07 October 2020
As autumn approaches, we’re looking to history books to get stuck into; to educate us and draw us into their stories as the evenings grow longer. Our line-up of new publications includes top-class writing from bestselling academics. Read on to find out more.
BRITAIN AT BAY
‘Invigorating and beautifully-constructed’ – David Kynaston
In the bleak first half of the Second World War, Britain stood alone against the Axis forces. Isolated and outmanoeuvred, it seemed as though she might fall at any moment. Only an extraordinary effort of courage – by ordinary men and women – held the line.
The Second World War is the defining experience of modern British history, a new Iliad for our own times. But, as Alan Allport reveals in this, the first part of a major new two-volume history, the real story was often very different from the myth that followed it. From the subtle moral calculus of appeasement to the febrile dusts of the Western Desert, Allport interrogates every aspect of the conflict – and exposes its echoes in our own age.
Challenging orthodoxy and casting fresh light on famous events from Dunkirk to the Blitz, this is the real story of a clash between civilisations that remade the world in its image.
In 1939, the Gestapo created a list of names: the Britons whose removal would be the Nazis’ first priority in the event of a successful invasion. Who were they? What had they done to provoke Germany? For the first time, the historian Sybil Oldfield uncovers their stories and reveals why the Nazis feared their influence.
Those on the hitlist – more than half of them naturalised refugees – were many of Britain’s most gifted and humane inhabitants. Among their numbers we find the writers E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf, humanitarians and religious leaders, scientists and artists, the social reformers Margery Fry and Eleanor Rathbone MP, the artists Jacob Epstein and Oscar Kokoschka.
By examining these targets of Nazi hatred, Oldfield not only sheds light on the Gestapo worldview; she also movingly reveals a network of truly exemplary Britons: mavericks, moral visionaries and unsung heroes.
‘[An] excellent historical exposé’ The Times
RUIN AND RENEWAL
‘Erudite, rigorously researched, and elegantly written… A masterpiece’
– Prof. David Motadel
In 1945, Europe lay in ruins – its cities and towns destroyed by conflict, its economies crippled, its societies ripped apart by war and violence. In the years that followed, Europeans tried to make sense of what had happened – and to forge a new understanding of civilisation that would bring peace and progress to a broken continent.
As they wrestled with questions great and small – from the legacy of colonialism to workplace etiquette – institutions and shared ideals emerged which still shape our world today. Drawing on original sources as well as individual stories and voices, this is a gripping and authoritative account of how Europe rebuilt itself – and what we, in the twenty-first century, could lose again.