The northeastern quarter of the continent of Africa is drained and watered by the Nile. Among and about the headstreams and tributaries of this mighty river lie the wide and fertile provinces of the Egyptian Soudan. Situated in the very centre of the land, these remote regions are on every side divided from the seas by 500 miles of mountain, swamp, or desert. The great river is their only means of growth, their only channel of progress.
Although it ended over 550 years ago, the Hundred Years' War still looms large in the historical consciousness of England and France, even if the name of the famous war is a misnomer. Actually a series of separate conflicts between the English and French monarchies, interspersed with periods of peace, its historical image is an odd one, in part because its origins were based on royal claims that dated back centuries.
Today, roses are a sign of love and luxury, but for over 30 years they provided the symbols for two houses at war for control of England. Thousands of people died and many more were injured fighting beneath the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster, and the noble families ruling England tore each other apart in a struggle that was as bitter as it was bloody.
"Could this topic be made any more boring?!"
The Gallic Wars, the series of campaigns waged by Julius Caesar on behalf of the Roman Senate between 58-50 BC, were among the defining conflicts of the Roman era. Not only was the expansion of the Republic's domains unprecedented (especially when considering it was undertaken under the auspices of a single general), it had a profound cultural impact on Rome itself as well.
Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream. Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, and he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy.
"Philippa back on track"
In Old Man River, Paul Schneider tells the story of the river at the center of America's rich history - the Mississippi. Some fifteen thousand years ago, the majestic river provided Paleolithic humans with the routes by which early man began to explore the continent's interior. Since then, the river has been the site of historical significance, from the arrival of Spanish and French explorers in the 16th century to the Civil War. George Washington fought his first battle near the river, and Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman both came to President Lincoln's attention after their spectacular victories on the lower Mississippi.
"History, eloquence, and wit..."
In the third and last volume of this vivid history, Shelby Foote brings to a close the story of four years of turmoil and strife which altered American life forever. Here, told in rich narrative and as seen from both sides, are those climactic struggles, great and small, on and off the field of battle, which finally decided the fate of this nation.
Between the two armies, at the confluence of the two rivers, sits a rich prize, a vast plantation run by young, beautiful Mrs. Hawkland. At any moment Union or Confederate forces could seize her land and set fire to her home to prevent the enemy from doing so first. Confederate officer Jamie Russell comes to her plantation by chance, only to find that that she is no stranger; his dreams of their brief but passionate encounter fill his nights as war fills his days.
Naval combat underwent a significant metamorphosis during World War II. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan launched some of the most powerful battleships ever to sail the world's oceans, yet the conflict witnessed the emergence and triumph of the aircraft carrier as the 20th century's true monarch of the seas. Submarine warfare expanded and developed while aircraft technology and doctrine experienced several revolutionary changes due to the unforgiving demands of the new combat environment.
"Repetitive and anticlimactic"
The secession of the South was one of the seminal events in American history, but it also remains one of the most controversial. The election of Abraham Lincoln was the impetus for secession, but that was merely one of many events that led up to the formation of the Confederacy and the start of the Civil War.
World War II was fought on a scale unlike anything before or since in human history, and the unfathomable casualty counts are attributable in large measure to the carnage inflicted between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during Hitler's invasion of Russia and Stalin's desperate defense. The invasion came in 1941 following a nonaggression pact signed between the two in 1939, which allowed Hitler to focus his attention on the west without having to worry about an attack from the eastern front.
The USS Maine is one of the most famous ships in American history but for all the wrong reasons. A symbol of naval strength in the late 19th century, the Maine's tragic fate is taught to students across the nation not just because it was a disaster but because it is associated with the most notorious examples of yellow journalism in the country's history and ultimately brought about a war, despite the fact it's still unclear what caused the ship's explosion.
"goof factual info"
In World War II, hundreds of thousands of American soldiers were killed across the world, whether in Japanese jungles, North African deserts, or European beaches. Given that backdrop and the sheer magnitude of the war, people understandably became desensitized to incidents and tragedies that cost hundreds of lives. This was undoubtedly the case with the notorious Port Chicago disaster, a munitions explosion in July 1944 that killed over 300 people and injured over 300 more, many of them navy sailors.
With Germany resurgent and rearmed after the disasters inflicted on it by the Treaty of Versailles following World War I, the Munich Agreement held out hope of a quick end to German ambitions and the return of stable, normal international relations across Europe. Of course, the Munich agreement is now notorious because its promise proved barren within a very short period of time. Chamberlain's actions either failed to avert, or actually hastened, the very cataclysm he wished to avoid at all costs.
Two military setbacks, on a scale unprecedented in history, were required before the high tide of Napoleon's success began to ebb towards the final denouement of the Hundred Days and the famous Battle of Waterloo. The failed Russian invasion set the stage for the second defeat at Leipzig, which essentially sealed the fate of Napoleon's empire. The four-day Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, dubbed the "Battle of the Nations", essentially determined the course the Napoleonic Wars took from that moment forward.
"Interesting book about this French hero."
In 1860, New Orleans was just as unique a city as it is today. It was racially and linguistically diverse, with many French, German, and Spanish speakers, and a population of white, black, and mixed-race inhabitants. Louisiana's population was 47% slave and also had one of the largest numbers of free blacks in the country.
The astounding memoir of a World War II veteran who spent three and a half years in the slave-labor camps made famous by The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Loet Velmans was 17 when the Germans invaded Holland. He and his family fled to London on the Dutch Coast Guard cutter Seaman’s Hope and then sailed to the Dutch East Indies - now Indonesia - where he joined the Dutch army. In March 1942, the Japanese invaded the archipelago and made prisoners of the Dutch soldiers. For the next three and a half years Velmans and his fellow POWs toiled in slave-labor camps.
Of all the dramatic events that transpired during the Civil War, the end of the war in April 1865 brought perhaps the most remarkable of them all, and they came in such quick succession that it's still hard to believe nearly 150 years later.
Set in Venice at the close of World War II, Across the River and into the Trees is the bittersweet story of a middle-aged American colonel, scarred by war and in failing health, who finds love with a young Italian countess at the very moment when his life is becoming a physical hardship to him.
The Civil War was the deadliest conflict in American history, and had the two sides realized it would last four years and inflict over a million casualties, it might not have been fought. Since it was, however, historians and history buffs alike have been studying and analyzing the biggest battles ever since. Americans have long been fascinated by the Civil War, marveling at the size of the battles, the leadership of the generals, and the courage of the soldiers.
"Too much minutiae, awful narration"