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Our best European history books will tell you all about Europe's past and its most incredible achievements and discoveries, as well as the conflicts the continent has been involved in.

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European History Books

Our best European history books will tell you all about Europe's past and its most incredible achievements and discoveries, as well as the conflicts the continent has been involved in.

  • Clearance
    SPIG

    Secret Pigeon Service (Hardback)

    Gordon Corera

    (1) Hand-picked favourites
    BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera reveals the story of MI14 and the Secret Pigeon Service during the Second World War for the first time in this compelling read.

    Using extensive original research and declassified documents, he reveals the inner workings of 'Columba' - an operation that saw 16,000 plucky homing pigeons dropped in an arc from Bourdeaux to Copenhagen in an effort to bring back intelligence from those living under Nazi occupation.

    The messages came flooding back from France, the Netherlands and Belgium - all written on tiny pieces of rice paper that has been tucked into canisters and tied to the legs of the birds - and these authentic missives ranged from the comic to the tragic and occasionally invaluable, giving the British Intelligence advance notice of German troop movements, weapons and more.

    Corera also looks at the people behind this mission, not many of whom were trained agents or experienced in spying. He focuses in particular on the Leopold Vindictive network, a small group of Belgian villagers - led by priest Joseph Raskin - who were always prepared to risk everything. This is a powerful and tragic tale of wartime espionage that looks at a quirky and quarrelsome band of spy masters and their unique operations.
    • £5.99
    • RRP £20.00
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  • LZPC

    History of London Collection - 3 Books (Collection)

    Hand-picked favourites
    Covering the Victorian and Elizabethan eras alongside Dr. Johnson's time, these three books from Liza Picard provide a vivid social history of London through the ages.

    Victorian London covers everything from rag-gatherers to royalty and fish knives to freemasons as it explains how ordinary people lived in this important time; Elizabeth's London starts by focusing on the River Thames and its role in the city's history. It then moves on to describe the streets, houses and gardens that were popular during this time.

    Dr. Johnson's London focuses on the years between 1740 and 1770, when the gin craze was just starting to gain ground. She also looks back at the clothes, hobbies, houses and etiquette of the era.

    Format: Paperback
    • £8.99
    • RRP £38.97
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  • WHKG

    White King (Hardback)

    Leanda de Lisle

    Hand-picked favourites
    As the man in charge at the time the nation entered the Civil War, Charles I's reign is one of the most dramatic in history. However, Charles as a man was an elusive individual. He is often regarded as weak and his wife, Henrietta Maria, as spoilt but Leanda de Lisle's thoroughly researched biography reveals him to be principled and brave but also blinkered.

    Charles I is revealed to be a complex man who pays the price for bringing radical change; Henrietta Maria a warrior queen and political player as impressive as any Tudor. This book also focuses on the cousins who befriended and betrayed the royal couple - the peacocking Henry Holland, whose brother engineered the king's fall and the 'last Boleyn girl' Lucy Carlisle.

    This is an almost unbelievable story that ties in everything from populist politicians and religious war to a new media and reshaping of the nation where women vied with men for power.
    • £6.99
    • RRP £20.00
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  • BTXIO

    Chernobyl (Paperback)

    Serhii Plokhy

    Award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy's Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy is the winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2018. It's a must-read for anyone with an interest in modern history and those who have been compelled - and shocked - by the stunning Sky Atlantic TV series Chernobyl starring Jared Harris.

    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 - and the blast put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation.

    This book draws on recently opened archives to recreate events in all their drama, providing a moment-by-moment account of the heroes, perpetrators and victims of the Cold War tragedy.
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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  • BXZSF

    The Quest for Queen Mary (Paperback)

    James Pope-Hennessy

    'A scary portrait of put-upon servants and potty aristos ... this is arguably the most riotously funny volume published this year' Max Hastings, Sunday Times 'One of the funniest, most eccentric books of the year' Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday When James Pope-Hennessy began his work on Queen Mary's official biography, it opened the door to meetings with royalty, court members and retainers around Europe. The series of candid observations, secrets and indiscretions contained in his notes were to be kept private for 50 years. Now published in full for the first time and edited by the highly admired royal biographer Hugo Vickers, this is a riveting, often hilarious portrait of the eccentric aristocracy of a bygone age. Giving much greater insight into Queen Mary than the official version, and including sharply observed encounters with, among others, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the Duke of Gloucester, and a young Queen Elizabeth, The Quest for Queen Mary is set to be a classic of royal publishing.
    • £8.79
    • RRP £10.99
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  • BWGVV

    IWM D-Day (Hardback)

    Richard Holmes

    D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history, took place on 6 June 1944. The subsequent battle of Normandy involved over a million men, and helped seal the fate of The Third Reich. This is a graphic account of the planning and execution of Operation Overlord, as well as the campaign which effectively destroyed the German forces in France, opening the way for the Allied advance. Including a wealth of superb photographs and maps, the book also contains 30 facsimile items of rare memorabilia, including diaries, letters and memos, as well as an audio CD containing 72 minutes of veteran interviews, bringing this 'Day of Days' dramatically to life.
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
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  • AWQHD

    A People's Tragedy (Paperback)

    Orlando Figes

    Unrivalled in scope and brimming with human drama, A People's Tragedy is the most vivid, moving and comprehensive history of the Russian Revolution available today. "A modern masterpiece". (Andrew Marr). "The most moving account of the Russian Revolution since Doctor Zhivago". (Independent). Opening with a panorama of Russian society, from the cloistered world of the Tsar to the brutal life of the peasants, A People's Tragedy follows workers, soldiers, intellectuals and villagers as their world is consumed by revolution and then degenerates into violence and dictatorship. Drawing on vast original research, Figes conveys above all the shocking experience of the revolution for those who lived it, while providing the clearest and most cogent account of how and why it unfolded. Illustrated with over 100 photographs and now including a new introduction that reflects on the revolution's centennial legacy, A People's Tragedy is a masterful and definitive record of one of the most important events in modern history.
    • £15.89
    • RRP £20.00
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  • AELVF

    The Diary of a Young Girl (Paperback)

    Anne Frank

    This is the 70th anniversary edition. In the summer of 1942, fleeing the horrors of the Nazi occupation, Anne Frank and her family were forced into hiding in the back of an Amsterdam warehouse. Aged thirteen when she went into the secret annexe, Anne kept a diary in which she confided her innermost thoughts and feelings, movingly revealing how the eight people living under these extraordinary conditions coped with the daily threat of discovery and death, being cut off from the outside world, petty misunderstandings and the unbearable strain of living like prisoners. An intimate record of tension and struggle, adolescence and confinement, anger and heartbreak, this is the definitive edition of the diary of Anne Frank.
    • £7.89
    • RRP £8.99
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  • BXGJX

    Escape (Paperback)

    Barbie Probert-Wright

    Two sisters. One extraordinary true story. Germany, 1945. Trapped between advancing armies, stranded hundreds of miles from their mother, and with their father missing in action, sisters Barbie and Eva were confronted with an impossible choice. Should they stay and face invasion or risk their lives to find their mother? Together, they set out on a perilous three-hundred mile journey on foot across a country ravaged by war. Fuelled by courage and love, Eva and seven-year-old Barbie encounter incredible hardship, extraordinary bravery, and overwhelming generosity. Against all odds, they both survived. But neither sister came out of the journey unscathed . . . This is the powerful true story of their escape.
    • £6.39
    • RRP £7.99
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  • BUQBL

    D-Day and the Campaign Across France (Paperback)

    Jay Wertz

    The Normandy Landing, Cross Channel Invasion, Operation Overlord - the World War II event known by all these names, but most commonly referred to simply as D-Day, is the best known of all the war's pivotal moment. Seventy-five years after its occurrence, Monroe Publications and World War II Comix are pleased to present the story of D-Day as a graphic history. This 24-page work takes the form of a modern comic book, with cutting edge graphics and the most up to date factual analysis of the campaign. Also includes an episode of the serialized graphic novel Separated by War. For ages 10 and above.
    • £3.59
    • RRP £3.95
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  • AELVP

    The Diary of a Young Girl (Paperback)

    Anne Frank

    This is the 70th Anniversary Edition. In the summer of 1942, fleeing the horrors of the Nazi occupation, Anne Frank and her family were forced into hiding in the back of an Amsterdam warehouse. Aged thirteen when she went into the secret annexe, Anne kept a diary in which she confided her innermost thoughts and feelings, movingly revealing how the eight people living under these extraordinary conditions coped with the daily threat of discovery and death, being cut off from the outside world, petty misunderstandings and the unbearable strain of living like prisoners. An intimate record of tension and struggle, adolescence and confinement, anger and heartbreak, this is the definitive edition of the diary of Anne Frank.
    • £7.89
    • RRP £8.99
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  • BYHXY

    Promise Me You'll Shoot Yourself (Hardback)

    Florian Huber

    The German bestseller on the final days of Nazi Germany One of the last untold stories of the Third Reich is that of the extraordinary wave of suicides, carried out not just by much of the Nazi leadership, but by thousands of ordinary Germans, in the war's closing period. Some of these were provoked by straightforward terror in the face of advancing Soviet troops or by personal guilt, but many could not be explained in such relatively straightforward terms. Florian Huber's remarkable book, a bestseller in Germany, confronts this terrible phenomenon. Other countries have suffered defeat, but not responded in the same way. What drove whole families, who in many cases had already withstood years of deprivation, aerial bombing and deaths in battle, to do this? In a brilliantly written, thoughtful and original work, Huber sees the entire project of the Third Reich as a sequence of almost overwhelming emotions and scenes for many Germans. He describes some of the key events which shaped the period from the First World War to the end of the Second, showing how the sheer intensity, allure and ferocity of Hitler's regime swept along millions. Its sudden end was, for many of them, simply impossible to absorb.
    • £16.00
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  • BXNED

    The Bayeux Tapestry (Paperback)

    Sylvette Lemagnen

    The Bayeux Tapestry is one of the most important works of art in the world. Even without visiting the tapestry itself in the museum dedicated to it, we are all familiar with at least one illustration drawn from one of the 58 scenes that compose it. Visitors to the tapestry are often surprised by its length, its vivacity and its colours. It inspires passion in everybody who sees it - nobody can remain insensitive to a 950 year old story told in pictures accompanied by a Latin text.
    • £5.20
    • RRP £6.50
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  • BWMCP

    Defending the Rock (Paperback)

    Nicholas Rankin

    Two months before he shot himself, Adolf Hitler saw where it had all gone wrong. By failing to seize Gibraltar in the summer of 1940, he had lost the war. The Rock of Gibraltar, a pillar of British seapower since 1704, looked formidable but was extraordinarily vulnerable. Menaced on all sides by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Vichy France and Francoist Spain, Gibraltar also had to let thousands of foreigners across its frontier to work every day. Among them came spies and saboteurs, eager to blow up the Rock's twenty five miles of secret tunnels. Nicholas Rankin's revelatory book, whose cast of characters includes Haile Selassie, Anthony Burgess and General Sikorski, sets Gibraltar in the wider context of the struggle against Fascism, from Italy's invasion of Abyssinia, through the Spanish Civil War, to the end of the Second World War.
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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  • BWILV

    Days in the Caucasus (Hardback)

    Banine

    We all know families that are poor but 'respectable'. Mine, in contrast, was extremely rich but not 'respectable' at all... Banine's family were peasants who became millionaires overnight when oil gushed from their lands - and the course of her own life would be just as dramatic. This is her unforgettable memoir of an 'odd, rich, exotic' childhood, growing up in Azerbaijan in the turbulent early twentieth century, caught between east and west, tradition and modernity. She remembers her luxurious home, with endless feasts of sweets and fruit; her beloved, flaxen-haired German governess; her imperious, swearing, strict Muslim grandmother; her bickering, poker-playing, chain-smoking relatives. She recalls how the Bolsheviks came, and they lost everything. How, amid revolution and bloodshed, she fell passionately in love, only to be forced into marriage with a man she loathed - until the chance of escape arrived. By turns gossipy and romantic, wry and moving, Days in the Caucasus is a coming of age story and a portrait of a vanished world. It shows what it means to leave the past behind, yet how it haunts us.
    • £13.59
    • RRP £16.99
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  • BWIFR

    Behind Enemy Lines With the SAS (Paperback)

    Paul McCue

    Amde Maingard was a young Mauritian studying in London in 1939 who volunteered for the British Army. After a frustrating spell in the infantry, Maingard joined the Special Operations Executive (SOE), He parachuted into occupied France in 1943 to join the Stationer circuit, initially as radio operator but soon was second-in-command in the circuit, arranging the delivery of weapons, supplies and personnel to the Resistance. After a years clandestine work, he narrowly escaped the fate of his organiser who was, captured by the Germans in May 1944\. Undeterred, Maingard developed his own Shipwright circuit in time to support the Forces Franaises de lIntrieure (FFI) and the arrival of fifty-five men of 1st SAS Regiment for the ill-fated Operation BULBASKET shortly after D-Day. Somehow managing to keep the peace among the Gaullists, communists, British and Americans fighting for the French common cause, Maingard continued his vital work until the liberation of central France, earning recognition from both the British and French governments. He went onto play a leading role in Mauritius. Behind Enemy Lines With the SAS is more than a story of great bravery and dedication to duty in wartime. Maingard returned to Mauritius and was instrumental in developing the islands tourism and hotel industry. Founder and first Chairman of Air Mauritius, he became one of his countrys most successful post-war businessmen before illness cut short his ambition and he died in 1981 at the age of 62. Readers will be grateful to Amde Maingards biographer for making this remarkable mans achievements in peace and war better known.
    • £10.39
    • RRP £12.99
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  • BUNLO

    The Diary of a Young Girl (Paperback)

    Anne Frank

    Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is an inspiring and tragic account of an ordinary life lived in extraordinary circumstances that has enthralled readers for generations. This Penguin Classics edition is edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler, translated by Susan Massotty, and includes an introduction by Elie Wiesel, author of Night. 'June, 1942: I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.' In Amsterdam, in the summer of 1942, the Nazis forced teenager Anne Frank and her family into hiding. For over two years, they, another family and a German dentist lived in a 'secret annexe', fearing discovery. All that time, Anne kept a diary. Since its publication in 1947, Anne Frank's diary has been read by tens of millions of people. This Definitive Edition restores substantial material omitted from the original edition, giving us a deeper insight into Anne Frank's world. Her curiosity about her emerging sexuality, the conflicts with her mother, her passion for Peter, a boy whose family hid with hers, and her acute portraits of her fellow prisoners reveal Anne as more human, more vulnerable and more vital than ever. 'One of the greatest books of the twentieth century' Guardian 'A modern classic' Julia Neuberger, The Times
    • £7.49
    • RRP £8.99
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  • BSXYC

    Olympia (Hardback)

    Robin Waterfield

    In the northwestern corner of the great peninsula of the Peloponnese, close to the meeting point of the Cladeus and Alpheus rivers, lies a peaceful river valley overlooked by the steep-sided Hill of Cronus. Here, between the eighth century BCE and the fourth century CE, rival athletes competed for glory in the ancient Olympic Games. Every four years, and from every corner of the Mediterranean world - from Samos to Syracuse and from Sparta to Smyrna - they descended on this quiet corner of southern Greece sacred to Zeus, seeking to excel in disciplines as diverse as sprinting, boxing, wrestling, trumpet blowing and chariot and mulecart racing. The victors of these ancient games may have been awarded crowns of olive leaves in recognition of their achievements, but these original Olympics were no idealistic celebration of the classical aesthetic of grace and beauty shared by all of the participating Greek city-states, but often a bitterly contested struggle between political rivals. Robin Waterfield paints a vivid picture of the reality of the ancient Olympic Games; describes the events in which competitors took part; explores their purpose, rituals and politics; and charts the vicissitudes of their remarkable thousand-year history.
    • £15.19
    • RRP £18.99
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  • BRADA

    Weimar Germany (Paperback)

    Eric D. Weitz

    Thoroughly up-to-date, skillfully written, and strikingly illustrated, Weimar Germany brings to life an era of unmatched creativity in the twentieth century--one whose influence and inspiration still resonate today. Eric Weitz has written the authoritative history that this fascinating and complex period deserves, and he illuminates the uniquely progressive achievements and even greater promise of the Weimar Republic. Weitz reveals how Germans rose from the turbulence and defeat of World War I and revolution to forge democratic institutions and make Berlin a world capital of avant-garde art. He explores the period's groundbreaking cultural creativity, from architecture and theater, to the new field of "sexology"--and presents richly detailed portraits of some of the Weimar's greatest figures. Weimar Germany also shows that beneath this glossy veneer lay political turmoil that ultimately led to the demise of the republic and the rise of the radical Right. Yet for decades after, the Weimar period continued to powerfully influence contemporary art, urban design, and intellectual life--from Tokyo to Ankara, and Brasilia to New York. Featuring a new preface, this comprehensive and compelling book demonstrates why Weimar is an example of all that is liberating and all that can go wrong in a democracy.
    • £20.00
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  • BPNMM

    Travellers in the Third Reich (Paperback)

    Julia Boyd

    Julia Boyd's Travellers in the Third Reich looks at the rise of the Nazis from Germany's point of view.

    Based on first-hand accounts from students, politicians, journalists, fascists, tourists and celebrities, it looks at how there were moments of confusion, doubt and hope as the country found itself in the midst of an incredible and disturbing movement.
    • £8.69
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  • BPLNI

    Chernobyl (Hardback)

    Serhii Plokhy

    The gripping story of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union from an acclaimed historian and writer On the morning of 26 April 1986 Europe witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Soviet Ukraine. The outburst put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation. In the end, less than five percent of the reactor's fuel escaped, but that was enough to contaminate over half of Europe with radioactive fallout. In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy recreates these events in all of their drama, telling the stories of the firefighters, scientists, engineers, workers, soldiers, and policemen who found themselves caught in a nuclear Armageddon and succeeded in doing the seemingly impossible: extinguishing the nuclear inferno and putting the reactor to sleep. While it is clear that the immediate cause of the accident was a turbine test gone wrong, Plokhy shows how the deeper roots of Chernobyl lay in the nature of the Soviet political system and the flaws of its nuclear industry. A little more than five years later, the Soviet Union would fall apart, destroyed from within by its unsustainable communist ideology and the dysfunctional managerial and economic systems laid bare in the wake of the disaster. A poignant, fast paced account of the drama of heroes, perpetrators, and victims, Chernobyl is the definitive history of the world's worst nuclear disaster.
    • £16.00
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  • BGLGM

    Four Princes (Paperback)

    John Julius Norwich

    'Never before had the world seen four such giants co-existing. Sometimes friends, more often enemies, always rivals, these four men together held Europe in the hollow of their hands.' Four great princes - Henry VIII of England, Francis I of France, Charles V of Spain and Suleiman the Magnificent - were born within a single decade. Each looms large in his country's history and, in this book, John Julius Norwich broadens the scope and shows how, against the rich background of the Renaissance and destruction of the Reformation, their wary obsession with one another laid the foundations for modern Europe. Individually, each man could hardly have been more different -- from the scandals of Henry's six wives to Charles's monasticism - but, together, they dominated the world stage. From the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a pageant of jousting, feasting and general carousing so lavish that it nearly bankrupted both France and England, to Suleiman's celebratory pyramid of 2,000 human heads (including those of seven Hungarian bishops) after the battle of Mohacs; from Anne Boleyn's six-fingered hand (a potential sign of witchcraft) that had the pious nervously crossing themselves to the real story of the Maltese falcon, Four Princes is history at its vivid, entertaining best. With a cast list that extends from Leonardo da Vinci to Barbarossa, and from Joanna the Mad to le roi grand-nez, John Julius Norwich offers the perfect guide to the most colourful century the world has ever known and brings the past to unforgettable life.
    • £9.79
    • RRP £10.99
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  • BGKSO

    A Brief History of France (Paperback)

    Cecil Jenkins

    When we think of France, we tend think of fine food and wine, the elegant boulevards of Paris or the chic beaches of St Tropez. Yet, as the largest country in Europe, France is home to extraordinary diversity. The idea of 'Frenchness' emerged through 2,000 years of history and it is this riveting story, from the Roman conquest of Gaul to the present day, that Cecil Jenkins tells: of the forging of this great nation through its significant people and events and and its fascinating culture. As he unfolds this narrative, Jenkins shows why the French began to see themselves as so different from the rest of Europe, but also why, today, the French face the same problems with regard to identity as so many other European nations.
    • £9.09
    • RRP £9.99
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  • BDIVR

    Viking age (Hardback)

    Kristen Wolf

    Though infamous for their pirating and raiding, active Vikings were actually only a tiny fraction of the total Scandinavian population during the so-called Viking Age. This exploration of their culture goes beyond the myths into the prosaic realities and intimate details of family life; their attitude toward the more vulnerable members of society; their famed longships and extensive travels and the role they played in the greater community. In addition to images and maps, a timeline lays out Viking history.
    • £12.69
    • RRP £15.99
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