The Rival Queens
By Nancy Goldstone
'A gripping tale of royal feuds and divided kingdoms' - AMANDA FOREMANSet in Renaissance France at the magnificent court of the Valois kings, THE RIVAL QUEENS is the history of two remarkable women, a mother and daughter driven into opposition by a terrible betrayal that threatened to destroy the realm. Catherine de' Medici, the infamous queen mother of France, was a consummate pragmatist and powerbroker who dominated the throne for 30 years. Her youngest daughter Marguerite, the glamorous 'Queen Margot', was a passionate free spirit, the only adversary whom her mother could neither intimidate nor fully control. When Catherine forces the Catholic Marguerite to marry her Protestant cousin Henry of Navarre she creates not only savage conflict within France but also a potent rival within her own family. Treacherous court politics, poisonings, international espionage and adultery form the background to a story whose fascinating array of characters include such celebrated figures as Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Nostradamus.
Robert E. Lee
By Brian Holden Reid
An authoritative and balanced assessment of a great American commander.General Robert E Lee, handsome, immaculately attired and dignified, quickly emerged as one of the great heroes of the American Civil War. This is rather surprising for, as Brian Holden Reid points out in his lucid new study, Lee was the most successful general to command troops against the armies of the United States before General Vo Nguyen Giap in Vietnam.Lee's reputation as a peerless commander was greatly embroidered by writers after 1865 who were dedicated to the Lost Cause and presented a sentimental picture of the Old South with Lee as its finest product. His character and achievements in the Civil War were presented as a validation of the Confederate cause. It is important for historians to come to terms with this legacy. Professor Holden Reid briskly surveys the forms that the Lee legend took after his death in 1870 and discusses the reasons behind the way it crystallised as it did. As a non-American he brings a fresh, detached eye to this process.Holden Reid argues that Lee's qualities as a general do not require any exaggeration or embellishment. Lee's short period of field command, just under three years, was marked by imagination, decisiveness, stamina, and a determination to win the Civil War rather than just avoid losing it. Holden Reid defends Lee stoutly against later critics who have argued that his offensive strategy was self-defeating. He believes that it was the only realistic course offered to the Confederacy to win its independence. He acknowledges though that all great commanders have their faults. Lee exhibited occasional over-confidence, under-estimated his enemy, and failed to develop his staff in any modern sense. The result is an authoritative and balanced assessment of a great American commander.
By Kevin Ivison
The gripping true story of bomb disposal work that won Ivison a George Medal - and started a living nightmare...When two of his colleagues are killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq, young bomb disposal officer Kevin Ivison is called in to defuse a second even deadlier bomb just a hundred yards from the bodies of his friends. To make things worse, the entire area is under fire from snipers, and a crowd of angry Iraqis have begun to hurl petrol bombs...With little chance of living through this impossible task, Kevin leaves final messages for his loved ones and sets out alone towards the bomb that he is sure will be the last thing he sees. In this gut-wrenching and terrifying true story of heroism and survival, Kevin Ivison explains why he chose to be a bomb disposal expert in the first place, how he found the courage to face his death, and the unendurable stress that has given him nightmares ever since.
A Royal Passion
By Katie Whitaker
From quarrels, passion, treason to execution, discover one of the great overlooked love stories of history.King Charles I was a Protestant. Henrietta Maria, a 15-year-old French princess, was a Catholic. Arranged for political gain, their marriage was a dangerous experiment, yet against the odds they fell in love. However Henrietta's Catholicism fuelled rumours of improper influence over a supposedly helpless king. Unable to trust his Parliament, Charles's fear for the queen's safety plummeted the country into civil war and forced her to flee abroad, never to see her husband again. They kept up a poignant correspondence but in 1649, the king was condemned as a traitor and publicly executed, thus ending an extraordinary partnership that influenced the course of history.
By Peter Brune
Ralph Honner: Kokoda Hero is the story of one of Australia's great World War II battalion commanders.Honner fought as a junior officer in the first and triumphant North African battles of Bardia, Tobruk and Derna. He then took part in the heartbreaking and disastrous campaigns in Greece and Crete where he was one of the last Australians to be evacuated by submarine-three months after Crete's fall.But it was during 1942, at Isurava on the Kokoda Trail and at the Japanese beachhead of Gona in Papua New Guinea, that Ralph Honner played a decisive role in the making of an Australian legend. Worshipped by his men, he was severely wounded in 1943 and, after a long convalescence, served Australia with distinction as a public servant, political figure and diplomat.
Rasputin: The Last Word
By Edvard Radzinsky
Sensational new biography - using the discovery of long lost contemporary documents - of the Russian peasant mystic whose malign influence helped lead to the downfall of the Romanovs.An unprecedented insight into the most enigmatic of men thanks to the use of previously unavailable sources and interviews.