In the spring of 1939, a top-secret organization was founded in London: Its purpose was to plot the destruction of Hitler's war machine through spectacular acts of sabotage. The guerrilla campaign that followed was every bit as extraordinary as the six men who directed it. One of them, Cecil Clarke, was a maverick engineer who had spent the 1930s inventing futuristic caravans. Now his talents were put to more devious use: He built the dirty bomb used to assassinate Hitler's favorite, Reinhard Heydrich.
"Rip-Roarin' Tale of Devoted 'Cads'!"
The first installment in Giles Milton's outrageously entertaining series, History's Unknown Chapters: colorful and accessible, intelligent and illuminating, Milton shows his customary historical flair as he delves into the little-known stories from the past. There's the cook aboard the Titanic who pickled himself with whiskey and survived in the icy seas where most everyone else died. There's the man who survived the atomic bombs in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And there are many, many more.
In When Churchill Slaughtered Sheep and Stalin Robbed a Bank, the second installment in his outrageously entertaining series, History's Unknown Chapters, Giles Milton shows his customary historical flair as he delves into the little-known stories from history, like when Stalin was actually assassinated with poison by one of his inner circle; the Russian scientist, dubbed the "Red Frankenstein", who attempted to produce a human-ape hybrid through ethically dubious means; and much more.
"Great Trivia Source"
In 1917, a band of communist revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II - a dramatic and explosive act marking that Vladimir Lenin’s communist revolution was now underway. But Lenin would not be satisfied with overthrowing the Tsar. His goal was a global revolt that would topple all Western capitalist regimes - starting with the British Empire. Russian Roulette tells the spectacular and harrowing story of the British spies in revolutionary Russia and their mission to stop Lenin’s red tide from washing across the free world.
"Much better than expected"
Meet Arnold Trevellyan - charismatic, exuberant and somewhat strange. His love of mushrooms is matched only by a passion for Flora, his wife of 12 years. One day, while searching for mushrooms, Arnold makes a wondrous discovery that will turn his world upside down. He abandons Flora and heads to the South Pacific where he finds himself marrying the queen of the remote tropical island. But all is not as it seems in Arnold's idyllic realm.
Fascinating Footnotes From History details 100 of the quirkiest historical nuggets - eye-stretching stories that sound like fiction but are 100 percent fact. There is Hiroo Onoda, the lone Japanese soldier still fighting the Second World War in 1974; Agatha Christie, who mysteriously disappeared for 11 days in 1926; and Werner Franz, a cabin boy on the Hindenburg who lived to tell the tale when it was engulfed in flames in 1937.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War, a country house called The Firs in Buckinghamshire was requisitioned by the War Office. Sentries were posted at the entrance gates, and barbed wire was strung around the perimeter fence. To local villagers it looked like a prison camp. But the truth was far more sinister. This rambling Edwardian mansion had become home to an eccentric band of scientists, inventors and bluestockings. Their task was to build devastating new weaponry that could be used against the Nazis.
In 1616, an English adventurer, Nathaniel Courthope, stepped ashore on a remote island in the East Indies on a secret mission: to persuade the islanders of Run to grant a monopoly to England over their nutmeg, a fabulously valuable spice in Europe. This infuriated the Dutch, who were determined to control the world's nutmeg supply.
"The birth of a great company"
In the summer of 1716, a Cornish cabin boy named Thomas Pellow and 52 of his comrades were captured at sea by the Barbary corsairs. Their captors, fanatical Islamic slave traders, had declared war on the whole of Christendom. Thousands of Europeans had been snatched from their homes and taken in chains to the great slave markets of Algiers, Tunis and Sale in Morocco to be sold to the highest bidder.
Edward Trencom has bumbled through life, relying on his trusty nose to turn the family cheese shop into the most celebrated fromagerie in England. But his world is turned upside down when he stumbles across a crate of family papers. To his horror, Edward discovers that nine previous generations of his family have come to sticky ends because of their noses. When he investigates further, Edward finds himself caught up in a Byzantine riddle to which there is no obvious answer.