When Germany invaded Poland, bombers devastated Warsaw - and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into the empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts.
Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.
"A Tale of Momumental Evil, Stupidity and Hatred"
In SPQR, world-renowned classicist Mary Beard narrates the unprecedented rise of a civilization that even 2,000 years later still shapes many of our most fundamental assumptions about power, citizenship, responsibility, political violence, empire, luxury, and beauty.
"Directionless and Insignificant"
The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another....
"I loved it ... and hated it ... simultaneously"
The Nazi regime preached an ideology of physical, mental, and moral purity. But as Norman Ohler reveals in this gripping new history, the Third Reich was saturated with drugs. On the eve of World War II, Germany was a pharmaceutical powerhouse, and companies such as Merck and Bayer cooked up cocaine, opiates, and, most of all, methamphetamines, to be consumed by everyone from factory workers to housewives to millions of German soldiers.
"Mind altering literature."
Andrew Roberts' Napoleon is the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon's thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. At last we see him as he was: protean multitasker, decisive, surprisingly willing to forgive his enemies and his errant wife Josephine.
At one time, Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that she had a story to tell. For the first 50 years of her life, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened to her. She was a spinster watchmaker living contentedly with her sister and their elderly father in the tiny house over their shop in Haarlem. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. But with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, everything changed....
A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the Führer and was hanged in Flossenbürg concentration camp at age thirty-nine. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the twentieth century.
For centuries in Europe, innocent men and women were murdered for the imaginary crime of witchcraft. This was a mass delusion and moral panic, driven by pious superstition and a deadly commitment to religious conformity. In Witch: A Tale of Terror, best-selling author Sam Harris introduces and reads from Charles Mackay's beloved book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
"more Sam, please"
On October 14, 1943, 600 Jews imprisoned in Sobibor, a secret Nazi death camp in eastern Poland, revolted. They killed a dozen SS officers and guards, trampled the barbed wire fences, and raced across an open field filled with anti-tank mines. Against all odds, more than three hundred made it safely into the woods. Fifty of those men and women managed to survive the rest of the war. In this edition of Escape from Sobibor, fully updated in 2012, Richard Rashke tells their stories
"Great book about an awful period in Jewish history"
Richard J. Evans's gripping narrative ranges across a century of social and national conflicts, from the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 to the unification of both Germany and Italy, from the Russo-Turkish wars to the Balkan upheavals that brought this era of relative peace and growing prosperity to an end. The first single-volume history of the century, this comprehensive and sweeping account gives the listener a magnificently human picture of Europe in the age when it dominated the rest of the globe.
"Terrific comprehensive history"
Rejecting fragmented histories of nations in the making, this bold revision surveys the shared institutions that bridged difference and distance to bring stability and meaning to the far-flung empire. By supporting new schools, law courts, and railroads along with scientific and artistic advances, the Habsburg monarchs sought to anchor their authority in the cultures and economies of Central Europe. A rising standard of living throughout the empire deepened the legitimacy of Habsburg rule.
"This book is like drinking polyethylene glycol..."
The Republic of Venice was the first great economic, cultural, and naval power of the modern Western world. After winning the struggle for ascendency in the late 13th century, the Republic enjoyed centuries of unprecedented glory and built a trading empire which at its apogee reached as far afield as China, Syria, and West Africa. This golden period only drew to an end with the Republic's eventual surrender to Napoleon. The Venetians illuminates the character of the Republic during these illustrious years by shining a light on some of the most celebrated personalities of European history.
Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother's meddling and an adviser's bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions.
"Engaging and Informative"
To Rule the Waves tells the extraordinary story of how the British Royal Navy allowed one nation to rise to a level of power unprecedented in history. From the navy's beginnings under Henry VIII to the age of computer warfare and special ops, historian Arthur Herman tells the spellbinding tale of great battles at sea, heroic sailors, violent conflict, and personal tragedy - of the way one mighty institution forged a nation, an empire, and a new world.
"Better Than Expected. Don't Miss it!"
In this dramatic story of World War II, Jay A. Stout describes how the US built an air force of 2.3 million men after starting with 45,000 and defeated the world's best air force. In order to defeat Germany in World War II, the Allies needed to destroy the Third Reich's industry and invade its territory, but before they could effectively do either, they had to defeat the Luftwaffe, whose state-of-the-art aircraft and experienced pilots protected German industry and would batter any attempted invasion.
Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, Defender of the Realm, the third volume of William Manchester’s The Last Lion, picks up shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister - when his tiny island nation stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. The Churchill portrayed by Manchester and Reid is a man of indomitable courage, lightning-fast intellect, and an irresistible will to action.
"A worthy final volume in a great biography"
It's difficult to imagine a nation with a history more compelling for Americans than Russia. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, this was the nation against which we measured our own nation's values and power and with whom war, if it ever came, could spell unimaginable catastrophe for our planet.Yet many Americans have never had the opportunity to study Russia in depth, and to see how the forces of history came together to shape a future so different from the dreams of most ordinary Russian people, eager to see their nation embrace Western values of progress, human rights, and justice.
"Not story-telling but history-telling at its best"
Robert Tombs' momentous The English and Their History is both a startlingly fresh and a uniquely inclusive account of the people who have a claim to be the oldest nation in the world. The English first came into existence as an idea, before they had a common ruler and before the country they lived in even had a name. They have lasted as a recognizable entity ever since, and their defining national institutions can be traced back to the earliest years of their history.
"An Anglophile history of england"
With dazzling wit and astonishing insight, Bill Bryson - the acclaimed author of The Lost Continent - brilliantly explores the remarkable history, eccentricities, resilience, and sheer fun of the English language. From the first descent of the larynx into the throat (why you can talk but your dog can't) to the fine lost art of swearing, Bryson tells the fascinating, often uproarious story of an inadequate, second-rate tongue of peasants that developed into one of the world's largest growth industries.
"More satire than history"
Vicky, Alice, Helena, and Beatrice were historically unique sisters, born to a sovereign who ruled over a quarter of the earth's people and who gave her name to an era: Queen Victoria. Two of these princesses would themselves produce children of immense consequence. All five would curiously come to share many of the social restrictions and familial machinations borne by 19th-century women of less-exulted class.
Appointed to conquer the "crime capital of the world", the first police chief of Paris faces an epidemic of murder in the late 1600s. Assigned by Louis XIV, Nicolas de La Reynie begins by clearing the streets of filth and installing lanterns throughout Paris, turning it into the City of Light. The fearless La Reynie pursues criminals through the labyrinthine neighborhoods of the city. He unearths a tightly knit cabal of poisoners, witches, and renegade priests.
History has focused on Hitler's use of charisma and terror, asserting that the dictator made few concessions to maintain power. Nathan Stoltzfus, the award-winning author of Resistance of Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Germany, challenges this notion, assessing the surprisingly frequent tactical compromises Hitler made in order to preempt hostility and win the German people's complete fealty.
Putting a century of scholarship on one of the world's most enduring popular novels into accessible, narrative form, this new approach to a classic of world literature is written for a wide general audience. Packed full of information about the book's origins and later career on stage and screen, The Novel of the Century brings to life the extraordinary story of how Victor Hugo managed to write his novel of the downtrodden despite a revolution, a coup d'etat, and political exile.
These are the memoirs of the US Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during World War I, abridged for this production in order to focus on the mass deportations and systematic killings of Turkey's Armenian population. This work is a renowned primary source for this Armenian Genocide, a crime since recognized by 29 countries. Ambassador Morgenthau offers detailed profiles of the Turkish leaders with whom he interacts, finding that they are responsible for a "death warrant to a whole race".
Looking out from Moon Cottage, Susan Hill records the sights and smells, the people, gardens, animals, births, festivals and deaths that mark the changing seasons in the small Oxfordshire community.
Of all the goals the Bolshevik Revolution aimed to bring about, perhaps nowhere were Russian promises delivered on more than in the success of the Soviet Space program of the 1950s and 1960s. As a result of Russian innovation and technology, but also due to incredible drive to modernize and compete with the United States for world power, Russia was finally and triumphantly modernized in the eyes of her own people and the world.
On October 31, 1517, an unknown monk nailed a theological pamphlet to a church door in a small university town and set in motion a process that helped usher in the modern world. Within a few years, Luther's ideas had spread like wildfire. His attempts to reform Christianity by returning it to its biblical roots split the Western Church, divided Europe, and polarized people's beliefs.
In The Possessed we watch Elif Batuman investigate a possible murder at Tolstoy's ancestral estate. We go with her to Stanford, Switzerland, and St. Petersburg; retrace Pushkin's wanderings in the Caucasus; learn why Old Uzbek has 100 different words for crying; and see an 18th-century ice palace reconstructed on the Neva. Love and the novel, the individual in history, the existential plight of the graduate student: all find their places in The Possessed.
When people think of the British Royal family, and more specifically where they live, the first image that often pops into mind is that of stately Buckingham Palace, with its changing of the guard and the occasional royal coach leaving or entering. Others may think of the royal country estate of Windsor Castle, a favorite of both Britain's longest-reigning and second longest-reigning monarchs. But there was a time when both royal residences played second fiddle to a much better known home.
Book one of a history of the Christian churches in England, of England generally, and of Anglo-Saxon culture. It is the best known work of Venerable Bede, an English monk from northern England, and includes Julius Caesar's invasion in 55 BC, an account of Christianity in Roman Britain, the martyrdom of St. Alban, and the story of Augustine's mission to England in 597 that brought Christianity to the Anglo-Saxons. The work is believed to have been completed in 731.
When one hears the term "Victorian," many images come to mind. For some, the term conjures up visions of lace and gloves and delicate fans. Others think of tight corsets and even tighter morals. Others, swayed perhaps by one too many British costume dramas, envision gentle elegance and long lost beauty. Naturally, few people think of multiple dead bodies cast about in the streets or dark bedrooms, most mutilated to a shocking degree.
In the 16th century, corruption, debauchery, and the general perversion of ethics were running rampant within the Roman Catholic Church. The public began to grow leery of the crooked church, and soon, they could no longer bite their tongues. Among the church's most vocal opponents was Martin Luther, whose publication of the 95 Theses gave rise to the Protestant movement. This reformed brand of Christianity gradually spread throughout Europe, planting flags across the continent.
Modern views of animals range from hunters who pay big money to go on safaris in Africa to vegans who refuse to use even the wool or milk from a fellow creature, and as is the case with most controversies, most people fall in the middle, not wanting to kick a dog but still enjoying a good steak. However, in the early 20th century, the standards were much different, with animals seen as strictly property to be gathered and used with little to no consideration about their health or feelings.
Sixteen Welsh legends and myths from north-eastern Wales. Wales is a land filled with mythology. Every breathtaking valley, towering mountain, shimmering lake and magical castle has a mythical tale to entertain and enchant you. The Welsh, like other Celtic races, love to tell stories. From before the time of the Mabinogion and the Black Book of Carmarthen they have passed dark winter nights telling Welsh fables, fairy tales and legends.
When we think of Queen Victoria, whose reign eclipsed that of every British king and queen before her, we imagine the Widow of Windsor, reclusive in her palace, draped in permanent mourning for her beloved husband, Albert, the Prince Consort, who died in 1861. But this book takes the listener on a journey that starts before her marriage, before she came to be seen as the static icon of the age that bears her name.
There are hundreds of pyramid-shaped hills distributed in and around central Bosnia and Herzegovina, yet one in particular has achieved worldwide attention over the last decade. Found in the small town of Visoko, located about 30 kilometres northwest from Sarajevo, the hill is the tallest point in a landscape of tremendous historical importance for the country. The region has been occupied from prehistoric times.
Ragnar Lothbrok is a story of a mighty Viking warrior from the Early Middle Ages. There is no doubt that Ragnar Lothbrok was a legendary Norse hero whose name is often mentioned in the several Old Norse poems and Icelandic sagas. Many historians have debated the very existence of Ragnar Lothbrok. Ragnar Lothbrok was a renowned chief of the Norsemen during the Viking Age, but some historians tend to credit him for the deed of other historical characters of his time.
This is the secret and suspenseful account of how OSS spymaster Allen Dulles led a network of Germans conspiring to assassinate Hitler and negotiate surrender to bring about the end of World War II before the Soviet's advance. Agent 110 is Allen Dulles, a newly minted spy from an eminent family. Dulles met with and facilitated the plots of Germans who were trying to destroy the country's leadership.
Beginning in the heady days just after the First Crusade, this volume - the third in the series that began with The History of the Ancient World and The History of the Medieval World - chronicles the contradictions of a world in transition. Impressively researched and brilliantly told, The History of the Renaissance World offers not just the names, dates, and facts but the memorable characters who illuminate the years between 1100 and 1453 - years that marked a sea change in mankind's perception of the world.
"The 2nd Half of the Medieval World"
Here at last is a history of England that is designed to entertain as well as inform and that will delight the armchair traveler, the tourist, or just about anyone interested in history. No people have engendered quite so much acclaim or earned so much censure as the English: extolled as the Athenians of modern times, yet hammered for their self-satisfaction and hypocrisy. But their history has been a spectacular one.
The appearance of a hastily constructed barbed wire entanglement through the heart of Berlin during the night of 12-13 August 1961 was both dramatic and unexpected. Within days, it had started to metamorphose into a structure that would come to symbolise the brutal insanity of the Cold War: the Berlin Wall. A city of almost four million was cut ruthlessly in two, unleashing a potentially catastrophic East-West crisis and plunging the entire world for the first time into the fear of imminent missile-borne apocalypse.
"Makes a dark chapter "enjoyable""
Hailed as the most compelling biography of the German dictator yet written, Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the heart of its subject's immense darkness. Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the character of the bizarre misfit in his thirty-year ascent from a Viennese shelter for the indigent to uncontested rule over the German nation that had tried and rejected democracy in the crippling aftermath of World War I.
"The heart of evil"
Hailed as the most compelling biography of the German dictator yet written, Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the heart of its subject's immense darkness. From his illegitimate birth in a small Austrian village to his fiery death in a bunker under the Reich chancellery in Berlin, Adolf Hitler left a murky trail, strewn with contradictory tales and overgrown with self-created myths. One truth prevails: the sheer scale of the evils that he unleashed on the world has made him a demonic figure without equal in the 20th century.
In The Red Flag, Oxford professor David Priestland tells the epic story of a movement that has taken root in dozens of countries across 200 years, from its birth after the French Revolution to its ideological maturity in 19th-century Germany to its rise to dominance (and subsequent fall) in the 20th century.
"Time well spent for history buffs"
For centuries the Celts held sway in Europe. Even after their conquest by the Romans, their culture remained vigorous, ensuring that much of it endured to feed an endless fascination with Celtic history and myths, artwork and treasures. A foremost authority on the Celtic peoples and their culture, Peter Berresford Ellis presents an invigoration overview of their world. With his gift for making the scholarly accessible, he discusses the Celts' mysterious origins and early history and investigates their rich and complex society.
"A bit dry, but overall interesting"
When we think of France we often evoke images of fine food and wine, the elegant boulevards of Paris, the chic beaches of St Tropez. Yet, as the largest country in Europe, it is a place of huge diversity. The idea of 'Frenchness' emerged from over 2,000 years of history and it is a riveting story from Roman conquest to the present day.
The Vikings maintain their grip on our imagination, but their image is too often distorted by medieval and modern myth. It is true that they pillaged, looted, and enslaved. But they also settled peacefully and developed a vast trading network. They traveled far from their homelands in swift and sturdy ships, not only to raid, but also to explore. Despite their fearsome reputation, the Vikings didn’t wear horned helmets, and even the infamous berserkers were far from invincible.
"Interesting history. Narrator could be better"
John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough (1644-1722), was one of the greatest military commanders and statesmen in the history of England. Victorious in the Battles of Blenheim (1704) and Ramillies (1706) and countless other campaigns, Marlborough, whose political intrigues were almost as legendary as his military skill, never fought a battle he didn't win. Marlborough also bequeathed the world another great British military strategist and diplomat, his descendant, Winston S. Churchill.
"Long, but what a story!"
This magnificent biography of Henry VIII is set against the cultural, social and political background of his court - the most spectacular court ever seen in England - and the splendour of his many sumptuous palaces. An entertaining narrative packed with colourful description and a wealth of anecdotal evidence, but also a comprehensive analytical study of the development of both monarch and court during a crucial period in English history.
In 1683, an Ottoman army that stretched from horizon to horizon set out to seize the "Golden Apple", as Turks referred to Vienna. The ensuing siege pitted battle-hardened Janissaries wielding 17th-century grenades against Habsburg armies, widely feared for their savagery. The walls of Vienna bristled with guns as the besieging Ottoman host launched bombs, fired cannons, and showered the populace with arrows during the battle for Christianity's bulwark.
In 1528, a mission set out from Spain to colonize Florida. But the expedition went horribly wrong: Delayed by a hurricane, knocked off course by a colossal error of navigation, and ultimately doomed by a disastrous decision to separate the men from their ships, the mission quickly became a desperate journey of survival. Of the 300 men who had embarked on the journey, only four survived - three Spaniards and an African slave.
"Superb telling of a foundational New World story"
The most profound characteristic of Western Europe in the Middle Ages was its cultural and religious unity, a unity secured by a common alignment with the Pope in Rome and a common language - Latin - for worship and scholarship. The Reformation shattered that unity, and the consequences are still with us today.
The Golden Age of the Spanish Empire would establish five centuries of Western supremacy across the globe and usher in an era of transatlantic exploration that eventually gave rise to the modern world. It was a time of discovery and adventure, of great political and social change - it was a time when Spain learned to rule the world.
"Colorful book but poor performer"
In the tradition of John Richardson's Picasso, a commanding new biography of the Italian master's tumultuous life and mysterious death. For four hundred years Caravaggio's (1571-1610) staggering artistic achievements have thrilled viewers, yet his volatile personal trajectory - the murder of Ranuccio Tomasini, the doubt surrounding Caravaggio's sexuality, the chain of events that began with his imprisonment on Malta and ended with his premature death - has long confounded historians.
In AD 476, the last of Rome's emperors, known as "Augustulus", was deposed by a barbarian general, the son of one of Attila the Hun's henchmen. With the imperial vestments dispatched to Constantinople, the curtain fell on the Roman empire in Western Europe, its territories divided among successor kingdoms constructed around barbarian military manpower. But, if the Roman Empire was dead, Romans across much of the old empire still lived, holding on to their lands, their values, and their institutions.
"Byzantine Empire Stands Tall!"
A fascinating new portrait of Medieval Britain that brings together the everyday and the extraordinary. Using wide-ranging evidence, Martyn Whittock shines a light on Britain in the Middle Ages, bringing it vividly to life. Thus we glimpse 11th century rural society through a conversation between a ploughman and his master. The life of Dick Whittington illuminates the rise of the urban elite.
"Loved the Information."