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October 27, 1962, a day dubbed Black Saturday in the Kennedy White House. The Cuban missile crisis is at its height, and the world is drawing ever closer to nuclear apocalypse.
As the opposing Cold War leaders, John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, mobilize their forces to fight a nuclear war on land, sea and air, the world watches in terror. In Bobby Kennedy's words, 'There was a feeling that the noose was tightening on all of us, on Americans, on mankind, and that the bridges to escape were crumbling.'
In One Minute to Midnight Michael Dobbs brings a fresh perspective to this crucial moment in twentieth-century history. Using a wealth of untapped archival material, he tells both the human and the political story of Black Saturday, taking the reader into the White House, the Kremlin and along the entire Cold War battlefront.
Dobbs's thrilling narrative features a cast of characters - including Soviet veterans never before interviewed by a western writer - with unique stories to tell, witnesses to one of the greatest mobilizations of men and equipment since the Second World War.
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A short, sharp shot of royal revenge.
More than four hundred years ago, seven people - five of them women - were beheaded in the Tower of London. Three had been queens of England. The others were found guilty of treason. Why were such important people put to death?
Alison Weir's gripping book tells their stories: from the former friend betrayed by a man set on being king, to the young girl killed after just nine days on the throne. Alison Weir is a wonderful storyteller. Through her vivid writing, Alison Weir brings history alive.
The American Civil War was one of the longest and bloodiest of modern wars. It is also one of the most mysterious. It has captured the imagination of writers, artists and film-makers for decades but the reality of it confuses and divides historians even today.
In this magisterial history of the first modern war, the distinguished military historian John Keegan unpicks the geography, leadership and strategic logic of the war and takes us to the heart of the conflict. His captivating work promises to be the definitive history of the American Civil War.
Among the ethnic gangs that rule America's inner cities, none has had the impact of the Jamaican posses. Spawned in the ghettos of Kingston as mercenary street-fighters for the island's politicians, the posses began migrating to the United States in the early 1980's, just in time to catch and ride the crack wave as it engulfed the country. Laurie Gunst's provocative exposé of the Jamaican politicians' role in creating this problem is also a moving and compelling tale of suffering and exploitation. Leone Ross' substantial afterword examines further the issues raised by the book from a British and Jamaican perspective.
A gripping account of China’s nineteenth-century Taiping Rebellion, one of the largest civil wars in history. Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom brims with unforgettable characters and vivid re-creations of massive and often gruesome battles--a sweeping yet intimate portrait of the conflict that shaped the fate of modern China. The story begins in the early 1850s, the waning years of the Qing dynasty, when word spread of a major revolution brewing in the provinces, led by a failed civil servant who claimed to be the son of God and brother of Jesus. The Taiping rebels drew their power from the poor and the disenfranchised, unleashing the ethnic rage of millions of Chinese against their Manchu rulers. This homegrown movement seemed all but unstoppable until Britain and the United States stepped in and threw their support behind the Manchus: after years of massive carnage, all opposition to Qing rule was effectively snuffed out for generations. Stephen R. Platt recounts these events in spellbinding detail, building his story on two fascinating characters with opposing visions for China’s future: the conservative Confucian scholar Zeng Guofan, an accidental general who emerged as the most influential military strategist in China’s modern history; and Hong Rengan, a brilliant Taiping leader whose grand vision of building a modern, industrial, and pro-Western Chinese state ended in tragic failure. This is an essential and enthralling histry of the rise and fall of the movement that, a century and a half ago, might have launched China on an entirely different path into the modern world.
One of them was a military genius; one murdered his mother and fiddled while Rome burned; another earned the nickname 'sphincter artist'. Six of their number were assassinated, two committed suicide - and five of them were elevated to the status of gods. They have come down to posterity as the 'twelve Caesars' - Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. Under their rule, from 49 BC to AD 96, Rome was transformed from a republic to an empire, whose model of regal autocracy would survive in the West for more than a
Matthew Dennison offers a beautifully crafted sequence of colourful biographies of each emperor, triumphantly evoking the luxury, licence, brutality and sophistication of imperial Rome at its zenith. But as well as vividly recreating the lives, loves and vices of this motley group of despots, psychopaths and perverts, he paints a portrait of an erao of political and social revolution, of the bloody overthrow of a proud, 500-year-old political system and its replacement by a dictatorship which, against all the odds, succeeded more convincingly than oligarchic democracy in governing a vast international landmass.
For more than five centuries The Last Supper has been an artistic, religious and cultural icon. The art historian Kenneth Clark called it 'the keystone of European art', and for a century after its creation it was regarded as nothing less than a miraculous image. And yet there is a very human story behind this artistic 'miracle'. Ross King's Leonardo and the Last Supper is both a 'biography' of one of the most famous works of art ever painted and a record of Leonardo da Vinci's last five years in Milan.
Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) is the most important woman in Chinese history. She ruled China for decades and brought a medieval empire into the modern age.
At the age of sixteen, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor's numerous concubines and sexual partners. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China - behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male.
In this groundbreaking biography, Jung Chang vividly describes how Cixi fought against monumental obstacles to change China. Under her the ancient country attained virtually all the attributes of a modern state: industries, railways, electricity, telegraph, and an army and navy with up-to-date weaponry. It was she who abolished gruesome punishments like 'death by a thousand cuts' and put an end to foot-binding. She inaugurated women's liberation, and embarked on the path to introduce parliamentary elections to China. Jung Chang comprehensively overturns the conventional view of Cixi as a diehard conservative and cruel despot.
Cixi reigned during extraordinary times and had to deal with a host of major national crises: the Taiping and Boxer Rebellions, wars with France and Japan - and the invasion by eight allied powers including Britain, Germany, Russia and the United States. Jung Chang not only records the Empress Dowager's conduct of domestic and foreign affairs, but also takes the reader into the depths of her splendid Summer Palace and the harem of Beijing's Forbidden City, where she lived surrounded by eunuchs - with one of whom she fell in love, with tragic consequences. The world Jung Chang describes here, in fascinating detail, seems almost unbelievable in its extraordinary mixture of the very old and the very new.
Based on newly available, mostly Chinese, historical documents such as court records, official and private correspondence, diaries and eye-witness accounts, this biography will revolutionise historical thinking about a crucial period in China's - and the world's - history. Packed with drama, fast-paced and gripping, it is both a panoramic depiction of the birth of modern China and an intimate portrait of a woman: as the concubine to a monarch, as the absolute ruler of a third of the world's population, and as a unique stateswoman.
From the bestselling and award-winning author of Paris 1919 comes a gripping work of narrative nonfiction, a riveting story of Europe and the world in the years leading up to World War I. Master writer and historian Margaret MacMillan creates a fascinating portrait of the personalities and factors that pushed Europe over the brink into a catastrophic, world-changing conflagration. The century since the end of the Napoleonic wars had been the most peaceful era Europe had known since the fall of the Roman Empire. In the first years of the twentieth century, Europe believed it was marching to a golden, happy, and prosperous future. But instead, the continent walked over a cliff into a war that killed millions, destroyed economies, tore apart empires, and fatally undermined Europe’s dominance of the world. With a sweeping narrative, vivid characters, and sharp insight, Margaret MacMillan powerfully evokes the decisions made, and the economic, social, political, and human tensions that determined the lead-up to the war. Colonial rivalries, ethnic nationalism, Germany’s rise to power, shifting alliances, and the belief in social Darwinism--that competition among nations was part of nature’s rule and that the strongest would rightfully emerge victorious--all exerted influence. Illuminating, absorbing, and beautifully written, The War That Ended Peace is a masterly work about the transformation of Europe, and the world.
The first edition of Southeast Asia: An introductory history was published in 1979 and immediately filled a need for travellers and students interested in a tantalisingly different part of the world. Subsequent editions (translated into Japanese, Khmer, Korean and Thai) have continued to document with great perception the enormous changes and dramatic growth experienced in the region.
Dr Milton Osborne has been a resident, student and fascinated observer of Southeast Asia for over 50 years. This familiarity has resulted in a highly readable and lively chronicle. While giving due regard to the early history of the region, Osborne concentrates on the changes that have taken place since the eighteenth century: the impact of colonial rule, economic transformations of the 19th and 20th centuries, the emergence and triumph of the independence movements, the impact of social change and the pivotal roles played by religion, ethnic minorities and immigrant groups. He also provides an introduction to the art of the region and a comprehensive guide to literature about Southeast Asia.
Clearly written and extensively illustrated this eleventh edition of Southeast Asia: An introductory history remains a classic in the field.
'While deepening our understanding of Southeast Asia, this fine introduction reminds us of the importance of history itself. ' - Anthony Milner, Basham Professor of Asian History, Australian National University