British & Irish History
This little Collins book covers all the key people, places and events from English history, from the Battle of Hastings and the World Wars to the rise of the Beatles and Brexit.
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Presented in an accessible format, this concise guide shows how England became what it is today and will be enjoyed by visitors to England and history enthusiasts alike!
Peter Conradi and Mark Logue's follow-up to The King's Speech (which was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Colin Firth) looks at how George VI and speech therapist Lionel Logue's relationship continued to thrive after the monarch made his speech about the outbreak of war.
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Drawing on exclusive material (diaries, letters and documents) from the Logue archives, this book reveals how the therapist continued to play a vital role in the king's life from the dark days of Dunkirk through to D-Day and beyond.
It's a fascinating portrait of two men and their respective families - the Windsors and the Logues - as they worked their way through one of the greatest challenges in Britain's history.
Peter and Dan Snow, two of Britain's most popular historians, discuss the importance of 50 key documents in this incredibly informative hardback tome.
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Presented in eye-catching style, this book finds Peter and Dan offering an authoritative commentary explaining each document's criteria for selection and an examination of their pertinent details.
From the Magna Carta to Hitler's letter to Chamberlain agreeing he'd never go to war and the official design for the FA Cup, these documents have been researched from the collections of The National Archives, The British Museum, The British Library and the National Records of Scotland.
A must for all history enthusiasts!
Social historian Julie Summers looks over the period during the Second World War when thousands of families had to make the heartbreaking decision to leave everything they knew and start a new life in a location where Hitler's Luftwaffe could not reach them - and the role Britain's country houses had to play in this.
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Based on extensive research and interviews, Julie conveys the problems these families faced during the early years of the conflict and examines the locations that they were sent to. She also looks at the problems and social stigmas they had to face and overcome in each different area.
This hardback shines a light on a previously untold story from the Second World War. It looks at how people from all walks of life found themselves in these most esteemed surroundings and how the juxtaposition of splendour and opulence was at odds with their temporary residents' needs.
Leading Winston Churchill scholar Dr. Christopher Catherwood reveals what the former prime minister - a man often declared the greatest statesman to have ever lived - was like as a man in this painstakingly researched biography. It's packed with photographs and artefacts from the former PM's life.
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Drawing on archive interviews, artworks and personal notes for some of Churchill's most famous and inspiring wartime speeches, this book explores his hidden history in detail. From being homesick while at boarding school to his successes and failures (he disastrous Gallipoli campaign and his blind spot over India), it reveals him to be a powerful, colourful and remarkable character.
This is a must-read for anyone who is fascinated in political history and those who have gained an interest in the politician after seeing John Lithgow in The Crown or Gary Oldman's Oscar-winning performance in The Darkest Hour.
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.
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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.
This brilliant hardback book provides a heartfelt tribute to one of the most magnificent flying machines of all time - the iconic Spitfire.
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Written by bestselling author and former Royal Air Force navigator John Nichol, it looks over the history of the vehicle and its various innovations and updates and contains stories and first-hand accounts from those who flew them.
From the Spitfire's deployment during World War II to its role on the D-Day beaches, this is an accessible and high-flying account of battling pilots who had to bail out over occupied territory, aristocratic female flyers and mechanics who braved the Nazi onslaught to keep the crafts in battle-ready condition.
Peter Ackroyd presents the latest instalment in his History of England with Revolution, a book covering the years between 1688 and 1815.
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From William of Orange's accession following the Revolution to the Regency when England once again found itself at war with France (a war that ended with the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo), this looks at life during the late Stuart and Georgian eras.
During this time, the Bank of England and stock exchange were founded and the Church of England was fully established as the guardian of the spiritual life of the nation. Newspapers also first flourished during this era and the English novel was born. It was also a time when coffee houses, playhouses and shops began to pop up in towns and villages all across the nation.
The industrial revolution also occurred in this period and this was a time when England transformed from a country of blue skies and farmland to one of soot and steel and coal.
This visual exploration of the time in which William Shakespeare lived is filled with jaw-dropping facts and observations. It considers what The Bard was like as a man and covers the cultural changes that took place during his lifetime - 1564-1616.
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From the time of the Tudors to Elizabeth I's reign and the first of the Stuart kings, this book reflects the political changes that were reflected in his works and explains how he worked through maps and illustrations to look at how powerful people viewed their positions in the world.
Author Jeremy Black also explores the locations of Shakespeare's plays and examines the reasons why he chose to set them in these locations.
Examining the espionage and intelligence stories of World War II, on a global basis, bringing together the British, American, German, Russian and Japanese histories. Spies, codes and guerrillas played critical roles in the Second World War, exploited by every nation in the struggle to gain secret knowledge of its foes, and to sow havoc behind the fronts. In 'The Secret War', Max Hastings presents a worldwide cast of characters and some extraordinary sagas of intelligence and Resistance, to create a new perspective on the greatest conflict in history. Here are not only Alan Turing and the codebreaking geniuses of Bletchley Park, but also their German counterparts, who achieved their own triumphs against the Allies. Hastings plots the fabulous espionage networks created by the Soviet Union in Germany and Japan, Britain and America, and explores the puzzle of why Stalin so often spurned his agents, who reported from the heart of the Axis war machine. The role of SOE and American's OSS as sponsors of guerrilla war are examined, and the book tells the almost unknown story of Ronald Seth, an SOE agent who was 'turned' by the Germans, walked the streets of Paris in a Luftwaffe uniform, and baffled MI5, MI6 and the Abwehr as to his true loyalty. Also described is the brilliantly ruthless Russian deception operation which helped to secure the Red Army's victory at Stalingrad, a ruse that cost 70,000 lives. 'The Secret War' links tales of high courage ashore, at sea and in the air to the work of the brilliant 'boffins' at home, battling the enemy's technology. Most of the strivings, adventures and sacrifices of spies, Resistance, Special Forces and even of the codebreakers were wasted, Hastings says, but a fraction was so priceless that no nation grudged lives and treasure spent in the pursuit of jewels of knowledge. The book tells stories of high policy and human drama, mingled in the fashion that has made international bestsellers of Max Hastings' previous histories, this time illuminating the fantastic machinations of secret war.
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The compelling true story that inspired the forthcoming major ITV drama series HOME FIRES. The Second World War was the WI's finest hour. The whole of its previous history - two decades of educating, entertaining and supporting women and campaigning on women's issues - culminated in the enormous collective responsibility felt by the members to 'do their bit' for Britain. With all the vigour, energy and enthusiasm at their disposal, a third of a million country women set out to make their lives and the lives of those around them more bearable in what they described as 'a period of insanity'. Through archive material and interviews with many WI members, Julie Summers takes us behind the scenes, revealing their nitty-gritty approach to the daily problems presented by the conflict. Jambusters is the fascinating story of how the Women's Institute pulled rural Britain through the war with pots of jam and a spirit of make-do-and-mend.
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On 21 April 2016, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history, will celebrate her 90th birthday. During her 64 years on the throne, few have got to know her well, but there is one body of work that sheds new light on her thoughts, personality and the issues that really concern her: the Queen's own speeches. For many years, the Queen's Christmas address was the most-watched programme on television on Christmas Day, and millions still tune in to hear what she has to say. Now, in this wonderful, intimate portrait of Her Majesty, Ingrid Seward uses the Queen's speeches as a starting point to provide a revealing insight into the character of the woman who has reigned over us since the days when Churchill was prime minister. Starting with her first ever broadcast, in December 1940, when the teenaged Princess Elizabeth addressed a wartorn nation, right through the annus horribilis, and on into the 21st century, the book highlights the most important moments in her life and how she has responded to them. Based on in-depth research and interviews with many of those who know the Queen best, this book sheds new light on the life and career of our monarch. Renowned as one of the most authoritative writers on royal matters, Ingrid Seward, the editor of Majestymagazine, has written a charming and fascinating portrait that will be cherished by all who read it.
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The life of William Shakespeare, Britain's greatest dramatist, was inextricably linked with the history of London. Together, the great writer and the great city came of age and confronted triumph and tragedy. Triumph came when Shakespeare's company, the Chamberlain's Men, opened the Globe playhouse on Bankside in 1599, under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth I. Tragedy touched the lives of many of his contemporaries, from fellow playwright Christopher Marlowe to the disgraced Earl of Essex, while London struggled against the ever-present threat of riots, rebellions and outbreaks of plague. Globetakes its readers on a tour of London through Shakespeare's life and work, as, in fascinating detail, Catharine Arnold tells how acting came of age. We learn about James Burbage, founder of the original Theatre in Shoreditch, who carried timbers across the Thames to build the Globe among the bear-gardens and brothels of Bankside, and of the terrible night in 1613 when the theatre caught fire during a performance of King Henry VIII. Rebuilt, the Globe continued to stand as a monument to Shakespeare's genius until 1642 when it was destroyed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell. And finally we learn how 300 years later, Shakespeare's Globe opened once more upon the Bankside, to great acclaim, rising like a phoenix from the flames Arnold creates a vivid portrait of Shakespeare and his London from the bard's own plays and contemporary sources, combining a novelist's eye for detail with a historian's grasp of his unique contribution to the development of the English theatre. This is a portrait of Shakespeare, London, the man and the myth.
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'The must-read biography of the year.' Evening Standard 'He writes with gusto...the result is a book that is never boring, genuinely clever ...this book sizzles.' The Times 'The point of the Churchill Factor is that one man can make all the difference.' On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, and written in conjunction with the Churchill Estate, Boris Johnson explores what makes up the 'Churchill Factor' - the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the twentieth century. Taking on the myths and misconceptions along with the outsized reality, he portrays - with characteristic wit and passion - a man of multiple contradictions, contagious bravery, breath-taking eloquence, matchless strategizing, and deep humanity. Fearless on the battlefield, Churchill had to be ordered by the King to stay out of action on D-Day; he embraced large-scale strategic bombing, yet hated the destruction of war and scorned politicians who had not experienced its horrors. He was a celebrated journalist, a great orator and won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was famous for his ability to combine wining and dining with many late nights of crucial wartime decision-making. His open-mindedness made him a pioneer in health care, education, and social welfare, though he remained incorrigibly politically incorrect. Most of all, as Boris Johnson says, 'Churchill is the resounding human rebuttal to all who think history is the story of vast and impersonal economic forces'. The Churchill Factor is a book to be enjoyed not only by anyone interested in history: it is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what makes a great leader.
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London's Notting Hill in the 1950s was an unimaginably different place to the white stucco splendour it's known for today. Alan Johnson's family lived in condemned housing, declared unfit for human habitation, in a cramped flat with no central heating, no electricity and no running water. His mother, Lily, battled against poor health, poverty, domestic violence and chronic loneliness to try and ensure a better life for her children. His sister, Linda, took on an adult's burden of responsibility and fought to keep the family together when she was still only a child. This personal story is played out against the background of a community on the verge of massive upheavals. We move from postwar austerity, through the early days of immigration and race riots, into the swinging Sixties, when Alan and his band recorded a record on Denmark Street and he became a teenage father and husband. No matter how harsh the detail, Alan writes with a spirit of generous acceptance, humour and openness which makes his book anything but a grim catalogue of misery. In the end, This Boy is about success against all the odds, and paints a vivid portrait of a bygone era.
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This brilliant new book explores the lives of eight generations of the greatest kings and queens that this country has ever seen, and the worst. The Plantagenets - their story is the story of Britain. England's greatest royal dynasty, the Plantagenets, ruled over England through eight generations of kings. Their remarkable reign saw England emerge from the Dark Ages to become a highly organised kingdom that spanned a vast expanse of Europe. Plantagenet rule saw the establishment of laws and creation of artworks, monuments and tombs which survive to this day, and continue to speak of their sophistication, brutality and secrets. Dan Jones brings you a new vision of this battle-scarred history. From the Crusades, to King John's humbling over Magna Carta and the tragic reign of the last Plantagenet, Richard II - this is a blow-by-blow account of England's most thrilling age.
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The fifteenth century saw the crown of England change hands seven times as the great families of England fought to the death for power, majesty and the right to rule. The Hollow Crown completes Dan Jones' epic history of medieval England, and describes how the Plantagenets tore themselves apart to be finally replaced by the Tudors. Some of the greatest heroes and villains in British history were thrown together in these turbulent times: Henry V, whose victory at Agincourt and prudent rule at home marked the high point of the medieval monarchy; Edward IV, who was handed his crown by the scheming soldier Warwick the Kingmaker, before their alliance collapsed into a fight to the death; and the last Plantagenet, Richard III, who stole the throne and murdered his own nephews, the Princes in the Tower. Finally, the Tudors arrived - but even their rule was only made certain in the 1520s, when Henry VIII ruthlessly hunted down his family's last remaining enemies. In the midst this tumult, chivalry was reborn, the printing press arrived and the Renaissance began to flourish. With vivid descriptions of the battle of Towton, where 28,000 men died in a single morning, and the Battle of Bosworth Field, at which Richard III was hacked down, this is the real story behind Shakespeare's famous history plays.
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In The English and their History, the first full-length account to appear in one volume for many decades, Robert Tombs gives us the history of the English people, and of how the stories they have told about themselves have shaped them, from the prehistoric 'dreamtime' through to the present day. If a nation is a group of people with a sense of kinship, a political identity and representative institutions, then the English have a claim to be the oldest nation in the world. They first came into existence as an idea, before they had a common ruler and before the country they lived in even had a name. They have lasted as a recognizable entity ever since, and their defining national institutions can be traced back to the earliest years of their history. The English have come a long way from those precarious days of invasion and conquest, with many spectacular changes of fortune. Their political, economic and cultural contacts have left traces for good and ill across the world. This book describes their history and its meanings from their beginnings in the monasteries of Northumbria and the wetlands of Wessex to the cosmopolitan energy of today's England. Robert Tombs draws out important threads running through the story, including participatory government, language, law, religion, the land and the sea, and ever-changing relations with other peoples. Not the least of these connections are the ways the English have understood their own history, have argued about it, forgotten it, and yet been shaped by it. These diverse and sometimes conflicting understandings are an inherent part of their identity. Rather to their surprise, as ties within the United Kingdom loosen, the English are suddenly beginning a new period in their long history. Especially at times of change, history can help us to think about the sort of people we are and wish to be. This book, the first single-volume work on this scale for more than half a century, and which incorporates a wealth of recent scholarship, presents a challenging modern account of this immense and continuing story, bringing out the strength and resilience of English government, the deep patterns of division, and yet also the persistent capacity to come together in the face of danger. Robert Tombs is Professor of French History at Cambridge University and a Fellow of St John's College. His book That Sweet Enemy: the French and the British from the Sun King to the Present, co-written with his wife Isabelle, was published in 2006.
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William Marshal was the true Lancelot of his era - a peerless warrior and paragon of chivalry -yet over the centuries, the spectacular story of his achievements passed from memory. Then, in 1861, a young French scholar stumbled upon the sole surviving copy of an unknown text, later dubbed the History of William Marshal. This richly detailed work helped to resurrect Marshal's reputation, putting flesh onto the bones of this otherwise obscure figure, but even today he remains largely forgotten. As a five-year-old boy, William was sentenced to execution and led to the gallows, yet this landless younger son survived his brush with death, and went on to train as a medieval knight. Rising through the ranks to serve at the right hand of five English monarchs, he became a celebrated tournament champion, baron, politician and, ultimately, regent of the realm. He befriended the great figures of his day, from Richard the Lionheart to the infamous King John, and helped to negotiate the terms of Magna Carta - the first 'bill of rights'. Yet at the age of seventy he was forced to fight in the frontline of one final battle, striving to save the kingdom from French invasion in 1217. In The Greatest Knight, renowned historian Thomas Asbridge draws upon an array of contemporary evidence, including the thirteenth-century biography, to present a compelling account of William Marshal's life and times, from rural England to the battlefields of France, the desert castles of the Holy Land and the verdant shores of Ireland. Charting the unparalleled rise to prominence of a man bound to a code of honour, yet driven by unquenchable ambition, this knight's tale lays bare the brutish realities of medieval warfare and the machinations of royal court, and draws us into the heart of a formative period of our history, when the West emerged from the Dark Ages and stood on the brink of modernity. It is the story of one remarkable man, the birth of the knightly class to which he belonged, and the forging of the English nation.
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On Easter Sunday, 23 April 1916, the members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood's military council put their names to the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, declaring that they were the provisional government of an Ireland free from British rule. In effect, each man had knowingly signed his own death warrant. Since then, the Seven have been eulogized and used as political weapons by many, but today there is an increasing recognition within Ireland that it's time for an honest re-discussion of the Easter Rising. One hundred years on, award-winning author Ruth Dudley Edwards explores how the lives of Ireland's founding fathers converged and how they came to espouse violence and asks if they had a coherent vision for their country or if they were, as some now allege, little more than a collection of fanatical misfits and failures. A brilliant, thought-provoking re-assessment, The Seven provides a scrupulous examination of each of these men, challenging us to judge their actions and to find an answer to the question of what their legacy should be.
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'A soaring account of the months that transformed a messy feudal squabble into Magna Carta...his crisp storytelling, based around short chapters and rolling rhetoric, is extremely entertaining.' Dan Jones, Mail on Sunday 'I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Good history is descriptive, narrative and analytical. This is good history.' Gerard DeGroot, The Times At Runnymede, on the banks of the River Thames, on 15 June 1215, the seal of King John was attached to the Magna Carta, and peace descended upon the land. Or that's what successive generations have believed. But is it true? And have we been persuaded (or persuaded ourselves) that the events of 15 June 1215 not only ended a civil war between the king and the barons but - as if by magic - established a British constitution beloved and copied throughout the world? Informative, entertaining and controversial, Magna Carta: The True Story Behind the Charter challenges centuries of myth-making to demonstrate how important it is we understand the true significance of that day beside the Thames, eight hundred years ago.
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD. This is the autobiography that John Aubrey never wrote. You may not know his name. Aubrey was a modest man, a gentleman-scholar who cared far more for the preservation of history than for his own legacy. But he was a passionate collector, an early archaeologist and the inventor of modern biography. With all the wit, charm and originality that characterises her subject, Ruth Scurr has seamlessly stitched together John Aubrey's own words to tell his life story and a captivating history of seventeenth-century England unlike any other. "A game-changer in the world of biography". (Mary Beard). "Ingenious". (Hilary Mantel). "Irresistible". (Philip Pullman).
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Sir Winston Churchill, statesman, orator and former Prime Minister was a man whose words gave hope and inspiration to the British people and many are as relevant today as they were during the war years. Churchill's speeches were not always confined to serious political rhetoric and motivation: his off-the-cuff quips and comments displayed a wry wit and humour. "Churchill in Quotes" is a celebration of this outstanding figure in British history, presented in almost 200 photographs hand picked from the vast archives of the Press Association. It covers the major events in Churchill's life: from his birth and early days at Blenheim Palace to his marriage and the birth of his children; his service in the army, war correspondence and role as First Lord of the Admiralty, and appointment as Chancellor the Exchequer; his formation of government as wartime Prime Minister and the political and cabinet posts held during almost 50 years; his career as a historian and author; and, his hobby as a sensitive artist and his retirement and death at the age of 90.
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Wellington's Men Remembered is a reference work which has been compiled on behalf of the Association of Friends of the Waterloo Committee and contains over 3,000 memorials to soldiers who fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo between 1808 and 1815, together with 150 battlefield and regimental memorials in 24 countries worldwide. Photographs of memorials are included in a CD Rom inserted in each
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