A comprehensive guide to P. G. Wodehouse’s two best-loved comic characters, Bertram Wilbeforce Wooster and his valet (‘Reggie’) Jeeves, Bertie’s friends and relatives and their world of sunshine, country houses and champagne.
Although the stories may seem quintessentially English, they were for the most part written in the United States by a man who spent more than half his adult life there, eventually becoming a citizen in 1955. The first stories involving the two characters are even set in New York, while those that aren’t are set in an England that has never existed, contrived to appeal to an American audience. Cawthorne offers fascinating insights into Wodehouse’s world, his life – on Long Island and elsewhere – the wonderful short stories and novels and the many adaptations for stage and screen.
When Cleopatra took the throne of the kingdom of Egypt, the pyramids and Sphinx were already ancient wonders. As queen she faced conquest by a new, all-powerful empire. A Ptolemy, descended from a general of Alexander the Great who conquered the Nile as part of his Macedonian lands, her relationship with Mark Anthony has become one of the legendary love stories in history.
Trow draws on recent archaeological finds and fresh interpretations of ancient texts to separate truth from myth and set this incomparably beautiful queen in context.
The Jewish religion is one of the major faiths of the world yet one of the least understood. In a wide-ranging and accessible guide for the general reader Rabbi Naftali Brawer outlines the major themes and history of over 5,000 years of Jewish faith from its Abrahamic origins and the foundations of Jerusalem to the eras of exile, diaspora, and persecution. From ritual and practise to faith and politics, the theology and history of Judaism are bound together.
Brawer argues that Judaism is poised between heaven and earth. On the one hand it calls on its adherents to transcend the material world through ritual and prayer: on the other hand Judaism positively celebrates joys of food, family and society. Through this seeming paradox, Brawer explores the nature and characteristics of faith – God and Man, Torah, Mitzvah, the Jewish People and the Land of Israel. He also shows how ritual and practise punctuate Jewish existence, from daily prayers to the rites of passage that chart a lifetime.
Charles Darwin has become one of the most important men in history. The quiet, unsure polymath who avoided confrontation, ensconced in his family home at Down House in Kent, was also a revolutionary who developed his idea of Natural Selection in isolation. Cyril Aydon’s short biography is considered one of the best introductions to the life and ideas of Darwin.
With Darwin’s legacy still in contention and the forthcoming anniversary of the publication of The Origins Species, Aydon’s book is a perfect guide to the ideas as well as the man who was recently voted one of the greatest Britons of all time, and certainly one of the most influential thinkers ever.
In this colourful new history of Venice, Elizabeth Horodowich, one of the leading experts on Venice, tells the story of the place from its ancient origins, and its early days as a multicultural trading city where Christians, Jews and Muslims lived together at the crossroads between East and West. She explores the often overlooked role of Venice, alongside Florence and Rome, as one of the principal Renaissance capitals.
Now, as the resident population falls and the number of tourists grows, as brash new advertisements disfigure the ancient buildings, she looks at the threat from the rising water level and the future of one of the great wonders of the world.
Exploring the beliefs, history and politics of the ordinary people of Muslim countries, Grieve cuts through the complexities as he examines all aspects of Islam. He also addresses the big issues: can Islam support true democracy? Is true democracy what the West really wants for Muslim countries or are we merely seeking a cover of legitimacy for a policy of ‘might is right’?
Paul Grieve is an unbeliever – he is not a born-again Muslim, a proselytizer or a frustrated desert romantic. His aim is to inform. The result is an accessible but never simplistic guide that challenges
stereotypical views, from women and banking to war and Malcolm X.
Complete with advice for visitors to Muslim countries, and with carefully chosen primary sources, maps and illustrations, this is the ideal summary for the reader looking for an unbiased overview of the religious and political world issues that have become part of our everyday lives.
An accessible and entertaining journey through the life, times, and work of the Bard – Enigma. Master of language. The greatest comedian in history? The most famous writer in the world. But isn’t he a little bit boring?
This is an essential guide for anyone who has previously avoided the Bard, and is the perfect introduction for first time students or seasoned theatre lovers. The book contains a full commentary of all the plays by bestselling and reknowned writer Peter Ackroyd as well as full descriptions of the cast and the drama; not forgetting the best speeches, and the wit and wisdom from across the works.
There is also an opportunity to explore the poems and a complete set of sonnets, as well as an investigation of who the dark lady might have been.
The complete sonnets; the greatest speeches; the best lines.
Perfect for students struggling through their first play or for theatre lovers anywhere.
Entertaining, accessible, Shakespeare without the boring bits.
From the arrival of Henry Tudor and his army, at Milford in 1485, to the death of the great Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, this was an astonishingly eventful and contradictory age. All the strands of Tudor life are gathered in a rich tapestry – London and the country, costumes, furniture and food, travel, medicine, sports and pastimes, grand tournaments and the great flowering of English drama, juxtaposed with the stultifying narrowness of peasant life, terrible roads, a vast underclass, the harsh treatment of heretics and traitors, and the misery of the Plague.
The story of Christianity is one of colossal undertakings and spectacular successes as well as ferocious intolerance, greed and bloodshed. Bamber Gascoigne traces a clear path through a complicated history, exploring the motives, the passions, the fears and the achievements of the Christians. His approach is objective and he writes in a conversational style, focusing on moments of significant detail and a vast and varied cast of characters.
Miller provides a clear and comprehensible narrative, a coherent and accurate synthesis, intended as a guide for students and the general reader to an extremely complex period in British history. His aim is to help readers avoid getting lost in a maze of detail and rather to maintain a grasp of the big picture.
Although the English Civil War is usually seen, in England at least, as a conflict between two sides, it involved the Scots, the Irish and the army and the people of England, especially London. At some points, events occurred and perspectives changed with such disorienting rapidity that even those who lived through these events were confused as to where they stood in relation to one another.
As the 1640s wore on, events unfolded in ways which the participants had not expected and in many cases did not want. Hindsight might suggest that everything led logically to the trial and execution of the king, but these were in fact highly improbable outcomes.
Since the 1980s, a ‘three kingdoms’ approach has become almost compulsory, but Miller’s focus is unashamedly on England. Events in Scotland and Ireland are covered only insofar as they had an impact on events in England.
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. His use of recently uncovered firnds brings fascinating insights into Celtic kings and chieftains, architecture and arts, medicine and religions, myths and legends, making this esesntial reading for any search for Europe’s ancient past.
Starting AD 400 (around the time of their invasion of England) and running through to the 1100s (the ‘Aftermath’), historian Geoffrey Hindley shows the Anglo-Saxons as formative in the history not only of England but also of Europe.
The society inspired by the warrior world of the Old English poem Beowulf saw England become the world’s first nation state and Europe’s first country to conduct affairs in its own language, and Bede and Boniface of Wessex establish the dating convention we still use today. Including all the latest research, this is a fascinating assessment of a vital historical period.