Category

History

When acclaimed Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Obama would win the 2008 election, he thought he'd highlight the singular moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so widespread, so embedded in the culture as to make the very thought of a black president inconce... read more

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The story of the Aztecs is fascinating and dramatic, from its mythic origins, rituals and ways of life to its tragic conquest. Accompanying the major new Te Papa exhibition, this accessible, colourful book tells that story, immersing readers in all the richness, splendour and mystery of the complex Aztec civilisation. All-new... read more

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On December 21, 2013, the crossword will turn 100 - and Cluetopia will toast the occasion, as well as whiz you through a century of language. Diving into archives, David Astle handpicks a crossword clue per year, from scores of different periodicals, weaving a mini-chapter around each selection. The clues will possess some st... read more

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Cast aside by his family at an early age, abandoned and left to fend for himself in the woods of Washington State, young Joe Rantz turns to rowing as a way of escaping his past. What follows is an extraordinary journey, as Joe and eight other working-class boys exchange the sweat and dust of life in 1930s America for the prom... read more

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The New Zealand Geological Survey Antarctic Expedition 1957–1958. Fifty years on and only half the members of this, the first New Zealand Official Government Expedition to Antarctica, remain to tell the story of this trip into the unknown. This volume is based on the diary, notes and memory of the author together with ... read more

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Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Profumo scandal, 'An English Affair' is a sharp-focused snapshot of a nation on the brink of social revolution. Britain in 1963 - Harold Macmillan was the Prime Minister of a Conservative government, dedicated to tradition, hierarchy and, above all, old-fashioned mora... read more

Well the sub-title says it all really! A superbly readable analysis of the early 60s in Britain, which led to changes still affecting the country today. Last year historian Richard Davenport-Hines wrote what I thought was the best of the flood of books on the sinking of the Titanic, Titanic Lives. He did this b... read more

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THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF A RENAISSANCE-ERA EXECUTIONER AND HIS WORLD, BASED ON A RARE AND OVERLOOKED JOURNAL. In a dusty German bookshop, the noted historian Joel F. Harrington stumbled upon a remarkable document: the journal of a sixteenth-century executioner. The journal gave an account of the 394 people Meister Frantz Sc... read more

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In September 1996, a fourteen-year-old Fatima Bhutto hid in a windowless dressing room, shielding her baby brother while shots rang out in the streets outside the family home in Karachi. This was the evening that her father Murtaza was murdered, along with six of his associates.
In December 2007, Benazir Bhutto, Fatima'... read more

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Author:Bill Bryson
Awards:Winner of Descartes Prize for Science Communication 2005.

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller: but even when he stays safely in his own study at home, he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from t... read more

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From Alexandria to York, this unique illustrated guide allows us to see the great centres of classical civilization afresh. The key feature of "Cities of the Classical World" is 120 specially drawn maps tracing each city's thoroughfares and defences, monuments and places of worship. Every map is to the same scale, allowing re... read more

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Between 1680 and 1807 British publishers produced a sequence of double-hemisphere world maps each printed on two sheets and conjoined. These maps are a peculiarly British phenomenon of this period and they provide a key indicator of the way the British map trade specifically targeted a newly prosperous and upwardly aspiring c... read more

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Paddlewheel riverboat, showboat, sternwheeler: call it what you will, the steamboat revolutionized American travel in the 1800s. It was an era in which young boys dreamed of becoming river pilots and Mark Twain immortalized the Delta Queens that travelled up and down the Mississippi River. In this colorful history, steamboat ... read more

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The rooms we live in are always more than just four walls. As we decorate these spaces and fill them with objects and friends, they shape our lives and become the backdrop to our sense of self. One day, the houses will be gone, but even then, traces of the stories and the memories they contained will remain. In this dazzling ... read more

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The daughter of an impoverished aristocrat, Catherine was married aged 16 to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne of all the Russias, a feckless teenager with a weakness for drink. Catherine was only able to give him an heir by passing off her lover's son as his own. In 1762, Catherine rode out of St Petersburg at the head of... read more

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The night before the March on Washington in 1963 Martin Luther King asked his aides for advice about the next day's speech. "Don't use the lines about "I have a dream," Wyatt Walker told him "It's trite, it's cliche. You've used it too many times already." Martin Luther King delivered many speeches (at least 350 in 1963 alone... read more

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Falling Upwards tells the story of the enigmatic group of men and women who first risked their lives to take to the air, and so discovered a new dimension of human experience. Why they did it, what their contemporaries thought of them, and how their flights revealed the secrets of our planet in wholly unexpected ways is its s... read more

Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air is the first book by Richard Holmes since the wonderful The Age of Wonder, and it certainly does not disappoint.  This time he writes about the history of hot-air balloons, beginning with the Montgolfier brothers in France in 1783, and ending in the present day.  Amo... read more

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These were the crimes that were meant to change the world, and sometimes did. The book connects the killing of the Kennedys or the murder that sparked the First World War with less well-known stories, such as the Berlin shooting of an instigator of the Armenian genocide or the attack on an American 'robber baron'. Taking in M... read more

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The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was a turning-point in modern history. The destruction of the Iranian monarchy not only upset the political order in the Middle East and brought on a quarter-century of warfare, but introduced a new way to look at history. In Days of God James Buchan lives each moment of the revolution through t... read more

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Author:William Dalrymple
Awards:Shortlisted for Samuel Johnson Prize 2013.

In the spring of 1839, the British invaded Afghanistan for the first time. Led by lancers in scarlet cloaks and plumed shakos, nearly 20,000 British and East India Company troops poured through the high mountain passes and re-established on the throne Shah Shuja ul-Mulk. On the way in, the British faced little resistance. But... read more

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Mr Jack has been nimble and he's been quick, searching through the history of nursery rhymes and he's found out all kind of plum tales, just like little Jack Horner. He's unearthed the answers to some very curious questions...Who were Mary Quite Contrary and Georgie Porgie? How could "Hey Diddle Diddle" offer an essential ast... read more

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