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Our books on British history cover the nation's past and how various events contributed to the world in which we live today. Our English history books are ideal for any historian.

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British & Irish History

  • The King's War

    Mark Logue

    Product Code: TKWR
    Hardback
    (1)
    Hand-picked favourites
    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.

    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.
    • £1.00
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  • Bognor and Other Regises

    Caroline Taggart

    Product Code: BAOR
    Hardback
    Hand-picked favourites
    Caroline Taggart will take you on a guided tour of the weird and wonderful places that have been connected to royalty over the past 1,500 years including Bognor Regis and Tunbridge Wells.

    The monarchs have waged war against cousins, created their own religions and married - and divorced - for diplomatic reasons. They have also built stunning summer palaces and formidable fortresses all over Great Britain.

    The history of the royal family is told in Britain's landscapes and castles, churches, battlefields and stained-glass windows all have stories to tell. Bognor and Other Regises amusing and eye-opening book lifts the lid on them...
    • £1.00
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  • 50 People Who Screwed Up Scotland

    Allan Brown

    Product Code: AOPXP
    Paperback
    To be Scottish is to have a lot to live down, and as Allan Brown shows, this lot do the job superbly. Whether it be Robert Burns, indecipherable bard of rustic gibberish or Sean Connery, die-hard advocate of a country he refuses to live in. Or, Alex Salmond, the chortling bullfrog of separatism or Tommy Sheridan, the sexy socialist hardliner. They're all here, and many others; a veritable embassy of bad ambassadors. 50 People Who Screwed Up Scotland is a humorous and chronologically-sequential series of essays, histories and anecdotes that consider those episodes and occurrences in Scotland's political, cultural and social story where, against all odds, defeat was plucked from the jaws of victory.
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  • The Writing on the Wall

    Mike Read

    Product Code: BMPME
    Hardback
    Written by well know BBC DJ Mike Read The author is Chairman of the British Plaque Trust, the body set up to revive the Blue Plaque scheme Published to coincide with the unveiling of the BBC's plaque to Buddy Holly Major UK publicity and marketing campaign
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  • British History Timeline Poster

    Product Code: BERJG
    Other
    Supporting the history curriculum at Key Stage 2 and beyond, this stunning and highly informative poster helps pupils to understand the sequence of events that have shaped Britain and to view contemporary events and concerns in a wider perspective. Covering hundreds of thousands of years of history, from the Stone Age to the present, the poster will be a striking addition to your classroom resources. Information is divided into the sections: storyline; law and war; who, what & when; the shaping of our lives.
    • £8.99
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  • Irish History

    Neil Hegarty

    Product Code: CDKKC
    Paperback
    From mesolithic Ireland to the peace process, this little book covers all of the main historical and cultural events, places and figures in Irish history. A must for all lovers of Ireland and the Irish. An excellent, concise guide to how Ireland has come to be what it is today. Some key events, people, topics and places include: * Monastic Ireland, Vikings and Normans * The Irish language, the Book of Kells * Patrick, Colm Cille, Brian Boru, Granuaile (Grace O'Malley) * Colonial Ireland, Emigration * Rebellion, Famine and Partition * The Troubles, Good Friday Agreement and Brexit A helpful index is found at the back of the book. Beautifully produced, Collins Little Book of Irish History is a treasure in itself and makes a perfect gift for any Ireland enthusiast.
    • £5.59
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  • Take Six Girls

    Laura Thompson

    Product Code: AUPWP
    Paperback
    The eldest was a razor-sharp novelist of upper-class manners; the second was loved by John Betjeman; the third was a fascist who married Oswald Mosley; the fourth idolized Hitler and shot herself in the head when Britain declared war on Germany; the fifth was a member of the American Communist Party; the sixth became Duchess of Devonshire. They were the Mitford sisters: Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica and Deborah. Born into country-house privilege in the early years of the 20th century, they became prominent as 'bright young things' in the high society of interwar London. Then, as the shadows crept over 1930s Europe, the stark - and very public - differences in their outlooks came to symbolize the political polarities of a dangerous decade. The intertwined stories of their stylish and scandalous lives - recounted in masterly fashion by Laura Thompson - hold up a revelatory mirror to upper-class English life before and after WWII.
    • £8.39
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  • A Short History of Europe

    Simon Jenkins

    Product Code: BXVNE
    Paperback
    The first short narrative history of the continent, from the author of the bestselling A Short History of England Europe is an astonishingly successful place. In this dazzling new history, bestselling author Simon Jenkins grippingly tells the story of its evolution from warring peoples to peace, wealth and freedom - a story that twists and turns from Greece and Rome, through the Dark Ages, the Reformation and the French Revolution, to the Second World War and up to the present day. Jenkins takes in leaders from Julius Caesar and Joan of Arc, to Wellington and Angela Merkel, as well as cultural figures from Aristotle to Shakespeare and Picasso. He brings together the transformative forces and dominant eras into one chronological tale - all with his usual insight, colour and authority. Despite the importance of Europe's politics, economy and culture, there has not been - until now - a concise book to tell this story. Covering the key events, themes and individuals, Jenkins' portrait of the continent could not be more timely - or masterful. 'Full of stand-out facts ... absolutely fascinating' - Richard Bacon, BBC Radio 2, on 'A Short History of England' 'Masterly, perhaps a masterpiece' - Independent, Books of the Year on England's Thousand Best Churches 'Jenkins is, like all good guides, more than simply informative: he can be courteous and rude, nostalgic and funny, elegant, convincing and relaxed' - Adam Nicolson on 'England's Thousand Best Houses', Evening Standard 'Full of the good judgements one might hope for from such a sensible and readable commentator, and they alone are worth perusing for pleasure and food for thought' - Michael Wood on 'A Short History of England', New Statesman 'Any passably cultured inhabitant of the British Isles should ask for, say, three or four copies of this book' - Max Hastings on 'England's Thousand Best Houses', Sunday Telegraph
    • £8.89
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  • Gentleman Jack

    Katy Derbyshire

    Product Code: BUMQW
    Paperback
    The extraordinary life of history's first modern lesbian who inspired the television series Gentleman Jack Anne Lister's journals were so shocking that the first person to crack their secret code hid them behind a fake panel in his ancestral home. Anne Lister was a Regency landowner, an intrepid world traveller ... and an unabashed lover of other women. In this bold new biography, prizewinning author Angela Steidele uses the diaries to create a portrait of Anne Lister as we've never seen her before: a woman in some ways very much of her time and in others far ahead of it. Anne Lister recorded everything from the most intimate details of her numerous liaisons through to her plans to make her fortune by exploiting the coal seams under her family estate in Halifax and her reaction to the Peterloo massacre. She conducted a love life of labyrinthine complexity, all while searching for a girlfriend who could provide her with both financial security and true love. Anne Lister's rich and unconventional life is now the subject of the major BBC TV drama series Gentleman Jack.
    • £8.09
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  • William I (Penguin Monarchs)

    Marc Morris

    Product Code: BPZUO
    Paperback
    Part of the Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback On Christmas Day 1066, William, duke of Normandy was crowned in Westminster, the first Norman king of England. It was a disaster: soldiers outside, thinking shouts of acclamation were treachery, torched the surrounding buildings. To later chroniclers, it was an omen of the catastrophes to come. During the reign of William the Conqueror, England experienced greater and more seismic change than at any point before or since. Marc Morris's concise and gripping biography sifts through the sources of the time to give a fresh view of the man who changed England more than any other, as old ruling elites were swept away, enemies at home and abroad (including those in his closest family) were crushed, swathes of the country were devastated and the map of the nation itself was redrawn, giving greater power than ever to the king. When, towards the end of his reign, William undertook a great survey of his new lands, his subjects compared it to the last judgement of God, the Domesday Book. England had been transformed forever.
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  • William III & Mary II (Penguin Monarchs)

    Jonathan Keates

    Product Code: BPZUN
    Paperback
    The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback William III (1689-1702) & Mary II (1689-94) (Britain's only ever 'joint monarchs') changed the course of the entire country's history, coming to power through a coup (which involved Mary betraying her own father), reestablishing parliament on a new footing and, through commiting Britain to fighting France, initiating an immensely long period of warfare and colonial expansion. Jonathan Keates' wonderful book makes both monarchs vivid, the cold, shrewd 'Dutch' William and the shortlived Mary, whose life and death inspired Purcell to write some of his greatest music.
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  • Edward I (Penguin Monarchs)

    Andy King

    Product Code: BPZAD
    Paperback
    The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback Edward I (1272-1307) is one of the most commanding of all English rulers. He fought in southwest France, in Wales, In Scotland and in northern France, he ruled with ruthlessness and confidence, undoing the chaotic failure of his father, Henry III's reign. He reshaped England's legal system and came close to bringing the whole island of Great Britain under his rule. He promoted the idea of himself as the new King Arthur, his Round Table still hanging in Winchester Castle to this day. His greatest monuments are the extraordinary castles - Caernarfon, Beaumaris, Harlech and Conwy - built to ensure his rule of Wales and some of the largest of all medieval buildings. Andy King's brilliant short biography brings to life a strange, complex man whose triumphs raise all kinds of questions about the nature of kingship - how could someone who established so many key elements in England's unique legal and parliamentary system also have been such a harsh, militarily brutal warrior?
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  • Henry II (Penguin Monarchs)

    Richard Barber

    Product Code: BPYZT
    Paperback
    The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback Henry II (1154-89) through a series of astonishing dynastic coups became the ruler of an enormous European empire. One of the most dynamic, restless and clever men ever to rule England, he was brought down both by his catastrophic relationship with his archbishop Thomas Becket and his debilitating arguments with his sons, most importantly the future Richard I and King John. His empire may have ultimately collapsed, but in Richard Barber's vivid and sympathetic account the reader can see why Henry II left such a compelling impression on his contemporaries. Richard Barber has written for Penguin The Penguin Guide to Medieval Europe, The Holy Grail and Edward III and the Triumph of England. He is a major figure in medieval studies, both as a writer and as a publisher.
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  • The Churchill Factor

    Boris Johnson

    Product Code: AOIER
    Paperback
    '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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  • Mary Queen of Scots

    Angela Royston

    Product Code: CDBEP
    Paperback
    Mary Queen of Scots is perhaps the most romantic and tragic figure in British history. Was her tragic life a product of bad luck, bad advice, or ambition? Destined to marry the Dauphin of France and reign as his queen, his early death changed Mary's life. As claimant then in France, England and Scotland, there are many mysteries and unanswered questions in the tragedies that befell her. This fascinating book looks at Mary Queen of Scot's life and death. Angela Royston examines Mary's early life as the Infant Queen before her childhood in France, moving onto her time in Scotland and her scandalous marriage to Lord Darnley, and Mary's imprisonment and execution after being charged with treason. A must for any student of history or visitor to England, this revised edition of a Pitkin classic is filled with colour photographs and reproductions of historical artworks and artefacts to illuminate the life of Mary Queen of Scots.
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  • Stephen (Penguin Monarchs)

    Carl Watkins

    Product Code: CCMQE
    Paperback
    'Stephen risked being seen as a man who never quite transcended the essential flawed-ness of his claim to be king. His actions betrayed uneasiness in his new skin' Remembered as a time in which 'Christ and his saints slept', Stephen's troubled reign plunged England into anarchy. Without clear rules of succession in the Norman monarchy, conflict within William the Conqueror's family was inevitable. But, as this resonant portrait shows, there was another problem too: Stephen himself, unable to make good the transition from nobleman to king.
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  • Tiny Histories

    Dixe Wills

    Product Code: CAWEX
    Paperback
    Tiny Histories is a fond, fun and informative look at the seemingly insignificant coincidences, decisions and tiny moments that triggered major events and changed the course of British history. It might be difficult to believe when watching the news but the world we live in is often shaped not by the whim of governments and the decisions of world leaders but by tiny, apparently trivial events. In many cases, they can have enormous repercussions that mould both the society we live in today and the people we are. From the innocent wrong turn by a chauffeur driving Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914 that led to World War I, to the Saxon leader, Byrhtnoth's act of chivalry in 991 that paved the way for British comedy as we know it today, this brilliant new addition to Dixe Will's bestselling books Tiny Churches, Tiny Islands and Tiny Stations -looks behind the scenes of wars, politics, the arts, food, science, and even health and safety. Perfect for history buffs and pub-quiz fans, this brilliant book also serves to make us all more aware that in an age of so many dramatic changes, challenges and unknowns, it is not always what makes the headlines that shapes the future for generations to come.
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  • Constance Markievicz

    John Burke

    Product Code: BZOFZ
    Hardback
    The third book in the Little Library series. When your collection is complete, you'll have a little library - and big knowledge! Discover the REVOLUTIONARY that was CONSTANCE MARKIEVICZ! Constance Markievicz grew up in Co. Sligo in the late 1800s with a dream: she wanted Ireland to become free and the people to be treated fairly. She spent her life working to make these things happen. With rebellion in the air, she was asked for advice on how a lady should dress. Her answer? `Dress suitably in short skirts and strong boots, leave your jewels in the bank and buy a revolver.' And the Easter Rising began ...
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  • Faeries, Elves and Goblins

    Rosalind Kerven

    Product Code: BXZMP
    Hardback
    A unique collection of traditional stories about faeries, elves and goblins. Faeries, elves, goblins, leprechauns, brownies, spriggans and many other supernatural beings leap vividly off the page in this collection of haunting stories. Included are 25 stories drawing on folklore from the rich narrative heritage of Britain and Ireland. Marvel over ancient spells to summon faeries to your house, tremble at the shapeshifting powers of dangerous faery queens, lose yourself amongst the illusions of Faeryland and learn how to protect family members from the terrors of faery abduction. Interspersed with facts on faery folklore, these tales cover faery morals, elvish misdemeanours, the spells cast by goblins and the sightings of the creatures, as well as their dealings with mortals. With charming illustrations from favourite illustrators throughout, including Arthur Rackham, this book reminds us of the enduring appeal of folklore and mystery for all generations.
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  • Portillo's Hidden History of Britain

    Michael Portillo

    Product Code: BXNKE
    Paperback
    Discover the hidden history of Britain through the stories of its 'lost' or abandoned places and buildings. Portillo's Secret History of Britain presents a compelling and wonderfully evocative history of Britain through the stories of its `lost' or abandoned places and buildings. The chapters cover a variety of historical themes: Crime and Punishment, Health and Medicine, Defence and Warfare, and Entertainment and Leisure. Using a combination of his own investigations and archive research, plus memories and quotations from the contributors he interviewed for the series, Michael Portillo explains what the buildings were used for and by whom, why they were abandoned, and what they can tell us about our past. For example: * Learn what the ruins of London Road Fire and Police Station in Manchester reveal about the history of the emergency services in the last 100 years * How Bradford's art deco Odeon cinema encapsulates a century of film-making and movie-going With evocative text that brings each location vividly to life, Michael Portillo describes the building and its activities in its heyday and compares this past life with its faded grandeur or melancholic abandonment seen today. Filled with fascinating insights and observations, his narrative provides a compelling and original perspective on Britain's social and military history. Portillo's Hidden History of Britain features deserted villages, abandoned prisons, closed-down cinemas, empty hospitals, derelict military bases, sewers and much more. Complementing the text are 16 pages of atmospheric and informative photographs.
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  • Richard I (Penguin Monarchs)

    Thomas Asbridge

    Product Code: BWLYN
    Paperback
    Richard I's reign is both controversial and seemingly contradictory. One of England's most famous medieval monarchs and a potent symbol of national identity, he barely spent six months on English soil during a ten-year reign and spoke French as his first language. Contemporaries dubbed him the 'Lionheart', reflecting a carefully cultivated reputation for bravery, prowess and knightly virtue, but this supposed paragon of chivalry butchered close to 3,000 prisoners in cold blood on a single day. And, though revered as Christian Europe's greatest crusader, his grand campaign to the Holy Land failed to recover the city of Jerusalem from Islam. Seeking to reconcile this conflicting evidence, Thomas Asbridge's incisive reappraisal of Richard I's career questions whether the Lionheart really did neglect his kingdom, considers why he devoted himself to the cause of holy war and asks how the memory of his life came to be interwoven with myth. Richard emerges as a formidable warrior-king, possessed of martial genius and a cultured intellect, yet burdened by the legacy of his dysfunctional dynasty and obsessed with the pursuit of honour and renown.
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  • George I (Penguin Monarchs)

    Tim Blanning

    Product Code: BWLEA
    Paperback
    George I was not the most charismatic of the Hanoverian monarchs to have reigned in England but he was probably the most important. He was certainly the luckiest. Born the youngest son of a landless German duke, he was taken by repeated strokes of good fortune to become, first the ruler of a major state in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and then the sovereign of three kingdoms (England, Ireland and Scotland). In these new dominions he presided over the transition from the political turmoil of the seventeenth century to the calm stability of the next. Fifty-four years old when he arrived in London in 1714, he was a battle-hardened veteran who had fought with distinction against the Turks in the East and the French in the West. Now in charge of a major European power, he put his long experience and deep knowledge of international affairs to good use in promoting the interests of both Hanover and Great Britain. When he died, his legacy was order and prosperity at home and power and prestige abroad. Disagreeable he may have been, especially in his brutal treatment of his family, but he was also tough, determined and effective. Tim Blanning's incisive short biography gives full attention to George's career as a German prince and shows how it both helped and hindered his new role as the first Hanoverian King of England.
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  • Edward II (Penguin Monarchs)

    Christopher Given-Wilson

    Product Code: BWLYD
    Paperback
    The reign of Edward II (1307-27) was a serious of total disasters, making him unsuccessful to an extent almost without equal. At some level Edward simply did not inspire trust or respect. He failed to be kingly, preferring ditching and cart-racing to jousting and falconry. He relied on favourites and seemed to alienate even the most natural supporters of the throne. His reign was convulsed by rebellion and attempts to reform the king's behaviour. In an attempt to throw off the spectre of his regal, soldierly father, Edward I, he invaded Scotland and suffered catastrophic defeat at the Battle of Bannockburn. After twenty ruinous years, betrayed and abandoned by most of his nobles and by his wife and her lover, Edward was imprisoned in Berkeley Castle where he was murdered. Christopher Given-Wilson's remarkable book gives a glimpse into the abyss: the terrors of kingship - where royal authority is based around strict succession by the eldest son, what happens when that eldest son is incapable of doing the job?
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  • Elizabeth I (Penguin Monarchs)

    Helen Castor

    Product Code: BWLDV
    Paperback
    Part of the Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers in a collectible format In the popular imagination, as in her portraits, Elizabeth I is the image of monarchical power. The Virgin Queen ruled over a Golden Age: the Spanish Armada was defeated; English explorers reached the ends of the earth; a new Church of England rose from the ashes of past conflict; the English Renaissance bloomed in the genius of Shakespeare, Spenser and Sidney. But the image is also armour. In this illuminating account of Elizabeth's reign, Helen Castor shows how England's iconic queen was shaped by profound and enduring insecurity-an insecurity which was both a matter of practical political reality and personal psychology. From her precarious upbringing at the whim of a brutal, capricious father and her perilous accession after his death, to the religious division that marred her state and the failure to marry that threatened her line, Elizabeth lived under constant threat. But, facing down her enemies with a compellingly inscrutable public persona, the last and greatest of the Tudor monarchs would become a timeless, fearless queen.

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