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The Last Hurrah describes in vivid detail a pivotal moment not just in the history of South Africa, that far-flung imperial outpost, but of the British Empire itself. The year 1947 marked the high-water mark of the British Empire in Africa, but also the very moment at which it began to unravel, ahead of the Afrikaner Nationalist victory in South Africa in 1948, which led inexorably to the Republic of South Africa in 1961 and its departure from the Commonwealth.
Graham Viney's book not only superbly captures a moment in the life of a fractious, recently formed 'nation', before its descent into nearly five decades of darkness, but also gives us an intimate and revealing portrait of the royal family - King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret - hard at work in support of the national interest. It seems clear that the present Queen Elizabeth must have learned a great deal from her father, but perhaps particularly her mother, about duty and statecraft in the course of this three-month tour, during which the then princess celebrated her twenty-first birthday.
Viney evocatively details the background to the 1947 royal tour of southern Africa, which took in not just the length and breadth of what was then the Union of South Africa, but its neighbours, too: Basutoland (now Lesotho), Bechuanaland (Botswana), Swaziland (very recently renamed the Kingdom of eSwatini), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). The royal family travelled ceaselessly, from February to April that year, on a specially commissioned, white-painted train, meeting thousands of people at every stop along the way.
The tour was a show of imperial solidarity and a recognition of South Africa's contribution to the Allied cause during the Second World War, specifically that of South African prime minister Jan Smuts, who, though once an adversary in the Boer War and Churchill's jailer, had served in both British war cabinets and been nicknamed 'the handyman of Empire'. Despite concerns and ongoing controversy, wherever the tour took the Royal Family, South Africans of all kinds turned out in their thousands to cheer and welcome them. But India was to gain independence later that same year and just one year later, Smuts had been ousted from power and South Africa set on the path to becoming a republic.
The Last Hurrah draws skilfully on many diverse sources, including the Royal Archive at Windsor, to explore not just the troubled politics of the time, but also local society and the royal visitors in richly textured, telling detail. The book includes many photographs of the royal family on tour not previously published, including stills from film footage unearthed in the South African Railway Museum archives.
From the secret SAS archives, and acclaimed author Ben Macintyre: the first ever authorized history of the SAS.
In the summer of 1941, at the height of the war in the Western Desert, a bored and eccentric young officer, David Stirling, came up with a plan that was radical and entirely against the rules: a small undercover unit that would inflict chaos and mayhem behind enemy lines. Despite intense opposition, Winston Churchill personally gave Stirling permission to recruit the toughest, brightest and most ruthless soldiers he could find. So began the most celebrated and mysterious military organisation in the world: the SAS. Now, 75 years later, the SAS has finally decided to tell its astonishing story. It has opened its secret archives for the first time, granting historian Ben Macintyre full access to a treasure trove of unseen reports, memos, diaries, letters, maps and photographs, as well as free rein to interview surviving Originals and those who knew them.
The result is an exhilarating tale of fearlessness and heroism, recklessness and tragedy; of extraordinary men who were willing to take monumental risks. It is a story about the meaning of courage.
Historian Karen Horn painstakingly tracked down a number of former POWs in which their interviews reveal rich narratives of hardship, endurance, humour, longing and self-discovery. Instead of fighting, these men adapted to another war, one which was fought on the inside of many prison camps.
In their interviews, all the POWs expressed surprise at being asked to share their experiences of almost 70 years earlier.They returned home in 1945 to a country which soon afterwards tried its utmost to promote national amnesia with regard to the country’s participation in the war.
With great insight and empathy, Karen Horn shines a light on a neglected corner of South African history. Karen Horn is a lecturer at Stellenbosch University.
The new book by the winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize and author of the Sunday Times bestseller EAST WEST STREET - a historical detective story that sets out to uncover the truth behind what happened to leading Nazi Otto von Wachter
As Governor of Galicia, SS Brigadefuhrer Otto Freiherr von Wachter presided over an authority on whose territory hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles were killed, including the family of the author's grandfather. By the time the war ended in May 1945, he was indicted for 'mass murder'. Hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the Poles and the British, as well as groups of Jews, Wachter went on the run. He spent three years hiding in the Austrian Alps, assisted by his wife Charlotte, before making his way to Rome where he was helped by a Vatican bishop. He remained there for three months. While preparing to travel to Argentina on the 'ratline' he died unexpectedly, in July 1949, a few days after spending a weekend with an 'old comrade'.
In The Ratline Philippe Sands offers a unique account of the daily life of a senior Nazi and fugitive, and of his wife. Drawing on a remarkable archive of family letters and diaries, he unveils a fascinating insight into life before and during the war, on the run, in Rome, and into the Cold War. Eventually the door is unlocked to a mystery that haunts Wachter's youngest son, who continues to believe his father was a good man - what happened to Otto Wachter, and how did he die?
'I had thought that for me there could never again be any elation in war. But I had reckoned without the liberation of Paris - I had reckoned without remembering that I might be a part of that richly historic day. We were in Paris on the first day - one of the great days of all time.' (Ernie Pyle, US war correspondent) The liberation of Paris was a momentous point in twentieth-century history, yet it is now largely forgotten outside France. Eleven Days in August is a pulsating hour-by-hour reconstruction of these tumultuous events that shaped the final phase of the war and the future of France, told with the pace of a thriller. While examining the conflicting national and international interests that played out in the bloody street fighting, it tells of how, in eleven dramatic days, people lived, fought and died in the most beautiful city in the world. Based largely on unpublished archive material, including secret conversations, coded messages, diaries and eyewitness accounts, Eleven Days in August shows how these August days were experienced in very different ways by ordinary Parisians, Resistance fighters, French collaborators, rank-and-file German soldiers, Allied and French spies, the Allied and German High Commands. Above all, it shows that while the liberation of Paris may be attributed to the audacity of the Resistance, the weakness of the Germans and the strength of the Allies, the key to it all was the Parisians who by turn built street barricades and sunbathed on the banks of the Seine, who fought the Germans and simply tried to survive until the Germans finally surrendered, in a billiard room at the Prefecture of Police. One of the most iconic moments in the history of the twentieth century had come to a close, and the face of Paris would never be the same again.
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.
An authentic account of one of the most pivotal battlesof World War Two. The World War Two invasion known as D-Day was one of the largest military endeavours in history. It involved years of planning, total secrecy and not only soldiers but also sailors, paratroopers and many specialists. Acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson weaves together the contributions of key players in D-Day in a masterful tapestry of official documents, personal narratives and archival photos to provide an action-packed and authentic account.
THE SUNDAY TIMES NON FICTION BESTSELLER WHSmith NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2018 'The best book you will ever read about Britain's greatest warplane.' Patrick Bishop, bestselling author of Fighter Boys. 'A rich and heartfelt tribute to this most iconic British machine. By focussing on the men (and women) who flew the Spitfire, John Nichol has brought a fresh and powerful perspective to the story. And by recording their bravery, humility, camaraderie, tragedy and sheer joy in flying their beloved Spits he has done them - and us - a valuable service' Rowland White, bestselling author of Vulcan 607 'As the RAF marks its centenary, Nichol has created a thrilling and often moving tribute to some of its greatest heroes.' Jon Dennis, Mail on Sunday magazine. 'A stirring portrait of a piece of aviation art in motion flown by the bravest of the brave. Nichol's Spitfire is still a sky-borne prima ballerina that kicks like Bruce Lee.' RAF News 'A superb and compelling book. Brilliantly written with some incredible and astonishing stories; it is gripping, moving, emotional and sometimes humorous - just perfect' Squadron Leader (Ret) Clive Rowley, former Officer Commanding RAF Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight 'A superb journey through the remarkable tale of that British icon, the Spitfire. Brilliantly and engagingly written, this is the most readable story of the aircraft and her pilots that I have ever had the pleasure to read in a period spanning some forty-odd years of personal study and research. Truly stunning.' Andy Saunders, Editor, Britain at War Magazine. The perfect complementary narrative to the bestselling memoir by Geoffrey Wellum - First Light. Achtung, Spitfire! The iconic Spitfire found fame during the darkest early days of World War II. But what happened to the redoubtable fighter and its crews beyond the Battle of Britain, and why is it still so loved today? In late spring 1940, Nazi Germany's domination of Europe had looked unstoppable. With the British Isles in easy reach since the fall of France, Adolf Hitler was convinced that Great Britain would be defeated in the skies over her southern coast, confident his Messerschmitts and Heinkels would outclass anything the Royal Air Force threw at them. What Hitler hadn't planned for was the agility and resilience of a marvel of British engineering that would quickly pass into legend - the Spitfire. Bestselling author John Nichol's passionate portrait of this magnificent fighter aircraft, its many innovations and updates, and the people who flew and loved them, carries the reader beyond the dogfights over Kent and Sussex. Spanning the full global reach of the Spitfire's deployment during WWII, from Malta to North Africa and the Far East, then over the D-Day beaches, it is always accessible, effortlessly entertaining and full of extraordinary spirit. Here are edge-of-the-seat stories and heart-stopping first-hand accounts of battling pilots forced to bail out over occupied territory; of sacrifice and wartime love; of aristocratic female flyers, and of the mechanics who braved the Nazi onslaught to keep the aircraft in battle-ready condition. Nichol takes the reader on a hair-raising, nail-biting and moving wartime history of the iconic Spitfire populated by a cast of redoubtable, heroic characters that make you want to stand up and cheer.
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
Lives Reclaimed tells an extraordinary story of resistance against the Nazi regime and help for Jews in the Third Reich. Still largely unknown today, 'The Bund' were a small left-wing group based in Germany's industrial heartland. Initially preoccupied with surviving the Nazi onslaught and adapting to clandestine life under a dictatorship, in 1938 the men and women of the Bund were shocked by the anti-Jewish violence of Kristallnacht into reaching out to their Jewish neighbours. Using an unparalleled trove of previously undiscovered private papers, Mark Roseman places support for Jews under the shadow of Nazism in a completely new light, exploring the striking palette of gestures and actions that proved possible even in Nazi Germany - from simple symbolic acts of solidarity, through sending parcels to the Polish ghettos and Theresienstadt, to providing false identities and hiding people on the run. In doing so, he uncovers the challenges of living and acting under a dictatorship when neighbours and acquaintances might be as great a threat as the Gestapo, and examines the experiences of those assisted by the group, as they hid in plain sight, moving from address to address. Throughout, we are prompted to ask what drove and equipped the Bund to step into the broken glass of Kristallnacht, to visit Jewish organizations and Jewish barracks to ascertain local needs, to line up in the post-office with packages for Theresienstadt, or to brave a visit to the cells in a local police station with a message for imprisoned Jews? Although not the first book to tell the story of Jews saved from Nazi persecution, the story of the Bund is unique in the way it is able to pursue the choices, dilemmas, fears, and hopes of the helpers themselves, observing them through the changing conditions of both war and Holocaust.
In the tradition of `Agent Zigzag' comes a breathtaking biography of WWII's `Scarlet Pimpernel' as fast-paced and emotionally intuitive as the best spy thrillers. This celebrates unsung hero Robert de La Rochefoucauld, an aristocrat turned anti-Nazi saboteur, and his exploits as a British Special Operations Executive-trained resistant When the Nazis invaded France during the Second World War and imprisoned his father, Robert de La Rochefoucauld - a scion of one of the oldest aristocratic families in France - escaped to England and trained in the dark arts of anarchy and combat. Under the guidance of SOE spies, he learned to crack safes, plant bombs and kill enemies with his bare hands. Then, back in France, he organised Resistance cells, killed Nazi officers and interfered with German missions. He survived unbearable torture and escaped Nazi confinement on not one but two occasions, to live well into his eighties. The adventures of de La Rochefoucauld offer rare insight into a unique moment in history, revealing brand new information about a network of commandos who battled evil and bravely worked together to change the course of history.
'History's greatest story reinvigorated as only Alex Kershaw can' -Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call 'An absolute triumph' -James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and national bestselling author of Target Tokyo and Rampage 'The unforgettable human drama of history's most consequential invasion' -John C. McManus, author of The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day-The Big Red One at Omaha Beach Beginning in the pre-dawn darkness of June 6, 1944, The First Wave follows ten men attempting to carry out D-Day's most critical missions. Their actions would determine the fate of the invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe. The ten make a charismatic, unforgettable cast. They include the first American paratrooper to touch down on Normandy soil; the only British soldier that day to earn a Victoria's Cross; the Canadian brothers who led their decimated troops onto Juno Beach under withering fire; the colonel who faced the powerful 150mm guns of the Merville Battery; as well as a French commando who helped destroy German strongholds on Sword Beach. The book will give authentic voice to the invaders' enemies, the German enlisted men and officers tasked with destroying the Allies as they hit the beaches. The result is an utterly immersive, adrenaline-driven drama, an epic of close combat and extraordinary heroism. It is the capstone Alex Kershaw's remarkable career, built on his close friendships with D-Day survivors and his intimate understanding of the Normandy battlefield. For the seventy-fifth anniversary, here is a fresh take on the Second World War's longest day. Praise for Alex Kershaw: 'From the opening pages, when Kershaw...drops us into the invasion of Paris, we know that we are in good hands. This is classic narrative nonfiction, constructed and written like a thriller.' Chicago Tribune 'Exceptional.... balances evocative prose with attention to detail and is a worthy addition to vibrant classics of small-unit history like Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers.' Wall Street Journal 'Kershaw's writing is seamless. He incorporates information from a vast array of sources, but it works--you get a sense of the different voices coming into the story....A gripping read.' Minneapolis Star Tribune
The most iconic planes of WWII, the Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane, DeHavilland Mosquito and the Avro Lancaster, were all powered by one engine, the Rolls-Royce Merlin. The story of the Merlin is one of British ingenuity at its height, of artistry and problem-solving that resulted in a war-winning design. Published to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day and the 80th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain, Merlin is the extraordinary story of the development of the Rolls-Royce engine that would stop Hitler from invading Britain and carry the war to the very heart of Germany. The story of the Merlin engine encompasses the history of powered flight, from the ingenuity of the Wright Brothers to the horrors of World War I, and from the first crossing of the Atlantic to the heady days of flying in the 1920s. There is also the extraordinary story of the Schneider Trophy - an international contest wherein nations poised on the precipice of war competed for engineering excellence in the name of progress. And at the heart of this story are the glamourous lives of the pilots, many of whom died in their pursuit of speed; the engineers, like Henry Royce of Rolls-Royce, who sketched the engine that would win WWII in the sand of his local beach; and perhaps most importantly the Lady Lucy Houston who after the Wall Street Crash singlehandedly funded the development of the engine and the iconic Spitfire. Never was so much owed by so many to so few - and without the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, the few would have been powerless.
THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER THE EPIC TRUE STORY OF DUNKIRK - NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY CHRISTOPHER NOLAN AND STARRING KENNETH BRANAGH, TOM HARDY AND MARK RYLANCE. In 1940, at the French port of Dunkirk, more than 300,000 trapped Allied troops were dramatically rescued from destruction at the hands of Nazi Germany by an extraordinary seaborne evacuation. The true history of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians involved in the nine-day skirmish has passed into legend. Now, the story Winston Churchill described as a 'miracle' is narrated by bestselling author Joshua Levine in its full, sweeping context, including new interviews with veterans and survivors. Told from the viewpoints of land, sea and air, Joshua Levine's Dunkirk is a dramatic account of a defeat that paved the way to ultimate victory and preserved liberty for generations to come.
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
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.
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
For fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Librarian of Auschwitz and The Choice, this is the incredible true story of a British soldier POW. In 1942, young British soldier Arthur Dodd was taken prisoner by the German Army and transported to Oswiecim in Polish Upper Silesia. The Germans gave it another name, now synonymous with mankind's darkest hours. They called it Auschwitz. Forced to do hard labour, starved and savagely beaten, Arthur thought his life would end in Auschwitz. Determined to go down fighting, he sabotaged Nazi industrial work, risked his life to alleviate the suffering of the Jewish prisoners and aided a partisan group planning a mass break-out. This shocking true story sheds new light on the operations at the camp, exposes a hierarchy of prisoner treatment by the SS and presents the largely unknown story of the military POWs held there.
'Julie Summers has an amazing instinct for unearthing good stories and telling quotes.' Craig Brown, The Mail On Sunday 'This is an enjoyable book, peppered with examples of under-reported wartime heroism.' Robert Leigh-Pemberton, The Daily Telegraph 'It's hard to believe that there are still untold stories about Britain and World War II, but Julie Summers has unearthed a fascinating one that she tells with great verve and style. All in all, Uninvited Guests is a sheer delight.' Lynne Olson, author of Citizens of London and Last Hope Island A remarkable narrative set against the dark days of World War Two, from one of the country's foremost social historians. Our Uninvited Guests perfectly captures the spirit of upheaval at the beginning of the Second World War when thousands of houses were requisitioned by the government to provide accommodation for the armed forces, secret services and government offices as well as vulnerable children, the sick and the elderly, all of whom needed to be housed safely beyond the reach of Hitler's Luftwaffe. Julie Summers gives the reader a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in some of Britain's greatest country houses that were occupied by people who would otherwise never have set foot in such opulent surroundings.Blenheim Palace was colonised by schoolboys who slept in the Long Library; Polish special agents trained in the grounds of Audley End House, learning to forge and lie their way into occupied Europe in the old nursery. Brocket Hall, former home of Queen Victoria's favourite Lord Melbourne, was used as a maternity home for women from the East End of London, and the Rothschilds' magnificent French chateau-inspired Waddesdon Manor housed a hundred children under five. The Northern Highlands, where the fierce warriors of Scotland's past developed their unconventional military skills, played host to the most extreme form of warfare, training agents in the fine arts of sabotage, subterfuge and assassination. The juxtaposition of splendour and opulence with the everyday activities of people whose needs were at odds with their new surroundings is at the heart of this book. This thought-provoking and evocative narrative captures a crucial period in the social history of Britain. Praise for Julie Summers: 'Superb...highly recommended' Who Do You Think You Are Magazine 'A remarkable collection of stories...a rich and moving book' Mail on Sunday 'Summers is a good and knowledgeable writer...powerful, emotional stuff' Independent 'A poignant, lingering account' BBC History Magazine 'A revelation - full of information, reminiscences, humour and social history. Reading it not only gave me great pleasure but also made me proud to be a member of such a long lasting, valuable and vital organisation' Helen Carey OBE, former chairman of the National Federation of Women's Institutes
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.
'Extraordinary...serious naval history and a detective story, told with passion.' The Times 'Vividly detailed...compelling yet comprehensive.' Los Angeles Times 'Simply outstanding.' Booklist (starred review) 'Gripping... This yarn has it all.' USA Today The sinking of the USS Indianapolis is still the biggest single loss of life at sea to be suffered by the United States navy. From a crew of 1,196 men, only 317 survived. Torpedoed by the Japanese, dying of thirst and eaten by sharks. For 70 years, the story of the USS Indianapolis has been told as a sinking story, or a shark story, or a story of military justice gone awry. But in Indianapolis, the true story of this mighty vessel is revealed. As the USS Arizona embodies the beginning of the Pacific war, the USS Indianapolis embodies its fiery end. From its bridge, Admiral Raymond Spruance devised and executed the island-hopping campaign that decimated Japan's Navy and Army. Its crew led the fleet from Pearl Harbour to the islands of Japan, notching an unbroken string of victories in an exotic and uncharted theatre of war. When the time came for President Harry S. Truman to deal Japan the decisive blow, Indianapolis answered the call. And super-spy Major Robert S. Furman climbed aboard, secreting the components of the world's first atomic bomb. Four days after delivering her ominous cargo to the island of Tinian, the Indianapolis was sunk by a Japanese submarine, with nearly 900 men lost. The captain, Charles B. McVay III, was wrongly court-martialled for negligence over the sinking. Decades after these events, the survivors of the Indianapolis, as well as the Japanese submarine commander who sank it, joined together to finally exonerate McVay.
During World War II, the lives of millions of Americans lay precariously in the hands of a few brilliant scientists who raced to develop the first weapon of mass destruction. Elected officials gave the scientists free rein in the Manhattan Project without understanding the complexities and dangers involved in splitting the atom. The Manhattan Project was the first example of a new type of choice for congressmen, presidents, and other government officials: life and death on a national scale. From that moment, our government began fashioning public policy for issues of scientific development, discoveries, and inventions that could secure or threaten our existence and our future. But those same men and women had no training in such fields, did not understand the ramifications of the research, and relied on incomplete information to form potentially life-changing decisions. Through the story of the Manhattan Project, Neil J. Sullivan asks by what criteria the people in charge at the time made such critical decisions. He also ponders how similar judgments are reached today with similar incomprehension from those at the top as our society dives down the potential rabbit hole of bioengineering, nanotechnology, and scientific developments yet to come.
**THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER** The book that inspired Steven Spielberg's acclaimed TV series, produced by Tom Hanks and starring Damian Lewis. In Band of Brothers, Stephen E. Ambrose pays tribute to the men of Easy Company, a crack rifle company in the US Army. From their rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the dangerous parachute landings on D-Day and their triumphant capture of Hitler's 'Eagle's Nest' in Berchtesgaden. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. Repeatedly send on the toughest missions, these brave men fought, went hungry, froze and died in the service of their country. A tale of heroic adventures and soul-shattering confrontations, Band of Brothers brings back to life, as only Stephen E. Ambrose can, the profound ties of brotherhood forged in the barracks and on the battlefields. 'History boldly told and elegantly written . . . Gripping' Wall Street Journal 'Ambrose proves once again he is a masterful historian . . . spellbinding' People
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