'For his final book, the late Norwich tackled the dauntingly vast subject of two millennia of French history with admirable lightness and urbanity . . . his comic footnotes deserve a review of their own' DAILY TELEGRAPH I can still feel, as if it were yesterday, the excitement of my first Channel crossing (as a child of nearly 7) in September 1936; the regiment of porters, smelling asphyxiatingly of garlic in their blue-green blousons; the raucous sound all around me of spoken French; the immense fields of Normandy strangely devoid of hedges; then the Gare du Nord at twilight, the policemen with their kepis and their little snow-white batons; and my first sight of the Eiffel Tower . . . This book is written in the belief that the average English-speaking man or woman has remarkably little knowledge of French history. We may know a bit about Napoleon or Joan of Arc or Louis XIV, but for most of us that's about it. In my own three schools we were taught only about the battles we won: Crecy and Poitiers, Agincourt and Waterloo. The rest was silence. So here is my attempt to fill in the blanks . . . John Julius Norwich's last book is the book he always wanted to write: the extremely colourful story of the country he loves best. From frowning Roman generals and belligerent Gallic chieftains, to Charlemagne (hated by generations of French children taught that he invented schools) through Marie Antoinette and the storming of the Bastille to Vichy, the Resistance and beyond, FRANCE is packed with heroes and villains, adventures and battles, romance and revolution. Full of memorable stories and racy anecdotes, this is the perfect introduction to the country that has inspired the rest of the world to live, dress, eat -- and love better.
'Compellingly authentic, revelatory and beautifully written. A gripping tour de force' Damien Lewis Almost seventy-five years have passed since D-Day, the day of the greatest seaborne invasion in history. The outcome of the Second World War hung in the balance on that chill June morning. If Allied forces succeeded in gaining a foothold in northern France, the road to victory would be open. But if the Allies could be driven back into the sea, the invasion would be stalled for years, perhaps forever. An epic battle that involved 156,000 men, 7,000 ships and 20,000 armoured vehicles, the desperate struggle that unfolded on 6 June 1944 was, above all, a story of individual heroics - of men who were driven to keep fighting until the German defences were smashed and the precarious beachheads secured. Their authentic human story - Allied, German, French - has never fully been told. Giles Milton's bold new history narrates the day's events through the tales of survivors from all sides: the teenage Allied conscript, the crack German defender, the French resistance fighter. From the military architects at Supreme Headquarters to the young schoolboy in the Wehrmacht's bunkers, D-Day: The Soldiers' Story lays bare the absolute terror of those trapped in the frontline of Operation Overlord. It also gives voice to those hitherto unheard - the French butcher's daughter, the Panzer Commander's wife, the chauffeur to the General Staff. This vast canvas of human bravado reveals 'the longest day' as never before - less as a masterpiece of strategic planning than a day on which thousands of scared young men found themselves staring death in the face. It is drawn in its entirety from the raw, unvarnished experiences of those who were there.
"A remarkable feat of fearless and responsible reporting . . . important, timely, and informative." John le Carre NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF's targeted killing programs.
Every phase since the advent of the industrial revolution - from the fate of the British Empire, to the global challenges from Germany, Japan and Russia, to America's emergence as a sole superpower, to the Arab Spring, to the long-term decline of economic growth that started with Japan and has now spread to Europe, to China's meteoric economy, to Brexit and the presidency of Donald Trump - can be explained better when we appreciate the meaning of demographic change across the world. The Human Tide is the first popular history book to redress the underestimated influence of population as a crucial factor in almost all of the major global shifts and events of the last two centuries - revealing how such events are connected by the invisible mutually catalysing forces of population. This highly original history offers a brilliant and simple unifying theory for our understanding the last two hundred years: the power of sheer numbers. An ambitious, original, magisterial history of modernity, it taps into prominent preoccupations of our day and will transform our perception of history for many years to come.
On which day was history's shortest war waged and won (in roughly 40 minutes)? How was Napoleon bested by a group of rabbits in 1807? Why did a dispute about beer in an Oxford pub lead to over 100 deaths and 470 years of penance? Why in 1752 did Britain go to bed on 2nd September and wake up on the 14th? How did a women's march in 1917 set off the Russian Revolution? On This Day in History brings to life a key event that happened on each day of the year. From the most important British battle that you've never heard of (20 May 685) to the first meeting of Lennon and McCartney (6 July 1957), and from why Julius Caesar should have been wary of the Ides of March (15 March 44BC) to the day Jeanne de Clisson became a pirate and single-handedly declared war on the King of France (2 August 1343), history is full of unlikely heroes and fascinating turning points. In this book Dan Snow shows us how each day offers a different and unexpected insight into our past. And story by gripping story, this year grows into a vivid, very human history of the world.
Once described by the Washington Post as "the most interesting mayor you've never heard of," Pete Buttigieg, the thirty-seven-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has now emerged as one of America's most visionary politicians. With soaring prose that celebrates a resurgent American Midwest, Shortest Way Home narrates the heroic transformation of a "dying city" ( Newsweek ) into nothing less than a shining model of urban reinvention. Elected at twenty-nine as the nation's youngest mayor, Pete Buttigieg immediately recognized that "great cities, and even great nations, are built through attention to the everyday." As Shortest Way Home recalls, the challenges were daunting?whether confronting gun violence, renaming a street in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., or attracting tech companies to a city that had appealed more to junk bond scavengers than serious investors. None of this is underscored more than Buttigieg's audacious campaign to reclaim 1,000 houses, many of them abandoned, in 1,000 days and then, even as a sitting mayor, deploying to serve in Afghanistan as a Navy officer. Yet the most personal challenge still awaited Buttigieg, who came out in a South Bend Tribune editorial, just before being reelected with 78 percent of the vote, and then finding Chasten Glezman, a middle-school teacher, who would become his partner for life. While Washington reels with scandal, Shortest Way Home , with its graceful, often humorous, language, challenges our perception of the typical American politician. In chronicling two once-unthinkable stories?that of an Afghanistan veteran who came out and found love and acceptance, all while in office, and that of a revitalized Rust Belt city no longer regarded as "flyover country" Buttigieg provides a new vision for America's shortest way home.
One of the most compelling international dramas of the 20th century and an unforgettable saga of survival, technological innovation, and breathtaking human physical achievement-all set against the backdrop of a world headed toward war. While tension steadily rose between European powers in the 1930s, a different kind of battle was raging across the Himalayas. Contingents from Great Britain, Nazi Germany, and the United States had set up rival camps at the base of the mountains, all hoping to become recognized as the fastest, strongest, and bravest climbers in the world. Carried on across nearly the entire sweep of the Himalayas, this contest involved not only the greatest mountain climbers of the era, but statesmen and millionaires, world-class athletes and bona fide eccentrics, scientists and generals, obscure villagers and national heroes. Centered in the 1930s, with one brief, shining postwar coda, the contest was a struggle between hidebound traditionalists and unknown innovators, one that featured new techniques and equipment, unbelievable courage and physical achievement, and unparalleled valor. And death. One Himalayan peak alone, Nanga Parbat in Kashmir, claimed twenty-five lives in less than three years. Climbing the Himalayas was the Greatest Generation's moonshot--one shrouded in the onset of war, interrupted by it, and then fully accomplished. A gritty, fascinating history that promises to enrapture fans of Hampton Side, Jon Krakauer, and Laura Hillenbrand, The World Beneath Their Feet brings this forgotten story back to life.
In November 1963 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. His death remains a defining moment for millions of people but few understand the unstoppable forces that were building in the city long before this dramatic event played out before the world. Dallas 1963 is a riveting account of the convergence of a group of unyielding and highly focused protagonists in a city sometimes seemingly filled with hate for JFK. Wicked stabs of fate and circumstance steered these fascinating characters together: the richest man in the world, a combative military general, a Mafia don, a strident Congressman, thundering preachers and even the elegant owner of one of America's most famous stores. This book expertly narrates how the spiralling events surrounding these characters on the ground in Dallas ultimately brewed a toxic environment before the President's assassination. Using a wealth of new information, as well as the first ever examination of key primary documents, Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis, both experts in their field, provide a comprehensive and detailed portrait of the place, the time and the people of these extraordinary events in American history. They also provide cautionary and controversial lessons rendering this time increasingly relevant for the modern age.
Now in paperback, the critically acclaimed new social history of London, during a crucial year in the city's great history, from the acclaimed writer of 1700: Scenes from London life.
Illuminating, dramatic, compellingly readable, this groundbreaking book recreates the seismic shift which concluded the Second World War and the lasting impact on the political landscape of Europe today
Six Centuries of Love and Hate Between the Scots and the English. The relationship between the Scots and the English is central to our history. In an inspiring narrative, Allan Massie lays bare their powerful and turbulent union.
Let Catherine Blyth take you on an entertaining tour of the neglected art of conversation. You'll never think of talk as cheap ever again ...
Why do seemingly ordinary young men and women volunteer to turn themselves into human bombs? What can we do to stop them? The author investigates these questions. She draws on her contact with real terrorists to show that terrorists are not crazed criminals but rational, ideological actors willing to exploit their own weaknesses to maximum effect.
Hortense de Monplaisir shares with us the secrets of her survival amongst the English. Exiled to London for the sake of her husband's career, pioneer, she delves into the many aspects of la perfide Albion that have long puzzled its closest neighbour and oldest enemy. She discusses topics such as the inability of the English to speak their mind.