BookSeriesList
W&N

Churchill

John Keegan
Authors:
John Keegan

The greatest politician and statesmen of the twentieth century by Britain's leading military historian.Was Churchill as a great a wartime leader as he has hitherto been made out? John Keegan discusses the view of the soldiers such as Alanbrooke, his wartime Chief of Staff, and considers Churchill the politician who surprisingly got it wrong so often, not least in the 1945 election. Keegan also writes vividly about Churchill's upbringing and his ambitious streak, which emerged early on and led him into the army and the Boer War.

W&N

Jane Austen

Carol Shields
Authors:
Carol Shields

Bestselling novelist with an enormous critical reputation takes on one of the most popular and enduring English novelists of all.The prizewinning novelist Carol Shields, whose novels have themselves been compared to the works of Jane Austen, gives us a beautifully written, perceptive look at the life of one of the finest and most popular English novelists of all time.Jane Austen spent the first 25 years of her life in Steventon and the last eight in nearby Chawton, and did most of her writing in these two places. She never married although many of her novels are about marriage, and always lived with her parents and sister Cassandra. Whilst not unaware of the larger political and social goings-on at the time, she chose a small canvas for her novels, preferring to focus on the family as a microcosm through which to explore human nature.Carol Shields has written a wonderfully observant and revealing biography of this remarkable writer whose characters are as alive today as they were two hundred years ago, when Jane Austen first gave them breath.'An excellent biography' Mail on Sunday

W&N

Lives: Buddha

Karen Armstrong
Authors:
Karen Armstrong

Buddhism is a faith that commands over 100 million followers throughout the world. Buddha stands with Christ, Confucius and Mohammed as someone who revolutionized the religious ideas of his time to advocate a new way of living. All that is known about Buddha comes from a collection of ancient writings that fuse history, biography and myth. Karen Armstrong distils from these the key events of Buddha's life: his birth as Siddhartha Gotama in the fifth century BC and his abandonment of his wife and son; his attainment of enlightenment under the Banyan tree (the moment he became a buddha, or enlightened one; his political influence; the divisions among his followers; and his serene death. Armstrong also introduces the key tenets of Buddhism: she explains the doctrine of anatta (no-soul) and the concepts of kamma (actions), samsara (keeping going), dhamma (a law or teaching that reflects the fundamental principles of existence) and the idealised state of nibbana (literally the 'cooling of the ego'). Since it promotes no personal god, Buddhism, writes Armstrong, 'is essentially a psychological faith'. In our own age of secular anxiety, she shows that it has profound lessons to teach about selflessness and the simple life. Karen Armstrong's short book is a magnificent introduction to the life and thought of this most influential of spiritual thinkers.

W&N

Napoleon

Paul Johnson
Authors:
Paul Johnson

A short and vivid biography, which deconstructs the Napoleonic myth and reveals the reality of his rule.Written with great wit and panache, this biography also has a serious purpose: to make us face up to the moral bankruptcy of Napoleon¿s dictatorship. Johnson tells the whole story: his astonishing gift for figures and calculation, his mastery of cannon; his audacious, hyperactive and aggressive generalship and his simple battle tactics; his complete control of propaganda and the success of the cultural presentation of the Empire; the Code Napoleon; his failure as an international statesman, as Europe grew to hate him; his marshals and ministers; his wives, mistresses, personal style and working methods; the British blockade and the Continental System; the mistakes in Spain and Russia. The escape from Elba, the events leading up to Waterloo and the battle itself, which gets a full treatment, is particularly riveting.

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