Beyond the Northlands: Viking Voyages and the Old Norse Sagas [EPUB]
04 February 2017, 01:50
2016 | EPUB | 5.38MB
In the dying days of the eighth century, the Vikings erupted onto the international stage with brutal raids and slaughter. The medieval Norsemen may be best remembered as monk murderers and village pillagers, but this is far from the whole story. Throughout the Middle Ages, long-ships transported hairy northern voyagers far and wide, where they not only raided but also traded, explored and settled new lands, encountered unfamiliar races, and embarked on pilgrimages and crusades.
The Norsemen travelled to all corners of the medieval world and beyond; north to the wastelands of arctic Scandinavia, south to the politically turbulent heartlands of medieval Christendom, west across the wild seas to Greenland and the fringes of the North American continent, and east down the Russian waterways trading silver, skins, and slaves. Beyond the Northlands explores this world through the stories that the Vikings told about themselves in their sagas.
But the depiction of the Viking world in the Old Norse-Icelandic sagas goes far beyond historical facts. What emerges from these tales is a mixture of realism and fantasy, quasi-historical adventures and exotic wonder-tales that rocket far beyond the horizon of reality. On the crackling brown pages of saga manuscripts, trolls, dragons and outlandish tribes jostle for position with explorers, traders, and kings.
To explore the sagas and the world that produced them, Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough now takes her own trip through the dramatic landscapes that they describe. Along the way, she illuminates the rich but often confusing saga accounts with a range of other evidence: archaeological finds, rune-stones, medieval world maps, encyclopedic manuscripts, and texts from as far away as Byzantium and Baghdad. As her journey across the Old Norse world shows, by situating the sagas against the revealing background of this other evidence, we can begin at least to understand just how the world was experienced, remembered, and imagined by this unique culture from the outermost edge of Europe so many centuries ago.
Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War [EPUB]
03 February 2017, 14:47
2016 | EPUB | 157.41MB
In November 1983, Soviet nuclear forces went on high alert. After months nervously watching increasingly assertive NATO military posturing, Soviet intelligence agencies in Western Europe received flash telegrams reporting alarming activity on U.S. bases. In response, the Soviets began planning for a countdown to a nuclear first strike by NATO on Eastern Europe. And then Able Archer 83, a vast NATO war game exercise that modeled a Soviet attack on NATO allies, ended.
What the West didn’t know at the time was that the Soviets thought Operation Able Archer 83 was real and were actively preparing for a surprise missile attack from NATO. This close scrape with Armageddon was largely unknown until last October when the U.S. government released a ninety-four-page presidential analysis of Able Archer that the National Security Archive had spent over a decade trying to declassify. Able Archer 83 is based upon more than a thousand pages of declassified documents that archive staffer Nate Jones has pried loose from several U.S. government agencies and British archives, as well as from formerly classified Soviet Politburo and KGB files, vividly recreating the atmosphere that nearly unleashed nuclear war.
The Crushing of Army Group North 1944 - 1945: Images of War [EPUB]
01 February 2017, 16:54
2017 | EPUB | 14.22MB
The Crushing of Army Group North 1944-45 on the Eastern Front tells the story in words and images of the last bitter months fought on Russian soil and the battle of the Baltic States that ensued. Drawing on rare and unpublished photos it reveals in detail how remnants of Army Group North were driven back to the borders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In the battles that followed, the retreating German Panzer and infantry divisions were encircled and annihilated. With the remnants were pushed back into East Prussia, and then fought to the death in the last few small pockets of land surrounding three ports of Libau in Kurland, Pillau in East Prussia and Danzig at the mouth of the River Vistula. It was here that the final battle of Army Group North would take place after Hitler ordered his troops to `stand and fight` and wage an unprecedented battle of attrition.