Envisioning the history of the sword as a history of humanity, the author proposes that the changes in modes of fencing corresponded to changes in manners. The rough, untutored fighting of the Middle Ages, for example, mirrored the supremacy of brute force in social and political life. The more subtle Renaissance era led to the ascendancy of the rapier and dagger, weapons of vicious elegance rather than sturdy brutality. Subsequent years saw a dwindling incidence of dueling, the decline of the sword to an article of gentlemen's apparel, and the reduction of swordsmanship to a courtly accomplishment akin to dancing.
"The subject is full of interest," the author notes in his Introduction, "not only for the fencer who looks upon his favourite pastime as a science, but also in a high degree for the novelist, the painter, the actor, and the antiquarian." All will welcome the return of this abundantly illustrated and long-out-of-print work.
Previously published as Horse Soldiers, 12 Strong is the dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war on horses against the Taliban. Outnumbered forty to one, they pursued the enemy army across the mountainous Afghanistan terrain and, after a series of intense battles, captured the city of Mazar-i-Sharif. The bone-weary American soldiers were welcomed as liberators as they rode into the city. Then the action took a wholly unexpected turn.
During a surrender of six hundred Taliban troops, the Horse Soldiers were ambushed by the would-be POWs. Dangerously overpowered, they fought for their lives in the city’s immense fortress, Qala-i-Janghi, or the House of War. At risk were the military gains of the entire campaign: if the soldiers perished or were captured, the entire effort to outmaneuver the Taliban was likely doomed.
“A riveting story of the brave and resourceful American warriors who rode into Afghanistan after 9/11 and waged war against Al Qaeda” (Tom Brokaw), Doug Stanton’s account touches the mythic. The soldiers on horses combined ancient strategies of cavalry warfare with twenty-first-century aerial bombardment technology to perform a seemingly impossible feat. Moreover, their careful effort to win the hearts of local townspeople proved a valuable lesson for America’s ongoing efforts in Afghanistan. With “spellbinding...action packed prose...The book reads more like a novel than a military history...the Horse Soldier’s secret mission remains the US military’s finest moment in what has since arguably been a muddled war” (USA TODAY).
This sweeping account begins in the 19th century, with the discovery of nuclear fission, and continues to World War Two and the Americans’ race to beat Hitler’s Nazis. That competition launched the Manhattan Project and the nearly overnight construction of a vast military-industrial complex that culminated in the fateful dropping of the first bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Reading like a character-driven suspense novel, the book introduces the players in this saga of physics, politics, and human psychology—from FDR and Einstein to the visionary scientists who pioneered quantum theory and the application of thermonuclear fission, including Planck, Szilard, Bohr, Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller, Meitner, von Neumann, and Lawrence.
From nuclear power’s earliest foreshadowing in the work of H.G. Wells to the bright glare of Trinity at Alamogordo and the arms race of the Cold War, this dread invention forever changed the course of human history, and The Making of The Atomic Bomb provides a panoramic backdrop for that story.
Richard Rhodes’s ability to craft compelling biographical portraits is matched only by his rigorous scholarship. Told in rich human, political, and scientific detail that any reader can follow, The Making of the Atomic Bomb is a thought-provoking and masterful work.
On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two brothers—bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio—changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe that the age of flight had begun, with the first powered machine carrying a pilot.
Orville and Wilbur Wright were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education and little money never stopped them in their mission to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off, they risked being killed.
In this “enjoyable, fast-paced tale” (The Economist), master historian David McCullough “shows as never before how two Ohio boys from a remarkable family taught the world to fly” (The Washington Post) and “captures the marvel of what the Wrights accomplished” (The Wall Street Journal). He draws on the extensive Wright family papers to profile not only the brothers but their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them. Essential reading, this is “a story of timeless importance, told with uncommon empathy and fluency…about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished…The Wright Brothers soars” (The New York Times Book Review).
Fascinated by Freemasons? Freemasons For Dummies is theinternationally bestselling introduction to the Masons, the oldestand largest "secret society" in the world. This balanced,eye-opening guide demystifies Freemasonry, explaining everythingfrom its elaborate rituals and cryptic rites, to its curioussymbols and their meanings.
With new and improved content, including updated examples andreferences throughout, this new edition of Freemasons ForDummies provides the most straightforward, non-intimidatingguide to the subject on the market.Updated expert coverage of the basic beliefs and philosophybehind FreemasonryRevised information on the history of the society, includingupdates concerning its founding, famous historical members, andpivotal eventsNew coverage devoted to the recent influx of youngermembershipThe latest and ongoing controversies and myths surroundingFreemasonryThe role of women in a Masonic organization, includingopportunities for women to participate in FreemasonryThe effects cultural and political changes and worldwide eventsare having on the organization
If you're intrigued by the mystery that surrounds the Masons,get ready to learn the facts about this ancient order inFreemasons For Dummies.
Time magazine editors and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy offer a new and revealing lens on the American presidency, exploring the club as a hidden instrument of power that has changed the course of history.
Red Cloud was the only American Indian in history to defeat the United States Army in a war, forcing the government to sue for peace on his terms. At the peak of Red Cloud’s powers the Sioux could claim control of one-fifth of the contiguous United States and the loyalty of thousands of fierce fighters. But the fog of history has left Red Cloud strangely obscured. Now, thanks to the rediscovery of a lost autobiography, and painstaking research by two award-winning authors, the story of the nineteenth century’s most powerful and successful Indian warrior can finally be told.
In The Heart of Everything That Is, Bob Drury and Tom Clavin restore Red Cloud to his rightful place in American history in a sweeping and dramatic narrative based on years of primary research. As they trace the events leading to Red Cloud’s War, they provide intimate portraits of the many lives Red Cloud touched—mountain men such as Jim Bridger; US generals like William Tecumseh Sherman, who were charged with annihilating the Sioux; fearless explorers, such as the dashing John Bozeman; and the memorable warriors whom Red Cloud groomed, like the legendary Crazy Horse. And at the center of the story is Red Cloud, fighting for the very existence of the Indian way of life.
“Unabashed, unbiased, and disturbingly honest, leaving no razor-sharp arrowhead unturned, no rifle trigger unpulled....a compelling and fiery narrative” (USA TODAY), this is the definitive chronicle of the conflict between an expanding white civilization and the Plains Indians who stood in its way.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, was a booming coal-and-steel town filled with hardworking families striving for a piece of the nation’s burgeoning industrial prosperity. In the mountains above Johnstown, an old earth dam had been hastily rebuilt to create a lake for an exclusive summer resort patronized by the tycoons of that same industrial prosperity, among them Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and Andrew Mellon. Despite repeated warnings of possible danger, nothing was done about the dam. Then came May 31, 1889, when the dam burst, sending a wall of water thundering down the mountain, smashing through Johnstown, and killing more than 2,000 people. It was a tragedy that became a national scandal.
Graced by David McCullough’s remarkable gift for writing richly textured, sympathetic social history, The Johnstown Flood is an absorbing, classic portrait of life in nineteenth-century America, of overweening confidence, of energy, and of tragedy. It also offers a powerful historical lesson for our century and all times: the danger of assuming that because people are in positions of responsibility they are necessarily behaving responsibly.
Through three tours in the jungle hell of Vietnam, he walked the point -- staying alert to trip wires, booby traps and punji pits, guiding his squad of amphibious fighters on missions of rescue, reconnaissance and demolition -- confronting a war's unique terrors head-on, unprotected . . . and unafraid.This is the story of a hero told from the heart and from the gut -- an authentic tour of duty with one of the most legendary commandoes of the Vietnam War.
In the mid-nineteen sixties, Harry Constance made a life-altering journey that led him out of Texas and into the jungles of Vietnam. As a young naval officer, he went from UDT training to the U.S. Navy's newly formed SEAL Team Two, and then straight into furious action. By 1970, he was already the veteran of three hundred combat missions and the recipient of thirty-two military citations, including three Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.
Good To Go is Constance's powerful, firsthand account of his three tours of duty as a member of America's most elite, razor-sharp stealth fighting force. It is a breathtaking memoir of harrowing missions and covert special-ops—from the floodplains of the Mekong Delta to the beaches of the South China Sea—that places the reader in the center of bloody ambushes and devastating firefights. But his extraordinary adventure goes even farther—beyond 'Nam—as we accompany Constance and the SEALs on astonishing missions to some of the world's most dangerous hot-spots . . . and experience close-up the courage, dedication, and unparalleled skill that made the U.S. Navy SEALs legendary.
Includes 8 Pages of SEAL Team Action Photos!
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is historian Christopher Clark’s riveting account of the explosive beginnings of World War I.
Drawing on new scholarship, Clark offers a fresh look at World War I, focusing not on the battles and atrocities of the war itself, but on the complex events and relationships that led a group of well-meaning leaders into brutal conflict.
Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts between the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, and examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914 and details the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that drove the crisis forward in a few short weeks.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers is a dramatic and authoritative chronicle of Europe’s descent into a war that tore the world apart.
From beer to Coca-Cola, the six drinks that have helped shape human history.
Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period.
A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E. was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th-century Europe they became a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization.
For Tom Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. You may never look at your favorite drink the same way again.
In December 1937, one of the most horrific massacres in the long annals of wartime barbarity occurred. The Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking (what was then the capital of China), and within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were systematically raped, tortured, and murdered-a death toll exceeding that of the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. In this seminal work, Iris Chang, whose own grandparents barely escaped the massacre, resurrects this history and tells the story from three perspectives: that of the Japanese soldiers, that of the Chinese, and that of a group of Westerners who refused to abandon the city and created a safety zone, which saved almost 300,000 Chinese.
Amazingly, the story of this atrocity--one of the worst in world history--continues to be denied by the Japanese government. More than just narrating the details of an orgy of violence, The Rape of Nanking tells the shocking story of the concerted effort during the Cold War on the part of the West and even China to stifle open discussion of the massacre. Drawing on extensive interviews with survivors and documents brought to light for the first time, Iris Chang's classic is the definitive history of this horrifying episode.
Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard’s Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation’s alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near-perfect Constitution.
In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin’s amazing life, showing how he helped to forge the American national identity and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.
Providing financial wisdom through parables, 'The Richest Man in Babylon' was originally a set of pamphlets, written by the author and distributed by banks and insurance companies. These pamphlets were later bundled together, giving birth to a book. In this new rendering by Charles Conrad, the classic tale is retold in clear, simple language for today's readers. These fascinating and informative stories set you on a sure path to prosperity and its accompanying joys.
Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships-she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey.
This is a gripping adventure chock-full of "you-are-there" moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events.
The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success became contagious. Instead of lying in wait under the waves, the USS Barb pursued enemy ships on the surface, attacking in the swift and precise style of torpedo boats. She was the first sub to use rocket missiles and to creep up on enemy convoys at night, joining the flank escort line from astern, darting in and out as she sank ships up the column.
Surface-cruising, diving only to escape, "Luckey Fluckey" relentlessly patrolled the Pacific, driving his boat and crew to their limits. There can be no greater contrast to modern warfare's long-distance, videogame style of battle than the exploits of the captain and crew of the USS Barb, where they sub, out of ammunition, actually rammed an enemy ship until it sank.
Thunder Below! is a first-rate, true-life, inspirational story of the courage and heroism of ordinary men under fire.
History is about so much more than memorizing facts. It is, as more than half of the word suggests, about the story. And, told in the right way, it is the greatest one ever written: Good and evil, triumph and tragedy, despicable acts of barbarism and courageous acts of heroism.
The things you’ve never learned about our past will shock you. The reason why gun control is so important to government elites can be found in a story about Athens that no one dares teach. Not the city in ancient Greece, but the one in 1946 Tennessee. The power of an individual who trusts his gut can be found in the story of the man who stopped the twentieth hijacker from being part of 9/11. And a lesson on what happens when an all-powerful president is in need of positive headlines is revealed in a story about eight saboteurs who invaded America during World War II.
Miracles and Massacres is history as you’ve never heard it told. It’s incredible events that you never knew existed. And it’s stories so important and relevant to today that you won’t have to ask, Why didn’t they teach me this? You will instantly know. If the truth shall set you free, then your freedom begins on page one of this book. By the end, your understanding of the lies and half-truths you’ve been taught may change, but your perception of who we are as Americans and where our country is headed definitely will.
James L. Swanson's Manhunt is a fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal. A gripping hour-by-hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you've never read it before.
-Dan Jones, author of The Plantagenets: The Kings Who Made England
There is an increasing realisation that our knowledge of world history – and how it all fits together – is far from perfect. A Short History of the World aims to fill the big gaps in our historical knowledge with a book that is easy to read and assumes little prior knowledge of past events.
The book does not aim to come up with groundbreaking new theories on why things occurred, but rather gives a broad overview of the generally accepted version of events so that non-historians will feel less ignorant when discussing the past.
While the book covers world history from the Big Bang to the present day, it principally covers key people, events and empires since the dawn of the first civilisations in around 3500 BC. To help readers put events, places and empires into context, the book includes 36 specially commissioned maps to accompany the text.
The result is a book that is reassuringly epic in scope but refreshingly short in length. An excellent place to start to bring your historical knowledge up to scratch!
Edited by historian Douglas Brinkley, The Reagan Diaries provides a striking insight into one of this nation’s most important presidencies and sheds new light on the character of a true American leader. Whether he was in his White House residence study or aboard Air Force One, each night Reagan wrote about the events of his day, which often included his relationships with other world leaders and the unforgettable moments that defined the era.Seldom before has the American public been given access to the unfiltered experiences and opinions of a President in his own words. To read these diaries—filled with Reagan’s trademark wit, sharp intelligence, and humor—is to gain a unique understanding of one of the most beloved occupants of the Oval Office in our nation’s history.
This is Caesar's story, from his recruitment into the Comancheros, to the savage split within the club that led to the foundation of the Bandidos and the bloody massacre at Milperra that resulted from it. This was the massacre that saw the death of two of Caesar's brothers, and resulted in four bullet wounds and a lengthy jail term for him.
Never before has someone so respected in the bikie gangs opened a window on to their world. The fact that Caesar has been able to do so is a testament to his ruthlessness, his fearlessness and his reputation in the bikie community.
Enforcer is a unique and captivating true crime story that will shock you with its raw violence, its brutality and its insights into an outlaw world.
On June 13, 1966, men of the 1st Recon Battalion, 1st Marine Division were stationed on Hill 488. Before the week was over, they would fight the battle that would make them the most highly decorated small unit in the entire history of the U.S. military, winning a Congressional Medal of Honor, four Navy Crosses, thirteen Silver Stars, and eighteen Purple Hearts -- some of them posthumously.
During the early evening of June 15, a battalion of hardened North Vietnamese regulars and Viet Cong -- outnumbering the Americans 25-to-1 -- threw everything they had at the sixteen Marines and two Navy corpsmen for the rest of that terror-filled night. Every man who held the hill was either killed or wounded defending the ground with unbelievable courage and unflagging determination -- even as reinforcements were on the way.
All they had to do was make it until dawn....