By Hugh Bicheno
The lives and loves of the great condottieriFederigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, was the archetypal 'Renaissance man': a brilliant soldier, scholar and ally of the pope, he spent much of the vast wealth on commissioning artists to decorate the city.Sigismondo Malatesta, lord of the neighbouring city of Rimini, was also a brilliant soldier and generous patron of the arts. He and Federigo were locked in an epic feud which saw them fight as mercenaries for and against just about every Italian ruler of note, so long as the other was on the opposite side.Together they epitomised the spirit of the condottieri - the contract army leaders who drove the explosion of new political, commercial and artistic ideas that has since become known as the Renaissance.
The War Walk
By Nigel Jones
A tourist guide, a history and a personal story of the Western Front 1914-18Nigel Jones's uncle was killed in action near Ypres in 1915, aged just eighteen, and his father served on Field Marshal Haig's staff: no wonder then, that he has always been fascinated by the First World War.THE WAR WALK describes his pilgrimage to the Western Front battlefields: it is a compelling blend of history, travel and personal anecdotes from some of the last surviving veterans of the First World War. He follows the old trench networks from the Belgian coast to the Swiss frontier, bringing each battlefield to life with vivid eyewitness testimony and investigating how the sites are preserved today for modern visitors.