1517: Martin Luther and the Invention of the Reformation [EPUB]

1517: Martin Luther and the Invention of the Reformation [EPUB]
1517: Martin Luther and the Invention of the Reformation by Peter Marshall
2017 | EPUB | ISBN: 9780199682010 | 6.53MB

Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517 is one of the most famous events of Western history. It inaugurated the Protestant Reformation, and has for centuries been a powerful and enduring symbol of religious freedom of conscience, and of righteous protest against the abuse of power.

But did it actually really happen?

In this engagingly-written, wide-ranging and insightful work of cultural history, leading Reformation historian Peter Marshall reviews the available evidence, and concludes that, very probably, it did not. The theses-posting is a myth. And yet, Marshall argues, this fact makes the incident all the more historically significant. In tracing how--and why--a "non-event" ended up becoming a defining episode of the modern historical imagination. Marshall compellingly explores the multiple ways in which the figure of Martin Luther, and the nature of the Reformation itself, have been remembered and used for their own purposes by subsequent generations of Protestants and others--in Germany, Britain, the United States and elsewhere.

As people in Europe, and across the world, prepare to remember, and celebrate, the 500th anniversary of Luther's posting of the theses, this book offers a timely contribution and corrective. The intention is not to "debunk", or to belittle Luther's achievement, but rather to invite renewed reflection on how the past speaks to the present--and on how, all too often, the present creates the past in its own image and likeness.

Thomas Jefferson's Education [EPUB]

Thomas Jefferson's Education [EPUB]
Thomas Jefferson's Education by Alan Taylor
2019 | EPUB | ISBN: 9780393652420 | 17.34MB

From a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian comes a brilliant, absorbing study of Thomas Jefferson’s campaign to save Virginia through education.

By turns entertaining and tragic, this beautifully written history reveals the origins of a great university in the dilemmas of Virginia slavery. It offers an incisive portrait of Thomas Jefferson set against a social fabric of planters in decline, enslaved black families torn apart by sales, and a hair-trigger code of male honor. A man of “deft evasions” who was both courtly and withdrawn, Jefferson sought control of his family and state from his lofty perch at Monticello. Never quite the egalitarian we wish him to be, he advocated emancipation but shrank from implementing it, entrusting that reform to the next generation. Devoted to the education of his granddaughters, he nevertheless accepted their subordination in a masculine culture. During the revolution, he proposed to educate all white children in Virginia, but later in life he narrowed his goal to building an elite university.

In 1819 Jefferson’s intensive drive for state support of a new university succeeded. His intention was a university to educate the sons of Virginia’s wealthy planters, lawyers, and merchants, who might then democratize the state and in time rid it of slavery. But the university’s students, having absorbed the traditional vices of the Virginia gentry, preferred to practice and defend them. Opening in 1825, the university nearly collapsed as unruly students abused one another, the enslaved servants, and the faculty. Jefferson’s hopes of developing an enlightened leadership for the state were disappointed, and Virginia hardened its commitment to slavery in the coming years. The university was born with the flaws of a slave society. Instead, it was Jefferson’s beloved granddaughters who carried forward his faith in education by becoming dedicated teachers of a new generation of women.

Heirs of an Honored Name: The Decline of the Adams Family and the Rise of Modern America [EPUB]

Heirs of an Honored Name: The Decline of the Adams Family and the Rise of Modern America [EPUB]
Heirs of an Honored Name: The Decline of the Adams Family and the Rise of Modern America by Douglas R. Egerton
2019 | EPUB | ISBN: 9780465093885 | 24.17MB

An enthralling chronicle of the American nineteenth century told through the unraveling of the nation's first political dynasty

John and Abigail Adams founded a famous political family, but they would not witness its calamitous fall from grace. When John Quincy Adams died in 1848, so began the slow decline of the family's political legacy.

In Heirs of an Honored Name, award-winning historian Douglas R. Egerton depicts a family grown famous, wealthy -- and aimless. After the Civil War, Republicans looked to the Adamses to steer their party back to its radical 1850s roots. Instead, Charles Francis Sr. and his children -- Charles Francis Jr., John Quincy II, Henry and Clover Adams, and Louisa Adams Kuhn -- largely quit the political arena and found refuge in an imagined past of aristocratic preeminence.

An absorbing story of brilliant siblings and family strain, Heirs of an Honored Name shows how the burden of impossible expectations shaped the Adamses and, through them, American history.

Escalante's Dream: On the Trail of the Spanish Discovery of the Southwest [EPUB]

Escalante's Dream: On the Trail of the Spanish Discovery of the Southwest [EPUB]
Escalante's Dream: On the Trail of the Spanish Discovery of the Southwest by David Roberts
2019 | EPUB | ISBN: 9780393652062 | 24.88MB

Famed adventure writer David Roberts retraces the route of the legendary Domínguez-Escalante expedition.

In July 1776 a pair of Franciscan friars, Francisco Atanasio Domínguez and Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, were charged by the governor of New Mexico with discovering a route across the unknown Southwest to the new Spanish colony in California. They had other goals as well, some of them secret: converting the indigenous natives along the way to the true faith, discovering a semi-mythical paradise known as Teguayó, hunting for sources of gold and silver, and paving the way for Spanish settlements from Santa Fe to Monterey.

In strict terms, the expedition failed. Running out of food and beset by an early winter, the twelve-man team gave up in what is now western Utah. The retreat to Santa Fe became an ordeal of survival. The men were reduced to eating their own horses while they searched for a crossing of the raging Colorado River in Glen Canyon. Seven months after setting out, Domínguez and Escalante staggered back to Santa Fe. Yet in the course of their 1,700-mile voyage, the explorers discovered more land unknown to Europeans than Lewis and Clark would encounter a quarter-century later.

Other writers, using Escalante’s brilliant and quirky diary as a guide, have retraced the expedition route, but David Roberts is the first to dig beneath its pages to question and ponder every turn of the team’s decision-making and motivation. Roberts weaves the personal and the historical narratives into a gripping journey of discovery through the magnificent American Southwest.

Stalin and the Fate of Europe: The Postwar Struggle for Sovereignty [EPUB]

Stalin and the Fate of Europe: The Postwar Struggle for Sovereignty [EPUB]
Stalin and the Fate of Europe: The Postwar Struggle for Sovereignty by Norman M Naimark
2019 | EPUB | ISBN: 9780674238770 | 29.18MB

The Cold War division of Europe was not inevitable―the acclaimed author of Stalin’s Genocides shows how postwar Europeans fought to determine their own destinies.

Was the division of Europe after World War II inevitable? In this powerful reassessment of the postwar order in Europe, Norman Naimark suggests that Joseph Stalin was far more open to a settlement on the continent than we have thought. Through revealing case studies from Poland and Yugoslavia to Denmark and Albania, Naimark recasts the early Cold War by focusing on Europeans’ fight to determine their future.

As nations devastated by war began rebuilding, Soviet intentions loomed large. Stalin’s armies controlled most of the eastern half of the continent, and in France and Italy, communist parties were serious political forces. Yet Naimark reveals a surprisingly flexible Stalin, who initially had no intention of dividing Europe. During a window of opportunity from 1945 to 1948, leaders across the political spectrum, including Juho Kusti Paasikivi of Finland, Wladyslaw Gomulka of Poland, and Karl Renner of Austria, pushed back against outside pressures. For some, this meant struggling against Soviet dominance. For others, it meant enlisting the Americans to support their aims.

The first frost of Cold War could be felt in the tense patrolling of zones of occupation in Germany, but not until 1948, with the coup in Czechoslovakia and the Berlin Blockade, did the familiar polarization set in. The split did not become irreversible until the formal division of Germany and establishment of NATO in 1949. In illuminating how European leaders deftly managed national interests in the face of dominating powers, Stalin and the Fate of Europe reveals the real potential of an alternative trajectory for the continent.

Black Plaques London: Memorials to Misadventure [EPUB]

Black Plaques London: Memorials to Misadventure [EPUB]
Black Plaques London: Memorials to Misadventure by John Ambrose Hide
2019 | EPUB | ISBN: 9780750989954 | 41.01MB

BLACK PLAQUES are not to be found proudly mounted on a wall – and for good reason. What with their commemoration of a brutal execution outside Westminster Abbey, the selling of sex toys in St James’s Park and an intruder at Buckingham Palace with Royal undergarments stuffed down his trousers, this is not sort of historical subject matter that authorities choose to grace a building’s facade or depict on a visitor information board. In fact, many might hope that such indecorous and inconvenient episodes remain quietly overlooked.

But this book jogs such artful lapses of memory and at more than one hundred locations across London, Black Plaques lift the carefully placed rug to discover an unsightly, but strangely beckoning, stain.

Lives Reclaimed: A Story of Rescue and Resistance in Nazi Germany [EPUB]

Lives Reclaimed: A Story of Rescue and Resistance in Nazi Germany [EPUB]
Lives Reclaimed: A Story of Rescue and Resistance in Nazi Germany by Mark Roseman
2019 | EPUB | ISBN: 1627797874 | 24.65MB

From the celebrated historian of Nazi Germany, the story of a remarkable but completely unsung group that risked everything to help the most vulnerable

In the early 1920s amidst the upheaval of Weimar Germany, a small group of peaceable idealists began to meet, practicing a quiet, communal life focused on self-improvement. For the most part, they had come to know each other while attending adult education classes in the city of Essen. But "the Bund," as they called their group, had lofty aspirations—under the direction of their leader Artur Jacobs, its members hoped to forge an ideal community that would serve as a model for society at large. But with the ascent of the Nazis, the Bund was forced to reevaluate its mission, focusing instead on offering assistance to the persecuted, despite the great risk. Their activities ranged from visiting devastated Jewish families after Kristallnacht, to sending illicit letters and parcels of food and clothes to deportees in concentration camps, to sheltering political dissidents and Jews on the run.

What became of this group? And how should its deeds—often small, seemingly insignificant acts of kindness and assistance—be evaluated in the broader history of life under the Nazis? Drawing on a striking set of previously unpublished letters, diaries, Gestapo reports, other documents, and his own interviews with survivors, historian Mark Roseman shows how and why the Bund undertook its dangerous work. It is an extraordinary story in its own right, but Roseman takes us deeper, encouraging us to rethink the concepts of resistance and rescue under the Nazis, ideas too often hijacked by popular notions of individual heroism or political idealism. Above all, the Bund's story is one that sheds new light on what it meant to offer a helping hand in this dark time.

Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights [EPUB]

Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights [EPUB]
Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights by Doug Jones
2019 | EPUB | ISBN: 1250201446 | 22.27MB

The story of the decades-long fight to bring justice to the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, culminating in Sen. Doug Jones' prosecution of the last living bombers.

On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed. The blast killed four young girls and injured twenty-two others. The FBI suspected four particularly radical Ku Klux Klan members. Yet due to reluctant witnesses, a lack of physical evidence, and pervasive racial prejudice the case was closed without any indictments.

But as Martin Luther King, Jr. famously expressed it, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." Years later, Alabama Attorney General William Baxley reopened the case, ultimately convicting one of the bombers in 1977. Another suspect passed away in 1994, and US Attorney Doug Jones tried and convicted the final two in 2001 and 2002, representing the correction of an outrageous miscarriage of justice nearly forty years in the making. Jones himself went on to win election as Alabama's first Democratic Senator since 1992 in a dramatic race against Republican challenger Roy Moore.

Bending Toward Justice is a dramatic and compulsively readable account of a key moment in our long national struggle for equality, related by an author who played a major role in these events. A distinguished work of legal and personal history, the book is destined to take its place as a canonical civil rights history.

Dark City: Murder, Vice, and Mayhem in Wartime London [EPUB]

Dark City: Murder, Vice, and Mayhem in Wartime London [EPUB]
Dark City: Murder, Vice, and Mayhem in Wartime London by Simon Read
2019 | EPUB | ISBN: 0750989858 | 0.9MB

The blackout went into effect three days before the declaration of war and transformed nocturnal London into a criminal's paradise. As the city pulled together in the face of terrible adversity, the bomb-ravaged streets became the stalking grounds for killers, rapists, looters and gangs. The number of bodies retrieved during the Blitz made it impossible for the authorities to autopsy them all, providing cover to those who worked with blades, guns and more sinister tools. Scotland Yard – its resources stretched to the limit – did its best to tackle a rogues' gallery born of bombs and blackout, and crimes that continue to fascinate from history's darkest corners.

In Dark City, award-winning crime writer Simon Read paints a vivid picture of the other side of wartime London, from the Blackout Ripper and the Acid Bath Murders, to the notorious Rillington Place killer and his house of corpses.

Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the Bloody Fight for His Empire [EPUB]

Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the Bloody Fight for His Empire [EPUB]
Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the Bloody Fight for His Empire by James Romm
2011 | EPUB | ISBN: 0307456609 | 6.09MB

Alexander the Great, perhaps the most commanding leader in history, united his empire and his army by the titanic force of his will. His death at the age of thirty-two spelled the end of that unity.

The story of Alexander's conquest of the Persian empire is known to many readers, but the dramatic and consequential saga of the empire's collapse remains virtually untold. It is a tale of loss that begins with the greatest loss of all, the death of the Macedonian king who had held the empire together.

With his demise, it was as if the sun had disappeared from the solar system, as if planets and moons began to spin crazily in new directions, crashing into one another with unimaginable force.

Alexander bequeathed his power, legend has it, "to the strongest," leaving behind a mentally damaged half brother and a posthumously born son as his only heirs. In a strange compromise, both figures—Philip III and Alexander IV—were elevated to the kingship, quickly becoming prizes, pawns, fought over by a half-dozen Macedonian generals. Each successor could confer legitimacy on whichever general controlled him.

At the book's center is the monarch's most vigorous defender; Alexander's former Greek secretary, now transformed into a general himself. He was a man both fascinating and entertaining, a man full of tricks and connivances, like the enthroned ghost of Alexander that gives the book its title, and becomes the determining factor in the precarious fortunes of the royal family.

James Romm, brilliant classicist and storyteller, tells the galvanizing saga of the men who followed Alexander and found themselves incapable of preserving his empire. The result was the undoing of a world, formerly united in a single empire, now ripped apart into a nightmare of warring nation-states struggling for domination, the template of our own times.

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