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Learn all about our past with books covering the history of the world. We have military history to world history books covering life-changing battles, wars, fascinating inventions and discoveries. We have a book covering every era imaginable for armchair historians of all ages.

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History Books

  • 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
    • RRP £20.00
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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
    • RRP £14.99
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  • Timekeepers

    Simon Garfield

    Product Code: TIMK
    Hardback
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    Simon Garfield, a man described by the Observer as 'a one-man Blue Peter team for intelligent adults' evaluates the importance of time and why we place so much emphasis on it in this eye-opening book.

    A book about our attempts to measure, control, sell, film, perform, immortalise and re-invent time, it also discusses why it is so meaningful. Looking back over the past 250 years, it focuses on stories including Roger Bannister's four-minute mile, a British watchmaker competing with the mighty Switzerland ad how a moment of war can be frozen forever.

    Enthusiastically written, this book will help you understand the concept of time in a whole new way. You definitely should set aside some time to read - and devour - this book!
    • £1.00
    • RRP £16.99
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  • Shakespeare's Strangest Tales

    Product Code: SHKT
    Hardback
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    Published to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, this compelling and entertaining book takes a look at the weird and wonderful stories from the theatres that have played host to the Bard's work.

    From fluffed lines to falls off stages, you'll get to find out about the terrible behaviour of the groundlings at the Globe, learn why the 'rude mechanicals' in A Midsummer Night's Dream were recast as a group of ladies from the WI and discover how Dame Maggie Smith got even with Sir Laurence Olivier.

    Curious and extraordinary, this collection of tales will entertain any fans of the Bard or the stage.
    • £1.00
    • RRP £9.99
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  • 1916: A Global History

    Keith Jeffery

    Product Code: NAGH
    Paperback
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    In this eye-opening book, Keith Jeffery looks at how the events of the First World War affected the rest of the world.

    Covering the 12 months of 1916, he picks out 12 key moments and reveals the impact they had on the rest of the world. As well as famous battles including Gallipoli and the Somme, the author also examines the Easter Rising, the Italian Front and the killing of Rasputin and explains how all of these related to the War.

    Thoroughly researched using a host of military, social and cultural sources, this book looks at just how much the war dramatically altered the state of so many nations.
    • £1.00
    • RRP £9.99
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  • For the Love of the Air Force

    Norman Ferguson

    Product Code: BHEQF
    Hardback
    * Which long-serving aircraft was known as 'Faithful Annie'? * In what year did the first female jet pilot join the RAF? * Where does the RAF motto, 'Per Ardua ad Astra', come from? For the answers to all these questions and more, take off into this fascinating miscellany and become a true RAF aficionado. With its famous Supermarine Spitfire and the legendary Red Arrows, the RAF has been a pillar of British military operations since its beginnings in 1918. This new miscellany brings together the origins of the RAF, the people who make it tick and the technology that lets it take to the skies, as well as the aviation lingo and time-honoured traditions that characterise the force we know today. Whether you have first-hand RAF experience or you're an enthusiastic supporter from the ground, this remarkable volume will be your guide to the oldest independent air force in the world. Chocks away!
    • £2.00
    • RRP £9.99
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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
    • £2.00
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  • Dot Art: Sticker Van Gogh

    Yoni Alter

    Product Code: CCDOF
    Paperback
    Van Gogh's A Wheatfield, with Cypresses and Georges Seurat's Bathers at Asnieres are two of the most famous and popular paintings in London's National Gallery. These activity books allow adults and children to understand how the two artists used colors to create vibrant and luminous scenes. Opening with a brief informative essay, each book contains thousands of colored round stickers and a poster "canvas" of colored outlines - readers simply need to match the stickers to the outlines found on the poster to recreate the paintings. It's not necessary to place each sticker on precisely the right outline. As a result, every finished poster will be its own original work of art. With a handy folder-style flap that allows for easy storage and transportation of the artwork in progress, this activity book is perfect for hours of entertainment, relaxation, or meditation, as well as for unwinding at the end of a busy day.
    • £9.89
    • RRP £10.99
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  • A Touch of Asia Coloring Book

    Tuttle Publishing

    Product Code: BWMIH
    Paperback
    This adult colouring book featuring stunning Asian designs and high-quality paper and is the perfect stress-reliever for fans of Asian art motifs. Artistry is in the details, and A Touch of Asia Coloring Book presents over 50 colouring patterns drawn from the exquisite traditional porcelains, prints, manuscripts, textiles, mosaics and many other artworks of Asia. Each design gives you a taste of the rich culture, history and variety found in this part of the world. Apply your pencils and fine markers to drawings based on: Chinese porcelain designs; Islamic tiles; Persian rugs and other Asian textiles; Japanese prints... and more! This is a colouring book for both relaxation and exploration. Choose a simpler design for a more restful mood or a detailed pattern when you want more of a challenge. Each single-sided page can be torn out for sharing with family and friends or for framing your finished masterpiece.
    • £3.89
    • RRP £3.99
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  • The Library Book

    Susan Orlean

    Product Code: CBQOE
    Paperback
    A New York Times Book of the Year, 2018 A REESE WITHERSPOON x HELLO SUNSHINE BOOK CLUB PICK A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution - our libraries. After moving to Los Angeles, Susan Orlean became fascinated by a mysterious local crime that has gone unsolved since it was carried out on the morning of 29 April 1986: who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library, ultimately destroying more than 400,000 books, and perhaps even more perplexing, why? With her characteristic humour, insight and compassion, Orlean uses this terrible event as a lens through which to tell the story of all libraries - their history, their meaning and their uncertain future as they adapt and redefine themselves in a digital world. Filled with heart, passion and extraordinary characters, The Library Book discusses the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives.
    • £7.99
    • RRP £9.99
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  • The Tulip

    Anna Pavord

    Product Code: CBQJA
    Hardback
    A revised and updated edition of the internationally bestselling classic Anna Pavord's now classic, internationally bestselling sensation, The Tulip, is not a gardening book. It is the story of a flower that has driven men mad. Greed, desire, anguish and devotion have all played their part in the development of the tulip from a wild flower of the Asian steppes to the worldwide phenomenon it is today. No other flower carries so much baggage; it charts political upheavals, illuminates social behaviour, mirrors economic booms and busts, plots the ebb and flow of religious persecution. Why did the tulip dominate so many lives through so many centuries in so many countries? Anna Pavord, a self-confessed tulipomaniac, spent six years looking for answers, roaming through eastern Turkey and Central Asia to tell how a humble wild flower made its way along the Silk Road and eventually took the whole of Western Europe by storm. Sumptuously illustrated from a wide range of sources, this irresistible volume has become a bible, a unique source book, a universal gift and a joy to all who possess it. This beautifully redesigned edition features a new Preface by the author, a revised listing of the best varieties of this incomparable flower to choose for your garden and a reorganised listing of tulip species to reflect the latest thinking by taxonomists.
    • £32.00
    • RRP £40.00
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  • Churchill and Stalin

    Martin Folly

    Product Code: CBKKT
    Hardback
    Based on documents from the Russian archives, this comprehensive study charts the tumultuous wartime relationship between Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. It highlights the secret correspondence between the two leaders, records their meetings and conversations in Moscow and at the Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam summits, and discloses the confidential communications of Stalin and his diplomats. Churchill and Stalin has been compiled and edited by three leading Russian and British historians of the Second World War. Their narrative brings together military and political history, documentary analysis and biography in an illuminating way. It reveals how Stalin and Churchill clashed and collaborated in order to achieve victory, and it demonstrates the deep personal relationship between these two great personalities as well as their profound political differences. Even when the Grand Alliance collapsed after the war, they retained their respect and affection for each other. Other important wartime personalities also feature in the documents -President Roosevelt, the British and Soviet foreign ministers, Anthony Eden and Vyacheslav Molotov, Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador in London and Averell Harriman, the American ambassador in Moscow. This fascinating documentary record is linked by a detailed narrative and commentary on the Stalin-Churchill relationship in the context of Anglo-Soviet relations during the war and the politics of the Grand Alliance. A landmark book - it will appeal to all those interested in Churchill and Stalin and in the politics and diplomacy of the Second World War.
    • £20.00
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  • Egypt: History and Treasures of an Ancient Civilization

    Giorgio Ferrero

    Product Code: CBJUG
    Paperback
    This title presents a civilization that never ceases to amaze scholars, enthusiasts and the general public by providing us with exceptional treasures. The magnificent monuments built in ancient Egypt are world famous, just as the general public knows the names of the most famous pharaohs in the long history of Egyptian civilization. Publications, documentaries, magazines and films continue to dwell on the theme of ancient Egypt, a sign of continuing interest in the story of this great culture. But it was only in 1822, when the ingenious intuition of the French scholar Jean-Francois Champollion paved the way for the first decipherment of hieroglyphs, that the thousands of inscriptions on the ancient Egyptian monuments, steles, statues and tombs could once again bear witness to the life, beliefs and political and economic events of this ancient population that had lived along the banks of the Nile and had created the most long-lived civilization in the history of humanity. Since the late 19th century there has been an uninterrupted series of archaeological discoveries that have greatly increased our knowledge of the history and customs of this great civilization. There is no doubt that the most famous and sensational event in this regard was the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, which Howard Carter found almost intact in 1922. This exceptional discovery triggered a new wave of enthusiasm about Egypt that spread in Europe and United States. Many 20th-century and contemporary artists were inspired and continue to be inspired by the iconographic motifs of Egyptian art. Archaeological research is still underway and, thanks to state-of-the-art techniques and technology, Egyptologists can clarify new aspects of the history of this great civilization.
    • £15.19
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  • Missing: The Need for Closure after the Great War

    Richard Van Emden

    Product Code: CBIKD
    Hardback
    How long would you look for a missing son, even if you knew he was dead? How long could you justify such a search? Two years? Five years? A lifetime? Angela Mond's son, a Royal Air Force pilot, had been shot down and killed, but where was his body? Francis, Angela's hero son, had fought in 1915; he had been injured and suffered severe shell-shock, but returned voluntarily to France three years later to help stem the German spring offensive. Now, post-war, what hope had Angela of finding him, his body presumed to be amongst the legions of those with no known grave? Angela's grief drove her to the battlefields in a seemingly hopeless search, longing also to find some semblance of personal peace. The motivation for her search transcends time; it was a desperate need for closure. But does closure really exist? Best selling author Richard van Emden tells Angela's gripping story, exploring its wider implications and repercussions. How long would the country look for its war dead and how did the public react when that search appeared to end prematurely? France and Belgium were liberated, but did the rights of civilians to their own land conflict with the Allies' wish to build cemeteries and memorials for the fallen??As financial austerity bit hard, how much money could be spent on the dead when the living, the survivors, needed help? Using a remarkable collection of previously unseen images, Missing is a sweeping, epic story that is as resonant and relevant today, as a hundred years ago.
    • £16.00
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  • Fashion

    DK

    Product Code: BZKXG
    Hardback
    Learn about the evolution of costume and dress in this lavishly illustrated guide. From the extravagance of Ancient Egypt, through the legendary houses of Chanel and Dior, to today's catwalk sensations, this gorgeous, carefully curated collection shows how fashion reflects people and places, and captures the times in which they lived. Packed with a dazzling combination of original fashion plates, archive images, and commissioned photography, Fashion takes you on a fabulous tour across the centuries as it catalogues the history of what people wear, revealing how Western fashion has been influenced by design from around the world, and celebrating everything from costume to haute couture. Expert commentary captures the turning points of fashion history, such as when hemlines rose to reveal a glimpse of stocking, youngsters pulled on jeans and "invented" teenagers, the red carpet became a runway, and celebrities became designers. Fashion icons take centre-stage too, with features on famous trend-setters and designers, such as Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinette, and Alexander McQueen, who set the style for each generation. Fashion is an indispensible work of reference whether you're a fashion-mad teen, a wannabe designer, or someone intrigued by the violent origins of the stiletto or the birth of bling. If it's ever been in fashion, it's in this book.
    • £24.00
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  • Henry III (Penguin Monarchs)

    Stephen Church

    Product Code: BWLDX
    Paperback
    Henry III was a medieval king whose long reign continues to have a profound impact on us today. He was on the throne for 56 years and during this time England was transformed from being the private play-thing of a French speaking dynasty into a medieval state in which the king answered for his actions to an English parliament, which emerged during Henry's lifetime. Despite Henry's central importance for the birth of parliament and the development of a state recognisably modern in many of its institutions, it is Henry's most vociferous opponent, Simon de Montfort, who is in many ways more famous than the monarch himself. Henry is principally known today as the driving force behind the building of Westminster Abbey, but he deserves to be better understood for many reasons - as Stephen Church's sparkling account makes clear. Part of the Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers in a highly collectible format
    • £3.99
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  • All Hell Let Loose

    Sir Max Hastings

    Product Code: AEEHE
    Paperback
    A magisterial history of the greatest and most terrible event in history, from one of the finest historians of the Second World War. A book which shows the impact of war upon hundreds of millions of people around the world- soldiers, sailors and airmen; housewives, farm workers and children. Reflecting Max Hastings's thirty-five years of research on World War II, All Hell Let Loose describes the course of events, but focuses chiefly upon human experience, which varied immensely from campaign to campaign, continent to continent. The author emphasises the Russian front, where more than 90% of all German soldiers who perished met their fate. He argues that, while Hitler's army often fought its battles brilliantly well, the Nazis conducted their war effort with 'stunning incompetence'. He suggests that the Royal Navy and US Navy were their countries' outstanding fighting services, while the industrial contribution of the United States was much more important to allied victory than that of the US Army. The book ranges across a vast canvas, from the agony of Poland amid the September 1939 Nazi invasion, to the 1943 Bengal famine, in which at least a million people died under British rule- and British neglect. Among many vignettes, there are the RAF's legendary raid on the Ruhr dams, the horrors of Arctic convoys, desert tank combat, jungle clashes. Some of Hastings's insights and judgements will surprise students of the conflict, while there are vivid descriptions of the tragedies and triumphs of a host of ordinary people, in uniform and out of it. 'The cliche is profoundly true', he says. 'The world between 1939 and 1945 saw some human beings plumb the depths of baseness, while others scaled the heights of courage and nobility'. This is 'everyman's story', an attempt to answer the question: 'What was the Second World War like ?', and also an overview of the big picture. Max Hastings employs the technique which has made many of his previous books best-sellers, combining top-down analysis and bottom-up testimony to explore the meaning of this vast conflict both for its participants and for posterity.
    • £11.29
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  • In Search of Ancient North Africa

    Barnaby Rogerson

    Product Code: CBZJM
    Paperback
    For 40 years, Barnaby Rogerson has travelled across North Africa, making sense of the region's complex and fascinating history as both a writer and a guide. Throughout that time, there have always been a handful of stories he could not pin into neat, tidy narratives; stories that were not distinctly good or bad, tragic or pathetic, selfish or heroic, malicious or noble. This book, neither a work of history nor travel writing, is a journey into the ruins of a landscape to make sense of these stories through the lives of five men and one woman. A sacrificial refugee (Queen Dido), a prisoner-of-war who became a compliant tool of the Roman Empire (King Juba), an unpromising provincial who, as Emperor, brought the Empire to its dazzling apogee (Septimius Severus), an intellectual careerist who became a bishop and a saint (St Augustine), the greatest General the world has ever known (Hannibal), and the Berber Cavalry General who eventually defeated him (Masinissa). Though all six lives have been clouded with as much myth as fact, the destinies of these North African figures remain highly relevant today. Their descendants are faced with the same choices: Do you stay pure to your own culture and fight against the power of the West, or do you study and assimilate this other culture, and utilise its skills? Will it greet you as an ally only to own you as a slave? The chosen heroes of this book represent classical North Africa, and not the familiar drum roll of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Trajan, Hadrian, Constantine and Justinian. In between these life stories, we explore ruins which tell their own tales and see the multiple interconnections that bind the culture of this region with the wider world, particularly the spiritual traditions of the ancient Near East. With photographs by Don McCullin.
    • £8.79
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  • Stalingrad

    Alexey Isaev

    Product Code: CBZNM
    Hardback
    So much has been written about the Battle of Stalingrad - the Soviet victory that turned the tide of the Second World War - that we should know everything about it. But the history of the war, and the battle, is evolving and is being written anew, and Alexey Isaev's engrossing account is a striking example of this fresh approach. By bringing together previously unpublished Russian archive material - strategic directives and orders, after-action reports and official records of all kinds - with the vivid recollections of soldiers who were there, in the front lines, he reconstructs what happened in extraordinary detail. The evidence leads him to question common assumptions about the conduct of the battle - about the use of tanks and mechanized forces, for instance, and the combat capability, and tenacity, of the defeated and surrounded German Sixth Army in the last weeks before it surrendered. His gripping narrative carries the reader through the course of the entire battle from the first small-scale encounters on the approaches to Stalingrad in July 1942, through the intense continuous fighting through the city, to the encirclement, the beating back of the relieving force and the capitulation of the Sixth Army in February 1943. Alexey Isaev's latest book is an important contribution to the literature on this decisive battle. It offers a thought-provoking revised view of events for readers who are already familiar with the story, and it is a fascinating introduction for those who are coming to it for the first time.
    • £20.00
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  • Caribbean Irish, The

    Miki Garcia

    Product Code: CBYCD
    Paperback
    The Caribbean Irish explores the little known fact that the Irish were amongst the earliest settlers in the Caribbean. They became colonisers, planters and merchants living in the British West Indies between 1620 and 1800 but the majority of them arrived as indentured servants. This book explores their lives and poses the question, were they really slaves? As African slaves started arriving en masse and taking over servants' tasks, the role of the Irish gradually diminished. But the legacy of the Caribbean Irish still lives on.
    • £11.99
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  • In Land

    Ben Tufnell

    Product Code: CBYAX
    Paperback
    An attempt to melt an iceberg with a blowtorch, an indoor lake of tequila, an ascent of Mt Everest, driftwood burnt with sunlight focused through a magnifying glass and a doorbell that emits the sound of a dying star; these are some of the extraordinary artistic strategies covered in this collection. Gathering together texts published since 2002, as well as specially written new essays, In Land traces recent engagements with landscape, nature, environment and the cosmos.
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  • First in the Fight

    Helen Antrobus

    Product Code: CBWWT
    Paperback
    Emmeline Pankhurst stands proudly in St Peter's Square, but she stands for so many more... From the women who marched to St Peter's Fields flying the flag for reform to the first entrepreneurs, the women of Greater Manchester have long stood shoulder to shoulder in the fight for equality and social change. For the centenary of some women being able to vote in 2018, the journey began for a statue to be erected, symbolising the incredible lives and achievements of Manchester's radical women. Glimpse at the lives of the twenty women who were long-listed in the campaign, who all made Manchester first in the fight for freedom, and feminism
    • £15.99
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  • Slaughter on the Eastern Front

    Anthony Tucker-Jones

    Product Code: CBWLD
    Paperback
    In the summer of 1941, a collective madness overtook Adolf Hitler and his senior generals. They convinced themselves that they could take on and defeat a superpower in the making - the Soviet Union. Foolishly, they thought in a swift campaign they could smash the Red Army and force Stalin to sue for peace, despite dire warnings that Stalin was amassing a reserve army of more than 1 million men on the Volga. The end result would be such carnage that it would tear the German forces apart. In his major reassessment of the war on the Eastern Front, Anthony Tucker-Jones casts new light on the brutal fighting, including such astounding German defeats as at Stalingrad, Kursk, Minsk and, finally, Berlin. He controversially contends that from the very start intelligence officers on both sides failed to influence their leadership resulting in untold slaughter. He also reveals the shocking blunders by Hitler, Stalin and even Churchill that led to the appalling, needless destruction of Hitler's armed forces as early as the winter of 1941-42. Step by step, Tucker-Jones describes how the German war machine fought to its very last against a relentless enemy, fully aware that defeat was inevitable.
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  • I Saw Eternity the Other Night

    Timothy Day

    Product Code: CBQOY
    Paperback
    The sound of the choir of King's College, Cambridge - its voices perfectly blended, its emotions restrained, its impact sublime - has become famous all over the world, and for many, the distillation of a particular kind of Englishness. This is especially so at Christmas time, with the broadcast of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, whose centenary is celebrated this year. How did this small band of men and boys in a famous fenland town in England come to sing in the extraordinary way they did in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries? It has been widely assumed that the King's style essentially continues an English choral tradition inherited directly from the Middle Ages. In this original and illuminating book, Timothy Day shows that this could hardly be further from the truth. Until the 1930s, the singing at King's was full of high Victorian emotionalism, like that at many other English choral foundations well into the twentieth century. The choir's modern sound was brought about by two intertwined revolutions, one social and one musical. From 1928, singing with the trebles in place of the old lay clerks, the choir was fully made up of choral scholars - college men, reading for a degree. Under two exceptional directors of music - Boris Ord from 1929 and David Willcocks from 1958 - the style was transformed and the choir broadcast and recorded until it became the epitome of English choral singing, setting the benchmark for all other choral foundations either to imitate or to react against. Its style has now been taken over and adapted by classical performers who sing both sacred and secular music in secular settings all over the world with a precision inspired by the King's tradition. I Saw Eternity the Other Night investigates the timbres of voices, the enunciation of words, the use of vibrato. But the singing of all human beings, in whatever style, always reflects in profound and subtle ways their preoccupations and attitudes to life. These are the underlying themes explored by this book.
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If you want to delve into the history of the world, from ancient eras to modern times, then take a look through our extensive range of history books. Whether you’re a history buff or just starting to explore this interesting topic, we have so many brilliant books on history for you to read.

Fascinating historical figures

Kings, queens, military leaders, writers and more are all given starring roles in our range of brilliant books about history. Our history books are full of revealing accounts of the lives of the people that have impacted our world.

Fierce battles

Discover the causes and outcomes of some of the most significant battles the world has ever seen. Whether you are fascinated by the World Wars or prefer finding out about time periods long before, we have books about history that explore how some of the most brutal battles in history have led us up to now.

Delve into the stories of the past

Uncover stories from the past that have been forgotten or overlooked over the years. From modern history to times long gone, there is much to explore in our best history books.

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