By Anna Reid
A classic and vivid history of Ukraine, fully updated to cover the Euromaidan Revolution in 2014 and ongoing crisis in the Donbass.Centre of the first great Slav civilisation in the tenth century, then divided between warring neighbours for a millennium, Ukraine finally won independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tiring of their own corrupt governments, Ukrainians have since mounted two popular revolutions, taking to the streets to demand fair elections and closer ties to Europe. In the spring of 2014, Russia responded by invading Crimea and sponsoring a civil war in the Russian-speaking Donbass. Threatened by Moscow, misunderstood in the West, Ukraine hangs once more in the balance. Speaking to pro-democracy activists and pro-Russia militiamen, peasants and miners, survivors of Hitler's Holocaust and Stalin's famine, Anna Reid combines history and travel-writing to unpick the past and present of this bloody and complex borderland.
By Rory MacLean
The first single-volume biography of Berlin, one of the world's great cities - told via twenty-one portraits, from medieval times to the twenty-first century.A city devastated by Allied bombs, divided by a Wall, then reunited and reborn, Berlin today resonates with the echo of lives lived, dreams realised and evils executed. No other city has repeatedly been so powerful and fallen so low. And few other cities have been so shaped and defined by individual imaginations.Through vivid portraits spanning five centuries, Rory MacLean reveals the varied and rich history of Berlin, from its brightest to its darkest moments. We encounter an ambitious prostitute refashioning herself as a princess, a Scottish mercenary fighting for the Prussian Army, Marlene Dietrich flaunting her sexuality and Hitler fantasising about the mega-city Germania. The result is a uniquely imaginative biography of one of the world's most volatile yet creative cities.
The Battle of Normandy 1944
By Robin Neillands
A fresh and incisive examination of one of the Second World War's crucial campaigns, the battle for Normandy in the months after D-Day.What happened to the Allied armies in Normandy in the months after D-Day, 1944? Why, after the initial success of the landings, did their advance stall a few miles inland from the beaches? Why did the British take so long to capture Caen? Why did the US infantry struggle so much in the bocage south of Omaha beach? Who was right about the conduct of the land campaign - Eisenhower or Montgomery? How did the Germans, deprived of air support, manage to hold off such a massive Allied force for more than two months? And if Enigma was allowing the Allies to read German battleplans, why did things go wrong as often as they did?THE BATTLE OF NORMANDY re-examines the demands and difficulties of the campaign and sheds new light on both with the aid of accounts from veterans on both sides. (Oral history forms a large part of the book.) It also analyses in detail the plans and performance of the commanders involved: Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton, Montgomery, Crerar and, of course, Rommel. Controversial and at times catastrophic, the Battle of Normandy was the last great set-piece battle in history and is long overdue for reassessment.
By Mark Mazower
A dazzling short history of the Balkans from the Romans to the present, which provides vital historical and cultural background to contemporary Balkan politics.At the end of the twentieth century people spoke as if the Balkans had plagued Europe for ever. But two hundred years earlier, the Balkans did not exist. It was not the Balkans but the 'Rumeli' that the Ottomans ruled, the formerly Roman lands they had conquered from Byzantium, together with their Christian inhabitants. In this original account of the region Mark Mazower dispels current Western clichés and replaces stereotypes with a vivid account of how mountains, empires and religions have shaped its inhabitants' lives. As a bridge between Europe and Asia it has been exposed to a constant incursion of nomadic peoples across the centuries.Mazower's narrative ranges broadly both in time and in space, treating the former Turkish domains in Europe as part of a common if complex historical inheritance.