Top European History Ebooks

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Napoleon - Andrew Roberts Cover Art

Napoleon

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.

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Love and Madness - Martin Levy Cover Art

Love and Madness

Love and Madness The Murder of Martha Ray, Mistress of the Fourth Earl of Sandwich by Martin Levy

In eighteenth-century England the aristocracy dominated the imagination, their exploits -- and misdeeds -- discussed, debated, and gossiped about in the salons and parlors of London. Now author Martin Levy vividly re-creates one of the most shocking and scandalous events of the period, in a riveting true tale of passion, obsession, murder, and courtroom drama. On a spring evening in the year 1779, a young woman emerged from London's Covent Garden Theatre amid a grand swirl of lords and ladies, their servants and coachmen. From out of the shadows a man emerged, dressed in a black suit. He raised a pistol and fired one fatal shot point-blank into the woman's head. A sudden and brutal murder, it was all the more shocking because of the identities of those involved. The victim was Martha Ray, famed aficionada of fashion and the arts, and longtime live-in mistress of the Earl of Sandwich, high-ranking minister to King George III. The assailant was James Hackman, a respected Anglican minister and Martha Ray's former lover. It was a savage crime that rocked both British high society and the church, and inflamed the interest and imagination of such renowned personages as Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, noted biographer and lover of prostitutes and executions. And it resulted in a courtroom extravaganza unique in the annals of legal proceedings -- where passion was the motive, the madness of "momentary phrenzy" the mitigating circumstance . . . and love the ultimate justification for a crazed act of murder. With consummate skill, author Martin Levy brings to breathtaking life the sights and sounds of an unparalleled era in history -- when hangings were public entertainment and debauchery was a popular pastime of the wealthy and the titled -- and expertly unravels the mystery behind a truly sensational slaying. Fascinating, startling, edifying, and entertaining, Love and Madness is a brilliant tale of crime and punishment as vivid and compelling as the headlines of today.

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Churchill by Himself - Winston S. Churchill & Richard M. Langworth Cover Art

Churchill by Himself

Churchill by Himself In His Own Words by Winston S. Churchill & Richard M. Langworth

Quotations by the great statesman who helped lead Britain through two world wars: “Magisterial . . . Should be in the library of every Churchill aficionado” ( American Spectator ).   We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!   Millions have been moved by these words—and by the hundreds of speeches given by Winston Churchill to rally the British public, spur its government to armament against Hitler, and defend the causes for which he believed. Churchill by Himself is the first collection of quotations from a leader who had as much talent for wit as he had for inspiration and exhortation. Edited by renowned Churchill scholar Richard Langsworth, this volume is the definitive collection of important quotes from one of the twentieth century’s most persuasive and brilliant orators, whose writings earned him a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.

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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.

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The Last Palace - Norman Eisen Cover Art

The Last Palace

The Last Palace Europe's Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House by Norman Eisen

A sweeping yet intimate narrative about the last hundred years of turbulent European history, as seen through one of Mitteleuropa’s greatest houses—and the lives of its occupants   When Norman Eisen moved into the US ambassador’s residence in Prague, returning to the land his mother had fled after the Holocaust, he was startled to discover swastikas hidden beneath the furniture in his new home. These symbols of Nazi Germany were remnants of the residence’s forgotten history, and evidence that we never live far from the past.   From that discovery unspooled the twisting, captivating tale of four of the remarkable people who had called this palace home. Their story is Europe’s, and The Last Palace chronicles the upheavals that transformed the continent over the past century. There was the optimistic Jewish financial baron, Otto Petschek, who built the palace after World War I as a statement of his faith in democracy, only to have that faith shattered; Rudolf Toussaint, the cultured, compromised German general who occupied the palace during World War II, ultimately putting his life at risk to save the house and Prague itself from destruction; Laurence Steinhardt, the first postwar US ambassador whose quixotic struggle to keep the palace out of Communist hands was paired with his pitched efforts to rescue the country from Soviet domination; and Shirley Temple Black, an eyewitness to the crushing of the 1968 Prague Spring by Soviet tanks, who determined to return to Prague and help end totalitarianism—and did just that as US ambassador in 1989.   Weaving in the life of Eisen’s own mother to demonstrate how those without power and privilege moved through history, The Last Palace tells the dramatic and surprisingly cyclical tale of the triumph of liberal democracy.

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A Covert Action: Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland - Seth G. Jones Cover Art

A Covert Action: Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland

A Covert Action: Reagan, the CIA, and the Cold War Struggle in Poland by Seth G. Jones

The dramatic, untold story of one of the CIA’s most successful Cold War intelligence operations. December, 1981—the CIA receives word that the Polish government has cut telephone communications with the West and closed the Polish border. The agency’s leaders quickly inform President Ronald Reagan, who is enjoying a serene weekend at Camp David. Within hours, Prime Minister Wojciech Jaruzelski has appeared on Polish national television to announce the establishment of martial law. A new era in Cold War politics has begun: Washington and Moscow are on a collision course. In this gripping narrative history, Seth G. Jones reveals the little-known story of the CIA’s subsequent operations in Poland, which produced a landmark victory for democracy during the Cold War. While the Soviet-backed Polish government worked to crush a budding liberal opposition movement, the CIA began a sophisticated intelligence campaign, code-named QRHELPFUL, that supported dissident groups. The most powerful of these groups was Solidarity, a trade union that swelled to a membership of ten million and became one of the first legitimate anti-Communist opposition movements in Eastern Europe. With President Reagan’s support, the CIA provided money that helped Solidarity print newspapers, broadcast radio programs, and conduct a wide-ranging information warfare campaign against the Soviet-backed government. QRHELPFUL proved vital in establishing a free and democratic Poland. Long overlooked by CIA historians and Reagan biographers, the story of QRHELPFUL features an extraordinary cast of characters—including spymaster Bill Casey, CIA officer Richard Malzahn, Polish-speaking CIA case officer Celia Larkin, Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, and Pope John Paul II. Based on in-depth interviews and recently declassified evidence, A Covert Action celebrates a decisive victory over tyranny for U.S. intelligence behind the Iron Curtain, one that prefigured the Soviet collapse.

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Outposts - Simon Winchester Cover Art

Outposts

Outposts Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire by Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester, struck by a sudden need to discover exactly what was left of the British Empire, set out across the globe to visit the far-flung islands that are all that remain of what once made Britain great. He traveled 100,000 miles back and forth, from Antarctica to the Caribbean, from the Mediterranean to the Far East, to capture a last glint of imperial glory. His adventures in these distant and forgotten ends of the earth make compelling, often funny reading and tell a story most of us had thought was over: a tale of the last outposts in Britain's imperial career and those who keep the flag flying. With a new introduction, this updated edition tells us what has happened to these extraordinary places while the author's been away.

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First to Fly - Charles Bracelen Flood Cover Art

First to Fly

First to Fly The Story of the Lafayette Escadrille, the American Heroes Who Flew for France in World War I by Charles Bracelen Flood

“The compelling story of the squadron of adventurous young American pilots who were among the first to engage in air combat” ( Tampa Bay Times ).   In First to Fly , lauded historian Charles Bracelen Flood draws on rarely seen primary sources to tell the story of the daredevil Americans of the Lafayette Escadrille, who flew in French planes, wore French uniforms, and showed the world an American brand of heroism before the United States entered the Great War.   As citizens of a neutral nation from 1914 to early 1917, Americans were prohibited from serving in a foreign army, but many brave young souls soon made their way into European battle zones. It was partly from the ranks of the French Foreign Legion, and with the sponsorship of an expat American surgeon and a Vanderbilt, that the Lafayette Escadrille was formed in 1916 as the first and only all-American squadron in the French Air Service. Flying rudimentary planes, against one-in-three odds of being killed, these fearless young men gathered reconnaissance and shot down enemy aircraft, participated in the Battle of Verdun and faced off with the Red Baron, dueling across the war-torn skies like modern knights on horseback.   “ First to Fly shows us that there was something noble and honorable about the Escadrille, men who did not turn against their own country but put their lives up to fight for a cause, not because they had to but because it was the right thing to do.” — The Wall Street Journal  

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Sanctity and Pilgrimage in Medieval Southern Italy, 1000–1200 - Paul Oldfield Cover Art

Sanctity and Pilgrimage in Medieval Southern Italy, 1000–1200

Sanctity and Pilgrimage in Medieval Southern Italy, 1000–1200 by Paul Oldfield

Southern Italy's strategic location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean gave it a unique position as a frontier for the major religious faiths of the medieval world, where Latin Christian, Greek Christian and Muslim communities coexisted. In this study, the first to offer a comprehensive analysis of sanctity and pilgrimage in southern Italy between 1000 and 1200, Paul Oldfield presents a fascinating picture of a politically and culturally fragmented land which, as well as hosting its own important relics as important pilgrimage centres, was a transit point for pilgrims and commercial traffic. Drawing on a diverse range of sources from hagiographical material to calendars, martyrologies, charters and pilgrim travel guides, the book examines how sanctity functioned at this key cultural crossroads and, by integrating the analysis of sanctity with that of pilgrimage, offers important new insights into society, cross-cultural interaction and faith in the region and across the medieval world.

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The White Horse King - Benjamin R. Merkle Cover Art

The White Horse King

The White Horse King The Life of Alfred the Great by Benjamin R. Merkle

The unlikely king who saved England. Down swept the Vikings from the frigid North. Across the English coastlands and countryside they raided, torched, murdered, and destroyed all in their path. Farmers, monks, and soldiers all fell bloody under the Viking sword, hammer, and axe. Then, when the hour was most desperate, came an unlikely hero. King Alfred rallied the battered and bedraggled kingdoms of Britain and after decades of plotting, praying, and persisting, finally triumphed over the invaders. Alfred's victory reverberates to this day: He sparked a literary renaissance, restructured Britain's roadways, revised the legal codes, and revived Christian learning and worship. It was Alfred's accomplishments that laid the groundwork for Britian's later glories and triumphs in literature, liturgy, and liberty. "Ben Merkle tells the sort of mythic adventure story that stirs the imagination and races the heart?and all the more so knowing that it is altogether true!" ?George Grant, author of The Last Crusader and The Blood of the Moon

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The Golden Empire - Hugh Thomas Cover Art

The Golden Empire

The Golden Empire Spain, Charles V, and the Creation of America by Hugh Thomas

From a master chronicler of Spanish history comes a magnificent work about the pivotal years from 1522 to 1566, when Spain was the greatest European power. Hugh Thomas has written a rich and riveting narrative of exploration, progress, and plunder. At its center is the unforgettable ruler who fought the French and expanded the Spanish empire, and the bold conquistadors who were his agents. Thomas brings to life King Charles V—first as a gangly and easygoing youth, then as a liberal statesman who exceeded all his predecessors in his ambitions for conquest (while making sure to maintain the humanity of his new subjects in the Americas), and finally as a besieged Catholic leader obsessed with Protestant heresy and interested only in profiting from those he presided over. The Golden Empire also presents the legendary men whom King Charles V sent on perilous and unprecedented expeditions: Hernán Cortés, who ruled the “New Spain” of Mexico as an absolute monarch—and whose rebuilding of its capital, Tenochtitlan, was Spain’s greatest achievement in the sixteenth century; Francisco Pizarro, who set out with fewer than two hundred men for Peru, infamously executed the last independent Inca ruler, Atahualpa, and was finally murdered amid intrigue; and Hernando de Soto, whose glittering journey to settle land between Rio de la Palmas in Mexico and the southernmost keys of Florida ended in disappointment and death. Hugh Thomas reveals as never before their torturous journeys through jungles, their brutal sea voyages amid appalling storms and pirate attacks, and how a cash-hungry Charles backed them with loans—and bribes—obtained from his German banking friends. A sweeping, compulsively readable saga of kings and conquests, armies and armadas, dominance and power, The Golden Empire is a crowning achievement of the Spanish world’s foremost historian. From the Hardcover edition.

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Mussolini's Italy - R. J. B. Bosworth Cover Art

Mussolini's Italy

Mussolini's Italy Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915-1945 by R. J. B. Bosworth

With Mussolini ’s Italy , R.J.B. Bosworth the foremost scholar on the subject writing in English vividly brings to life the period in which Italians participated in one of the twentieth century’s most notorious political experiments. Il Duce’s Fascists were the original totalitarians, espousing a cult of violence and obedience that inspired many other dictatorships, Hitler’s first among them. But as Bosworth reveals, many Italians resisted its ideology, finding ways, ingenious and varied, to keep Fascism from taking hold as deeply as it did in Germany. A sweeping chronicle of struggle in terrible times, this is the definitive account of Italy’s darkest hour.

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A Brief History of the Knights Templar - Helen Nicholson Cover Art

A Brief History of the Knights Templar

A Brief History of the Knights Templar by Helen Nicholson

Much has been written about the Knights Templar in recent years. A leading specialist in the history of this legendary medieval order now writes a full account of the Knights of the Order of the Temple of Solomon, to give them their full title, bringing the latest findings to a general audience. Putting many of the myths finally to rest, Nicholson recounts a new history of these storm troopers of the papacy, founded during the crusades but who got so rich and influential that they challenged the power of kings.

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TALES OF THE ALHAMBRA & CHRONICLE OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA - Washington Irving Cover Art

TALES OF THE ALHAMBRA & CHRONICLE OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA

TALES OF THE ALHAMBRA & CHRONICLE OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA From the Prolific American Writer, Biographer and Historian, Author of Life of George Washington, History of New York, Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving

"Tales of the Alhambra" is a collection of essays, verbal sketches and stories about the Moors and Spaniards. Through these stories, sketches and essays it is described the author's journey through Spain in Andalusia, where he gives a general description of the country and people. The collection consists of around 30 Tales about the Alhambra, the city castle of the last Moorish rulers in Al-Andalus. The stories are dealing, for the most part, with after-Moorish period in which the Alhambra has been managed as a possession of the Spanish kings and was left to decay. "Tales of the Alhambra” is translated into many languages and is considered one of the most important works of the author. During Irving's stay in Spain, after the success of his previous books, he was invited to stay at the palace of the Duke of Gor, who gave him unfettered access to his library containing many medieval manuscripts. It took him just a year to complete The Chronicles of the Conquest of Granada. The book is covering the long process of banishing the Moors from Spain and Portugal. Washington Irving (1783-1859) was an American author, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. Irving also served as the U.S. ambassador to Spain from 1842 to 1846.

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Nineteenth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction - Christopher Harvie & Colin Matthew Cover Art

Nineteenth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction

Nineteenth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Harvie & Colin Matthew

First published as part of the best-selling The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, Christopher Harvie and Colin Matthew's Very Short Introduction to Nineteenth-Century Britain is a sharp but subtle account of remarkable economic and social change and an even more remarkable political stability.

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Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I - Peter Ackroyd Cover Art

Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I

Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I by Peter Ackroyd

Peter Ackroyd, one of Britain's most acclaimed writers, brings the age of the Tudors to vivid life in this monumental book in his The History of England series, charting the course of English history from Henry VIII's cataclysmic break with Rome to the epic rule of Elizabeth I. Rich in detail and atmosphere, Peter Ackroyd's Tudors is the story of Henry VIII's relentless pursuit of both the perfect wife and the perfect heir; of how the brief reign of the teenage king, Edward VI, gave way to the violent reimposition of Catholicism and the stench of bonfires under "Bloody Mary." It tells, too, of the long reign of Elizabeth I, which, though marked by civil strife, plots against the queen and even an invasion force, finally brought stability. Above all, however, it is the story of the English Reformation and the making of the Anglican Church. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, England was still largely feudal and looked to Rome for direction; at its end, it was a country where good governance was the duty of the state, not the church, and where men and women began to look to themselves for answers rather than to those who ruled them.

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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.

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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.

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Seven Ages of Paris - Alistair Horne Cover Art

Seven Ages of Paris

Seven Ages of Paris by Alistair Horne

In this luminous portrait of Paris, the celebrated historian gives us the history, culture, disasters, and triumphs of one of the world’s truly great cities. While Paris may be many things, it is never boring. From the rise of Philippe Auguste through the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIV (who abandoned Paris for Versailles); Napoleon’s rise and fall; Baron Haussmann’s rebuilding of Paris (at the cost of much of the medieval city); the Belle Epoque and the Great War that brought it to an end; the Nazi Occupation, the Liberation, and the postwar period dominated by de Gaulle--Horne brings the city’s highs and lows, savagery and sophistication, and heroes and villains splendidly to life. With a keen eye for the telling anecdote and pivotal moment, he portrays an array of vivid incidents to show us how Paris endures through each age, is altered but always emerges more brilliant and beautiful than ever. The Seven Ages of Paris is a great historian’s tribute to a city he loves and has spent a lifetime learning to know. "Knowledgeable and colorful, written with gusto and love.... [An] ambitious and skillful narrative that covers the history of Paris with considerable brio and fervor." —LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK REVIEW

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Dark Continent - Mark Mazower Cover Art

Dark Continent

Dark Continent Europe's Twentieth Century by Mark Mazower

"A useful, important book that reminds us, at the right time, how hard [European unity] has been, and how much care must be taken to avoid the terrible old temptations." -- Los Angeles Times Dark Continent provides an alternative history of the twentieth century, one in which the triumph of democracy was anything but a forgone conclusion and fascism and communism provided rival political solutions that battled and sometimes triumphed in an effort to determine the course the continent would take. Mark Mazower strips away myths that have comforted us since World War II, revealing Europe as an entity constantly engaged in a bloody project of self-invention.  Here is a history not of inevitable victories and forward marches, but of narrow squeaks and unexpected twists, where townships boast a bronze of Mussolini on horseback one moment, only to melt it down and recast it as a pair of noble partisans the next.  Unflinching, intelligent, Dark Continent provides a provocative vision of Europe's past, present, and future-and confirms Mark Mazower as a historian of valuable gifts. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Story of France - Benjamin Stanford Cover Art

The Story of France

The Story of France by Benjamin Stanford

Here is the dramatic story of France in fifteen events, the key turning points that over the course of centuries shaped the country's destiny: from the rise of Joan of Arc to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve, from the reigns of the Bourbon kings to the bloody days of the French Revolution, and from the victory of Napoleon Bonaparte to Charles de Gaulle's return to power.

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Amsterdam - Russell Shorto Cover Art

Amsterdam

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.

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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.

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Revolution - Peter Ackroyd Cover Art

Revolution

Revolution The History of England from the Battle of the Boyne to the Battle of Waterloo by Peter Ackroyd

The fourth volume of Peter Ackroyd's enthralling History of England, beginning in 1688 with a revolution and ending in 1815 with a famous victory. In Revolution , Peter Ackroyd takes readers from William of Orange's accession following the Glorious Revolution to the Regency, when the flamboyant Prince of Wales ruled in the stead of his mad father, George III, and England was—again—at war with France, a war that would end with the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. Late Stuart and Georgian England marked the creation of the great pillars of the English state. The Bank of England was founded, as was the stock exchange; the Church of England was fully established as the guardian of the spiritual life of the nation, and parliament became the sovereign body of the nation with responsibilities and duties far beyond those of the monarch. It was a revolutionary era in English letters, too, a time in which newspapers first flourished and the English novel was born. It was an era in which coffee houses and playhouses boomed, gin flowed freely, and in which shops, as we know them today, began to proliferate in towns and villages. But it was also a time of extraordinary and unprecedented technological innovation, which saw England utterly and irrevocably transformed from a country of blue skies and farmland to one of soot and steel and coal. Ackroyd is the author of the first, second, and third volumes of his history of England, Foundation, Tudors, and Rebellion .

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Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution - Peter Ackroyd Cover Art

Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution

Rebellion: The History of England from James I to the Glorious Revolution by Peter Ackroyd

Peter Ackroyd has been praised as one of the greatest living chroniclers of Britain and its people. In Rebellion, he continues his dazzling account of the history of England, beginning with the progress south of the Scottish king, James VI, who on the death of Elizabeth I became the first Stuart king of England, and ending with the deposition and flight into exile of his grandson, James II. The Stuart monarchy brought together the two nations of England and Scotland into one realm, albeit a realm still marked by political divisions that echo to this day. More importantly, perhaps, the Stuart era was marked by the cruel depredations of civil war, and the killing of a king. Shrewd and opinionated, James I was eloquent on matters as diverse as theology, witchcraft, and the abuses of tobacco, but his attitude to the English parliament sowed the seeds of the division that would split the country during the reign of his hapless heir, Charles I. Ackroyd offers a brilliant, warts-and-all portrayal of Charles's nemesis, Oliver Cromwell, Parliament's great military leader and England's only dictator, who began his career as a political liberator but ended it as much of a despot as "that man of blood," the king he executed. England's turbulent seventeenth century is vividly laid out before us, but so too is the cultural and social life of the period, notable for its extraordinarily rich literature, including Shakespeare's late masterpieces, Jacobean tragedy, the poetry of John Donne and Milton and Thomas Hobbes's great philosophical treatise, Leviathan . In addition to its account of England's royalty, Rebellion also gives us a very real sense of the lives of ordinary English men and women, lived out against a backdrop of constant disruption and uncertainty.

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Hitler's Willing Executioners - Daniel Jonah Goldhagen Cover Art

Hitler's Willing Executioners

Hitler's Willing Executioners Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

This groundbreaking international bestseller lays to rest many myths about the Holocaust: that Germans were ignorant of the mass destruction of Jews, that the killers were all SS men, and that those who slaughtered Jews did so reluctantly. Hitler's Willing Executioners provides conclusive evidence that the extermination of European Jewry engaged the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans. Goldhagen reconstructs the climate of "eliminationist anti-Semitism" that made Hitler's pursuit of his genocidal goals possible and the radical persecution of the Jews during the 1930s popular. Drawing on a wealth of unused archival materials, principally the testimony of the killers themselves, Goldhagen takes us into the killing fields where Germans voluntarily hunted Jews like animals, tortured them wantonly, and then posed cheerfully for snapshots with their victims. From mobile killing units, to the camps, to the death marches, Goldhagen shows how ordinary Germans, nurtured in a society where Jews were seen as unalterable evil and dangerous, willingly followed their beliefs to their logical conclusion. " Hitler's Willing Executioner's is an original, indeed brilliant contribution to the...literature on the Holocaust."--New York Review of Books "The most important book ever published about the Holocaust...Eloquently written, meticulously documented, impassioned...A model of moral and scholarly integrity."--Philadelphia Inquirer From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Justinian's Flea - William Rosen Cover Art

Justinian's Flea

Justinian's Flea The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire by William Rosen

From the acclaimed author of Miracle Cure and The Third Horseman , the epic story of the collision between one of nature's smallest organisms and history's mightiest empire During the golden age of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian reigned over a territory that stretched from Italy to North Africa. It was the zenith of his achievements and the last of them. In 542 AD, the bubonic plague struck. In weeks, the glorious classical world of Justinian had been plunged into the medieval and modern Europe was born. At its height, five thousand people died every day in Constantinople. Cities were completely depopulated. It was the first pandemic the world had ever known and it left its indelible mark: when the plague finally ended, more than 25 million people were dead. Weaving together history, microbiology, ecology, jurisprudence, theology, and epidemiology, Justinian's Flea is a unique and sweeping account of the little known event that changed the course of a continent. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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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.

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Conquerors - Roger Crowley Cover Art

Conquerors

Conquerors How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire by Roger Crowley

In Conquerors,   New York Times bestselling author Roger Crowley gives us the epic story of the emergence of Portugal, a small, poor nation that enjoyed a century of maritime supremacy thanks to the daring and navigational skill of its explorers—a tactical advantage no other country could match. Portugal’s discovery of a sea route to India, campaign of imperial conquest over Muslim rulers, and domination of the spice trade would forever disrupt the Mediterranean and build the first global economy. Crowley relies on letters and eyewitness testimony to tell the story of tiny Portugal’s rapid and breathtaking rise to power. Conquerors reveals the Império Português in all of its splendor and ferocity, bringing to life the personalities of the enterprising and fanatical house of Aviz. Figures such as King Manuel “the Fortunate,” João II “the Perfect Prince,” marauding governor Afonso de Albuquerque, and explorer Vasco da Gama juggled their private ambitions and the public aims of the empire, often suffering astonishing losses in pursuit of a global fortune. Also central to the story of Portugal’s ascent was its drive to eradicate Islamic culture and establish a Christian empire in the Indian Ocean. Portuguese explorers pushed deep into the African continent in search of the mythical Christian king Prester John, and they ruthlessly besieged Indian port cities in their attempts to monopolize trade. The discovery of a route to India around the horn of Africa was not only a brilliant breakthrough in navigation but heralded a complete upset of the world order. For the next century, no European empire was more ambitious, no rulers more rapacious than the kings of Portugal. In the process they created the first long-range maritime empire and set in motion the forces of globalization that now shape our world. At Crowley’s hand, the complete story of the Portuguese empire and the human cost of its ambition can finally be told. Praise for Conquerors “Excellent . . . Crowley’s interpretations are nuanced and fair.” — The Christian Science Monitor “In a riveting narrative, Crowley chronicles Portugal's horrifically violent trajectory from ‘impoverished, marginal’ nation to European power, vying with Spain and Venice to dominate the spice trade.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Brings to life the Portuguese explorers . . . perfect for anyone who likes a high seas tale.” — Publishers Weekly “Readers of Crowley’s previous books will not be disappointed by this exciting tale of sea battles, land campaigns and shipwrecks. . . . Crowley makes a good case for reclaiming Portugal’s significance as forger of the first global empire.” — The Daily Telegraph “Crowley has shown a rare gift for combining compelling narrative with lightly worn academic thoroughness as well as for balancing the human with the geopolitical—qualities on display here. The story he has to tell may be a thrilling one but not every historian could tell it so thrillingly.” —Michael Prodger, Financial Times “A fast-moving and highly readable narrative . . . [Crowley’s] detailed reconstruction of events is based on a close reading of the works of the chroniclers, notably Barros and Correa, whose accounts were written in the tradition of the chronicles of chivalry.” — History Today

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The House by the Lake - Thomas Harding Cover Art

The House by the Lake

The House by the Lake One House, Five Families, and a Hundred Years of German History by Thomas Harding

A Finalist for the Costa Biography Award Longlisted for the Orwell Prize Named a Best Book of the Year by The Times (London) • New Statesman (London) • Daily Express (London) • Commonweal magazine In the summer of 1993, Thomas Harding traveled to Germany with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake on the outskirts of Berlin. It had been her “soul place,” she said—a holiday home for her and her family, but also a refuge—until the 1930s, when the Nazis’ rise to power forced them to leave. The trip was his grandmother’s chance to remember her childhood sanctuary as it was. But the house had changed, and when Harding returned once again nearly twenty years later, it was about to be demolished. It now belonged to the government, and as Harding began to inquire about whether the house could be saved, he unearthed secrets that had lain hidden for decades. Slowly he began to piece together the lives of the five families who had lived there: a wealthy landowner, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned composer, a widow and her children, a Stasi informant. All had made the house their home, and all but one had been forced out. The house had weathered storms, fires and abandonment, witnessed violence, betrayals and murders, and had withstood the trauma of a world war and the dividing of a nation. Breathtaking in scope and intimate in its detail, The House by the Lake is a groundbreaking and revelatory new history of Germany, told over a tumultuous century through the story of a small wooden house.

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Germania - Simon Winder Cover Art

Germania

Germania In Wayward Pursuit of the Germans and Their History by Simon Winder

A UNIQUE EXPLORATION OF GERMAN CULTURE, FROM SAUSAGE ADVERTISEMENTS TO WAGNER Sitting on a bench at a communal table in a restaurant in Regensburg, his plate loaded with disturbing amounts of bratwurst and sauerkraut made golden by candlelight shining through a massive glass of beer, Simon Winder was happily swinging his legs when a couple from Rottweil politely but awkwardly asked: "So: why are you here ?" This book is an attempt to answer that question. Why spend time wandering around a country that remains a sort of dead zone for many foreigners, surrounded as it is by a force field of historical, linguistic, climatic, and gastronomic barriers? Winder's book is propelled by a wish to reclaim the brilliant, chaotic, endlessly varied German civilization that the Nazis buried and ruined, and that, since 1945, so many Germans have worked to rebuild. Germania is a very funny book on serious topics—how we are misled by history, how we twist history, and how sometimes it is best to know no history at all. It is a book full of curiosities: odd food, castles, mad princes, fairy tales, and horse-mating videos. It is about the limits of language, the meaning of culture, and the pleasure of townscape.

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Versailles: A History - Robert B. Abrams Cover Art

Versailles: A History

Versailles: A History by Robert B. Abrams

King Louis XIV had many loves, but none as compelling as Versailles, the modest country estate he transformed into one of the world's most spectacular palaces. Here is the dramatic - and tragic - story of Versailles and the men and women who made it their home.

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The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians - Peter Heather Cover Art

The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians

The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter Heather

The death of the Roman Empire is one of the perennial mysteries of world history. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Peter Heather proposes a stunning new solution: Rome generated its own nemesis. Centuries of imperialism turned the neighbors it called barbarians into an enemy capable of dismantling the Empire that had dominated their lives for so long. Heather is a leading authority on the late Roman Empire and on the barbarians. In The Fall of the Roman Empire, he explores the extraordinary success story that was the Roman Empire and uses a new understanding of its continued strength and enduring limitations to show how Europe's barbarians, transformed by centuries of contact with Rome on every possible level, eventually pulled it apart. He shows first how the Huns overturned the existing strategic balance of power on Rome's European frontiers, to force the Goths and others to seek refuge inside the Empire. This prompted two generations of struggle, during which new barbarian coalitions, formed in response to Roman hostility, brought the Roman west to its knees. The Goths first destroyed a Roman army at the battle of Hadrianople in 378, and went on to sack Rome in 410. The Vandals spread devastation in Gaul and Spain, before conquering North Africa, the breadbasket of the Western Empire, in 439. We then meet Attila the Hun, whose reign of terror swept from Constantinople to Paris, but whose death in 453 ironically precipitated a final desperate phase of Roman collapse culminating in the Vandals' defeat of the massive Byzantine Armada: the west's last chance for survival. Peter Heather convincingly argues that the Roman Empire was not on the brink of social or moral collapse. What brought it to an end were the barbarians.

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The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town - Helmut Walser Smith Cover Art

The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town

The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town by Helmut Walser Smith

One of the most dramatic explorations of a German town in the grip of anti-Semitic passion ever written. In 1900, in a small Prussian town, a young boy was found murdered, his body dismembered, the blood drained from his limbs. The Christians of the town quickly rose up in violent riots to accuse the Jews of ritual murder—the infamous blood-libel charge that has haunted Jews for centuries. In an absorbing narrative, Helmut Walser Smith reconstructs the murder and the ensuing storm of anti-Semitism that engulfed this otherwise peaceful town. Offering an instructive examination of hatred, bigotry, and mass hysteria, The Butcher's Tale is a modern parable that will be a classic for years to come. Winner of the Fraenkel Award and a Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2002.

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Peasant Fires - Richard Wunderli Cover Art

Peasant Fires

Peasant Fires The Drummer of Niklashausen by Richard Wunderli

... lively and intellectually stimulating... " —Speculum Wunderli... has lucidly reconstructed a controversial conflict in 15th-century south-central Germany.... this engaging narrative takes off from Hans Behem—the peasant who claimed to see the Virgin and gained followers until crushed by the established church—to explore larger forces at work in Germany on the eve of the Reformation... Wunderli also attempts to sort out the violent conflict that ensued and Hans's subsequent trial. His scrupulousness and sensitivity make for a small but valuable book." —Publishers Weekly Fascinating and well written, this is highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries."—Library Journal Richard Wunderli... deftly tells the story in Peasant Fires, finding in it a foreshadowing of peasant uprisings in the 16th century."—New York Times Book Review ... a stimulating read... an engaging synthesis."—Central European History In 1476, an illiterate German street musician had a vision of the Virgin Mary and began to preach a radical social message that attracted thousands of followers—and antagonized the church. The drummer was burned at the stake. This swiftly moving narrative of his rise and fall paints a vivid portrait of 15th-century German society as it raises important questions about the craft of history. A gem of a book.... It has a plot, good guys and bad buys, it opens up a ‘strange’ world, and it is exceptionally well written." —Thomas W. Robisheaux

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La divina Comedia - Dante Alighieri Cover Art

La divina Comedia

La divina Comedia by Dante Alighieri

Este ebook presenta "La Divina Comedia", con un indice dinámico y detallado. La Divina Comedia es un poema épico escrito por Dante Alighieri. Se desconoce la fecha exacta en que fue escrito. Dante Alighieri llamó sencillamente Commedia a su libro, pues, de acuerdo con el esquema clásico, no podía ser una tragedia, ya que su final es feliz. Se ha añadido el adjetivo "divina" en publicaciones sucesivas, después del año 1500. La Divina Comedia se considera una de las obras maestras de la literatura italiana y universal. Numerosos artistas de todos los tiempos crearon ilustraciones sobre ella; destacan entre ellas las de Botticelli, Gustave Doré, Dalí, William Adolphe Bouguereau y recientemente Miquel Barceló. Dante Alighieri la escribió en dialecto toscano, matriz del italiano actual el cual se usó entre los siglos XI y XII. Características La Divina Comedia es un poema donde se mezcla la vida real con la sobrenatural, muestra la lucha entre la nada y la inmortalidad, una lucha donde se superponen tres reinos, tres mundos, logrando una suma de múltiples visuales que nunca se contradicen o se anulan. Los tres mundos infierno, purgatorio y paraíso reflejan tres modos de ser de la humanidad, en ellos se reflejan el vicio, el pasaje del vicio a la virtud y la condición de los hombres perfectos. Es entonces a través de los viciosos, penitentes y buenos que se revela la vida en todas sus formas, sus miserias y hazañas, pero también se muestra la vida que no es, la muerte, que tiene su propia vida, todo como una mezcla agraciada planteada por Dante, que se vuelve arquitecto de lo universal y de lo sublime.

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The Collapse of the Third Republic - William L. Shirer Cover Art

The Collapse of the Third Republic

The Collapse of the Third Republic An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940 by William L. Shirer

An acclaimed historian unfolds a monumental, eyewitness page-turner on the tragic fall of France to Hitler’s Third Reich at the outset of WWII.   As an international war correspondent and radio commentator, William L. Shirer didn’t just research the fall of France. He was there. In just six weeks, he watched the Third Reich topple one of the world’s oldest military powers—and institute a rule of terror and paranoia. Based on in-person conversation with the leaders, diplomats, generals, and ordinary citizens who both shaped the events of this time and lived through them on a daily basis, Shirer shapes a compelling account of historical events—without losing sight of the personal experience.   From the heroic efforts of the Freedom Fighters to the tactical military misjudgments that caused the fall and the daily realities of life for French citizens under Nazi rule, this fascinating and exhaustively documented account from one of the twentieth Century’s most important historians makes the events of the fall accessible to a younger audience in vivid and memorable style.

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A Short History of Paris - Thomas Okey Cover Art

A Short History of Paris

A Short History of Paris by Thomas Okey

This beautiful short history of the city of Paris recounts the story of the founding of the city during the Gallo-Roman times, through the Dark Ages and the barbarian/viking invasions, to the rise of Paris as the eminent city of Europe after the French Revolution, culminating in the Paris of the late 19th century.

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The Six Wives of Henry VIII - David Loades Cover Art

The Six Wives of Henry VIII

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by David Loades

The story of Henry VIII and his six wives has passed from history into legend – taught in the cradle as a cautionary tale and remembered in adulthood as an object lesson in the dangers of marrying into royalty. The true story behind the legend, however, remains obscure to most people, whose knowledge of the affair begins and ends with the aide memoire ‘Divorced, executed, died, divorce, executed, survived’. David Loades masterly book recounts the whole sorry tale in detail from Henry’s first marriage, to his brother’s widow, to more or less contented old age in the care of the motherly Catherine Parr.

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María Antonieta - Stefan Zweig Cover Art

María Antonieta

María Antonieta by Stefan Zweig

María Antonieta nació en Viena en 1755, hija del emperador austríaco Francisco I y de María Teresa. En mayo de 1770 contrajo matrimonio, cuando tenía catorce años, con Luis XVI de Francia. De nuevo la destreza de Stefan Zweig dibuja un cuadro extraordinario de la más famosa víctima de la guillotina.

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A Short History of Germany - Mary Platt Parmele Cover Art

A Short History of Germany

A Short History of Germany by Mary Platt Parmele

The concept of Germany as a distinct region in central Europe can be traced to Julius Caesar, who referred to the unconquered area east of the Rhine as Germania, thus distinguishing it from Gaul (France), which he had conquered. The victory of the Germanic tribes in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (AD 9) prevented annexation by the Roman Empire.  In A Short History of Germany Mary Platt Parmele takes the reader on a riveting journey, 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 beyond.  This new digital edition of Parmele’s classic work includes an image gallery.

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Istanbul - John Freely Cover Art

Istanbul

Istanbul The Imperial City by John Freely

Istanbul's history is a catalogue of change, not least of name, yet it has managed to retain its own unique identity. John Freely captures the flavour of daily life as well as court ceremonial and intrigue. The book also includes a comprehensive gazetteer of all major monuments and museums. An in-depth study of this legendary city through its many different ages from its earliest foundation to the present day - the perfect traveller's companion and guide.

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History of the Anglo-Saxons - From the Earliest Period to the Norman Conquest - Thomas Miller Cover Art

History of the Anglo-Saxons - From the Earliest Period to the Norman Conquest by Thomas Miller

Elated by the victory which a hasty march and a sudden surprise had enabled him to obtain more easily over the Norwegians, the brave Harold again, without a day's delay, proceeded to advance rapidly in the direction of the Norman encampment, wearied and thinned as his forces were by the late encounter; hoping by the same unexpected manœuvre and headlong attack, to overthrow at once this new enemy. So sanguine was the Saxon king of obtaining the victory, that he commanded a fleet of seven hundred vessels to hasten towards the English Channel, and intercept the enemy's ships if they should, on his approach, attempt to return to Normandy. The force thus despatched, to remain idle and useless upon the ocean, greatly diminished the strength of the army which Harold was about to lead into the field. Added to this, many had abandoned his standard in disgust, because he prohibited them from plundering the Northmen, whom they had so recently conquered—an act of forbearance which, when placed beside his generous dismissal of the vanquished, shows that Harold, like Alfred, blended mercy instead of revenge with conquest. Too confident in the justice of his cause—brave, eager, impetuous, and burning with the remembrance of the wrongs which he had endured, while he lay helpless at the foot of the Norman duke in his own country, the Saxon king hastened with forced marches to London; where he only waited a few days to collect such forces as were scattered about the neighbourhood, instead of gathering around him the whole strength of Mercia, and the thousands which he might have marshalled together from the northern and western provinces. Those who flocked to his standard came singly, or in small bands; they consisted of men who had armed hastily, of citizens who lived in the metropolis, of countrymen who were within a day or two's march of the capital, and even of monks who abandoned their monasteries to defend their country against the invaders...

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The Model Occupation - Madeleine Bunting Cover Art

The Model Occupation

The Model Occupation The Channel Islands Under German Rule, 1940-1945 by Madeleine Bunting

‘A masterly work of profound research and reflection, objective and humane’ Hugh Trevor-Roper, Sunday Telegraph What would have happened if the Nazis had invaded Britain? How would the British people have responded – with resistance or collaboration? In Madeleine Bunting’s pioneering study, we begin to find the answers to this age-old question. Though rarely remembered today, the Nazis occupied the British Channel Islands for much of the Second World War. In piecing together the fragments left behind – from the love affairs between island women and German soldiers, the betrayals and black marketeering, to the individual acts of resistance – Madeleine Bunting has brought this uncomfortable episode of British history into full view with spellbinding clarity.

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The Escape Line - Megan Koreman Cover Art

The Escape Line

The Escape Line How the Ordinary Heroes of Dutch-Paris Resisted the Nazi Occupation of Western Europe by Megan Koreman

Of all the resistance organizations that operated during the war, about which much has been written, one stands out for its transnational character, the diversity of the tasks its members took on, and the fact that, unlike many of the known evasion lines, it was not directed by Allied officers, but rather by group of ordinary citizens. Between 1942 and 1945, they formed a network to smuggle Dutch Jews and others targeted by the Nazis south into France, via Paris, and then to Switzerland. This network became known as the Dutch-Paris Escape Line, eventually growing to include 300 people and expanding its reach into Spain. Led by Jean Weidner, a Dutchman living in France, many lacked any experience in clandestine operations or military tactics, and yet they became one of the most effective resistance groups of the Second World War. Dutch-Paris largely improvised its operations-scrounging for food on the black market, forging documents, and raising cash. Hunted relentlessly by the Nazis, some were even captured and tortured. In addition to Jews, those it helped escape the clutches of the Nazis included resistance fighters, political foes, Allied airmen, and young men looking to get to London to enlist. As the need grew more desperate, so did the bravery of those who rose to meet it. Using recently declassified archives, The Escape Line tells the story of the Dutch-Paris and the thousands of people it saved during World War II. Author Megan Koreman, who was given exclusive access to many of the archives, is herself the daughter of Dutch parents who were part of the resistance.

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Heligoland - George Drower Cover Art

Heligoland

Heligoland The True Story of German Bight and the Island that Britain Forgot by George Drower

In 1956, sea area Heligoland became German Bight. But why did the North Sea island, which for nearly a century had demonstrated its loyalty to Britain, lose its identity? How had this once peaceful haven become, as Admiral Jacky Fisher exclaimed "a dagger pointed at England’s heart"? Behind the renaming of Heligoland lies a catalogue of deceit, political amibition, blunder, and daring. Heligoland came under British rule in the nineteenth century, a "Gibraltar" of the North Sea. Then, in 1890, despite the islanders’ wishes, Lord Salisbury announced his intention to swap it for Germany’s presence in Zanzibar. The Prime Minister’s decision unleashed a storm of controversy. Queen Victoria telegrammed from Balmoral to register her fury. During both world wars, it was used by Germany to control the North Sea, and RAF planes bombed the once-British territory. The story of Heligoland is more than an obscure footnote to the British Empire—it shows the significance of territory throughout history.

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Medieval Heraldry - Terence Wise Cover Art

Medieval Heraldry

Medieval Heraldry by Terence Wise

Coats of arms were at first used only by kings and princes, then by their great nobles, but by the mid-13th century arms were being used extensively by the lesser nobility, knights and those who later came to be styled gentlemen. In some countries the use of arms spread even to merchants, townspeople and the peasantry. From the mundane to the fantastic, from simple geometric patterns to elaborate mythological beasts, this fascinating work by Terence Wise explores the origins and appearance of medieval heraldic devices in an engagingly readable style accompanied by numerous illustrations including eight full page colour plates by Richard Hook.

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Farewell Britannia - Simon Young Cover Art

Farewell Britannia

Farewell Britannia A Family Saga Of Roman Britain by Simon Young

A vivid and gripping account of Roman Britain, written as a family history Brilliant young historian Simon Young has invented a multi-generational family, part Roman, part Celtic (invaders intermarrying with natives) to tell the dramatic story of 400 years of Roman rule in Britain. Vivid historical detail is balanced by a real feel for the psychological depth of the individual stories. The narrator is writing this 'family history' in 430 AD, realising the Romans will never return. He chooses 14 of the most interesting, but not always the most admirable, of his ancestors. The big events of Roman Britain are all here: scouting for Caesar's expedition in 55 BC; the Roman invasion in 43 AD; Boudicca's revolt and the massacre of 70,000 Romans; the Pict attacks on Hadrian's Wall; the great Barbarian Conspiracy of 367; and the sudden cataclysmic departure of the legions in 410. But there are plenty of non-military episodes: spying on the Druids; a centurion dreaming of retirement with a young slave he has bought; an ambitious wife on the northern frontier; a bad poet in Londinium; infanticide in Surrey; a young Christian girl facing martyrdom in a British amphitheatre.

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1759 - Frank McLynn Cover Art

1759

1759 The Year Britain Became Master of the World by Frank McLynn

A stunning chronicle of a pivotal year in world history and a bracing, fascinating account of the first truly global conflict.   If not for the events of 1759, the entire history of the world would have been different. Called the “Year of Victories,” 1759 was the fourth year in the Seven Years War (or the French and Indian War). Marshalling and impressive wealth of material into a sweeping narrative, award-winning historian McLynn reveals how the French defeat paved the way for the British Empire and the dominance of the English language.   Each chapter begins with an examination of a significant cultural milestone from 1759, helping to add context to the overall story. McLynn brilliantly interweaves primary sources, ranging from material in the Vatican archives to oral histories of Native Americans. Opinionated yet dispassionate, McLynn controversially concludes that the birth of the British Empire was a consequence more of luck than of rigorous planning.   “McLynn’s book will enthrall all lovers of history told well.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)   “McLynn’s feisty and highly personal take on the pivot point of the Seven Years War adds fresh perspectives to the old story.” — The Times Literary Supplement   “Magnificent.” — Sunday Express 

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The Montefeltro Conspiracy - Marcello Simonetta Cover Art

The Montefeltro Conspiracy

The Montefeltro Conspiracy A Renaissance Mystery Decoded by Marcello Simonetta

A brutal murder, a nefarious plot, a coded letter. After five hundred years, the most notorious mystery of the Renaissance is finally solved. The Italian Renaissance is remembered as much for intrigue as it is for art, with papal politics and infighting among Italy’s many city-states providing the grist for Machiavelli’s classic work on take-no-prisoners politics, The Prince. The attempted assassination of the Medici brothers in the Duomo in Florence in 1478 is one of the best-known examples of the machinations endemic to the age. While the assailants were the Medici’s rivals, the Pazzi family, questions have always lingered about who really orchestrated the attack, which has come to be known as the Pazzi Conspiracy. More than five hundred years later, Marcello Simonetta, working in a private archive in Italy, stumbled upon a coded letter written by Federico da Montefeltro, the Duke of Urbino, to Pope Sixtus IV. Using a codebook written by his own ancestor to crack its secrets, Simonetta unearthed proof of an all-out power grab by the Pope for control of Florence. Montefeltro, long believed to be a close friend of Lorenzo de Medici, was in fact conspiring with the Pope to unseat the Medici and put the more malleable Pazzi in their place. In The Montefeltro Conspiracy , Simonetta unravels this plot, showing not only how the plot came together but how its failure (only one of the Medici brothers, Giuliano, was killed; Lorenzo survived) changed the course of Italian and papal history for generations. In the course of his gripping narrative, we encounter the period’s most colorful characters, relive its tumultuous politics, and discover that two famous paintings, including one in the Sistine Chapel, contain the Medici’s astounding revenge.

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