen McCarthy accounts for this remarkable transformation, whose consequences have been momentous for Britain's society and economy. Drawing upon a wealth of sources, McCarthy ranges from the smoking chimney-stacks of nineteenth-century Manchester to the shimmering skyscrapers of present-day Canary Wharf. She recovers the everyday worlds of working mothers and traces how women's desires for financial independence and lives beyond home and family were slowly recognised. McCarthy reveals the deep and complicated past of a phenomenon so often assumed to be a product of contemporary lifestyles and aspirations. This groundbreaking history forces us not only to re-evaluate the past, but to ask anew how current attitudes towards mothers in the workplace have developed and how far we have to go. Through vivid and powerful storytelling, Double Lives offers a social and cultural history for our times.
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