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’.
The Americas in the Age of Revolution
Lester D Langley presents a comparative history of three revolutions, the American Revolution in 1776, the slave revolt in the French colony of Saint Dominique (that became Haiti) and the long Spanish-American struggle for independence, and offers ‘a portrait of hemispherical political culture in an epoch spanning three wars in the Americas, each of which left a powerful legacy for the new states that took form in their aftermath’.
The Savage Shore
Extraordinary Stories of Survival and Tragedy from the Early Voyages of Discovery
Several months after the Dutch yacht Gilt Dragon set sail for the East Indies, it foundered off the coast of ‘Southland’. The ship broke up, but 73 survivors made it ashore, a few of whom would sail 2,500 miles in a shuyt to fetch help. This was 1653, over a century before Cook’s ‘discovery’ of Australia. These maritime tales present many of the early and often fabled encounters with Australia, its perilous coastline and indigenous population.
Great crowds attended public services and ceremonies following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on 15 April 1865; this study explores personal as opposed to public responses to the president’s death. Using letters, diaries and other contemporary records of people’s reactions and sentiments rather than memoirs written with hindsight, the book gives a human dimension to this crucial event in American history.
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 Empire of Necessity
Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World
Greg Grandin's study of slavery begins not on the west coast of Africa but in the South Pacific, off the coast of Chile, where in 1805 Captain Amasa Delano, an anti-slavery American, happened upon a slave rebellion on board the Tryal. The incident, recorded in Delano's memoirs, has inspired many literary works, notably Herman Melville's Benito Cereno; here, it leads to a new account of slavery across continents, and the deceptions inherent in the New World's 'Age of Freedom'.
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.
The Conquest of Death
Violence and the Birth of the Modern English State
‘By the seventeenth century the detection, conviction, and punishment of illegitimate lethal violence were firmly and irrevocably tied to the central government.’ Matthew Lockwood’s study shows how definitions of legitimate and illegitimate violence were negotiated in coroners’ courts from the late 15th century and gradually gave government the power to enforce a monopoly of violence – a basic prerequisite of a modern state.
The Murder of King James I
Even before James I’s death in 1625, rumours spread that he was being poisoned by a court favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, who had been cultivating the heir to the throne. Historians have long dismissed the charge, but in a detailed reassessment of contemporary sources the authors trace how this scandalous claim was widely published, believed and debated in Britain and beyond. They also examine how it both reflected and shaped political conflicts that would eventually lead to civil war.