Spain: The Centre of the World 1519-1682


Robert Goodwin - 2015
    It was a time of discovery and adventure, of great political and social change--it was a time when Spain learned to rule the world.Assembling a spectacular cast of legendary characters like the Duke of Alba, El Greco, Miguel de Cervantes, and Diego Velázquez, Robert Goodwin brings the Spanish Golden Age to life with the vivid clarity and gripping narrative of an epic novel. From scholars and playwrights, to poets and soldiers, Goodwin is in complete command of the history of this tumultuous and exciting period. But the superstars alone will not tell the whole tale--Goodwin delves deep to find previously unrecorded sources and accounts of how Spain's Golden Age would unfold, and ultimately, unravel.Spain is a sweeping and revealing portrait of Spain at the height of its power and a world at the dawn of the modern age.

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.

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.

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 Elizabethans


A.N. Wilson - 2011
    N. Wilson relates the exhilarating story of the Elizabethan Age. It was a time of exceptional creativity, wealth creation and political expansion.It was also a period of English history more remarkable than any other for the technicolour personalities of its leading participants.Apart from the complex character of the Virgin Queen herself, we follow the story of Francis Drake and political intriguers like William Cecil and Francis Walsingham, so important to a monarch who often made a key strategy out of her indecisiveness. Favourites like Leicester and Essex skated very close to the edge as far as Elizabeth's affections were concerned, and Essex made a big mistake when he led a rebellion against the crown.There was a Renaissance during this period in the world of words, which included the all-round hero and literary genius, Sir Philip Sidney, playwright-spy Christopher Marlowe and that 'myriad-minded man', William Shakespeare.Life in Elizabethan England could be very harsh. Plague swept the land. And the poor received little assistance from the State. Thumbscrews and the rack could be the grim prelude to the executioner's block. But crucially, this was the age when modern Britain was born, and established independence from mainland Europe. After Sir Walter Raleigh established the colony of Virginia, English was destined to become the language of the great globe itself, and the the foundations were laid not only of later British imperial power but also of American domination of the world.With The Elizabethans, Wilson reveals himself again as the master of the definitive, single-volume study.

Early Modern Europe: An Oxford History


Euan Cameron - 1999
    It considers the evolving economy and society - the basic facts of life for the majority of Europe's people. It shows how the religious and intellectual unity of western culture fragmented and dissolved under the impact of new ideas. It also examines politics to consider the emergence of modern attitudes and techniques in governing.

Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland's Glory


Lisa Jardine - 2008
    An exploration of the relationship of competition and assimilation between England and the Netherlands during the 17th century, revealing how Dutch tolerance, resilience and commercial acumen effectively conquered England by permanently reshaping the intellectual landscape long before Dutch monarchs sat on the English throne.

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)

Spain: A History


Malveena McKendrick - 2016
    Discoverer of a New World, it became the greatest power on earth and created a Golden Age of culture quite breathtaking in the quality of its achievement. Within 150 years, Spain was in a state of decay and fast being left behind by more progressive European nations. Here, from award-winning historian Malveena McKendrick, is the dramatic story of the rise and fall of the Spanish empire.

Elizabeth I and Her Circle


Susan Doran - 2015
    Using a wide range of original sources - including private letters, portraits, verse, drama, and state papers - Susan Doran provides a vivid and often dramatic account of political life in Elizabethan England and the queen at its centre, offering a deeper insight into Elizabeth's emotional and political conduct - and challenging many of the popular myths that have grown up around her. It is a story replete with fascinating questions. What was the true nature of Elizabeth's relationship with her father, Henry VIII, especially after his execution of her mother? What was the influence of her step-mothers on Elizabeth's education and religious beliefs? How close was she really to her half-brother Edward VI - and were relations with her half-sister Mary really as poisonous as is popularly assumed? And what of her relationship with her Stewart cousins, most famously with Mary Queen of Scots, executed on Elizabeth's orders in 1587, but also with Mary's son James VI of Scotland, later to succeed Elizabeth as her chosen successor? Elizabeth's relations with her family were crucial, but almost as crucial were her relations with her courtiers and her councillors (her 'men of business'). Here again, the story unravels a host of fascinating questions. Was the queen really sexually jealous of her maids of honour? What does her long and intimate relationship with the Earl of Leicester reveal about her character, personality, and attitude to marriage? What can the fall of Essex tell us about Elizabeth's political management in the final years of her reign? And what was the true nature of her personal and political relationship with influential and long-serving councillors such as the Cecils and Sir Francis Walsingham?

The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy


Peter Burke - 1972
    He discusses the social and political institutions that existed in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and he analyzes the ways of thinking and seeing that characterized this period of extraordinary artistic creativity. Developing a distinctive approach, the author is concerned not only with the finished works of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and others, but also with the social background, patterns of recruitment, and means of subsistence of this cultural elite. He thus makes a major contribution both to our understanding of the Italian Renaissance and to our comprehension of the complex relations between culture and society.

Leviathan: The Rise of Britain as a World Power


David Scott - 2013
    

God's Secret Agents: Queen Elizabeth's Forbidden Priests and the Hatching of the Gunpowder Plot


Alice Hogge - 2005
    They were Jesuit priests, Englishmen, and their aim was to achieve by force of argument what the Armada had failed to do by force of arms: return England to the Catholic Church.Eighteen years later their mission had been shattered by the actions of the Gunpowder Plotters -- a small group of terrorists who famously tried to destroy the Houses of Parliament -- for the Jesuits were accused of having designed "that most horrid and hellish conspiracy." In an unusual turn of events, the future of every Catholic they had hoped to save would soon come to depend on the silence of one Oxford carpenter, a man being tortured in the Tower of London for building priest holes, those bunkers in which the Catholic clergy hid from English authorities.Using contemporary documents, Alice Hogge's brilliant new book pieces together a deadly game of cat-and-mouse between priests and government spies, as Queen Elizabeth and her ministers fought to defend the state, and English Catholics fought to defend their souls. It follows the priests -- God's Secret Agents -- from their schooling on the Continent, through their perilous return journeys and their lonely lives in hiding, to the scaffold, where a gruesome death awaited them. To their government they were traitors; to their fellow Catholics they were glorious martyrs. It was a distinction that the Gunpowder Plot would put to the test. Ultimately God's Secret Agents is the story of men who would die for their cause undone by men who would kill for it.

The Reformation: History in an Hour


Edward A. Gosselin - 2011
    Started by Martin Luther in 1517, religious dissidence spread across Europe throughout the sixteenth century, causing wars, migration and disunity. By 1648 Henry VIII’s desire for divorce led him to break with the Catholic Church in Rome and form the Church of England.The Reformation: History in an Hour is a clear and comprehensive look at this long and complex period of religious change. It explains the major causes of the Reformation and the differences between Protestants and Catholics. It will help you understand the significance of the Reformation in European history in just one hour.Know your stuff: Read a concise history of the Protestant Reformation in just one hour.

The Anne Boleyn Collection II


Claire Ridgway - 2013
    But the real Boleyns were very different. In this collection of articles, best-selling author and creator of The Anne Boleyn Files website, Claire Ridgway, banishes the myths and introduces the real Boleyns. Written in Claire's easy-going style, but with an emphasis on good history and sound research, these articles are perfect reading for Tudor history lovers everywhere.Topics include:- The origins of the Boleyn family- Anne Boleyn's date of birth- Did Anne Boleyn serve Margaret of Austria and Queen Claude of France?- Anne Boleyn's love life- Anne Boleyn and James Butler- Anne Boleyn and the accusation of witchcraft- Anne Boleyn's pregnancies and miscarriages- Pregnancy and childbirth in Tudor times- Anne and Elizabeth- Anne Boleyn and the Tower of London- Thomas and Elizabeth Boleyn, Earl and Countess of Wiltshire- George Boleyn, Lord Rochford- Jane Boleyn, Lady Rochford- Mary Boleyn- The Boleyns and Religionand much more...The Anne Boleyn Collection II is fully referenced, with chapter notes and bibliography, and includes over 40 illustrations.