Posts tagged History
The Colour of Time by Dan Jones and Marina Amaral

In Marina Amaral and Dan Jones’ The Colour of Time, we have two historians bringing the colour back to our history, one which we have become so used to seeing in monochrome. The subtle and powerful marriage of the images and text brings an excitement to each turn of the page that makes this a very special book.

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The Women Who Flew For Hitler by Clare Mulley

Clare Mulley's new biography looks at two incredible, yet very different women who were pinoneering Test Pilots for the Third Reich.  In The Women Who Flew For Hitler, Mulley looks at what drove these women in a male dominated flying world and the very different directions they chose under a Nazi flag.

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The Plots Against Hitler by Danny Orbach

The men and women who resisted Hitler have been cast as heroes and villains of both the left and right.  The conspirators and their actions have been remembered in black and white, with the viewer choosing the colours with which to paint them.  In Danny Orbach’s new history of the resistance, The Plots Against Hitler, he very convincingly shows us that rather than pure saints or sinners, the complexity and contradictions of the conspirators makes them that most difficult of things to digest, human.

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The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy

The Dark Ages in Britain are a fertile period to mine.  The sources, few as they are, talk of kings and warlords, battles and death, and then arrive the men from the North.  It is the period of Beowulf and Arthur, of a Britain living in the decay of the Roman withdrawal and the arrival of a new God to fight the old.  Into this mix, Matthew Harffy has thrown a young warrior, Beobrand, into the turmoil of Northumbria to find his fame.

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1666 by Rebecca Rideal

1666: Plague, War and Hellfire is a wonderful narrative history of the fall and rise of London.  Bringing a city that was riven with death to vivid life, Rebecca Rideal has crafted a fascinating tale of London in its darkest night before it's glorious dawn.

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The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan

We live in a world where our focus is constantly drawn East.  We see terrible things happen, our leaders contemplate doing terrible things and dropping equally terrible things in response.  We look at what we call the Middle East as a modern problem, as if our focus has only recently turned to it.  But, living in the West we forget that everything has come from the East.  While Rome was falling, the East was flourishing.  Before we worried about oil and gas, we sent gold and silver East for silks and knowledge.  We owe everything to the East.  And yet, with our minds firmly on our own importance, we tend to think of it as a dusty backwater.  The Silk Road, to modern minds, is a website on that bit of the internet you can't find when you pop it into Google.

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Why Sinatra Matters by Pete Hamill

We live in an age where an artist's "Reienvention" is hailed as something special, something remarkable.  Every time Lady Gaga appears in a new frock, the media goes nuts, because, that is what their readers expect.  The thing is, Madonna did it before and David Bowie did it better than all but one, the man who never really reinvented himself, but was always there, Frank Sinatra.  To my generation, he was "Old People's Music".  We knew Nancy from the constant reworking of "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" and kids today probably know Frank Sinatra Jr better for his appearances on Family Guy better than they have ever known his dad.  But through all the static and preconceived ideas, the music, THAT voice, still moves us and causes us to remember.

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Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House Of Caesar by Tom Holland

Looking back to the misty days of my schooling, Rome was one of those highlights of history lessons that appeal to teen aged boys.  The period has everything you could want to distract you from the fact that you are actually learning.  Rome, two millennia on, still thrills, delights, repulses and titillates like no other that has come since.  One thing that does slip from mind usually that the line of Julies Caesar only lasted until 69 CE, yet produced the Emperors that most spring to mind.  A decade after he crossed the Rubicon, Tom Holland (Historian, cricketer and not Spiderman) has returned to Rome to tell us the story of the men and remarkably formidable women that took up Caesar's mantle and finished the dismantling of The Republic.

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Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell

Two hundred years ago, the single most decicive battle of an age of war was fought.  Three armies fought three battles over fours days that would shape Europe, and the world, for the next 100 years.  The next time British and Prussian troops would meet in Belgium, they would not be saving Europe, but tearing it apart.  The Battle of Waterloo is possibly the most famous battle in history.  It has occupied a place in British popular culture, popular history and the British psyche that is rather odd, the British named train stations after it.  It's odd to think that a train station is named after a few square miles of farmland, near hamlet in the rolling Belgian countryside where 200,000 men crammed onto a tiny battlefield and slaughtered each other.

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