By Robert Twigger
Home to mythical kingdoms, wars and expeditions, and strange and magical beasts, the Himalayas have always loomed tall in our imagination. Overrun at different times by Buddhism, Taoism, shamanism, Islam and Christianity, they are a grand central station of the world's religions. They are also a plant hunter's paradise, a climber's challenge, and a traveller's dream.In his quest to explore the region's seismic history, Twigger seeks out the Nagas, who helped his grandfather build a camp for Allied soldiers near Imphal during the Second World War and takes the most scenic bike ride in the world from Lhasa to Kathmandu. The result is a sweeping, fascinating and surprising journey through the history of the world's greatest mountain range.
By Robert Twigger
A rip-roaring yet intimate biography of the mighty Nile by Robert Twigger, award-winning author of ANGRY WHITE PYJAMAS. 'A tour de force' FINANCIAL TIMES.So much begins on the banks of the Nile: all religion, all life, all stories, the script we write in, the language we speak, the gods, the legends and the names of stars. This mighty river that flows through a quarter of all Africa has been history's most sustained creator.In this dazzling, idiosyncratic journey from ancient times to the Arab Spring, award-winning author Robert Twigger weaves a Nile narrative like no other. As he navigates a meandering course through the history of the world's greatest river, he plucks the most intriguing, colourful and dramatic stories - truly a Nile red in tooth and claw.The result is both an epic journey through the whole sweep of human and pre-human history, and an intimate biography of the curious life of this great river, overflowing with stories of excess, love, passion, splendour and violence.
Alexander The Great And The Hellenistic Age
By Peter Green
A masterly narrative survey of three centuries, from Alexander's conquest and empire to the triumph of Rome.The book begins with the personality and achievements of Alexander the Great, and continues with the military and political violence of the successor-kingdoms that fought over his inheritance.This era saw many important developments: a shift from the oral to the written; a move from the public to the private and a new individualist ethos; a huge growth in slavery, and therefore a glut of slave-labour which destroyed the incentive to innovate; a growing gap between rich and poor; a growing taste for luxury.
The Mughal World
By Abraham Eraly
Inside the opulent, decadent world of the Mughal emperorsThe Mughal emperors were larger-than-life figures, men written on a supra-human scale who exercised absolute power. The three centuries of their rule, as laid out in Eraly's previous volume, THE MUGHAL THRONE, mark one of the most crucial and fascinating periods of Indian history. Here, he looks beyond the story of the empires rise and fall - an exotic growth that was transplanted to India from Islamic Persia - to bring the world of the Mughal ruler and Hindu subject vividly into focus. Blending contemporary sources and detailed description he introduces an India full of strangeness and contrast: of sacred harems and suttee rites, of brutal war and cultural and artistic refinement, of staggering opulence, deviant indulgences and abject poverty. From bizarre religious cults to the Mughal fondness for formal gardening, from murderous female bandits to the sex lives of the nobles, almost every angle of life is examined making this a comprehensive and absorbing introduction to India's last Golden Age.
From Babel to Dragomans
By Bernard Lewis
A collection of the most important essays on past and current history by the Western world's foremost Islamic scholarBernard Lewis has charted the great centuries of Islamic power and civilisation but also, in his recent books WHAT WENT WRONG? and THE CRISIS OF ISLAM, Islam's calamitous and bitter decline. This book collects together his most interesting and significant essays, papers, reviews and lectures. They range from historical subjects such as religion and politics in Islam and Judaism, the culture and people of Iran, the great mosques of Istanbul, Middle Eastern food and feasts, the Mughals and the Ottomans, the rise and fall of British power in the Middle East and North Africa, Islam and racism - to current history such as the significance of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Includes discussion of the problems of Western historians dealing with the Islamic world.
The Crisis of Islam
By Bernard Lewis
The great scholar of Islam directly confronts the events of September 11th and the reasons behind Islamic terrorism in the modern world - a Sunday Times bestseller.President Bush has made it clear that we are engaged in a war against terrorism. But for Osama bin Laden and his followers this is religious war, a war for Islam against infidels, especially the United States, the greatest power in the world of the infidels. In this book Bernard Lewis shows us where the anger and frustration have come from, and the extent to which almost the entire Muslim world is affected by poverty and tyranny.He looks at the influence of extreme Wahhabist doctrines in the Saudi kingdom, where custodianship of Islam's holy places and the revenues of oil have given worldwide impact to what would otherwise have been an extremist fringe in a marginal country. He looks at American double standards, which have long caused Muslim anger, and tells us the real meaning of `Islamic fundamentalism', `jihad' and `fatwa', and why the peoples of the Middle East are conscious of history in a way most Americans find difficult to understand.
By 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.
The Multiple Identities Of The Middle East
By Bernard Lewis
Most of the modern states of the Middle East are of recent origin, yet the region is the birthplace of three religions and many civilizations. Bernard Lewis, one of the world's most respected historians of the Middle East, discusses the countries and frontiers; their religions and communities; language and loyalties to place, and Middle Eastern perceptions of outsiders. He also considers the effect of alien ideas and influences including liberalism, nationalism, fascism, socialism and democracy.