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"We Greeks are one in blood and one in language; we have temples to the gods and religious rites in common, and a common way of life." Herodotus Throughout the course of ancient Greek civilization, there always existed a sense of shared culture among the many Greek communities scattered throughout the Mediterranean. During the Classical (479-338) and Hellenistic (338-30) periods, the countless individual poleis of the Archaic period gradually came together in leagues and alliances, and finally were more or less united when they fell under the Roman empire. But what is fascinating about this process is how much resistance there was to it. The Greeks found it impossible to unify when faced with common enemies. Even under Roman rule the Greek cities still bickered. Acts of union - going back to the legendary Trojan War - were widely celebrated, but made little practical difference. If the Greeks knew that they were kin, why is Greek history so often the history of their internecine wars and other forms of competition with one another? This is the question acclaimed historian Robin Waterfield sets out to explore in Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens. This extraordinary contradiction - the recognition that they were all Greeks, but the deep-seated reluctance to unify - is at the heart of this ambitious new history. The culmination of a lifetime of research, Waterfield gives a comprehensive account of seven hundred years, from the emergence of the Greeks around 750 BCE to the downfall of the last of the Greco-Macedonian kingdoms in 30 BCE, looking at political, military, social, and cultural history.
Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, The Battle of Trafalgar is an accessible and authoritative introduction to the battle that marked the defeat of Napoleon's plans to invade Britain. Written by the leading lights and most outstanding communicators in their fields, the Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history and culture. For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.
A wartime romance, survival saga and murder mystery set in rural France during the First World War, from the bestselling author of `Operation Mincemeat' and `Agent Zig-Zag'. Four young British soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines at the height of the fighting on the Western Front in August 1914. Unable to get back to their units, they shelter in the tiny French village of Villeret, where they are fed, clothed and protected by the villagers, including the local matriarch Madame Dessenne, the baker and his wife. The self-styled leader of the band of fugitives, Private Robert Digby, falls in love with the 20-year-old-daughter of one of his protectors, and in November 1915 she gives birth to a baby girl. The child is just six months old when someone betrays the men to the Germans. They are captured, tried as spies and summarily condemned to death. Using the testimonies of the daughter, the villagers, detailed town hall records and, most movingly, the soldiers' last letters, Ben Macintyre reconstructs an extraordinary story of love, duplicity and shame - ultimately seeking to discover through decades of village rumour the answer to the question, `Who betrayed Private Digby and his men?' In this new updated edition the mystery is finally solved.
From best-selling author of `A Brilliant Little Operation', winner of the British Army Military History prize and the Royal marines History prize for 2013, comes the long neglected D-Day story of the Resistance uprising and subsequent massacre on the Vercors massif - the largest action by the French Resistance during the Second World War. In 1941 factions of the French Resistance began to plot against their German occupiers. Aided by Allied arms and secret agents, they would seize the mountainous Vercors plateau in south-eastern France in a D-Day uprising intended to divert the Nazis from the Normandy beaches. But when muddled Allied strategy in London and Algiers left them abandoned, the 4,500 young fighters were left to face the might of the German Army alone. `The Cruel Victory' gives voice to the young fighters who fought the largest Resistance battle of the war. It is a story of how early idealism can turn to despair, and of the cost to those on the front line of battle when those at the top know too little about the harsh realities of war. It is a human story of heroic proportion.
Spain has never worked as a democracy. Throughout the country's history only one system of government has ever enjoyed any real success: dictatorship and the use of violence. Violence, in fact, is what Spain is made of, lying at the heart of its culture and identity, far more so than any other western European nation. For well over a thousand years, the country has only ever been forged and then been held together through the use of aggression - brutal, merciless terror and warfare directed against its own people. Without it the country breaks apart and Spain ceases to exist - a fact that recent events in Barcelona confirm. Authoritarianism is the Spanish default setting. Yet Spain has produced many of the most important artists and thinkers in the Western world, from Cervantes, author of the first modern novel, to Goya, the first modern painter. Much of Western artistic expression, in fact, from the Picaresque to Cubism, would be unthinkable without the Spanish contribution. This unique national genius, however, does not exist despite Spain's violent backdrop; it is, in fact, born out of it. Indeed Spain's genius and violent nature go hand in hand, locked together in a macabre, elaborate dance. This is the country's tragedy. Violencia unveils this truth for the first time, exposing the bloody heart of Spain - from its origins in the ancient past to the Civil War and the current crisis in Catalonia. Violencia will be in the tradition of those books which come to define our understanding of a country.
When Norman Eisen moved into the US ambassador's residence in Prague, returning to the land his mother had fled after the Holocaust, he was startled to discover swastikas hidden beneath the furniture. From that discovery unspooled the captivating, twisting tale of the remarkable people who lived in the house before Eisen. Their story is Europe's, telling the dramatic and surprisingly cyclical tale of the endurance of liberal democracy: the optimistic Jewish financial baron who built the palace; the conflicted Nazi general who put his life at risk for the house during World War II; the first postwar US ambassador struggling to save both the palace and Prague from communist hands; the child star- turned-diplomat who fought to end totalitarianism; and Eisen's own mother, whose life demonstrates how those without power and privilege moved through history. The Last Palace chronicles the upheavals that have transformed the continent over the past century and reveals how we never live far from the past.
Orlando Figes’s enthralling, richly evocative history has been heralded as a literary masterpiece on Russia, the lives of those who have shaped its culture, and the enduring spirit of a people.
‘Awe-inspiring … Natasha’s Dance has all the qualities of an epic tragedy’
‘A tour de force by the great storyteller of modern Russian historians … Figes mobilizes a cast of serf harems, dynasties, politburos, libertines, filmmakers, novelists, composers, poets, tsars and tyrants … superb, flamboyant and masterful’
‘It is so much fun to read that I hesitate to write too much, for fear of spoiling the pleasures and surprises of the book’
‘Magnificent … Figes is at his exciting best’
‘Breathtaking … The title of this masterly history comes from War and Peace, when the aristocratic heroine, Natasha Rostova, finds herself intuitively picking up the rhythm of a peasant dance … One of those books that, at times, makes you wonder how you have so far managed to do without it’
‘Thrilling, dizzying … I would defy any reader not to be captivated’
‘Pour yourself a shot of vodka, open this brilliant, ambitious book, read and revel in it’
Who was the real Marie-Antoinette? She was mistrusted and reviled in her own time, and today she is portrayed as a lightweight incapable of understanding the events that engulfed her. In this new account, John Hardman redresses the balance and sheds fresh light on Marie-Antoinette's story. Hardman shows how Marie-Antoinette played a significant but misunderstood role in the crisis of the monarchy. Drawing on new sources, he describes how, from the outset, Marie-Antoinette refused to prioritize the aggressive foreign policy of her mother, Maria-Theresa, bravely took over the helm from Louis XVI after the collapse of his morale, and, when revolution broke out, listened to the Third Estate and worked closely with repentant radicals to give the constitutional monarchy a fighting chance. For the first time, Hardman demonstrates exactly what influence Marie-Antoinette had and when and how she exerted it.
A powerful, fascinating, and groundbreaking history of Checkpoint Charlie, the famous military gate on the border of East and West Berlin. East Germany committed a billion dollars to the creation of the Berlin Wall in the early 1960s, an eleven-foot-high barrier that consisted of seventy-nine miles of fencing, 300 watchtowers, 250 guard dog runs, twenty bunkers, and was operated around the clock by guards who shot to kill. Over the next twenty-eight years, at least five thousand people attempted to smash through it, swim across it, tunnel under it, or fly over it. In November 1989, the East German leadership buckled in the face of a civil revolt that culminated in half a million East Berliners demanding an end to the ban on free movement. The world's media flocked to capture the moment which, perhaps more than any other, signaled the end of the Cold War. Checkpoint Charlie had been the epicenter of global conflict for nearly three decades. As the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Wall approaches in 2019, Iain MacGregor captures the essence of the mistrust, oppression, paranoia, and fear that gripped the world throughout this period. Checkpoint Charlie is about the nerve-wracking confrontation between the West and USSR, highlighting such important global figures as Eisenhower, Stalin, JFK, Nikita Khrushchev, Mao Zedung, Nixon, Reagan, and other politicians of the period. He also includes never-before-heard interviews with the men who built and dismantled the Wall; children who crossed it; relatives and friends who lost loved ones trying to escape over it; military policemen and soldiers who guarded the checkpoints; CIA, MI6, and Stasi operatives who oversaw operations across its borders; politicians whose ambitions shaped it; journalists who recorded its story; and many more whose living memories contributed to the full story of Checkpoint Charlie.
Russia is an exceptional country, the biggest in the world. It is both European and exotic, powerful and weak, brilliant and flawed. Why are we so afraid of it? Time and again, we judge Russia by unique standards. We have usually assumed that it possesses higher levels of cunning, malevolence and brutality. Yet the country has more often than not been a crucial ally, not least against Napoleon and in the two world wars. We admire its music and its writers. We lavish praise on the Russian soul. And still we think of Russia as a unique menace. What is it about this extraordinary country that consistently provokes such excessive responses? And why is this so dangerous? Ranging from the earliest times to the present, Mark B. Smith's remarkable new book is a history of this 'Russia Anxiety'. Whether ally or enemy, superpower or failing state, Russia grips our imagination and fuels our fears unlike any other country. This book shows how history itself offers a clearer view and a better future.
The Stalingrad of the ancient world, this is an immensely readable, brilliant, brutal and vivid history of the greatest and bloodiest war of ancient Greece. The Peloponnesian War, fought 2,500 years ago between oligarchic Sparta and democratic Athens for control of Greece, is brought spectacularly to life in this magnificent study. Kagan demonstrates the relevance of this cataclysmic event to modern times in all its horror and savagery. As two uncompromising empires fight a war of survival from diametrically opposing political, social and cultural positions, the seemingly invincible glory of Athens crumbles in tragedy. Athenian culture and politics was unmatched in originality and fertility, and is still regarded as one of the peak achievements of Western civilisation. Dramatic poets such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes raised tragedy and comedy to a level never surpassed; architects and sculptors were at work on the Acropolis; natural philosophers like Anaxagoras and Democritus were exploring the physical world, and philosophers like Socrates were dissecting the realm of human affairs. All this was lost to this bloody conflict. In this work of brilliant scholarship, Kagan illustrates his remarkable ability to interpret these events as a part of the universality of human experience. His clear expertise in both the ancient world and the wars of the 20th-century are combined with his storytelling gifts to give an unforgettable portrait of this pivotal war that has shaped the world as we know it.
Winters' memoir, based on his wartime diary, includes the untold stories of his comrades--the Band of Brothers who suffered unimaginable casualties while liberating Europe.
*WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2018* 'As moving as it is painstakingly researched. . . a cracking read' Viv Groskop, Observer On 26 April 1986 at 1.23am a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. While the authorities scrambled to understand what was occurring, workers, engineers, firefighters and those living in the area were abandoned to their fate. The blast put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation, contaminating over half of Europe with radioactive fallout. In Chernobyl, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy draws on recently opened archives to recreate these events in all their drama. A moment by moment account of the heroes, perpetrators and victims of a tragedy, Chernobyl is the first full account of a gripping, unforgettable Cold War story. 'A compelling history of the 1986 disaster and its aftermath . . . plunges the reader into the sweaty, nervous tension of the Chernobyl control room on that fateful night when human frailty and design flaws combined to such devastating effect' Daniel Beer, Guardian 'Haunting ... near-Tolstoyan. His voice is humane and inflected with nostalgia' Roland Elliott Brown, Spectator 'Extraordinary, vividly written, powerful storytelling ... the first full-scale history of the world's worst nuclear disaster, one of the defining moments in the Cold War, told minute by minute' Victor Sebestyen Sunday Times 'Plays out like a classical tragedy ... fascinating' Julian Evans, Daily Telegraph 'Here at last is the monumental history the disaster deserves' Julie McDowall, The Times
'And now what will become of us without barbarians? Those people were a sort of solution.' 'Waiting for the Barbarians' C. P. Cavafy History is written by the victors, and Rome had some very eloquent historians. Those the Romans regarded as barbarians left few records of their own, but they had a tremendous impact on the Roman imagination. Resisting from outside Rome's borders or rebelling from within, they emerge vividly in Rome's historical tradition, and left a significant footprint in archaeology. Rome's history, as written by the Romans, follows a remarkable trajectory from its origins as a tiny village of refugees from a conflict zone to a dominant superpower, before being transformed into the medieval and Byzantine worlds. But throughout this history, Rome faced significant resistance and rebellion from peoples whom it regarded as barbarians. Gibbon saw the Roman Empire as one of the highest points of human achievement destroyed by barbarian invaders: Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Goths, Vandals, Huns, Picts and Scots. To others, as Rome was ravaged, new life was infused into an expiring Italy. Gibbon's 'decline and fall' has been reappraised as transformation, through religious and cultural revolution. Based both on ancient historical writings and modern archaeological research, this new history takes a fresh look at the Roman Empire, through the personalities and lives of key opponents of Rome's rise, dominance and fall - or transformation. These include: Brennus, the Gaul who sacked Rome; the Plebs, those barbarous insiders and internal resistors; Hannibal; Viriathus, the Iberian shepherd and skilled guerilla; Jugurtha and the struggle to free Africa; the Germanic threat from the Cimbri and the Teutones; Spartacus, the gladiator; Vercingetorix and rebellion in Gaul; Cleopatra; Boudicca, the Queen of the Iceni and the scourge of Rome; the Great Jewish Revolt; Alaric the Goth and the Sack of Rome; Attila the Hun, 'Born to Shake the Nations'; and the Vandals and the fall of Rome.
The Cold War division of Europe was not inevitable-the acclaimed author of Stalin's Genocides shows how postwar Europeans fought to determine their own destinies. Was the division of Europe after World War II inevitable? In this powerful reassessment of the postwar order in Europe, Norman Naimark suggests that Joseph Stalin was far more open to a settlement on the continent than we have thought. Through revealing case studies from Poland and Yugoslavia to Denmark and Albania, Naimark recasts the early Cold War by focusing on Europeans' fight to determine their future. As nations devastated by war began rebuilding, Soviet intentions loomed large. Stalin's armies controlled most of the eastern half of the continent, and in France and Italy, communist parties were serious political forces. Yet Naimark reveals a surprisingly flexible Stalin, who initially had no intention of dividing Europe. During a window of opportunity from 1945 to 1948, leaders across the political spectrum, including Juho Kusti Paasikivi of Finland, Wladyslaw Gomulka of Poland, and Karl Renner of Austria, pushed back against outside pressures. For some, this meant struggling against Soviet dominance. For others, it meant enlisting the Americans to support their aims. The first frost of Cold War could be felt in the tense patrolling of zones of occupation in Germany, but not until 1948, with the coup in Czechoslovakia and the Berlin Blockade, did the familiar polarization set in. The split did not become irreversible until the formal division of Germany and establishment of NATO in 1949. In illuminating how European leaders deftly managed national interests in the face of dominating powers, Stalin and the Fate of Europe reveals the real potential of an alternative trajectory for the continent.
The events and personalities of ancient Rome spring to life in this history, from its founding in 753 B.C. to the death of the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius in A.D. 180.
Paul A. Zoch presents, in contemporary language, the history of Rome and the stories of its protagonists?such as Romulus and Remus, Horatius, and Nero-which are so often omitted from more specialized studies.
With an eye detail, Zoch guides his readers through the military campaigns and political developments that shaped Rome's rise from a small Italian city to the greatest imperial power the world had ever known. We witness the long struggle against the enemy city of Carthage. We follow Caesar as he campaigns in Britain, and we observe the ebb and flow of Rome's fortunes in the Hellenistic East. Writing with the belief that such stories contain moral lessons that are relevant today, Zoch presents a narrative that is both entertaining and informative. An afterword takes the history to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West in A.D. 476.
This is the book that made Simon Schama's reputation when first published in 1987. A historical masterpiece, it is an epic account of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age of Rembrandt and van Diemen. In this brilliant work that moves far beyond the conventions of social or cultural history, Simon Schama investigates the astonishing case of a people's self-invention. He shows how, in the 17th-century, a modest assortment of farming, fishing and shipping communities, without a shared language, religion or government, transformed themselves into a formidable world empire - the Dutch republic.
The never-before-told story of one extremely rare copy of the Gutenberg Bible, and its impact on the lives of the fanatical few who were lucky enough to own it. For rare book collectors, an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible - there are only forty-six in existence - is the undisputed gem of any collection. The Lost Gutenberg recounts five centuries in the life of one particular copy of the Bible from its very creation by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, to its ultimate resting place, in a steel vault under the protection of the Japanese government. Margaret Leslie Davis draws readers into this incredible saga, inviting them into the colourful lives of each of its fanatic collectors along the way. Exploring books as objects of desire across centuries, Davis will leave readers not only with a broader understanding of the culture of rare book collectors, but with a deeper awareness of the importance of books in our world.
An entertaining and eye-opening look at the French Revolution, by Stephen Clarke, author of 1000 Years of Annoying the French and A Year in the Merde.
The French Revolution and What Went Wrong looks back at the French Revolution and how it’s surrounded in a myth. In 1789, almost no one in France wanted to oust the king, let alone guillotine him. But things quickly escalated until there was no turning back.
The French Revolution and What Went Wrong looks at what went wrong and why France would be better off if they had kept their monarchy.
Winner of the Duff Cooper Prize for History A SUNDAY TIMES, THE TIMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH, NEW STATESMAN, SPECTATOR, FINANCIAL TIMES, TLS BOOK OF THE YEAR 'Masterly ... awesome reading ... an outstanding biography' Max Hastings, Sunday Times In six weeks in the early summer of 1940, France was over-run by German troops and quickly surrendered. The French government of Marshal P tain sued for peace and signed an armistice. One little-known junior French general, refusing to accept defeat, made his way to England. On 18 June he spoke to his compatriots over the BBC, urging them to rally to him in London. 'Whatever happens, the flame of French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished.' At that moment, Charles de Gaulle entered into history. For the rest of the war, de Gaulle frequently bit the hand that fed him. He insisted on being treated as the true embodiment of France, and quarrelled violently with Churchill and Roosevelt. He was prickly, stubborn, aloof and self-contained. But through sheer force of personality and bloody-mindedness he managed to have France recognised as one of the victorious Allies, occupying its own zone in defeated Germany. For ten years after 1958 he was President of France's Fifth Republic, which he created and which endures to this day. His pursuit of 'a certain idea of France' challenged American hegemony, took France out of NATO and twice vetoed British entry into the European Community. His controversial decolonization of Algeria brought France to the brink of civil war and provoked several assassination attempts. Julian Jackson's magnificent biography reveals this the life of this titanic figure as never before. It draws on a vast range of published and unpublished memoirs and documents - including the recently opened de Gaulle archives - to show how de Gaulle achieved so much during the War when his resources were so astonishingly few, and how, as President, he put a medium-rank power at the centre of world affairs. No previous biography has depicted his paradoxes so vividly. Much of French politics since his death has been about his legacy, and he remains by far the greatest French leader since Napoleon.
`It's damned hard lines asking for bread and only getting a bullet!' The dramatic and chaotic events surrounding the Russian Revolution have been studied and written about extensively for the last hundred years, by historians and journalists alike. However, some of the most compelling and valuable accounts are those recorded by eyewitnesses, many of whom were foreign nationals caught in Petrograd at the time. Drawing from the Bodleian Library's rich collections, this book features extracts from letters, journals, diaries and memoirs written by a diverse cast of onlookers. Primarily British, the authors include Sydney Gibbes, English tutor to the royal children, Bertie Stopford, an antiques dealer who smuggled the Vladimir tiara and other Romanov jewels into the UK, and the private secretary to Lord Milner in the British War Cabinet. Contrasting with these are a memoir by Stinton Jones, an engineer who found himself sharing a train compartment with Rasputin, a newspaper report by governess Janet Jeffrey who survived a violent confrontation with the Red Army, and letters home from Labour politician, Arthur Henderson. Accompanied by seventy contemporary illustrations, these first-hand accounts are put into context with introductory notes, giving a fascinating insight into the tumultuous year of 1917.
Just as European Jews were being emancipated and ghettos in their original form-compulsory, enclosed spaces designed to segregate-were being dismantled, use of the word "ghetto" surged in Europe and spread around the globe. Tracing the curious path of this loaded word from its first use in sixteenth-century Venice to the present turns out to be more than an adventure in linguistics. Few words are as ideologically charged as "ghetto." Its early uses centered on two cities: Venice, where it referred to the segregation of the Jews in 1516, and Rome, where the ghetto survived until the fall of the Papal States in 1870, long after it had ceased to exist elsewhere. Ghetto: The History of a Word offers a fascinating account of the changing nuances of this slippery term, from its coinage to the present day. It details how the ghetto emerged as an ambivalent metaphor for "premodern" Judaism in the nineteenth century and how it was later revived to refer to everything from densely populated Jewish immigrant enclaves in modern cities to the hyper-segregated holding pens of Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. We see how this ever-evolving word traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, settled into New York's Lower East Side and Chicago's Near West Side, then came to be more closely associated with African Americans than with Jews. Chronicling this sinuous transatlantic odyssey, Daniel B. Schwartz reveals how the history of ghettos is tied up with the struggle and argument over the meaning of a word. Paradoxically, the term "ghetto" came to loom larger in discourse about Jews when Jews were no longer required to live in legal ghettos. At a time when the Jewish associations have been largely eclipsed, Ghetto retrieves the history of a disturbingly resilient word.
Scientists have always kept secrets. But rarely in history have scientific secrets been as vital as they were during World War II. In the midst of planning the Manhattan Project, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services created a secret offshoot - the Alsos Mission - meant to gather intelligence on and sabotage if necessary, scientific research by the Axis powers. What resulted was a plot worthy of the finest thriller, full of spies, sabotage, and murder. At its heart was the 'Lightning A' team, a group of intrepid soldiers, scientists, and spies - and even a famed baseball player - who were given almost free rein to get themselves embedded within the German scientific community to stop the most terrifying threat of the war: Hitler acquiring an atomic bomb of his very own. While the Manhattan Project and other feats of scientific genius continue to inspire us today, few people know about the international intrigue and double-dealing that accompanied those breakthroughs. Bastard Brigaderecounts this forgotten history, fusing a non-fiction spy thriller with some of the most incredible scientific ventures of all time.
Set like a stronghold south-west of the Caucasus mountains, Armenia is caught between East and West. Briefly a great empire in the first century BCE under King Tigranes the Great, Armenia was later incorporated first by the Sasanian and then the Byzantine Empires. Armenian art, literature, religion and material culture have reinterpreted elements of a wide variety of cultures. Spanning over two and a half millennia, the history of Armenia and the Armenian people is a series of riveting tales, from its first mention under the Achaemenid King Darius I to the independence of the Republic of Armenia from the Soviet Union. With the help of the Bodleian Libraries' magnificent collection of Armenian manuscripts and early printed books, this volume tells the story of the region through the medium of its cultural output. Together with introductions written by experts in their fields, close to one hundred manuscripts, works of art and religious artefacts serve as a guide to Armenian culture and history. Gospel manuscripts splendidly illuminated by Armenian masters feature next to philosophical tractates and merchants' handbooks, affording us an insight into what makes the Armenian people truly unique, especially in the shadow of the genocide that threatened their annihilation a hundred years ago: namely their spirituality, language and perseverance in the face of adversity. VISIT THE EXHIBITION Armenia: Treasures from an Enduring Culture October 2015 - January 2016 Bodleian Library, Oxford
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