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With a new introduction by her biographer, Mark Bostridge. In 1914 Vera Brittain was eighteen and, as war was declared, she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life - and the life of her whole generation - had changed in a way that was unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era. TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain's account of how she survived the period; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time.
Oswald Boelcke was Germanys first ace in World War One with a total of forty victories. His character, inspirational leadership, organisational genius, development of air-to-air tactics and impact on aerial doctrine are all reasons why Boelcke remains an important figure in the history of air warfare. Paving the way for modern air forces across the world with his pioneering tactics, Boelcke had a dramatic effect on his contemporaries. The fact that he was the Red Barons mentor, instructor, squadron commander and friend demonstrates the influence he had upon the German air force. He was one of the first pilots to be awarded the famous Pour le Merite commonly recognised as the Blue Max. All of this was achieved after overcoming medical obstacles in his childhood and later life with a willpower and determination. Boelcke even gained the admiration of his enemies. After his tragic death in a midair collision, the Royal Flying Corps dropped a wreath on his funeral, and several of his victims sent another wreath from their German prison camp. His name and legacy of leadership and inspiration live on, as seen in the Luftwaffes designation of the Tactical Air Force Wing 31 Boelcke. In this definitive biography RG Head explores why Oswald Boelcke deserves consideration as the most important fighter pilot of the 20th century and beyond; but also for setting the standard in military aviation flying. This book will appeal to enthusiasts of the German air force, military aviation in general and World War One in particular.
Half a century ago, at the height of the Cold War and amidst a world economic crisis, the Western democracies were forced to undergo a profound transformation. Against what some saw as a full-scale 'crisis of democracy' - with race riots, anti-Vietnam marches and a wave of worker discontent - a new political-economic order was devised and the post-war social contract written anew. In this epic narrative of the events that have shaped our own times, Simon Reid-Henry shows how liberal democracy, and Western history with it, was profoundly re-imagined when the post-war Golden Age ended. As the institutions of liberal rule were reinvented, a new generation of politicians emerged: Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterrand, Kohl. The late twentieth-century heyday they oversaw carried the Western democracies triumphantly to victory in the Cold War, ushering in an economic boom and a new spirit of optimism by the millennium. But the war on terror and the high drama of the financial crisis in 2007/8 shone a different light upon the decisions taken to secure capitalist democracy in the 1970s, laying the basis for the anti-liberal surge of recent times: from Viktor Orban and Marine le Pen, to Brexit and Donald Trump. The present crisis of liberalism demands us to revisit these unscripted decades. The era we have lived through is closing out; democracy is turning on its axis once again. As this gripping history reminds us, the choices we make going forward require us first to understand where we have been.
- Choice 1987 Outstanding Academic Book
''She has lifted out of herself the emotional and cultural world of her childhood and represented it in scenes of startling beauty and tragedy. Few books merit being called courageous, this one does.''
Aminatta Forna's intensely personal history is a passionate and vivid account of an African childhood, of an idyll which became the stuff of nightmare. As a child she witnessed the upheavals of post-colonial Africa, danger, flight, the bitterness of exile in Britain, and the terrible consequences of her dissident father's stand against tyranny.
''Forna has written a book that is impossible to forget…This is an obsessive, driven, refreshing book about Africa, despotism and exile. It is also a beautifully drawn portrait of childhood…Teeming with life, anger, love…it is a triumph of life against the odds. And in its conclusion there is a sanity that is, simply, majestic.''
''A deeply affecting and beautifully written book which transcends the sordid story of a power-hungry, murderous and corrupt regime…It emerges defiantly as an uplifting and marvellously readable memoir.''
This monumental work, covering Kissinger's first four years (1969-1973) as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and President Nixon's closest advisor on foreign policy, is one of the most significant books to come out of the Nixon administration. Among the countless moments Kissinger recalls in White House Years are his first meeting with Nixon, his secret trip to China, the first SALT negotiations, the Jordan crisis of 1970, the India-Pakistan war of 1971, and the historic summit meetings in Moscow and Beijing in 1972. He offers insights into the Middle East conflicts, Anwar Sadat's break with the Soviet Union, the election of Salvador Allende in Chile, issues of defense strategy, and relations with Europe and Japan. Other highlights are his relationship with Nixon, brilliant portraits of major foreign leaders, and his views on handling crises and the art of diplomacy. Few men have wielded as much influence on American foreign policy as Henry Kissinger. White House Years, his own record, makes an invaluable and lasting contribution to the history of this crucial time.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 NED KELLY AWARD, DANGER PRIZE AND WAVERLEY LIBRARY NIB True history that is both shocking and too real, this unforgettable tale moves at the pace of a great crime novel. In the early hours of Saturday morning, 17 November 1923, a suitcase was found washed up on the shore of a small beach in the Sydney suburb of Mosman. What it contained - and why - would prove to be explosive. The murdered baby in the suitcase was one of many dead infants who were turning up in the harbour, on trains and elsewhere. These innocent victims were a devastating symptom of the clash between public morality, private passion and unrelenting poverty in a fast-growing metropolis. Police tracked down Sarah Boyd, the mother of the suitcase baby, and the complex story and subsequent murder trial of Sarah and her friend Jean Olliver became a media sensation. Sociologist Tanya Bretherton masterfully tells the engrossing and moving story of the crime that put Sarah and her baby at the centre of a social tragedy that still resonates through the decades.
The year was 1935: the twilight of the English aristocracy. It was a time of wealth and glamour; of lavish balls and evening gowns; of tiaras and a coronation. As personal maid to Lady Coventry, Hilda Newman had a unique insight into the leisured life of one of Britain's most noble families. In her fascinating memoir of life upstairs and down, Hilda takes us back to this period between the wars; a gilded era which would soon be dramatically changed by the Second World War. Transplanted from a tiny house with no bath or hot water to an eighteenth-century Neo-Palladian mansion, Hilda's life changed beyond recognition. But in a time when the very foundations of British society were being shaken to their core, the luxurious life of the country nobility couldn't last. The Second World War brought more turbulence with it, and Croome Court, where Hilda had lived and worked, became a haven for the Dutch Royal Family fleeing Nazi occupation, whilst also home to a top-secret RAF base. The lavish banquets and decadent parties had become a thing of the past. Hilda's story takes us back to a bygone era, showing us what life was really like in England's classic country manors of old - and uncovers the real lives of the people who occupied them, from wealthy lord to lowly servant.
A clear, chronological narrative exploring many of the ethical dilemmas posed for real people during and after the Second World War. Literature on the Second World War is voluminous. In `Moral Combat', however, Michael Burleigh achieves what few historians can claim to have done; by exploring the moral sentiment of entire societies and their leaders, and how this changed under the impact of total war, he presents readers with an entirely fresh perspective of this conflict. Opening with the 'predators' - Mussolini, Hitler, Prince Hirohito of Japan - and moving onto appeasement (a popular policy or a 'wrong' policy?), the rape of Poland, Barbarossa, the role of Churchill, and the Holocaust, Burleigh analyses the moral dimension of the Second World War's most important moments. More than merely a history of 'great men', however, Burleigh also examines the moral reasoning of individuals who had to make choices under circumstances difficult to imagine. Stressing the maxim that the past is used to make sense of the present world we live in, he takes us right up to today's war on terror - a war of competing ideas. What, in the end, will constitute its victory? Burleigh's fascinating and deeply engaging exploration refuses to draw lessons from the past for the future, remaining instead firmly focused on the on-the-spot decisions that came to define the conflict. Original, perceptive and remarkable in scope, this is an unforgettable and hugely important Second World War history.
(Previously published as 'After the Flood') Former RAF Tornado Navigator and Gulf War veteran John Nichol sets out on a personal journey to discover what happened to 617 Squadron after the flood. RAF 617 Squadron's destruction of the dams at the heart of the Ruhr made them heroes and celebrities of their time. But this elite squadron was also called upon for a hundred more of the most secret and dangerous specialist precision attacks. As bestselling author John Nichol discovers, 617 would drop the largest bombs ever built on battleships, railway bridges, secret weapon establishments, rockets sites and U-boat construction pens. They were involved in attempts on the lives of enemy leaders, both Hitler and Mussolini, created a 'false fleet' on D-day which fooled the Germans, and knocked out a German super gun which would have rained 600 shells an hour on London. Of the 77 men who made it home from dams raid, only 45 survived to see the victory for which they fought - as 617's reputation called them into action again and again.
The Unsubstantial Air is a chronicle of war that is more than a military history; it traces the lives and deaths of the young Americans who fought in the skies over Europe in World War I. Using letters, journals, and memoirs, it speaks in their voices and answers primal questions: What was it like to be there? What was it like to fly those planes, to fight, to kill? The volunteer fliers were often privileged young men. The sort of college athletes and Ivy League students who might appear in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, and sometimes did. For them, a war in the air would be like a college reunion. Others were roughnecks from farms and ranches, for whom it would all be strange. Together they would make one Air Service and fight one bitter, costly war. A wartime pilot himself, the memoirist and critic Samuel Hynes tells these young men's saga as the story of a generation. He shows how they dreamed of adventure and glory, and how they learned the realities of a pilot's life, the hardships and the danger, and how they came to know both the beauty of flight and the constant presence of death. They gasp in wonder at the world seen from a plane, struggle to keep their hands from freezing in open-air cockpits, party with actresses and aristocrats, and search for their friends' bodies on the battlefield. Their romantic war becomes more than that, it becomes a harsh but often thrilling new reality.
The Top Ten Sunday Times Bestseller 'Richly entertaining... impressively well-researched' Daily Mail, Biography of the Year 'Incisive... strongly recommend' The Times 'A study in aggressive social climbing [with] quick-moving fluency' Sunday Times 'Painstakingly researched... genuinely enthralling' Observer 'A page-turner which is also a carefully researched work of history' Spectator 'A compelling new biography...superbly researched' Daily Express 'Everything a top-notch biography should be' Budapest Times 'Well-researched, enjoyable, revealing' The Oldie ************************ The intimate story of a unique marriage that spans the heights of glamour and power to infidelity, manipulation and disaster through the heart of the 20th century. DICKIE MOUNTBATTEN: A major figure behind his nephew Philip's marriage to Queen Elizabeth II and instrumental in the Royal Family taking the Mountbatten name, he was Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia during World War II and the last Viceroy of India. EDWINA MOUNTBATTEN: Once the richest woman in Britain and a playgirl who enjoyed numerous affairs, she emerged from World War II as a magnetic and talented humanitarian worker loved around the world. From British high society to the South of France, from the battlefields of Burma to the Viceroy's House, The Mountbattens is a rich and filmic story of a powerful partnership, revealing the truth behind a carefully curated legend. Was Mountbatten one of the outstanding leaders of his generation, or a man over-promoted because of his royal birth, high-level connections, film-star looks and ruthless self-promotion? What is the true story behind controversies such as the Dieppe Raid and Indian Partition, the love affair between Edwina and Nehru, and Mountbatten's assassination in 1979? Based on over 100 interviews, research from dozens of archives and new information released under Freedom of Information requests, prize-winning historian Andrew Lownie sheds new light on this remarkable couple.
A graphic account of this long-running global drama, The Compact Guide: The Cold War is published in a new era of fear and uncertainty. It encompasses moments of high tension, such as the Berlin Crisis of 1961, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and the nuclear alerts of 1973 and 1983. At several times the world stood on the brink of nuclear Armageddon, but these dangerous moments all ended with both sides drawing back, until the long confrontation ended peacefully. Written by a leading American defence analyst, Dr Norman Friedman, The Compact Guide: The Cold War is supplemented with 60 photographs and documents that allow the reader to witness the events as they unfolded. Maps, diaries, letters and other items which, up till now, have remained filed or exhibited in the Imperial War Museum and other museum collections in Northern Europe and America include a 1963 nuclear attack protective booklet produced for homeowners by the British government and the official pack for US troops passing through Checkpoint Charlie, with practical advice on visiting Communist-controlled East Berlin.
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.
Why did Asquith take Britain to war in 1914? What did educated young men believe their role should be? What was it like to fly over the Somme battlefield? How could a trench on the front line be 'the safest place'? These compelling eye-witness accounts convey what it was really like to experience the first two years of the war up until the fall of Asquith's government, without the benefit of hindsight or the accumulated wisdom of a hundred years of discussion and writing. Using the rich manuscript resources of the Bodleian Libraries, the book features key extracts from letters and diaries of members of the Cabinet, academic and literary figures, student soldiers and a village rector. The letters of politicians reveal the strain of war leadership and throw light on the downfall of Asquith in 1916, while the experiences of the young Harold Macmillan in the trenches, vividly described in letters home, marked the beginning of his road to Downing Street. It was forbidden to record Cabinet discussions, but Lewis Harcourt's unauthorised diary provides a window on Asquith's government, complete with character sketches of some of the leading players, including Winston Churchill. Meanwhile, in one Essex village, the local rector compiled a diary to record the impact of war on his community. These fascinating contemporary papers paint a highly personal and immediate picture of the war as it happened. Fear, anger, death and sorrow are always present, but so too are idealism, excitement, humour, boredom and even beauty.
No leader of modern times was more unique and more uniquely national than Charles de Gaulle. As founder and first President of the Fifth Republic, General de Gaulle saw himself 'carrying France on my shoulders'. When he first emerged on to the world stage in 1940, his insistence that he spoke for his nation might well have appeared impossibly arrogant for a recently promoted junior general who had never been elected to anything. But he personified many of the traits of his country which fascinate the rest of the world - its pride in itself, its intransigence, its historical and cultural heritage and its quasi-religious belief in the state. Le General, as he became known from 1940 on, appeared as if carved from a single monumental block, but was, in fact, extremely complex, a man with deep personal feelings and recurrent mood swings, devoted to his family and often seeking reassurance from those around him. Though insisting on discipline and loyalty from others, he was a great rebel. A grand visionary with a vast geo-political grasp and elephantine memory, he was also a supreme tactician with a taste for secrecy and the ability to out-flank opponents. This is a magisterial, sweeping biography of one of the great leaders of the twentieth century and of the country with which he so identified himself. Written with terrific verve and narrative skill, and yet rigorous and detailed, it brings alive as never before the private man as well as the public leader through exhaustive research and astute analysis.
Doug Beattie was due to retire from the British Army in 2007, until his CO made a desperate plea: stay on for just one more tour. In March 2008 he returned to Afghanistan.But if 2006 had been hellish, then 2008 was off the scale. For six months Beattie led Afghan and British troops into repeated, exhausting battles with the Taliban. He took part in 50 major contacts and describes in detail the action-packed reality of life and death on the frontline, bringing the chaos and ferocity of the war to lfe with the utmost honesty and humanity. Gripping and moving in equal measure, this searing and personal account from the author of An Ordinary Soldier is a war memoir of the highest possible calibre.
The Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans curls around an old sugar plantation that long housed one of America's most painful secrets. Locals knew it as Carville, the site of the only leprosy colony in the continental United States, where generations of afflicted Americans were isolated-often against their will and until their deaths. Following the trail of an unexpected family connection, acclaimed journalist Pam Fessler has unearthed the lost world of the patients, nurses, doctors, and researchers at Carville who struggled for over a century to eradicate Hansen's disease, the modern name for leprosy. Amid widespread public anxiety about foreign contamination and contagion, patients were deprived of basic rights-denied the right to vote, restricted from leaving Carville, and often forbidden from contact with their own parents or children. Neighbors fretted over their presence and newspapers warned of their dangerous condition, which was seen as a biblical "curse" rather than a medical diagnosis. Though shunned by their fellow Americans, patients surprisingly made Carville more a refuge than a prison. Many carved out meaningful lives, building a vibrant community and finding solace, brotherhood, and even love behind the barbed-wire fence that surrounded them. Among the memorable figures we meet in Fessler's masterful narrative are John Early, a pioneering crusader for patients' rights, and the unlucky Landry siblings-all five of whom eventually called Carville home-as well as a butcher from New York, a 19-year-old debutante from New Orleans, and a pharmacist from Texas who became the voice of Carville around the world. Though Jim Crow reigned in the South and racial animus prevailed elsewhere, Carville took in people of all faiths, colors, and backgrounds. Aided by their heroic caretakers, patients rallied to find a cure for Hansen's disease and to fight the insidious stigma that surrounded it. Weaving together a wealth of archival material with original interviews as well as firsthand accounts from her own family, Fessler has created an enthralling account of a lost American history. In our new age of infectious disease, Carville's Cure demonstrates the necessity of combating misinformation and stigma if we hope to control the spread of illness without demonizing victims and needlessly destroying lives.
Alan Scott Haft provides the first-hand testimony of his father, Harry Haft, a holocaust victim with a singular story of endurance, desperation, and unrequited love. Harry Haft was a sixteen-year-old Polish Jew when he entered a concentration camp in 1944. Forced to fight other Jews in bare-knuckle bouts for the perverse entertainment of SS officers, Harry quickly learned that his own survival depended on his ability to fight and win. Haft details the inhumanity of the "sport" in which he must perform in brutal contests for the officers. Ultimately escaping the camp, Haft's experience left him an embittered and pugnacious young man. Determined to find freedom, Haft traveled to America and began a career as a professional boxer, quickly finding success using his sharp instincts and fierce confidence. In a historic battle, Haft fights in a match with Rocky Marciano, the future undefeated heavyweight champion of the world. Haft's boxing career takes him into the world of such boxing legends as Rocky Graziano, Roland La Starza, and Artie Levine, and he reveals new details about the rampant corruption at all levels of the sport. In sharp contrast to Elie Wiesel's scholarly, pious protagonist in Night, Harry Haft is an embattled survivor, challenging the reader's capacity to understand suffering and find compassion for an antihero whose will to survive threatens his own humanity. Haft's account, at once dispassionate and deeply absorbing, is an extraordinary story and an invaluable contribution to Holocaust literature.
This all-encompassing guide: * Includes over 600 pages of current political, economic and social affairs of the region * Provides an impartial perspective on all the countries and territories of Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia * Combines detailed analysis by acknowledged experts, the latest statistics and invaluable directory material.
'Beautifully conceived and marvellously researched. I haven't read a better book on Berlin.' Gordon A. Craig In Berlin, history is tangible. The sense of the past - of Europe, of Germany, and of the 20th-century's myths, depravities, idealism and horror - hangs in the air around the old Hinterhofs and deserted railway stations. No other city has played such a part in the tides of 20th-century European affairs. 'Faust's Metropolis' follows the rich and inspiring history of this city: from the revolutionary fervour of its teeming slums, the insufferable pomp of Imperial Berlin, and the frantic modernism of Weimar to the brutality of the Nazis and the symbolic defeat of Communism as the Wall came down. Writing superbly of Berlin's role as a crucible of change, Alexandra Richie reveals herself as an extraordinary new talent.
The lives of the three daughters of Lord Curzon: glamorous, rich, independent and wilful. Irene (born 1896), Cynthia (b.1898) and Alexandria (b.1904) were the three daughters of Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India 1898-1905 and probably the grandest and most self-confident imperial servant Britain ever possessed. After the death of his fabulously rich American wife in 1906, Curzon's determination to control every aspect of his daughters' lives, including the money that was rightfully theirs, led them one by one into revolt against their father. The three sisters were at the very heart of the fast and glittering world of the Twenties and Thirties. Irene, intensely musical and a passionate foxhunter, had love affairs in the glamorous Melton Mowbray hunting set. Cynthia ('Cimmie') married Oswald Mosley, joining him first in the Labour Party, where she became a popular MP herself, before following him into fascism. Alexandra ('Baba'), the youngest and most beautiful, married the Prince of Wales's best friend Fruity Metcalfe. On Cimmie's early death in 1933 Baba flung herself into a long and passionate affair with Mosley and a liaison with Mussolini's ambassador to London, Count Dino Grandi, while enjoying the romantic devotion of the Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax. The sisters see British fascism from behind the scenes, and the arrival of Wallis Simpson and the early married life of the Windsors. The war finds them based at 'the Dorch' (the Dorchester Hotel) doing good works. At the end of their extraordinary lives, Irene and Baba have become, rather improbably, pillars of the establishment, Irene being made one of the very first Life Peers in 1958 for her work with youth clubs.
The First World War left a legacy of chaos that is still with us a century later. Why did European leaders resort to war and why did they not end it sooner? Roger L. Ransom sheds new light on this enduring puzzle by employing insights from prospect theory and notions of risk and uncertainty. He reveals how the interplay of confidence, fear, and a propensity to gamble encouraged aggressive behavior by leaders who pursued risky military strategies in hopes of winning the war. The result was a series of military disasters and a war of attrition which gradually exhausted the belligerents without producing any hope of ending the war. Ultimately, he shows that the outcome of the war rested as much on the ability of the Allied powers to muster their superior economic resources to continue the fight as it did on success on the battlefield.
Countering notions that Hmong history begins and ends with the "Secret War" in Laos of the 1960s and 1970s, Dreams of the Hmong Kingdom reveals how the Hmong experience of modernity is grounded in their sense of their own ancient past, when this now-stateless people had their own king and kingdom, and illuminates their political choices over the course of a century in a highly contested region of Asia. China, Vietnam, and Laos, the Hmong continuously negotiated with these states and with the French to maintain political autonomy in a world of shifting boundaries, emerging nation-states, and contentious nationalist movements and ideologies. Often divided by clan rivalries, the Hmong placed their hope in finding a leader who could unify them and recover their sovereignty. In a compelling analysis of Hmong society and leadership throughout the French colonial period, Mai Na M. Lee identifies two kinds of leaders-political brokers who allied strategically with Southeast Asian governments and with the French, and messianic resistance leaders who claimed the Mandate of Heaven. The continuous rise and fall of such leaders led to cycles of collaboration and rebellion. After World War II, the powerful Hmong Ly clan and their allies sided with the French and the new monarchy in Laos, but the rival Hmong Lo clan and their supporters allied with Communist coalitions. Lee argues that the leadership struggles between Hmong clans destabilized French rule and hastened its demise. Martialing an impressive array of oral interviews conducted in the United States, France, and Southeast Asia, augmented with French archival documents, she demonstrates how, at the margins of empire, minorities such as the Hmong sway the direction of history.
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