A heroic tale of 400 soldiers who changed the course of history, The Longest Afternoon will become an instant classic of military history.
In 1815, the deposed emperor Napoleon returned to France and threatened the already devastated and exhausted continent with yet another war. Near the small Belgian municipality of Waterloo, two large, hastily mobilized armies faced each other to decide the future of Europe--Napoleon's forces on one side, and the Duke of Wellington on the other.
With so much at stake, neither commander could have predicted that the battle would be decided by the Second Light Battalion, King's German Legion, which was given the deceptively simple task of defending the Haye Sainte farmhouse, a crucial crossroads on the way to Brussels. In The Longest Afternoon, Brendan Simms recounts how these 400-odd riflemen beat back wave after wave of French infantry until finally forced to withdraw, but only after holding up Napoleon for so long that he lost the overall contest. Their actions alone decided the most influential battle in European history.
Drawing on previously untapped eye-witness reports for accurate and vivid details of the course of the battle, Simms captures the grand choreography and pervasive chaos of Waterloo: the advances and retreats, the death and the maiming, the heroism and the cowardice. He describes the gallant fighting spirit of the French infantrymen, who clambered over the bodies of their fallen comrades as they assaulted the heavily fortified farmhouse--and whose bravery was only surpassed by that of their opponents in the Second Light Battalion. Motivated by opposition to Napoleonic tyranny, dynastic loyalty to the King of England, German patriotism, regimental camaraderie, personal bonds of friendship, and professional ethos, the battalion suffered terrible casualties and fought tirelessly for many long hours, but refused to capitulate or retreat until the evening, by which time the Prussians had arrived on the battlefield in large numbers.
In reorienting Waterloo around the Haye Sainte farmhouse, Simms gives us a riveting new account of the famous battle--an account that reveals, among other things, that Napoleon came much closer than is commonly thought to winning it.
The prizewinning historian and bestselling author of D-Day, Stalingrad, and The Battle of Arnhem reconstructs the Battle of the Bulge in this riveting new account On December 16, 1944, Hitler launched his 'last gamble' in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes in Belgium, believing he could split the Allies by driving all the way to Antwerp and forcing the Canadians and the British out of the war. Although his generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. Many were exultant at the prospect of striking back.
The allies, taken by surprise, found themselves fighting two panzer armies. Belgian civilians abandoned their homes, justifiably afraid of German revenge. Panic spread even to Paris. While some American soldiers, overwhelmed by the German onslaught, fled or surrendered, others held on heroically, creating breakwaters which slowed the German advance.
The harsh winter conditions and the savagery of the battle became comparable to the Eastern Front. In fact the Ardennes became the Western Front's counterpart to Stalingrad. There was terrible ferocity on both sides, driven by desperation and revenge, in which the normal rules of combat were breached. The Ardennes--involving more than a million men--would prove to be the battle which finally broke the back of the Wehrmacht.
In this deeply researched work, with striking insights into the major players on both sides, Antony Beevor gives us the definitive account of the Ardennes offensive which was to become the greatest battle of World War II.
The long-awaited translation of the classic oral history of Soviet women's experiences in the Second World War - from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
"Why, having stood up for and held their own place in a once absolutely male world, have women not stood up for their history? Their words and feelings? A whole world is hidden from us. Their war remains unknown... I want to write the history of that war. A women's history."
In the late 1970s, Svetlana Alexievich set out to write her first book, The Unwomanly Face of War, when she realized that she grew up surrounded by women who had fought in the Second World War but whose stories were absent from official narratives. Travelling thousands of miles, she spent years interviewing hundreds of Soviet women - captains, tank drivers, snipers, pilots, nurses and doctors - who had experienced the war on the front lines, on the home front and in occupied territories. As it brings to light their most harrowing memories, this symphony of voices reveals a different side of war, a new range of feelings, smells and colours.
After completing the manuscript in 1983, Alexievich was not allowed to publish it because it went against the state-sanctioned history of the war. With the dawn of Perestroika, a heavily censored edition came out in 1985 and it became a huge bestseller in the Soviet Union - the first in five books that have established her as the conscience of the twentieth century.
Published in 1937, the result of 15 years of study since his days on the German General Staff in World War I, Guderian's book argued, quite clearly, how vital the proper use of tanks and supporting armoured vehicles would be in the conduct of a future war. When that war came, just two years later, he proved it, leading his Panzers with distinction in the Polish, French and Russian campaigns. Panzer warfare had come of age, exactly as he had forecast.
There are few other human inventions that are likely to have as large an impact on our lives as machines that can think... The steam engine liberated our muscles. The computer is set to liberate our minds.
The development of thinking machines is an adventure as bold and ambitious as any that humans have attempted. And the truth is that Artificial Intelligence is already an indispensable part of our daily lives. Without it, Google wouldn't find out whatever you need to know. Your smartphone would be... just a phone. In countless ways AI has made the world what it is today.
But where will AI technologies take us in the future? We know they will continue to change society, but how? Will AI destroy our jobs? Could it even pose an existential threat? What should we be doing now to prepare for the future?
In this new book, Toby Walsh provides a fascinating survey of Artificial Intelligence for the general reader- where it came from, the state of the art today, and where it will take us tomorrow. His ten predictions of what AI will have achieved by 2050 will surprise you! Walsh discusses how AI will transform our societies, our economies and even ourselves, and what we can do about this.
The high command of the Army of the Potomac was a changeable, often dysfunctional band of brothers, going through the fires of war under seven commanding generals in three years, until Grant came east in 1864. The men in charge all too frequently appeared to be fighting against the administration in Washington instead of for it, increasingly cast as political pawns facing down a vindictive congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War. President Lincoln oversaw, argued with, and finally tamed his unruly team of generals as the eastern army was stabilised by an unsung supporting cast of corps, division, and brigade generals. With characteristic style and insight, Stephen Sears brings these courageous, determined officers, who rose through the ranks and led from the front, to life.
In nineteenth-century Istanbul, a Polish prince has been kidnapped. His assassination has been bungled and his captors have taken him to an unused farmhouse. Little do they realize that their revolutionary cell has been penetrated by their enemies, who use the code name La Piuma (the Feather).
Yashim is convinced that the prince is alive. But he has no idea where, or who La Piuma is - and has become dangerously distracted by falling in love. As he draws closer to the prince's whereabouts and to the true identity of La Piuma, Yashim finds himself in the most treacherous situation of his career: can he rescue the prince along with his romantic dreams?
Jason Goodwin's bestselling 'Yashim' series has been published across the globe and received huge critical acclaim. In The Baklava Club, Goodwin takes Yashim on an adventure like no other, through the stylish, sensual world of Ottoman Istanbul.
High Voltage is the first biography to focus exclusively on Angus. It tells of his remarkable rise from working-class Glasgow and Sydney to the biggest stages in the world.
Angus Young, the co-founder and the last remaining original member of AC/DC, has for more than 40 years been the face, sound and sometimes the exposed backside of the trailblazing rock band. In his trademark schoolboy outfit, guitar in hand, Angus has given his signature sound to songs such as 'A Long Way to the Top', 'Highway to Hell' and 'Back in Black', helping AC/DC become the biggest rock band on the planet.
High Voltage is the first biography to focus exclusively on Angus. It tells of his remarkable rise from working-class Glasgow and Sydney to the biggest stages in the world. The youngest of eight kids, Angus always seemed destined for a life in music, and it was his passion and determination that saw AC/DC become hard rock's greatest act. Over the years, Angus has endured the devastating death of iconic vocalist Bon Scott, the forced retirement of his brother in arms, Malcolm Young, and more recently the loss from the band of singer Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd. Yet somehow the little guitar maestro has kept AC/DC not just on the rails, but at the top of the rock pile.
Just before Christmas 1908, Marion Gilchrist, a wealthy 82-year-old spinster, was found bludgeoned to death in her Glasgow home. A valuable diamond brooch was missing, and police soon fastened on a suspect - Oscar Slater, a Jewish immigrant who was rumoured to have a disreputable character. Slater had an alibi, but was nonetheless convicted and sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment in the notorious Peterhead Prison.
Seventeen years later, a convict called William Gordon was released from Peterhead. Concealed in a false tooth was a message, addressed to the only man Slater thought could help him - Arthur Conan Doyle. Always a champion of the downtrodden, Conan Doyle turned his formidable talents to freeing Slater, deploying a forensic mind worthy of Sherlock Holmes.
Drawing from original sources including Oscar Slater's prison letters, this is Margalit Fox's vivid and compelling account of one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in Scottish history.
'Through the lens of neuroscience, McHargue makes his case for valuing religion not for its factual explanatory power but rather for its ability to give meaning to human existence . . . For those who fear science will rob them of both God and Christian community, this work may offer much-needed hope that Christianity and science can coexist.' -Publishers Weekly What do you do when God dies? It's a question facing millions today, as science reveals a universe that's self-creating, western culture departs from its Christian heritage and the idea of God begins to seem implausible at best and barbaric at worst.
Mike McHargue understands the pain of unravelling belief. In FINDING GOD IN THE WAVES, Mike tells the story of how his evangelical faith dissolved into atheism as he studied the Bible, a crisis that threatened his identity, his friendships and even his marriage. Years later, Mike was standing on the shores of the Pacific Ocean when a bewildering, seemingly mystical moment motivated him to take another look. But this time, it wasn't theology or scripture that led him back to God - it was science.
In FINDING GOD IN THE WAVES, 'Science Mike' draws on his personal experience to tell the unlikely story of how science led him back to faith. Among other revelations, we learn what brain scans reveal about what happens when we pray; how fundamentalism affects the psyche; and how God is revealed not only in scripture, but in the night sky, in subatomic particles, and in us.
For the faithful and sceptic alike, FINDING GOD IN THE WAVES is a powerful, page-turning read about belonging, life's biggest questions, and the hope of knowing God in an age of science.
From New York Times bestselling author Amy Tan, a memoir on her life as a writer, her childhood and the symbiotic relationship between fiction and emotional memory.
In Where the Past Begins, bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement Amy Tan is at her most intimate in revealing the truths and inspirations that underlie her extraordinary fiction. By delving into vivid memories of her traumatic childhood, confessions of self-doubt in her journals, and heartbreaking letters to and from her mother, she gives evidence to all that made it both unlikely and inevitable that she would become a writer. Through spontaneous storytelling, she shows how a fluid fictional state of mind unleashed near-forgotten memories that became the emotional nucleus of her novels.
Tan explores shocking truths uncovered by family memorabilia - the real reason behind an I.Q. test she took at age six, why her parents lied about their education, mysteries surrounding her maternal grandmother - and, for the first time publicly, writes about her complex relationship with her father, who died when she was fifteen. Supplied with candour and characteristic humour, Where the Past Begins takes readers into the idiosyncratic workings of her writer's mind, a journey that explores memory, imagination, and truth, with fiction serving as both her divining rod and link to meaning.
A magisterial work of gripping history, City of Fortune tells the story of the Venetian ascent from lagoon dwellers to the greatest power in the Mediterranean - an epic five hundred year voyage that encompassed crusade and trade, plague, sea battles and colonial adventure. In Venice, the path to empire unfolded in a series of extraordinary contests - the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, the fight to the finish with Genoa and a desperate defence against the Turks.
Under the lion banner of St Mark, she created an empire of ports and naval bases which funnelled the goods of the world through its wharfs. In the process the city became the richest place on earth - a brilliant mosaic fashioned from what it bought, traded, borrowed and stole. Based on firsthand accounts of trade and warfare, seafaring and piracy and the places where Venetians sailed and died, City of Fortune is narrative history at its finest.
Berlioz should know. He didn’t just hear the symphony when he fell in love with an Irish actress back in 1827, he wrote it.
What was love like for the people who could really feel that song coming on? Symphony of Seduction tells of the romantic misadventures, tragedies and occasional triumphs of some of classical music’s great composers, and traces the music that emerged as a result.
For the eccentric Erik Satie, love came just once – and even then, not for long. Robert Schumann had to take his future father-in-law to court to win the right to marry. Hector Berlioz planned to murder a two-timing fiancée while dressed in drag, and Richard Wagner turned the temptation of adultery into a stage work that changed the course of music while rupturing his own marriage. Debussy’s love triangle, Brahms’ love for the wife of his insane mentor – all find expression in works we now consider to be some of the summits of creative achievement.
Christopher Lawrence takes what we know about these love-crazed geniuses and adds a garnish of imagined pillow talk to recreate stories that are ultimately stranger than fiction – and come with a great soundtrack.
Continuing her journey from a deeply religious Islamic upbringing to a post at Harvard, the brilliant, charismatic and controversial New York Times and Globe and Mail #1 bestselling author of Infidel and Nomad makes a powerful plea for a Muslim Reformation as the only way to end the horrors of terrorism, sectarian warfare and the repression of women and minorities.
Today, she argues, the world's 1.6 billion Muslims can be divided into a minority of extremists, a majority of observant but peaceable Muslims and a few dissidents who risk their lives by questioning their own religion. But there is only one Islam and, as Hirsi Ali shows, there is no denying that some of its key teachings-not least the duty to wage holy war-are incompatible with the values of a free society.
For centuries it has seemed as if Islam is immune to change. But Hirsi Ali has come to believe that a Muslim Reformation-a revision of Islamic doctrine aimed at reconciling the religion with modernity-is now at hand, and may even have begun. The Arab Spring may now seem like a political failure.
But its challenge to traditional authority revealed a new readiness-not least by Muslim women-to think freely and to speak out. Courageously challenging the jihadists, she identifies five key amendments to Islamic doctrine that Muslims have to make to bring their religion out of the seventh century and into the twenty-first. And she calls on the Western world to end its appeasement of the Islamists.
Islam is not a religion of peace, she writes. It is the Muslim reformers who need our backing, not the opponents of free speech. Interweaving her own experiences, historical analogies and powerful examples from contemporary Muslim societies and cultures, Heretic is not a call to arms, but a passionate plea for peaceful change and a new era of global toleration.
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders, with jihadists killing thousands from Nigeria to Syria to Pakistan, this book offers an answer to what is fast becoming the world's number one problem.
Ian Bostridge is one of the outstanding singers of our time, celebrated for the quality of his voice but also for the exceptional intelligence he brings to bear on the interpretation of the repertoire of the past and present alike. Yet his early career was that of a professional historian, and A Singer's Notebook takes a look at the multifaceted world of classical music through the eyes of someone whose career as a singer has followed a unique trajectory. Consisting of short essays and reviews written since 1997, some in diary form, it ranges widely over issues serious (music and transcendence) and not so serious (the singer's battles with phlegm), while inevitably discussing many of the composers with whom Bostridge has become identified, such as Benjamin Britten, Henze, Janacek, Weill, Wolf, and Schubert, composer of the Winterreise with which Bostridge has become so associated.
Ultimately it returns to the theme of his earlier work on seventeenth century witchcraft - what place can there be for the ineffable in a world defined by an iron cage of rationality?
Including a foreword by the eminent sociologist, Richard Sennett, A Singer's Notebook is an intriguing glimpse into the mind and motivation of one of Britain's best loved musicians.