The story of the huge mobile battles of 1918, which finally ended the Great War.
1918 was the critical year of battle as the Great War reached its brutal climax. Warfare of an epic scale was fought on the Western Front, where ordinary British soldiers faced the final test of their training, tactics and determination. That they withstood the storm and began an astonishing counterattack, is proof that by 1918, the British army was the most effective fighting force in the world. But this ultimate victory came at devastating cost.
Using a wealth of previously unpublished material, historian Peter Hart gives a vivid account of this last year of conflict – what it was like to fight on the frontline, through the words of the men who were there. In a chronicle of unparalleled scope and depth, he brings to life the suspense, turmoil and tragedy of 1918’s vast offensives.
Prize-winning historian Lawrence Freedman takes an exceptionally clear-eyed look at America’s strategic predicament in the Middle East, over the past 30 years.
The United States is locked into three prolonged conflicts without much hope of early resolution. Iran is pursuing a nuclear programme; the aftermath of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein has seen unrelenting intercommunal violence; and the Taliban have got back into Afghanistan.
Lawrence Freedman teases out the roots of each engagement over the last thirty years and demonstrates with clarity and scholarship the influence of these conflicts upon each other.
The story is complex and often marked by great drama. First, the countries in dispute with America are not themselves natural allies; second, their enmity was not, at first, America’s choice. Third, the region’s problems cannot all be traced to the Arab-Israeli dispute. Unique in its focus, this book will offer not only new revelations but also remind us of what has been forgotten or has never been put in context.
Prize-winning British historian tells the story of the English-speaking peoples in the 20th century
Winston Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples ended in 1900. Andrew Roberts, Wolfson History prizewinner has been inspired by Churchill’s example to write the story of the 20th century.
Churchill wrote: ‘Every nation or group of nations has its own tale to tell. Knowledge of the trials and struggles is necessary to all who would comprehend the problems, perils, challenges, and opportunities which confront us today ‘It is in the hope that contemplation of the trials and tribulations of our forefathers may not only fortify the English-speaking peoples of today, but also play some small part in uniting the whole world, that I present this account.’
As the greatest of all the trials and tribulations of the English-speaking peoples took place in the twentieth century, Roberts’ book covers the four world-historical struggles in which the English-speaking peoples have been engaged – the wars against German Nationalism, Axis Fascism, Soviet Communism and now the War against Terror. But just as Churchill did in his four volumes, Roberts also deals with the cultural, social and political history of the English global diaspora.
Tobias Buck arrived in Madrid in December 2012, in time to celebrate the bleakest Christmas the city had seen in a generation. Capital and country were reeling from a series of economic shocks that had brought Spain to the brink of ruin. The housing boom had dramatically turned to bust, a large chunk of the nation’s banking system was in state hands, businesses were closing across the country, debt was spiralling out of control and unemployment levels had reached a record high.
AFTER THE FALL presents a rich and vivid portrait of contemporary Spain at a critical moment in the country’s history. The book tells the story of Spain’s long boom and sudden bust, the brutal economic crisis that followed, and the political and social aftershocks that reverberate to this day. It explores the origins of the separatist movement in Catalonia, and its bitter clash with the Spanish government that culminated in a failed secession referendum and a divisive declaration of independence. It looks at the legacy of the Civil War and Franco dictatorship, and the continuing struggle over historical memory in Spain today.
Based on five years of reporting and hundreds of interviews, AFTER THE FALL takes the reader from the offices of power in Madrid and Barcelona to the villages of the Basque country, still haunted by the memory of political violence, and to the towns of Andalusia, where an entire generation has seen its economic hopes shattered. It describes how the country has been changed by the experience of migration, and why – after decades at the margins – the far-right eventually made a return to Spanish politics. For all the problems and challenges facing Spain today, we see that amid the ruins of the crisis, the search for a new Spanish model is already underway.
‘Sensitive, moving and finely textured’ Guardian
‘Fantastic’ Dan Snow
For the great majority of his long life, Benjamin Franklin was a loyal British royalist. In 1757, having made his fortune in Philadelphia and established his fame as a renowned experimental scientist, he crossed the Atlantic to live as a gentleman in the heaving metropolis of London. With just a brief interlude, a house in Craven Street was to be his home until 1775.
From there he mixed with both the brilliant and the powerful, whether in London coffee house clubs, at the Royal Society, or on his summer travels around the British Isles and continental Europe. He counted David Hume, Matthew Boulton, Joseph Priestley, Edmund Burke and Erasmus Darwin among his friends, and as an American colonial representative he had access to successive Prime Ministers and even the King.
The early 1760s saw Britain’s elevation to global superpower status with victory in the Seven Years War and the succession of the young, active George III. These two events brought a sharp new edge to political competition in London and redefined the relationship between Britain and its colonies. Though Franklin long sought to prevent the break with Great Britain, his own actions would finally help cause that very event. On the eve of the American War of Independence, Franklin fled arrest and escaped by sea. He would never return to London.
With his unique focus on the fullness of Benjamin Franklin’s life in London, George Goodwin has created an enthralling portrait of the man, the city and the age.
A vivid and original account of warfare in the Middle Ages and the cruelty and atrocity that accompanied it.
Sean McGlynn investigates the reality of medieval warfare. For all the talk of chivalry, medieval warfare routinely involved acts which we would consider war crimes. Lands laid waste, civilians slaughtered, prisoners massacred: this was standard fare justified by tradition and practical military necessity. It was unbelievably barbaric, but seldom uncontrolled.
Such acts of atrocity were calculated, hideous cruelties inflicted in order to achieve a specific end. Sean McGlynn examines the battles of Acre and Agincourt, sieges like Béziers, Lincoln, Jerusalem and Limoges as well as the infamous chevauchées of the Hundred Years War that devastated great swathes of France. He reveals how these grisly affairs form the origin of accepted ‘rules of war’, codes of conduct that are today being enforced in the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
A concise political, social and religious history of the Byzantine empire.
Michael Angold’s book is a clear, concise and authoritative history of the successor state to the Roman Empire, known as the Byzantine Empire. It was named after Byzantium, which Emperor Constantine I rebuilt in 330 AD as Constantinople and made the capital of the entire Roman Empire.
Angold begins in the heart of Byzantium, the city of Constantinople from which a new Empire emerged. He shows how the foundation and growth of the city altered the balance of the Roman empire, shifting the centre of gravity east. He describes the emergence of political factions and their impact on political life and traces the rise of Islam. Angold concludes his book by stressing the continuing attraction and influence of imperial Byzantium, best seen in Norman Sicily.
‘A holiday in the complex, joyful, indelicate medieval world’
John Higgs, author of Watling Street
Chaucer’s People is an absorbing and revealing guide to the Middle Ages, populated with Chaucer’s pilgrims from The Canterbury Tales. These are lives spent at the pedal of a loom, maintaining the ledgers of an estate or navigating the high seas. Drawing on contemporary experiences of a vast range of subjects including trade, religion, toe-curling remedies and hair-raising recipes, bestselling historian Liza Picard recreates the medieval world in glorious detail.
Noisy popular liberal interventionism? Or a more conservative, diplomatic approach concentrating on co-operation between nations? This is the debate that lies at the heart of modern politics and Hurd traces its most interesting and influential exponents.
He starts with Canning and Castelreagh in post Waterloo Britain; to a generation later, the victory of the interventionist Palmerston over Aberdeen; then to Salisbury (Imperialism) and Grey (European balance of power); and finally to Eden and Bevin who combined to lay the foundations of a post-war compromise.
That delicate balance has served its purpose for over half a century, but as we enter a new era of terrorism and racial conflict, the old questions and divisions are re-surfacing . . .
How an ancient rubbish dump has given us a unique view of life 2,000 years ago
In 1897 two Oxford archaeologists began digging a mound south of Cairo. Ten years later, they had uncovered 500,000 fragments of papyri. Shipped back to Oxford, the meticulous and scholarly work of deciphering these fragments began. It is still going on today. As well as Christian writings from totally unknown gospels and Greek poems not seen by human eyes since the fall of Rome, there are tax returns, petitions, private letters, sales documents, leases, wills and shopping lists.
What they found was the entire life of a flourishing market-town – Oxyrhynchos ( the `city of the sharp-nosed fish’ ), – encapsulated in its waste paper. The total lack of rain in this part of Egypt had preserved the papyrus beneath the sand, as nowhere else in the Roman Empire. We hear the voices of barbers, bee-keepers and boat-makers, dyers and donkey-drivers, weavers and wine-merchants, set against the great events of late antiquity: the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and the coming of Christianity.
The result is an extraordinary and unique picture of everyday life in the Nile Valley between Alexander the Great in 300 BC and the Arab conquest a thousand years later.
The bestselling historian’s biography of a decisive figure in England’s history.
No Englishman has made more impact on the history of his nation than Oliver Cromwell; few have been so persistently maligned in the folklore of history. The central purpose of Antonia Fraser’s book is the recreation of his life and character, freed from the distortions of myth and Royalist propaganda.
Cromwell was a man of contradictions and surprising charm. This decisive and ruthless commander was also a country gentleman and a passionate connoisseur of music. Of Cromwell’s fitness for high office, this fascinating biography leaves no doubt. Under his rule English prestige abroad rose to a level unequalled since Elizabeth I, yet his campaign in Ireland has cast a shadow over his reputation.
Antonia Fraser displays great insight into this complex man and reveals a totally unexpected Cromwell, far removed from the received stereotype.
A new and complete history of Zululand, and its destruction at the hands of the British in 1879.
This book is not only a complete history of the Zulus but also an account of the way the British won absolute rule in South Africa.
In the early decades of the nineteenth century, Shaka Zulu established a nation in south-east Africa which was to become the most politically sophisticated and militarily powerful black nation in the entire area. Although the Zulus never had any quarrel with their British neighbours, the rulers of the Cape Colony could not conceive of them as anything but a threat. In 1879, under dubious pretences, the British finally crossed the Buffalo River, and embarked on a bloody war that was to rock the very foundations of the British Empire.
The story is studded with tales of incredible heroism, drama and atrocity on both sides: the Battle of Isandlwana, where the Zulus inflicted on the British the worst defeat a modern army has ever suffered at the hands of men without guns; Rorke’s Drift, where a handful of British troops beat off thousands of Zulu warriors and won a record 11 VCs; and Ulundi, where the Zulus were finally crushed in a battle that was to herald some of the most shameful episodes in British Colonial history.
Comprehensive, vast in scope, and filled with original and up-to-date research, this is a book that is set to replace all standard works on the subject.