Wagner Without Fear: Learning to Love—and Even Enjoy—Opera's Most Demanding Genius


William Berger - 1998
    He tells you all you need to know to become a true Wagnerite--from story lines to historical background; from when to visit the rest room to how to sound smart during intermission; from the Jewish legend that possibly inspired Lohengrin to the tragic death of the first Tristan. Funny, informative, and always a pleasure to read, Wagner Without Fear proves that the art of Wagner can be accessible to everyone.Includes:- The strange life of Richard Wagner--German patriot (and exile), friend (and enemy) of Liszt and Nietzsche- Essential opera lore and "lobby talk"- A scene-by-scene analysis of each opera- What to listen for to get the most from the music- Recommended recordings, films, and sound tracks

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.

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.

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.

The Illustrated Story of England


Christopher Hibbert - 2016
    Its flowing narrative style, character sketches, and lively anecdotes bring the people and places of the past to life. In this newly illustrated edition, John Broadley's unique tableaux-like illustrations capture the landscape, costumes, and characters of the history that Hibbert's text so vividly evokes.

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.

Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King


Lloyd Bradley - 2000
    And if UB 40 get a mention, I missed it. Isn`t that recommendation enough for you?' Mojo'Switches between informed analysis and intoxicating aural history...With epic contributions from major players such as PrinceBuster, Horace Andy, Bunny Lee and Dennis Bovell' GQ'Fascinating...written with passion, style and gusto. This is a book many musicians would benefit from reading' Jah Wobble, Independent on Sunday'A compelling social and musical history running from Fifties soundsystem roots to contemporary dancehall...filled to the brim with anecdotes to keep the most hardened music-head happy' Face'A classic...Hilarious in places, peppered with social and historical comment in others, this is a fascinating account detailing how reggae evolved in Jamaica and became a global phenomenon' New Nation

Hawthorne: A Life


Brenda Wineapple - 2003
    “Deep as Dante,” Herman Melville said. Hawthorne himself declared that he was not “one of those supremely hospitable people who serve up their own hearts, delicately fried, with brain sauce, as a tidbit” for the public. Yet those who knew him best often took the opposite position. “He always puts himself in his books,” said his sister-in-law Mary Mann, “he cannot help it.” His life, like his work, was extraordinary, a play of light and shadow.In this major new biography of Hawthorne, the first in more than a decade, Brenda Wineapple, acclaimed biographer of Janet Flanner and Gertrude and Leo Stein (“Luminous”–Richard Howard), brings him brilliantly alive: an exquisite writer who shoveled dung in an attempt to found a new utopia at Brook Farm and then excoriated the community (or his attraction to it) in caustic satire; the confidant of Franklin Pierce, fourteenth president of the United States and arguably one of its worst; friend to Emerson and Thoreau and Melville who, unlike them, made fun of Abraham Lincoln and who, also unlike them, wrote compellingly of women, deeply identifying with them–he was the first major American writer to create erotic female characters. Those vibrant, independent women continue to haunt the imagination, although Hawthorne often punishes, humiliates, or kills them, as if exorcising that which enthralls. Here is the man rooted in Salem, Massachusetts, of an old pre-Revolutionary family, reared partly in the wilds of western Maine, then schooled along with Longfellow at Bowdoin College. Here are his idyllic marriage to the youngest and prettiest of the Peabody sisters and his longtime friendships, including with Margaret Fuller, the notorious feminist writer and intellectual.Here too is Hawthorne at the end of his days, revered as a genius, but considered as well to be an embarrassing puzzle by the Boston intelligentsia, isolated by fiercely held political loyalties that placed him against the Civil War and the currents of his time.Brenda Wineapple navigates the high tides and chill undercurrents of Hawthorne’s fascinating life and work with clarity, nuance, and insight. The novels and tales, the incidental writings, travel notes and children’s books, letters and diaries reverberate in this biography, which both charts and protects the dark unknowable core that is quintessentially Hawthorne. In him, the quest of his generation for an authentically American voice bears disquieting fruit.From the Hardcover edition.

The Fall of the House of Wilde: Oscar Wilde and His Family


Emer O'Sullivan - 2015
    Oscar's mother, Lady Jane Wilde, rose to prominence as a political journalist, advocating in 1848 a rebellion against colonialism. Proud, involved and challenging, she became a salon hostess and opened the Wilde's Dublin home at No. 1 Merrion Square to the public. Known as the most scintillating and stirring hostess of her day, she passed on her infectious delight in the art of living to Oscar, who imbibed it greedily. His father was Sir William Wilde, one of the most eminent men of his generation. Acutely conscious of injustices in the social order, Sir William laid the foundations for the Celtic renaissance in the belief that culture would establish a common ground between the privileged and the poor, Protestant and Catholic. But Sir William was also a philanderer, and when he stood accused of sexually assaulting a young female patient, the scandal and trial sent shock waves through Dublin society. After his death the Wildes moved to London where Oscar burst irrepressibly upon the scene. The one role that didn't suit him was that of the Victorian husband, as his wife, Constance, was to discover. For beneath the swelling forehead was a self-destructive itch: a lifelong devourer of attention, Oscar was unable to recognise when the party was over. The Fall of the House of Wilde for the first time places Oscar Wilde as a member of one of the most dazzling Anglo-Irish families of Victorian times, and also in the broader social, political and religious context. A remarkable and perceptive account, this is a major repositioning of our first modern celebrity, a man whose own fall from grace in a trial as public as his father's marked the end of fin de siecle decadence.

Eugénie: The Empress and Her Empire


Desmond Seward - 2004
    Empress of the French, she shared the Second Empire with her husband, Napoleon III, so impressing the Prussian Chancellor Bismarck that he called her 'the only man in Paris'. In the first biography of her for many years, Desmond Seward recreates the nerve-racking politics and glittering social world of her empire, and gives an often startling reassessment of an extraordinary life that began in a tent at Granada during an earthquake.This biography charts the dramatic rise and fall of the Second Empire and of the fascinating woman at its heart. It will be a captivating read for anyone interested in the history of France or in women's history.

William Pitt the Younger


William Hague - 2004
    The younger William Pitt -- known as the 'schoolboy' -- began his days as Prime Minister in 1783 deeply underestimated and completely beleaguered. Yet he annihilated his opponents in the General Election the following year and dominated the governing of Britain for twenty-two years, nearly nineteen of them as Prime Minister. No British politician since then has exercised such supremacy for so long. Pitt presided over dramatic changes in the country's finances and trade, brought about the union with Ireland, but was ultimately consumed by the years of debilitating war with France. Domestic crises included unrest in Ireland, deep division in the royal family, the madness of the King and a full-scale naval mutiny. He enjoyed huge success, yet died at the nadir of his fortunes, struggling to maintain a government beset by a thin majority at home and military disaster abroad; he worked, worried and drank himself to death. Finally his story is told with the drama, wit and authority it deserves.

LIFE Queen Elizabeth at 90: The Story of Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch


LIFE Magazine - 2016
    She remains the head of state of the United Kingdom, and a group of 16 nations including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand call her queen, and she is the head of the British Commonwealth which includes another 37 countries, including India and South Africa. Throughout her life, she has enjoyed much happiness including a long and happy marriage to Prince Philip, four children, and Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees. Her reign has also been marked by much sadness, including the failed marriages of three of her children, the deaths of close family members and friends, and the markedly difficult death of Princess Diana, which took a toll on both the Royal Family and the nation.Now Life, in a new special edition, takes a nuanced and thoughtful look at the reign of Elizabeth at 90 and what her over-63 years on the throne have meant for her subjects and the world at large, including her early life, the years of World War Ii, her marriage and family, life ruling Great Britain, Windsor family values and much more.With dozens of stunning photos, stories, and analysis, Queen Elizabeth at 90 is a keepsake of both a life well-lived and an historical time on the throne, as well as a captivating collection for any royal watcher.

A Girl Aboard the Titanic: The Remarkable Memoir of Eva Hart, a 7-year-old Survivor of the Titanic Disaster


Eva Hart - 2012
    The events of a few hours in her childhood remained with her so vividly throughout her life that it took Eva nearly forty years before she could talk openly about the tragedy. A Girl Aboard the Titanic is the only child eyewitness description we have of most famous maritime disaster.

A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America


James Horn - 2005
    Founded thirteen years before the Mayflower landed, Jamestown occupies less space in our cultural memory than the Pilgrims of Plymouth. But as historian James Horn points out, many of the key tensions of Jamestown's early years became central to American history, for good and for ill: Jamestown introduced slavery into English-speaking North America; it became the first of England's colonies to adopt a representative government; and, it was the site of the first clashes between whites and Indians over territorial expansion. Jamestown began the tenuous, often violent, mingling of different peoples that came to embody the American experience. A Land as God Made It puts the Jamestown experience in the context of European geopolitics, giving prominence to the Spanish threat to extinguish the colony at the earliest opportunity. Jamestown-unlike Plymouth or Massachusetts-was England's bid to establish an empire to challenge the Spanish. With unparalleled knowledge of Jamestown's role in early American history, James Horn has written the definitive account of the colony that gave rise to America.

The Shop Girls: A True Story of Hard Work, Friendship and Fashion in an Exclusive 1950s Department Store


Ellee Seymour - 2014
    Once the girls step inside the elegant building - surrounded by luxurious dresses and beautiful accessories - the hardships of their own lives are temporarily forgotten. Serving a variety of curious customers, from glamorous gypsy queens to genuine royalty and stuffy academics to the city's fashionable elite, the store is a place where these young women can forge successful careers, under the ever-watchful eye of flamboyant owner Mr Heyworth. Set against the backdrop of the closing years of the Second World War, and moving into the 1950s, The Shop Girls perfectly captures the camaraderie and friendship of four ambitious young women working together in a store that offered them an escape from the drudgery of their wartime childhoods. Each of the girls' stories will be individually published from July 2014 in fortnightly serialised ebooks, leading up to the release of the complete edition (with bonus material) in September.