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The Mesmerist

By Wendy Moore
Authors:
Wendy Moore
Medicine, in the early 1800s, was a brutal business. Operations were performed without anaesthesia while conventional treatment relied on leeches, cupping and toxic potions. The most surgeons could offer by way of pain relief was a large swig of brandy. Onto this scene came John Elliotson, the dazzling new hope of the medical world. Charismatic and ambitious, Elliotson was determined to transform medicine from a hodge-podge of archaic remedies into a practice informed by the latest science. In this aim he was backed by Thomas Wakley, founder of the new magazine, the Lancet, and a campaigner against corruption and malpractice.Then, in the summer of 1837, a French visitor - the self-styled Baron Jules Denis Dupotet - arrived in London to promote an exotic new idea: mesmerism. The mesmerism mania would take the nation by storm but would ultimately split the two friends, and the medical world, asunder - throwing into focus fundamental questions about the fine line between medicine and quackery, between science and superstition.
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Where Poppies Blow

By John Lewis-Stempel
Authors:
John Lewis-Stempel
Winner of the 2017 Wainwright Golden Beer Book Prize for nature writingThe natural history of the Western Front during the First World War'If it weren't for the birds, what a hell it would be.' During the Great War, soldiers lived inside the ground, closer to nature than many humans had lived for centuries. Animals provided comfort and interest to fill the blank hours in the trenches - bird-watching, for instance, was probably the single most popular hobby among officers. Soldiers went fishing in flooded shell holes, shot hares in no-man's land for the pot, and planted gardens in their trenches and billets. Nature was also sometimes a curse - rats, spiders and lice abounded, and disease could be biblical.But above all, nature healed, and, despite the bullets and blood, it inspired men to endure. Where Poppies Blow is the unique story of how nature gave the British soldiers of the Great War a reason to fight, and the will to go on.
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Hubris

By Alistair Horne
Authors:
Alistair Horne
Alistair Horne has been a close observer of war and history for more than fifty years. In this wise and masterly work, he revisits six battles that changed the course of the twentieth century and reveals the one trait that links them all: hubris. From the Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 to Hitler's 1941 bid to capture Moscow, and from the disastrous American advance in Korea to the French surrender at Dien Bien Phu, Horne shows how each of these battles was won or lost due to excessive hubris on one side or the other.A dramatic, colourful and stylishly written history, HUBRIS is an essential reflection on war from a master of his field.
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Heyday

By Ben Wilson
Authors:
Ben Wilson
HEYDAY brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods in modern history. Over the course of the 1850s, the world was reshaped by technology, trade, mass migration and war. The global economy expanded fivefold, millions of families emigrated to the ends of the earth to carve out new lives, technology revolutionised communications, while steamships and railways cut across vast continents and oceans, shrinking the world and creating the first global age.It was a decade of breathtaking transformation, with striking parallels for our own times. The 1850s saw the laying of the first undersea cable in 1851, the rush for gold from California to Australia, while fleets of pirate vessels docked in Hong Kong harbour, eager to take advantage of booming trade. The West's insatiable hunger for land, natural resources and new markets encouraged free trade, bold exploration and colonisation as never before. In a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic narrative, the acclaimed historian Ben Wilson recreates this time of explosive energy and dizzying change, a rollercoaster ride of booms and bust, focusing on the lives of the men and women reshaping its frontiers. At the centre stands Great Britain. The country was the peak of its power as it attempted to determine the destinies of hundreds of millions of people.A dazzling history of a tumultuous decade, HEYDAY reclaims an often overlooked decade that was fundamental not only in in the making of Britain but of the modern world.
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  • Moshe Dayan

    By Martin van Creveld
    Authors:
    Martin van Creveld
    Martin van Creveld's Moshe Dayan tells the story of one man and of one people, to whom he was a figurehead - a symbol of their patriotism and their determination to survive. Born in a kibbutz in 1915, Dayan joined the Hagana when he was just fourteen, thus starting early a military career that saw him serve in every war fought in the Middle East from the War of Israeli Independence in 1948 to the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Twice he led his country's forces into smashing victories. Having planned and executed the one and directed the other, with his one eye he towers over them like Nelson over the Battle of Trafalgar.Skilled in battle, skilled in diplomacy, like many powerful public figures, Moshe Dayan's private life was far from mundane. The book quotes from little-known sources, including an account written by one of his mistresses, that reveal much about his character and his life away from the battlefield. This is an honest portrayal of both the private and the public figure, which seeks to understand a man whose contribution to the state of Israel in its developing years was immeasurable.
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    The Great Divide

    By Peter Watson
    Authors:
    Peter Watson
    How the division of the Americas from the rest of the world affected human history.In 15,000 B.C. early humankind, who had evolved in Africa tens of thousands of years before and spread out to populate the Earth, arrived in Siberia, during the Ice Age. Because so much water was locked up at that time in the great ice sheets, several miles thick, the levels of the world's oceans were much lower than they are today, and early humans were able to walk across the Bering Strait, then a land bridge, without getting their feet wet and enter the Americas. Then, the Ice Age came to an end, the Bering Strait refilled with water and humans in the Americas were cut off from humans elsewhere in the world. This division - with two great populations on Earth, each oblivious of the other - continued until Christopher Columbus 'discovered' America just before 1500 A.D. This is the fascinating subject of THE GREAT DIVIDE, which compares and contrasts the development of humankind in the 'Old World' and the 'New' between 15,000 B.C. and 1500 A.D. This unprecedented comparison of early peoples means that, when these factors are taken together, they offer a uniquely revealing insight into what it means to be human.THE GREAT DIVIDE offers a masterly and totally original synthesis of archaeology, anthropology, geology, meteorology, cosmology and mythology, to give a new shape - and a new understanding - to human history.
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    In Search Of Zarathustra

    By Paul Kriwaczek
    Authors:
    Paul Kriwaczek
    A quest to find the most influential religious teacher in the ancient world: Zarathustra.IN SEARCH OF ZARATHUSTRA is a quest to trace the influence of the prophet the Greeks called Zoroaster and considered the greatest religious legislator of the ancient world. Long before the first Hebrew temple, the birth of Christ or the mission of Muhammad, Zarathustra had taught of a single universal god, of the battle between Good and Evil, of the Devil, Heaven and Hell, and of an eventual end to the world. Over several decades, Paul Kriwaczek, an award-winning television producer, has cast his eye across Europe and Central Asia, from Hadrian's Wall to the Oxus river, from the Pyrenees to the Hindu Kush. Passing via Nietzsche's interpretation of Zarathustra for a post-religious age, the Cathars of 13th-century France, the Bulgars of 9th-century Balkans, and the prophet Mani's revision of Zarathustra's message in the later Persian empire, Paul Kriwaczek then explores the religion of Mithras - before going back past Alexander the Great's destruction of the Persian Empire, and the era of the great Persian kings Cyrus and Darius in the 6th century BC, to the beginning of the first pre-Christian millennium.
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    Revolutionaries

    By Eric Hobsbawm
    Authors:
    Eric Hobsbawm
    A collection of essays which represent a lifetime's writing,lectures & thoughts on revolutionary modern political developments throughout Europe.
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    The Assassins

    By Bernard Lewis
    Authors:
    Bernard Lewis
    The history of an extremist Islamic sect in the 11th-12th centuries whose terrorist methods gave the English language a new word: assassin.The word 'Assassin' was brought back from Syria by the Crusaders, and in time acquired the meaning of murderer. Originally it was applied to the members of a Muslim religious sect - a branch of the Ismailis, and the followers of a leader known as the Old Man of the Mountain. Their beliefs and their methods made them a by-word for both fanaticism and terrorism in Syria and Persia in the 11th and 12th centuries, and the subject of a luxuriant growth of myth and legend.In this book, Bernard Lewis begins by tracing the development of these legends in medieval and modern Europe and the gradual percolation of accurate knowledge concerning the Ismailis. He then examines the origins and activities of the sect, on the basis of contemporary Persian and Arabic sources, and against the background of Middle Eastern and Islamic history. In a final chapter he discusses some of the political, social and economic implications of the Ismailis, and examines the significance of the Assassins in the history of revolutionary and terrorist movements.
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    Choose Your Weapons

    By Douglas Hurd
    Authors:
    Douglas Hurd
    Noisy popular liberal interventionism? Or a more conservative, diplomatic approach concentrating on co-operation between nations? This is the debate that lies at the heart of modern politics and Hurd traces its most interesting and influential exponents.He starts with Canning and Castelreagh in post Waterloo Britain; to a generation later, the victory of the interventionist Palmerston over Aberdeen; then to Salisbury (Imperialism) and Grey (European balance of power); and finally to Eden and Bevin who combined to lay the foundations of a post-war compromise.That delicate balance has served its purpose for over half a century, but as we enter a new era of terrorism and racial conflict, the old questions and divisions are re-surfacing . . .
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    We Gave Our Today

    By William Fowler
    Authors:
    William Fowler
    The Lost Voices of our 'Forgotten Army' in the war with Japan 1941-45.Nearly a million strong by 1944, the British 14th Army fought and ultimately conquered the Japanese forces that invaded Burma and strove to break through into India. But the victory was hard won, with great suffering along the way. With priority given to defeating Germany, these troops were last in line for additional men and equipment, and they joked about being "The Forgotten Army." Here is the story of these remarkable soldiers, whose monument at Kohima reads: 'When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today.'
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    Eden To Armageddon

    By Roger Ford
    Authors:
    Roger Ford
    Turkey, the First World War and the making of the Middle East.The Great War in the Middle East began with the invasion of the Garden of Eden, and ended with a momentous victory on the site of the biblical Armageddon. Almost incredibly, the whole story of this epic war has never been told in a single volume until now. In this important new history Roger Ford describes a conflict in its entirety: the war in Mesopotamia, which would end with the creation of the countries of Iran and Iraq; the desperate struggle in the Caucasus, where the Turks had long-standing territorial ambitions; the doomed attacks on the Gallipoli Peninsula that would lead to ignominous defeat; and the final act in Palestine, where the Ottoman Empire finally crumbled. He ends with a detailed description of the messy aftermath of the war, and the new conflicts in a reshaped Middle East that would play such a huge part in shaping world affairs for many generations to come.
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    We Will Remember Them

    By Max Arthur, Clive Mantle, Patience Tomlinson
    Authors:
    Max Arthur
    Read by:
    Clive Mantle, Patience Tomlinson
    11am, 11.11.1918: the war is finally over. After four long years Britain welcomed her heroes home. Wives and mothers were reunited with loved ones they'd feared they'd never see again. Fathers met sons and daughters born during the war years for the very first time. It was a time of great joy - but it was also a time of enormous change. The soldiers and nurses who survived life at the Front faced the reality of rebuilding their lives in a society that had changed beyond recognition. How did the veterans readjust to civilian life? How did they cope with their war wounds, work and memories of lost comrades? And what of the people they returned to - the independent young women who were asked to give up the work they had been enjoying, the wives who had to readjust to life with men who seemed like strangers?Read by Clive Mantle and Patience Tomlinson(p) 2009 Orion Publishing Group
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