Secrets, Spies and Sources
The release of thousands of intelligence files to the National Archives means that we are no longer dependent on sensationalist journalism or the memoirs of ex-operatives for our understanding of the role of secret intelligence. Drawing on recently accessible material, this book illuminates the shady world of espionage, how it has served Britain since the early 1900s, and how ‘in its long and distinguished history, British intelligence has spied on almost every country in the world’.
The Paper Trail
An Unexpected History of a Revolutionary Invention
In this award-winning history of ‘the great trail that paper blazed across the world’, Monro follows the journey of a simple Chinese invention along the Silk Road to Europe and beyond. Assessing the extent of paper’s influence on human history over two millennia, he highlights its role in the growth of Buddhism and the spread of Luther’s subversive ideas, before considering what the future holds for the printed book.
English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper
Was it a betrayal of the modern movement to be in love, as John Piper was, with old churches? Harris finds the engagement of artists and writers with the English countryside during the interwar years ‘an expression of responsibility – towards places, people and histories too valuable and too vulnerable to go missing from art’. Among the now much-admired figures discussed are Paul Nash, Edward Bawden, Gertrude Hermes, John Betjeman and Daphne du Maurier, and the book features carefully chosen quotations and reproductions of their works.
Houses of History
A Critical Reader in Twentieth-Century History and Theory
A clear, jargon-free introduction to the major theoretical perspectives of 20th-century historians, this reader comprises twelve chapters on major schools of thought, from the empiricists to postmodernists. Each school is represented by a seminal text, including essays by EP Thompson (Marxist), Braudel (Annales), Theda Skocpol (historical sociology) and Catherine Hall (gender and history), accompanied by a substantial introduction and reading list.
The Making of the Modern Christmas
What do we mean by 'a traditional' Christmas? Were old Christmases that much better than modern celebrations? This book traces the history of Christmas from pagan mid-winter festivals to its establishment as a Christian feast in the 4th century, through Puritan disapproval and the Victorian revival and refurbishment of old customs to the present day. En route we find The Times in 1912 already lamenting the separation of 'the secular from the sacred part of Christmas'.
Hitler's Diaries, Lincoln's Assassins, and other Famous Frauds
‘History,’ said Napoleon, ‘is a set of lies agreed upon.’ The six audacious hoaxes examined in this book each became widely accepted as historical fact, before being exposed as a fraud. From the purported ‘missing link’ fossils of ‘Piltdown Man’ to the numerous volumes of the Hitler Diaries, they illustrate the forger’s devious modus operandi and warn how easily ‘wanting to believe’, either through greed or for ideological reasons, allows us to be fooled.
Liber Amicorum et Illustorum Hospitum
Published to mark the 70th birthday of Archbishop Heim, this edition of his Liber Amicorum includes Peter Bander van Duren’s substantial introduction to the Archbishop’s life and his work in heraldry. The Liber Amicorum itself comprises over 150 monochrome plates and blazons, with Heim’s celebrated works of heraldic art covering both European and British armorial bearings.
Graveyard of Empires: A New History of the Borderlands
David Isby, the veteran American defence analyst, provides a meticulously researched account of the situation in Afghanistan up to 2010 and, in the light of the country’s history, considers the problems facing the US and NATO coalition.
Trials of the Diaspora
A History of Anti-Semitism in England
In the long and troubling history of anti-Semitism in England, Julius identifies four distinct versions: the radical prejudice against Jews in medieval England which culminated in their expulsion in 1290; literary anti-Semitism, extending from Shakespeare to TS Eliot and beyond; and from the 17th to the late 20th centuries, the modern anti-Semitism of insult and partial exclusion. Finally, he deals with a new anti-Semitism that treats Zionism and the State of Israel as illegitimate Jewish enterprises.
On The Map
A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks
Maps are a perennial source of interest and wonder, and Simon Garfield's witty, wide-ranging narrative history explores their pleasures and pitfalls from the earliest times to the digital age. It includes chapters on guidebooks, Harry Beck's famous London tube map, and the story of Phyllis Pearsall's A-Z, while pithy sections called 'pocket maps' deal with entertaining curiosities such as the persistent myth that California was an island, a Victorian murder map, and Churchill's map room.