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.
France and the French
A Modern History
This narrative 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.
This modern history concentrates on the century and a half since the incorporation of Venice into Italy, examining political, social and economic developments through the belle époque, two world wars and the fascist regime. Richard Bosworth discusses the themes of consumerism and culture, cosmopolitanism and nationalism, and religious disputes; explores the threats posed by mass tourism and global warming; and argues that today’s visitors are an intrinsic part of the city’s evolving contemporary identity.
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.
The University of London, 1858-1900
The Politics of Senate and Convocation
FMG Willson analyses issues surrounding the consolidation of the 'external' system in 1858 and the newly established Convocation, and covers many related topics including women's degrees and the University's parliamentary seat.
The workforce of 423 employed by Swindon Works in 1843 grew to 14,000 by the early 20th century and the centre earned an enviable reputation by developing its own methods and inspiring a sense of community. This history of the GWR institution features the first-hand accounts of former employees, and provides detailed facts and figures including lists of locomotives and pay grades, and a lexicon of specialist language.
The Military History of China
This history of China’s military conflicts spans from Genghis Khan’s rule to today’s presidency of Xi Jinping, and includes the Sino-French war, the Boxer Rebellion, the occupation of Tibet and the Korean War. Descriptions of each conflict are written as concise short stories.
A Short History of India
From the Earliest Civilisations and Myriad Kingdoms, to Today's Economic Powerhouse
Diverse cultures have coexisted in India since the earliest times; empires have risen and fallen; and three major religions were founded there. This short history charts the many influences that combined to create today’s vibrant, successful nation.
Their Natural and Unnatural Histories
Janet Lembke's celebration of the chicken in its every aspect has chapters on classical, medieval, Renaissance and modern chickens, literary and scientific chickens, eggs and urban chicken-keeping. It is also a very practical book, drawing on the author's own experience of building coops, keeping poultry - and eating it. She includes a survey of chicken cuisine and a selection of recipes.
The Unauthorized Story of the Daily Mail, the Paper that Divided and Conquered Britain
The Daily Mail is Britain’s second-bestselling newspaper, and arguably one of its most divisive. This unofficial history explores the secrets of its longevity, from its creation in 1896 to today, examines a variety of controversies, and profiles the flamboyant figures who have shaped its unique brand of journalism.
A History of the Written Word
‘There is a favoured metaphor for writing’s tangled skein of overlapping figurations: the palimpsest.’ In this history, Matthew Battles reflects on the reasons for writing, its origins and how it is shaped by human peculiarities; and he attempts to untangle the threads of its history, from primitive marks, through cuneiform, Chinese characters, Holy writ and movable type to digital display.
A History of London in 50 Lives
Arranged by the area of London they lived in, worked in or visited, David Long's personal selection of interesting figures from the last few hundred years of the capital's history includes heroes and villains, the famous and the relatively unknown. He begins in St James's with Napoleon III (1808–73) living in exile, and ends with the spy George Blake (b.1922), whose last London address was Wormwood Scrubs.
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.
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.
The People Behind the Power
Steeped in authoritarianism, secrecy and corruption, Russia continues to baffle and frustrate the West. Traversing this vast country from the violent Caucasus to Arctic Siberia, journalist Gregory Feifer interviews hundreds of people, from oligarchs to beggars on Moscow's streets, about everything from sex and vodka to Russia's relations with the world. What emerges is a picture of a society bursting with vitality under a tradition-bound leadership often on the verge of collapse. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
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.
An Illustrated History
For much of its history the birthplace of democracy has found itself under foreign occupation or military rule. This entertaining survey traces Greece's political, artistic and religious evolution from its Stone Age beginnings, through the glories of its classical civilization, the Byzantine era and the long years of Ottoman rule, to the restoration of democratic government and EU membership.
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 Short History
Described by the Financial Times as ‘an excellent antidote to prejudice’, this concise account of Muslim history emphasizes the importance of rethinking the Western mistrust of Islam which dates back to the time of the Crusades. As well as challenging stereotypes and highlighting how the faith has inspired scholars, mystics and poets, it reveals how Islam’s ‘sacralization of history’ means that the religion, its past history and current events are woven together especially closely.
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.
The Romanov Sisters
The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
With access to previously unseen or unpublished diary entries, letters, photographs and archival material, Rappaport brings the four daughters of Russia’s last tsar back to life, incorporating some of their own words. Among the most photographed royals of their day, outwardly the sisters seemed to live charmed lives; inwardly, the family was loving, deeply religious and often claustrophobic. Intelligent and sensitive, the girls were not completely unaware of the fate that might await them as the Russian Revolution approached.
The Struggle for Power, From the Dark Ages to the Jacobites
Beginning with the era of warring Celtic tribes and legendary heroes such as Cúchulainn, Queen Maeve of Connaught and Finn McCool, this study traces Ireland's early history of conflict and invasion. It shows how invading Vikings, Anglo-Normans, English and Scots shaped Irish social, political and military history in the centuries of struggle that culminated in the decisive defeat of the Jacobite armies by William of Orange at the battles of the Boyne and Aughrim.
Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Social agitation is as essential a part of public life today as it has ever been. Eric Hobsbawm’s classic study, reissued with a new introduction by Owen Jones, explores the origins of contemporary rebellion in Robin Hood, Nonconformist dissenters, secret societies, Mafiosi, Spanish anarchists and labour movements. This concise guide provides an insightful analysis of the revolutions that shaped Western civilization, while a selection of historical texts presents the radicals’ perspectives in their own words.
City of Sin
London and Its Vices
'If you do not want to dwell with evil-doers', wrote Richard of Devizes in 1180, 'do not live in London'. In her third exploration of the city's history, Catharine Arnold focuses on the sex trade, from slave girls brought to service Roman troops in first-century Londinium, through medieval stews, 18th century sex clubs and Victorian male brothels to infamous '60s call girls and the internet blogger 'Belle de Jour'.
The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Rulers and Their World
In the modern West, the Ottoman Empire is associated with just a few significant events, such as the fall of Constantinople in 1453, but the dynasty of the sultans exercised its wide influence for longer than the British, French or Mughal Empires. This account of Ottoman history sets out the full 600-year process of growth and decline, focusing on the lives and achievements of the sultans themselves and giving the background to the power struggles in today’s Islamic world.
Jerusalem Stone and Spirit
3000 Years of History and Art
As the spiritual centre of the world's three monotheistic religions, Jerusalem has for 3,000 years been a crossroads of art, architecture and history. This volume tells its story from a new point of view, blending a richly detailed historical account of the city from the time of King David to the early 20th century, with art and artefacts from across the world that illustrate Jerusalem's cultural and spiritual significance far beyond the earthly city.
Kings & Queens of Great Britain
Every Question Answered
David Soud chronicles Britain’s evolving institutions and customs through a series of short chapters covering the life and reign of every monarch, from the Anglo-Saxon kings of Wessex to the House of Windsor. The book is richly illustrated with paintings and photographs, and ends with the texts of more than 40 royal documents, such as Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights, the powerful Tilbury speech of Elizabeth I and letters from Victoria to her prime ministers.
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.
Trivial Events and Trifling Decisions that Changed British History
In 1831 26-year-old Captain Robert FitzRoy advertised for a companion to accompany him on a voyage to South America. The ship was the HMS Beagle; the successful applicant the young Charles Darwin; the result of the voyage the theory of natural selection. This entertaining compendium of 40 historical anecdotes, whose topics include science, politics, food and literature, illustrates how seemingly insignificant events can alter the course of history.
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.
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.
City of Peace, City of Blood
When US troops entered Baghdad in 2003, they became the latest participants in a drama stretching back 13 centuries. The 'City of Peace', seat of a glittering Islamic civilization and home to astronomers, mathematicians, poets and musicians, has often been one of the most violent places on Earth. This compelling new history – the first in English for almost a century – examines Baghdad's changing fortunes, from its foundation by the caliph al-Mansur to Saddam Hussein.
Celebrated as the ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’ and reviled as ‘a nest of corsairs’, the Libyan capital is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the region. Blending personal experience, extensive research and accounts by residents and visitors, this lively, accessible book charts Tripoli’s 2,500-year history from the Phoenician traders to the anarchy that followed the fall of Colonel Gaddafi, revealing the rich and complex nature of this vibrant city.
Murder & Crime: London
Within weeks of breaking auction house records, when bought by a Bond Street art dealer, Gainsborough's portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire was sensationally stolen, not to surface again for 25 years. This compendium of London crime describes 18 notorious felonies in the capital from Guy Fawkes and Jack the Ripper to Crippen and Christie.
The Chronicles of a Courtier
A History of Stanton Court, Wiltshire
What do PG Wodehouse, a descendant of Horatio Nelson, the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and members of the royal family have in common? All, as this fascinating history makes clear, are connected to Stanton Court in Wiltshire. Written by the Georgian rectory’s current inhabitant, the book interweaves local history with the pursuits and fortunes of a host of colourful characters. Period photographs vividly evoke the look and atmosphere of the house and its gardens.
Aspects of Devon History (Off-Mint)
People, Places and Landscapes
Marking the 40th anniversary of the Devon History Society, this volume brings together 30 essays on a wide range of topics: places such as the medieval landscape of Branscombe and the parish of Parkham in 1841; miscellaneous subjects including fishing, farming, water supply and the coming of electricity; and people from the Saxon thane Ordulf in Tavistock to Dame Georgiana Buller, the only child of Sir Redvers Buller, and her work for disabled people in 20th-century Devon. Off-mint.
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.
The History of England, Volume IV
The fourth volume of Peter Ackroyd’s epic History of England begins in 1688 with a revolution and ends in 1815 with a victory. Against a vivid backdrop of coffee houses and playhouses, it charts the creation of those pillars of modern Britain, the Bank of England and the Stock Exchange, the rise of newspapers, the birth of the novel, and the technological developments that transformed England from a land of green fields to one of iron and coal.
The Course of History
Ten Meals That Changed the World
World-changing decisions have been made over dinner, from the post-Napoleonic Congress of Vienna to Nixon’s historic meeting with Zhou Enlai. This enlightening book not only reveals the importance of dining to diplomacy, it enlists the acclaimed restaurateur Tony Singh to recreate the menus, from the Capon Stuffed with Virginia Ham eaten by Hamilton, Madison and Jefferson as they discussed the new US capital to the Poached Salmon Trout with Caviar consumed by Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt in Tehran.
Shadows of Revolution
Reflections on France, Past and Present
Over the past two centuries, France has experimented with virtually every form of government. This collection of essays and reviews by one of America’s foremost observers of France reflects on the Enlightenment and the Revolution, Robespierre and Napoleon, the Vichy regime and the situation of French Jews, the Arab Spring and the terrorist attacks of 2015. Lively, informed, wide-ranging and highly readable, the book offers a unique insight into ‘the most intense political laboratory the world has ever known’.
South Asia from Partition to the Present Day
Dispersed across India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, midnight's descendants – the generations born since the midnight partition of British India in 1947 – are the world's fastest-growing population. This first comprehensive history of this complex and inter-connected region charts its uneven and often fraught path to modernization; the volatile relationship between India and Pakistan; the rise of religious fundamentalism; the bitter wars in Kashmir and Sri Lanka; and the area's increasing influence on global economics and geopolitics.
Losing the Peace
Failed Settlements and the Road to War
Why did the ‘war to end all wars’ initiate a century of conflict? This searching re-examination shows how the wars of the 20th century originated in unsuccessful peace agreements: how French hostility to the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt paved the way for the First World War; how German resentment of the Treaty of Versailles brought Hitler to power; and how the post-1945 conflicts in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East arose from peace treaties that failed to last.
A Concise History of the Arabs
From Libya to Syria, the Arab world commands Western headlines even as its politics elude the grasp of readers and commentators. This lucid survey argues that the key to understanding the region lies in its past. The book charts the political, social and intellectual history of the Arab world from the Roman Empire, through the mission of the Prophet Muhammad to the rise of modern Islamism, and concludes with an assessment of the region’s prospects after the Arab Spring.