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1215 and All That - Ed West Cover Art

1215 and All That

1215 and All That Magna Carta and King John by Ed West

1215 is one of the most famous dates in English history, and with good reason, since it marks the signing of the Magna Carta by King John and the English barons, which altered the entire course of English and world history. John Lackland was born to King Henry II and Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitane in December, 1166; he was the youngest of five sons. However, he unexpectedly became the favored heir to his father after a failed rebellion by his older brothers in 1173. He became king in 1199, though his reign was tumultuous and short. After a brief peace with Phillip II of France, war broke out again in 1202 and King John lost most of his holdings on the continent. This, coupled with unpopular fiscal policies and treatment of nobles back home, led to conflict upon his return from battle. Buffeted from all sides, King John was pushed in 1215 to sign along with his barons the Magna Carta, a precursor to constitutional governance. But both sides failed to uphold the agreements terms and conflict quickly resumed, leading to John’s untimely death a year later to dysentery. Pitched at newcomers to the subject, 1215 and All That will explain how King John’s rule and, in particular, his signing of the Magna Carta changed England—and the English—forever, introducing readers to the early days of medieval England. It is the third book in the acclaimed A Very, Very Short History of England series, which captures the major moments of English history with humor and bite.


Fractured Emerald: Ireland - Emily Hahn Cover Art

Fractured Emerald: Ireland

Fractured Emerald: Ireland by Emily Hahn

The author of The Soong Sisters and China to Me turns her observant and discerning eye to the oft‑troubled land of Ireland. In a magisterial combination of historical research and keen personal observation on the scene, Emily Hahn gives us a view of the whole of Ireland and its history, from the legends of the great kings and the heroes of myth to the Saint who converted Ireland to Christianity many centuries ago to modern times. She details the trials and tribulations of a conquered people as they rebel against their exploiters and fight and die for independence, eventually achieving their goal but only at the price of a bitter partition that haunts the country to this day. Hahn’s breadth of vision and acute sense of the telling detail paints the big picture while also pinpointing the small but important moments. Perhaps the subtitle manages to encapsulate it all: Ireland, Its Legends, Its History, Its People from St. Patrick to Bernadette Devlin. A revolutionary woman for her time and an enormously creative writer, Emily Hahn broke all of the rules of the 1920s, including by traveling the country dressed as a boy, working for the Red Cross in Belgium, being the concubine to a Shanghai poet, using opium, and having a child out of wedlock. Hahn kept on fighting against the stereotype of female docility that characterized the Victorian era and was an advocate for the environment until her death at age ninety‑two. Emily Hahn (1905–1997) was the author of fifty‑two books, as well as one hundred eighty‑one articles and short stories for the  New Yorker  from 1929 to 1996. She was a staff writer for the magazine for forty‑seven years. She wrote novels, short stories, personal essays, reportage, poetry, history and biography, natural history and zoology, cookbooks, humor, travel, children’s books, and four autobiographical narratives:  China to Me  (1944), a literary exploration of her trip to China;  Hong Kong Holiday  (1946);  England to Me  (1949); and  Kissing Cousins  (1958). The fifth of six children, she was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and later became the first woman to earn a degree in mining engineering at the University of Wisconsin. She did graduate work at both Columbia and Oxford before leaving for Shanghai. She lived in China for eight years. Her wartime affair with Charles Boxer, Britain’s chief spy in pre–World War II Hong Kong, evolved into a loving and unconventional marriage that lasted fifty‑two years and produced two daughters. Emily Hahn’s final published piece in the  New Yorker  appeared in 1996, shortly before her death.


Darkest Hour - Anthony McCarten Cover Art

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour How Churchill Brought England Back from the Brink by Anthony McCarten

From the acclaimed novelist and screenwriter of The Theory of Everything comes a revelatory look at the period immediately following Winston Churchill’s ascendancy to Prime Minister—soon to be a major motion picture starring Gary Oldman. “He was speaking to the nation, the world, and indeed to history...”  May, 1940. Britain is at war. The horrors of blitzkrieg have seen one western European democracy after another fall in rapid succession to Nazi boot and shell. Invasion seems mere hours away.  Just days after becoming Prime Minister, Winston Churchill must deal with this horror—as well as a skeptical King, a party plotting against him, and an unprepared public. Pen in hand and typist-secretary at the ready, how could he change the mood and shore up the will of a nervous people?  In this gripping day-by-day, often hour-by-hour account of how an often uncertain Churchill turned Britain around, the celebrated Bafta-winning writer Anthony McCarten exposes sides of the great man never seen before. He reveals how he practiced and re-wrote his key speeches, from ‘Blood, toil, tears and sweat’ to ‘We shall fight on the beaches’; his consideration of a peace treaty with Nazi Germany, and his underappreciated role in the Dunkirk evacuation; and, above all, how 25 days helped make one man an icon.  Using new archive material, McCarten reveals the crucial behind-the-scenes moments that changed the course of history. It’s a scarier—and more human—story than has ever been told.


The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich - William Shirer Cover Art

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer

When the Third Reich fell, it fell swiftly. The Nazis had little time to cover up their memos, their letters, or their diaries. William L. Shirer’s definitive book on the Third Reich uses these unique sources. Combined with his personal experience with the Nazis, living through the war as an international correspondent, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich not only earned Shirer a National Book Award but is recognized as one of the most important and authoritative books about the Third Reich and Nazi Germany ever written. The diaries of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels as well as evidence and other testimony gained at the Nuremberg Trials could not have found more artful hands. Shirer gives a clear, detailed and well-documented account of how it was that Adolf Hitler almost succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich has become one of the most authoritative books on one of mankind’s darkest hours. Shirer focuses on 1933 to 1945 in clear detail. Here is a worldwide bestseller that also tells the true story of the Holocaust, often in the words of the men who helped plan and conduct it. It is a classic by any measure. The book has been translated into twelve languages and was adapted as a television miniseries, broadcast by ABC in 1968. This first ever e-book edition is published on the 50th anniversary of this iconic work.


The Plantagenets - Dan Jones Cover Art

The Plantagenets

The Plantagenets The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones

The New York Times bestseller that tells the story of Britain’s greatest and worst dynasty—“a real-life Game of Thrones ” ( The Wall Street Journal ) — by the author of  The Templars The first Plantagenet kings inherited a blood-soaked realm from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic narrative history of courage, treachery, ambition, and deception, Dan Jones resurrects the unruly royal dynasty that preceded the Tudors. They produced England’s best and worst kings: Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice a queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; their son Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and his conniving brother King John, who was forced to grant his people new rights under the Magna Carta, the basis for our own bill of rights. Combining the latest academic research with a gift for storytelling, Jones vividly recreates the great battles of Bannockburn, Crécy, and Sluys and reveals how the maligned kings Edward II and Richard II met their downfalls. This is the era of chivalry and the Black Death, the Knights Templar, the founding of parliament, and the Hundred Years’ War, when England’s national identity was forged by the sword.


The Norman Conquest - Marc Morris Cover Art

The Norman Conquest

The Norman Conquest The Battle of Hastings and the Fall of Anglo-Saxon England by Marc Morris

The riveting and authoritative bestselling history hailed by the Times (London) as “a much-needed, modern account of the Normans in England.” The Norman Conquest was the most significant military—and cultural—episode in English history. An invasion on a scale not seen since the days of the Romans, it was capped by one of the bloodiest and most decisive battles ever fought. Language, law, architecture, and even attitudes toward life itself —from the destruction of the ancient ruling class to the sudden introduction of castles and the massive rebuilding of every major church—were altered forever by the coming of the Normans. But why was this revolution so total? Reassessing original evidence, acclaimed historian and broadcaster Marc Morris goes beyond the familiar story of William the Conqueror, an upstart French duke who defeated the most powerful kingdom in Christendom. Morris explains why England was so vulnerable to attack; why the Normans possessed the military cutting edge though they were perceived as less sophisticated in some respects; and why William’s hopes of a united Anglo-Norman realm unraveled, dashed by English rebellions, Viking invasions, and the insatiable demands of his fellow conquerors. Named one of the best books of the year by the Kansas City Star , who called the work “stunning in its action and drama,” and the Providence Journal , who hailed it “meticulous and absorbing,” this USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller is a tale of gripping drama, epic clashes, and seismic social change. "Morris brilliantly revisits the Norman Conquest, 'the single most important event in English history' . . . Readable, authoritative, and remarkably nuanced, Morris’s history is sublime." — Publishers Weekly  (starred review) "The story of William the Conqueror’s invasion of England is hardly new, but the situations that prompted it on both sides of the English Channel have never been told in so much depth. . . .  A historian who specializes in the Middle Ages, especially that period’s monarchies and aristocracy, Morris takes thoroughness to new heights as he compares all the available sources in this valuable text. . . . A thoroughly enjoyable book from an historian’s historian who can write for the masses." — Kirkus Reviews  (starred review) Marc Morris, PhD, is a historian and broadcaster specializing in the Middle Ages. An expert on medieval monarchy and aristocracy, Morris has written numerous articles for History Today , BBC History Magazine , and Heritage Today ; he speaks regularly to schools, historical societies, and literary festivals, and also leads specialist tours of UK castles. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and lives in England.


Spain in Our Hearts - Adam Hochschild Cover Art

Spain in Our Hearts

Spain in Our Hearts Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939 by Adam Hochschild

From the acclaimed, best-selling author Adam Hochschild, a sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War, told through a dozen characters, including Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell: a tale of idealism, heartbreaking suffering, and a noble cause that failed For three crucial years in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War dominated headlines in America and around the world, as volunteers flooded to Spain to help its democratic government fight off a fascist uprising led by Francisco Franco and aided by Hitler and Mussolini. Today we're accustomed to remembering the war through Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Robert Capa’s photographs. But Adam Hochschild has discovered some less familiar yet far more compelling characters who reveal the full tragedy and importance of the war: a fiery nineteen-year-old Kentucky woman who went to wartime Spain on her honeymoon, a Swarthmore College senior who was the first American casualty in the battle for Madrid, a pair of fiercely partisan, rivalrous  New York Times reporters who covered the war from opposites sides, and a swashbuckling Texas oilman with Nazi sympathies who sold Franco almost all his oil — at reduced prices, and on credit.   It was in many ways the opening battle of World War II, and we still have much to learn from it. Spain in Our Hearts is Adam Hochschild at his very best.


The Abacus and the Cross - Nancy Marie Brown Cover Art

The Abacus and the Cross

The Abacus and the Cross The Story of the Pope Who Brought the Light of Science to the Dark Ages by Nancy Marie Brown

The medieval Catholic Church, widely considered a source of intolerance and inquisitorial fervor, was not anti-science during the Dark Ages in fact, the pope in the year 1000 was the leading mathematician and astronomer of his day. Called The Scientist Pope,” Gerbert of Aurillac rose from peasant beginnings to lead the church. By turns a teacher, traitor, kingmaker, and visionary, Gerbert is the first Christian known to teach math using the nine Arabic numerals and zero. In The Abacus and the Cross , Nancy Marie Brown skillfully explores the new learning Gerbert brought to Europe. A fascinating narrative of one remarkable math teacher, The Abacus and the Cross will captivate readers of history, science, and religion alike.


Germany: The Long Road West - H. A. Winkler & Alexander Sager Cover Art

Germany: The Long Road West

Germany: The Long Road West Volume 1: 1789-1933 by H. A. Winkler & Alexander Sager

Vivid, succinct, and highly accessible, this first volume of Heinrich Winkler's magisterial history of modern Germany takes us from the final days of the Holy Roman Empire to the downfall of the Weimar Republic in 1933. Winkler brilliantly synthesizes complex events and illuminates them with fascinating new research, interweaving astute political analysis with profound social and cultural insight. A second volume continues the story to reunification in 1990.


Germany: The Long Road West - H. A. Winkler & Alexander Sager Cover Art

Germany: The Long Road West

Germany: The Long Road West Volume 1: 1789-1933 by H. A. Winkler & Alexander Sager

Vivid, succinct, and highly accessible, this first volume of Heinrich Winkler's magisterial history of modern Germany takes us from the final days of the Holy Roman Empire to the downfall of the Weimar Republic in 1933. Winkler brilliantly synthesizes complex events and illuminates them with fascinating new research, interweaving astute political analysis with profound social and cultural insight. A second volume continues the story to reunification in 1990.


The Prince - Niccolò Machiavelli & Michael Ennis Cover Art

The Prince

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli & Michael Ennis

Here is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power. Astonishing in its candor, The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince . . . a king . . . a president. When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic. In The Prince what he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion. Today, this small sixteenth-century masterpiece has become essential reading for every student of government and is the ultimate book on power politics. In the foreword to this edition of W.K. Marriott's classic translation, author Michael Ennis delves into the motivations and machinations behind Machiavelli's work.  As a bonus, this e-book includes five chapters from Ennis's novel, The Malice of Fortune , a heart-pounding, mind-bending mystery that pits Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci against a ruthless serial killer, set in the seething heart of Borgia politics.


The Swerve: How the World Became Modern - Stephen Greenblatt Ph.D. Cover Art

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt Ph.D.

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction  Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it. Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius—a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions. The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.


The Face of Britain - Simon Schama Cover Art

The Face of Britain

The Face of Britain A History of the Nation Through Its Portraits by Simon Schama

Author of a number of celebrated works, including the bestselling The Story of the Jews and Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, Simon Schama's latest book fuses history and art to create a tour de force of narrative sweep and illuminating insight. Using images from works-paintings, photographs, lithographs, etchings, sketches-found in London's National Portrait Gallery, The Face of Britain weaves together an account of their composition, framed by their particular moment of creation, and in the process unveils a collective portrait of nation and its history. "Portraits," Schama writes, "have always been made with an eye to posterity." Commissioned to paint Winston Churchill in 1954, Graham Sutherland struggled with how to capture the "savior" of Great Britain honestly and humanely. Schama calls the portrait, initially damned, the "most powerful image of a Great Briton ever executed." Annie Leibovitz's photograph of a nude John Lennon kissing Yoko Ono, taken five hours before his murder, bears "a weight of poignancy she could not possibly have anticipated." Hans Holbein's preparatory sketch for a portrait of Henry VIII depicts "an unstoppable engine of dynastic generation." Here are expressions from across the centuries of normalcy and heroism, beauty and disfigurement, aristocracy and deprivation, the familiar and the obscure-the faces of courtesans, warriors, workers, activists, playwrights, the high and mighty as well as pub-crawlers. Linking them is Schama's vibrant exploration of how their connective power emerges from the dynamic between subject and artist, work and viewer, time and place. Schama's compelling analysis and impassioned evocation of these works create an unforgettable verbal mosaic that at once reveals and transforms the images he places before us. Lavishly illustrated and written with the storytelling brio that is Schama's trademark, The Face of Britain invites us to look at a nation's visual legacies and find its reflection.


Napoleon - Andrew Roberts Cover Art


Napoleon A Life by Andrew Roberts

The definitive biography of the great soldier-statesman by the New York Times bestselling author of The Storm of War —w inner of the Grand Prix of the Fondation Napoleon 2014 Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo: his battles are among the greatest in history, but Napoleon Bonaparte was far more than a military genius and astute leader of men. Like George Washington and his own hero Julius Caesar, he was one of the greatest soldier-statesmen of all times. Andrew Roberts’s Napoleon is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon’s thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. At last we see him as he was: protean multitasker, decisive, surprisingly willing to forgive his enemies and his errant wife Josephine. Like Churchill, he understood the strategic importance of telling his own story, and his memoirs, dictated from exile on St. Helena, became the single bestselling book of the nineteenth century. An award-winning historian, Roberts traveled to fifty-three of Napoleon’s sixty battle sites, discovered crucial new documents in archives, and even made the long trip by boat to St. Helena. He is as acute in his understanding of politics as he is of military history. Here at last is a biography worthy of its subject: magisterial, insightful, beautifully written, by one of our foremost historians.


17 Carnations - Andrew Morton Cover Art

17 Carnations

17 Carnations The Royals, the Nazis, and the Biggest Cover-Up in History by Andrew Morton

For fans of the Netflix series The Crown, a meticulously researched historical tour de force about the secret ties among Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, the Duke of Windsor, and Adolf Hitler before, during, and after World War II. Andrew Morton tells the story of the feckless Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor, his American wife, Wallis Simpson, the bizarre wartime Nazi plot to make him a puppet king after the invasion of Britain, and the attempted cover-up by Churchill, General Eisenhower, and King George VI of the duke's relations with Hitler. From the alleged affair between Simpson and the German foreign minister to the discovery of top secret correspondence about the man dubbed "the traitor king" and the Nazi high command, this is a saga of intrigue, betrayal, and deception suffused with a heady aroma of sex and suspicion. For the first time, Morton reveals the full story behind the cover-up of those damning letters and diagrams: the daring heist ordered by King George VI, the smooth duplicity of a Soviet spy as well as the bitter rows and recriminations among the British and American diplomats, politicians, and academics. Drawing on FBI documents, exclusive pictures, and material from the German, Russian, and British royal archives, as well as the personal correspondence of Churchill, Eisenhower, and the Windsors themselves, 17 CARNATIONS is a dazzling historical drama, full of adventure, intrigue, and startling revelations, written by a master of the genre.


A World Lit Only by Fire - William Manchester Cover Art

A World Lit Only by Fire

A World Lit Only by Fire The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance - Portrait of an Age by William Manchester

William Manchester's A World Lit Only by Fire is the preeminent popular history of civilization's rebirth after the Dark Ages.


The Wars of the Roses - Dan Jones Cover Art

The Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors by Dan Jones

The author of the New York Times bestseller The Plantagenets and The Templars  chronicles the next chapter in British history—the historical backdrop for Game of Thrones The inspiration for the Channel 5 series Britain's Bloody Crown The crown of England changed hands five times over the course of the fifteenth century, as two branches of the Plantagenet dynasty fought to the death for the right to rule. In this riveting follow-up to  The Plantagenets , celebrated historian Dan Jones describes how the longest-reigning British royal family tore itself apart until it was finally replaced by the Tudors. Some of the greatest heroes and villains of history were thrown together in these turbulent times, from Joan of Arc to Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt marked the high point of the medieval monarchy, and Richard III, who murdered his own nephews in a desperate bid to secure his stolen crown. This was a period when headstrong queens and consorts seized power and bent men to their will. With vivid descriptions of the battles of Towton and Bosworth, where the last Plantagenet king was slain, this dramatic narrative history revels in bedlam and intrigue. It also offers a long-overdue corrective to Tudor propaganda, dismantling their self-serving account of what they called the Wars of the Roses.


Postwar - Tony Judt Cover Art


Postwar A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize Winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award One of the  New York Times '   Ten Best Books of the Year Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world's most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers all of Europe, both east and west, drawing on research in six languages to sweep readers through thirty-four nations and sixty years of political and cultural change-all in one integrated, enthralling narrative. Both intellectually ambitious and compelling to read, thrilling in its scope and delightful in its small details, Postwar is a rare joy.  


The Wars of the Roses - Alison Weir Cover Art

The Wars of the Roses

The Wars of the Roses by Alison Weir

Lancaster and York. For much of the fifteenth century, these two families were locked in battle for control of the British monarchy. Kings were murdered and deposed. Armies marched on London. Old noble names were ruined while rising dynasties seized power and lands. The war between the royal House of Lancaster and York, the longest and most complex in British history, profoundly altered the course of the monarchy. In The Wars of the Roses, Alison Weir reconstructs this conflict with the same dramatic flair and impeccable research that she brought to her highly praised The Princes in the Tower. The first battle erupted in 1455, but the roots of the conflict reached back to the dawn of the fifteenth century, when the corrupt, hedonistic Richard II was sadistically murdered, and Henry IV, the first Lancastrian king, seized England's throne. Both Henry IV and his son, the cold warrior Henry V, ruled England ably, if not always wisely--but Henry VI proved a disaster, both for his dynasty and his kingdom. Only nine months old when his father's sudden death made him king, Henry VI became a tormented and pathetic figure, weak, sexually inept, and prey to fits of insanity. The factional fighting that plagued his reign escalated into bloody war when Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, laid claim to the throne that was rightfully his--and backed up his claim with armed might. Alison Weir brings brilliantly to life both the war itself and the historic figures who fought it on the great stage of England. Here are the queens who changed history through their actions--the chic, unconventional Katherine of Valois, Henry V's queen; the ruthless, social-climbing Elizabeth Wydville; and, most crucially, Margaret of Anjou, a far tougher and more powerful character than her husband,, Henry VI, and a central figure in the Wars of the Roses. Here, too, are the nobles who carried the conflict down through the generations--the Beauforts, the bastard descendants of John of Gaunt, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known to his contemporaries as "the Kingmaker"; and the Yorkist King, Edward IV, a ruthless charmer who pledged his life to cause the downfall of the House of Lancaster. The Wars of the Roses is history at its very best--swift and compelling, rich in character, pageantry, and drama, and vivid in its re-creation of an astonishing, dangerous, and often grim period of history. Alison Weir, one of the foremost authorities on the British royal family, demonstrates here that she is also one of the most dazzling stylists writing history today. From the Hardcover edition.


Life in a Medieval City - Frances Gies & Joseph Gies Cover Art

Life in a Medieval City

Life in a Medieval City by Frances Gies & Joseph Gies

From acclaimed historians Frances and Joseph Gies comes the reissue of their classic book on day-to-day life in medieval cities, which was a source for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series. Evoking every aspect of city life in the Middle Ages, Life in a Medieval City depicts in detail what it was like to live in a prosperous city of Northwest Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The year is 1250 CE and the city is Troyes, capital of the county of Champagne and site of two of the cycle Champagne Fairs—the “Hot Fair” in August and the “Cold Fair” in December. European civilization has emerged from the Dark Ages and is in the midst of a commercial revolution. Merchants and money men from all over Europe gather at Troyes to buy, sell, borrow, and lend, creating a bustling market center typical of the feudal era. As the Gieses take us through the day-to-day life of burghers, we learn the customs and habits of lords and serfs, how financial transactions were conducted, how medieval cities were governed, and what life was really like for a wide range of people. For serious students of the medieval era and anyone wishing to learn more about this fascinating period, Life in a Medieval City remains a timeless work of popular medieval scholarship.


How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill Cover Art

How the Irish Saved Civilization

How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

The perfect St. Patrick's Day gift, and a book in the best tradition of popular history -- the untold story of Ireland's role in maintaining Western culture while the Dark Ages settled on Europe. Every year millions of Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day, but they may not be aware of how great an influence St. Patrick was on the subsequent history of civilization. Not only did he bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become "the isle of saints and scholars" -- and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. In this entertaining and compelling narrative, Thomas Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Without Ireland, the transition could not have taken place. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western civilization -- copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost -- they brought their uniquely Irish world-view to the task. As Cahill delightfully illustrates, so much of the liveliness we associate with medieval culture has its roots in Ireland. When the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated. In the tradition of Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror , How The Irish Saved Civilization reconstructs an era that few know about but which is central to understanding our past and our cultural heritage. But it conveys its knowledge with a winking wit that aptly captures the sensibility of the unsung Irish who relaunched civilization. BONUS MATERIAL:  This ebook edition includes an excerpt from Thomas Cahill's  Heretics and Heroes .


The Rival Queens - Nancy Goldstone Cover Art

The Rival Queens

The Rival Queens Catherine de' Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal that Ignited a Kingdom by Nancy Goldstone

The riveting true story of mother-and-daughter queens Catherine de' Medici and Marguerite de Valois, whose wildly divergent personalities and turbulent relationship changed the shape of their tempestuous and dangerous century. Set in magnificent Renaissance France, this is the story of two remarkable women, a mother and daughter driven into opposition by a terrible betrayal that threatened to destroy the realm. Catherine de' Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for thirty years. Her youngest daughter Marguerite, the glamorous "Queen Margot," was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control. When Catherine forces the Catholic Marguerite to marry her Protestant cousin Henry of Navarre against her will, and then uses her opulent Parisian wedding as a means of luring his followers to their deaths, she creates not only savage conflict within France but also a potent rival within her own family. Rich in detail and vivid prose, Goldstone's narrative unfolds as a thrilling historical epic. Treacherous court politics, poisonings, inter-national espionage, and adultery form the background to a story that includes such celebrated figures as Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Nostradamus. The Rival Queens is a dangerous tale of love, betrayal, ambition, and the true nature of courage, the echoes of which still resonate.


The Vikings - Robert Wernick Cover Art

The Vikings

The Vikings by Robert Wernick

In the eighth century, The Vikings, the water-borne warriors of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, conquered much of the British Isles. They pillaged the coast of France, pushed inland to sack Paris, and seized Normandy. Sweeping south down the great rivers of central Europe, they overwhelmed the Slavs of Russia, captured Kiev, and clashed with the people of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. In all this, the Vikings took untold treasures, but they weren't just barbarians, content to plunder and burn. They were builders of cities, founders of states, writers of poetry, and makers of laws. The Vikings also were bold and tenacious explorers who ventured across oceans to discover new territories - including the New World. Indeed, not since the golden age of the Roman Empire had any people so powerfully influenced the Western world. Here, from award-winning journalist Robert Wernick, is their dramatic story.


The Hotel on Place Vendome - Tilar J. Mazzeo Cover Art

The Hotel on Place Vendome

The Hotel on Place Vendome Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of World War II, The Hôtel on Place Vendôme is the captivating history of Paris’s world-famous Hôtel Ritz—a breathtaking tale of glamour, opulence, and celebrity; dangerous liaisons, espionage, and resistance—from Tilar J. Mazzeo, the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot and The Secret of Chanel No. 5 When France fell to the Germans in June 1940, the legendary Hôtel Ritz on the Place Vendôme—an icon of Paris frequented by film stars and celebrity writers, American heiresses and risqué flappers, playboys, and princes—was the only luxury hotel of its kind allowed in the occupied city by order of Adolf Hitler. Tilar J. Mazzeo traces the history of this cultural landmark from its opening in fin de siècle Paris. At its center, The Hotel on Place Vendôme is an extraordinary chronicle of life at the Ritz during wartime, when the Hôtel was simultaneously headquarters to the highest-ranking German officers, such as Reichsmarshal Hermann Göring, and home to exclusive patrons, including Coco Chanel. Mazzeo takes us into the grand palace’s suites, bars, dining rooms, and wine cellars, revealing a hotbed of illicit affairs and deadly intrigue, as well as stunning acts of defiance and treachery. Rich in detail, illustrated with black-and-white photos, The Hotel on Place Vendôme is a remarkable look at this extraordinary crucible where the future of post-war France—and all of post-war Europe—was transformed. 


The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Alison Weir Cover Art

The Six Wives of Henry VIII

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir

The tempestuous, bloody, and splendid reign of Henry VIII of England (1509-1547) is one of the most fascinating in all history, not least for his marriage to six extraordinary women. In this accessible work of brilliant scholarship, Alison Weir draws on early biographies, letters, memoirs, account books, and diplomatic reports to bring these women to life. Catherine of Aragon emerges as a staunch though misguided woman of principle; Anne Boleyn, an ambitious adventuress with a penchant for vengeance; Jane Seymour, a strong-minded matriarch in the making; Anne of Cleves, a good-natured and innocent woman naively unaware of the court intrigues that determined her fate; Catherine Howard, an empty-headed wanton; and Catherine Parr, a warm-blooded bluestocking who survived King Henry to marry a fourth time.


Wine and War - Donald Kladstrup & Petie Kladstrup Cover Art

Wine and War

Wine and War The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure by Donald Kladstrup & Petie Kladstrup

The remarkable untold story of France’s courageous, clever vinters who protected and rescued the country’s most treasured commodity from German plunder during World War II. "To be a Frenchman means to fight for your country and its wine." –Claude Terrail, owner, Restaurant La Tour d’Argent In 1940, France fell to the Nazis and almost immediately the German army began a campaign of pillaging one of the assets the French hold most dear: their wine. Like others in the French Resistance, winemakers mobilized to oppose their occupiers, but the tale of their extraordinary efforts has remained largely unknown–until now. This is the thrilling and harrowing story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their cherished crops and bottles as the Germans closed in on them. Wine and War illuminates a compelling, little-known chapter of history, and stands as a tribute to extraordinary individuals who waged a battle that, in a very real way, saved the spirit of France. From the Trade Paperback edition.


Greek and Roman Mythology - MobileReference Cover Art

Greek and Roman Mythology

Greek and Roman Mythology History, Art, Reference. Heracles, Zeus, Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, Venus, Cyclops, Titans. by MobileReference

History, Art, Reference. Heracles, Zeus, Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, Venus, Cyclops, Titans.  Learn more about Greek and Roman Mythology with this comprehensive and fully illustrated book. TABLE OF CONTENTS: Ancient Greece: Overview | Art | Greek Mythology | Ancient Rome: Overview | Religion | Etruscan Mythology | Art | Roman Mythology | Romulus and Remus Greek Gods: Overview | Twelve  Olympians: Apollo | Ares | Artemis | Aphrodite | Athena | Demeter | Dionysus | Hades | Helios | Hephaestus | Hera | Hermes | Persephone | Poseidon | Hestia | Hebe | Zeus | Primordial Gods Greek Gods, Heros & Creatures: Asclepius | Orpheus | Achilles | Pan | Nymph | Siren | Prometheus | Medea | Muse | Amazons | Centaur | Minotaur | Gorgon | Satyr | Cyclops | Titans Roman Gods: Fortuna | Faunus | Jupiter | Venus | Ceres | Neptune | Cupid | Diana | Janus | Juno | Mars | Mercury | Minerva | Pluto | Saturn | Vesta | Vulcan | Apollo | Bacchus Heracles: Overview | Twelve  Labours: Nemean Lion | Ceryneian Hind | Erymanthian Boar | Augeas | Stymphalian Birds | Cretan Bull | Mares of Diomedes | Hippolyta | Geryon | Hesperides | Cerberus | Lernaean Hydra Poems: Homeric Hymns | Theogony | Cyclops | Iliad | Odyssey | Argonautica | Medea


The Tudors - G. J. Meyer Cover Art

The Tudors

The Tudors The Complete Story of England's Most Notorious Dynasty by G. J. Meyer

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER BONUS: This edition contains a The Tudors discussion guide. Acclaimed historian G. J. Meyer provides a fresh look at the fabled Tudor dynasty—and some of the most enigmatic figures ever to rule a country. In 1485, Henry Tudor, whose claim to the English throne was so weak as to be almost laughable, nevertheless sailed from France with a ragtag army to take the crown from the family that had ruled England for almost four centuries. Fifty years later, his son, Henry VIII, aimed to seize even greater powers—ultimately leaving behind a brutal legacy that would blight the lives of his children and the destiny of his country. Edward VI, a fervent believer in reforming the English church, died before realizing his dream. Mary I, the disgraced daughter of Catherine of Aragon, tried and failed to reestablish the Catholic Church and produce an heir, while Elizabeth I sacrificed all chance of personal happiness in order to survive.  The Tudors  presents the sinners and saints, the tragedies and triumphs, the high dreams and dark crimes, of this enthralling era.


Savage Continent - Keith Lowe Cover Art

Savage Continent

Savage Continent Europe in the Aftermath of World War II by Keith Lowe

The Second World War might have officially ended in May 1945, but in reality it rumbled on for another ten years... The end of the Second World War in Europe is one of the twentieth century's most iconic moments. It is fondly remembered as a time when cheering crowds filled the streets, danced, drank and made love until the small hours. These images of victory and celebration are so strong in our minds that the period of anarchy and civil war that followed has been forgotten. Across Europe, landscapes had been ravaged, entire cities razed and more than thirty million people had been killed in the war. The institutions that we now take for granted - such as the police, the media, transport, local and national government - were either entirely absent or hopelessly compromised. Crime rates were soaring, economies collapsing, and the European population was hovering on the brink of starvation. In Savage Continent , Keith Lowe describes a continent still racked by violence, where large sections of the population had yet to accept that the war was over. Individuals, communities and sometimes whole nations sought vengeance for the wrongs that had been done to them during the war. Germans and collaborators everywhere were rounded up, tormented and summarily executed. Concentration camps were reopened and filled with new victims who were tortured and starved. Violent anti-Semitism was reborn, sparking murders and new pogroms across Europe. Massacres were an integral part of the chaos and in some places – particularly Greece, Yugoslavia and Poland, as well as parts of Italy and France – they led to brutal civil wars. In some of the greatest acts of ethnic cleansing the world has ever seen, tens of millions were expelled from their ancestral homelands, often with the implicit blessing of the Allied authorities. Savage Continent is the story of post WWII Europe, in all its ugly detail, from the end of the war right up until the establishment of an uneasy stability across Europe towards the end of the 1940s. Based principally on primary sources from a dozen countries, Savage Continent is a frightening and thrilling chronicle of a world gone mad, the standard history of post WWII Europe for years to come.


The Churchill Factor - Boris Johnson Cover Art

The Churchill Factor

The Churchill Factor How One Man Made History by Boris Johnson

From London’s inimitable mayor, Boris Johnson, the story of how Churchill’s eccentric genius shaped not only his world but our own.   On the fiftieth anniversary of Churchill’s death, Boris Johnson celebrates the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century. Taking on the myths and misconceptions along with the outsized reality, he portrays—with characteristic wit and passion—a man of contagious bravery, breathtaking eloquence, matchless strategizing, and deep humanity.   Fearless on the battlefield, Churchill had to be ordered by the king to stay out of action on D-Day; he pioneered aerial bombing and few could match his experience in organizing violence on a colossal scale,  yet he hated war and scorned politicians who had not experienced its horrors. He was the most famous journalist of his time and perhaps the greatest orator of all time, despite a lisp and chronic depression he kept at bay by painting. His maneuvering positioned America for entry into World War II, even as it ushered in England’s post-war decline. His openmindedness made him a trailblazer in health care, education, and social welfare, though he remained incorrigibly politically incorrect. Most of all, he was a rebuttal to the idea that history is the story of vast and impersonal forces; he is proof that one person—intrepid, ingenious, determined—can make all the difference.


A Distant Mirror - Barbara W. Tuchman Cover Art

A Distant Mirror

A Distant Mirror The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman

Barbara W. Tuchman—the acclaimed author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning classic The Guns of August —once again marshals her gift for character, history, and sparkling prose to compose an astonishing portrait of medieval Europe.   The fourteenth century reflects two contradictory images: on the one hand, a glittering age of crusades, cathedrals, and chivalry; on the other, a world plunged into chaos and spiritual agony. In this revelatory work, Barbara W. Tuchman examines not only the great rhythms of history but the grain and texture of domestic life: what childhood was like; what marriage meant; how money, taxes, and war dominated the lives of serf, noble, and clergy alike. Granting her subjects their loyalties, treacheries, and guilty passions, Tuchman re-creates the lives of proud cardinals, university scholars, grocers and clerks, saints and mystics, lawyers and mercenaries, and, dominating all, the knight—in all his valor and “furious follies,” a “terrible worm in an iron cocoon.”   Praise for A Distant Mirror   “Beautifully written, careful and thorough in its scholarship . . . What Ms. Tuchman does superbly is to tell how it was. . . . No one has ever done this better.” — The New York Review of Books   “A beautiful, extraordinary book . . . Tuchman at the top of her powers . . . She has done nothing finer.” — The Wall Street Journal   “Wise, witty, and wonderful . . . a great book, in a great historical tradition.” —Commentary NOTE: This edition does not include color images.


Iron Curtain - Anne Applebaum Cover Art

Iron Curtain

Iron Curtain The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum

In the long-awaited follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag , acclaimed journalist Anne Applebaum delivers a groundbreaking history of how Communism took over Eastern Europe after World War II and transformed in frightening fashion the individuals who came under its sway. At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union to its surprise and delight found itself in control of a huge swath of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to Communism, a completely new political and moral system. In Iron Curtain , Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete. She draws on newly opened East European archives, interviews, and personal accounts translated for the first time to portray in devastating detail the dilemmas faced by millions of individuals trying to adjust to a way of life that challenged their every belief and took away everything they had accumulated. Today the Soviet Bloc is a lost civilization, one whose cruelty, paranoia, bizarre morality, and strange aesthetics Applebaum captures in the electrifying pages of Iron Curtain .


Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell, Adam Hochschild & Lionel Trilling Cover Art

Homage to Catalonia

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell, Adam Hochschild & Lionel Trilling

A National Review Top Ten Best Nonfiction Books of the Century   “One of Orwell’s very best books and perhaps the best book that exists on the Spanish Civil War.”— The New Yorker   In 1936, originally intending merely to report on the Spanish Civil War as a journalist, George Orwell found himself embroiled as a participant—as a member of the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unity. Fighting against the Fascists, he described in painfully vivid and occasionally comic detail life in the trenches—with a “democratic army” composed of men with no ranks, no titles, and often no weapons—and his near fatal wounding. As the politics became tangled, Orwell was pulled into a heartbreaking conflict between his own personal ideals and the complicated realities of political power struggles.   Considered one of the finest works by a man V. S. Pritchett called “the wintry conscience of a generation,” Homage to Catalonia is both Orwell’s memoir of his experiences at the front and his tribute to those who died in what he called a fight for common decency. This edition features a new foreword by Adam Hochschild placing the war in greater context and discussing the evolution of Orwell’s views on the Spanish Civil War.   “No one except George Orwell . . . made the violence and self-dramatization of Spain so burning and terrible.”— Alfred Kazin, New York Times   “A wise book, one that once read will never be forgotten.”— Chicago Sunday Tribune


Avenue of Spies - Alex Kershaw Cover Art

Avenue of Spies

Avenue of Spies A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family's Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris by Alex Kershaw

The best-selling author of The Liberator brings to life the incredible true story of an American doctor in Paris, and his heroic espionage efforts during World War II The leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris's hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was the "mad sadist" Theodor Dannecker, an Eichmann protégé charged with deporting French Jews to concentration camps. And Number 84 housed the Parisian headquarters of the Gestapo, run by the most effective spy hunter in Nazi Germany. From his office at the American Hospital, itself an epicenter of Allied and Axis intrigue, Jackson smuggled fallen Allied fighter pilots safely out of France, a job complicated by the hospital director's close ties to collaborationist Vichy. After witnessing the brutal round-up of his Jewish friends, Jackson invited Liberation to officially operate out of his home at Number 11--but the noose soon began to tighten. When his secret life was discovered by his Nazi neighbors, he and his family were forced to undertake  a journey into the dark heart of the war-torn continent from which there was little chance of return. Drawing upon a wealth of primary source material and extensive interviews with Phillip Jackson, Alex Kershaw recreates the City of Light during its darkest days. The untold story of the Jackson family anchors the suspenseful narrative, and Kershaw dazzles readers with the vivid immediacy of the best spy thrillers. Awash with the tense atmosphere of World War II's Europe, Avenue of Spies introduces us to the brave doctor who risked everything to defy Hitler. From the Hardcover edition.


The Last Lion: Volume 2 - William Manchester Cover Art

The Last Lion: Volume 2

The Last Lion: Volume 2 Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940 by William Manchester

Alone is the second volume of William Manchester's brilliant three-volume biography of Winston Churchill. In this volume, we witness the war within, before the colossal war to come. During this period, Churchill was tested as few men are: relentlessly pursued by creditors, disowned by his own party, vociferously dismissed by the press as a warmonger, and twice nearly lost his seat in Parliament. Yet despite his personal and political troubles, Churchill managed to assemble a vast, underground intelligence network-both within the British government and on the continent-which provided him with more complete and accurate information on Germany than the British government. Recognizing the horrifying truth, Churchill stood almost alone against Nazi aggression and the sordid British and French policy of appeasement. Manchester's luminous portrait never loses sight of Churchill the man-a man with limitations, especially his callousness toward others (including his supporters) and his recklessness, which could border on the foolhardy; but also a man whose vision was global and whose courage was boundless. Here is Churchill as a light in the approaching darkness, readying himself for the terrible stand to come.


The Greatest Knight - Thomas Asbridge Cover Art

The Greatest Knight

The Greatest Knight The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones by Thomas Asbridge

A renowned scholar brings to life medieval England’s most celebrated knight, William Marshal—providing an unprecedented and intimate view of this age and the legendary warrior class that shaped it. Caught on the wrong side of an English civil war and condemned by his father to the gallows at age five, William Marshal defied all odds to become one of England’s most celebrated knights. Thomas Asbridge’s rousing narrative chronicles William’s rise, using his life as a prism to view the origins, experiences, and influence of the knight in British history. In William’s day, the brutish realities of war and politics collided with romanticized myths about an Arthurian “golden age,” giving rise to a new chivalric ideal. Asbridge details the training rituals, weaponry, and battle tactics of knighthood, and explores the codes of chivalry and courtliness that shaped their daily lives. These skills were essential to survive one of the most turbulent periods in English history—an era of striking transformation, as the West emerged from the Dark Ages. A leading retainer of five English kings, Marshal served the great figures of this age, from Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to Richard the Lionheart and his infamous brother John, and was involved in some of the most critical phases of medieval history, from the Magna Carta to the survival of the Angevin/Plantagenet dynasty. Asbridge introduces this storied knight to modern readers and places him firmly in the context of the majesty, passion, and bloody intrigue of the Middle Ages. The Greatest Knight features 16 pages of black-and-white and color illustrations.


We Two - Gillian Gill Cover Art

We Two

We Two Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER BONUS: This edition contains a reader's guide. It was the most influential marriage of the nineteenth century–and one of history’ s most enduring love stories. Traditional biographies tell us that Queen Victoria inherited the throne as a naïve teenager, when the British Empire was at the height of its power, and seemed doomed to find failure as a monarch and misery as a woman until she married her German cousin Albert and accepted him as her lord and master. Now renowned chronicler Gillian Gill turns this familiar story on its head, revealing a strong, feisty queen and a brilliant, fragile prince working together to build a family based on support, trust, and fidelity, qualities neither had seen much of as children. The love affair that emerges is far more captivating, complex, and relevant than that depicted in any previous account. The epic relationship began poorly. The cousins first met as teenagers for a few brief, awkward, chaperoned weeks in 1836. At seventeen, charming rather than beautiful, Victoria already “showed signs of wanting her own way.” Albert, the boy who had been groomed for her since birth, was chubby, self-absorbed, and showed no interest in girls, let alone this princess. So when they met again in 1839 as queen and presumed prince-consort-to-be, neither had particularly high hopes. But the queen was delighted to discover a grown man, refined, accomplished, and whiskered. “Albert is beautiful!” Victoria wrote, and she proposed just three days later. As Gill reveals, Victoria and Albert entered their marriage longing for intimate companionship, yet each was determined to be the ruler. This dynamic would continue through the years–each spouse, headstrong and impassioned, eager to lead the marriage on his or her own terms. For two decades, Victoria and Albert engaged in a very public contest for dominance. Against all odds, the marriage succeeded, but it was always a work in progress. And in the end, it was Albert’s early death that set the Queen free to create the myth of her marriage as a peaceful idyll and her husband as Galahad, pure and perfect. As Gill shows, the marriage of Victoria and Albert was great not because it was perfect but because it was passionate and complicated. Wonderfully nuanced, surprising, often acerbic–and informed by revealing excerpts from the pair’s journals and letters– We Two is a revolutionary portrait of a queen and her prince, a fascinating modern perspective on a couple who have become a legend.


The Women of the Cousins' War - Philippa Gregory Cover Art

The Women of the Cousins' War

The Women of the Cousins' War The Duchess, the Queen, and the King's Mother by Philippa Gregory

#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory joins two eminent historians to explore the extraordinary true stories of three women largely forgotten by history: Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford; Elizabeth Woodville, queen of England; and Margaret Beaufort, the founder of the Tudor dynasty. In her essay on Jacquetta, Philippa Gregory uses original documents, archaeology, and histories of myth and witchcraft to create the first-ever biography of the young duchess who survived two reigns and two wars to become the first lady at two rival courts. David Baldwin, established authority on the Wars of the Roses, tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the first commoner to marry a king of England for love. And Michael Jones, fellow of the Royal Historical Society, writes of Margaret Beaufort, the almost-unknown matriarch of the House of Tudor. Beautifully illustrated throughout with rare portraits and source materials, The Women of the Cousins’ War offers fascinating insights into the inspirations behind Philippa Gregory’s fiction and will appeal to all with an interest in this epic period.


Rome - Robert Hughes Cover Art


Rome A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History by Robert Hughes

From Robert Hughes, one of the greatest art and cultural critics of our time, comes a sprawling, comprehensive, and deeply personal history of Rome—as city, as empire, and, crucially, as an origin of Western art and civilization, two subjects about which Hughes has spent his life writing and thinking. Starting on a personal note, Hughes takes us to the Rome he first encountered as a hungry twenty-one-year-old fresh from Australia in 1959. From that exhilarating portrait, he takes us back more than two thousand years to the city's foundation, one mired in mythologies and superstitions that would inform Rome's development for centuries. From the beginning, Rome was a hotbed of power, overweening ambition, desire, political genius, and corruption. Hughes details the turbulent years that saw the formation of empire and the establishment of the sociopolitical system, along the way providing colorful portraits of all the major figures, both political (Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula) and cultural (Cicero, Martial, Virgil), to name just a few. For almost a thousand years, Rome would remain the most politically important, richest, and largest city in the Western world. From the formation of empire, Hughes moves on to the rise of early Christianity, his own antipathy toward religion providing rich and lively context for the brutality of the early Church, and eventually the Crusades. The brutality had the desired effect—the Church consolidated and outlasted the power of empire, and Rome would be the capital of the Papal States until its annexation into the newly united kingdom of Italy in 1870. As one would expect, Hughes lavishes plenty of critical attention on the Renaissance, providing a full survey of the architecture, painting, and sculpture that blossomed in Rome over the course of the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, and shedding new light on old masters in the process. Having established itself as the artistic and spiritual center of the world, Rome in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries saw artists (and, eventually, wealthy tourists) from all over Europe converging on the bustling city, even while it was caught up in the nationalistic turmoils of the Italian independence struggle and war against France. Hughes keeps the momentum going right into the twentieth century, when Rome witnessed the rise and fall of Italian Fascism and Mussolini, and took on yet another identity in the postwar years as the fashionable city of "La Dolce Vita." This is the Rome Hughes himself first encountered, and it's one he contends, perhaps controversially, has been lost in the half century since, as the cult of mass tourism has slowly ruined the dazzling city he loved so much. Equal parts idolizing, blasphemous, outraged, and awestruck, Rome is a portrait of the Eternal City as only Robert Hughes could paint it. From the Hardcover edition.


Life in the Middle Ages - Richard Winston Cover Art

Life in the Middle Ages

Life in the Middle Ages by Richard Winston

Here, National Book Award winner Richard Winston explores life in the Middle Ages - from the fifth to the fifteenth centuries, beginning with the fall of the Roman Empire and ending with the dawn of the Renaissance. In both countryside and cities, from the peasants to the bourgeoisie to the nobility, no aspect of life in this era is left unexplored.


Born Fighting - Jim Webb Cover Art

Born Fighting

Born Fighting How the Scots-Irish Shaped America by Jim Webb

In his first work of nonfiction, bestselling novelist James Webb tells the epic story of the Scots-Irish, a people whose lives and worldview were dictated by resistance, conflict, and struggle, and who, in turn, profoundly influenced the social, political, and cultural landscape of America from its beginnings through the present day. More than 27 million Americans today can trace their lineage to the Scots, whose bloodline was stained by centuries of continuous warfare along the border between England and Scotland, and later in the bitter settlements of England’s Ulster Plantation in Northern Ireland. Between 250,000 and 400,000 Scots-Irish migrated to America in the eighteenth century, traveling in groups of families and bringing with them not only long experience as rebels and outcasts but also unparalleled skills as frontiersmen and guerrilla fighters. Their cultural identity reflected acute individualism, dislike of aristocracy and a military tradition, and, over time, the Scots-Irish defined the attitudes and values of the military, of working class America, and even of the peculiarly populist form of American democracy itself. Born Fighting is the first book to chronicle the full journey of this remarkable cultural group, and the profound, but unrecognized, role it has played in the shaping of America. Written with the storytelling verve that has earned his works such acclaim as “captivating . . . unforgettable” (the Wall Street Journal on Lost Soliders ), Scots-Irishman James Webb, Vietnam combat veteran and former Naval Secretary, traces the history of his people, beginning nearly two thousand years ago at Hadrian’s Wall, when the nation of Scotland was formed north of the Wall through armed conflict in contrast to England’s formation to the south through commerce and trade. Webb recounts the Scots’ odyssey—their clashes with the English in Scotland and then in Ulster, their retreat from one war-ravaged land to another. Through engrossing chronicles of the challenges the Scots-Irish faced, Webb vividly portrays how they developed the qualities that helped settle the American frontier and define the American character. Born Fighting shows that the Scots-Irish were 40 percent of the Revolutionary War army; they included the pioneers Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, Davy Crockett, and Sam Houston; they were the writers Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain; and they have given America numerous great military leaders, including Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Audie Murphy, and George S. Patton, as well as most of the soldiers of the Confederacy (only 5 percent of whom owned slaves, and who fought against what they viewed as an invading army). It illustrates how the Scots-Irish redefined American politics, creating the populist movement and giving the country a dozen presidents, including Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. And it explores how the Scots-Irish culture of isolation, hard luck, stubbornness, and mistrust of the nation’s elite formed and still dominates blue-collar America, the military services, the Bible Belt, and country music. Both a distinguished work of cultural history and a human drama that speaks straight to the heart of contemporary America, Born Fighting reintroduces America to its most powerful, patriotic, and individualistic cultural group—one too often ignored or taken for granted.


Amsterdam - Russell Shorto Cover Art


Amsterdam A History of the World's Most Liberal City by Russell Shorto

An endlessly entertaining portrait of the city of Amsterdam and the ideas that make it unique, by the author of the acclaimed Island at the Center of the World Tourists know Amsterdam as a picturesque city of low-slung brick houses lining tidy canals; student travelers know it for its legal brothels and hash bars; art lovers know it for Rembrandt's glorious portraits. But the deeper history of Amsterdam, what makes it one of the most fascinating places on earth, is bound up in its unique geography-the constant battle of its citizens to keep the sea at bay and the democratic philosophy that this enduring struggle fostered. Amsterdam is the font of liberalism, in both its senses. Tolerance for free thinking and free love make it a place where, in the words of one of its mayors, "craziness is a value." But the city also fostered the deeper meaning of liberalism, one that profoundly influenced America: political and economic freedom. Amsterdam was home not only to religious dissidents and radical thinkers but to the world's first great global corporation. In this effortlessly erudite account, Russell Shorto traces the idiosyncratic evolution of Amsterdam, showing how such disparate elements as herring anatomy, naked Anabaptists parading through the streets, and an intimate gathering in a sixteenth-century wine-tasting room had a profound effect on Dutch-and world-history. Weaving in his own experiences of his adopted home, Shorto provides an ever-surprising, intellectually engaging story of Amsterdam.


Henry VIII - Alison Weir Cover Art

Henry VIII

Henry VIII The King and His Court by Alison Weir

For fans of Wolf Hall, Alison Weir’s New York Times bestselling biography of Henry VIII brilliantly brings to life the king, the court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards. BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Alison Weir ’ s Mary Boleyn. Henry VIII, renowned for his command of power, celebrated for his intellect, presided over the most stylish—and dangerous—court in Renaissance Europe. Scheming cardinals vied for power with newly rich landowners and merchants, brilliant painters and architects introduced a new splendor into art and design, and each of Henry's six queens brought her own influence to bear upon the life of the court. In her new book, Alison Weir, author of the finest royal chronicles of our time, brings to vibrant life the turbulent, complex figure of Henry VIII and the glittering court he made his own. In an age when a monarch's domestic and political lives were inextricably intertwined, a king as powerful and brilliant as Henry VIII exercised enormous sway over the laws, the customs, and the culture of his kingdom. Yet as Weir shows in this swift, vivid narrative, Henry's ministers, nobles, and wives were formidable figures in their own right, whose influence both enhanced and undermined the authority of the throne. On a grand stage rich in pageantry, intrigue, passion, and luxury, Weir records the many complex human dramas that swirled around Henry, while deftly weaving in an account of the intimate rituals and desires of England's ruling class—their sexual practices, feasts and sports, tastes in books and music, houses and gardens. Stimulating and tumultuous, the court of Henry VIII attracted the finest minds and greatest beauties in Renaissance England—poets Wyatt and Surrey, the great portraitist Hans Holbein, "feasting ladies" like Elizabeth Blount and Elizabeth FitzWalter, the newly rich Boleyn family and the ancient aristocratic clans like the Howards and the Percies, along with the entourages and connections that came and went with each successive wife. The interactions between these individuals, and the terrible ends that befell so many of them, make Henry VIII: The King and His Court an absolutely spellbinding read. Meticulous in historic detail, narrated with high style and grand drama, Alison Weir brilliantly brings to life the king, the court, and the fascinating men and women who vied for its pleasures and rewards. NOTE: This edition does not contain illustrations.


When Paris Went Dark - Ronald C. Rosbottom Cover Art

When Paris Went Dark

When Paris Went Dark The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944 by Ronald C. Rosbottom

The spellbinding and revealing chronicle of Nazi-occupied Paris On June 14, 1940, German tanks entered a silent and nearly deserted Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. Subsequently, an eerie sense of normalcy settled over the City of Light. Many Parisians keenly adapted themselves to the situation-even allied themselves with their Nazi overlords. At the same time, amidst this darkening gloom of German ruthlessness, shortages, and curfews, a resistance arose. Parisians of all stripes-Jews, immigrants, adolescents, communists, rightists, cultural icons such as Colette, de Beauvoir, Camus and Sartre, as well as police officers, teachers, students, and store owners-rallied around a little known French military officer, Charles de Gaulle. WHEN PARIS WENT DARK evokes with stunning precision the detail of daily life in a city under occupation, and the brave people who fought against the darkness. Relying on a range of resources---memoirs, diaries, letters, archives, interviews, personal histories, flyers and posters, fiction, photographs, film and historical studies---Rosbottom has forged a groundbreaking book that will forever influence how we understand those dark years in the City of Light.


Empires of the Sea - Roger Crowley Cover Art

Empires of the Sea

Empires of the Sea The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World by Roger Crowley

In 1521, Suleiman the Magnificent, Muslim ruler of the Ottoman Empire at the height of its power, dispatched an invasion fleet to the Christian island of Rhodes. This would prove to be the opening shot in an epic struggle between rival empires and faiths for control of the Mediterranean and the center of the world. In Empires of the Sea , acclaimed historian Roger Crowley has written his most mesmerizing work to date–a thrilling account of this brutal decades-long battle between Christendom and Islam for the soul of Europe, a fast-paced tale of spiraling intensity that ranges from Istanbul to the Gates of Gibraltar and features a cast of extraordinary characters: Barbarossa, “The King of Evil,” the pirate who terrified Europe; the risk-taking Emperor Charles V; the Knights of St. John, the last crusading order after the passing of the Templars; the messianic Pope Pius V; and the brilliant Christian admiral Don Juan of Austria. This struggle’s brutal climax came between 1565 and 1571, seven years that witnessed a fight to the finish decided in a series of bloody set pieces: the epic siege of Malta, in which a tiny band of Christian defenders defied the might of the Ottoman army; the savage battle for Cyprus; and the apocalyptic last-ditch defense of southern Europe at Lepanto–one of the single most shocking days in world history. At the close of this cataclysmic naval encounter, the carnage was so great that the victors could barely sail away “because of the countless corpses floating in the sea.” Lepanto fixed the frontiers of the Mediterranean world that we know today. Roger Crowley conjures up a wild cast of pirates, crusaders, and religious warriors struggling for supremacy and survival in a tale of slavery and galley warfare, desperate bravery and utter brutality, technology and Inca gold. Empires of the Sea is page-turning narrative history at its best–a story of extraordinary color and incident, rich in detail, full of surprises, and backed by a wealth of eyewitness accounts. It provides a crucial context for our own clash of civilizations.


Germany: A History - Francis Russell Cover Art

Germany: A History

Germany: A History by Francis Russell

Here, from New York Times bestselling historian Richard Russell, is the dramatic story of Germany - from the rise of Charlemagne to the age of Martin Luther, from the Thirty Years' War to the iron rule of Otto von Bismarck, and from the formation of the Weimar Republic to the fighting of two world wars.


Village of Secrets - Caroline Moorehead Cover Art

Village of Secrets

Village of Secrets Defying the Nazis in Vichy France by Caroline Moorehead

From the author of the New York Times bestseller A Train in Winter comes the absorbing story of a French village that helped save thousands hunted by the Gestapo during World War II—told in full for the first time. Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a small village of scattered houses high in the mountains of the Ardèche, one of the most remote and inaccessible parts of Eastern France. During the Second World War, the inhabitants of this tiny mountain village and its parishes saved thousands wanted by the Gestapo: resisters, freemasons, communists, OSS and SOE agents, and Jews. Many of those they protected were orphaned children and babies whose parents had been deported to concentration camps. With unprecedented access to newly opened archives in France, Britain, and Germany, and interviews with some of the villagers from the period who are still alive, Caroline Moorehead paints an inspiring portrait of courage and determination: of what was accomplished when a small group of people banded together to oppose their Nazi occupiers. A thrilling and atmospheric tale of silence and complicity, Village of Secrets reveals how every one of the inhabitants of Chambon remained silent in a country infamous for collaboration. Yet it is also a story about mythmaking, and the fallibility of memory. A major contribution to WWII history, illustrated with black-and-white photos, Village of Secrets sets the record straight about the events in Chambon, and pays tribute to a group of heroic individuals, most of them women, for whom saving others became more important than their own lives.


Sister Queens - Julia Fox Cover Art

Sister Queens

Sister Queens The Noble, Tragic Lives of Katherine of Aragon and Juana, Queen of Castile by Julia Fox

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The history books have cast Katherine of Aragon, the first queen of King Henry VIII of England, as the ultimate symbol of the Betrayed Woman, cruelly tossed aside in favor of her husband’s seductive mistress, Anne Boleyn. Katherine’s sister, Juana of Castile, wife of Philip of Burgundy and mother of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, is portrayed as “Juana the Mad,” whose erratic behavior included keeping her beloved late husband’s coffin beside her for years. But historian Julia Fox, whose previous work painted an unprecedented portrait of Jane Boleyn, Anne’s sister, offers deeper insight in this first dual biography of Katherine and Juana, the daughters of Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella, whose family ties remained strong despite their separation. Looking through the lens of their Spanish origins, Fox reveals these queens as flesh-and-blood women—equipped with character, intelligence, and conviction—who are worthy historical figures in their own right. When they were young, Juana’s and Katherine’s futures appeared promising. They had secured politically advantageous marriages, but their dreams of love and power quickly dissolved, and the unions for which they’d spent their whole lives preparing were fraught with duplicity and betrayal. Juana, the elder sister, unexpectedly became Spain’s sovereign, but her authority was continually usurped, first by her husband and later by her son. Katherine, a young widow after the death of Prince Arthur of Wales, soon remarried his doting brother Henry and later became a key figure in a drama that altered England’s religious landscape. Ousted from the positions of power and influence they had been groomed for and separated from their children, Katherine and Juana each turned to their rich and abiding faith and deep personal belief in their family’s dynastic legacy to cope with their enduring hardships. Sister Queens is a gripping tale of love, duty, and sacrifice—a remarkable reflection on the conflict between ambition and loyalty during an age when the greatest sin, it seems, was to have been born a woman. From the Hardcover edition.


The Sistine Secrets - Benjamin Blech & Roy Doliner Cover Art

The Sistine Secrets

The Sistine Secrets Michelangelo's Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican by Benjamin Blech & Roy Doliner

The Shocking Secrets of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Artwork The recent cleaning of the Sistine Chapel frescoes removed layer after layer of centuries of accumulated tarnish and darkness. The Sistine Secrets endeavors to remove the centuries of prejudice, censorship, and ignorance that blind us to the truth about one of the world's most famous and beloved art treasures. Some images that appeared in the print edition of this book are unavailable in the electronic edition due to rights reasons.


The Prince and the Pauper - Mark Twain Cover Art

The Prince and the Pauper

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

Beloved classic follows the thrilling adventures of Tom Canty, a poor beggar boy, and Edward, Prince of Wales, after they exchange identities. Humor, excitement, and a plot that twists and turns track the lives of the changelings until the rightful prince appears to claim his crown. 30 new illustrations and a newly abridged text.

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