Offers an account of the last days of peace in 1939. This title presents the story in the capitals of Europe as politicians and the public braced themselves for a war that they feared might spell the end of European civilisation. It provides a defining moment in the history of the violent twentieth century.
The last months of the Second World War were a nightmarish time to be alive. Unimaginable levels of violence destroyed entire cities. Millions died or were dispossessed. By all kinds of criteria it was the end: the end of the Third Reich and its terrible empire but also, increasingly, it seemed to be the end of European civilization itself. In his gripping, revelatory new book Ian Kershaw describes these final months, from the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944 to the German surrender in May 1945. The major question that Kershaw attempts to answer is: what made Germany keep on fighting? In almost every major war there has come a point where defeat has loomed for one side and its rulers have cut a deal with the victors, if only in an attempt to save their own skins. In Hitler's Germany, nothing of this kind happened: in the end the regime had to be stamped out town by town with a level of brutality almost without precedent. Both a highly original piece of research and a gripping narrative, The End makes vivid an era which still deeply scars Europe. It raises the most profound questions about the nature of the Second World War, about the Third Reich and about how ordinary people behave in extreme circumstances.
Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different moral universe from you? Why is it so easy to see the flaws in others' arguments, and less in our own? This book reveals that the reason we find it so hard to get along is because our minds are designed to be moral.
Shakespeare lived through a pivotal period in human history. What were Londoners thinking when they went to see Shakespeare's plays? What was it like living in their world? In this book, the author looks at twenty objects from Shakespeare's life and times, and uncovers the stories behind them.
For the first time in a full length book Henry Kissinger writes about the country he has known intimately for decades, and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. Drawing on historical records as well as his conversations with Chinese leaders over the past forty years, Kissinger examines how China has approached diplomacy, strategy, and negotiation throughout its history, and reflects on the consequences for the 21st-century world.
The unique conditions under which China developed continue to shape its policies and attitudes toward the outside world. For millennia China rarely encountered other societies of comparable size and sophistication. It was the "Middle Kingdom," treating people on its periphery as vassal states. At the same time, Chinese statesmen - facing threats of invasion from without, and the contests of competing factions within - developed a canon of strategic thought that emphasized long-term structural advantage rather than absolute victory, and that prized the virtues of subtlety, patience, and indirection over feats of martial prowess. With the enduring institutions of Chinese statecraft and civilization clearly in mind Kissinger examines key episodes in China's history from the earliest days through the 20th century. The book provides a sweeping historical perspective on Chinese foreign policy.
What is the new definition of luxury when the advertising for the luxury lifestyle is targeted mainly towards the middle-class masses? What are we paying for when quality is no longer quality? How did luxury lose its luster? This book describes the real world behind the glossy spreads in magazines and fantastic dresses on the red carpet.
Drawing on letters, memoirs, conversations, this work tells the story of how Russians tried to endure life under Stalin, conveying the reality of their terrible choices. It recreates the sort of maze in which Russians found themselves, where an unwitting wrong turn could either destroy a family or, perversely, later save it.
For over three thousand years, the Mediterranean Sea has been one of the great centres of world civilisation. From the time of historical Troy until the middle of the nineteenth century, human activity here decisively shaped much of the course of world history. David Abulafia's The Great Sea is the first complete history of the Mediterranean from the erection of the mysterious temples on Malta around 3500 BC to the recent reinvention of the Mediterranean's shores as a tourist destination.
Part of the argument of Abulafia's book is that the great port cities - Alexandria, Trieste and Salonika and many others - prospered in part because of their ability to allow many different peoples, religions and identities to co-exist within sometimes very confined spaces. He also brilliantly populates his history with identifiable individuals whose lives illustrate with great immediacy the wider developments he is describing.
The Great Sea ranges stupendously across time and the whole extraordinary space of the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to Jaffa, Venice to Alexandria. Rather than imposing a false unity on the sea and the teeming human activity it has sustained, the book emphasises diversity - ethnic, linguistic, religious and political. Anyone who reads it will leave it with their understanding of those societies and their histories enormously enriched.
To mark the centenary of its foundation, the British Security Service, MI5, has opened its archives to an independent historian. This book reveals the precise role of the Service in twentieth-century British history, from its foundation by Captain Kell of the British Army in October 1909 onwards. It also describes the distinctive ethos of MI5.
America's most acclaimed historian presents the intricate story of the year of the birth of the United States of America. 1776 tells two gripping stories: how a group of squabbling, disparate colonies became the United States, and how the British Empire tried to stop them.
Beginning with the Second World War, and ending with the collapse of the Soviet Union, this book provides an account of the strategic dynamics that drove that age. As Britain finds itself in a global confrontation with an implacable ideological enemy, this book tells a story whose lessons are necessary to understand.
Shows that finance is in fact the foundation of human progress. This book reveals financial history as the essential back-story behind all history. It explains why the origins of the French Revolution lie in a stock market bubble caused by a convicted Scots murderer.
When Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, he also won a long-running debate with his wife Michelle. Contrary to her fears, politics now seemed like a worthwhile, even noble pursuit. Together they planned a White House life that would be as normal and sane as possible. Then they moved in. In The Obamas, Jodi Kantor takes us deep inside the White House as they grapple with their new roles, change the country, raise children, maintain friendships, and figure out what it means to be President and First Lady. Filled with riveting detail and insight into their partnership and personalities, and written with a keen eye for the ironies of public life and the realities of power, The Obamas is an intimate portrait that will surprise even those who thought they knew the President and First Lady.
Examines the enormous influence of the British Empire. This title shows how diverse, strange and in many ways chaotic the British Empire really was, controlled by a range of interests often at loggerheads with each other and as much driven on by others' weaknesses as by its own strength.