Spies, Sadists and Sorcerers: The history you weren't taught in school


Dominic Selwood - 2015
    With a breath-taking sweep spanning Rome to the modern day, popular historian and author Dominic Selwood challenges the traditional version of some of the best-known events of the past. From ancient Christianity to the voyages of Columbus, and from the medieval Crusades to ISIS and the modern Middle East, this book debunks dozens of historical myths. You will learn that: – Magna Carta was an infamous failure in medieval times – Richard the Lionheart was a cruel and dreadful king – The Knights Templar were heretical, and have left a genuinely baffling mystery – The painter of the Turin Shroud was found in the 1300s – Christopher Columbus never saw America – The first computer coder was a woman, a century before Alan Turing – The man who unleashed mustard gas in the World War One trenches won the Nobel Prize for chemistry – One incredible Spanish spy saved D-Day ... and lots more. This book will challenge everything you think you know about history!

The Albanians: A Modern History


Miranda Vickers - 1995
    Miranda Vickers traces the history of the Albanian people from the Ottoman period to the formation of the Albanian Communist Party. Newly revised for this paperback edition, The Albanians has now been updated to cover the crisis in Kosovo that led to the first "Western" war in Europe since 1945.

Iraq: A History


John Robertson - 2012
    Grounded in extensive research, this balanced account of a country and its people explores the greatness and grandeur of Iraq’s achievements, the brutality and magnificence of its ancient empires, its contributions to the emergence of the world’s enduring monotheistic faiths, and the role the great Arab caliphs of Baghdad played in the medieval cultural flowering that contributed so much to the European Renaissance and the eventual rise of the West.Fascinating and thought-provoking, Robertson’s work sheds light on a remarkable story of world history, one that has been too often overlooked. Wide-ranging and extensive in approach, it is sure to be greatly appreciated by historians, students and all those with an interest in this diverse and enigmatic country.

The English: A Social History, 1066-1945


Christopher Hibbert - 1987
    Based on diaries, letters, memoirs, official reports, the works of modern social historians and the literature of every period, The English traces the development of English society over nine hundred years.The chapters range far and wide over life in castles, palaces and monasteries, in the homes of rich merchants and in the hovels of peasants, describing the work and play of the inhabitants, their clothes and food and possessions, their servants and animals, their pleasures and suffering, their beliefs and attitudes, their schools, fairs, shops and markets, hospitals and prisons, theatres and churches, farms and factories, taverns and brothels. Every aspect of medieval and modern life is covered in detail. We learn about medieval meals and games, poachers and priests, tournaments and pageants; fifteenth-century universities; sixteenth-century plagues and seventeenth-century libraries, music rooms, nurseries, and witch-hunts; eighteenth-century parsons, coachmen and doctors; nineteenth-century noblemen, factory girls and cricketers; twentieth-century maidservants, landladies and motorists.

Why Did Europe Conquer the World?


Philip T. Hoffman - 2015
    But why did Europe establish global dominance, when for centuries the Chinese, Japanese, Ottomans, and South Asians were far more advanced? In Why Did Europe Conquer the World?, Philip Hoffman demonstrates that conventional explanations--such as geography, epidemic disease, and the Industrial Revolution--fail to provide answers. Arguing instead for the pivotal role of economic and political history, Hoffman shows that if certain variables had been different, Europe would have been eclipsed, and another power could have become master of the world. Hoffman sheds light on the two millennia of economic, political, and historical changes that set European states on a distinctive path of development, military rivalry, and war. This resulted in astonishingly rapid growth in Europe's military sector, and produced an insurmountable lead in gunpowder technology. The consequences determined which states established colonial empires or ran the slave trade, and even which economies were the first to industrialize. Debunking traditional arguments, Why Did Europe Conquer the World? reveals the startling reasons behind Europe's historic global supremacy.

Russia: The Once and Future Empire From Pre-History to Putin


Philip Longworth - 2006
    Petersburg; it stretches to Alaska in the east, to the Black Sea and the Ottoman Empire to the south, to the Baltic in the west and to Archangel and the Artic Ocean to the north.            Who are the Russians and what is the source of their imperialistic culture?  Why was Russia so driven to colonize and conquer?  From Kievan Rus’---the first-ever Russian state, which collapsed with the invasion of the Mongols in the thirteenth century---to ruthless Muscovy, the Russian Empire of the eighteenth century and finally the Soviet period, this groundbreaking study analyses the growth and dissolution of each vast empire as it gives way to the next.            Refreshing in its insight and drawing on a vast range of scholarship, this book also explicitly addresses the question of what the future holds for Russia and her neighbors, and asks whether her sphere of influence is growing.

When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846


Rámon A. Gutiérrez - 1991
    This social history of one remote corner of Spain's colonial American empire uses marriage as a window into intimate social relations, examining the Spanish conquest of America and its impact on a group of indigenous peoples, the Pueblo Indians, seen in large part from their point of view.

Aristocrats: Power, Grace, and Decadence: Britain's Great Ruling Classes from 1066 to the Present


Lawrence James - 2010
    Its virtues lay in its collective wisdom, its attachment to chivalric codes, and its sense of public duty. It evolved from a medieval warrior caste into a self-assured and sophisticated elite, which made itself the champion of popular liberty: It forced King John to sign the Magna Carta and later used its power and wealth to depose a succession of tyrannical kings from Richard II to James II. Britain's liberties and constitution were the result of aristocratic bloody-mindedness and courage."Aristocrats" traces the history of this remarkable supremacy. It is a story of civil wars, conquests, intrigue, chicanery, and extremes of selflessness and greed. The aristocracy survived and, in the age of the great house and the Grand Tour, governed the first industrial nation while a knot of noblemen ruled its growing empire. Under pressure from below, this political power was slowly relinquished and then shared. Yet democratic Britain retained its aristocracy: Churchill, himself the grandson of a duke, presided over a wartime cabinet that contained six hereditary peers.Lawrence James illuminates the culture of this singular caste, shows how its infatuation with classical art has forged England's heritage, how its love of sport has shaped the nation's pastimes and values, and how its scandals have entertained its public.Impeccably researched, balanced, and brilliantly told, "Aristocrats" is an enthralling story of survival, a stunning history of wealth, power, and influence.

The Hungarians: A Thousand Years of Victory in Defeat


Paul Lendvai - 1999
    Much of Europe once knew them as child-devouring cannibals and bloodthirsty Huns. But it wasn't long before the Hungarians became steadfast defenders of the Christian West and fought heroic freedom struggles against the Tatars (1241), the Turks (16-18th centuries), and, among others, the Russians (1848-49 and 1956). Paul Lendvai tells the fascinating story of how the Hungarians, despite a string of catastrophes and their linguistic and cultural isolation, have survived as a nation-state for more than 1,000 years.Lendvai, who fled Hungary in 1957, traces Hungarian politics, culture, economics, and emotions from the Magyars' dramatic entry into the Carpathian Basin in 896 to the brink of the post-Cold War era. Hungarians are ever pondering what being Hungarian means and where they came from. Yet, argues Lendvai, Hungarian national identity is not only about ancestry or language but also an emotional sense of belonging. Hungary's famous poet-patriot, S�ndor Petofi, was of Slovak descent, and Franz Liszt felt deeply Hungarian though he spoke only a few words of Hungarian. Through colorful anecdotes of heroes and traitors, victors and victims, geniuses and imposters, based in part on original archival research, Lendvai conveys the multifaceted interplay, on the grand stage of Hungarian history, of progressivism and economic modernization versus intolerance and narrow-minded nationalism.He movingly describes the national trauma inflicted by the transfer of the historic Hungarian heartland of Transylvania to Romania under the terms of the Treaty of Trianon in 1920--a trauma that the passing of years has by no means lessened. The horrors of Nazi and Soviet Communist domination were no less appalling, as Lendvai's restrained account makes clear, but are now part of history.An unforgettable blend of eminent readability, vibrant humor, and meticulous scholarship, The Hungarians is a book without taboos or prejudices that at the same time offers an authoritative key to understanding how and why this isolated corner of Europe produced such a galaxy of great scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs.

A History of Modern Lebanon


Fawwaz Traboulsi - 2007
    It is entirely unique as the last history of Lebanon was published more than forty years ago. Written by a leading Lebanese scholar and based on previously inaccessible archives, it is a fascinating and beautifully-written account of one of the world's most fabled countries.Starting with the formation of Ottoman Lebanon in the sixteenth century, Fawwaz Traboulsi covers the growth of Beirut as a capital for trade and culture through the nineteenth century. The main part of the book concentrates on Lebanon's development in the twentieth century and the conflicts that led up to the major wars in the 1970s and 1980s. Lebanon in the twentieth century has seen turbulent times, the results of which we still see today.This is a rich history of Lebanon that brings to life its politics, its people, and the crucial role that it has always played in world affairs.

A History of Modern Europe, Volume 1: From the Renaissance to the Age of Napoleon


John M. Merriman - 1996
    It emphasizes not only cultural and social history, but also examines important political and diplomatic events.

Monarchy: England and Her Rulers from the Tudors to the Windsors


David Starkey - 2000
    David Starkey's thrilling new paperback charts the rise of the British monarchy from the War of the Roses, the English Civil War and the Georgians, right up until the present day monarchs of the 20th Century.

Empire: How Spain Became a World Power, 1492-1763


Henry Kamen - 2003
    This provocative work of history attributes Spain's rise to power to the collaboration of international business interests, including Italian financiers, German technicians, and Dutch traders. At the height of its power, the Spanish Empire was a global enterprise in which non-Spaniards -- Portuguese, Basque, Aztec, Genoese, Chinese, Flemish, West African, Incan, and Neapolitan -- played an essential role.Challenging, persuasive, and unique in its thesis, Henry Kamen's Empire explores Spain's complex impact on world history with admirable clarity and intelligence.

The Ottoman Centuries


John Patrick Douglas Balfour - 1976
    At the same time he delineates his characters with obvious zest, displaying them in all their extravagance, audacity and, sometimes, ruthlessness.

Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe


Benjamin J. Kaplan - 2007
    As religious violence flares around the world, we are confronted with an acute dilemma: can people coexist in peace when their basic beliefs are irreconcilable? Benjamin Kaplan responds by taking us back to early modern Europe, when the issue of religious toleration was no less pressing than it is today.