Playing the Great Game
Britain, War and Politics in Afghanistan Since 1839
Edmund Yorke argues that many of the difficulties encountered during British military engagements in Afghanistan over the past 170 years have been caused by politicians' excessive interference in military operations, their failure to provide sufficient resources and their inability to understand the country's complex ethnicity. He also discusses previously unpublished source material that sheds new light on key events of the four Anglo-Afghan wars, and reveals the crucial but underestimated role played by Afghan allies and collaborators.
The Great Conspiracy
Britain's Secret War Against Revolutionary France 1794–1805
Behind the land battles and naval engagements of the Napoleonic Wars, Britain and France fought another, hidden conflict. Drawing on contemporary letters, journals and police reports, this history describes the political intrigue, secret agents, informers, and state-sponsored murders that were part of the attempt to overthrow the French Republic. Its cast includes the forgotten fathers of British intelligence, William Wickham and Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, and the French general turned British agent, Charles Pichegru.
Nelson's Lost Jewel
The Extraordinary Story of the Lost Diamond Chelengk
After the Battle of the Nile in 1798, Sultan Selim III presented Horatio Nelson with a chelengk – a diamond-studded turban ornament, its central star rotated by clockwork. Worn in the admiral's hat, it became his emblem. This book tells the story of its creation, and how it passed down through the family to be exhibited at the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich, where it was stolen in a 1951 burglary and never seen again.
The Spanish Armada
In a compelling, blow-by-blow narrative, Hutchinson follows the 125 ships sent by Philip II of Spain to invade Protestant England, and the response of Elizabeth I's navy. He describes the skirmishes in the Channel, actions at Calais and Gravelines, and the Armada's subsequent destruction on the Irish coast, but also explores less well-known aspects of the failed invasion – the lack of enthusiasm for the fight within England and the intense intelligence war. The appendices include orders of battle for both fleets.
Bringers of War
The Portuguese in Africa during the Age of Gunpowder and Sail
Long before steamships and machine-tooled artillery, the Portuguese established an empire in Africa, capturing trading towns, seizing slaves and plundering mineral riches. This impeccably researched history describes how, between the 15th and the late 18th centuries, they fought their ancient Muslim foes, overthrew African kingdoms and resisted Dutch, Omani and Ottoman rivals in a quest for wealth and power as ruthless as the Spanish conquests in the Americas.
The Savage Storm
Britain on the Brink in the Age of Napoleon
David Andress chronicles the 'remarkably dogged, occasionally despairing, but at last overwhelmingly successful British fight against the continental power embodied in the 'Grand Empire' of Napoleon Bonaparte'. He describes the military conflict itself, but also examines how it affected both high politics and the very active social resistance of the time. As well as the international contest of ideologies, the study considers the bitterly divided society within Britain, even as it prevailed over Napoleon.
An Account of the Last Invasion of Britain
With revolutionary fervour and help from Irish republicans, the French mounted an invasion of Britain in February 1797. The troops landing at Fishguard in Pembrokeshire were designed to divert attention from a larger force attacking Ireland but this contingent failed to arrive leaving the intended assault on Bristol, via Wales, an isolated and forlorn effort. This history explains the circumstances of the invasion and how it was put down by a handful of local militia.
Mutiny on the Globe
The Fatal Voyage of Samuel Comstock
Sailing between Hawaii and Tahiti in 1824, the captain and officers of the Nantucket whaler Globe were hacked to pieces and dumped overboard by their crew, led by the ruthless, 21-year-old Samuel Comstock. The events that followed - told in full for the first time in this enthralling, meticulously researched account - form an epic to rival the mutiny on the Bounty as Comstock's megalomaniac ambition to set up his own tropical kingdom led him and his crewmates to disaster.
The Dark Defile
Britain's Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan, 1838–1842
In 1839, convinced that Russia posed a threat to its empire in India, Britain sent a powerful army into Afghanistan to install a puppet ruler. Within four years, it had been utterly defeated. Skilfully establishing the events leading up to the invasion, this compelling narrative history draws on diaries and letters to recreate the tragic events of the First Afghan War, which turned out to be the opening salvo in the Anglo-Russian rivalry known as the 'Great Game'.
Churchill Comes of Age
In 1895, Winston Churchill, aged 21, went on his first foreign adventure – to Cuba, where Spanish troops were engaged in suppressing rebellion. The episode is scarcely mentioned in biographies of Churchill, mainly due to political and linguistic barriers to research. Here, a Canadian historian of Latin America examines Churchill’s visit to the island – his first experience as a war correspondent – and the five months up to March 1876, when he wrote his last article on Cuba’s war of independence.
Maritime Power and the Struggle for Freedom
Naval Campaigns that Shaped the Modern World 1788–1851
In this follow-up to his much-acclaimed Maritime Supremacy, Padfield continues to trace the role of naval power in world history, here analysing the factors that led Britain to global dominance in the 19th century.
How a Group of Scottish Conspirators Unleashed Half a Century of War in Britain
Fife in the 1630s was a hotbed of rebel priests, fire-breathing politicians and unemployed mercenaries, many connected through family. This innovative history shows how a combustible mixture of Covenanters, Catholics, Gibbites, Malignants and a host of other sects ignited not only Scotland’s wars of religion but conflict in Ireland and the English Civil War, resulting in more than 600,000 deaths. The book concludes with a gazetteer of the buildings, ruins, monuments and battlefields of Scottish wars from 1639 to 1689.
Nelson at Naples
Revolution and Retribution in 1799
One of the most inglorious events of Nelson’s career concerned the fate of the short-lived republic established in Naples by revolutionary France. Drawing on accounts by Nelson himself, Lady Hamilton and others, this book tells how, after being offered safe passage, the republicans were handed over to the besieging Royalists, from whom they received no mercy. It also investigates whether Nelson was personally guilty of this betrayal, or whether the orders came from London.
The Greatest Siege in British History
During the Great Siege of Gibraltar (1779–83), the longest ever endured by the British, the powerful forces of Spain and France blockaded and assaulted the isle from land and sea. Thousands of civilians and soldiers experienced starvation, disease and deadly bombardment. Including maps and illustrations, this book explores the story of the siege and its impact on life back home, while examining the argument that it ultimately cost the British the American War of Independence.