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By Thomas Keneally. 2011
Through the lens of three of the most devastating food crises in modern history--the Górta Mor of British-ruled Ireland, the…great famine of British-ruled Bengal in 1943, and the string of famines that plagued Ethiopia during the 1970s and 1980s, Booker Prizewinning author Thomas Keneally vividly evokes the terrible cost of mass starvation at the level of the individual who starves and the nation that watches. Famine is widely misunderstood as a completely natural catastrophe. Keneally recounts that while the triggers--crop, pestilence, and drought--are natural, the political and ideological choices that prolong famine are man-made. Government neglect and individual venality, not food shortages, are historically the causes of sustained, widespread hunger. In Ireland, British authorities ignored the existence of a food crisis while the famished fed on diseased cattle and human remains. In Bengal, where over four million starved to death, Field Marshal Archibald Wavell’s reports of people dying in Calcutta’s streets and demands for relief resulted in little more than a mocking cable from Winston Churchill asking, why, if food was so scarce, hadn’t Gandhi died yet? In Ethiopia, Mengistu Haile Mariam arranged for 400,000 bottles of whisky to ship to Addis Ababa from Britain to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the revolution that put him in power, while one person died every twenty minutes in Korem. These three famines are stark examples of how throughout history, racial preconceptions, administrative neglect, and incompetence have been more lethal than the initiating blights or crop failures. Keneally’s startling narrative history is a sobering warning to the authorities in charge of mercy in our time to stop making choices that feed famine instead of the starving.
The riveting true story of mother-and-daughter queens Catherine de' Medici and Marguerite de Valois, whose wildly divergent personalities and turbulent…relationship changed the shape of their tempestuous and dangerous century.Set in magnificent Renaissance France, this is the story of two remarkable women, a mother and daughter driven into opposition by a terrible betrayal that threatened to destroy the realm.Catherine de' Medici was a ruthless pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for thirty years. Her youngest daughter Marguerite, the glamorous "Queen Margot," was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor control.When Catherine forces the Catholic Marguerite to marry her Protestant cousin Henry of Navarre against her will, and then uses her opulent Parisian wedding as a means of luring his followers to their deaths, she creates not only savage conflict within France but also a potent rival within her own family.Rich in detail and vivid prose, Goldstone's narrative unfolds as a thrilling historical epic. Treacherous court politics, poisonings, inter-national espionage, and adultery form the background to a story that includes such celebrated figures as Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Nostradamus. The Rival Queens is a dangerous tale of love, betrayal, ambition, and the true nature of courage, the echoes of which still resonate.
By George Soros, Gregor Schmitz. 2014
The European Union could soon be a thing of the past. Xenophobia is rampant and commonly reflected in elections across…the continent. Great Britain may hold a referendum on whether to abandon the union altogether. Spurred by anti-EU sentiments due to the euro crisis, national interests conflict with a shared vision for the future of Europe. Is it too late to preserve the union that generated unprecedented peace for more than half a century?This is no mere academic question with limited importance for America and the rest of the world. In the past decade, the EU has declined from a unified global power to a fractious confederation of states with staggering unemployment resentfully seeking relief from a reluctant Germany. If the EU collapses and the former member states are transformed again from partners into rivals, the US and the world will confront the serious economic and political consequences that follow.In a series of revealing interviews conducted by Dr. Gregor Peter Schmitz, George Soros-a man of vast European experience whose personal past informs his present concerns-offers trenchant commentary and concise, prescriptive advice: The euro crisis was not an inevitable consequence of integration, but a result of avoidable mistakes in politics, economics, and finance; and excessive faith in the self-regulating financial markets that Soros calls market fundamentalism inspired flawed institutional structures that call out for reform. Despite the considerable perils of this period, George Soros maintains his faith in the European Union as a model of open society. This book is a testament to his vision for a peaceful and productive Europe.
By Mareike Kleine. 2014
The European Union is the world’s most advanced international organization, presiding over a level of legal and economic integration unmatched…in global politics. To explain this achievement, many observers point to its formal rules that entail strong obligations and delegate substantial power to supranational actors such as the European Commission. This legalistic view, Mareike Kleine contends, is misleading. More often than not, governments and bureaucrats informally depart from the formal rules and thereby contradict their very purpose. Behind the EU’s front of formal rules lies a thick network of informal governance practices.If not the EU’s rules, what accounts for the high level of economic integration among its members? How does the EU really work? In answering these questions, Kleine proposes a new way of thinking about international organizations. Informal governance affords governments the flexibility to resolve conflicts that adherence to EU rules may generate at the domestic level. By dispersing the costs that integration may impose on individual groups, it allows governments to keep domestic interests aligned in favor of European integration. The combination of formal rules and informal governance therefore sustains a level of cooperation that neither regime alone permits, and it reduces the EU’s democratic deficit by including those interests into deliberations that are most immediately affected by its decisions. In illustrating informal norms and testing how they work, Kleine provides the first systematic analysis, based on new material from national and European archives and other primary data, of the parallel development of the formal rules and informal norms that have governed the EU from the 1958 Treaty of Rome until today.
By John Dickie. 2014
MAFIA. CAMORRA. 'NDRANGHETA.The Sicilian mafia, known as Cosa Nostra, is far from being Italy's only dangerous criminal fraternity. The country…hosts two other major mafias: the camorra from Naples; and, from the poor and isolated region of Calabria, the mysterious 'ndrangheta, which has now risen to become the most powerful mob group active today.Since they emerged, the mafias have all corrupted Italy's institutions, drastically curtailed the life-chances of its citizens, evaded justice, and set up their own self-interested meddling as an alternative to the courts. Yet each of these brotherhoods has its own methods, its own dark rituals, its own style of ferocity. Each is uniquely adapted to corrupt and exploit its own specific environment, as it collaborates with, learns from, and goes to war with the other mafias.Today, the shadow of organized crime hangs over a country racked by debt, political paralysis, and widespread corruption. The 'ndrangheta controls much of Europe's wholesale cocaine trade and, by some estimates, 3 percent of Italy's total GDP. Blood Brotherhoods traces the origins of this national malaise back to Italy's roots as a united country in the nineteenth century, and shows how political violence incubated underworld sects among the lemon groves of Palermo, the fetid slums of Naples, and the harsh mountain villages of Calabria.Blood Brotherhoods is a book of breathtaking ambition, tracing for the first time the interlocking story of all three mafias from their origins to the present day. John Dickie is recognized in Italy as one of the foremost historians of organized crime. In these pages, he blends archival detective work, passionate narrative, and shrewd analysis to bring a unique criminal ecosystem-and the three terrifying criminal brotherhoods that have evolved within it-to life on the page.e terrifying criminal brotherhoods that have evolved within it, to life on the page.
By Petra Reski. 2013
In the early hours of an August 2007 morning a gunfight broke out in an Italian restaurant in Duisburg, Germany;…in less than five minutes over seventy shots were fired into the bodies of six men. Both the victims and the assassins were members of the 'Ndrangheta crime organization. Calabria's Mafia had brazenly shown its savage influence outside Italy for the first time.In The Honored Society award-winning investigative reporter Petra Reski reveals the Mafia menace lurking throughout the world- from espresso bars in Palermo to European halls of parliament to the corporate headquarters of enormous agricultural firms. In haunting and exquisite prose she explores the Byzantine structure of the 'Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra and other mafia clans throughout Italy - the code they live by, the destruction they wreak, how they operate within the country and how they operate internationally. She shows how these syndicates dominate everything from nuclear waste disposal to hotel chains to the marijuana trade in Australia and cocaine trafficked throughout the world. Reski shows how figures such as Silvio Berlusconi were made by the Mafia, and how those who dared to defy its codes were broken. A searing portrait of the criminals who have come to control not only Italy but vast swathes of the globe, The Honored Society is a journalistic tour de force.
By Susan Ottaway. 2013
The incredible true story of British special agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne, sisters who risked everything to fight for freedom…during the Second World War. When elderly recluse Eileen Nearne died, few suspected that the quiet little old lady was a decorated WWII war hero. Volunteering to serve for British intelligence at age 21, Eileen was posted to Nazi-occupied France to send encoded messages of crucial importance for the Allies, until her capture by the Gestapo.Eileen was not the only agent in her family---her sister Jacqueline was a courier for the French resistance. While Jacqueline narrowly avoided arrest, Eileen was tortured by the Nazis, then sent to the infamous Ravensbrück women's concentration camp. Astonishingly, this resourceful young woman eventually escaped her captors and found her way to the advancing American army.In this amazing true story of triumph and tragedy, Susan Ottaway unveils the secret lives of two sisters who sacrificed themselves to defend their country.**Includes a Reading Group Guide exclusive to this edition.**
By Stephen P. Halbrook. 1998
By Deborah Cadbury. 2017
A captivating exploration of the role in which Queen Victoria exerted the most international power and influence: as a matchmaking…grandmother.As her reign approached its sixth decade, Queen Victoria's grandchildren numbered over thirty, and to maintain and increase British royal power, she was determined to maneuver them into a series of dynastic marriages with the royal houses of Europe.Yet for all their apparent obedience, her grandchildren often had plans of their own, fueled by strong wills and romantic hearts. Victoria's matchmaking plans were further complicated by the tumultuous international upheavals of the time: revolution and war were in the air, and kings and queens, princes and princesses were vulnerable targets.Queen Victoria's Matchmaking travels through the glittering, decadent palaces of Europe from London to Saint Petersburg, weaving in scandals, political machinations and family tensions to enthralling effect. It is at once an intimate portrait of a royal family and an examination of the conflict caused by the marriages the Queen arranged. At the heart of it all is Victoria herself: doting grandmother one moment, determined Queen Empress the next.
The tenth century dawned in violence and disorder. CharlemagneOCOs empire was in ruins, most of Spain had been claimed by…Moorish invaders, and even the papacy in Rome was embroiled in petty, provincial conflicts. To many historians, it was a prime example of the ignorance and uncertainty of the Dark Ages. Yet according to historian Paul Collins, the story of the tenth century is the story of our cultureOCOs birth, of the emergence of our civilization into the light of day. "The Birth of the West" tells the story of a transformation from chaos to order, exploring the alien landscape of Europe in transition. It is a fascinatingnarrative that thoroughly renovates older conceptions of feudalism and what medieval life was actually like. The result is a wholly new vision of how civilization sprang from the unlikeliest of origins, and proof that our tenth-century ancestors are not as remote as we might think. "
By Tomasz Kamusella. 2021
During the last two centuries, ethnolinguistic nationalism has been the norm of nation building and state building in Central Europe.…The number of recognized Slavic languages (in line with the normative political formula of language = nation = state) gradually tallied with the number of the Slavic nation-states, especially after the breakups of Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. But in the current age of borderless cyberspace, regional and minority Slavic languages are freely standardized and used, even when state authorities disapprove. As a result, since the turn of the 19th century, the number of Slavic languages has varied widely, from a single Slavic language to as many as 40. Through the story of Slavic languages, this timely book illustrates that decisions on what counts as a language are neither permanent nor stable, arguing that the politics of language is the politics in Central Europe. The monograph will prove to be an essential resource for scholars of linguistics and politics in Central Europe.
By Eric Bogosian. 2015
A masterful account of the assassins who hunted down the perpetrators of the Armenian GenocideIn 1921, a tightly knit band…of killers set out to avenge the deaths of almost one million victims of the Armenian Genocide. They were a humble bunch: an accountant, a life insurance salesman, a newspaper editor, an engineering student, and a diplomat. Together they formed one of the most effective assassination squads in history. They named their operation Nemesis, after the Greek goddess of retribution. The assassins were survivors, men defined by the massive tragedy that had devastated their people. With operatives on three continents, the Nemesis team killed six major Turkish leaders in Berlin, Constantinople, Tiflis, and Rome, only to disband and suddenly disappear. The story of this secret operation has never been fully told, until now. Eric Bogosian goes beyond simply telling the story of this cadre of Armenian assassins by setting the killings in the context of Ottoman and Armenian history, as well as showing in vivid color the era's history, rife with political fighting and massacres. Casting fresh light on one of the great crimes of the twentieth century and one of history's most remarkable acts of vengeance, Bogosian draws upon years of research and newly uncovered evidence. Operation Nemesis is the result--both a riveting read and a profound examination of evil, revenge, and the costs of violence.
By Sacha Batthyany. 2016
A memoir of brutality, heroism, and personal discovery from Europe's dark heart, revealing one of the most extraordinary untold stories…of World War IIOne night in March of 1945, on the Austrian-Hungarian border, a local countess hosted a party in her mansion, where guests and local Nazi leaders mingled. The war was almost over and the German aristocrats and SS officers dancing and drinking knew it was lost. Around midnight, some of the guests were asked to "take care" of 180 Jewish enslaved laborers at the train station; they made them strip naked and shot them all before returning to the bright lights of the party. It was another one of the war's countless atrocities buried in secrecy for decades--until Sacha Batthyany started investigating what happened that night at the party his great aunt hosted.A Crime in the Family is the author's memoir of confronting his family's past, the questions he raised and the answers he found that took him far beyond his great aunt's party: through the dark past of Nazi Germany to the gulags of Siberia, the bleak streets of Cold War Budapest, and to Argentina, where he finds an Auschwitz survivor whose past intersects with his family's. It is the story of executioners and victims, villains and heroes.Told partly through the surviving family journals, A Crime in the Family is a disquieting and moving memoir, a powerful true story told by an extraordinary writer confronting the dark past of his family--and humanity.
By Tom Brokaw, Richard Overy, The New York Times. 2013
Experience the history, politics, and tragedy of World War II through the original, often firsthand daily reportage of The New…York Times, our country's newspaper of record.The Times' complete coverage of World War II is now available in a paperback edition of this unique book. Hundreds of the most riveting articles from the archives of the Times including firsthand accounts of major events and little-known anecdotes have been selected for inclusion in The New York Times: World War II. The book covers the biggest battles of the war, from the Battle of the Bulge to the Battle of Iwo Jima, as well as moving stories from the home front and profiles of noted leaders and heroes such as Winston Churchill and George Patton.A respected World War II historian and writer, editor Richard Overy guides readers through the articles, putting the events into historical context. Beautifully designed and illustrated with hundreds of maps and historical photographs, it's the perfect gift for any war, politics, or history buff.
Champagne is the epitome of effervescence, the centerpiece of celebration, and a symbol of good fortune. It has become an…icon, a symbol of luxury, an emblem of the "good life," and few are not attracted to its sparkle.Champagne, Uncorked is a journey into the heart of this beloved wine, anchored by the year the author spent inside the very secretive, prestigious Krug winery in Reims, France. It tells the dramatic story of the creation of the Grande Cuvée, one of the most distinctive and high quality champagnes in the world, from the growing of the grapes to the challenges of harvest, through fermentation in old wood barrels, to the extended process of tasting and analyzing the wines which eventually result in the determination of the all-important final blend.During the course of the narrative, Alan Tardi jumps backwards and forwards in time, telling a larger story about the history and cultural impact of champagne. He reveals how we came to use champagne to celebrate (hint: we can all thank Napoleon) and introduces Eugene Mercier of Dom Perignon, who in 1889 built the "Cathedral of Champagne,” one of the first modern examples of brand marketing: the largest wine cask in the world, holding about 200,000 bottles' worth of bubbly, it debuted at the Paris World's Fair that year as the second most popular exhibit (the first being the unveiling of the Eiffel Tower). He also regales us with the story of "Champagne Charlie,” the first person to bring champagne to America, who was paid for his champagne in embargoed cotton during the Civil War and who was thanked for his effervescent contribution with the deed to a little town called Denver, Colorado.In Champagne, Uncorked, Tardi is our guide, taking us into the fields of France to learn how finicky grapes in an unstable climate can lead to a nail-biting season for the vintners, and deep into the caves at Krug, where the delicate and painstaking process of blending takes place, all of which culminates in the glass we raise to toast in celebration of life's finer moments. You'll never raise a glass of champagne the same way again.
By Ben Thompson. 2015
Ferocious raids, heroic battles, larger-than-life leaders, and courageous explorers that changed the course of human history.From battle-axe-wielding tribes plundering the…greatest cities of Europe to powerful kings and queens ruling their dominions with iron fists, the Vikings were some of the most feared and fearless figures in European history. Find the bravest heroes, the most menacing villains, and unbelievably awesome facts and myths inside this action-packed overview that will amaze kids with tales of a people so incredible...it's hard to believe they were real.History buff and popular blogger Ben Thompson's lively storytelling style brings the Vikings back to life in this second book in the exhilarating Guts & Glory series!
The captivating story of four unforgettable sisters and their glamorous mother, Elizabeth Stuart, granddaughter of Mary, Queen of ScotsYoung Elizabeth…Stuart was thrust into a life of wealth and splendor when her godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, died and her father, James I, ascended to the illustrious throne of England. At sixteen she was married to a dashing German count far below her rank, with the understanding that James would help her husband achieve the crown of Bohemia. Her father's terrible betrayal of this promise would ruin "the Winter Queen," as Elizabeth would forever be known, imperil the lives of those she loved, and launch a war that would last for thirty years.Forced into exile, the Winter Queen and her growing family found refuge in Holland, where the glorious art and culture of the Dutch Golden Age formed the backdrop to her daughters' education. The eldest, Princess Elizabeth, was renowned as a scholar when women were all but excluded from serious study and counted the preeminent philosopher René Descartes among her closest friends. Louise Hollandine, whose lively manner and appealing looks would provoke heartache and scandal, was a gifted painter. Shy, gentle Henrietta Maria, the beauty of the family, would achieve the dynastic ambition of marrying into royalty, although at great cost. But it would be the youngest, Sophia, a heroine in the tradition of Jane Austen, whose ready wit and good-natured common sense masked immense strength of character, who would fulfill the promise of her great-grandmother, a legacy that endures to this day.Brilliantly researched and captivatingly written, Nancy Goldstone shows how these spirited, passionate women faced danger, tragic loss, and betrayal, and by refusing to surrender to adversity, changed the course of history.
By Peter Ross Range. 2016
The dark story of Adolf Hitler's life in 1924--the year that made a monsterBefore Adolf Hitler's rise to power in…Germany, there was 1924. This was the year of Hitler's final transformation into the self-proclaimed savior and infallible leader who would interpret and distort Germany's historical traditions to support his vision for the Third Reich. Everything that would come--the rallies and riots, the single-minded deployment of a catastrophically evil idea--all of it crystallized in one defining year. 1924 was the year that Hitler spent locked away from society, in prison and surrounded by co-conspirators of the failed Beer Hall Putsch. It was a year of deep reading and intensive writing, a year of courtroom speeches and a treason trial, a year of slowly walking gravel paths and spouting ideology while working feverishly on the book that became his manifesto: Mein Kampf.Until now, no one has fully examined this single and pivotal period of Hitler's life. In 1924, Peter Ross Range richly depicts the stories and scenes of a year vital to understanding the man and the brutality he wrought in a war that changed the world forever.
By Elizabeth Anthony. 2021
The Compromise of Return: Viennese Jews after the Holocaust explores the motivations and expectations that inspired Viennese Jews to reestablish…lives in their hometown after the devastation and trauma of the Holocaust. Elizabeth Anthony investigates their personal, political, and professional endeavors, revealing the contours of their experiences of returning to a post-Nazi society, with full awareness that most of their fellow Austrians had embraced the Nazi takeover and their country’s unification with Germany—clinging to a collective national identity myth as "first victim" of the Nazis. Anthony weaves together archival documentation with oral histories, interviews, memoirs, and personal correspondence to craft a multilayered, multivoiced narrative of return focused on the immediate postwar years. The book consists of six chapters. Chapter 1 begins with setting the historical scene and political context to elucidate the backdrop for the role and position of Jews in Austrian and Viennese society. Chapter 2 begins just before the Soviet conquest of Vienna in April 1945 and with the story of the last Jews murdered in Vienna. Chapter 3 deals with the second group of returning Jews—concentration camp survivors—and outlines their varied processes and journeys, as they also followed their impulse to go to their familial home. Chapter 4 presents how their parties shaped their motivations and expectations of home while they lived abroad after fleeing from the Nazis. Chapter 5 illuminates the return and rerooting of Austrian Jewish professionals, including their struggles and successes. Chapter 6 expounds common challenges encountered by all groups of returnees while relaunching their lives in Vienna, with a focus on developing postwar identity concepts—both Viennese Jewish identity and Austrian national identity. The Compromise of Return is the first such social history to depict how survivors—individually and collectively—navigated postwar Vienna’s political and social setting. This book will be of special interest to scholars, students, and readers of Holocaust and European studies.
By Edward G. Lengel. 2018
It was one of the most heroic events in American military history. Here is the larger-than-life story of World War…I's "Lost Battalion" and the men who survived the ordeal, triumphed in battle, and fought the demons that lingered.In the first week of October, 1918, six hundred men attacked into Europe's forbidding Argonne Forest. Against all odds, they surged through enemy lines--alone. They were soon surrounded and besieged. As they ran out of ammunition, water, and food, the doughboys withstood constant bombardment and relentless enemy assaults. Seven days later, only 194 soldiers from the original unit walked out of the forest. The stand of the US Army's "Lost Battalion" remains an unprecedented display of heroism under fire.Never in Finer Company tells the stories of four men whose lives were forever changed by the ordeal: Major Charles Whittlesey, a lawyer dedicated to serving his men at any cost; Captain George McMurtry, a New York stockbroker who becomes a tower of strength under fire; Corporal Alvin York, a country farmer whose famous exploits help rescue his beleaguered comrades; and Damon Runyon, an intrepid newspaper man who interviews the survivors and weaves their experiences into the American epic. Emerging from the patriotic frenzy that sent young men "over there," each of these four men trod a unique path to the October days that engulfed them--and continued to haunt them as they struggled to find peace.Uplifting and compelling, Never in Finer Company is a deeply moving and dramatic story on an epic scale.