Histories of the Unexpected
How Everything has a History
‘History is like a maze’, write the authors as they embark on this journey through 30 topics, inspired by their podcast series that promotes non-linear historical thinking. They reveal how our everyday world connects with the past in surprising, thought-provoking ways, including the use of paper clips as an anti-Nazi symbol, cats’ significance for the French Revolution and the links between letters, marriage, the Royal Navy and eggs.
A Brief History of
In the popular imagination the Freemasons are often regarded as a sinister secret society practising arcane rituals: Jasper Ridley’s reassessment traces the origins of Freemasonry in the medieval craftsmen's guilds and its spread throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Dispelling the more lurid misconceptions, Ridley sheds new light on the organization's beliefs, activities and current role in society.
The Book Thieves
The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance
Throughout occupied Europe, the Nazis looted not only art but also books. The Swedish journalist Anders Rydell describes how the shelves of Jews, Communists, Catholics, Freemasons and other opposition groups were pillaged to provide material for Nazi propaganda. He meets the small team of dedicated librarians combing Berlin's public libraries to identify the looted books, and finds himself entrusted with returning a stolen volume to its rightful owner. Off-mint with a felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
For The King's Pleasure
The Furniture and Decoration of George IV's Apartments at Windsor Castle
George IV’s refurbishment of Windsor Castle was one of the costliest decorative projects in history. Drawing on unpublished documents, this pioneering book charts the king’s relations with the artists and decorators, and is illustrated with original sketches and modern photographs of furniture, fixtures and fittings.
A History of the Umbrella in Life and Literature
Umbrellas have been around for millennia. Once a mark of royalty designed to shield pharaohs from the sun, they have also been used to signal class distinctions; and as status symbols, talismans and defensive weapons. This illustrated volume explores their history and cultural significance, and examines their treatment in literature, art and film, including 120 appearances in the works of Dickens.
The Feminist Revolution
The Struggle for Women's Liberation 1966–1988
A visual and narrative ‘celebration of the political, strategic, and cultural diversity of the women’s liberation movement’, this book brings together a diverse range of posters, press cuttings and photographs with histories of feminist movements, campaigns and activists between the 1960s and 1980s. Topics covered include feminist writers, civil rights, women’s bodies, and women in publishing, music and the arts, with a final chapter on feminism in the 21st century and educating the next generation.
Royalty's Strangest Tales
Extraordinary but True Stories from Over 2,000 Years of Mad Monarchs and Raving Rulers
Isolated from reality, weakened by inbreeding or corrupted by power, many monarchs have demonstrated cruelty and eccentricity – from Caligula of Rome to Mobutu of Zaire. This collection of royal stories ranges from Charles VI of France, who thought he was made of glass, to the miraculous Kim Jong-il of North Korea, who, according to local sources, scored 38 under par the first time he played golf.
A Whistle-Stop Tour of Railway History
Peter Saxton conducts a ‘whistle-stop tour of railway history’, from Stephenson’s Rocket and the first underground line to the Chinese high-speed magnetic levitation train. En route there is information on topics from engineering to railway poets, including descriptions of memorable rail incidents and introductions to such notable figures as George Bradshaw, Richard Beeching and Sir Nigel Gresley.
The History of Theatre
The diverse and absorbing history of the theatre ranges from the tragedies and comedies of ancient Greece to the high-tech musicals of today. Derek Jacobi’s engaging reading is illustrated with more than 50 extracts from classic plays, performed by some of today’s leading actors.
The Radicals Who Made the Modern World
In 1517, Martin Luther, the ‘indispensable firestarter’, launched his 95 theses protesting the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. From the upheaval of the Reformation that followed, Alec Ryrie’s fast-paced and engaging history traces five centuries of Protestantism, across the globe and across a vast diversity of sects and movements, to Pentecostalism in the 20th century and the situation today. ‘We cannot understand the modern age,’ writes Ryrie, ‘without understanding the dynamic history of Protestant Christianity’.
The First Railways
Atlas of Early Railways
From the earliest known map that shows a waggon-way in 1637, this atlas uses contemporary cartography, mostly from previously unpublished maps, along with illustrations of trackbeds, locomotives and rolling stock, to trace the technological development of railways in Britain. Beginning with primitive wooden rails used in mines and quarries, it describes progress up to the first modern, steam-driven railways in the early 19th century, and ends by surveying the transfer of the technology to other countries.
Published by Sam Fogg, the renowned gallery dealing in ancient and medieval artefacts and texts, this catalogue describes 86 Chinese books ranging in date from the 1st to the 19th centuries and divided into sections of manuscripts from Dunhuang, sacred texts, works of literature and history, science, illustrated books and two books from Korea. Each work is represented by one or more reproductions of pages, together with descriptive details and a scholarly commentary.
Abbotsford to Zion
The Story of Scottish Place Names Around the World
Despite the A–Z of the title, this book takes a thematic approach as it tells the stories behind a selection of Scottish names of far-flung places. Starting with the explorers and pioneers who opened up wilderness lands, from Sir Alexander Mackenzie in Canada to Dundee Island in Antarctica, chapters describe the Scottish traders and migrants to North America, Australia and New Zealand who named places after themselves, their heroes or their homeland.
The Story of Costume
Fashion changed slowly in the centuries before the modern era and resulted in some odd and impractical styles, such as the long, pointed men’s shoes of the 15th century or the 19th century’s bustles and crinolines. This children’s history of costume tells the story of fashion from the ancient Egyptians and Greeks to the modern era through a series of 325 colour illustrations. Age 8+
Russian Motor Vehicles
The CZARIST Period 1784 to 1917
The Russo-Baltic Waggon Works of Riga in Latvia was the most prominent manufacturer of motors in the Russian Empire before the Revolution, producing vehicles to rival the best German or American designs. This analysis of the industry in Russia places it in the context of engineering innovation in the Czarist period and, with 90 illustrations and archive photographs, assesses the vehicles produced before 1917, from early steam and electric experiments to motorcycles, cars, trucks and military vehicles.
Dinner with a Cannibal
The Complete History of Mankind's Oldest Taboo
In this thorough examination of human cannibalism, a palaeoanthropologist analyses the evidence, from ancient fossils to recent genetic findings, that marks us all as descendants of cannibals. Investigating when and why humans have eaten their own kind, she identifies cannibalism as an ancient, natural strategy used by early humans to survive periods of food scarcity, but also considers the religious and culinary contexts in which it has been practised in historical times.
A Noble Thing
The National Trust and Its Benefactors
During the 20th century there was an unprecedented transfer of property in Britain: over 600,000 acres of land passed from private hands to a charitable organization which promised to preserve it for the nation. Focusing on the period from 1940, this illustrated history of the National Trust and its benefactors explores the many different reasons, from philanthropy to tax efficiency, which motivated the donors to give away their land. Merlin Waterson was former Director of Historic Properties for the NT.
Two streams in South Lanarkshire vie for the title of the source of the Clyde, which then flows through moor and farmland, down the Falls of Clyde – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – to Glasgow and the Firth of Clyde. Through a selection of photographs, commentary and guided walks, this book explores the history, culture and geography of the river from source to sea.
Lindbergh, His Competitors, and the Race to Cross the Atlantic
Between 14 April and 21 May 1927, 16 aviators raced to be the first to cross the Atlantic non-stop and collect the $25,000 prize put up by the French-American hotelier Raymond Orteig. The 'Orteig Prize' finally went to Charles Lindbergh and his victory has overshadowed the achievements and the tragedies – six died – of his fellow competitors. Joe Jackson's compelling account of the 'Great Atlantic Derby' of 1927 covers all who took part in that truly perilous race.
Britain's Railway Disasters
Fatal Accidents from the 1830s to the Present Day
Ten people died in the Staplehurst train crash of 1865, but accidents were not uncommon at the time and the disaster is now most notable because Dickens was one of the passengers. This history focuses on the most serious accidents on the British network from the beginnings of rail travel to the present day, comparing official reports with contemporary newspaper accounts and examining how attitudes changed as court claims became more common and safety was taken more seriously.
A Curious History of Food and Drink
Ian Crofton's chronology of food and drink begins 1.9 million years ago, the point at which research suggests humans started cooking food, and goes on to describe foodstuffs and eating habits, from the Assyrians' use of liquorice and the fermented fish guts that so delighted the Romans to exploding watermelons (the result of overuse of chemicals) in 21st-century China. Crofton also records history's most notable banquets; the origins of dishes such as Sachertorte and sandwiches; and quotations from great gastronomes.
A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found
'A severed head can be many things: a loved one, a trophy, scientific data, criminal evidence, an educational prop, a religious relic, an artistic muse, a practical joke.' Larson surveys all these fates of human heads in a strange and often gruesome history that ranges from primitive tribes' shrunken heads to bizarre experiments in bringing guillotined heads back to life, and discusses issues such as the spectacle of public execution, the human face and the act of decapitation.
The Michelin Men
Driving an Empire
After taking over the family rubber business, Edouard Michelin's striking innovation, in 1891, was a removable pneumatic bicycle tyre. This idea, together with brother André's marketing genius, was the foundation of a phenomenal rise in the company's fortunes. This highly readable history tells the story of how the two brothers' groundbreaking efforts built a global empire and helped to create a tourist industry around motoring with their famous Michelin guides and maps. Off-mint.
Whatever Happened to Tanganyika?
The Place Names that History Left Behind
Described by Alexander McCall Smith in his foreword as the pioneering work of a new discipline, 'nostalgic geography', this intriguing book tells the stories of 46 old names, their origins and their demise. Beginning with the bizarre history of Pleasant Island (now the Republic of Nauru), the tales of places that are no more include such evocative names as Hispaniola, Rangoon, Fernando Po and Skye (now officially Eilean a' Cheò).
Glen and Shire Lines
A Ship in Focus Fleet History
When the Suez Canal opened in 1869, it offered an 8,000-mile short cut to the East. Just a few years earlier, the development of a reliable and fuel-efficient maritime steam engine had also made it viable to use steamships on long ocean voyages. With comprehensive fleet lists and many photographs, this book tells the story of two of the first shipping lines to exploit these developments, pioneering the liner routes to the Far East.
These stories of the unexplained from all parts of Scotland draw on personal interviews with the haunted as well as the author's own experience. The mysterious phenomena described include witchcraft, time slips, exorcisms, reincarnation and ghostly encounters such as the confrontation with a shadowy beast known as The Dark Lord.