The Reign of Queen Victoria

Hector Bolitho - 2010
     From the day when, as a young girl of eighteen, she succeeded to the throne, she showed that a constitutional monarch could still have a will of her own and that her words could make statesmen tremble. In this classic biography Hector Bolitho analyses the phases of the Queen's life; her childhood and upbringing, her all too brief married life with Albert, the years of' retirement behind the great walls of Windsor and the more remote fastnesses of Deeside. Although Bolitho calls his book The Reign of Queen Victoria, his work is essentially a record of a remarkable woman and her husband, their personal lives and characters, rather than a political history of her reign. It describes the childhood and youth of Victoria and Albert in alternate chapters so that the reader can see the two growing up side by side yet independently, and can trace the gradual evolution of their characters in isolation until they come together. The expansion of the Prince's influence, first over the Queen, then on successive Cabinets and Prime Ministers, and finally on every aspect of the national life, is traced, and the importance of his reforming zeal is clearly brought out, particularly in its lasting influence on Victoria herself, which controlled to the end the more irrational elements of her character. Praise for Hector Bolitho ‘Flowing and lively’ – Cobden Sanderson Hector Bolitho (1897-1974) was born in New Zealand but settled in Britain, where he wrote over fifty books and worked as a freelance journalist. His other books include Albert: Prince Consort and A Penguin in the Eyrie.

Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life From Beginning to End

Hourly History - 2018
     Kaiser Wilhelm II was the last of the German emperors who reigned over the German Empire and Prussia. He was a man who thought himself to be quite adept at foreign affairs and diplomacy. The truth was, however, that this man’s talent seemed to lie in being able to alienate entire countries after only one meeting with government officials or monarchs. Inside you will read about... ✓ Born with a Disability ✓ The Year of the Three Emperors ✓ Leading Germany to World War I ✓ The Last German Emperor ✓ Wilhelm’s Exile and World War II And much more! Despite the fact that he was one of the sparks that lit the fire of World War I, Wilhelm was quite an intelligent man. Some say his diplomatic failures happened because of mental illness; others claim that it was an inferiority complex caused by the physical disability that he was born with. Whatever the case, Wilhelm II’s time as a world leader was riddled with political blunders and examples of what not to do in terms of diplomatic policies and practices. In this book, we will explore his life, both personal and professional, to find out more about how Kaiser Wilhelm II became the last German emperor.

Queen Victoria's Grandsons (1859-1918)

Christina Croft - 2014
    Some died in childhood, some were killed in action, and others lived to see grandchildren of their own. There were heroes and villains, valiant soldiers and dissipated youths, but their lives were interconnected through the tiny Queen for whom their welfare and happiness was a constant preoccupation. As part of a wide, extended family, they lived through the halcyon days of the late nineteenth century European monarchies, witnessing the most spectacular and the most tragic events of the age.

Anglo Saxon Britain

Grant Allen - 1884
    You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

Blundering to Glory PB

Owen Connelly - 1987
    Now in an updated and revised edition, it is unique in its portrayal of one of the world's great generals as a scrambler who never had a plan, strategic or tactical, that did not break down or change of necessity in the field. Distinguished historian Owen Connelly argues that Napoleon was the master of the broken play, so confident of his ability to improvise, cover his own mistakes, and capitalize on those of the enemy that he repeatedly plunged his armies into uncertain, seemingly desperate situations, only to emerge victorious as he "blundered" to glory. Beginning with a sketch of Napoleon's early life, the book progresses to his command of artillery at Toulon and the "whiff of grapeshot" in Paris that netted him control of the Army of Italy, where his incredible performance catapulted him to fame. The author vividly traces Napoleon's campaigns as a general of the French Revolution and emperor of the French, knowledgeably analyzing each battle's successes and failures. The author depicts Napoleon's "art of war" as a system of engaging the enemy, waiting for him to make a mistake, improvising a plan on the spot-and winning. Far from detracting from Bonaparte's reputation, his blunders rather made him a great general, a "natural" who depended on his intuition and ability to read battlefields and his enemy to win. Exploring this neglected aspect of Napoleon's battlefield genius, Connelly at the same time offers stirring and complete accounts of all the Napoleonic campaigns.

The Low Countries: A History

Anthony Bailey - 2016
    Here, from British historian and New Yorker senior writer Anthony Bailey is the dramatic story of the Low Countries - Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg - from the early days of nomads and barbarian invaders to the birth of towns and cities to the rise and decline of world prominence and finally to the dark and tragic days of World War II.

The Rise And Fall Of Prussia

Sebastian Haffner - 1971
    A state which contributed so much to European civilization, Prussia only existed as an independent power for 170 years. Haffner, a Prussian by birth, reassesses the legend and tells the short but dramatic history of this unique state. He casts fresh light on its foundation, its struggle to become a great power in the eighteenth century, its important role as one of the Three Black Eagles with Austria and Russia, and its eventual disappearance from the map of Europe after the establishment of the German Empire.

Kosovo: A Short History

Noel Malcolm - 1998
    A Bulgarian geographer who visited Kosovo during WWI remarked it was "almost as unknown & inaccessible as a stretch of land in Central Africa." The observation would prove ironically fitting by the '90s, as Central Africa & Kosovo both became sites of widespread genocide, fueled by ethnic hatreds, of the deepest international significance. Noel Malcolm, British historian & journalist who's written extensively about the Balkans (including a companion volume of sorts on Bosnia), provides an overview of Kosovo's long-standing cultural divisions in his "short history" (altho, at more than 500 pages, a not so short book). Readers following the unfolding war in Kosovo thru newspaper & tv coverage may well ask why ethnic Albanians & Serbs are struggling so violently to command the small region. Kosovo, he explains, is the birthplace of Serbian nationalism; the defeat of Serbian forces there in 1389 by Turkish troops became emblematic of the fall of the Serbian empire, as it led to Turkish domination of the Balkans. Contemporary warriors of Serbia are evidently attempting to reverse the course of history by reclaiming the land from its Turkish conquerors--but in the absence of the Turks, they'll take it from the Albanians (the largest ethnic group among Kosovo's inhabitants) whose ancestors converted to Islam when Turks ruled the region. His lucid text shows again & again that the ethnic conflict in Kosovo is less a battle over bloodlines & religion than it's one over differing conceptions of national origins & history. "When ordinary Serbs learn to think more rationally & humanely about Kosovo, & more critically about some of their national myths," he concludes, "all the people of Kosovo & Serbia will benefit--not least the Serbs themselves."--Gregory McNamee (edited)

The Venetians: A New History: From Marco Polo to Casanova

Paul Strathern - 2012
    This golden period only drew to an end with the Republic’s eventual surrender to Napoleon.The Venetians illuminates the character of the Republic during these illustrious years by shining a light on some of the most celebrated personalities of European history—Petrarch, Marco Polo, Galileo, Titian, Vivaldi, Casanova. Frequently, though, these emblems of the city found themselves at odds with the Venetian authorities who prized stability above all else, and were notoriously suspicious of any "cult of personality." Was this very tension perhaps the engine for the Republic’s unprecedented rise?Rich with biographies of some of the most exalted characters who have ever lived, The Venetians is a refreshing and authoritative new look at the history of the most evocative of city states.

A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-1822

Henry Kissinger - 1957
    A World Restored analyses the alliances formed and treaties signed by the world's leaders during the years 1812 to 1822, focussing on the personalities of the two main negotiators: Viscount Castlereagh, the British foreign secretary, and Prince von Metternich, his Austrian counterpart. Henry Kissinger explains how the turbulent relationship between these two men, the differing concerns of their respective countries and the changing nature of diplomacy all influenced the final shape of the peace. Originally published in 1957.

A People Betrayed: A History of Corruption, Political Incompetence and Social Division in Modern Spain

Paul Preston - 2020
    Looking back to the years prior to 1923, Preston demonstrates how electoral corruption infiltrated almost every sector of Spanish life, thus excluding the masses from organized politics and giving them a bitter choice between apathetic acceptance of a decrepit government or violent revolution. So ineffective was the Republic—which had been launched in 1873—that it paved the way for a military coup and dictatorship, led by Miguel Primo de Rivera in 1923, exacerbating widespread profiteering and fraud. When Rivera was forced to resign in 1930, his fall brought forth a succession of feeble governments, stoking rancorous tensions that culminated in the tragic Spanish Civil War.With astonishing detail, Preston describes the ravages that rent Spain in half between 1936 and 1939. Tracing the frightening rise of Francisco Franco, Preston recounts how Franco grew into Spain’s most powerful military leader during the Civil War and how, after the war, he became a fascistic dictator who not only terrorized the Spanish population through systematic oppression and murder but also enriched corrupt officials who profited from severe economic plunder of Spain’s working class.The dictatorship lasted through World War II—during which Spain sided with Mussolini and Hitler—and only ended decades later, in 1975, when Franco’s death was followed by a painful yet bloodless transition to republican democracy. Yet, as Preston reveals, corruption and political incompetence continued to have a corrosive effect on social cohesion into the twenty-first century, as economic crises, Catalan independence struggles, and financial scandals persist in dividing the country.Filled with vivid portraits of politicians and army officers, revolutionaries and reformers, and written in the “absorbing” (Economist) style for which Preston is so revered, A People Betrayed is the first historical work to examine the continuities of political unrest and national anxiety in Spain up until the present, providing a chilling reminder of just how fragile democracy remains in the twenty-first century.

Leviathan: The Rise of Britain as a World Power

David Scott - 2013

History of Germany 1780-1918: The Long Nineteenth Century

David Blackbourn - 1997
    This history offers a powerful and original account of Germany from the eve of the French Revolution to the end of World War One.Written by a leading German historian who has transformed the historiography of modern Germany over the past two decades.Covers the whole of the long nineteenth century and emphasizes continuities through this period.Brings together political, social and cultural history.Combines a comprehensive account with a feel for the human dimension and the history of everyday life.Accessible to non-specialists, thought-provoking and entertaining.The updated second edition includes a revised bibliography.

1215 and All That: Magna Carta and King John

Ed West - 2015
    However, he unexpectedly became the favored heir to his father after a failed rebellion by his older brothers in 1173. He became king in 1199, though his reign was tumultuous and short. After a brief peace with Phillip II of France, war broke out again in 1202 and King John lost most of his holdings on the continent. This, coupled with unpopular fiscal policies and treatment of nobles back home, led to conflict upon his return from battle. Buffeted from all sides, King John was pushed in 1215 to sign along with his barons the Magna Carta, a precursor to constitutional governance. But both sides failed to uphold the agreements terms and conflict quickly resumed, leading to John's untimely death a year later to dysentery.Pitched at newcomers to the subject, 1215 and All That will explain how King John's rule and, in particular, his signing of the Magna Carta changed England--and the English--forever, introducing readers to the early days of medieval England. It is the third book in the acclaimed A Very, Very Short History of England series, which captures the major moments of English history with humor and bite.

Microcosm: A Portrait of a Central European City

Norman Davies - 2002
    As a result, the area has witnessed a profusion of languages, cultures, religions and nationalities.The history of Silesia's main city can be seen as a fascinating tale in its own right, but it is more than that. It embodies all the experiences that have made Central Europe what it is -- the rich mixture of nationalities and cultures; the German settlement and the reflux of the Slavs; a Jewish presence of exceptional distinction; a turbulent succession of Imperial rules; and the shattering exposure to both Nazis and Stalinists. In short, it is a Central European microcosm.The third largest German city of the mid-nineteenth century, Breslau's population reached one million in 1945, before the bitter German defence of the city against the Soviets wrought almost total destruction. Transferred to Poland after the war, Breslau has risen from ruins and is again a thriving economic and cultural centre of the region.