On 8 February 1421 the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. The ships, 500 foot long junks made from the finest teak and mahogany, were led by Emperor Zhu Di's loyal eunuch admirals. Their mission was 'to proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond ... read more
This title offers a unique insight into the index of social development that measures change in East and West - and that forms the core of the international bestseller. In "Why the West Rules - For Now" Ian Morris argues that to understand the development of East and West, we need to look beyond 'long-term lock-in' theories (... read more
For most of western history, all sex outside marriage was illegal, with the church and state punishing any dissent. Between 1600 and 1800, this entire world-view was shattered by revolutionary new ideas - that consenting adults have the freedom to do what they like with their own bodies, and morality cannot be imposed by forc... read more
The decline of the West is something that has long been prophesied. Symptoms of decline are all around us today, it seems: slowing growth, crushing debts, aging populations, anti-social behaviour. But what exactly is amiss with Western civilization? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, is that our institutions - the intricate f... read more
The period between Hitler's invasion of Poland and the attack on Pearl Harbor was the turning point of the twentieth century. While the American public and Congress were eager to isolate themselves from the conflict, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted to bring their considerable might to the aid of the Allies.
To bui... read more
|Author:||Alain de Botton|
Alain de Botton's The Consolations of Philosophy takes the discipline of logic and the mind back to its roots. Drawing inspiration from six of the finest minds in history - Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche - he addresses lack of money, the pain of love, inadequacy, anxiety and conformity. De B... read more
Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, was the archetypal 'Renaissance man': a brilliant soldier, scholar and ally of the pope, he spent much of the vast wealth on commissioning artists to decorate the city. Sigismondo Malatesta, lord of the neighbouring city of Rimini, was also a brilliant soldier and generous patron of th... read more
|Author:||Ayaan Hirsi Ali|
In this highly personal follow-up to Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali examines the high cost of freedom - estrangement from her family and country, the loud criticism of her by many Muslims (some of them women), the 24-hour security which came as a result of death threats, and her struggle to come to terms with an often lonely indepe... read more
* A best-selling sociologist presents a concise and very readable history of love * Kaufmann focuses on the question of why so many people are searching for love, hoping to find in love a kind of happiness that they cannot find in their work or by surrounding themselves with material goods.
From Neil MacGregor, the acclaimed creator of "A History of the World in 100 Objects" and the Director of the British Museum, comes a unique, enthralling exploration of the age of William Shakespeare to accompany a new BBC Radio 4 series. Shakespeare lived through a pivotal period in human history. With the discovery of the N... read more
|Author:||John Julius Norwich|
"A Short History of Byzantium" is renowned historian, and author of "A History of Venice", John Julius Norwich's classic history of Byzantium. Constantine the Great moved the seat of Roman power to Constantinople in AD 330 and for eleven brutal, bloody centuries, the Byzantine Empire became a beacon of grand magnificence and ... read more
Homer called it a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. As Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates here, salt has shaped civilization from the beginning, and its story is a glittering often surprising part of the history of mankind. So valuable that it has often served as currency and still does i... read more
In this evocative study of the fall of the Mughal Empire and the beginning of the Raj, award-winning historian William Dalrymple uses previously undiscovered sources to investigate a pivotal moment in history. The last Mughal emperor, Zafar, came to the throne when the political power of the Mughals was already in steep decli... read more
Following on from his epic '1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow', bestselling author Adam Zamoyski has written the dramatic story of the Congress of Vienna. In the wake of his disastrous Russian campaign of 1812, Napoleon's imperious grip on Europe began to weaken, raising the question of how the Continent was to be recon... read more
Elizabeth I was born into a world of women. As a child, she was served by a predominantly female household of servants and governesses, with occasional visits from her mother, Anne Bolyen, and the wives who later took her place. As Queen, Elizabeth was constantly attended by ladies of the bedchamber and maids of honour who cl... read more
Chinese civilisation was for a long period more advanced than European. From China, Europe acquired printing, paper-making, the compass, gunpowder and locks for canals. Yet it was in Europe that steady economic growth first occurred and then the Industrial Revolution. And it was in Europe that representative government and in... read more
Best known as the author of the classic "Darkness at Noon", Koestler was one of the most influential and controversial intellectuals, involved in and commenting on almost every political movement of the twentieth century. As young man, he was a committed Zionist and moved to Palestine; he was imprisoned and sentenced to death... read more
The second novel in the chronology of Vidal's epic CHRONICLES OF EMPIRE, embodying the passage of American history.