Category

History

William Smith was not rich or well-connected, but his passion for rocks and fossils, and his 20-year obsession with single-handedly mapping the geology of Britain made him one of the most significant men of the 19th century. But his vision cost him dear

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On 8 February 1421 the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. The ships, 500 foot long junks made from the finest teak and mahogany, were led by Emperor Zhu Di's loyal eunuch admirals. Their mission was 'to proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond ... read more

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A fascinating, lively account of the making of the King James Bible. James VI of Scotland -- now James I of England -- came into his new kingdom in 1603. Trained almost from birth to manage rival political factions, he was determined not only to hold his throne, but to avoid the strife caused by religious groups that was bed... read more

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The brutal Japanese treatment of allied prisoners of war, as well as countless thousands of Chinese civilians, during the Second World War has been well documented. Here Laurence Rees, award-winning historian and author of "Auschwitz: The Nazis & The 'Final Solution'" and "World War II: Behind Closed Doors", turns his att... read more

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We think the way we do because Socrates thought the way he did. His aphorism 'The unexamined life is not worth living' may have originated twenty-five centuries ago, but it is a founding principle of modern life. Socrates lived and contributed to a city that nurtured key ingredients of contemporary civilisation - democracy, l... read more

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FATE IS THE HUNTER is a fascinating and thrilling account of some of the more memorable experiences Ernest K Gann had in the air. He's flown in both peace and war and come close to death many times. Here he reveals the characters he's known and the dramas he's experienced, portraying fate (or death) as a hunter constantly in ... read more

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Fairness and Freedom compares the history of two open societies--New Zealand and the United States--with much in common. Both have democratic polities, mixed-enterprise economies, individuated societies, pluralist cultures, and a deep concern for human rights and the rule of law. But all of these elements take different forms... read more

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Break out the TV dinners! From the author who gave us" Cod," "Salt," and other informative bestsellers, the first biography of Clarence Birdseye, the eccentric genius inventor whose fast-freezing process revolutionized the food industry and American agriculture.

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In 1854, Victorian miners fought a deadly battle under the flag of the Southern Cross at the Eureka Stockade. Though brief and doomed to fail, the battle is legend in both our history and in the Australian mind. Henry Lawson wrote poems about it, its symbolic flag is still raised, and even the nineteenth-century visitor Mark ... read more

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This is a completely new and updated edition of J. M. Roberts and Odd Arne Westad's widely acclaimed, landmark bestseller "The Penguin History of the World". For generations of readers "The Penguin History of the World" has been one of the great cultural experiences - the entire story of human endeavour laid out in all its gr... read more

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Author:Kate Hubbard
Awards:Shortlisted for Costa Biography Award 2012.

During the sixty-odd years of her reign, Queen Victoria gathered around her a household dedicated to her service. By following the lives of six members of her household - from governess to maid-of-honour, chaplain to personal physician - Serving Victoria offers a unique insight into the Victorian court with all its frustratio... read more

A fascinating look at life behind the scenes in Queen Victoria's household, from her ascension to the throne at 18 to her death nearly 64 years later. Excerpts from letters and diaries of her equerries, ladies-in-waiting, physicians, governesses and even the many Prime Ministers who served her (the ones she liked and the ones... read more

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Since the Bali bombings of 2002 and the rise of political Islam, Indonesia has frequently occupied media headlines. Nevertheless, the history of the fourth largest country on earth remains relatively unknown. Adrian Vickers' book, first published in 2005, traces the history of an island country, comprising some 240 million pe... read more

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Building on the startling revelations of 1421, iconic historian Gavin Menzies explores the possibility that mankind made transcontinental voyages centuries before the supposed discoveries of European explorers. With meticulous research and an adventurer's spirit, Menzies has uncovered astounding new evidence that calls into q... read more

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In 1949 Mao Zedong hoisted the red flag over Beijing's Forbidden City. Instead of liberating the country, the communists destroyed the old order and replaced it with a repressive system that would dominate every aspect of Chinese life. In an epic of revolution and violence which draws on newly opened party archives, inte... read more

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There is a story that no one in the media seems to be willing to tell. It is one in which many journalists have a vested interest: the death of newspapers, traditionally the form known to break the biggest headlines, to chase the rumours to their source, and to undertake the most in-depth reporting. A unique insider's account... read more

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The thrilling story of the last, and greatest, generation of steam railway locomotives in regular main line service: a story of invention, skill and passion, Giants of Steam reveals how the true advocates of steam's glory days pushed its design and performance to remarkable limits, taking these powerful and beautifully design... read more

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Christopher Hitchens described Geoffrey Robertson as 'the greatest living Australian' and the satirical magazine Private Eye calls him 'an Australian who has had a vowel transplant'. Just before he was to cross-examine Princess Diana, the London Times complained that he was 'anti-establishment, republican and Australian' - in... read more

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The late 1950s was an action-packed, often dramatic time in which the contours of modern Britain began to take shape. These were the 'never had it so good' years, when the Carry On film series and the TV soap Emergency Ward 10 got going, and films like Room at the Top and plays like A Taste of Honey brought the working class ... read more

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"This is a wonderful book: curious and insightful". (Ian Mortimer, author of The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England). We know what happens to the body when we die, but what happens to the soul? The answer may remain a great unknown, but the question has shaped centuries of tradition, folklore and religious belief. In ... read more

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Mary Beard is one of the world's best-known classicists - a brilliant academic, with a rare gift for communicating with a wide audience both though her books and TV presenting. In a series of sparkling essays, she explores our rich classical heritage - from Greek drama to Roman jokes, introducing some larger-than-life charact... read more

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