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A landmark account of the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler, based on award-winning research, and recently discovered archival material.
In the 1930s, Germany was at a turning point, with many looking to the Nazi phenomenon as part of widespread resentment towards cosmopolitan liberal democracy and capitalism. This was a global situation that pushed Germany to embrace authoritarianism, nationalism and economic self-sufficiency, kick-starting a revolution founded on new media technologies, and the formidable political and self-promotional skills of its leader.
Based on award-winning research and recently discovered archival material, The Death Of Democracy is a panoramic new survey of one of the most important periods in modern history, and a book with a resounding message for the world today.
The sequel to the International Number One Bestseller The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, based on a true story of love and resilience.
Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.
In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and taught new skills. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.
Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.
Winner of the European Book Prize.
On 10 July 1941 a horrifying crime was committed in the small Polish town of Jedwadbne. Early in the afternoon, the town's Jewish population - hundreds of men, women and children - were ordered out of their homes, and marched into the town square. By the end of the day most would be dead. It was a massacre on a shocking scale, and one that was widely condemned. But only a few people were brought to justice for their part in the atrocity. The truth of what actually happened on that day was to be suppressed for more than sixty years.
Part history, part memoir, part investigation, The Crime And The Silence is an award-winning journalist's account of the events of that day: both the story of a massacre told through oral histories of survivors and witnesses, and a portrait of a Polish town coming to terms with its dark past.
As a young boy growing up in Port Elizabeth in the 1960s and 1970s, Steven Robins was haunted by an old postcard-size photograph of three unknown women on a table in the dining room. Only later did he learn that the women were his father’s mother and sisters, photographed in Berlin in 1937, before they were killed in the Holocaust. Steven’s father, who had fled Nazi Germany before it was too late, never spoke about the fate of his family who remained there. Steven became obsessed with finding out what happened to the women, but had little to go on. In time he stumbled on bare facts in museums in Washington DC and Berlin, and later he discovered over a hundred letters sent to his father and uncle from the family in Berlin between 1936 and 1943. The women who before had been unnamed faces in a photograph could now tell their story to future generations.
Letters of Stone tracks Steven’s journey of discovery about the lives and fates of the Robinski family. It is also a book about geographical journeys: to the Karoo town of Williston, where his father’s uncle settled in the late nineteenth century and became mayor; to Berlin, where Steven laid ‘stumbling stones’ (Stolpersteine) in commemoration of his family and other Jewish victims of the Holocaust; to Auschwitz, where his father’s siblings perished.
Most of all, this book is a poignant reconstruction of a family trapped in an increasingly terrifying and deadly Nazi state, and of the immense pressure on Steven’s father in faraway South Africa, which forced him to retreat into silence.
The Nazis spared their lives because they were twins. In the summer of 1944, Eva Mozes Kor and her family arrived at Auschwitz. Within thirty minutes, they were separated. Her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, while Eva and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man who became known as the Angel of Death: Dr. Josef Mengele. They were 10 years old. While twins at Auschwitz were granted the 'privileges' of keeping their own clothes and hair, they were also subjected to Mengele's sadistic medical experiments. They were forced to fight daily for their own survival and many died as a result of the experiments, or from the disease and hunger rife in the concentration camp. In a narrative told simply, with emotion and astonishing restraint, The Twins of Auschwitz shares the inspirational story of a child's endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil. Also included is an epilogue on Eva's incredible recovery and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and worked toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.
Tyrant, psychopath, and implementer of a ruthless programme of racial extermination, Adolf Hitler was also the charismatic Fuhrer of millions of dedicated followers. In this major new biography, internationally acclaimed German historian Peter Longerich brings Hitler back to centre-stage in the history of Nazism, revealing a far more active and interventionist dictator than we are familiar with from recent accounts, with a flexibility of approach that often surprises. Whether it was foreign policy, war-making, terror, mass murder, cultural and religious affairs, or even mundane everyday matters, Longerich reveals how decisive a force Hitler was in the formulation of policy, sometimes right down to the smallest details, in a way which until now has not been fully appreciated. Consistently and ruthlessly destroying both the people and the power structures that stood in his way, Longerich shows how over time Hitler succeeded in forging his 'Fuhrer dictatorship' - with terrifying and almost limitless power over the German people.
What are you willing to do to survive? What are you willing to endure if it means you might live? 'Achingly moving, gives much-needed hope . . . Deserves the status both as a valuable historical source and as a stand-out memoir' Daily Express 'A story that neads to be heard' 5***** Reader Review Entering Terezin, a Nazi concentration camp, Franci was expected to die. She refused. In the summer of 1942, twenty-two-year-old Franci Rabinek - designated a Jew by the Nazi racial laws - arrived at Terezin, a concentration camp and ghetto forty miles north of her home in Prague. It would be the beginning of her three-year journey from Terezin to the Czech family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, to the slave labour camps in Hamburg, and finally to Bergen Belsen. Franci, a spirited and glamorous young woman, was known among her fellow inmates as the Prague dress designer. Having endured the transportation of her parents, she never forgot her mother's parting words: 'Your only duty to us is to stay alive'. During an Auschwitz selection, Franci would spontaneously lie to Nazi officer Dr Josef Mengele, and claim to be an electrician. A split-second decision that would go on to endanger - and save - her life. Unpublished for 50 years, Franci's War is an astonishing account of one woman's attempt to survive. Heartbreaking and candid, Franci finds the light in her darkest years and the horrors she faces instill in her, strength and resilience to survive and to live again. She gives a voice to the women prisoners in her tight-knit circle of friends. Her testimony sheds new light on the alliances, love affairs, and sexual barter that took place during the Holocaust, offering a compelling insight into the resilience and courage of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. Above all, Franci's War asks us to explore what it takes to survive, and what it means to truly live. 'A candid account of shocking events. Franci is someone many women today will be able to identify with' 5***** Reader Review 'First-hand accounts of life in Nazi death camps never lose their terrible power but few are as extraordinary as Franci's War' Mail on Sunday 'Fascinating and traumatic. Well worth a read' 5***** Reader Review
'A fascinating, superbly researched and revelatory book - told with tremendous pace and excitement' William Boyd 'This compelling and complete account of the extraordinarily courageous women of SOE is at turns enthralling, edge-of-smart exciting and also heart-breaking. The way in which they were sent into Nazi-occupied Europe and left to face unspeakable danger remains astonishing and Stroud's book is a reminder and fitting testimony to their immense bravery.' James Holland On 18 June 1940 General de Gaulle broadcast from London to his countrymen in France about the catastrophe that had overtaken their nation - the victory of the invading Germans. He declared 'Is defeat final? No! . . . the flame of French Resistance must not and will not be extinguished'. The Resistance began almost immediately. At first it was made up of small, disorganised groups working in isolation. But by the time of the liberation in 1944 around 400,000 French citizens, nearly 2 per cent of the population, were involved. The Special Operations Executive (SOE) set up by Winston Churchill in 1941 saw its role in France as helping the Resistance by recruiting and organising guerrilla fighters; supplying and training them; and then disrupting the invaders by any means necessary. The basic SOE unit was a team of three: a leader, a wireless operator and a courier. These teams operated in Resistance circuits and the agents were given random codenames. The aim of this work was to prepare for the invasion of Europe by Allied forces and the eventual liberation of France. It was soon decided that women would play a vital role. There were 39 female agents recruited from all walks of life, ranging from a London shop assistant to a Polish aristocrat. What linked them was that they knew France well, were fluent in French and were prepared to sacrifice everything to help defeat the enemy. The women trained alongside the men, learning how to disappear into the background, how to operate a radio transmitter and how to kill a man with their bare hands. Once trained they were infiltrated behind the lines by parachute or tiny aircraft that could land in remote fields. Some of the women went on to lead thousands of Resistance fighters, while others were arrested, brutally interrogated and sent to concentration camps where they endured torment and death. Lonely Courage tells their story and sheds light on what life was really like for these brave women who tumbled from the sky.
What are you willing to do to survive? What are you willing to endure if it means you might live? 'Achingly moving, gives much-needed hope . . . Deserves the status both as a valuable historical source and as a stand-out memoir' Daily Express 'A story that neads to be heard' 5***** Reader Review Entering Terezin, a Nazi concentration camp, Franci was expected to die. She refused. In the summer of 1942, twenty-two-year-old Franci Rabinek - designated a Jew by the Nazi racial laws - arrived at Terezin, a concentration camp and ghetto forty miles north of her home in Prague. It would be the beginning of her three-year journey from Terezin to the Czech family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, to the slave labour camps in Hamburg, and finally to Bergen Belsen. Franci, a spirited and glamorous young woman, was known among her fellow inmates as the Prague dress designer. Having endured the transportation of her parents, she never forgot her mother's parting words: 'Your only duty to us is to stay alive'. During an Auschwitz selection, Franci would spontaneously lie to Nazi officer Dr Josef Mengele, and claim to be an electrician. A split-second decision that would go on to endanger - and save - her life. Unpublished for 50 years, Franci's War is an astonishing account of one woman's attempt to survive. Heartbreaking and candid, Franci finds the light in her darkest years and the horrors she faces instill in her, strength and resilience to survive and to live again. She gives voice to the women prisoners in her tight-knit circle of friends. Her testimony sheds new light on the alliances, love affairs, and sexual barter that took place during the Holocaust, offering a compelling insight into the resilience and courage of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation. Above all, Franci's War asks us to explore what it takes to survive, and what it means to truly live. 'A candid account of shocking events. Franci is someone many women today will be able to identify with' 5***** Reader Review 'First-hand accounts of life in Nazi death camps never lose their terrible power but few are as extraordinary as Franci's War' Mail on Sunday 'Fascinating and traumatic. Well worth a read' 5***** Reader Review
THE AWARDWINNING INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
'One of those rare and eternal stories you don't want to end and that leave you forever changed' - Desmond Tutu
'A masterpiece of holocaust literature. Her memoir, like her life, is extraordinary, harrowing and inspiring in equal measure' – The Times Literary Supplement
'Little dancer', Mengele says, ‘dance for me’
In 1944, sixteen-year-old ballerina Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.
The horrors of the Holocaust didn't break Edith. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience.
The Choice is her unforgettable story. It shows that hope can flower in the most unlikely places.
A magisterial history of the greatest and most terrible event in history, from one of the finest historians of the Second World War. A book which shows the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world- soldiers, sailors and airmen; housewives, farm workers and children.. Reflecting Max Hastings's thirty-five years of research on World War II, All Hell Let Loose describes the course of events, but focuses chiefly upon human experience, which varied immensely from campaign to campaign, continent to continent. The author emphasises the Russian front, where more than 90% of all German soldiers who perished met their fate. He argues that, while Hitler's army often fought its battles brilliantly well, the Nazis conducted their war effort with 'stunning incompetence'. He suggests that the Royal Navy and US Navy were their countries' outstanding fighting services, while the industrial contribution of the United States was much more important to allied victory than that of the US Army. The book ranges across a vast canvas, from the agony of Poland amid the September 1939 Nazi invasion, to the 1943 Bengal famine, in which at least a million people died under British rule- and British neglect. Among many vignettes, there are the RAF's legendary raid on the Ruhr dams, the horrors of Arctic convoys, desert tank combat, jungle clashes. Some of Hastings's insights and judgements will surprise students of the conflict, while there are vivid descriptions of the tragedies and triumphs of a host of ordinary people, in uniform and out of it. 'The cliche is profoundly true', he says. 'The world between 1939 and 1945 saw some human beings plumb the depths of baseness, while others scaled the heights of courage and nobility'. This is 'everyman's story', an attempt to answer the question: 'What was the Second World War like ?', and also an overview of the big picture. Max Hastings employs the technique which has made many of his previous books best-sellers, combining top-down analysis and bottom-up testimony to explore the meaning of this vast conflict both for its participants and for posterity.
With the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815, the next two centuries for France would be tumultuous. Bestselling historian and political commentator Jonathan Fenby provides an expert and riveting journey through this period as he recounts and analyses the extraordinary sequence of events of this period from the end of the First Revolution through two others, a return of Empire, three catastrophic wars with Germany, periods of stability and hope interspersed with years of uncertainty and high tensions. As her cross-Channel neighbour Great Britain would equally suffer, France was to undergo the wrenching loss of colonies in the post-Second World War as the new modern world we know today took shape. Her attempts to become the leader of the European union is a constant struggle, as was her lack of support for America in the two Gulf Wars of the past twenty years. Alongside this came huge social changes and cultural landmarks but also fundamental questioning of what this nation, which considers itself exceptional, really stood - and stands - for. That saga and those questions permeate the France of today, now with an implacable enemy to face in the form of Islamic extremism which so bloodily announced itself this year in Paris. Fenby will detail every event, every struggle and every outcome across this expanse of 200 years. It will prove to be the definitive guide to understanding France.
The powerful, heart-breaking memoir of Dita Kraus, the real-life Librarian of Auschwitz
Born in Prague to a Jewish family in 1929, Dita Kraus has lived through the most turbulent decades of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Here, Dita writes with startling clarity on the horrors and joys of a life delayed by the Holocaust. From her earliest memories and childhood friendships in Prague before the war, to the Nazi-occupation that saw her and her family sent to the Jewish ghetto at Terezín, to the unimaginable fear and bravery of her imprisonment in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, and life after liberation.
Dita writes unflinchingly about the harsh conditions of the camps and her role as librarian of the precious books that her fellow prisoners managed to smuggle past the guards. But she also looks beyond the Holocaust – to the life she rebuilt after the war: her marriage to fellow survivor Otto B Kraus, a new life in Israel and the happiness and heartbreaks of motherhood.
Part of Dita's story was told in fictional form in the Sunday Times bestseller The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe. Her memoir tells the full story in her own words.
Follow the conflict of the Second World War from 1939 to 1945 in this unique volume, published in association with Imperial War Museums, London, featuring historical maps and photographs from their archives, and fascinating commentary from an expert historian. Over 150 maps tell the story of how this global war was fought. Types of maps featured: * Strategic maps showing theatres of war, frontiers and occupied territories * Maps covering key battles and offensives on major fronts * Planning and operations maps showing defences in detail * Propaganda and educational maps for the armed forces and general public * Maps showing dispositions of Allied and enemy forces * Bomber and V-weapon target maps Descriptions of key historical events accompany the maps, giving an illustrated history of the war from an expert historian. Key topics covered include * 1939: Invasion of Poland * 1940: German invasion of Low Countries & France * 1940: Battle of Britain & German invasion threat * Dec 1941: Pearl Harbor * 1942: Turning points: Midway, Alamein, Stalingrad * 1941-45: Barbarossa and the Eastern Front * The War at Sea * The advances to Jerusalem, Damascus and Baghdad * The War in the Air * 1944: Neptune & Overlord; D-Day & liberation of France
Forgotten is an extraordinary blend of military and social history - a story that pays tribute to the valour of an all-black battalion whose crucial contributions at D-Day have gone unrecognised to this day. In the early hours of June 6, 1944, the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, a unit of African-American soldiers, landed on the beaches of France. Their orders were to man a curtain of armed balloons meant to deter enemy aircraft. One member of the 320th would be nominated for the Medal of Honor, an award he would never receive. The nation's highest decoration was not given to black soldiers in the Second World War. Drawing on newly uncovered military records and dozens of original interviews with surviving members of the 320th and their families, Linda Hervieux tells the story of these heroic men. In England and Europe, they discovered freedom they had not known in a homeland that treated them as second-class citizens - experiences they carried back to America, fuelling the budding civil rights movement. In telling the story of the Battalion, Hervieux offers a vivid account of the tension between racial politics and national service in wartime America, and a moving narrative of human bravery and perseverance in the face of injustice.
The Sunday Times Number 1 Bestseller 'A fabulous story, superbly told ... cannot be bettered' Max Hastings 'Some battles change nothing. Waterloo changed almost everything.' On the 18th June 1815 the armies of France, Britain and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days the French army had beaten the British at Quatre-Bras and the Prussians at Ligny. The Allies were in retreat. The blood-soaked battle of Waterloo would become a landmark in European history, to be examined over and again, not least because until the evening of the 18th, the French army was close to prevailing on the battlefield. Now, brought to life by the celebrated novelist Bernard Cornwell, this is the chronicle of the four days leading up to the actual battle and a thrilling hour-by-hour account of that fateful day. In his first work of non-fiction, Cornwell combines his storytelling skills with a meticulously researched history to give a riveting account of every dramatic moment, from Napoleon's escape from Elba to the smoke and gore of the battlefields. Through letters and diaries he also sheds new light on the private thoughts of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington, as well as the ordinary officers and soldiers. Published to coincide with the bicentenary in 2015, Waterloo is a tense and gripping story of heroism and tragedy - and of the final battle that determined the fate of Europe.
This Pitkin Guide explores the reality, and unpacks the myths, of `Tommy', the British soldier on the Western Front in the First World War. It looks at every aspect of his personal experience - uniform, kit, trench cuisine, health and hygiene, pay, training and weaponry. It conveys the horrors of the early days of industrial warfare, from machine guns and artillery barrages to close-quarters combat within the enemy trenches and bunkers, and much much more. As well as the most visible aspects of the Tommy's experience, it also delves into more hidden worlds, and answers key questions. What did the Tommy do on his rest periods behind the frontlines? What caused him to suffer from shell shock, and how was he treated? How was he punished for disciplinary offences? These questions and many more are answered through a factual narrative.
Days after the assassination of his prime minister in the middle of Rome in November 1848, Pope Pius IX found himself a virtual prisoner in his own palace. The wave of revolution that had swept through Europe now seemed poised to put an end to the popes' thousand-year reign over the Papal States, if not indeed to the papacy itself. Disguising himself as a simple parish priest, Pius escaped through a back door. Climbing inside the Bavarian ambassador's carriage, he embarked on a journey into a fateful exile. Only two years earlier Pius's election had triggered a wave of optimism across Italy. After the repressive reign of the dour Pope Gregory XVI, Italians saw the youthful, benevolent new pope as the man who would at last bring the Papal States into modern times and help create a new, unified Italian nation. But Pius found himself caught between a desire to please his subjects and a fear-stoked by the cardinals-that heeding the people's pleas would destroy the church. The resulting drama-with a colorful cast of characters, from Louis Napoleon and his rabble-rousing cousin Charles Bonaparte to Garibaldi, Tocqueville, and Metternich-was rife with treachery, tragedy, and international power politics. David Kertzer is one of the world's foremost experts on the history of Italy and the Vatican, and has a rare ability to bring history vividly to life. With a combination of gripping, cinematic storytelling, and keen historical analysis rooted in an unprecedented richness of archival sources, The Pope Who Would Be King sheds fascinating new light on the end of rule by divine right in the west and the emergence of modern Europe.
For readers of Schindler's List, The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas comes a heart-breaking story of the very best of humanity in the very worst of circumstances. Chosen for the Richard and Judy Bookclub. I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart. In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival - scratching numbers into his fellow victims' arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale - a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer - it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too. So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz. ----- 'Extraordinary - moving, confronting and uplifting . . . I recommend it unreservedly' Greame Simsion 'A moving and ultimately uplifting story of love, loyalties and friendship amidst the horrors of war . . . It's a triumph.' Jill Mansell
Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow. Ultimately, it was the generosity and cunning of one man, a man named Oskar Schindler, who saved Leon Leyson's life, and the lives of his mother, his father, and two of his four siblings, by adding their names to his list of workers in his factory - a list that became world renowned: Schindler's List. This, the only memoir published by a former Schindler's List child, perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable. Most notable is the lack of rancour, the lack of venom, and the abundance of dignity in Mr Leyson's telling. The Boy on the Wooden Boxis a legacy of hope, a memoir unlike anything you've ever read.
The Second World War almost destroyed Stalin's Soviet Union. But victory over Nazi Germany provided the dictator with his great opportunity: to expand Soviet power way beyond the borders of the Soviet state. Well before the shooting stopped in 1945, the Soviet leader methodically set about the unprecedented task of creating a Red Empire that would soon stretch into the heart of Europe and Asia, displaying a supreme realism and ruthlessness that Machiavelli would surely have envied. By the time of his death in 1953, his new imperium was firmly in place, defining the contours of a Cold War world that was seemingly permanent and indestructible - and would last until the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But what were Stalin's motives in this spectacular power grab? Was he no more than a latter-day Russian tsar, for whom Communist ideology was little more than a smoke-screen? Or was he simply a psychopathic killer? In Stalin's Curse, best-selling historian Robert Gellately firmly rejects both these simplifications of the man and his motives. Using a wealth of previously unavailable documentation, Gellately shows instead how Stalin's crimes are more accurately understood as the deeds of a ruthless and life-long Leninist revolutionary. Far from being a latter day 'Red Tsar' intent simply upon imperial expansion for its own sake, Stalin was in fact deeply inspired by the rhetoric of the Russian revolution and what Lenin had accomplished during the Great War. As Gellately convincingly shows, Stalin remained throughout these years steadfastly committed to a 'boundless faith' in Communism - and saw the Second World War as his chance to take up once again the old revolutionary mission to carry the Red Flag to the world.
Hailed as Newby's 'masterpiece', 'Love and War in the Apennines' is the gripping real-life story of Newby's imprisonment and escape from an Italian prison camp during World War II. After the Italian Armistice of 1943, Eric Newby escaped from the prison camp in which he'd been held for a year. He evaded the German army by hiding in the caves and forests of Fontanellato, in Italy's Po Valley. Against this picturesque backdrop, he was sheltered for three months by an informal network of Italian peasants, who fed, supported and nursed him, before his eventual recapture. 'Love and War in the Apennines' is Newby's tribute to the selfless and courageous people who were to be his saviours and companions during this troubled time and of their bleak and unchanging way of life. Of the cast of idiosyncratic characters, most notable was the beautiful local girl on a bike who would teach him the language, and eventually help him escape; two years later they were married and would spend the rest of their lives as co-adventurers. Part travelogue, part escape story and part romance, this is a mesmerising account of wisdom, courage, humour and adventure, and tells the story of the early life of a man who would become one of Britain's best-loved literary adventurers.
The legions of Rome were among the greatest fighting forces in history. For almost half a millennium they secured the known world under the power of the Caesars. This pioneering account gathers together the stories of each and every imperial legion, telling the tales of their triumphs and defeats as they policed the empire and enlarged its borders. Focusing on the legions as the core of the Roman army, and chronicling their individual histories in detail, this volume builds on the thematic account of the Roman military force given by its companion The Complete Roman Army , and is vital reading for anyone who has enjoyed that book.
The Amazon History Book of the Year 2013 is a magisterial chronicle of the calamity that befell Europe in 1914 as the continent shifted from the glamour of the Edwardian era to the tragedy of total war. In 1914, Europe plunged into the 20th century's first terrible act of self-immolation - what was then called The Great War. On the eve of its centenary, Max Hastings seeks to explain both how the conflict came about and what befell millions of men and women during the first months of strife. He finds the evidence overwhelming, that Austria and Germany must accept principal blame for the outbreak. While what followed was a vast tragedy, he argues passionately against the `poets' view', that the war was not worth winning. It was vital to the freedom of Europe, he says, that the Kaiser's Germany should be defeated. His narrative of the early battles will astonish those whose images of the war are simply of mud, wire, trenches and steel helmets. Hastings describes how the French Army marched into action amid virgin rural landscapes, in uniforms of red and blue, led by mounted officers, with flags flying and bands playing. The bloodiest day of the entire Western war fell on 22 August 1914, when the French lost 27,000 dead. Four days later, at Le Cateau the British fought an extraordinary action against the oncoming Germans, one of the last of its kind in history. In October, at terrible cost they held the allied line against massive German assaults in the first battle of Ypres.The author also describes the brutal struggles in Serbia, East Prussia and Galicia, where by Christmas the Germans, Austrians, Russians and Serbs had inflicted on each other three million casualties. This book offers answers to the huge and fascinating question `what happened to Europe in 1914?', through Max Hastings's accustomed blend of top-down and bottom-up accounts from a multitude of statesmen and generals, peasants, housewives and private soldiers of seven nations. His narrative pricks myths and offers some striking and controversial judgements. For a host of readers gripped by the author's last international best-seller `All Hell Let Loose', this will seem a worthy successor.
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