History Through the Ages

Modern History Books: C1700 - C1900

  • WTHI
    Christopher Winn
    • £3.99
    • RRP £9.99
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    I Never Knew That About London author Christopher Winn takes you on a series of walks through central London that will open your eyes to the events that happened in the city during the Victorian era.

    Among the little-known facts he reveals are the 300-foot bell tower at the Houses of Parliament; a hidden chapel in Bloomsbury that was described by Oscar Wilde as 'the most delightful private chapel in London'; and the best Victorian loos in the world that are located near Old Street.
  • WHKG
    Leanda de Lisle
    • £6.99
    • RRP £20.00
    • Save £13.01
    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.
  • AQVWL
    Ferdinand Mount
    • £12.29
    • RRP £12.99
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    The Tears of the Rajasis a sweeping history of the British in India, seen through the experiences of a single Scottish family. For a century the Lows of Clatto survived mutiny, siege, debt and disease, everywhere from the heat of Madras to the Afghan snows. They lived through the most appalling atrocities and retaliated with some of their own. Each of their lives, remarkable in itself, contributes to the story of the whole fragile and imperilled, often shockingly oppressive and devious but now and then heroic and poignant enterprise. On the surface, John and Augusta Low and their relations may seem imperturbable, but in their letters and diaries they often reveal their loneliness and desperation and their doubts about what they are doing in India. The Lows are the family of the author's grandmother, and a recurring theme of the book is his own discovery of them and of those parts of the history of the British in India which posterity has preferred to forget. The book brings to life not only the most dramatic incidents of their careers - the massacre at Vellore, the conquest of Java, the deposition of the boy-king of Oudh, the disasters in Afghanistan, the Reliefs of Lucknow and Chitral - but also their personal ordeals: the bankruptcies in Scotland and Calcutta, the plagues and fevers, the deaths of children and deaths in childbirth. And it brings to life too the unrepeatable strangeness of their lives: the camps and the palaces they lived in, the balls and the flirtations in the hill stations, and the hot slow rides through the dust. An epic saga of love, war, intrigue and treachery, The Tears of the Rajas is surely destined to become a classic of its kind.
  • AKUGU
    John P Cann
    • £55.96
    • RRP £69.95
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    During World War II, Portugal played its cards uncommonly well as a neutral and subsequently became a member of NATO. This membership resulted in a modernizing of its navy and its integration into the Atlantic Alliance. By 1960, when other colonial powers were abandoning their empires, Portugal made the decision to cling to its possessions, as they had been Portuguese for over 400 years. Without them Portugal saw itself as only a small European country, whereas with them, it would be a great nation. Portugal ultimately would fight a 13-year debilitating war against various nationalist movements in Africa to retain its possessions. By the mid 1950s, it became apparent to the Portuguese Navy that it would fight in Africa, and it began to make preparations. Ultimately, it would perform a near wholesale conversion from the blue water or oceanic navy that supported NATO to a brown water or riverine one to fight in Africa. This is the story of that conversion and the great "battle of the rivers" in Africa. This naval reorientation was a remarkable achievement, in that Portugal not only learned to fight a new kind of war, it built a navy to accomplish this and did so while shouldering its NATO commitments. The Portuguese Navy in developing a specialized naval force clearly foresaw the paramount economic, military, and psychological importance of controlling the interior waterways of Africa, for the infrastructure there was universally primitive. While there was generally a road network radiating from the colonial capital, the primary routes used clandestinely by insurgents were chiefly the waterways. The job of the navy was to foreclose enemy use of these lines of communication, and this it did with great success.The lessons from this experience tend to be forgotten, as this war was overshadowed by the U.S. conflict in Vietnam. Today, however, riverine operations are experiencing a renaissance in reaction to the "war of the weak." While modern boats are more technologically advanced, and their crews use newer and better equipment and weapons, the problems and their solutions remain largely the same. The operating environment remains the rivers, bayous, salt pans, canals, lakes, and deltas extending inland from the coast. The population remains a vulnerable target, and the need to establish a permissive environment continues as the primary goal. Clearly, the legacy of the Portuguese "brown water navy" remains relevant today."
  • AZWFF
    Janet Bromley
    • £48.00
    • RRP £60.00
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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
  • BKANK
    • £40.00
    • RRP £50.00
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    The new Hanoverian dynasty that came to power with the accession of George I in 1714 inherited the largest navy in the world. In the course of the century, this force would see a vast amount of action against nearly every major navy, reaching a pinnacle of success in the Seven Years War only to taste defeat in the American Revolutionary struggle, when it faced the combined navies of France, Spain, the Netherlands, and the rebellious colonies themselves. Considering the contribution to history of these ships, there is surprisingly little readily available on their careers. Now this gap is comprehensively filled by this superb reference book, outlining the service history of every ship, built, purchased or captured, that fought for the Royal Navy in the great wars of the eighteenth century - well over 2000 vessels. The book is organised by Rate, classification and class, with outline technical and building data, but followed by a concise summary of the careers of each ship in every class. This includes commissioning dates, refit periods, changes of captain, the stations where they served (and when), as well as details of any noteworthy actions in which they took part. It will enable anyone to follow up a casual reference to any warship, and will provide the researcher with a solid core of information on which to base further study. With nothing remotely like it in print, this is a work of the utmost importance to every naval historian and general reader interested in the navy of the sailing era.
  • AZORB
    • £36.00
    • RRP £45.00
    • Save £9.00
    Relax by the ocean or head to the mountains? This vacation planning debate-starter is actually a fairly recent invention. To people of an earlier era, both options seemed unappealing and nearly impossible to visit. It wasn't until railroads came along that remote areas became accessible, making travel agency founder, Thomas Cook, the inventor of modern tourism as well. Fishing villages turned into swanky beach resorts, out-of-the-way mountain hamlets became hot destinations for hikers and skiers, and humble inns blossomed into grand hotels. Nostalgic Journeys takes you on an unforgettable trip through the last two centuries; ride the Orient Express to the Middle East, cross the Atlantic on an enormous steamship, follow Route 66 through the USA, or break through the sound barrier on the Concorde. Paging through this volume will remind you that traveling was and can be more than just sitting in traffic or enduring security checks. Travel can also be a stylish and sometimes adventurous way to experience the world and return home forever changed by exotic sights and sounds. Bon voyage!
  • BBPKN
    Nick Lipscombe
    • £36.00
    • RRP £45.00
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    The Peninsular War is one of the defining campaigns of the British Army and sealed its reputation for supreme professionalism, heroic obstinacy and sheer perseverance. It made the reputation of Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, and acts as the backdrop to the adventures of Bernard Cornwell's fictional hero Richard Sharpe. The British Army, under Sir John Moore and Wellington, ranged across the plains and mountains of Portugal and Spain and into France, taking part in 15 field actions and four bloody sieges, including Salamanca, Vitoria and Badajoz, but this is only part of the picture. The contribution of the Spanish and Portuguese forces is frequently overlooked, but there were a further 25 field actions and 15 sieges in the Iberian peninsula as part of the savage duel between the French occupiers and native inhabitants. In this newly revised edition of The Peninsular War Atlas, Colonel Nick Lipscombe expands upon his comprehensive, non-partisan examination of the conflict with 164 original maps, accompanied by an authoritative text narrating the war. His 34 years of service in the British Army, including postings in both Spain and Portugal, give him a unique perspective on the conflict. With contributions from Professor Charles Esdaile and the present Duke of Wellington as well as the cooperation of the Spanish and Portuguese authorities, this book is the essential topographical guide to the conflict. The Peninsular War Atlas has been published in collaboration with Peninsular War 200, the organisation established 'to commemorate in a spirit of respect to all and malice to none the 40,000 British (including Irish and foreign-auxiliary) service personnel who lost their lives in the Peninsular War of 1808-14'.
  • BOIPS
    William Frame
    • £32.00
    • RRP £40.00
    • Save £8.00
    This landmark book is published to coincide with a major exhibition marking the 250th anniversary of Cook's first voyage. A stunningly illustrated, object-centred history, this book offers a once in a generation opportunity to discover the uniquely rich Captain Cook collection of the British Library. The authors explore a series of themes including the navigation and charting of the Pacific; first encounters between Western and indigenous cultures; the representation of the voyages in art; and scientific discovery and the natural world. Themes of cultural encounter and scientific discovery are interwoven with the personal stories of the key protagonists, including James Cook and Joseph Banks. The illustrations include drawings by all the artists employed on the voyage, as well as the only surviving paintings by Tupaia, a Polynesian high priest who joined Cook's ship at Tahiti and sailed to New Zealand and Australia.
  • AVBMY
    Philippe Garcia
    • £28.00
    • RRP £35.00
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    A timeless symbol of power and ambition, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) spent decades expanding France's empire, enjoying magnificent success and suffering crushing defeats. Featuring more than 400 never-before-seen objects, The Private Life of Napoleon allows a glimpse into the inner world of the French emperor. Over the course of 24 years, collector Bruno Ledoux amassed a remarkable range of manuscripts, books, gold jewelry, porcelains, miniatures, arms, and even historic souvenirs, all created in honor of Napoleon and the French empire.
  • AXEPF
    David R. Jones
    • £28.00
    • RRP £35.00
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    Following repeated visits to the Crimea over a number of years, Dr David Jones, with the help of local guides, was able to identify and photograph every important location related to one of the nineteenth century's most deadliest conflicts. These have been set besides original paintings and photographs to produce a collection of the most fascinating images ever seen of the Crimean War. The locations of the great battles of the Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman and the Allied batteries and encampments of the siege lines in front of Sevastopol are all presented in glorious full colour. With detailed explanations of the significance of each set of images, placed within the context of the war, The Crimean War Then and Now provides the reader with an unprecedented visual record. Dr Jones' major work is certain to be regarded as the definitive pictorial study of the war in the Crimea.
  • AYSUG
    George Nafziger
    • £28.00
    • RRP £35.00
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    One army lost in the Russian winter, Napoleon raised another to keep his grip on Europe. A tired Russian Army and a raw Prussian force marched to meet him. 'Lutzen and Bautzen' is a detailed and masterful study of a misunderstood and little covered campaign. Yet it was a war between titans as Napoleon led his conscripts to crush a foe worthy to face him. From the great battles of Lutzen and Bautzen to the skirmishes with marauding Cossacks, George Nafziger follows the complete campaign in Germany from top to bottom, with a wealth of detail. A great researcher, George Nafziger uncovers the secrets of one of the greatest of Napoleonic campaigns. This new edition incorporates a new set of images, and newly commissioned maps.
  • BAGHX
    Keith Wilson
    • £28.00
    • RRP £35.00
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    The 'Swinging Sixties' was a remarkable decade. For the Royal Air Force it was a most interesting period in their history, representing a period of base closures, contraction and a significant change in equipment - especially in the level of technology operated. In 1960, all three of the V-bombers - Valiant, Vulcan and Victor - were in service. The English Electric Lightning established a firm place in British aviation history by being the first single-seat fighter designed to exceed the speed of sound in level flight. Within Transport Command, the Britannia C.1 was operating alongside the Comet C.2, providing an excellent strategic transport capability. The Comet C.4 would enter service in 1962, the VC-10 C.1 in July 1966 and the Belfast C.1 by the end of 1966. During the decade, the RAF celebrated its 50th Anniversary, having been formed on 1 April 1918. They also came to be embroiled in a number of conflicts, while still playing their part (alongside the British Army and the Royal Navy) in policing a number of territories and theaters including Malaya, Indonesia, Cyprus, Kenya, Rhodesia, Aden, Libya, Bermuda and Anguilla in the West Indies.Here, Keith Wilson takes us on a richly illustrated journey through the decade, with each chapter focusing on a specific year and relaying all the fascinating events and highlights that characterized it. This is a colourful and insightful history, told with narrative flair and a clear passion for the subject matter at hand.
  • BPWUA
    Xavier Salomon
    • £28.00
    • RRP £35.00
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    This fascinating book tells the story of a little-known masterpiece by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova (1757-1822)-the statue of George Washington for the North Carolina State House, delivered in 1821 and destroyed by fire ten years later. It brings together for the first time Canova's full-sized preparatory plaster model, sketches, engravings, drawings, and a selection of Thomas Jefferson's letters about the commission. This is a major addition to the current body of published knowledge on the work of Antonio Canova, as well as on the classical revivalist sculpture of the early nineteenth century on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • AHLIT
    James M. McPherson
    • £26.19
    • RRP £32.99
    • Save £6.80
    This book covers one of the most turbulent periods of the USA's history, from the Mexican War in 1848 to the end of the Civil War in 1865. With a broad historical sweep, it traces the heightening sectional conflict of the 1850s: the growing estrangement of the South and its impassioned defence of slavery; the formation of the Republican Party in the North, with its increasing opposition to slavery; and the struggle over territorial expansion, with its accompanying social tensions and economic expansion. The whole panorama of the Civil War is captured in these pages, from the military campaign, which is described with vividness, immediacy, a grasp of strategy and logistics, and a keen awareness of the military leaders and the common soldiers involved, to its political and social aspects.
  • BIBNK
    Simon Heffer
    • £23.99
    • RRP £30.00
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    The folk-memory of Britain in the years before the Great War is of a powerful, contented, orderly and thriving country. She commanded a vast empire. She bestrode international commerce. Her citizens were living longer, profiting from civil liberties their grandparents only dreamt of, and enjoying an expanding range of comforts and pastimes. The mood of pride and self-confidence is familiar from Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance marches, newsreels of George V's coronation and the London's great Edwardian palaces. Yet things were very different below the surface. In The Age of Decadence Simon Heffer exposes the contradictions of late-Victorian and Edwardian Britain. He explains how, despite the nation's massive power, a mismanaged war against the Boers in South Africa created profound doubts about her imperial destiny. He shows how attempts to secure vital social reforms prompted the twentieth century's gravest constitutional crisis and coincided with the worst industrial unrest in British history. He describes how politicians who conceded the vote to millions more men disregarded women so utterly that female suffragists' public protest bordered on terrorism. He depicts a ruling class that fell prey to degeneracy and scandal. He analyses a national psyche that embraced the motor-car, the sensationalist press and the science fiction of H. G. Wells, but also the Arts and Crafts of William Morris and the nostalgia of A. E. Housman. And he concludes with the crisis that in the summer of 1914 threatened the existence of the United Kingdom - a looming civil war in Ireland. He lights up the era through vivid pen-portraits of the great men and women of the day - including Gladstone, Parnell, Asquith and Churchill, but also Mrs Pankhurst, Beatrice Webb, Baden-Powell, Wilde and Shaw - creating a richly detailed panorama of a great power that, through both accident and arrogance, was forced to face potentially fatal challenges.
  • APDMT
    Tim Blanning
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
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    Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, dominated the 18th century in the same way that Napoleon dominated the start of the 19th - a force of nature, a caustic, ruthless, brilliant military commander, a monarch of exceptional energy and talent, and a knowledgeable patron of artists, architects and writers, most famously Voltaire. From early in his reign he was already a legendary figure - fascinating even to those who hated him. Tim Blanning's brilliant new biography recreates a remarkable era, a world which would be swept away shortly after Frederick's death by the French Revolution. Equally at home on the battlefield or in the music room at Frederick's extraordinary miniature palace of Sanssouci, Blanning draws on a lifetime's obsession with the 18th century to create a work that is in many ways the summation of all that he has learned in his own rich and various career. Frederick's spectre has hung over Germany ever since: an inspiration, a threat, an impossible ideal - Blanning at last allows us to understand him in his own time.
  • AVOAY
    Esther Crain
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
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    Mark Twain coined the term the "Gilded Age" for this period of growth and extravagance, experienced most dramatically in New York City from the 1870s to 1910. More than half of America's millionaires lived in the city. Previously unimaginable sums of money were made and spent, while poor immigrants toiled away in tenements. Author Esther Crain writes, "There was an incredible energy, a sense of greatness and destiny. Things were literally going up-skyscrapers, elevated train tracks, new neighborhoods and parks. Accompanying all of that was an equal amount of greed and lust. Crime, vice, political scandals-the Gilded Age produced an abundance of depravity." The Gilded Age in New York City covers daily life for the rich, poor, and the burgeoning middle class; the influx of immigrants which caused the city's population to quadruple in 40 years; how new-found leisure time was spent in places such as Coney Island and Central Park; crimes that shocked the city and altered the police force; the rise of social services; and the city's physical growth both skyward and outward toward the five boroughs. Through words and amazing, rarely seen images, Crain captures between covers the metamorphic story of city at the center of the world.
  • AZWSR
    Brian Lavery
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
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    May 2015 sees the 250th anniversary of the launch of HMS Victory, the ship that is so closely associated with Nelson and his great victory at Trafalgar and which, still extant, has today become the embodiment of the great Age of Sail. Many books have been written about Victory but none like this, which tells the full story of the ship since she first took to the waters in May 1765. It contains many surprises - that she was almost wrecked on her launch; that diplomacy conducted onboard her played a crucial role in provoking Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812; and that in 1914 Kaiser Wilhelm set the First World War in motion at a desk made from her timbers. The book also tells the story of Horatio Nelson, who was born a few weeks before his most famous ship was ordered, and whose career paralleled hers in many ways. It does not ignore the battle of Trafalgar, and indeed it offers new insights into the campaign which led up to it.But it says much more about the other lives of the ship, which at different times was a flagship, a fighting ship, a prison hospital ship, a training ship for officers and boys, a floating courtroom, a signal school in the early days of radio, tourist attraction and national icon. It looks at her through many eyes, including Queen Victoria, admirals, midshipmen and ordinary seamen, and Beatrix Potter who visited as a girl. It is simply a 'must-have' work for historians and enthusiasts, and a compelling new narrative for the general reader.
  • BMQAL
    Michael Broers
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
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    Napoleon's life reached its most extraordinary stage, between 1805 and 1810. In 1805, Napoleon was suddenly at war with Britain, Russia, and Austria. He mobilised all his power to confront them, unleashing his magnificent Grande Armee. Its first, resounding victory at Austerlitz was followed by a whirlwind of campaigns, bringing Napoleon and his men to the borders of Russia. These stunning triumphs made Napoleon the master of the continent, but they left Britain unbowed. In the years that followed, this struggle with Britain came to dominate Napoleon's actions, leading him into the bloodbath of the Spanish Peninsular war, and his attempt to blockade Europe against British commerce. In 1809, Austria launched yet another assault on him. By 1810, Napoleon had routed them, and divorced Josephine in order to marry the daughter of the Austrian Emperor.But at a time of such victory, his own family was torn asunder in the struggle for survival.
  • BMRHX
    Quintin Barry
    • £23.96
    • RRP £29.95
    • Save £5.99
    In 1898 the United States went to war with Spain over the future of Cuba. The American navy had, in the preceding decade, been revived after years of neglect, and was much stronger than anything that the Spanish could bring against it. In the Philippines, Admiral George Dewey easily destroyed a weak Spanish squadron. A military invasion of Cuba was supported by the rest of the US Navy, under the command of Admiral William T Sampson. An important part of this force was the Flying Squadron, led by Commodore Winfield Scott Schley. Meanwhile a Spanish squadron under Admiral Pascual Cervera sailed from Europe to the Caribbean and, after disappearing for some days, reached the port of Santiago de Cuba. Schley was the first on the scene; his movements were later to be severely criticized. When Sampson arrived with the rest of the fleet, a blockade of the port was instituted. In the end, Cervera was obliged to make an attempt to break out, but his squadron of four cruisers was overwhelmed and destroyed. During the battle on Sunday July 3, Schley was in effective command, as Sampson had gone ashore to confer with the army commander. Although the Americans had won another easy victory, a bitter dispute arose between the respective supporters of Schley and Sampson as to who was entitled to the credit. Fanned by the popular press, the issue split the U S Navy to the point where its morale was seriously affected. Matters came to a head with the publication of a book violently attacking Schley's conduct. He demanded a Court of Inquiry; this sat for forty days at the Washington Navy Yard, presided over by Admiral Dewey. It was one of the great trials of American history, as the lawyers refought the campaign in minute detail. In the end, the verdict went against Schley, though this was offset by a minority opinion from Dewey that he had indeed been in command and deserved the credit for the victory. This book explores the rights and wrongs of the conduct of those principally involved in a battle that marked the dawn of the American empire, and closely examines the dramatic proceedings of the Court of Inquiry.
  • AMJZY
    Bruno Colson
    • £22.39
    • RRP £27.99
    • Save £5.60
    This is the book on war that Napoleon never had the time or the will to complete. In exile on the island of Saint-Helena, the deposed Emperor of the French mused about a great treatise on the art of war, but in the end changed his mind and ordered the destruction of the materials he had collected for the volume. Thus was lost what would have been one of the most interesting and important books on the art of war ever written, by one of the most famous and successful military leaders of all time. In the two centuries since, several attempts have been made to gather together some of Napoleon's 'military maxims', with varying degrees of success. But not until now has there been a systematic attempt to put Napoleon's thinking on war and strategy into a single authoritative volume, reflecting both the full spectrum of his thinking on these matters as well as the almost unparalleled range of his military experience, from heavy cavalry charges in the plains of Russia or Saxony to counter-insurgency operations in Egypt or Spain. To gather the material for this book, military historian Bruno Colson spent years researching Napoleon's correspondence and other writings, including a painstaking examination of perhaps the single most interesting source for his thinking about war: the copy-book of General Bertrand, the Emperor's most trusted companion on Saint-Helena, in which he unearthed a Napoleonic definition of strategy which is published here for the first time. The huge amount of material brought together for this ground-breaking volume has been carefully organized to follow the framework of Carl von Clausewitz's classic On War, allowing a fascinating comparison between Napoleon's ideas and those of his great Prussian interpreter and adversary, and highlighting the intriguing similarities between these two founders of modern strategic thinking.
  • AYSOQ
    John B. Boles
    • £22.40
    • RRP £28.00
    • Save £5.60
    Not since Merrill Peterson's Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation has a scholar attempted to write a comprehensive biography of the most complex Founding Father. In Jefferson, John B. Boles plumbs every facet of Thomas Jefferson's life, all while situating him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. We meet Jefferson the politician and political thinker-as well as Jefferson the architect, scientist, bibliophile, paleontologist, musician, and gourmet. We witness him drafting of the Declaration of Independence, negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, and inventing a politics that emphasized the states over the federal government - a political philosophy that shapes our national life to this day. Boles offers new insight into Jefferson's actions and thinking on race. His Jefferson is not a hypocrite, but a tragic figure - a man who could not hold simultaneously to his views on abolition, democracy, and patriarchal responsibility. Yet despite his flaws, Jefferson's ideas would outlive him and make him into nothing less than the architect of American liberty.
  • AOWQO
    DK Brown
    • £34.49
    • RRP £40.00
    • Save £5.51
    In the massive revolution that affected warship design between Waterloo and the Warrior, the Royal Navy was traditionally depicted as fiercely resisting every change until it was almost too late, but these old assumptions were first challenged in this authoritative history of the transition from sail to steam. Originally published in 1990, it began a process of revaluation which has produced a more positive assessment of the British contribution to the naval developments of the period. This classic work is here reprinted in an entirely new edition, with more extensive illustration. Beginning with the structural innovations of Robert Seppings, the book traces the gradual introduction of more scientific methods and the advent of steam and the paddle fighting ship, iron hulls and screw propulsion. It analyses the performance of the fleet in the war with Russia (1853-1856), and concludes with the design of the Warrior, the first iron-hulled, seagoing capital ship in the world. The author presents a picture of an organisation that was well aware of new technology, carefully evaluating its practical advantage, and occasionally (as with its enthusiastic espousal of iron hulls) moving too quickly for the good of the service. Written by an eminent naval architect, Before the Ironclad is both a balanced account of general developments, and an in-depth study of the ships themselves.