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A Brief History of Slavery

A Brief History of Slavery

A thought-provoking and important book that raises essential issues crucial not only for understanding our past but also the present day.

In this panoramic history, Jeremy Black tells how slavery was first developed in the ancient world, and reaches all the way to the present in the form of contemporary crimes such as trafficking and bonded labour. He shows how slavery has taken many forms throughout history and across the world – from the uprising of Spartacus, the plantations of the West Indies, and the murderous forced labour of the gulags and concentration camps.

Slavery helped to consolidate transoceanic empires and helped mould new world societies such as America and Brazil. Black charts the long fight for abolition in the nineteenth century, looking at both the campaigners as well as the harrowing accounts of the enslaved themselves.

Slavery is still with us today, and coerced labour can be found closer to home than one might expect.
A Brief History of Sherlock Holmes

A Brief History of Sherlock Holmes

Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887, Sherlock Holmes appears in four novels and fifty-six short stories. Although Holmes was not the first literary detective, he continues to have a perennial allure as the ultimate sleuth.

As Holmes is being re-introduced to a new audience through TV and film, Cawthorne introduces the general reader to Holmes and his creator Arthur Conan Doyle. He gives a full biography of author as well as his creation, including his resurrection following his unlikely death at the hands of arch enemy, Moriarty. Cawthorne also surveys the world of Holmes, looking at Victorian crime, the real characters behind Dr Watson and Inspector Lestrade, as well as the world on the doorstep of 22b Baker Street.
A Brief History of Secret Societies

A Brief History of Secret Societies

A Brief History of Secret Societies examines the significant hidden power wielded by clandestine organisations from ancient times right up to the present day. Throughout history, humankind’s search for knowledge has revealed strange truths. Barrett explores the powerful attraction of esoteric religious beliefs and reveals how such societies have gained a powerful hold on the popular imagination. He presents an unbiased and balanced history of humanity’s desire to uncover secret knowledge, and of the societies that seek to preserve such knowledge.
A Brief History of Science

A Brief History of Science

From earliest pre-history, with the dawning understanding of fire and its many uses, up to the astonishing advances of the twenty-first century, Thomas Crump traces the ever more sophisticated means employed in our attempts to understand the universe. The result is a vigorous and readable account of how our curious nature has continually pushed forward the frontiers of science and, as a consequence, human civilization.
A Brief History of Roman Britain

A Brief History of Roman Britain

In BC 55 Julius Caesar came, saw, conquered and then left. It was not until AD 43 that the Emperor Claudius crossed the channel and made Britain the western outpost of the Roman Empire that would span from the Scottish border to Persia.

For the next 400 years the island would be transformed. Within that period would see the rise of Londinium, almost immediately burnt to the ground in 60 AD by Boudicca; Hadrian’s Wall which was constructed in 112 AD to keep the northern tribes at bay as well as the birth of the Emperor Constantine in third century York. Interwoven with the historical narrative is a social history of the period showing how roman society grew in Britain.
A Brief History of Robin Hood

A Brief History of Robin Hood

Who was Robin Hood? Throughout history the figures of the hooded man of Sherwood forest and his band of outlaws have transfixed readers and viewers; but where does the myth come from? The story appeared out of the legend of the Green man but found its location during the reign of Richard II, the Lionheart, who was away from England fighting in the crusades. In his absence his brother John lay waste to the country. But does this tell the full story? Was Robin a bandit prince ahead of a troop of brigands? Who was the Sherrif and was he in fact the legitimate law in the land fighting vigilantes?
A Brief History of Painting

A Brief History of Painting

The urge to create pictures of our world has been with us ever since early man daubed a fingerful of pigment on a rock, or used primitive colours to create exquisite images of the beasts he hunted – images so breathtakingly powerful they have never been surpassed, however sophisticated we have become. This book tells the story of what painting has meant to us, and how its role has changed over the centuries. In the crisp, unstuffy commentary on each of 150 landmark works, Christie’s art expert Roy Bolton leads us through the development of painting until our own age, where painting as a painterly craft has been overtaken by a proliferation of new forms introduced by contemporary art.


To the question, ‘Is the death of painting upon us?’ the introductory chapter by Matthew Collings, the multi-award-winning TV art presenter, art historian and cultural critic, gives an inspiring answer: ‘Painting justifies itself. Rather than pathetically struggling to keep up with the new freak-show culture of videos and installations, painting will only be worth having if it reconnects with its own inner life, where the old and the new are the same.’


Roy Bolton’s selection takes us from the Ancient World, via the Italian Renaissance, Rococo and Classicism to Impressionism, Modernism and the Contemporary World. Each painting, with its context and artist, is explained in terms designed to encourage us to judge art for ourselves. Written with authority and full of original and helpful insights, this is a history of art for our times.


‘While I find it interesting to think about all sorts of art, I prefer painting to any of it. Painting is soulful, important, serious and humane.’ Matthew Collings


‘We need to de-mystify art by stripping it down to its bare essentials, then rebuilding it ourselves, using our own minds and eyes, without all the pompous clutter.’ Roy Bolton

A Brief History of Napoleon in Russia

A Brief History of Napoleon in Russia

By 1812, when Napoleon invaded Russia, his Empire covered most of Europe. The invasion was to be its crowning glory. Instead it ended in disaster, defeat and humiliation, and marked the beginning of his decline.

Here, with a brilliant use of sources and gripping narrative, the French campaign is followed day to day within the most intimate context of the Emperor’s state of mind, bad health and indecision. As the invasion heads towards its climax among the flames of Moscow the great disaster that ensued can clearly be seen as the product of innumerable mistakes and omissions.

The greatest military leader of modern times lost his army not by folly but by default; the Russians saved their country more by accident than by strategy.
A Brief History of Mutiny

A Brief History of Mutiny

The notorious uprising on the Bounty has been elevated to iconic status by Hollywood, yet Richard Woodman describes it here as a mere ‘pup’ among mutinies. Captain Bligh was neither tyrant nor sadist — whereas Pigot of the Hermione was both. Woodman brings a seaman’s perspective to this


compelling history, which stretches from Magellan’s handling of an uprising on his great voyage of discovery in 1519 to the ‘sordid crimes’ that mutinies had become four centuries later.

A Brief History of Modern Warfare

A Brief History of Modern Warfare

Since Vietnam, both the way we fight and our reasons for going to war have become much more complex.

The importance of a conflict is determined not by its size or by the numbers of combatants involved but by its ripple effects and its influence upon future events. In a series of thrilling recreations of eight of the most significant encounters of the last three decades, military historian Richard Connaughton presents a fascinating insight into modern warfare, including interviews with some of the major figures.
The conflicts include Goose Green in the Falklands, the invasion of Grenada, Operation Desert Storm – the first Iraq War, Operations in Mogadishu as immortalized in the book and film Blackhawk Down, the Siege of Gorazde and Operation Barras in Sierra Leone, as well as more recent events at Fallujah, Iraq, and in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Richard Connaughton has interviewed most of the major figures involved in each of the conflicts and offers powerful insights into why battles either work or don’t. This book will tell you what warfare means in the contemporary world and how it can affect tomorrow.
A Brief History of Misogyny

A Brief History of Misogyny

In this compelling, powerful book, highly respected writer and commentator Jack Holland sets out to answer a daunting question: how do you explain the oppression and brutalization of half the world’s population by the other half, throughout history?


The result takes the reader on an eye-opening journey through centuries, continents and civilizations as it looks at both historical and contemporary attitudes to women. Encompassing the Church, witch hunts, sexual theory, Nazism and pro-life campaigners, we arrive at today’s developing world, where women are increasingly and disproportionately at risk because of radicalised religious belief, famine, war and disease. Well-informed and researched, highly readable and thought-provoking, this is a refreshingly straightforward investigation into an ancient, pervasive and enduring injustice. It deals with the fundamentals of human existence — sex, love, violence — that have shaped the lives of humans throughout history.


The answer? It’s time to recognize that the treatment of women amounts to nothing less than an abuse of human rights on an unthinkable scale. A Brief History of Misogyny is an important and timely book that will make a long-lasting contribution to the efforts to improve those rights throughout the world.
A Brief History of Medieval Warfare

A Brief History of Medieval Warfare

For over 150 years, from 1314 to 1485, England fought an almost continuous war with its neighbours: the Campaign of the North when the armies of Robert the Bruce were vanquished, the long, one-hundred-and-sixteen-year conflict with France, finally imploding into bloody civil strife in the Wars of the Roses.

Too often attention has been focused on the bravery of knights and archers during these conflicts, yet face to face confrontations were few. Peter Reid proposes that England’s ability to discipline, provision and finance such a long campaign was at the heart of its success. England’s strength derived from an entire nation being put on a total war footing. Campaigns were won, not just on the battlefield, but through the careful marshalling of troops and supplies.

Interweaving his argument with a dramatic recreation of the main events of the campaigns on land and at sea, Peter Reid presents a new perspective on this turning point in English history. A Brief History of Medieval Warfare is both gripping and powerfully persuasive.
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