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This account of King John's reign is a study both of the king and his political misfortunes, and also of his times. John is set against the background of his predecessors, of the society in which he lived and of the problems posed by continuities independent of his making.
`Victorians Undone is the most original history book I have read in a long while' Daily Mail A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR * AN OBSERVER BOOK OF THE YEAR A groundbreaking account of what it was like to live in a Victorian body from one of our best historians. Why did the great philosophical novelist George Eliot feel so self-conscious that her right hand was larger than her left? Exactly what made Darwin grow that iconic beard in 1862, a good five years after his contemporaries had all retired their razors? Who knew Queen Victoria had a personal hygiene problem as a young woman and the crisis that followed led to a hurried commitment to marry Albert? What did John Sell Cotman, a handsome drawing room operator who painted some of the most exquisite watercolours the world has ever seen, feel about marrying a woman whose big nose made smart people snigger? How did a working-class child called Fanny Adams disintegrate into pieces in 1867 before being reassembled into a popular joke, one we still reference today, but would stop, appalled, if we knew its origins? Kathryn Hughes follows a thickened index finger or deep baritone voice into the realms of social history, medical discourse, aesthetic practise and religious observance - its language is one of admiring glances, cruel sniggers, an implacably turned back. The result is an eye-opening, deeply intelligent, groundbreaking account that brings the Victorians back to life and helps us understand how they lived their lives.
`A must read' Gillian Flynn `Breathtaking in its scope and ambition... Keefe has produced a searing examination of the nature of truth in war and the toll taken by violence and deceit... Will take its place alongside the best of the books about the Troubles' Sunday Times One night in December 1972, Jean McConville, a mother of ten, was abducted from her home in Belfast and never seen alive again. Her disappearance would haunt her orphaned children, the perpetrators of this terrible crime and a whole society in Northern Ireland for decades. In this powerful, scrupulously reported book, Patrick Radden Keefe offers not just a forensic account of a brutal crime but a vivid portrait of the world in which it happened. The tragedy of an entire country is captured in the spellbinding narrative of a handful of characters, presented in lyrical and unforgettable detail. A poem by Seamus Heaney inspires the title: `Whatever You Say, Say Nothing'. By defying the culture of silence, Keefe illuminates how a close-knit society fractured; how people chose sides in a conflict and turned to violence; and how, when the shooting stopped, some ex-combatants came to look back in horror at the atrocities they had committed, while others continue to advocate violence even today. Say Nothing deftly weaves the stories of Jean McConville and her family with those of Dolours Price, the first woman to join the IRA as a front-line soldier, who bombed the Old Bailey when barely out of her teens; Gerry Adams, who helped bring an end to the fighting, but denied his own IRA past; Brendan Hughes, a fearsome IRA commander who turned on Adams after the peace process and broke the IRA's code of silence; and other indelible figures. By capturing the intrigue, the drama and the profound human cost of the Troubles, the book presents a searing chronicle of the lengths that people are willing to go to in pursuit of a political ideal, and the ways in which societies mend - or don't - in the aftermath of a long and bloody conflict. `A horrible, chilling tale and I'm glad someone has at last had the guts to tell it. There have been, thus far, only two good books to emerge from the Troubles. This is the third.' Jeremy Paxman
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'There was nothing extraordinary about my childhood or background. And yet I looked in vain for any aspect of my family's story when I went to university to read history, and continued to search fruitlessly for it throughout the next decade. Eventually I realised I would have to write this history myself.' What was it really like to live through the twentieth century? In 1910 three-quarters of the population were working class, but their story has been ignored until now. Based on the first-person accounts of servants, factory workers, miners and housewives, award-winning historian Selina Todd reveals an unexpected Britain where cinema audiences shook their fists at footage of Winston Churchill, communities supported strikers, and where pools winners (like Viv Nicholson) refused to become respectable. Charting the rise of the working class, through two world wars to their fall in Thatcher's Britain and today, Todd tells their story for the first time, in their own words. Uncovering a huge hidden swathe of Britain's past, The People is the vivid history of a revolutionary century and the people who really made Britain great.
'His finest work and one that was both symptom and engine of the concept of "history from below" ... Here Levellers, Diggers, Ranters, Muggletonians, the early Quakers and others taking advantage of the collapse of censorship to bid for new kinds of freedom were given centre stage ... Hill lives on' Times Higher Education In 'The World Turned Upside Down' Christopher Hill studies the beliefs of such radical groups as the Diggers, the Ranters, the Levellers and others, and the social and emotional impulses that gave rise to them. The relations between rich and poor classes, the part played by wandering 'masterless' men, the outbursts of sexual freedom, the great imaginative creations of Milton and Bunyan - these and many other elements build up into a marvellously detailed and coherent portrait of this strange, sudden effusion of revolutionary beliefs. 'Established the concept of an "English Revolution" every bit as significant and potentially as radical as its French and Russian equivalents' Daily Telegraph 'Brilliant ... marvellous erudition and sympathy' David Caute, New Statesman 'This book will outlive our time and will stand as a notable monument to the man, the committed radical scholar, and one of the finest historians of the age' The Times Literary Supplement 'The dean and paragon of English historians' E.P. Thompson
Pitkin is proud to introduce the tale of one man's ascent from relatively humble origins to international legend. To many, Walter Raleigh was a pirate, traitor, scholar, coloniser, explorer, soldier, poet, adventurer, scientist, cartographer, botanist, fashionista and Favourite of a queen. He is credited with introducing tobacco and potatoes to England. Although not everything he did resulted in success, his exploits never lacked ambition or self-confidence. He left his mark on England, parts of Europe and America.
They built a nation. Now it's our turn. Many associate the Victorian era with austere social attitudes and filthy factories. But in this bold and provocative book, Jacob Rees-Mogg -- leading Tory MP and prominent Brexit advocate -- takes up the story of twelve landmark figures to paint a very different picture of the age: one of bright ambition, bold self-belief and determined industriousness. Whether through Peel's commitment to building free trade, Palmerston's deft diplomacy in international affairs, or Pugin's uplifting architectural feats, the Victorians transformed the nation and established Britain as a preeminent global force. Now 200 years since the birth of Queen Victoria, it is essential that we remember the spirit, drive and values of the Victorians who forged modern Britain, as we consider our future as a nation.
Richard III and Henry Tudor's legendary battle: one that changed the course of English history. On the morning of 22 August 1485, in fields several miles from Bosworth, two armies faced each other, ready for battle. The might of Richard III's army was pitted against the inferior forces of the upstart pretender to the crown, Henry Tudor, a 28-year-old Welshman who had just arrived back on British soil after 14 years in exile. Yet this was to be a fight to the death - only one man could survive; only one could claim the throne. It would become one of the most legendary battles in English history: the only successful invasion since Hastings, it was the last time a king died on the battlefield. But BOSWORTH is much more than the account of the dramatic events of that fateful day in August. It is a tale of brutal feuds and deadly civil wars, and the remarkable rise of the Tudor family from obscure Welsh gentry to the throne of England - a story that began 60 years earlier with Owen Tudor's affair with Henry V's widow, Katherine of Valois. Drawing on eyewitness reports, newly discovered manuscripts and the latest archaeological evidence, Chris Skidmore vividly recreates this battle-scarred world in an epic saga of treachery and ruthlessness, death and deception and the birth of the Tudor dynasty.
Four hundred years ago, every barrister had to dance because dancing put them in harmony with the universe. John Ogilby's first job, in 1612, was to teach them. By the 1670s, he was Charles II's Royal Cosmographer, creating beautiful measured drawings that placed roads on maps for the first time. During the intervening years, Ogilby had travelled through fire and plague, war and shipwreck; had been an impresario in Dublin, a poet in London, a soldier and sea captain, as well as a secret agent, publisher and scientific geographer. The world of his youth had been blown up and turned upside down. Beset by danger, he carefully concealed his biography in codes and cyphers, which meant that the truth about his life has remained unknown... until today. In this enlightening book, Alan Ereira brings a fascinating hidden history to light, and reveals that Ogilby's celebrated Britannia is far more than a harmless road atlas: it is, rather, filled with secrets designed to serve a conspiracy of kings and England's undoing. The Nine Lives of John Ogilby is the story of a remarkable man, and of a covert journey which gave birth to the modern world.
Winston Churchill is one of the best-known and most revered figures of our time, the man who led Britain through its 'darkest hour'. The last year alone has seen two feature films of his life. Many books have been published about his life and work, but very few have looked at his life through the prism of the house he occupied for over 40 years. Chartwell is as fundamental to understanding Churchill as Hill Top is to Beatrix Potter. This Elizabethan manor - cared for by the National Trust today - was his inspiration, his refuge and his obsession. He had to rebuild the property almost from scratch after he bought it in 1922, spending money he could ill afford. Later he built a wall around the garden and several buildings by hand. `A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted,' he once said. The book's introduction features a special section telling Churchill's life through ten special and unusual objects at Chartwell. Featuring many rarely seen photographs, one previously unpublished, this beautifully illustrated book has an incisive text by respected biographer Sarah Gristwood. She traces every phase of his life - rebellious child, brave adventurer, political outcast, inspirational leader - always circling back to Chartwell, just as the great man himself did.
What did it mean to be `civilized' in Early Modern England? Keith Thomas's seminal studies Religion and the Decline of Magic, Man and the Natural World, and The Ends of Life, explored the beliefs, values and social practices of the years between 1500 and 1800. In Pursuit of Civility continues this quest by examining what the English people thought it meant to be `civilized' and how that condition differed from being `barbarous' or `savage' . Thomas shows how the upper ranks of society sought to distinguish themselves from their social inferiors by developing distinctive forms of moving, speaking and comporting themselves - and how the common people in turn developed their own forms of civility. The belief of the English in their superior civility shaped their relations with the Welsh, the Scots and the Irish. By legitimizing international trade, colonialism, slavery, and racial discrimination, it was fundamental to their dealings with the native peoples of North America, India, and Australia. Yet not everyone shared this belief in the superiority of Western civilization. In Pursuit of Civility throws light on the early origins of anti-colonialism and cultural relativism, and goes on to examine some of the ways in which the new forms of civility were resisted. With all the author's distinctive authority and brilliance - based as ever on wide reading, abounding in fresh insights, and illustrated by many striking quotations and anecdotes from contemporary sources - In Pursuit of Civility transforms our understanding of the past. In so doing, it raises important questions as to the role of manners in the modern world.
In March 1944, 76 Allied officers tunnelled out of Stalag Luft III. Of the 73 captured, 50 were shot by direct order of Hitler. This is the story of how a British Bobby from Blackpool, Frank McKenna, was sent to post-war Germany on the express orders from Churchill to bring the Gestapo murderers to justice. In a quest that ranges from the devastated, bombed out cities of Europe to the horrors of the concentrations camps, McKenna is relentless in his pursuit. A gripping read set in the aftermath of World War II.
'This beautifully produced and impressively researched historical account of a celebrated Victorian murder with a literary twist reads like a thriller. I devoured it in one sitting, and was at once enthralled and chilled. Highly recommended!' Alison Weir Early in the morning of 6 May 1840, on an ultra-respectable Mayfair street, a footman answered the door to a panic-stricken maid from a nearby house. Her elderly master, Lord William Russell, was lying in bed with his throat cut so deeply that the head was almost severed. The whole of London, from monarch to street urchins, was gripped by the gory details of the Russell murder, but behind it was another story, a work of fiction, and a fierce debate about censorship and morality. Several of the key literary figures of the day, including Dickens and Thackeray, were drawn into the controversy, and when Lord William's murderer claimed to having been inspired by the season's most sensational novel, it seemed that a great deal more was on trial than anyone could have guessed. Bringing together much previously unpublished material from a wide range of sources, Claire Harman reveals the story of the notorious Russell murder case and its fascinating connections with the writers and literary culture of the day. Gripping and eye-opening, Murder by the Book is the untold true story of a surprisingly literary crime. 'A fascinating portrait of Victorian London' Observer 'A brilliant piece of literary detective work' Evening Standard One of the Guardian's '50 Biggest Books of Autumn 2018'
'A Jilly Cooper heroine in a John le Carre world' (Libby Purves, TLS); a beguiling comic memoir about a young woman who discovers her father is a spy (and was the model for John le Carre's George Smiley) and goes to work as a secretary in 1950s MI5 Much to her surprise, eighteen-year-old Lottie has just found out that her aloof, rather unexciting father is a spy. And now he's decreed that she must make herself useful and get a Proper Job - so she's packed off to MI5 herself, trussed up in a dreary suit. Luckily her delightful colleague Arabella is on hand to enliven the torments of typing and decode the enigmas of office life. But as Lottie's home fills with actors doubling as spies, and Arabella's mother is besieged with mysterious telephone calls, the girls start to feel well and truly spooked... A hilarious true story, and a unique window into 1950s Britain - where Russian agents infiltrate the highest echelons, where debutantes are typists and where Englishness is both a nationality and a code of behaviour - MI5 and Me is a sparkling comic memoir.
'Appeasing Hitler is an astonishingly accomplished debut. Bouverie writes with a wonderful clarity and we will no doubt hear a lot more of his voice in future' ANTONY BEEVOR On a wet afternoon in September 1938, Neville Chamberlain stepped off an aeroplane and announced that his visit to Hitler had averted the greatest crisis in recent memory. It was, he later assured the crowd in Downing Street, `peace for our time'. Less than a year later, Germany invaded Poland and the Second World War began. Appeasing Hitler is a compelling new narrative history of the disastrous years of indecision, failed diplomacy and parliamentary infighting that enabled Nazi domination of Europe. Beginning with the advent of Hitler in 1933, it sweeps from the early days of the Third Reich to the beaches of Dunkirk. Bouverie takes us into the backrooms of 10 Downing Street and Parliament, where a small group of rebellious MPs, including the indomitable Winston Churchill, were among the few to realise that the only choice was between `war now or war later'. And we enter the drawing rooms and dining clubs of fading imperial Britain, where Hitler enjoyed surprising support among the ruling class and even some members of the Royal Family. Drawing on deep archival research, including previously unseen sources, this is an unforgettable portrait of the ministers, aristocrats and amateur diplomats who, through their actions and inaction, shaped their country's policy and determined the fate of Europe. Both sweeping and intimate, Appeasing Hitler is not only eye-opening history but a timeless lesson on the challenges of standing up to aggression and authoritarianism - and the calamity that results from failing to do so.
How did the most wanted man in the country outwit the greatest manhunt in British history? In January 1649, King Charles I was beheaded in London outside his palace of Whitehall and Britain became a republic. When his eldest son, Charles, returned in 1651 to fight for his throne, he was crushed by the might of Cromwell's armies at the battle of Worcester. With 3,000 of his supporters lying dead and 10,000 taken prisoner, it seemed as if his dreams of power had been dashed. Surely it was a foregone conclusion that he would now be caught and follow his father to the block? At six foot two inches tall, the prince towered over his contemporaries and with dark skin inherited from his French-Italian mother, he stood out in a crowd. How would he fare on the run with Cromwell's soldiers on his tail and a vast price on his head? The next six weeks would form the most memorable and dramatic of Charles' life. Pursued relentlessly, Charles ran using disguise, deception and relying on grit, fortitude and good luck. He suffered grievously through weeks when his cause seemed hopeless. He hid in an oak tree - an event so fabled that over 400 English pubs are named Royal Oak in commemoration. Less well-known events include his witnessing a village in wild celebrations at the erroneous news of his killing; the ordeal of a medical student wrongly imprisoned because of his similarity in looks; he disguised himself as a servant and as one half of an eloping couple. Once restored to the throne as Charles II, he told the tale of his escapades to Samuel Pepys, who transcribed it all. In this gripping, action-packed, true adventure story, based on extensive archive material, Charles Spencer, bestselling author of Killers of the King, uses Pepys's account and many others to retell this epic adventure.
An invigorating history of the arguments and cooperation between America and Britain as they divided up the world and an illuminating exploration of their underlying alliance
Throughout modern history, British and American rivalry has gone hand in hand with common interests. In this book Kathleen Burk brilliantly examines the different kinds of power the two empires have projected, and the means they have used to do it. What the two empires have shared is a mixture of pragmatism, ruthless commercial drive, a self-righteous foreign policy and plenty of naked aggression. These have been aimed against each other more than once; yet their underlying alliance against common enemies has been historically unique and a defining force throughout the twentieth century.
This is a global and epic history of the rise and fall of empires. It ranges from America's futile attempts to conquer Canada to her success in opening up Japan but rapid loss of leadership to Britain; from Britain's success in forcing open China to her loss of the Middle East to the US; and from the American conquest of the Philippines to her destruction of the British Empire. The Pax Americana replaced the Pax Britannica, but now the American world order is fading, threatening Britain's belief in her own world role.
True-life recollections from the Channel Islanders who were the only British subjects to live under Nazi rule in WWII. 'An absolutely fascinating account of life under German rule in the Channel Islands during the war. As a Guernsey girl I grew up with these stories and recognise family and friends in these pages. Duncan Barrett has done a brilliant job of reflecting the peculiar challenges that existed for those living under occupation. It is an under-told story of an extraordinary time in recent British history.' - Sarah Montague, The Today Programme presenter. **The new book from the Sunday Times bestselling author of Sugar Girls** In the summer of 1940, Britain stood perilously close to invasion. One by one, the nations of Europe had fallen to the unstoppable German Blitzkrieg, and Hitler's sights were set on the English coast. And yet, following the success of the Battle of Britain, the promised invasion never came. The prospect of German jackboots landing on British soil retreated into the realm of collective nightmares. But the spectre of what might have been is one that has haunted us down the decades, finding expression in counterfactual history and outlandish fictions. What would a British occupation have looked like? The answer lies closer to home than we think, in the experiences of the Channel Islanders - the only British people to bear the full brunt of German Occupation. For five years, our nightmares became their everyday reality. The people of Guernsey, Jersey and Sark got to know the enemy as those on the mainland never could, watching in horror as their towns and villages were suddenly draped in Swastika flags, their cinemas began showing Nazi propaganda films, and Wehrmacht soldiers goose-stepped down their highstreets. Those who resisted the regime, such as the brave men and women who set up underground newspapers or sheltered slave labourers, encountered the full force of Nazi brutality. But in the main, the Channel Islands occupation was a `model' one, a prototype for how the Fuhrer planned to run mainland Britain. As a result, the stories of the islanders are not all misery and terror. Many, in fact are rather funny - tales of plucky individuals trying to get by in almost impossible circumstances, and keeping their spirits up however they could. Unlike their compatriots on the mainland, the islanders had no Blitz to contend with, but they met the thousand other challenges the war brought with a similar indomitable spirit. The story of the Channel Islands during the war is the history that could so nearly have come to pass for the rest of us. Based on interviews with over a hundred islanders who lived through it, this book tells that story from beginning to end, opening the lid on life in Hitler's British Isles.
The extraordinary story of the British women who made the perilous journey to Jamestown, Virginia, to become wives for tobacco planters in the New Colony. In 1621, fifty-six English women crossed the Atlantic in response to the Virginia Company of London's call for maids 'young and uncorrupt' to make wives for the planters of its new colony in Virginia. The English had settled there just fourteen years previously and the company hoped to root its unruly menfolk to the land with ties of family and children. While the women travelled of their own accord, the company was in effect selling them at a profit for a bride price of 150 lbs of tobacco for each woman sold. The rewards would flow to investors in the near-bankrupt company. But what did the women want from the enterprise? Why did they agree to make the dangerous crossing to a wild and dangerous land, where six out of seven European settlers died within their first few years - from dysentery, typhoid, salt water poisoning and periodic skirmishes with the native population? And what happened to them in the end? Delving into company records and original sources on both sides of the Atlantic, Jennifer Potter tracks the women's footsteps from their homes in England to their new lives in Virginia. Giving voice to these forgotten women of America's early history, she triumphantly invites the reader to journey alongside the brides as they travel into a perilous and uncertain future.
The story of the Peterloo massacre, a defining moment in the history of British democracy, told with passion and authority.
'A superb account of one of the defining moments in modern British history' Tristram Hunt.
'Peterloo is one of the greatest scandals of British political history ... Jacqueline Riding tells this tragic story with mesmerising skill' John Bew.
'Fast-paced and full of fascinating detail' Tim Clayton.
On a hot late summer's day, a crowd of 60,000 gathered in St Peter's Field. They came from all over Lancashire – ordinary working-class men, women and children – walking to the sound of hymns and folk songs, wearing their best clothes and holding silk banners aloft. Their mood was happy, their purpose wholly serious: to demand fundamental reform of a corrupt electoral system.
By the end of the day fifteen people, including two women and a child, were dead or dying and 650 injured, hacked down by drunken yeomanry after local magistrates panicked at the size of the crowd. Four years after defeating the 'tyrant' Bonaparte at Waterloo, the British state had turned its forces against its own people as they peaceably exercised their time-honoured liberties. As well as describing the events of 16 August in shattering detail, Jacqueline Riding evokes the febrile state of England in the late 1810s, paints a memorable portrait of the reform movement and its charismatic leaders, and assesses the political legacy of the massacre to the present day.
As fast-paced and powerful as it is rigorously researched, Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre adds significantly to our understanding of a tragic staging-post on Britain's journey to full democracy.
Foreword by John Bercow In 2011 John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, instigated a series of public lectures in which current parliamentarians reassessed the careers and characters of earlier parliamentary giants and the result was a sequence of fascinating reappraisals of some of the great political lives. Many of the pieces were informed by the lecturer having worked closely with the subject, while others such as Nicholas Soames on his grandfather Winston Churchill draw on even closer personal experience. But every contribution offers fresh insights, anecdotes and a new angle. The roll-call, both of lecturers and subjects, is outstanding: Kenneth Morgan on DAVID LLOYD GEORGE, Sir Peter Tapsell on F. E. SMITH, Shirley Williams on NANCY ASTOR, Nicholas Soames on SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL, Gordon Marsden on ANEURIN BEVAN, Neil Kinnock on MICHAEL FOOT, Philip Norton on ENOCH POWELL, Douglas Hurd on IAIN MACLEOD, Andrew Adonis on ROY JENKINS, John Whittingdale on MARGARET THATCHER, Tristram Hunt on TONY BENN. A fascinating insight into the character of the great politicians.
'Full of charm' GUARDIAN
'An account of what being British means'
'Captures a country in transition ... You can't fail to be moved' THE TIMES
Kamal Ahmed's childhood was very 'British' in every way - except for the fact that he was brown. Half English, half Sudanese, he was raised at a time when being mixed-race meant being told to go home, even when you were born just down the road.
'Ahmed grew up as a mixed-race kid in west London in the seventies, and his book charts the progress (sometimes slow and now without a few setbacks along the way) that our country has made on race issues since then. Brilliant' Rohan Silva, Evening Standard
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