The King and the Catholics
The Fight for Rights: 1829
In 1780, the anti-Papist Gordon riots left 1,000 dead and London in flames; half a century later, Parliament passed the Catholic Emancipation Act. This narrative history charts the struggles that brought about that conclusion. It profiles the key players, including George III, a staunch opponent of emancipation; the political rivals Wellington and Peel; and the Irish campaigner Daniel O’Connell; and examines the conflict between the right to practise one’s religion and allegiance to the state.
The Scandalous Life of Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey 1753–1821
One of the great beauties of Georgian society, Frances Villiers was clever, witty, charming – and vilified for her affairs, including one with the Prince Regent that enraged the country and threatened the monarchy. Through the letters of those who knew her, this first-ever biography pieces together the truth about her scandalous adventures, and dispels many of the myths that have surrounded her, to produce an intimate portrait of a life lived in defiance of convention.
The Lie at the Heart of Waterloo
The Battle's Hidden Last Half Hour
The author of this revisionist history of the Battle of Waterloo presents a detailed account of how the 52nd Light Cavalry delivered the coup de grâce in the battle, thanks to the initiative of its commander John Colbourne. Using first-hand accounts to support the case, the analysis concludes that Wellington omitted to give the 52nd proper credit in his initial despatch and thereafter managed the story of the victory to his advantage.
Plague, War, and Hellfire
The year 1666 saw England struck by numerous catastrophes, including a devastating outbreak of plague, the Great Fire of London and an intensification of the second Anglo-Dutch War. This colourful account of the fateful year (and events leading up to it) is peopled by actors, courtiers, politicians and scientists, including Samuel Pepys, Robert Hooke and Nell Gwynn, and evokes a nation in the grip of great artistic, social and scientific change.
What Regency Women Did for Us
Women in early 19th-century England had few rights and little access to education. This volume tells the stories of twelve women who overcame these obstacles to achieve success in business, science and the arts. It profiles the lives and careers of Jane Austen and her contemporaries including Madame Tussaud, the fossil hunter Mary Anning and the astronomer Caroline Herschel, exploring their contacts, the society they lived in, and their lasting influence on the world.
The Battle of Plassey 1757
The Victory That Won an Empire
When Clive of India and his tiny detachment of army officers and mercenaries defeated the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies in a mango grove near Plassey, he secured all of Bengal and, eventually, the whole of India for the East India Company. Drawing on an extraordinary collection of private papers, this study of the battle and the 13 months of campaigns leading up to it commemorates the men on both sides who fought and died in the conflict.
Informal Justice in England and Wales, 1760–1914
The Courts of Popular Opinion
Examining ‘unofficial justice as visited upon malefactors by the collective actions of private citizens’, Stephen Banks gives a scholarly account of public shaming rituals, or ‘rough music’, and the punishments imposed for crimes such as wife-beating or informing.
Farewell the Trumpets
An Imperial Retreat
Volume three of Morris’s Pax Britannica trilogy, but complete within itself, Farewell the Trumpets charts the decline and dissolution of the British Empire. Beginning with Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and detecting the first signs of decay in the Boer Wars, the book follows the diminishing empire through world wars, the loss of India and the death of Winston Churchill in 1955 to ‘a somewhat tattered conclusion’ in the 1960s. Slightly off-mint.
The Amistad Rebellion
An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom
On 28 June 1893, the Spanish slave schooner Amistad set sail from Havana to deliver its human cargo. Four days later, its captives escaped and killed the captain, but were captured by the US Navy and imprisoned in Connecticut. Using newly discovered evidence, this powerful account reclaims the rebellion, which inspired Steven Spielberg’s film, for its instigators, the African rebels whose struggle for justice went all the way to the Supreme Court and changed the course of history.
Gibraltar in the Age of Napoleon
After a long history as a site of strategic importance, Gibraltar, the lone British stronghold in the Mediterranean, played a vital role in the Napoleonic Wars (1793–1815). This history examines how the military and naval offensive potential of the hitherto defensive fortress was realized; the part Gibraltar played as the site of British and Spanish negotiations during the Peninsular War; and how its garrison and dockyard contributed to Nelson’s victories in the battles of the Nile and Trafalgar.