Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business. This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, considering how the ordinary things in life came to be.
"Best use of a credit"
This magnificent biography of Henry VIII is set against the cultural, social and political background of his court - the most spectacular court ever seen in England - and the splendour of his many sumptuous palaces. An entertaining narrative packed with colourful description and a wealth of anecdotal evidence, but also a comprehensive analytical study of the development of both monarch and court during a crucial period in English history.
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.
"Boys Own stuff but I loved it. .."
The English-speaking peoples comprise perhaps the greatest number of human beings sharing a common language in the world today. These people also share a common heritage. For his four-volume work, Sir Winston Churchill took as his subject these great elements in world history. Volume 1 commences in 55BC, when Julius Caesar famously "turned his gaze upon Britain" and concludes with the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
"Fascinating, well written, amazing voice acting;"
The story of Britain from the earliest settlements in 3000BC to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. To look back at the past is to understand the present. In this vivid account of over 4,000 years of British history, Simon Schama takes us on an epic journey which encompasses the very beginnings of the nation's identity, when the first settlers landed on Orkney. From the successes and failures of the monarchy to the daily life of a Roman soldier stationed on Hadrian's Wall, Schama gives a vivid, fascinating account of the many different stories and struggles that lie behind the growth of our island nation.
Lancater and York is a riveting account of the Wars of the Roses, from beloved historian Alison Weir. The war between the houses of Lancaster and York was characterised by treachery, deceit, and bloody battles. Alison Weir's lucid and gripping account focuses on the human side of history. At the centre of the book stands Henry VI, the pious king whose mental instability led to political chaos, and his wife Margaret of Anjou, who took up her arms in her husband's cause and battled in a violent man's world.
The monarchy is one of Britain’s longest surviving institutions – as well as one of its most tumultuous and revered. In this masterful book, David Starkey looks at the monarchy as a whole, charting its history from Roman times, to the Wars of the Roses, the chaos of the Civil War, the fall of Charles I and Cromwell's emergence as Lord Protector – all the way up until the Victorian era when Britain’s monarchs came face-to-face with modernity.
Here is a dramatic account of Prince Charles in the seven months after the battle of Culloden. Throughout the Summer of 1746, he was a refugee in the Hebrides, hunted by the British Naval forces with a price of £30,000 on his head.
Alive with anecdote, this is a further wonderful companion for anyone who enjoys Scotland's heritage and tales of its gaunt and shadowy ruins.
A fascinating new portrait of Medieval Britain that brings together the everyday and the extraordinary. Using wide-ranging evidence, Martyn Whittock shines a light on Britain in the Middle Ages, bringing it vividly to life. Thus we glimpse 11th century rural society through a conversation between a ploughman and his master. The life of Dick Whittington illuminates the rise of the urban elite.
On the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, historian Lucy Worsley leads us into the world in which our best-loved novelist lived. This new telling of the story of Jane's life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the rooms, spaces and possessions which mattered to her and the way in which home is used in her novels to mean both a place of pleasure and a prison. It wasn't all country houses and ballrooms; in fact her life was often a painful struggle.
This is the remarkable story of the English language; from its beginnings as a minor guttural Germanic dialect to its position today as a truly established global language. The Adventure of English is not only an enthralling story of power, religion, and trade, but also the story of people, and how their lives continue to change the extraordinary language that is English.
A History of Modern Britain confronts head-on the victory of shopping over politics. It tells the story of how the great political visions of New Jerusalem or a second Elizabethan Age, rival idealisms, came to be defeated by a culture of consumerism, celebrity and self-gratification. In each decade political leaders think they know what they are doing but find themselves confounded. Every time the British people turn out to be stroppier and harder to herd than predicted.
Britain has been defined by its conflicts, its conquests, its men and its monarchs. To say that it's high time it was defined by its women is a severe understatement. Jenni Murray draws together the lives 21 women to shed light upon a variety of social, political, religious and cultural aspects of British history. In lively prose Murray reinvigorates the stories behind the names we all know and reveals the fascinating tales behind those less familiar.
The First World War is often viewed as a war fought by armies of millions living and fighting in trenches, aided by brutal machinery that cost the lives of many. But behind all of this a scientific war was also being fought between engineers, chemists, physicists, doctors, mathematicians and intelligence gatherers. This hidden war was to make a positive and lasting contribution to how war was conducted on land, at sea, and in the air, and most importantly life at home.
The brilliantly compelling new biography of the treacherous and tyrannical King John, published to coincide with the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. Authoritative and dramatic, Marc Morris' King John offers a compelling portrait of an extraordinary king whose reign marked a momentous turning point in the history of Britain and Europe. King John is buried in Worcester Cathedral.
Timothy West reads the third and concluding volume of award-winning historian Simon Schama's compelling chronicle of the British Isles. Here he illuminates the period from 1776 to 2000 through a variety of historical themes, including Victorian advances in technology and industry, women's increasing role in society, and the burgeoning British Empire which promised civilisation and material betterment for all.
History has pictured Elizabeth I as Gloriana, an icon of strength and power - and has focused on the early years of her reign. But in 1583, when Elizabeth is 50, there is relentless plotting among her courtiers - and still to come is the Spanish Armada and the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. We have not, until now, had the full picture.
In The English and their History, the first full-length account to appear in one volume for many decades, Robert Tombs gives us the history of the English people and of how the stories they have told about themselves have shaped them, from the prehistoric 'dreamtime' through to the present day.
Winston Churchill's superlative account of the prelude to and events of the First World War is a defining work of 20th-century history. With dramatic narrative power Churchill reconstructs the action on the Western and Eastern Fronts, the wars at sea and in the air and the advent of tanks and U-boats. Rich with personal insights, this second part of Churchill's magisterial book covers the year 1915.
"Great detail excellent voice work."
The first five volumes from the landmark BBC radio series This Sceptred Isle. Christopher Lee's epic history tells the story of Britain from the Romans to the death of Victoria. This collection includes the original first five volumes.
Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1875-1932) was an English writer of 957 short stories and over 170 novels. He is widely recognized as one of the most prolific writers of his age.
'The Murder on Yarmouth Sands' is a true crime story. Towards the end of the Boer War, the body of a woman was discovered on Yarmouth Sands. She had been strangled by a mohair bootlace. There are only two clues to the crime...and the police set out to follow them up....
The Secret of the Moat Farm is Wallace's account of a real-life murder mystery which he had covered as a young journalist. Camille Holland, a spinster of 56, became enamoured of an attractive scoundrel named Dougal. When the two moved into the remote Moat Farm, it was not long before Miss Holland disappeared. Dougal remained at the farm, spending Miss Holland's money and entertaining a series of mistresses...until finally suspicions were aroused.
'Dr. Crippen, Lover and Poisoner' is Le Queux's account of the case of the famous poisoner Hawley Harvey Crippen, whom Le Queux claimed to have met personally on several occasions. Crippen, to escape the bondage of an unhappy marriage, and because he had fallen in love with another woman, Ethel Le Neve, murdered and dissected his wife and escaped with his lover in disguise, sparking a transatlantic hue and cry.