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Far from worrying about the onset of war, in the spring of 1938 the burning question on the French Riviera was whether one should curtsey to the Duchess of Windsor. Few of those who had settled there thought much about what was going on in the rest of Europe. It was a golden, glamorous life, far removed from politics or conflict. Featuring a sparkling cast of artists, writers and historical figures including Winston Churchill, Daisy Fellowes, Salvador Dali, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Eileen Gray and Edith Wharton, with the enigmatic Coco Chanel at its heart, CHANEL'S RIVIERA is a captivating account of a period that saw some of the deepest extremes of luxury and terror in the whole of the twentieth century. From Chanel's first summer at her Roquebrune villa La Pausa (in the later years with her German lover) amid the glamour of the pre-war parties and casinos in Antibes, Nice and Cannes to the horrors of evacuation and the displacement of thousands of families during the Second World War, CHANEL'S RIVIERA explores the fascinating world of the Cote d'Azur elite in the 1930s and 1940s. Enriched with much original research, it is social history that brings the experiences of both rich and poor, protected and persecuted, to vivid life.
'A truly wonderful writer.' Peter James The stunning new novel from bestselling Elizabeth Buchan. The Museum of Broken Promises is a beautiful, evocative love story and heart-breaking journey in to a long-buried past. Paris, today. The Museum of Broken Promises is a place of wonder and sadness, hope and loss. Every object in the museum has been donated - a cake tin, a wedding veil, a baby's shoe. And each represent a moment of grief or terrible betrayal. The museum is a place where people come to speak to the ghosts of the past and, sometimes, to lay them to rest. Laure, the owner and curator, has also hidden artefacts from her own painful youth amongst the objects on display. Prague, 1985. Recovering from the sudden death of her father, Laure flees to Prague. But life behind the Iron Curtain is a complex thing: drab and grey yet charged with danger. Laure cannot begin to comprehend the dark, political currents that run beneath the surface of this communist city. Until, that is, she meets a young dissident musician. Her love for him will have terrible and unforeseen consequences. It is only years later, having created the museum, that Laure can make finally face up to her past and celebrate the passionate love which has directed her life.
Just after the iron curtain fell on Eastern Europe John Steinbeck and acclaimed war photographer, Robert Capa ventured into the Soviet Union to report for the New York Herald Tribune. This rare opportunity took the famous travellers not only to Moscow and Stalingrad - now Volgograd - but through the countryside of the Ukraine and the Caucasus. A Russian Journal is the distillation of their journey and remains a remarkable memoir and unique historical document. Steinbeck and Capa recorded the grim realities of factory workers, government clerks, and peasants, as they emerged from the rubble of World War II. This is an intimate glimpses of two artists at the height of their powers, answering their need to document human struggle
The Vikings maintain their grip on our imagination, but their image is too often distorted by medieval and modern myth. It is true that they pillaged, looted, and enslaved. But they also settled peacefully and developed a vast trading network. They traveled far from their homelands in swift and sturdy ships, not only to raid, but also to explore. Despite their fearsome reputation, the Vikings didn't wear horned helmets, and even the infamous berserkers were far from invincible.
By dismantling the myths, "The Age of the Vikings" allows the full story of this period in medieval history to be told. By exploring every major facet of this exciting age, Anders Winroth captures the innovation and pure daring of the Vikings without glossing over their destructive heritage.
He not only explains the Viking attacks, but also looks at Viking endeavors in commerce, politics, discovery, and colonization, and reveals how Viking arts, literature, and religious thought evolved in ways unequaled in the rest of Europe. He shows how the Vikings seized on the boundless opportunities made possible by the invention of the longship, using it to venture to Europe for plunder, to open new trade routes, and to settle in lands as distant as Russia, Greenland, and the Byzantine Empire. Challenging the image of the Vikings that comes so easily to mind, Winroth argues that Viking chieftains were no more violent than men like Charlemagne, who committed atrocities on a far greater scale than the northern raiders.
Drawing on a wealth of written, visual, and archaeological evidence, "The Age of the Vikings" sheds new light on the complex society and culture of these legendary seafarers.
Published in the 200th Anniversary year of the Battle of Waterloo a witty look at how the French still think they won, by Stephen Clarke, author of 1000 Years of Annoying the French and A Year in the Merde. Two centuries after the Battle of Waterloo, the French are still in denial. If Napoleon lost on 18 June 1815 (and that's a big 'if'), then whoever rules the universe got it wrong. As soon as the cannons stopped firing, French historians began re-writing history. The Duke of Wellington was beaten, they say, and then the Prussians jumped into the boxing ring, breaking all the rules of battle. In essence, the French cannot bear the idea that Napoleon, their greatest-ever national hero, was in any way a loser. Especially not against the traditional enemy - les Anglais. Stephen Clarke has studied the French version of Waterloo, as told by battle veterans, novelists, historians - right up to today's politicians, and he has uncovered a story of pain, patriotism and sheer perversion ...
'Catherine Bailey has the great gift of bringing to life personal histories . . . Wonderfully paced and wholly satisfying' Kate Atkinson ___________________________________________________________ Berlin, September 1944. Ulrich von Hassell, former ambassador to Italy and a key member of the German Resistance, is executed for his part in an assassination plot against Hitler. In response to the attack, Himmler, leader of the SS, orders the arrest of all the families of the plotters. In a remote castle in Italy, von Hassell's beloved daughter, Fey, is discovered just when she thought she had escaped the Nazi net. She is arrested and her two sons, aged three and two are seized by the SS. Fey has no idea of her children's fate as she is dragged away on a terrifying journey to the darkest corners of a Europe savaged by war. Moving from a palazzo in the heart of the Italian countryside to the horrors of Buchenwald, Catherine Bailey tells an extraordinary story of resistance at the heart of the Second World War. The Lost Boys is an illuminating and devastating account of great personal sacrifice, of loss and, above all, of defiance. ___________________________________________________________ 'Catherine Bailey demonstrates a truly remarkable ability to intertwine searing family histories with great historical events' Andrew Roberts
*WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2018* 'As moving as it is painstakingly researched. . . a cracking read' Viv Groskop, Observer On 26 April 1986 at 1.23am a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. While the authorities scrambled to understand what was occurring, workers, engineers, firefighters and those living in the area were abandoned to their fate. The blast put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation, contaminating over half of Europe with radioactive fallout. In Chernobyl, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy draws on recently opened archives to recreate these events in all their drama. A moment by moment account of the heroes, perpetrators and victims of a tragedy, Chernobyl is the first full account of a gripping, unforgettable Cold War story. 'A compelling history of the 1986 disaster and its aftermath . . . plunges the reader into the sweaty, nervous tension of the Chernobyl control room on that fateful night when human frailty and design flaws combined to such devastating effect' Daniel Beer, Guardian 'Haunting ... near-Tolstoyan. His voice is humane and inflected with nostalgia' Roland Elliott Brown, Spectator 'Extraordinary, vividly written, powerful storytelling ... the first full-scale history of the world's worst nuclear disaster, one of the defining moments in the Cold War, told minute by minute' Victor Sebestyen Sunday Times 'Plays out like a classical tragedy ... fascinating' Julian Evans, Daily Telegraph 'Here at last is the monumental history the disaster deserves' Julie McDowall, The Times
In 1942, the United States War Department distributed a handbook to American servicemen that advised them on the peculiarities of the "British, their country, and their ways."
Over sixty years later, this newly published reproduction from the rich archives of the Bodleian Library offers a fascinating glimpse into American military preparations for World War II. The guide was intended to alleviate the culture shock for soldiers taking their first trip to Great Britain, or, for that matter, abroad. The handbook is punctuated with endearingly nostalgic advice and refreshingly candid quips such as: "The British don't know how to make a good cup of coffee. You don't know how to make a good cup of tea. It's an even swap."
By turns hilarious and poignant, many observations featured in the handbook remain relevant even today. Reproduced in a style reminiscent of the era, "Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain" is a powerfully evocative war-time memento that offers a unique perspective on the longstanding American-British relationship and reveals amusingly incisive American perceptions of the British character and country.
*** WINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR 2018 *** ***WINNER OF THE SLIGHTLY FOXED BEST FIRST BIOGRAPHY PRIZE 2018*** 'A masterpiece of history and memoir' Evening Standard 'Superb. This is a necessary book - painful, harrowing, tragic, but also uplifting' The Times Little Lien wasn't taken from her Jewish parents in the Hague - she was given away in the hope that she might be saved. Hidden and raised by a foster family in the provinces during the Nazi occupation, she survived the war only to find that her real parents had not. Much later, she fell out with her foster family, and Bart van Es - the grandson of Lien's foster parents - knew he needed to find out why. His account of tracing Lien and telling her story is a searing exploration of two lives and two families. It is a story about love and misunderstanding and about the ways that our most painful experiences - so crucial in defining us - can also be redefined. 'Luminous, elegant, haunting - I read it straight through' Philippe Sands, author of East West Street 'Deeply moving. Writes with an almost Sebaldian simplicity and understatement' Guardian
WINNER OF THE 2013 SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION WINNER OF THE 2013 DUFF COOPER PRIZE WINNER OF THE POLITICAL BOOK AWARDS POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY OF THE YEAR 2014 WINNER OF THE 2013 COSTA BOOK AWARDS BIOGRAPHY OF THE YEAR The story of Gabriele D'Annunzio, poet, daredevil - and Fascist. In September 1919 Gabriele D'Annunzio, successful poet and occasional politician, declared himself Commandante of the city of Fiume in modern day Croatia. His intention - to establish a utopia based on his fascist and artistic ideals. It was the dramatic pinnacle to an outrageous career. Lucy Hughes-Hallett charts the controversial life of D'Annunzio, the debauched artist who became a national hero. His evolution from idealist Romantic to radical right-wing revolutionary is a political parable. Through his ideological journey, culminating in the failure of the Fiume endeavour, we witness the political turbulence of early 20th century Europe and the emergence of fascism. In `The Pike', Hughes-Hallett addresses the cult of nationalism and the origins of political extremism - and at the centre of the book stands the charismatic D'Annunzio: a figure as deplorable as he is fascinating.
Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, The Battle of Trafalgar is an accessible and authoritative introduction to the battle that marked the defeat of Napoleon's plans to invade Britain. Written by the leading lights and most outstanding communicators in their fields, the Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history and culture. For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.
The Sunday Times Number 1 Bestseller `A fabulous story, superbly told ... cannot be bettered' Max Hastings `Some battles change nothing. Waterloo changed almost everything.' On the 18th June 1815 the armies of France, Britain and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days the French army had beaten the British at Quatre-Bras and the Prussians at Ligny. The Allies were in retreat. The blood-soaked battle of Waterloo would become a landmark in European history, to be examined over and again, not least because until the evening of the 18th, the French army was close to prevailing on the battlefield. Now, brought to life by the celebrated novelist Bernard Cornwell, this is the chronicle of the four days leading up to the actual battle and a thrilling hour-by-hour account of that fateful day. In his first work of non-fiction, Cornwell combines his storytelling skills with a meticulously researched history to give a riveting account of every dramatic moment, from Napoleon's escape from Elba to the smoke and gore of the battlefields. Through letters and diaries he also sheds new light on the private thoughts of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington, as well as the ordinary officers and soldiers. Published to coincide with the bicentenary in 2015, Waterloo is a tense and gripping story of heroism and tragedy - and of the final battle that determined the fate of Europe.
Forgotten is an extraordinary blend of military and social history - a story that pays tribute to the valour of an all-black battalion whose crucial contributions at D-Day have gone unrecognised to this day. In the early hours of June 6, 1944, the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, a unit of African-American soldiers, landed on the beaches of France. Their orders were to man a curtain of armed balloons meant to deter enemy aircraft. One member of the 320th would be nominated for the Medal of Honor, an award he would never receive. The nation's highest decoration was not given to black soldiers in the Second World War. Drawing on newly uncovered military records and dozens of original interviews with surviving members of the 320th and their families, Linda Hervieux tells the story of these heroic men. In England and Europe, they discovered freedom they had not known in a homeland that treated them as second-class citizens - experiences they carried back to America, fuelling the budding civil rights movement. In telling the story of the Battalion, Hervieux offers a vivid account of the tension between racial politics and national service in wartime America, and a moving narrative of human bravery and perseverance in the face of injustice.
In this account of the origins of World War II, Taylor provides a narrative of the years and events preceding Hitler's invasion of Poland on 1st of September 1939.
Stunning stories about what it was like to be a Soviet child during the upheaval and horror of the Second World War, from Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich I finished first grade in May of 41, and my parents took me for the summer to the Pioneer camp. I came there, went for a swim once, and two days later the war began. German planes flew over, and we shouted "Hurray!" We didn't understand that they could be enemy planes. Until they began to bomb us... Then all colours disappeared. All shades. What did it mean to grow up in the Soviet Union during the Second World War? In the late 1970s, Svetlana Alexievich started interviewing people who had experienced war as children, the generation that survived and had to live with the trauma that would forever change the course of the Russian nation. With remarkable care and empathy, Alexievich gives voice to those whose stories are lost in the official narratives, uncovering a powerful, hidden history of one of the most important events of the twentieth century. Published to great acclaim in the USSR in 1985 and now available in English for the first time, this masterpiece offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human consequences of the war - and an extraordinary chronicle of the Russian soul.
Migrants have stood at the heart of modern Europe's experience, whether trying to escape danger, to find a better life or as a result of deliberate policy, whether moving from the countryside to the city, or between countries, or from outside the continent altogether. Peter Gatrell's powerful new book is the first to bring these stories together into one place. He creates a compelling narrative bracketed by two nightmarish periods: the great convulsions following the fall of the Third Reich and the mass attempts in the 2010s by migrants to cross the Mediterranean into Europe. The Unsettling of Europe is a new history of the continent, charting the ever-changing arguments about the desirability or otherwise of migrants and their central role in Europe's post-1945 prosperity. Gatrell is as fascinating on the giant movements of millions (such as the epic waves of German migration) to that of much smaller groups, such as the Karelians, Armenians, Moluccans or Ugandan Asians. Above all he has written a book that makes the reader deeply aware of the many extraordinary journeys taken by countless individuals in pursuit of work, safety and dignity, all the time. This is a landmark book on a subject that, decade by decade, will always haunt Europe.
"We Greeks are one in blood and one in language; we have temples to the gods and religious rites in common, and a common way of life." Herodotus Throughout the course of ancient Greek civilization, there always existed a sense of shared culture among the many Greek communities scattered throughout the Mediterranean. During the Classical (479-338) and Hellenistic (338-30) periods, the countless individual poleis of the Archaic period gradually came together in leagues and alliances, and finally were more or less united when they fell under the Roman empire. But what is fascinating about this process is how much resistance there was to it. The Greeks found it impossible to unify when faced with common enemies. Even under Roman rule the Greek cities still bickered. Acts of union - going back to the legendary Trojan War - were widely celebrated, but made little practical difference. If the Greeks knew that they were kin, why is Greek history so often the history of their internecine wars and other forms of competition with one another? This is the question acclaimed historian Robin Waterfield sets out to explore in Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens. This extraordinary contradiction - the recognition that they were all Greeks, but the deep-seated reluctance to unify - is at the heart of this ambitious new history. The culmination of a lifetime of research, Waterfield gives a comprehensive account of seven hundred years, from the emergence of the Greeks around 750 BCE to the downfall of the last of the Greco-Macedonian kingdoms in 30 BCE, looking at political, military, social, and cultural history.
'We lived on a bunk built for four but in times of overcrowding, it slept seven and at times even eight. There was so little space on the berth that when one of us wanted to ease his hip, we all had to turn in a tangle of legs and chests and hollow bellies as if we were one many-limbed creature, a Hindu god or a centipede. We grow intimate not only in body but also in mind because we knew that though we were not born of one womb, we would certainly die together.'
Alex Ehren is poet, a prisoner and a teacher in block 31 in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the children’s block. He spends his days trying to survive while illegally giving lessons to his young charges while shielding them as best he can from the impossible horrors of the camp. But trying to teach the children is not the only illicit activity that Alex is in
volved in. Alex is keeping a diary…
Originally published as THE PAINTED WALL, Otto Kraus’s autobiographical novel, tells the true story of 500 Jewish children who lived in the Czech Family Camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau between September 1943 and June 1944.
A wartime romance, survival saga and murder mystery set in rural France during the First World War, from the bestselling author of `Operation Mincemeat' and `Agent Zig-Zag'. Four young British soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines at the height of the fighting on the Western Front in August 1914. Unable to get back to their units, they shelter in the tiny French village of Villeret, where they are fed, clothed and protected by the villagers, including the local matriarch Madame Dessenne, the baker and his wife. The self-styled leader of the band of fugitives, Private Robert Digby, falls in love with the 20-year-old-daughter of one of his protectors, and in November 1915 she gives birth to a baby girl. The child is just six months old when someone betrays the men to the Germans. They are captured, tried as spies and summarily condemned to death. Using the testimonies of the daughter, the villagers, detailed town hall records and, most movingly, the soldiers' last letters, Ben Macintyre reconstructs an extraordinary story of love, duplicity and shame - ultimately seeking to discover through decades of village rumour the answer to the question, `Who betrayed Private Digby and his men?' In this new updated edition the mystery is finally solved.
Patrick Bishop looks at the lives and the extraordinary risks that the painfully young pilots of Bomber Command took during the air-offensive against Germany from 1940-1945. As featured on the BBC 1 documentary BOMBER BOYS, presented by Ewan McGregor. They came from every corner of Britain and its Empire. They were the best of their generation...heading for one of the worst tasks of WWII. Like RAF pilots, the thousands of brave young men who joined Bomber Command took to the air to help Britain triumph in World War Two. But in the glow of victory, the fighter pilots were lauded for their efforts while the Bomber Boys faded in national memory. Crucial in the heat of combat, they were politically awkward afterwards. Yet with an average life expectancy shorter than that of soldiers on the Western front in WWI, these men faced death, injury and capture time and again to send bombs through the shrieking flak onto enemy territory. `Bomber Boys' is a tribute to their strength, courage and heroism - filling in the historical blanks and immortalising their memory.
From best-selling author of `A Brilliant Little Operation', winner of the British Army Military History prize and the Royal marines History prize for 2013, comes the long neglected D-Day story of the Resistance uprising and subsequent massacre on the Vercors massif - the largest action by the French Resistance during the Second World War. In 1941 factions of the French Resistance began to plot against their German occupiers. Aided by Allied arms and secret agents, they would seize the mountainous Vercors plateau in south-eastern France in a D-Day uprising intended to divert the Nazis from the Normandy beaches. But when muddled Allied strategy in London and Algiers left them abandoned, the 4,500 young fighters were left to face the might of the German Army alone. `The Cruel Victory' gives voice to the young fighters who fought the largest Resistance battle of the war. It is a story of how early idealism can turn to despair, and of the cost to those on the front line of battle when those at the top know too little about the harsh realities of war. It is a human story of heroic proportion.
"Don't be too ready to listen to stories told by attractive women.
They may be acting under orders." This was only one of the many
warnings given to the 30,000 British troops preparing to land in
the enemy territory of Nazi Germany nine-and-a-half months after
D-Day. The newest addition to the Bodleian Library's bestselling
series of wartime pamphlets, "Instructions for British Servicemen
in Germany, 1944" opens an intriguing window into the politics and
military stratagems that brought about the end of World War
Since its initial publication in 1973, Hayden White's Metahistory has remained an essential book for understanding the nature of historical writing. In this classic work, White argues that a deep structural content lies beyond the surface level of historical texts. This latent poetic and linguistic content-which White dubs the "metahistorical element"-essentially serves as a paradigm for what an "appropriate" historical explanation should be. To support his thesis, White analyzes the complex writing styles of historians like Michelet, Ranke, Tocqueville, and Burckhardt, and philosophers of history such as Marx, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Croce. The first work in the history of historiography to concentrate on historical writing as writing, Metahistory sets out to deprive history of its status as a bedrock of factual truth, to redeem narrative as the substance of historicality, and to identify the extent to which any distinction between history and ideology on the basis of the presumed scientificity of the former is spurious. This fortieth-anniversary edition includes a new preface in which White explains his motivation for writing Metahistory and discusses how reactions to the book informed his later writing. In a new foreword, Michael S. Roth, a former student of White's and the current president of Wesleyan University, reflects on the significance of the book across a broad range of fields, including history, literary theory, and philosophy. This book will be of interest to anyone-in any discipline-who takes the past as a serious object of study.
`Louis Napoleon's story is certainly remarkable. Alan Strauss-Schom tells it with brio in The Shadow Emperor... This is a boldly revisionist biography... For all the corruption and repression that marked his reign, Louis Napoleon may have done more for France than his famous uncle.' (Alan Massie, Wall Street Journal) This is the definitive biography, and the first in twenty years, of Louis-Napoleon III, whose controversial achievements have notoriously divided historians. Here, pre-eminent Napoleon Bonaparte expert and Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian Alan Strauss-Schom focuses on his successor Louis-Napoleon, overshadowed for too long by his more romanticized forebear. Strauss-Schom employs years of primary source research to explore the massive cultural, social, economical, financial, international, and military impact of France's most polarizing emperor. Louis-Napoleon completely revolutionized the state and the economy, but amid gross financial scandals. His expansion of the French Empire was praised by the French military and resisted by the socialists. He expanded the railways to rival England's; created new transoceanic steamship lines and a modern navy; introduced a new banking sector supported by seemingly unlimited venture capital; and even oversaw the creation of the first large department stores. Napoleon III wanted to surpass the legacy of his famous uncle, Napoleon I. In The Shadow Emperor, Alan StraussSchom sets out his true legacy.
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