Top European History Ebooks

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Four Princes - John Julius Norwich Cover Art

Four Princes

Four Princes Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent and the Obsessions that Forged Modern Europe by John Julius Norwich

“Bad behavior makes for entertaining history” in this bold history of Europe, the Middle East, and the men who ruled them in the early sixteenth century ( Kirkus Reviews ).   John Julius Norwich—“the very model of a popular historian”—is acclaimed for his distinctive ability to weave together a fascinating narrative through vivid detail, colorful anecdotes, and captivating characters. Here, he explores four leaders—Henry VIII, Francis I, Charles V, and Suleiman—who led their countries during the Renaissance ( The Wall Street Journal ).   Francis I of France was the personification of the Renaissance, and a highly influential patron of the arts and education. Henry VIII, who was not expected to inherit the throne but embraced the role with gusto, broke with the Roman Catholic Church and appointed himself head of the Church of England. Charles V was the most powerful man of the time, and unanimously elected Holy Roman Emperor. And Suleiman the Magnificent—who stood apart as a Muslim—brought the Ottoman Empire to its apogee of political, military, and economic power. These men collectively shaped the culture, religion, and politics of their respective domains.   With remarkable erudition, John Julius Norwich offers “an important history, masterfully written,” indelibly depicting four dynamic characters and how their incredible achievements—and obsessions with one another—changed Europe forever ( The Washington Times ).

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Aftermath - Harald Jähner & Shaun Whiteside Cover Art

Aftermath

Aftermath Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945-1955 by Harald Jähner & Shaun Whiteside

“Even though Aftermath covers historical ground, its narrative is intimate, filled with first-person accounts from articles and diaries.” — The New York Times How does a nation recover from fascism and turn toward a free society once more? This internationally acclaimed revelatory history of the transformational decade that followed World War II illustrates how Germany raised itself out of the ashes of defeat and reckoned with the corruption of its soul and the horrors of the Holocaust—and features over 40 eye-opening black-and-white photographs and posters from the period .   The years 1945 to 1955 were a raw, wild decade that found many Germans politically, economically, and morally bankrupt. Victorious Allied forces occupied the four zones that make up present-day Germany. More than half the population was displaced; 10 million newly released forced laborers and several million prisoners of war returned to an uncertain existence. Cities lay in ruins—no mail, no trains, no traffic—with bodies yet to be found beneath the towering rubble.   Aftermath received wide acclaim and spent forty-eight weeks on the best-seller list in Germany when it was published there in 2019. It is the first history of Germany's national mentality in the immediate postwar years. Using major global political developments as a backdrop, Harald Jähner weaves a series of life stories into a nuanced panorama of a nation undergoing monumental change. Poised between two eras, this decade is portrayed by Jähner as a period that proved decisive for Germany's future—and one starkly different from how most of us imagine it today.

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Powers and Thrones - Dan Jones Cover Art

Powers and Thrones

Powers and Thrones A New History of the Middle Ages by Dan Jones

“An audacious, entertaining page-turner. Dan Jones covers a thousand years of history with elegance and panache.”—Dan Carlin, host of Hardcore History "Simply the best popular history of the Middle Ages there is." —The Sunday Times (UK) The New York Times bestselling author returns with an epic history of the medieval world—a rich and complicated reappraisal of an era whose legacy and lessons we are still living with today. When the once-mighty city of Rome was sacked by barbarians in 410 and lay in ruins, it signaled the end of an era--and the beginning of a thousand years of profound transformation. In a gripping narrative bursting with big names—from Sts Augustine and Attila the Hun to the Prophet Muhammad and Eleanor of Aquitaine—Dan Jones charges through the history of the Middle Ages. Powers and Throne s takes readers on a journey through an emerging Europe, the great capitals of late Antiquity, as well as the influential cities of the Islamic West, and culminates in the first European voyages to the Americas. The medieval world was forged by the big forces that still occupy us today: climate change, pandemic disease, mass migration, and technological revolutions. This was the time when the great European nationalities were formed; when the basic Western systems of law and governance were codified; when the Christian Churches matured as both powerful institutions and the regulators of Western public morality; and when art, architecture, philosophical inquiry and scientific invention went through periods of massive, revolutionary change. The West was rebuilt on the ruins of an empire and emerged from a state of crisis and collapse to dominate the world. Every sphere of human life and activity was transformed in the thousand years covered by Powers and Thrones . As we face a critical turning point in our own millennium, Dan Jones shows that how we got here matters more than ever.

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The Bright Ages - Matthew Gabriele & David M. Perry Cover Art

The Bright Ages

The Bright Ages A New History of Medieval Europe by Matthew Gabriele & David M. Perry

"The beauty and levity that Perry and Gabriele have captured in this book are what I think will help it to become a standard text for general audiences for years to come….The Bright Ages is a rare thing—a nuanced historical work that almost anyone can enjoy reading.”—Slate "Incandescent and ultimately intoxicating." —The Boston Globe A lively and magisterial popular history that refutes common misperceptions of the European Middle Ages, showing the beauty and communion that flourished alongside the dark brutality—a brilliant reflection of humanity itself. The word “medieval” conjures images of the “Dark Ages”—centuries of ignorance, superstition, stasis, savagery, and poor hygiene. But the myth of darkness obscures the truth; this was a remarkable period in human history. The Bright Ages recasts the European Middle Ages for what it was, capturing this 1,000-year era in all its complexity and fundamental humanity, bringing to light both its beauty and its horrors.  The Bright Ages takes us through ten centuries and crisscrosses Europe and the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa, revisiting familiar people and events with new light cast upon them. We look with fresh eyes on the Fall of Rome, Charlemagne, the Vikings, the Crusades, and the Black Death, but also to the multi-religious experience of Iberia, the rise of Byzantium, and the genius of Hildegard and the power of queens. We begin under a blanket of golden stars constructed by an empress with Germanic, Roman, Spanish, Byzantine, and Christian bloodlines and end nearly 1,000 years later with the poet Dante—inspired by that same twinkling celestial canopy—writing an epic saga of heaven and hell that endures as a masterpiece of literature today.   The Bright Ages reminds us just how permeable our manmade borders have always been and of what possible worlds the past has always made available to us. The Middle Ages may have been a world “lit only by fire” but it was one whose torches illuminated the magnificent rose windows of cathedrals, even as they stoked the pyres of accused heretics.   The Bright Ages contains an 8-page color insert.

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Scotland's Merlin - Tim Clarkson Cover Art

Scotland's Merlin

Scotland's Merlin A Medieval Legend and Its Dark Age Origins by Tim Clarkson

A medieval historian “cut[s] through centuries of confusion and complexity” to uncover the mystery behind the legendary wizard in King Arthur’s court ( Undiscovered Scotland ).   Who was Merlin? Is the famous wizard of Arthurian legend based on a real person? In this book, Merlin’s origins are traced back to the story of Lailoken, a mysterious “wild man” who is said to have lived in the Scottish Lowlands in the sixth century AD. The book considers the question of whether Lailoken belongs to myth or reality. It looks at the historical background of his story and discusses key characters such as Saint Kentigern of Glasgow and King Rhydderch of Dumbarton, as well as important events such as the Battle of Arfderydd.   Lailoken’s reappearance in medieval Welsh literature as the fabled prophet Myrddin is also examined. Myrddin himself was eventually transformed into Merlin the wizard, King Arthur’s friend and mentor. This is the Merlin we recognize today, not only in art and literature but also on screen. His earlier forms are less familiar, more remote, but can still be found among the lore and legend of the Dark Ages. Behind them we catch fleeting glimpses of an original figure who perhaps really did exist: a solitary fugitive, tormented by his experience of war, who roamed the hills and forests of southern Scotland long ago.   “Merlin haunts the landscape like a shade, and we’ll never catch him. But, thanks to Tim Clarkson, we can enjoy the search.” — The Hazel Tree   “Tim Clarkson should be congratulated on producing a book which marries together painstaking and detailed research with common-sense and open-minded analysis . . . deeply impressive.” — Undiscovered Scotland

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The Dark Queens - Shelley Puhak Cover Art

The Dark Queens

The Dark Queens The Bloody Rivalry That Forged the Medieval World by Shelley Puhak

"A well-researched and well-told epic history. The Dark Queens brings these courageous, flawed, and ruthless rulers and their distant times back to life."--Margot Lee Shetterly, New York Times-bestselling author of Hidden Figures The remarkable, little-known story of two trailblazing women in the Early Middle Ages who wielded immense power, only to be vilified for daring to rule. Brunhild was a foreign princess, raised to be married off for the sake of alliance-building. Her sister-in-law Fredegund started out as a lowly palace slave. And yet-in sixth-century Merovingian France, where women were excluded from noble succession and royal politics was a blood sport-these two iron-willed strategists reigned over vast realms, changing the face of Europe. The two queens commanded armies and negotiated with kings and popes. They formed coalitions and broke them, mothered children and lost them. They fought a decades-long civil war-against each other. With ingenuity and skill, they battled to stay alive in the game of statecraft, and in the process laid the foundations of what would one day be Charlemagne's empire. Yet after the queens' deaths-one gentle, the other horrific-their stories were rewritten, their names consigned to slander and legend. In The Dark Queens, award-winning writer Shelley Puhak sets the record straight. She resurrects two very real women in all their complexity, painting a richly detailed portrait of an unfamiliar time and striking at the roots of some of our culture's stubbornest myths about female power. The Dark Queens offers proof that the relationships between women can transform the world.

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Saxons vs. Vikings - Ed West Cover Art

Saxons vs. Vikings

Saxons vs. Vikings Alfred the Great and England in the Dark Ages by Ed West

A witty and concise look at the beginnings of English history, when the nation consolidated after clashes between the Saxons and invading Vikings. In 871, three of England's four kingdoms were overrun by Vikings, the ruthless, all-conquering Scandinavian raiders who terrorized early medieval Europe. With the Norsemen murdering one king with arrows and torturing another to death by ripping out his lungs, the prospects that faced the kingdom of Wessex were bleak. Worse still, the Saxons were now led by a young man barely out of his teens who was more interested in God than fighting. Yet within a decade Alfred—the only English king known as the Great—had driven the Vikings out of half of England, and his children and grandchildren would unite the country a few years later. This period, popular with fans of television shows such as Vikings and The Last Kingdom , saw the creation of England as a nation-state, with Alfred laying down the first national law code, establishing an education system and building cities. Saxons vs. Vikings also covers the period before Alfred, including ancient Britain, the Roman occupation, and the Dark Ages, explaining important historical episodes such as Boudicca, King Arthur, and Beowulf. Perfect for newcomers to the subject, this is the second title in the new A Very, Very Short History of England series. If you’re trying to understand England and its history in the most informative and entertaining way possible, this is the place to start.

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Blood and Iron - Katja Hoyer Cover Art

Blood and Iron

Blood and Iron The Rise and Fall of the German Empire by Katja Hoyer

In this vivid fifty-year history of Germany from 1871-1918—which inspired events that forever changed the European continent—here is the story of the Second Reich from its violent beginnings and rise to power to its calamitous defeat in the First World War. Before 1871, Germany was not yet nation but simply an idea. Its founder, Otto von Bismarck, had a formidable task at hand. How would he bring thirty-nine individual states under the yoke of a single Kaiser?  How would he convince proud Prussians, Bavarians, and Rhinelanders to become Germans? Once united, could the young European nation wield enough power to rival the empires of Britain and France—all without destroying itself in the process? In this unique study of five decades that changed the course of modern history, Katja Hoyer tells the story of the German Empire from its violent beginnings to its calamitous defeat in the First World War. This   often startling narrative is a dramatic tale of national self-discovery, social upheaval, and realpolitik that ended, as it started, in blood and iron.

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George VI - Philip Ziegler Cover Art

George VI

George VI The Dutiful King by Philip Ziegler

Written by Philip Ziegler, one of Britain's most celebrated biographers, George VI is part of the Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers in a collectible format If Ethelred was notoriously 'Unready' and Alfred 'Great', King George VI should bear the title of 'George the Dutiful'. Throughout his life, George dedicated himself to the pursuit of what he thought he ought to be doing rather than what he wanted to do. Inarticulate and loathing any sort of public appearances, he accepted that it was his destiny to figure conspicuously in the public eye, gritted his teeth, battled his crippling stammer and got on with it. He was not born to be king, but he made an admirable one, and was the figurehead of the nation at the time of its greatest trial, the Second World War. This is a brilliant, touching and sometimes funny book about this reluctant public figure, and the private man. Philip Ziegler is the author of the authorised biographies of Mountbatten, Harold Wilson and Edward Heath. His other books include The Duchess of Dino , William IV , The Black Death and most recently Olivier . Initially a diplomat, he worked for many years in book publishing before becoming a full-time writer.

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The Second Barons' War - John Sadler Cover Art

The Second Barons' War

The Second Barons' War Simon de Montfort & the Battles of Lewes & Evesham by John Sadler

For two years in the mid-thirteenth century England was torn by a bloody civil war between the king and his nobles. For a short time, the country came close to unseating the monarchy, and the outcome changed the course of English history. Yet this critical episode receives far less attention than the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil Wars that followed. John Sadler, in this highly readable and perceptive study of the Barons' War, describes events in vivid detail. He explores the leading personalities, whose bitter quarrel gave rise to the conflict - Henry III, his son Prince Edward, later Edward I, and their most famous opponent, Simon de Montfort, whose masterful charisma galvanized support among the discontented nobility. The clash of interests between the king and his overmighty subjects is reconsidered, as are the personal and political tensions that polarized opinion and tested loyalties to the limit. But the main emphasis of John Sadler's account is on events in the field, in particular the two major campaigns that determined the course of the war and indeed the future government of England - the battles fought at Lewes and Evesham.

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A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare - James Shapiro Cover Art

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare 1599 by James Shapiro

What accounts for Shakespeare’s transformation from talented poet and playwright to one of the greatest writers who ever lived? In this gripping account, James Shapiro sets out to answer this question, "succeed[ing] where others have fallen short." (Boston Globe) 1599 was an epochal year for Shakespeare and England. During that year, Shakespeare wrote four of his most famous plays: Henry the Fifth, Julius Caesar, As You Like It, and, most remarkably, Hamlet; Elizabethans sent off an army to crush an Irish rebellion, weathered an Armada threat from Spain, gambled on a fledgling East India Company, and waited to see who would succeed their aging and childless queen. James Shapiro illuminates both Shakespeare’s staggering achievement and what Elizabethans experienced in the course of 1599, bringing together the news and the intrigue of the times with a wonderful evocation of how Shakespeare worked as an actor, businessman, and playwright. The result is an exceptionally immediate and gripping account of an inspiring moment in history.

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The Year that Changed the World - Michael Meyer Cover Art

The Year that Changed the World

The Year that Changed the World The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall by Michael Meyer

ON THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL, MICHAEL MEYER PROVIDES A RIVETING EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF THE COLLAPSE OF COMMUNISM IN EASTERN EUROPE THAT BRILLIANTLY REWRITES OUR CONVENTIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE COLD WAR CAME TO AN END AND HOLDS IMPORTANT LESSONS FOR AMERICA'S CURRENT GEOPOLITICAL CHALLENGES. " Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" President Ronald Reagan's famous exhortation when visiting Berlin in 1987 has long been widely cited as the clarion call that brought the Cold War to an end. The United States won, so this version of history goes, because Ronald Reagan stood firm against the USSR; American resoluteness brought the evil empire to its knees. Michael Meyer, who was there at the time as a Newsweek bureau chief, begs to differ. In this extraordinarily compelling account of the revolutions that roiled Eastern Europe in 1989, he shows that American intransigence was only one of many factors that provoked world-shaking change. Meyer draws together breathtakingly vivid, on-the-ground accounts of the rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland, the stealth opening of the Hungarian border, the Velvet Revolution in Prague and the collapse of the infamous wall in Berlin. But the most important events, Meyer contends, occurred secretly, in the heroic stands taken by individuals in the thick of the struggle, leaders such as poet and playwright Vaclav Havel in Prague; the Baltic shipwright Lech Walesa; the quietly determined reform prime minister in Budapest, Miklos Nemeth; and the man who privately realized that his empire was already lost, and decided -- with courage and intelligence -- to let it go in peace,Soviet general secretary of the communist party, Mikhail Gorbachev. Reporting for Newsweek from the frontlines in Eastern Europe, Meyer spoke to these players and countless others. Alongside their deliberate interventions were also the happenstance and human error of history that are always present when events accelerate to breakneck speed. Meyer captures these heady days in all of their rich drama and unpredictability. In doing so he provides not just a thrilling chronicle of the most important year of the twentieth century but also a crucial refutation of American political mythology and a triumphal misunderstanding of history that seduced the United States into many of the intractable conflicts it faces today. The Year That Changed the World will change not only how we see the past, but also our understanding of America's future.

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Normandy 1944: The Battle of the Hedgerows - Simon Forty Cover Art

Normandy 1944: The Battle of the Hedgerows

Normandy 1944: The Battle of the Hedgerows Photographs From Wartime Archives by Simon Forty

Just as the Anglo-Canadian forces in the east found it difficult to advance beyond Caen after D-Day, so the US First Army laboured to advance through the Norman bocage country in the west. The lethal struggle that developed there was a defining episode in the Normandy campaign, and this photographic history is a vivid introduction to it.Through a selection of over 150 carefully chosen and meticulously captioned wartime photographs Simon Forty traces the course of the battle and gives the reader a graphic impression of the conditions, the terrain and the experience of the troops.The Germans mounted a tenacious defence. They fought from prepared positions in the high hedgerows. Each cramped field and narrow lane became a killing ground. But the Americans adapted their tactics and brought in special equipment including bulldozers and tanks with hedgerow cutters to force their way through.The losses were appalling as the Germans used snipers, mines, machineguns and artillery to great effect. Inexorably, however, and with enormous bravery, First Army solved their tactical problems, inflicted heavy casualties on the defenders and ground their way to Saint-L.

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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.

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Italy: A History - Vincent Cronin Cover Art

Italy: A History

Italy: A History by Vincent Cronin

Here, from New York Times bestselling historian Vincent Cronin, is the extraordinary story of Italy - from the birth of the Roman Empire to the rise of the city-states through the Renaissance and the making of modern Italy.

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The Italian Renaissance - J.H. Plumb Cover Art

The Italian Renaissance

The Italian Renaissance by J.H. Plumb

Spanning an age that witnessed great achievements in the arts and sciences, this definitive overview of the Italian Renaissance will both captivate ordinary readers and challenge specialists. J. H. Plumb's impressive and provocative narrative is accompanied by contributions from leading historians, including Morris Bishop, Jacob Bronowski, Maria Bellonci, and many more, who have further illuminated the lives of some of the era's most unforgettable personalities, from Petrarch to Pope Pius II, Michelangelo to Isabella d'Este, Machiavelli to Leonardo. A highly readable and engaging volume, The Italian Renaissance is a perfect introduction to the movement that shaped the Western world.

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Eiffel's Tower - Jill Jonnes Cover Art

Eiffel's Tower

Eiffel's Tower The Thrilling Story Behind Paris's Beloved Monument and the Extraordinary World's Fair That Introduced It by Jill Jonnes

The story of the world-famous monument and the extraordinary world’s fair that introduced it, by the author of Conquering Gotham and Urban Forests In this first general history of the Eiffel Tower in English, Jill Jonnes-acclaimed author of Conquering Gotham -offers an eye- opening look not only at the construction of one of the modern world's most iconic structures, but also the epochal event that surrounded its arrival as a wonder of the world. In this marvelously entertaining portrait of Belle Époque France, fear and loathing over Eiffel's brash design share the spotlight with the celebrities that made the 1889 Exposition Universelle an event to remember-including Buffalo Bill and his sharpshooter Annie Oakley, Thomas Edison, and artists Whistler, Gauguin, and van Gogh. Eiffel's Tower is a richly textured portrait of an era at the dawn of modernity, reveling in the limitless promise of the future.

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A Royal Experiment - Janice Hadlow Cover Art

A Royal Experiment

A Royal Experiment The Private Life of King George III by Janice Hadlow

The Times Best Books of the Year • The Sunday Times Best Books of the Year The New Statesman Book of the Year selection by Lucy Hughes-Hallett BBC History Magazine Book of the Year selection by Helen Rappaport "A masterpiece . . . . [T]his heartbreaking narrative of family dysfunction and royal sacrifice is an absolute page-turner." —Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire "[A] fascinating, story-filled account . . . . Each story is a revelation." —Jenny Uglow, The Guardian The surprising, deliciously dramatic, and ultimately heartbreaking story of King George III's radical pursuit of happiness in his private life with Queen Charlotte and their 15 children In the U.S., Britain's George III, the protagonist of A Royal Experiment, is known as the king from whom Americans won their independence and as "the mad king," but in Janice Hadlow's groundbreaking and entertaining new biography, he is another character altogether—compelling and relatable. He was the first of Britain's three Hanoverian kings to be born in England, the first to identify as native of the nation he ruled. But this was far from the only difference between him and his predecessors. Neither of the previous Georges was faithful to his wife, nor to his mistresses. Both hated their own sons. And, overall, their children were angry, jealous, and disaffected schemers, whose palace shenanigans kick off Hadlow's juicy narrative and also made their lives unhappy ones. Pained by his childhood amid this cruel and feuding family, George came to the throne aspiring to be a new kind of king—a force for moral good. And to be that new kind of king, he had to be a new kind of man. Against his irresistibly awful family background—of brutal royal intrigue, infidelity, and betrayal—George fervently pursued a radical domestic dream: he would have a faithful marriage and raise loving, educated, and resilient children. The struggle of King George—along with his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their 15 children—to pursue a passion for family will surprise history buffs and delight a broad swath of biography readers and royal watchers.

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Sprezzatura - Peter D'Epiro & Mary Desmond Pinkowish Cover Art

Sprezzatura

Sprezzatura 50 Ways Italian Genius Shaped the World by Peter D'Epiro & Mary Desmond Pinkowish

A witty, erudite celebration of fifty great Italian cultural achievements that have significantly influenced Western civilization from the authors of What Are the Seven Wonders of the World? “Sprezzatura,” or the art of effortless mastery, was coined in 1528 by Baldassare Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier . No one has demonstrated effortless mastery throughout history quite like the Italians. From the Roman calendar and the creator of the modern orchestra (Claudio Monteverdi) to the beginnings of ballet and the creator of modern political science (Niccolò Machiavelli), Sprezzatura highlights fifty great Italian cultural achievements in a series of fifty information-packed essays in chronological order.

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The Women of the Wars of the Roses - Alicia Carter Cover Art

The Women of the Wars of the Roses

The Women of the Wars of the Roses Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort & Elizabeth of York by Alicia Carter

The Tudor dynasty traces its origin to Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Elizabeth of York—women who waged through blood and loss in order to finally emerge as the ultimate female survivors of the Wars of the Roses. It is time to dispel some of the most enduring myths about these extraordinary women who ultimately shaped the early Tudor dynasty.

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The King and the Catholics - Antonia Fraser Cover Art

The King and the Catholics

The King and the Catholics England, Ireland, and the Fight for Religious Freedom, 1780-1829 by Antonia Fraser

In the eighteenth century, the Catholics of England lacked many basic freedoms under the law: they could not serve in political office, buy or inherit land, or be married by the rites of their own religion. So virulent was the sentiment against Catholics that, in 1780, violent riots erupted in London—incited by the anti-Papist Lord George Gordon—in response to the Act for Relief that had been passed to loosen some of these restrictions. The Gordon Riots marked a crucial turning point in the fight for Catholic emancipation. Over the next fifty years, factions battled to reform the laws of the land. Kings George III and George IV refused to address the “Catholic Question,” even when pressed by their prime ministers. But in 1829, through the dogged work of charismatic Irish lawyer Daniel O’Connell and the support of the great Duke of Wellington, the watershed Roman Catholic Relief Act finally passed, opening the door to the radical transformation of the Victorian age. Gripping, spirited, and incisive, The King and the Catholics  is character-driven narrative history at its best, reflecting the dire consequences of state-sanctioned oppression—and showing how sustained political action can triumph over injustice.

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The Acadian Diaspora - Christopher Hodson Cover Art

The Acadian Diaspora

The Acadian Diaspora An Eighteenth-Century History by Christopher Hodson

Late in 1755, an army of British regulars and Massachusetts volunteers completed one of the cruelest, most successful military campaigns in North American history, capturing and deporting seven thousand French-speaking Catholic Acadians from the province of Nova Scotia, and chasing an equal number into the wilderness of eastern Canada. Thousands of Acadians endured three decades of forced migrations and failed settlements that shuttled them to the coasts of South America, the plantations of the Caribbean, the frigid islands of the South Atlantic, the swamps of Louisiana, and the countryside of central France. The Acadian Diaspora tells their extraordinary story in full for the first time, illuminating a long-forgotten world of imperial desperation, experimental colonies, and naked brutality. Using documents culled from archives in France, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States, Christopher Hodson reconstructs the lives of Acadian exiles as they traversed oceans and continents, pushed along by empires eager to populate new frontiers with inexpensive, pliable white farmers. Hodson's compelling narrative situates the Acadian diaspora within the dramatic geopolitical changes triggered by the Seven Years' War. Faced with redrawn boundaries and staggering national debts, imperial architects across Europe used the Acadians to realize radical plans: tropical settlements without slaves, expeditions to the unknown southern continent, and, perhaps strangest of all, agricultural colonies within old regime France itself. In response, Acadians embraced their status as human commodities, using intimidation and even violence to tailor their communities to the superheated Atlantic market for cheap, mobile labor. Through vivid, intimate stories of Acadian exiles and the diverse, transnational cast of characters that surrounded them, The Acadian Diaspora presents the eighteenth-century Atlantic world from a new angle, challenging old assumptions about uprooted peoples and the very nature of early modern empire.

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Vindolanda - Robin Birley Cover Art

Vindolanda

Vindolanda A Roman Frontier Fort on Hadrian's Wall by Robin Birley

The beautiful site the Romans called Vindolanda lies in south-west Northumberland, in the district of Tynedale, more or less half way between the North Sea east of Newcastle and the Irish Sea to the west of Carlisle. It is just within the boundary of the Northumberland National Park, and is a part of the World Heritage Site of Hadrian's Wall. The Wall itself was built on the whinstone ridge a mile to the north, with the fort of Housesteads two miles to the north-east, and that of Great Chesters five miles to the north-west. This book follows the site throughout its many phases of use and occupation. It explores the everyday life of those who lived and worked on the site and provides valuable new insight into the larger context of Rome's Northern Frontier: Hadrian's Wall. The translations of the Vindolanda Scrolls ('send fresh socks' etc) are also a treat!

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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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Black Diamonds - Catherine Bailey Cover Art

Black Diamonds

Black Diamonds The Downfall of an Aristocratic Dynasty and the Fifty Years That Changed England by Catherine Bailey

From the New York Times –bestselling author of The Secret Rooms , the extraordinary true story of the downfall of one of England’s wealthiest families Fans of Downton Abbey now have a go-to resource for fascinating, real-life stories of the spectacular lives led by England’s aristocrats. With the novelistic flair and knack for historical detail Catherine Bailey displayed in her New York Times bestseller The Secret Rooms , Black Diamonds provides a page-turning chronicle of the Fitzwilliam coal-mining dynasty and their breathtaking Wentworth estate, the largest private home in England. When the sixth Earl Fitzwilliam died in 1902, he left behind the second largest estate in twentieth-century England, valued at more than £3 billion of today’s money—a lifeline to the tens of thousands of people who worked either in the family’s coal mines or on their expansive estate. The earl also left behind four sons, and the family line seemed assured. But was it? As Bailey retraces the Fitzwilliam family history, she uncovers a legacy riddled with bitter feuds, scandals (including Peter Fitzwilliam’s ill-fated affair with American heiress Kick Kennedy), and civil unrest as the conflict between the coal industry and its miners came to a head. Once again, Bailey has written an irresistible and brilliant narrative history.

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KL - Nikolaus Wachsmann Cover Art

KL

KL A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps by Nikolaus Wachsmann

The first comprehensive history of the Nazi concentration camps In a landmark work of history, Nikolaus Wachsmann offers an unprecedented, integrated account of the Nazi concentration camps from their inception in 1933 through their demise, seventy years ago, in the spring of 1945. The Third Reich has been studied in more depth than virtually any other period in history, and yet until now there has been no history of the camp system that tells the full story of its broad development and the everyday experiences of its inhabitants, both perpetrators and victims, and all those living in what Primo Levi called "the gray zone." In KL , Wachsmann fills this glaring gap in our understanding. He not only synthesizes a new generation of scholarly work, much of it untranslated and unknown outside of Germany, but also presents startling revelations, based on many years of archival research, about the functioning and scope of the camp system. Examining, close up, life and death inside the camps, and adopting a wider lens to show how the camp system was shaped by changing political, legal, social, economic, and military forces, Wachsmann produces a unified picture of the Nazi regime and its camps that we have never seen before. A boldly ambitious work of deep importance, KL is destined to be a classic in the history of the twentieth century.

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The Churchill Sisters - Dr. Rachel Trethewey Cover Art

The Churchill Sisters

The Churchill Sisters The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine's Daughters by Dr. Rachel Trethewey

As complex in their own way as their Mitford cousins, Winston and Clementine Churchill’s daughters each had a unique relationship with their famous father. Rachel Trethewey's biography, The Churchill Sisters , tells their story. Bright, attractive and well-connected, in any other family the Churchill girls – Diana, Sarah, Marigold and Mary – would have shone. But they were not in another family, they were Churchills, and neither they nor anyone else could ever forget it. From their father – ‘the greatest Englishman’ – to their brother, golden boy Randolph, to their eccentric and exciting cousins, the Mitford Girls, they were surrounded by a clan of larger-than-life characters which often saw them overlooked. While Marigold died too young to achieve her potential, the other daughters lived lives full of passion, drama and tragedy. Diana, intense and diffident; Sarah, glamorous and stubborn; Mary, dependable yet determined – each so different but each imbued with a sense of responsibility toward each other and their country. Far from being cosseted debutantes, these women were eyewitnesses at some of the most important events in world history, at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. Yet this is not a story set on the battlefields or in Parliament; it is an intimate saga that sheds light on the complex dynamics of family set against the backdrop of a tumultuous century. Drawing on previously unpublished family letters from the Churchill archives, The Churchill Sisters brings Winston’s daughters out of the shadows and tells their remarkable stories for the first time.

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The Hinge of Fate - Winston S. Churchill Cover Art

The Hinge of Fate

The Hinge of Fate by Winston S. Churchill

The British prime minister recounts battles from Midway to Stalingrad, and how the Allies turned the tide of WWII: “Superlative.” — The New York Times   The Hinge of Fate is the dramatic account of the Allies’ changing fortunes. In the first half of the book, Winston Churchill describes the fearful period in which the Germans threaten to overwhelm the Red Army, Rommel dominates the war in the desert, and Singapore falls to the Japanese. In the span of just a few months, the Allies begin to turn the tide, achieving decisive victories at Midway and Guadalcanal, and repulsing the Germans at Stalingrad. As confidence builds, the Allies begin to gain ground against the Axis powers.   This is the fourth in the six-volume account of World War II told from the unique viewpoint of the man who led his nation in the fight against tyranny. The series is enriched with extensive primary sources, as we are presented with not only Churchill’s retrospective analysis of the war, but also memos, letters, orders, speeches, and telegrams, day-by-day accounts of reactions as the drama intensifies. Throughout these volumes, we listen as strategies and counterstrategies unfold in response to Hitler’s conquest of Europe, planned invasion of England, and assault on Russia, in a mesmerizing account of the crucial decisions made as the fate of the world hangs in the balance.   “No memoirs by generals or politicians . . . are in the same class.” — The New York Times

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A Brief History of British Kings & Queens - Mike Ashley Cover Art

A Brief History of British Kings & Queens

A Brief History of British Kings & Queens by Mike Ashley

Here is the whole of recorded British royal history, from the legendary King Alfred the Great onwards, including the monarchies of England, Scotland, Wales and the United Kingdom for over a thousand years. Fascinating portraits are expertly woven into a history of division and eventual union of the British Isles - even royals we think most familiar are revealed in a new and sometimes surprising light. This revised and shortened edition of The Mammoth Book of British Kings & Queens includes biographies of the royals of recorded British history, plus an overview of the semi-legendary figures of pre-history and the Dark Ages - an accessible source for students and general readers.

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Europe in the High Middle Ages - William Chester Jordan Cover Art

Europe in the High Middle Ages

Europe in the High Middle Ages by William Chester Jordan

"The Penguin History of Europe series... is one of contemporary publishing's great projects."-- New Statesman It was an age of hope and possibility, of accomplishment and expansion. Europe's High Middle Ages spanned the Crusades, the building of Chartres Cathedral, Dante's Inferno, and Thomas Aquinas. Buoyant, confident, creative, the era seemed to be flowering into a true renaissance-until the disastrous fourteenth century rained catastrophe in the form of plagues, famine, and war.  In  Europe in the High Middle Ages , William Chester Jordan paints a vivid, teeming landscape that captures this lost age in all its glory and complexity. Here are the great popes who revived the power of the Church against the secular princes; the writers and thinkers who paved the way for the Renaissance; the warriors who stemmed the Islamic tide in Spain and surged into Palestine; and the humbler estates, those who found new hope and prosperity until the long night of the 1300s. From high to low, from dramatic events to social structures, Jordan's account brings to life this fascinating age. Part of the Penguin History of Europe series, edited by David Cannadine.

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The Duchess Countess - Catherine Ostler Cover Art

The Duchess Countess

The Duchess Countess The Woman Who Scandalized Eighteenth-Century London by Catherine Ostler

This “f unny, intelligent, witty, profound” (Andrew Roberts , New York Times bestselling author) look at the stylish and scandalous Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston—a woman whose adventurous life led to an infamous bigamy trial that was bigger news in British society than the American War of Independence—provides a clear-eyed and fascinating look into the sumptuous Georgian Era. As maid of honor to the Princess of Wales, Elizabeth Chudleigh enjoyed a luxurious life in the inner circle of the Hanoverian court. With her extraordinary style and engaging wit, she both delighted and scandalized the press and public. She would later even inspire William Thackeray when he was writing his classic Vanity Fair , providing the inspiration for the alluring social climber Becky Sharp. But Elizabeth’s real story is more complex and surprising than anything out of fiction. A clandestine, candlelit wedding to the young heir to an earldom, a second marriage to a duke, a lust for diamonds, and an electrifying appearance at a masquerade ball in a gossamer dress—it’s no wonder that Elizabeth’s eventual trial was a sensation. Charged with bigamy, an accusation she vehemently fought against, Elizabeth refused to submit to public humiliation and retire quietly. Perfect for fans of The Duchess and Women of Means , this long overdue and evocative biography reappraises Elizabeth’s remarkable story, and out of the past comes an incredibly modern woman who defied society’s expectations of her.

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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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Stasiland - Anna Funder Cover Art

Stasiland

Stasiland Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

“Stasiland demonstrates that great, originalreporting is still possible. . . . A heartbreaking, beautifully written book. Aclassic.” —Claire Tomalin, Guardian “Books ofthe Year” AnnaFunder delivers a prize-winning and powerfully rendered account of theresistance against East Germany’s communist dictatorship in these harrowing,personal tales of life behind the Iron Curtain—and, especially, of life underthe iron fist of the Stasi, East Germany’s brutal state security force. In thetradition of Frederick Taylor’s The Berlin Wall andPhilip Gourevitch’s WeWish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families, Funder’s Stasiland isa masterpiece of investigative reporting, written with novelistic vividness andthe compelling intensity of a universal, real-life story.

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The Wages of Destruction - Adam Tooze Cover Art

The Wages of Destruction

The Wages of Destruction The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy by Adam Tooze

"Masterful . . . [A] painstakingly researched, astonishingly erudite study…Tooze has added his name to the roll call of top-class scholars of Nazism." — Financial Times An extraordinary mythology has grown up around the Third Reich that hovers over political and moral debate even today. Adam Tooze's controversial book challenges the conventional economic interpretations of that period to explore how Hitler's surprisingly prescient vision--ultimately hindered by Germany's limited resources and his own racial ideology--was to create a German super-state to dominate Europe and compete with what he saw as America's overwhelming power in a soon-to- be globalized world. The Wages of Destruction is a chilling work of originality and tremendous scholarship that set off debate in Germany and will fundamentally change the way in which history views the Second World War.

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The German Genius - Peter Watson Cover Art

The German Genius

The German Genius Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century by Peter Watson

The German Genius is a virtuoso cultural history of German ideas and influence, from 1750 to the present day, by acclaimed historian Peter Watson (Making of the Modern Mind, Ideas). From Bach, Goethe, and Schopenhauer to Nietzsche, Freud, and Einstein, from the arts and humanities to science and philosophy, The German Genius is a lively and accessible review of over 250 years of German intellectual history. In the process, it explains the devastating effects of World War II, which transformed a vibrant and brilliantly artistic culture into a vehicle of warfare and destruction, and it shows how the German culture advanced in the war’s aftermath.

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Les Parisiennes - Anne Sebba Cover Art

Les Parisiennes

Les Parisiennes How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died Under Nazi Occupation by Anne Sebba

“Anne Sebba has the nearly miraculous gift of combining the vivid intimacy of the lives of women during The Occupation with the history of the time. This is a remarkable book.” —Edmund de Waal, New York Times bestselling author of The Hare with the Amber Eyes New York Times bestselling author Anne Sebba explores a devastating period in Paris's history and tells the stories of how women survived—or didn’t—during the Nazi occupation. Paris in the 1940s was a place of fear, power, aggression, courage, deprivation, and secrets. During the occupation, the swastika flew from the Eiffel Tower and danger lurked on every corner. While Parisian men were either fighting at the front or captured and forced to work in German factories, the women of Paris were left behind where they would come face to face with the German conquerors on a daily basis, as waitresses, shop assistants, or wives and mothers, increasingly desperate to find food to feed their families as hunger became part of everyday life. When the Nazis and the puppet Vichy regime began rounding up Jews to ship east to concentration camps, the full horror of the war was brought home and the choice between collaboration and resistance became unavoidable. Sebba focuses on the role of women, many of whom faced life and death decisions every day. After the war ended, there would be a fierce settling of accounts between those who made peace with or, worse, helped the occupiers and those who fought the Nazis in any way they could.

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Great Tales from English History (Book 2) - Robert Lacey Cover Art

Great Tales from English History (Book 2)

Great Tales from English History (Book 2) Joan of Arc, the Princes in the Tower, Bloody Mary, Oliver Cromwell, Sir Isaac Newton, and More by Robert Lacey

With insight, humor and fascinating detail, Lacey brings brilliantly to life the stories that made England -- from Ethelred the Unready to Richard the Lionheart, the Venerable Bede to Piers the Ploughman. The greatest historians are vivid storytellers, Robert Lacey reminds us, and in Great Tales from English History, he proves his place among them, illuminating in unforgettable detail the characters and events that shaped a nation. In this volume, Lacey limns the most important period in England's past, highlighting the spread of the English language, the rejection of both a religion and a traditional view of kingly authority, and an unstoppable movement toward intellectual and political freedom from 1387 to 1689. Opening with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and culminating in William and Mary's "Glorious Revolution," Lacey revisits some of the truly classic stories of English history: the Battle of Agincourt, where Henry V's skilled archers defeated a French army three times as large; the tragic tale of the two young princes locked in the Tower of London (and almost certainly murdered) by their usurping uncle, Richard III; Henry VIII's schismatic divorce, not just from his wife but from the authority of the Catholic Church; "Bloody Mary" and the burning of religious dissidents; Sir Francis Drake's dramatic, if questionable, part in the defeat of the Spanish Armada; and the terrible and transformative Great Fire of London, to name but a few. Here Anglophiles will find their favorite English kings and queens, villains and victims, authors and architects - from Richard II to Anne Boleyn, the Virgin Queen to Oliver Cromwell, Samuel Pepys to Christopher Wren, and many more. Continuing the "eminently readable, highly enjoyable" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) history he began in volume I of Great Tales from English History, Robert Lacey has drawn on the most up-to-date research to present a taut and riveting narrative, breathing life into the most pivotal characters and exciting landmarks in England's history.

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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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Summer of Blood - Dan Jones Cover Art

Summer of Blood

Summer of Blood England's First Revolution by Dan Jones

From the New York Times bestselling author of Crusaders  and a top authority on the historical events that inspired Game of Thrones , a vivid, blood-soaked account of one of the most famous rebellions in history—the first mass uprising by the people of England against their feudal masters.   In the summer of 1381, ravaged by poverty and oppressed by taxes, the people of England rose up and demanded that their voices be heard. A ragtag army, led by the mysteri­ous Wat Tyler and the visionary preacher John Ball, rose up against the fourteen-year-old Richard II and his most powerful lords and knights, who risked their property and their lives in a desperate battle to save the English crown. Dan Jones brings this incendiary moment to life and captures both the idealism and brutality of that fate­ful summer, when a brave group of men and women dared to challenge their overlords, demand that they be treated equally, and fight for freedom.

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Bastogne - The Story Of The First Eight Days - S. L. A. Marshall Cover Art

Bastogne - The Story Of The First Eight Days

Bastogne - The Story Of The First Eight Days In Which The 101st Airborne Division Was Closed Within The Ring Of German Forces [Illustrated Edition] by S. L. A. Marshall

[This edition benefits from numerous maps of the battlefields that the actions were fought over] “NUTS!” - Among the many military legends that abound from the fighting of the Second World War, the one word reply to a German summons to surrender must rank highly in terms of its resonance, importance and sheer grit. General Mcaulliffe decided that despite the odds and the lack of supplies and ammunition his troops would continue to hold the important communication hub of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. This dramatic, yet authoritative account brings all of the action to the fore as the Battered Bastards of Bastogne wrote their names into legend. "THIS STORY OF BASTOGNE was written from interviews with nearly all the commanders and staff officers and many of the men who participated in the defense of Bastogne during the first phase of that now celebrated operation—the days during which the American forces were surrounded by forces of the enemy… Thus it is essentially the account of how a single strong defensive force was built from separate commands of armor, airborne infantry and tank destroyers—a force convinced that it could not be beaten."-Introduction.

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A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire: Volume One, Portugal - A. R. Disney Cover Art

A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire: Volume One, Portugal

A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire: Volume One, Portugal From Beginnings to 1807 by A. R. Disney

The Kingdom of Portugal was created as a by-product of the Christian Reconquest of Hispania. With no geographical raison d'être and no obvious political roots in its Roman, Germanic, or Islamic pasts, it for long remained a small, struggling realm on Europe's outer fringe. Then, in the early fifteenth century, this unlikely springboard for Western expansion suddenly began to accumulate an empire of its own, eventually extending more than halfway around the globe. A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire, drawing particularly on historical scholarship postdating the 1974 Portuguese Revolution, offers readers a comprehensive overview and reinterpretation of how all this happened – the first such account to appear in English for more than a generation. Volume I concerns the history of Portugal itself from pre-Roman times to the climactic French invasion of 1807, and Volume II traces the history of the Portuguese overseas empire.

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The Renaissance - Paul Johnson Cover Art

The Renaissance

The Renaissance A Short History by Paul Johnson

The Renaissance holds an undying place in the human imagination, and its great heroes remain our own, from Michelangelo and Leonardo to Dante and Montaigne. This period of profound evolution in European thought is credited with transforming the West from medieval to modern; reviving the city as the center of human activity and the acme of civilization; and, of course, producing the most astonishing outpouring of artistic creation the world has ever known. Perhaps no era in history was more revolutionary, and none has been more romanticized. What was it? In The Renaissance, the great historian Paul Johnson tackles that question with the towering erudition and imaginative fire that are his trademarks. Johnson begins by painting the economic, technological, and social developments that give the period its background. But, as Johnson explains, "The Renaissance was primarily a human event, propelled forward by a number of individuals of outstanding talent, in some cases amounting to genius." It is the human foreground that absorbs most of the book's attention. "We can give all kinds of satisfying explanations of why and when the Renaissance occurred and how it transmitted itself," Johnson writes. "But there is no explaining Dante, no explaining Chaucer. Genius suddenly comes to life, and speaks out of a vacuum. Then it is silent, equally mysteriously. The trends continue and intensify, but genius is lacking." In the four parts that make up the heart of the book--"The Renaissance in Literature and Scholarship," "The Anatomy of Renaissance Sculpture," "The Buildings of the Renaissance," and "The Apostolic Successions of Renaissance Painting"--Johnson chronicles the lives and works of the age's animating spirits. Finally, he examines the spread and decline of the Renaissance, and its abiding legacy. A book of dazzling riches, The Renaissance is a compact masterpiece of the historian's art.

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The Luttrell Psalter - Sir Geoffrey Luttrell Cover Art

The Luttrell Psalter

The Luttrell Psalter by Sir Geoffrey Luttrell

The Luttrell Psalter is one one of most important medieval books in the world. A psalter is a book of psalms, often accompanied by other material such as church calendars. But the Luttrell Psalter is much more than that. It's a masterpiece of the illuminator's art, containing hundreds of lavishly decorated pages, but, more unusually, it contains many depictions of everyday medieval life, from work in the fields to drinking games. These are rare in any book from this period. The psalter was made for Sir Geoffrey Luttrell in Lincolnshire, some time between 1325 and 1335. This eBookTreasures facsimile contains text and audio interpretation for selected pages and a 20 minute video enacting scenes from the book, bringing it to life in an extraordinary way.

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Los europeos - Orlando Figes Cover Art

Los europeos

Los europeos Tres vidas y el nacimiento de la cultura europea by Orlando Figes

Una obra deslumbrante que rastrea los orígenes de la cultura europea de todo el continente, por el aclamado historiador Orlando Figes, un «maestro de la narrativa histórica» (Financial Times). «Un libro deslumbrante que se mueve entre la estampa individual y la fotografía de grupo.» Karina Sainz Borgo, Vozpópuli El siglo XIX europeo, un momento de logros artísticos sin precedentes, fue la primera era de la globalización cultural, una época en que las comunicaciones masivas y los viajes en tren de alta velocidad reunieron a Europa, superando las barreras del nacionalismo y facilitando el surgimiento de un verdadero canon europeo de obras artísticas, musicales y literarias. Llegado 1900, se leían los mismos libros, se reproducían las mismas obras artísticas, se representaban las mismas óperas y se interpretaba la misma música en los hogares y seescuchaba en las salas de conciertos a lo largo de todo el continente. Partiendo de una gran cantidad de documentos, cartas y otros materiales de archivo, el aclamado historiador Orlando Figes examina cómo fue posible esta unificación. En el centro del libro hay un triángulo amoroso conmovedor: Ivan Turgenev, el primer gran escritor ruso en convertirse en una celebridad europea, Pauline Viardot, de origen español, una de las cantantes de ópera más famosas del mundo, además de compositora y profesora de canto, y Louis Viardot, director de teatro, activista republicano y gran experto en arte(autor de las primeras guías de grandes museos del mundo, el Prado entre otros)y esposo de Pauline, por cuya carrera musical sacrificó parte de la suya. Juntos, Turgenev y los Viardot estuvieron en el centro del intercambio cultural europeo: conocían o se cruzaban con Delacroix, Berlioz, Chopin, Brahms, Liszt, Schumann, Hugo, Flaubert, Dickens y Dostoyevski, entre muchas otrasfiguras destacadas. Como observa Figes, casi todos los grandes avances de la civilización se han producido durante los períodos de mayor cosmopolitismo, cuando las personas, las ideas y las creaciones artísticas circulan libremente entre las naciones. Vívido y perspicaz, Los europeos muestra cómo ese fermento cosmopolita fraguó tradiciones artísticas que llegaron a dominar la cultura mundial.

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French History from Caesar to Waterloo - Agnes Robinson Cover Art

French History from Caesar to Waterloo

French History from Caesar to Waterloo by Agnes Robinson

When Julius Caesar invaded the country, some fifty years before the birth of Christ, he found it divided into three principal parts: there was Aquitaine, the land of springs and waters, extending, in the southwest, from the ocean to the Garonne, already a land of pleasant life, rich in commerce and refinement; there was Celtic Gaul, the west, which reached from the Atlantic to the Marne and the Seine; and there was Belgian Gaul (as Caesar calls it), that north-eastern space between the Seine and the Rhine: an expanse which roughly corresponds to the provinces devastated by the Great War.

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River Kings - Cat Jarman Cover Art

River Kings

River Kings A New History of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads by Cat Jarman

Follow an epic story of the Viking Age that traces the historical trail of an ancient piece of jewelry found in a Viking grave in England to its origins thousands of miles east in India. An acclaimed bioarchaeologist, Catrine Jarman has used cutting-edge forensic techniques to spark her investigation into the history of the Vikings who came to rest in British soil. By examining teeth that are now over one thousand years old, she can determine childhood diet—and thereby where a person was likely born. With radiocarbon dating, she can ascertain a death-date down to the range of a few years. And her research offers enlightening new visions of the roles of women and children in Viking culture. Three years ago, a Carnelian bead came into her temporary possession. River Kings sees her trace the path of this ancient piece of jewelry back to eighth-century Baghdad and India, discovering along the way that the Vikings’ route was far more varied than we might think—that with them came people from the Middle East, not just Scandinavia, and that the reason for this unexpected integration between the Eastern and Western worlds may well have been a slave trade running through the Silk Road, all the way to Britain. Told as a riveting history of the Vikings and the methods we use to understand them, this is a major reassessment of the fierce, often-mythologized voyagers of the North—and of the global medieval world as we know it.

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Old Norse For Modern Times - Ian Stuart Sharpe Cover Art

Old Norse For Modern Times

Old Norse For Modern Times by Ian Stuart Sharpe

Never be lost for words again...with this book of lost words. Have you ever wanted to wield the silver tongue of Loki, or to hammer home your point like a Thundergod? Old Norse is the language of legends and the stuff of sagas, the inspiration for Tolkien and Marvel, for award-winning manga and epic videogames. It is the language of cleverly crafted kennings, blood-curdling curses, and pithy retorts to RagnarÖk. Old Norse for Modern Times gives you the perfect phrase for every contemporary situation—from memorable movie quotes ("We're going to need a bigger boat." Þurfa munu vÉr skip stÆrra) to battle-cries to yell on Discord ("Do I look to be in a gaming mood?" SÝnisk þÉr ek vera Í skapi til leika?), from mead hall musings ("This drink, I like it! ANOTHER!" LÍkar mÉr drykkr þessi! ANNAN!) to tried-and-tested pickup lines ("Nice tattoo!" Fagrt er hÚðflÚrið"). With over 500 phrases inside (plus the chance to add your own!) it is the perfect guide for Vikings fans, whether they are re-enactors, role-players, or simply in love with Ragnar.

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The Real Valkyrie - Nancy Marie Brown Cover Art

The Real Valkyrie

The Real Valkyrie The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women by Nancy Marie Brown

In the tradition of Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra, Brown lays to rest the hoary myth that Viking society was ruled by men and celebrates the dramatic lives of female Viking warriors “Once again, Brown brings Viking history to vivid, unexpected life — and in the process, turns what we thought we knew about Norse culture on its head. Superb.” — Scott Weidensaul, author of New York Times bestselling A World on the Wing "Magnificent. It captured me from the very first page." — Pat Shipman, author of The Invaders "A delightful addition to women’s history." — Pamela D. Toler, author of Women Warriors: An Unexpected History In 2017, DNA tests revealed to the collective shock of many scholars that a Viking warrior in a high-status grave in Birka, Sweden was actually a woman. The Real Valkyrie weaves together archaeology, history, and literature to imagine her life and times, showing that Viking women had more power and agency than historians have imagined. Nancy Marie Brown uses science to link the Birka warrior, whom she names Hervor, to Viking trading towns and to their great trade route east to Byzantium and beyond. She imagines her life intersecting with larger-than-life but real women, including Queen Gunnhild Mother-of-Kings, the Viking leader known as The Red Girl, and Queen Olga of Kyiv. Hervor’s short, dramatic life shows that much of what we have taken as truth about women in the Viking Age is based not on data, but on nineteenth-century Victorian biases. Rather than holding the household keys, Viking women in history, law, saga, poetry, and myth carry weapons. These women brag, “As heroes we were widely known—with keen spears we cut blood from bone.” In this compelling narrative Brown brings the world of those valkyries and shield-maids to vivid life.

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The Cabin in the Mountains - Robert Ferguson Cover Art

The Cabin in the Mountains

The Cabin in the Mountains A Norwegian Odyssey by Robert Ferguson

The wooden holiday cabin, or hytte , is a staple of Norwegian life. Robert Ferguson, author of Scandinavians , explores the significance of a national icon in this charming, affectionate history. Turf-roofed and wooden-built, offering fresh air, breathtaking views and peaceful isolation, the wooden cabin home – or hytte – is a crucial part of Norwegian national identity. In 2016, Robert Ferguson and his wife bought a piece of land high up in the Hardangervidda, and on it they built a cabin. As the cabin takes shape, Ferguson learns how native Norwegians have married a new-found urban affluence to their past as a tight-knit rural community-nation, and confronts his own ideas about the dream-tradition of the hytte , drawing an affectionate but unsentimental portrait of Norwegian culture, society and landscape. 'Singular and captivating: the pursuit of a dream' Professor John Carey 'Illuminating' TLS 'An uncompromising journey into the dark cold north, to reveal the warmth that comes from deep community bonds' Tim Ecott

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Artists Under Hitler - Jonathan Petropoulos Cover Art

Artists Under Hitler

Artists Under Hitler Collaboration and Survival in Nazi Germany by Jonathan Petropoulos

“What are we to make of those cultural figures, many with significant international reputations, who tried to find accommodation with the Nazi regime?” Jonathan Petropoulos asks in this exploration of some of the most acute moral questions of the Third Reich. In his nuanced analysis of prominent German artists, architects, composers, film directors, painters, and writers who rejected exile, choosing instead to stay during Germany’s darkest period, Petropoulos shows how individuals variously dealt with the regime’s public opposition to modern art. His findings explode the myth that all modern artists were anti-Nazi and all Nazis anti-modernist.   Artists Under Hitler closely examines cases of artists who failed in their attempts to find accommodation with the Nazi regime (Walter Gropius, Paul Hindemith, Gottfried Benn, Ernst Barlach, Emil Nolde) as well as others whose desire for official acceptance was realized (Richard Strauss, Gustaf Gründgens, Leni Riefenstahl, Arno Breker, Albert Speer). Collectively these ten figures illuminate the complex cultural history of Nazi Germany, while individually they provide haunting portraits of people facing excruciating choices and grave moral questions.

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