And the British
The Charge of the Light Brigade, Gordon’s Last Stand, Scott of the Antarctic: many of the best-known episodes in British history are tales of fortitude and calm in the face of disaster. This study of the ‘heroic failure’ tradition offers a reassessment of Victorian and Edwardian attitudes to soldiers and explorers, arguing that Britons’ enthusiastic celebration of such failures resulted from their desire to see the Empire as just, benevolent and moral.
Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day
Peter Ackroyd brings his encyclopedic knowledge of London’s past to this survey of the capital’s gay and lesbian population through alternating periods of permissiveness and censure. Considering such figures as Chaucer’s effeminate Pardoner and the fashionable female transvestites of the 1620s, he traces attitudes towards same-sex relations in literature, law and everyday life, excavates the hidden histories of the city’s queer counter-culture and reveals how generations of Londoners have challenged gender roles.
A History of Britain From Above
Founded in 1919, Aerofilms Ltd married the art of photography to the new technology of powered flight to capture Britain as it had never been seen before: from the air. This volume showcases hundreds of the pioneering firm's aerial photographs, many of them rare or previously unseen, and tells how it survived the Great Depression, helped the war effort at the direct request of Winston Churchill, and charted the reconstruction projects of the 1940s and 1950s.
An Outline History
Syria has seldom been out of the news since the civil war began in 2011, but its history is not so widely known. Combining narrative sweep with telling detail, this account outlines the achievements of ancient Syria, birthplace of agriculture and writing, before charting the succession of invaders – Persian, Greek, Roman, Ottoman, French and British – who attempted to dominate the region. Finally, it locates the roots of the present conflict in the treaties that followed the First World War.
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.
The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life
Before and During the Holocaust. Three volumes.
Profiling more than 6,500 Jewish communities, with over 600 photographs, 17 pages of maps, a chronology and glossary, these volumes are the product of three decades of work at Yad Vasham, the Holocaust Remembrance Authority of Israel. The alphabetically arranged entries provide details of the history, people and customs of communities, large and small, that thrived throughout much of Europe, north Africa and the Middle East during the early part of the 20th century, but were changed irrevocably by the Holocaust.
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.
Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places
Bletchley Park and Blenheim Palace, Lindisfarne Priory, the Martyrs’ tree in Tolpuddle, and a water pump in Broadwick Street, Soho, are a few of the historically meaningful places that were nominated by the public and selected by Historic England’s experts for the Irreplaceable project. Arranged by ten themes, from science and discovery to protest, the book offers a richly illustrated, multi-faceted history of the country, explored through the landscapes and built environments around us today.
In the course of its long existence Iraq has been both the cradle of civilizations and a crucible of war. This history charts the fortunes of the land and its peoples from the ancient empires of Babylon and Assyria, through the cultural and scientific achievements of medieval Islam, to the colonial era, the discovery of oil, the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and the US-led invasion of 2003. The narrative concludes with an assessment of the country’s prospects.
Women at War in the Classical World
Ancient warfare is often assumed to have been the exclusive preserve of men, but Chrystal draws attention to the important roles played by women throughout Greek and Roman military history. He considers female commanders who were directly involved in strategy and tactics, including Cleopatra and Artemisia, as well as the countless thousands of ordinary women who came into contact with the military, as soldiers’ wives, camp followers or as non-combatant victims of war.
Bloody Brilliant Women
The Pioneers, Revolutionaries and Geniuses
In her informal history of women and women’s achievements since around 1880, the journalist and Channel 4 news presenter, Cathy Newman begins with the women who paved the way for the suffragists and those who fought for and won the vote, then discusses the politicians, activists, writers, doctors, scientists, scholars and artists who followed. The final chapter reviews the premiership of Margaret Thatcher and women who have made an impact since the 1980s and up to today’s #MeToo movement.
Holding the Home Front
The Women's Land Army in the First World War
Within days of the start of the First World War there were calls for women to come to the fields, but it would be almost three years before the Women’s Land Army was formally established. Using previously unpublished accounts and photographs, this social history examines how the movement impacted agriculture at a time of national crisis and examines the rhetoric surrounding it, the political purpose that shaped it and the experiences of those who worked for it.
Civilisations - 2 Books
Inspired by Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation television series of the 1960s, the 2018 BBC series explored the role of art and the creative imagination in the formation and development of civilizations. These two illustrated studies accompanied four programmes in the series, offering deeper explorations of their themes. The two titles included in this set are: How do we Look, The Eye of Faith (Read more...) First Contact, Cult of Progress (Read more...)
An Armchair Traveller's History of Finland
This guide to Finland’s people, history and landscape from prehistory to the present day explores its culture and its main historical figures, including Christian martyrs and Viking kings. The account offers advice on travel logistics, lists holidays and festivals and provides an overview of food and drink; and a gazetteer describes prominent cultural and natural landmarks.
An Armchair Traveller's History of Apulia
This unique voyage around Apulia, the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’, describes sites of cultural importance and links the region’s history to its topography, travelling from north to south and exploring the rugged landscape, cave towns and cities where successive conquerors have left their mark.
Marks of Genius
Masterpieces from the Collections of the Bodleian Libraries
Presenting 130 treasures now preserved in Oxford, this volume examines how the idea of ‘genius’ has been understood through history. Manuscripts and printed books from around the world illustrate the revolutionary ideas of individuals as well as the beautiful results of artistic collaboration. Also featured are ephemera and artefacts associated with geniuses (Mendelssohn’s conducting batons, a portrait of Galileo) and material that was donated to the Bodleian (books from Christopher Wren’s library, Dorothy Hodgkin’s hand-drawn insulin map).
Mapping the City
From the bird’s-eye views and flat maps of Renaissance Europe to GPS-derived imagery and digital mapping of the present day, and from Asia to North America, Jeremy Black traces the development of the city and its representation by cartographers over the last 500 years. More than 150 reproductions illustrate the variety of maps and plans and their increasing sophistication through the centuries, ending with past visions of what the future city might look like and plans of new-build eco-cities today.
France and the French
A Modern History
This history offers a broad overview of the upheavals that shaped France in the 20th century: two world wars and the German occupation, the debacles in Vietnam and Algeria, membership of the European Community, and the student and workers’ uprisings of 1968. The book also focuses on the experience of everyday French life, which it explores through the politics of the workplace, the changing role of women, and the issues of immigration, national identity and social exclusion.
At Her Majesty's Secret Service
The Chiefs of Britain's Intelligence Service, MI6
The first 'C' of the British Secret Intelligence Service, Mansfield Smith-Cumming, began by recruiting retired military men who lived abroad. By the time Stewart Menzies took up the position in 1939, operations were greatly expanded; he oversaw the code-breaking at Bletchley Park and also presided over infiltration by the Cambridge spies. This book profiles the 15 men who have held the post, up to 2014, outlining the activities of the department during their tenure.
Books on Fire
The Destruction of Libraries throughout History
Whatever the size of our libraries, we feel bound to enrich them and preserve them against the threats of fire and water, worms, war and earthquake. Polastron examines the world's libraries, from the Hebrew, Nordic and Islamic myths of a vast library which existed before the world's creation, to the catastrophic losses of the libraries of Alexandria, the Qing Dynasty and modern Iraq. He also asks whether the digitization of books threatens the very existence of the physical library.
The Curious Map Book
The creation of maps is often a serious business in which accuracy takes precedence over the imagination. This delightful book offers 100 unusual maps, from the British Library collection, in which the equation is reversed and fantasy comes to the fore. Here are nations portrayed as humans or animals: the British bulldog, the ‘Lion of the Low Countries’, the Russian bear. Many satirize the politics of their time; some depict fictional countries; while others are board games or jigsaw puzzles.
Memories and the City
Against a backdrop of shattered monuments, neglected villas and ghostly backstreets, a daydreaming boy seeks refuge from family discord in the imagination. In this highly original memoir, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk interweaves his own life, and the lives of his glamorous, unhappy parents, with that of his home city. The result is a blend of family reminiscence, history, philosophy, literature, art criticism and urban myth. This edition contains a new introduction and more than 200 additional photographs.
The South China Sea
The Struggle for Power in Asia
‘A fulcrum of world trade and a crucible of conflict’, the South China Sea, its shipping lanes and the ownership of its many island groups are matters of global concern. Bill Hayton, a journalist with long experience in Asia, gives a detailed account of the region’s complex history, from the earliest human migrations to the depletion of fish stocks today and problems of sovereignty and territory, which remain insoluble while China refuses to deal with these issues on a multilateral basis.
Portrait of a City Through the Centuries
‘No other place has been so twisted and torn across five centuries of conflict, from religious wars to Cold War, at the hub of Europe’s ideological struggle’: Rory MacLean traces the history of Berlin through 23 people who were inspired by the city or simply belonged there: from Konrad von Cölln, a poor 15th-century poet, through Frederick the Great, Christopher Isherwood and Bertolt Brecht, Marlene Dietrich, Goebbels, John F Kennedy and David Bowie, to a returning Holocaust survivor in 2013.