94 items

Power and Prejudice: Leanda de Lisle Unwinds the Myth of the White King, Charles I

In a time dominated by contemporary debates about truth and representation, we’re nevertheless apt to view history without acknowledging the long-standing prejudices which have filtered into commonly accepted mythology. Described by the Financial Times as, 'that rare thing, a page turning history that gently but insistently asks provocative questions about a period upon which our opinions have been all too fixed', a groundbreaking biography of Charles I, White King, illuminates the figures at the centre of one of the most tumultuous periods in English history. Here, in an exclusive article for Waterstones, author Leanda de Lisle discusses the man behind the myth and challenges some of history's most pervasive ideas about identity, disability and gender.

Patrick Bishop Recommends the Best History Books of the Year

Patrick Bishop, bestselling military historian and author of Bomber Boys, Fighter Boys and a new history of the RAF, Air Force Blue, presents his choice of the best history books of 2017.

Bardo to the Battlefield: The Historical Context Behind Lincoln in the Bardo

As America still struggles to make peace with its past, the American Civil War and its legacy looms large in the public consciousness. Structurally daring and politically apposite, George Saunders' Booker Prize-winning first novel Lincoln in the Bardo is the story of a man and a country at war, caught irrevocably on the cusp of personal and national change.  

As Alex Clark commented in the Guardian, Saunders’ ‘revivification of Lincoln dramatises not only a general sense of the conflict between private and public selves, duty and inclination, doubt and resolve, but a very specifically American one.’ Exclusively for Waterstones, Professor Robert Cook considers the historical context to Saunders’ Lincoln and the books that give the real story behind his extraordinary fiction.

Orlando Figes' New Introduction to the Centenary Edition of A People's Tragedy

Continuing our sequence of posts inspired by the events that swept Russia a century ago, we’re pleased to present, in full, Orlando Figes’ new introduction to what has to be his most highly-regarded work - A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, re-released this year in an appropriately stunning new edition. ‘Elaborately researched, rigorously structured, coherently argued, it presents an overwhelmingly comprehensive view of one of the most important and complicated of all modern events.’ – The Guardian

A Waterstones Exclusive: Robert Service on Nicholas II’s Inevitable Fall

Robert Service is undoubtedly a titan of Russian studies. An unparalleled trilogy of works – LeninStalin and Trotsky – offer a virtually panoptic understanding of Russia’s complex soul, Simon Heffer for example in the Telegraph referring to Lenin as ‘a superb work of scholarship… if you seek to know about this crucial figure in the history of Marxism-Leninism, this book will tell you everything.’

In The Last of The Tsars: Nicholas II and the Russian Revolution Service now turns his forensic attention to the year preceding Nicholas’s abdication and the events leading toward the annihilation of both the Tsar and his family. It’s simply a stunning account, with Service’s typical depth of research virtually uncovering the DNA to the century of creation and conflict that has followed.

It seemed irresistible to us to pose Robert Service the ultimate ‘what if’ – to contemplate a Nicholas II who could at least entertain the prospect of a constructional monarchy. But as we will discover in Service’s analysis, the die of fate had long been cast.

Where Poppies Blow: Q & A with John Lewis-Stempel

Paul Cummins and Tom Piper’s stunning Weeping Windows sculpture, which began at the Tower of London, brought home the full symbolic resonance of the poppy in our culture of remembrance. What is perhaps less known is how vital nature was to the soldiers who fought – from the morale-boosting pastimes it offered, such as gardening and fishing, to the animals that served as mascots and symbols of hope.  In his new volume, Where Poppies Blow, award-winning nature writer John Lewis-Stempel explores the fascinating, moving and surprising ways the natural world played a part in the First World War.  

Best known for his Wainright Prize-winning Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field, Stempel is an author and historian; he is also a farmer and advocate for chemical-free farming.  Waterstones Online’s Sally Campbell caught up with Stempel to find out more about his new book.

No Picnic on Mount Kenya: Felice Benuzzi's Daughter Reflects on her Father's Adventure

In 1943, three Italian prisoners of war escaped from their prison camp and climbed Mount Kenya with homemade climbing equipment and no maps or proper rations. The story has since passed into climbing legend and is preserved in the mountaineering classic, our Non-fiction Book of the Month for October No Picnic on Mount Kenya written by the escapees’ ringleader, Felice Benuzzi. Here, his daughter, Silvia Benuzzi, shares the story of her father’s remarkable adventure on Mount Kenya, and discusses the guiding philosophy that motivated him both during his years of captivity and his life after the war.

Opening a Pandora's Box

Opening a Pandora's Box

Posted on 19th Aug, 2016

Since its publication last month, Keggie Carew’s extraordinary and utterly unique memoir Dadland has attracted heady praise across the board with a narrative that at once manages to be both clear-eyed but moving in equal measure. Father Tom Carew flourished in war but subsequently floundered in peace, ultimately setting his daughter on a very personal voyage of unexpected discovery

Soul Reason

Soul Reason

Posted on 28th Jun, 2016 by Sally Campbell

Thomas Harding's previous work was the Sunday Times Bestseller Hanns and Rudolf, a gripping and moving account of how his great uncle ended up arresting notorious Auschwitz commandant Rudloph Hoss. Harding's current work, The House by the Lake, has been likened to the history of twentieth century Germany as told through the prism of one single house. Here, Harding tells the story of how he first came to know the house and later, how he came to rebuild it.

A New History of the World

A New History of the World

Posted on 23rd Jun, 2016 by Sally Campbell

Dr. Peter Frankopan is a historian and Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University whose writing has featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times and The Guardian. His internationally bestselling The Silk Roads, which was our Waterstones Non-fiction book of the Month in June, charts the history and resurgence of that once glorious transportation network. The challenging and dazzling work rewrites history from an Eastern perspective and argues why we need to rethink our Western bias.

The Lost Olympian of the Somme

The Lost Olympian of the Somme

Posted on 20th Jun, 2016 by Sally Campbell

Fredrick Kelly was an Olympic gold-medal rower, a skilled pianist and an aspiring composer, who fought at Gallipoli and The Somme. A good friend of the poet Rupert Brooke, he ensured the safe return of Brooke's notebooks to England. Kelly's recollections of war, which are published for the first time as The Lost Olympian of The Somme, are full of stark honesty and lyricism. We are delighted to present editor Jon Cooksey’s introduction to the book.

A List Too Far

A List Too Far

Posted on 6th Jun, 2016 by Sally Campbell

Anthony Beevor, bestselling military historian and author of Ardennes 1944, muses on the difficulties of selecting his top ten books about warfare.

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