Life in the Georgian Court
When Queen Anne died in 1714, George, Elector of Hanover, acceded to the British throne. Organized in four main acts – Childhood, Marriage, Scandal and Death – rather than as a comprehensive history, this is a collection of true stories from the Georgian era. Romantic, tragic, eccentric and sometimes gory, the tales are engagingly told, revealing the real people beneath the wigs and pomp of the period, and complemented by a useful timeline and a section of black-and-white portraits.
A Brief History of Henry VIII
Reformer and Tyrant
Described by Derek Wilson as 'a magnificent piece of propaganda', Holbein's portrait of Henry VIII depicts a proud, belligerent and powerful monarch. Wilson argues that a realistic understanding of Henry requires 'the rejection of this forceful icon' and, drawing on a lifetime's work on this period, his study provides a fresh assessment of the king's character and his response to the bewildering changes of the Renaissance and Reformation era.
A Brief History of the Great Moghuls
India's Most Flamboyant Rulers
Bamber Gascoigne's classic book tells of the most fascinating period of Indian history, the 16th and 17th centuries, when the country was ruled by an extraordinarily talented dynasty of emperors. Masters of almost limitless power and incomparable wealth, the 'Great Moghuls', as they were known to European travellers, were passionate about art, science and religion, but also sophisticated administrators who stabilized much of India. First published as The Great Moghuls in 1971.
Superstition and Science
Mystics, Sceptics, Truth-Seekers and Charlatans
The period between the European Renaissance and Enlightenment brought monumental scientific discoveries about gravity, the structure of the solar system and the circulation of the blood, but these coexisted with an almost universal belief in horoscopes and magic. In this book a Tudor historian explores how the great thinkers of the age responded to the entanglement of superstition and science, and shows how their work contributed to debate about the relationship between belief and knowledge.
A Brief History of the Tudor Age
Beginning with the victory of Henry Tudor in 1485 and ending with the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, this is a vivid account of a contradictory age of great cultural achievement and terrible violence. Opulent life at court, voyages of discovery, scholarship and the flowering of English drama are juxtaposed with poverty, the narrow lives of peasants, harsh justice and war. First published as The Tudor Age.
Gladstone, Gordon and the Sudan Wars
The Battle over Imperial Intervention in the Victorian Age
General Gordon's death in Khartoum in January 1885 was a crucial episode in British history and one that has remained controversial. Gordon has been usually depicted as the hero of the story, while Gladstone is often portrayed as the villain, responsible for a 'policy of drift' in Sudan. Nicoll's radical reappraisal, based on previously unpublished materials, refutes the conventional image of both men and offers insight into British policy in Africa and the influence of the press and public opinion.
An Alternative History of Britain
Among the crucial moments in Tudor history that could have had very different outcomes with far-reaching consequences, Venning focuses on Henry VIII's near-fatal tiltyard accident in 1536 and Edward VI's early death in 1553, and he poses the question: if the Spanish Armada had landed successfully – what then?
The English Civil War
An Alternative History of Britain
With hindsight, the Parliamentarian victory over the Royalists in the English Civil War may seem inevitable, but it was never a foregone conclusion. Venning examines the turning points at which things might have gone differently – the countdown to war between December 1641 and the spring of 1642; Edgehill; the creation of the New Model Army in 1644; and the 1645 campaign.
A Brief History of Life in Victorian Britain
A Social History of Queen Victoria's Reign
Michael Paterson makes the point that the Victorians were not so different from us: 'they had a fixation with new technology, were guilty of gross materialism, yet this was balanced... by a willingness to give charitable aid'. This readable history looks at everyday life – the food, fashion, transport, religion, work and leisure of ordinary Britons – from the 1830s to the end of the century.
The Grand Old Duke of York
A Life of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, 1763–1827
Although commander-in-chief of the British army during the Napoleonic Wars and a reformer responsible for transforming the British military, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany is remembered now as the bungling ‘Grand Old Duke’ of the nursery rhyme. This biography shows him to be far from incompetent; it offers a new assessment of Prince Frederick’s distinguished career as a general and administrator, a full account of his scandalous private life – and the origins of that nursery rhyme.
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.
Secret Histories of Britain's Rebels and Revolutionaries
Alarmed by the French Revolution, the rulers of Georgian Britain established a network of spies and informers to infiltrate and monitor radical groups at home. Drawing on official records and contemporary accounts, this compelling history probes the shadowy world of government agents pitted against Irish rebels, Luddites, the Pentrick uprising of 1817 and the 1820 plot to murder the cabinet. In vivid prose, the book recreates a climate of fear and repression, in which even peaceful reformers risked arrest.
An Infamous Mistress
The Life, Loves and Family of the Celebrated Grace Dalrymple Elliott
Divorced wife, scandalous mistress, prisoner during the French Revolution and reputed mother of the Prince of Wales’s child, Grace Dalrymple Elliott had little choice but to live off her wits and her beauty. This biography not only charts her adventures in London and Paris, buts sets her swashbuckling life against the social history of the Georgian era, and explores her far-flung family connections that extended to France, America, India and Africa.
What Regency Women Did for Us
Women in early 19th-century England had few rights and little access to education. Rachel Knowles tells the inspiring stories of twelve women who overcame these obstacles to achieve greatness in business, science and the arts. Alongside Jane Austen are historical novelist Maria Edgeworth, fossil hunter Mary Anning; astronomer Caroline Herschel, actress Sarah Siddons, prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, and six others, all of whom helped shape the world we inhabit.
Rebellion in the Reign of Charles II
Despite the positive aspects of Charles II’s reign, with its freedom and flourishing of science and the arts, this study shows how ‘the euphoria of the Restoration soon evaporated as the deep problems, divisions and distrust of the past re-emerged’. With the insight of a former government intelligence officer, Whitehead describes the numerous plots, uprisings and subversive activities of the period, and the covert operations and general dirty tricks that enabled the king to overcome opposition and intrigue.
A Brief Guide to Native American Myths and Legends
The world of Native American mythology is inhabited by such fantastical and capricious characters as the shape-shifting trickster Coyote and the mischievous Blue Jay. The seminal study of these sacred tales was written by the Scottish folklorist Lewis Spence in 1914; this updated edition has a new introductory essay, commentary on Native American culture and stories from tribes not covered by Spence, such as the Inuit.