Two Brothers, a Nation in Crisis, a World at War
Using the archives of Belvoir Castle, the family seat, this dual biography explores the contrasting lives of Charles Manners and his younger sibling Robert. While Charles became a Whig politician before inheriting a dukedom from his grandfather, Robert rose through the ranks of the Navy to become post-captain of the Resolution and died fighting the Spanish in the Battle of the Saintes in the Caribbean in 1782.
Britain in 1846
Focusing on one critical year, this study identifies the developments that paved the way for the prosperity of Victorian Britain. It demonstrates how, amid widespread poverty and disease, industry flourished and railways spread across the land, bringing millions from the countryside to the cities, while Robert Peel’s abolition of the Corn Laws split the Tory party and ushered in an era of free trade.
The End of Glory
Illuminating the question of why Napoleon chose to gamble on total victory at the risk of utter defeat, this study focuses on the dramatic two years between the retreat from Moscow in 1812 and the Emperor's abdication in 1814. Price shifts away from the usual emphasis on Waterloo, to the conflicts of 1813; he examines the battle of Leipzig in particular; and explores the reasons why Napoleon rejected the offers of a compromise peace extended to him during that year.
The Children of Henry VIII
Henry VIII fathered four living children, each by a different mother. The relationships between his daughter Mary, the illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, Edward, who died at the age of 15, and Anne Boleyn's daughter Elizabeth were often scarred by jealously, mutual distrust and even hatred. In this study, John Guy draws on a wide range of sources to tell the stories of these four key figures in the dynastic history of England.
Volume 14. First published in 1936.
Covering the forty-four years from the outbreak of the Franco- Prussian war to the eve of the First World War, Ensor surveys a period which saw the 'conversion of English government into a democracy', great advances in education and literacy, the slump in agriculture, the first threat to manufacturing industry from foreign competition, and world-wide imperial expansion. First published in 1936. Book club reprint.
Art and Power in the Renaissance
Colossal and imposing, the Escorial has played a key role in four centuries of Spanish history, from its commissioning by Philip II in 1563 to its current status as a World Heritage Site. Kamen discusses Philip's motivation, the influence of his travels, the meaning of the building's design and its place in Spanish culture; he explains how this monastery-cum-palace, which was for some a symbol of superstition and oppression, reflects the Spanish imperial preoccupations of art, religion and power.
Catherine the Great
Portrait of a Woman
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Robert Massie returns with a biography of Russia's greatest and most controversial empress, Catherine the Great (1729–1796). Massie describes how an obscure German princess travelled to Russia at the age of 14, and overcame the machinations of the feudal aristocracy, her scheming mother and her bullying husband to become the most powerful woman in the world. Off-mint.
The Life and Times of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
John Wilmot’s life was short in years but long on scandal. Best remembered as the author of some of the most explicit verse in the English language, he had, by the time he died of syphilis at 33, ‘swived more whores more ways than Sodom’s walls’. This comprehensive biography reveals another Rochester: a devoted if inconstant husband and father, a courageous naval officer, and a poet of deep intellectual curiosity.