"History on Talking Book (Word)"
History 3 Talking Books The titles in this booklist are just a selection of the titles available for loan from the RNIB National Library Talking Book Service. Don’t forget you are allowed to have up to 6 books on loan. When you return a title, you will then receive another one. If you would like to read any of these titles then please contact the Customer Services Team on 0303 123 9999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like further information, or help in selecting titles to read, then please contact the Reader Services Team on 01733 37 53 33 or email email@example.com You can write to us at RNIB NLS, PO Box 173, Peterborough PE2 6WS WORLD HISTORY - ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL Asbridge, Thomas S The Crusades: the war of the Holy Land. 2010. Read by Alistair Maydon, 31 hours 11 minutes. TB 17326. In the eleventh century, a vast Christian army, summoned to holy war by the Pope, rampaged through the Muslim world of the eastern Mediterranean, seizing possession of Jerusalem, a city revered by both faiths. Over the two hundred years that followed this First Crusade, Islam and the West fought for dominion of the Holy Land, clashing in a succession of chillingly brutal wars, both firm in the belief that they were at God's work. This book tells the story of this epic struggle from the perspective of both Christians and Muslims, reconstructing the experiences and attitudes of those on either side of the conflict. TB 17326. Beard, Mary Pompeii: the life of a Roman town. 2008. Read by Michael Tudor Barnes, 13 hours. TB 16535. The ruins of Pompeii destroyed by Vesuvius in AD 79 offer the best evidence we have of life in the Roman Empire. What kind of town was it? What can it tell us about life then - from sex to politics, food to religion, slavery to literacy? Can we use this extraordinary survival to write a history of 'ordinary' Roman life? The headings of Mary Beard's notes give a taste of this book: Bad Breath, Intestinal Parasites, Performing Monkeys, One-way Streets, Kosher Food, Water Shortages. Contains strong language. TB 16535. Gibbon, Edward The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire: volume the first (1776) and volume the second (1781). 2005. Read by Michael Tudor Barnes, 50 hours 51 minutes. TB 16786. Edward Gibbon's six-volume History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-88) is among the narratives in European literature. Its subject is the fate of one of the world's greatest civilizations over thirteen centuries - its rulers, wars and society, and the events that led to its disastrous collapse. Here, in volumes one and two, Gibbon charts the vast extent and constitution of the Empire from the reign of Augustus to 395 A.D. And in a controversial critique, he examines the early Church, with accounts of the first Christian and last pagan emperors, Constantine and Julian. TB 16786. 2 Hale, John R Lords of the sea: the triumph and tragedy of ancient Athens. 2010. Read by Jon Cartwright, 13 hours 55 minutes. TB 18117. Lords of the Sea brings together the impressive modern scholarly knowledge of ancient Athens. Its narrative relies on ancient literature (the histories, plays, speeches, poetry, inscriptions), the latest archaeological discoveries (bronze rams, ship houses and docks, naval monuments), first-hand study of every important theatre of war, and insight into a society that was one of the few in history to grant extreme sexual license to free adult males. TB 18117. Holmes, George The Oxford illustrated history of Medieval Europe. 1988. Read by Michael Tudor Barnes, 14 hours 13 minutes. TB 17806. An account of life in medieval Europe between the fall of the Roman Empire and the coming of the Renaissance. Full coverage is given to all aspects of life in a thousand- year period which saw the creation of western civilization: from the empires and kingdoms of Charlemagne, the Byzantines, and the Hundred Years War, to the ideas of the Crusades; the building of great cathedrals and the social catastrophe of the Black Death; the cultural worlds of chivalric knights, popular festivals, and new art forms. TB 17806. Holland, Tom Millennium: the end of the world and the forging of Christendom. 2009. Read by James Parsons. 17 hours 29 minutes. TB 18152. Of all the civilisations existing in the year 1000, that of Western Europe seemed the unlikeliest candidate for future greatness. This book is a panoramic account of the two centuries on either side of the apocalyptic year 1000. This was the age of Canute, William the Conqueror and Pope Gregory VII, of Vikings, monks and serfs, of the earliest castles and the invention of knighthood, and of the primal conflict between church and state. This is the story of how the distinctive culture of Europe was forged from out of the convulsions of these extraordinary times. TB 18152. Jones, P V Vote for Caesar: how the ancient Greeks and Romans solved the problems of today. 2009. Read by Bill Wallis, 10 hours 15 minutes. TB 18178. The expansion of the congestion charge zone, prices going up on the Underground, bendy buses - all ideas brought about to try to make the traffic situation in our capital city run more smoothly. Surely there must be a better way? In fact there is. In Roman times, when the streets were even more crowded, Caesar decreed that all vehicles (except those involved in building work) were banned from the City, while Nero took advantage of a major fire to broaden the streets to improve access. In this book, Peter Jones highlights just how much we have to learn from the past and how things really were once so much better. TB 18178. 3 Kriwaczek, Paul Babylon: Mesopotamia and the birth of civilization. 2010. Read by Paul Herzberg, 13 hours 14 minutes. TB 18128. In Babylon, the author tells the story of ancient Mesopotamia from the earliest settlements around 5400 BC, to the eclipse of Babylon by the Persians in the sixth century BC. He chronicles the rise and fall of dynastic power during this period; he examines its numerous material, social and cultural innovations and inventions: The wheel, civil, engineering, building bricks, the centralized state, the division of labour, organised religion, sculpture, education, mathematics, law and monumental building. TB 18128. Miles, Richard Carthage must be destroyed: the rise and fall of an ancient Mediterranean civilization. 2010. Read by Robin Houston, 17 hours 13 minutes. TB 18058. Drawing on new archaeological research, this book brings to life the lost empire - from its origins among the Phoenician settlements of Lebanon to its apotheosis as the greatest sea-power in the Mediterranean, with interests stretching from the Middle East to southern Spain. Roman ferocity tried to remove Carthage from history, but it is possible nonetheless to create an extraordinary narrative of a civilization which left an indelible, if often hidden legacy for those that followed. TB 18058. BRITISH HISTORY – ANCIENT & MEDIEVAL Pain, Nesta The king and Becket. 1964. Read by Duncan Carse, 7 hours 59 minutes. TB 1307. How the quarrel between Henry II, championing the rights of kingship, and Beckett, insistent on the church's prerogatives, ended in the Archbishop's murder in Canterbury Cathedral. TB 1307. Phillips, Seymour Edward II. 2010. Read by Mark Elstob, 24 hours 24 minutes. TB 17498. This biography takes full account of the problems the king faced in England, Scotland, and Ireland and in his relations with France. It also tackles the contentious issue of whether Edward II did not die in 1327, murdered under barbaric circumstances, but lived on as a captive in England and then a wanderer on the Continent. TB 17498. 4 St Aubyn, Giles The year of three kings, 1483. 1983. Read by Tom Crowe, 8 hours 29 minutes. TB 5110. The author relates the events of 1483, when the chaotic and brutal period of family vendettas and gang warfare known as the Wars of the Roses is nearing its end. Was Richard III the murderer of his own relations, or was his only crime to be on the losing side? TB 5110. Young, Simon A.D. 500: a journey through the dark isles of Britain and Ireland. 2006. Read by Peter Kenny, 9 hours 2 minutes. TB 18114. From Tintagel and tin-mining to saints and slave markets, from alcohol and King Arthur to boat burials and beavers - here are the realities of life in the sixth century A.D. Based on archaeological and historical evidence, this window on the mysterious world of the Dark Ages is written as a practical survival guide for the use of civilised Greek visitors to the barbaric islands of Britain and Ireland. TB 18114. BRITISH HISTORY – TUDORS & STUARTS Fox, Julia Jane Boleyn: the infamous Lady Rochford. 2008. Read by Julia Barrie, 13 hours 30 minutes. TB 16512. Jane Rochford was sister-in-law to Anne Boleyn and Lady of the Bedchamber to Catherine Howard, whom she followed to the scaffold in 1542. Hers is a life of extraordinary drama as a witness to and participant in the greatest events of Henry's reign. Her supposed part in both Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard's downfall has led to her being reviled through centuries. In this biography, the author repudiates the idea of the infamous Lady Rochford and Jane emerges as a rather modern woman forced by brutal circumstance to fend for herself in a politically lethal world. TB 16512. Guy, John Tudor England. 1990. Read by Robin Houston, 22 hours 41 minutes. TB 16652. This history of Tudor England provides an account of political and religious developments from the advent of the Tudors in the 1460s to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, including character studies of the monarchs and politicians, aiming to bring to life their personalities as well as their policies. The work takes into account the new debates on the progress of the English Reformation and on the strength or weaknesses of Tudor government at national and local levels. The narrative structure incorporates analytical discussion of the main themes and also contextual chapters on the economy and society and on political culture. TB 16652. 5 Hanson, Neil The dreadful judgement: the true story of the great fire of London 1666. 2002. Read by John Sackville, 10 hours 26 minutes. TB 18259. In 1666, a ten-month drought had turned London into a tinderbox, and when the spark ignited, there was no stopping it. Gales, dry timber and the riverside warehouses full of flammable goods ensured that five days later city was in ruins. This is the human story of that "dreadful judgement". Contains strong language. TB 18259. Massie, Allan The royal Stuarts: a history of the family that shaped Britain. 2011. Read by John Telfer, 13 hours 39 minutes. TB 18385. The Royal Stuarts were leading actors in the foremost political dramas of British history - the Scottish Wars of Independence, the Union of the Crowns, the English Civil War and the Restoration - and remain the most controversial and divisive of royal families. This book takes us deep into the lives of figures like Mary Queen of Scots, Charles I and Bonnie Prince Charlie, uncovering a family of strong affections and fierce rivalries, the brave and capable, the weak and foolish. TB 18385. Newcombe, D G Henry VIII and the English reformation. 1995. Read by Anton Lang, 4 hours 41 minutes. TB 17330. This pamphlet examines the influence of continental reform on England; describes the divorce of Henry VIII and the break with Rome; discusses the political and religious consequences of the break with Rome; assesses the success of the Reformation up to 1547; provides a clear guide to the main strands of historical thought on the topic. TB 17330. Weir, Alison The lady in the tower: the fall of Anne Boleyn. 2009. Read by Emma Powell, 16 hours. TB 17242. The imprisonment and execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, in May 1536 was unprecedented in English history. Anne was imprisoned in the Tower of London on 2 May 1536, and tried and found guilty of high treason on 15 May. Her supposed crimes included adultery with five men, one her own brother, and plotting the King's death. Alison Weir has reassessed the evidence, demolished many romantic myths and popular misconceptions, and rewritten the story of Anne's fall, creating a detailed portrait of the dramatic last days of one of the most influential and important figures in English history. TB 17242. 6 Wroe, Ann Perkin: a story of deception. 2004. Read by Helen Bourne, 31 hours 26 minutes. TB 18706. The story of Perkin Warbeck is one of the most compelling mysteries of English history. A young man suddenly emerged claiming to be Richard of York, the younger of the Princes in the Tower. As such, he tormented Henry VII for eight years. He tried three times to invade England and behaved like a prince. Officially, however, he was proclaimed to be Perkin Warbeck, the son of a Flemish boatman. A diplomatic pawn, he was used by the greatest European rulers of the age for their own purposes. All who dealt with him gave him the identity they wished him to have: either the Duke of York or a jumped up lad from Flanders. It is possible that he was neither. It is also possible that, by the end, even he did not really know who he was. TB 18706. BRITISH HISTORY – HANOVERIAN, GEORGIAN & REGENCY Chambers, James Charlotte & Leopold. 2009. Read by Jilly Bond, 7 hours 6 minutes. TB 17358. From the day she was born, Charlotte won the hearts of her subjects and yet behind the scenes she was used, abused and victimised by rivalries. Her death in childbirth - the result of medical incompetence - was followed by an unseemly scramble to produce a substitute heir. Queen Victoria was the product. This is the tragic story of the doomed romance between Charlotte, heir to the English throne, and Leopold, first King of the Belgians. TB 17358. Cruickshank, Dan The secret history of Georgian London: how the wages of sin shaped the capital. 2009. Read by Bob Rollett, 25 hours 42 minutes. TB 17063. Georgian London evokes images of elegant buildings and fine art, but it was also a city where prostitution was rife, houses of ill repute widespread, and many tens of thousands of people dependent in some way or other on the wages of sin. The sex industry was, in fact, a very powerful force indeed, and in "The Secret History of Georgian London", Dan Cruickshank compellingly shows how it came to affect almost every aspect of life and culture in the capital. Contains strong language and passages of a sexual nature. TB 17063. Holmes, Richard Marlborough: Britain's greatest general. 2009. Read by Alistair Mayden, 26 hours 32 minutes. TB 17622. This is an account of the life of John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough and Britain's finest soldier, who rose from genteel poverty to lead his country to glory, cementing its 7 position as a major player on the European stage and saviour of the Holy Roman Empire. TB 17622. Holmes, Richard The age of wonder: how the Romantic generation discovered the beauty and terror of science. 2009. Read by Mark Elstob, 24 hours 5 minutes. TB 16830. The book opens with Joseph Banks, botanist on Captain Cook's first Endeavour voyage, stepping onto a Tahitian beach in 1769, hoping to discover Paradise. Banks introduces us to the two scientific figures that dominate the book: astronomer William Herschel and chemist Humphry Davy. Herschel's tireless dedication to the stars, assisted (and perhaps rivalled) by his comet-finding sister Caroline, changed forever the public conception of the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy and the meaning of the universe itself. Davy first shocked the scientific community with his near-suicidal gas experiments in Bristol, then went on to save thousands of lives with his Safety Lamp and established British chemistry as the leading professional science in Europe. Contains strong language. TB 16830. Hughes, Anne The diary of a farmer's wife: 1796-1797. 1937. Read by Elizabeth Proud, 4 hours 51 minutes. TB 3617. The daily events in one year of life of Herefordshire farmer's wife Anne in the late 18th century. TB 3617. Moore, Wendy Wedlock: how Georgian Britain's worst husband met his match. 2010. Read by Kirsty Cox, 14 hours 48 minutes. TB 17405. Mary Eleanor Bowes was one of Britain's richest young heiresses. She married the Count of Strathmore who died young. Then in swooped Andrew Robinson Stoney. Mary was bowled over and married him within the week. Once married to Mary, he embarked on years of ill treatment, seizing her lands, beating her, terrorising servants, introducing prostitutes to the family home, kidnapping his own sister. But finally after many years, a servant helped Mary to escape. She began a high-profile divorce case that was the scandal of the day and was successful. But then Andrew kidnapped her and undertook a week-long rampage of terror and cruelty until the law finally caught up with him. TB 17405. BRITISH HISTORY – VICTORIAN & EDWARDIAN Asquith, Margot Autobiography. 1922. Read by Nancy Corfield, 13 hours 25 minutes. TB 1688. Memoirs of the late Victorian and Edwardian society and politics. TB 1688. 8 Figes, Orlando Crimea: the last crusade. 2010. Read by Richard Burnip, 21 hours 57 minutes. TB 18251. The terrible conflict that dominated the mid 19th century, the Crimean War killed at least 800,000 men and pitted Russia against a formidable coalition of Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire. Drawing on a range of sources, Figes gives the lived experience of the war, from that of the ordinary British soldier in his snow-filled trench, to the haunted, gloomy, narrow figure of Tsar Nicholas himself as he vows to take on the whole world in his hunt for religious salvation. TB 18251. Hunt, Tristram The frock-coated communist: the revolutionary life of Friedrich Engels. 2009. Read by Matt Addis, 15 hours 18 minutes. TB 16881. Friedrich Engels is one of the most attractive and contradictory figures of the nineteenth century. Born to a prosperous mercantile family in west Germany, he spent his career working in the Manchester cotton industry, riding to the Cheshire hounds, and enjoying the comfortable, middle-class life of a Victorian gentleman. Set against the backdrop of revolutionary Europe and industrializing England - of Manchester mills, Paris barricades, and East End strikes - it is a story of devoted friendship, class compromise, ideological struggle, and family betrayal. Contains language. TB 16881. Wilson, Frances The ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth. 2008. Read by Stephanie Beattie, 9 hours 31 minutes. TB 16152. Ordinarily presented as a self-effacing virgin or sacrificial saint, Dorothy Wordsworth was a talented writer and exceptional woman. She was William Wordsworth's inspiration, aide and most valued reader and traded in a conventional life to share in his world of words. In her journals, Dorothy kept a record of their idyllic life together. The tale that unfolds through her brief, lyrical entries reveals a strange, intangible love between brother and sister, culminating in Dorothy's dramatic collapse on the day of William's wedding. In her biography, Frances Wilson brings Dorothy to life in all her complexity. TB 16152. BRITISH HISTORY – 20TH CENTURY 9 Beckett, Andy When the lights went out: what really happened to Britain in the seventies. 2010. Read by Matthew Field. 8 hours 30 minutes. TB 17757. This book goes in search of what really happened in Britain in the seventies, what it felt like at the time. It includes interviews with many of the leading participants, from Heath to Jack Jones to Arthur Scargill, and it travels from the once-famous factories where the great industrial confrontations took place to the suburbs where Thatcherism was created and to remote North Sea oil rigs. The book also unearths the stories of the forgotten political actors, from the Gay Liberation Front to the hippie anarchists of the free festival movement. TB 17757. Elkins, Caroline Imperial reckoning: the untold story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya. 2006. Read by Amy Finegan, 18 hours. TB 18845. This book recovers the lost history of the last days of British colonialism in Kenya. In the aftermath of World War II and the triumph of liberal democracy over fascism, the British detained and brutalised hundreds of thousands of Kikuyu - the colony's largest ethnic group - who had demanded their independence. TB 18845. Green, Rod The real history behind Foyle's War. 2010. Read by Robin Houston, 5 hours 40 minutes. TB 18657. "The Real History Behind Foyle's War" provides an intriguing insight into law and order on the home front between 1939 and 1945, offering a wealth of background information on the living and working conditions of ordinary people during that time, on the role of the police in wartime and the crimes on which the plotlines of "Foyle's War" are based. TB 18657. Kynaston, David Austerity Britain, 1945-1951. 2008. Read by Keith Hill. TB 17929. The author weaves a sophisticated narrative of how the victorious 1945 Labour government shaped the political, economic and social landscape for the next three decades. TB 17929. McGrath, Melanie Hopping: the hidden lives of an East End hop picking family. 2010. Read by Rachel Atkins, 10 hours 33 minutes. TB 17362. For more than a century, hopping was the main event in the East End calendar, with over 200,000 East Enders descending on Kent looking for casual work picking hops. This book captures the essence of ordinary family lives often obscured from history during an extraordinary period in London's past. Charting the shift of the East End from poverty, to the steel towers of today's Canary Wharf, Hopping stands as testament to the true East Ender disposition. TB 17362. 10 McKay, Sinclair The secret life of Bletchley Park: the history of the wartime codebreaking centre and the men and women who were there. 2010. Read by Sinclair McKay, 10 hours 51 minutes. TB 18005. Bletchley Park was where one of the war's most famous and crucial achievements was made: the cracking of Germany's Enigma code in which its most important military communications were couched. This book is the history of life at Bletchley Park, and an amazing compendium of memories from people now in their eighties of skating on the frozen lake in the grounds of a youthful Roy Jenkins, useless at codebreaking, of the high jinks at nearby accommodation hostels and of the implacable secrecy that meant girlfriend and boyfriend working in adjacent huts knew nothing about each other's work. TB 18005. Osborne, Frances The Bolter: Idina Sackville, the woman who scandalised 1920s society and became White Mischief's infamous seductress. 2009. Read by Jilly Bond, 10 hours 14 minutes. TB 16430. In 1934 Idina Sackville met the son she had last seen fifteen years earlier when she shocked high society by running off to Africa with a near-penniless man, abandoning him, his brother and their father. So scandalous was Idina's life - she was said to have had 'lovers without number' - that it was kept a secret from her great-granddaughter, Frances Osbourne. Now Frances explores her tale of betrayal and heartbreak. TB 16430. BRITISH HISTORY – GENERAL & SOCIAL Ackroyd, Peter Thames: sacred river. 2008. Read by Robin Houston, 17 hours 45 minutes. TB 16196. Exploring the Thames' history from prehistoric times to the present day, the reader is drawn into an extraordinary world, learning about the fishes that swam in the river and the boats that plied its surface; about floods and tides; hauntings and suicides; miasmas and malaria; locks, weirs and embankments; bridges, docks and palaces. TB 16196. Grovier, Kelly The gaol: the story of Newgate. 2009. Read by Richard Burnip, 9 hours 48 minutes. TB 17103. For over 800 years, Newgate was the grimy axle around which British society slowly twisted. From the Peasants' Revolt to the Great Fire, it was at Newgate that England's 11 greatest dramas unfolded. This thrilling history goes in search of ghostly places, erased by time. TB 17103. Jeffery, Keith MI6 : the history of the Secret Intelligence Service, 1909-1949. 2010. Read by Jon Cartwright, 32 hours 55 minutes. TB 18299. This book is an examination of the role and significance of intelligence in the modern world. Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of espionage, the two world wars, modern British government and the conduct of international relations in the first half of the twentieth century. TB 18299. Marr, Andrew My trade: a short history of British journalism. 2005. Read by Gordon Griffin, 19 hours 13 minutes. TB 16112. How do you decide what is a 'story' and what isn't? What does a newspaper editor actually do all day? How do hacks get their scoops? How do the TV stations choose their news bulletins? How do you persuade people to say those awful, embarrassing things? Who earns what? How do journalists manage to look in the mirror after the way they sometimes behave? The purpose of this insider's account is to provide an answer to all these questions and more. Andrew Marr's book is a guide to those of us who read newspapers, or who listen to and watch news bulletins but want to know more. Andrew Marr tells the story of modern journalism through his own experience. Contains strong language. TB 16112. Morton, James Gangland: London's underworld. 1993. Read by Gavin Crymble, 14 hours 23 minutes. TB 17974. In this history of London's secret life, James Morton exposes some startling conclusions about exactly who lurked - and still lurks - in the powerhouses of the Underworld. From the Dover Road Gang of the 1880s to the era of the Krays and up to the Triads and Yardies of the present, Gangland reveals the people who ruled, robbed and regulated vast areas of the capital - and those who hold ominous power today. Contains strong language. TB 17974. Philip, Neil Working girls: an illustrated history of the oldest profession. 1991. Read by Nigel Graham, 4 hours 36 minutes. TB 9549. "Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere." This book explores the sexual politics of the oldest profession, by calling on testimony from prostitutes, clients and reformers from the last three centuries, and provides a historical context for prostitution. Contains strong language and passages of a sexual nature. TB 9549. 12 Weir, Alison The ring and the crown. 2011. Read by Emma Powell, 4 hours 56 minutes. TB 18606. Four of Britain's top historical biographers look closely at Royal Weddings from 1066 to the present day. Fascinating anecdotal details are revealed in the course of this overview of royal weddings through history, some amusing, some poignant, some bawdy. TB 18606. WORLD HISTORY Ahamed, Liaquat Lords of finance. 2010. Read by Alan Orme. 20 hours 16 minutes TB 17695. The current financial crisis has only one parallel: the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and subsequent Great Depression of the 1930s, which crippled the future of an entire generation and set the stage for the horrors of the Second World War. Yet the economic meltdown could have been avoided, had it not been for the decisions taken by a small number of central bankers. In "Lords of Finance", we meet these men, the four bankers who truly broke the world. Their names were lost to history, their lives and actions forgotten, until now. TB 17695. Bigsby, C W E Arthur Miller: 1915-1962. 2009. Read by Alistair Maydon, 42 hours 57 minutes. TB 18125. Born in 1915 to moderately affluent Jewish-American parents, Miller wrote during a fascinating time in American history. The Great Depression was a period of deprivation for many that left an indelible mark on the national psyche, and, like many, Miller found hope for the beleaguered common man in Communism. When the Cold War subsequently began, the ugly elements of American conservatism freely persecuted writers and artists who had embraced Communism. Miller was among them. His refusal to give evidence against others to the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956 gave him a heroic role to play. In that same year, Arthur Miller momentously married the young actress Marilyn Monroe, a marriage that remains famous to this day. Contains strong language. TB 18125. Bryson, Bill At home: a short history of private life. 2010. Read by Bill Bryson, 16 hours 35 minutes. TB 17908. Bill Bryson considers what most of history really consists of: centuries upon centuries of people quietly going about their daily business. He started a journey around his house, an old rectory in Norfolk, wandering from room to room considering how the ordinary things in life came to be. Along the way he allowed himself delightful 13 digressions on the history of everything from architecture to epidemics, from food preservation to the discovery of electricity, and from crinolines to toilets. And to his dismay, he also encountered a terrifying variety of dangers to our health and happiness. TB 17908. Dalrymple, William White Mughals: love and betrayal in eighteenth-century India. 2004. Read by Crawford Logan, 19 hours 50 minutes. TB 17415. White Mughals is a vehicle for Dalrymple's understanding of the complex legacy of the English Empire in India, that he defines more in terms of exchange and negotiation than dominance and subjugation. It is a plea by Dalrymple to understand the cultural intermingling and hybridity that defines both eastern and western cultures, and a convincing rejection of religious intolerance and ethnic essentialism. TB 17415. Evans, Richard J The coming of the Third Reich. 2004. Read by Jon Cartwright, 20 hours 11 minutes. TB 16789. They started out as little more than a gang of extremists and thugs, yet in a few years the Nazis had turned Germany into a one-party state and led one of Europe's most advanced nations into moral, physical and cultural ruin and despair. In this text Evans reveals how and why it happened, questions whether the rise of Hitler was inevitable and dramatically re-creates the maelstrom of disorder, economic disaster, violence and polarization that gave rise to the terror of the Third Reich. TB 16789. Ferguson, Niall The ascent of money: a financial history of the world. 2009. Read by Terry O'Brien, 13 hours 53 minutes. TB 16759. Niall Ferguson shows that finance is the foundation of human progress and reveals financial history as the essential back-story behind all history. The evolution of credit and debt was as important as any technological innovation in the rise of civilization, from ancient Babylon to the silver mines of Bolivia. TB 16759. Ferguson, Niall Civilization: the west and the rest. 2011. Read by Jon Cartwright, 14 hours 37 minutes. TB 18652. What was it about the civilization of Western Europe that allowed it to trump the outwardly superior empires of the Orient? The answer, Niall Ferguson argues, was that the West developed six 'killer applications' that the Rest lacked: competition, science, democracy, medicine, consumerism and the work ethic. The key question today is whether or not the West has lost its monopoly on these six things. Civilization takes readers on their own extraordinary journey around the world. It is the story of sailboats, missiles, land deeds, vaccines, blue jeans and Chinese Bibles. It is the defining narrative of modern world history. TB 18652. 14 Goodwin, Doris Kearns Team of rivals: the political genius of Abraham Lincoln. 2009. Read by Laurence Bouvard, 39 hours 20 minutes. TB 17025. In this monumental multiple biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin studies Abraham Lincoln's mastery of men. She shows how he saved Civil War-torn America by appointing his fiercest rivals to key cabinet positions, making them help achieve his vision for peace. As well as a thrilling piece of narrative history, it's an inspiring study of one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen. TB 17025. Groueff, Stephane Manhattan Project: the untold story of the making of the atomic bomb. 2000. Read by John Chancer, 17 hours 32 minutes. TB 17118. Stephane Groueff brilliantly portrays the egotistical General Groves. The book gives a step by step account of the way Groves collected the best scientists and industrialists in the whole of America. It goes into great detail into how they devised ways of refining Uranium for use in the first bomb, and the massive cost of building the necessary processes needed to do this, and how scientists had to convert laboratory experiments which produced millionths of a gramme of product into a process that would produce tons! TB 17118. Graves, Donald E Guns across the river: the battle of the Windmill, 1838. 2001. Read by Simon Curwen, 17 hours 10 minutes. TB 17427. In 1838, members of a clandestine American organization, the Patriot Hunters, launched a series of attacks across the border and occupied a stone windmill near Prescott, Ontario. After five days of heavy fighting, British regulars and Canadian militia captured the invaders and imprisoned them in Fort Henry at Kingston. This book traces the rise of the Patriot Hunters in the northern United States, describes their odyssey down the St. Lawrence and provides a detailed account of the five-day battle that followed. TB 17427. Hoffman, David E. The dead hand: Reagan, Gorbachev and the untold story of the Cold War arms race. 2011. Read by Garrick Hagon, 22 hours 38 minutes. TB 18820. This narrative history sheds new light on the people who struggled to end this era of massive overkill, and examines the legacy of the nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons that remain a threat today. Drawing on memoirs, interviews in both Russia and the US, and classified documents from deep inside the Kremlin, David Hoffman examines the inner motives and secret decisions of each side and details the deadly stockpiles that remained unsecured as the Soviet Union collapsed. This is the story of how Reagan, Gorbachev, and a previously unheralded collection of scientists, 15 soldiers, diplomats, and spies changed the course of history. TB 18820. LaPierre, Laurier L Québec: a tale of love. 2001. Read by John Lane, 17 hours 15 minutes. TB 17879. A history of Quebec from Cartier's arrival in the early 1500s to the present. The historical narrative is punctuated throughout by dialogues between the author and various historical visitors who comment on, argue about, or embellish their lives and their place in history -- Domagya, a Mohawk prince encountered by Cartier; Marie de l'Incarnation, an Ursuline nun who came to New France in 1639; Christoph Dufrost de la Jemerais, nephew of Pierre Verendrye, the Canadian who forged a route through the northwest; and many more. LaPierre emphasizes that the story of Quebec is a vital and lasting part of Canada's history. TB 17879. Lieven, D C B Russia against Napoleon: the battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814. 2009. Read by Steve Hodson, 28 hours 57 minutes. TB 17067. In the summer of 1812 after years of uneasy peace, Napoleon, the master of almost the whole continent, marched into Russia with the largest army ever assembled, confident that he would sweep everything before him. Less than two years later the Russian army was itself marching into Paris and Napoleon's empire lay in ruins. Using an array of new, rare and surprising sources, Dominic Lieven writes with great panache and insight to describe from the Russians' viewpoint how they went from retreat, defeat and the burning of Moscow to becoming the new liberators of Europe. TB 17067. Macinnis, Peter 100 discoveries: the greatest breakthroughs in history . 2009. Read by Bob Rollett, 17 hours 52 minutes. TB 17236. 100 Discoveries presents in chronological order the greatest 100 breakthroughs in science and technology, medicine, exploration and the major areas of human endeavour of the past 10,000 years, from the development of agriculture in 10,000BC to the discovery of genomics and the unravelling and manipulation of genes in living things. TB 17236. MacQuarrie, Kim The last days of the Incas. 2008. Read by William Roberts, 20 hours 29 minutes. TB 18035. This is the story of how Vilcabamba was founded and how the Incas held out against the Spanish for over 30 years in a savage guerrilla war. Hundreds of years later, at the turn of this century an American explorer, Hiram Bingham, stumbled on the ruins of Machu Pichu and announced to the world that he had found Vilcabamba, the lost city of the Incas. For fifty years the academic world agreed with him until in 1967 16 another American explorer discovered the real Vilcabamba. This is the biography of a city - through history, myth, legend, literature, exploration and archaeology. TB 18035. Markham, Felix Napoleon. 1963. Read by Peter Snow, 11 hours. TB 375. Expounds Napoleon's military genius and showed how increasing despotism led to his downfall. TB 375. McCullough, David G 1776: America and Britain at war. 2006. Read by Kenneth Jay, 12 hours 55 minutes. TB 16731. America's most acclaimed historian presents the intricate story of the year of the birth of the United States of America. "1776" tells two stories: how a group of squabbling, disparate colonies became the United States, and how the British Empire tried to stop them. A story with a cast of amazing characters from George III to George Washington, to soldiers and their families, this book is a thorough historical narrative. TB 16731. McPherson, James M Battle cry of freedom: the Civil War era. 2001. Read by Kenneth Jay, 40 hours 22 minutes. TB 16763. This text presents a history of the American Civil War. It starts with an account of the years before the civil war and its causes - placing slavery firmly back in the centre stage - before discussing the war, the two sides, the international dimension, the position and role of the free blacks and slaves, to its outcome, the end of the war and reconstruction. TB 16763. Moore, Lucy Anything goes: a biography of the roaring twenties. 2010. Read by Joan Walker, 9 hours 42 minutes. TB 17465. This is a portrait of America in the 1920's, the jazz age, an era of invention, glamour and excess. It was punctuated by terrifying events including the political show trials of Sacco and Vanzetti and the march down Washington DC's Pennsylvania Avenue by the Ku Klux Klan. It also produced a glittering array of artists, musicians and film stars, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Bessie Smith to Charlie Chaplin. TB 17465. Nelson, Craig Rocket men: the epic story of the first men on the moon. 2009. Read by Peter Brooke, 16 hours 48 minutes. TB 16931. This text follows the story of the lunar project, beginning at its inception at the start of the Cold War and tracing it through to its finest hour with the first moon landing and the astronauts' safe return. Through extensive interviews with astronauts, NASA staff and their families and never-before published documents, Craig Nelson presents an 17 awe-inspiring human account of the voyage that changed the course of history. Contains strong language. TB 16931. Ngugi wa Thiong'o Dreams in a time of war: a childhood memoir. 2010. Read by Damian Lynch. 6 hours 34 minutes. TB 17779. Beginning in the late 1930s, this memoir describes Ngugi's day-to-day life as the fifth child of his father's third wife in a family that included twenty-four children born to four different mothers. Against the backdrop of World War II, which affected the lives of Africans under British colonial rule in unexpected ways, Ngugi spent his childhood as the apple of his mother's eye before attending school to slake what was then considered a bizarre thirst for learning. As he grows up, the wider political and social changes occurring in Kenya at this time begin to impinge on the boy's life in both inspiring and frightening ways. Through telling the story of his grandparents and parents and of his brothers' involvement on different sides of the violent Mau Mau uprising, Ngugi wa Thiong'o takes us back to a momentous period in Kenyan history, deftly etching a bygone era, capturing the landscape, the people and their culture, and the social and political vicissitudes of life under colonialism and war. TB 17779. Niven, Jennifer The ice master: the doomed 1913 voyage of the Karluk. 2000. Read by John Shaw, 18 hours 10 minutes. TB 17673. The story of the 1913 expedition that sailed out of British Columbia in search of the Arctic continent. In January 1914, an ice cap tore a hole in the vessel's hull, shipwrecking all on board. Drawing from diaries and an interview with the one living survivor, the author recreates the ill-fated journey and the crew's attempts to find their way home. TB 17673. Rappaport, Helen Ekaterinburg: the last days of the Romanovs. 2009. Read by Joanna Mackie, 12 hours 56 minutes. TB 17697. On 4 July 1918, a new commandant took control of a closely guarded house in the Russian town of Ekaterinburg. His name was Yakov Yurovsky, and his prisoners were the Imperial family: the former Tsar Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and their children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexey. Thirteen days later, at Yurovsky's command, and on direct orders from Moscow, the family was gunned down in a blaze of bullets in a basement room. This is the story of those murders, which ended 300 years of Romanov rule and began an era of state-orchestrated terror and brutal repression. TB 17697. 18 Rose, Sarah For all the tea in China: espionage, empire and the secret formula for the world's favourite drink. 2010. Read by Di Langford, 9 hours 45 minutes. TB 18870. Robert Fortune was a Scottish gardener, botanist, plant hunter - and industrial spy. In 1848, the East India Company engaged him to make a clandestine trip into the interior of China - territory forbidden to foreigners - to steal the closely guarded secrets of tea. In a Mandarin's dress, with a black braid sewn into his hair, Robert Fortune ventured deep inside the country, risking his life for science, adventure, and a place among the great plant explorers. From Kew Gardens to grimy Old Shanghai, and on to the remote Wu Yi Shan hills, Sarah Rose tells how one man triumphed over an exotic and corrupt Empire. TB 18870. Sebag Montefiore, Simon Young Stalin. 2007. Read by Steve Hodson, 18 hours 26 minutes. TB 15696. Stalin remains one of the creators of our world - like Hitler, the personification of evil. Yet Stalin hid his past and remains mysterious. This enthralling biography that reads like a thriller finally unveils the secret but extraordinary journey of the Georgian cobbler's son who became the Red Tsar. Contains strong language. TB 15696. Sebag Montefiore, Simon Jerusalem: the biography. 2011. Read by Chad Clark, 25 hours 25 minutes. TB 18669. Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two people, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgement Day and the battlefield of today's clash of civilisations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of 3,000 years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence. How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the 'centre of the world' and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations. TB 18669. Seton-Watson, Hugh The Russian empire, 1801-1917. 1967. Read by Stephan Hodsonovich, 36 hours 4 minutes. TB 17584. This volume surveys the development of the Russian empire from the reign of Alexander I to the abdication of Nicholas II. The book centres on political and social history - the history of institutions, classes, political movements, and individuals. Foreign policy is considered from the Russian rather that the general European angle. Attention is also paid to the non-Russian peoples, who formed half the population of what was essentially a multi-national empire. TB 17584. 19 Stiles, T J The first tycoon: the epic life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. 2010. Read by Garrick Hagon, 34 hours 10 minutes. TB 18118. T J Stiles tells the dramatic story of Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt, the combative man and American icon who did more than perhaps any other individual to create modern capitalism. From Vanderbilt's humble birth during the presidency of George Washington to his death as one of the richest men in American history, we see how the Commodore helped to launch the transportation revolution, propel the Gold Rush, reshape Manhattan and invent the modern corporation. TB 18118. Strathern, Paul The Medici: godfathers of the Renaissance. 2007. Read by Peter Crerar, 16 hours 37 minutes. TB 18146. The author explores the rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence, as well as the Italian Renaissance which they did so much to sponsor and encourage. Interwoven into the narrative are the lives of many of the great Renaissance artists with whom the Medici had dealings, including Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello, as well as scientists like Galileo and Pico della Mirandola, both of whom clashed with the religious authorities. In this text, Paul Strathern also follows the fortunes of those members of the Medici family who achieved success away from Florence, including the two Medici popes and Catherine de' Medicis who became Queen of France and played a major role in that country through three turbulent reigns. TB 18146. Talty, Stephan Empire of blue water: Henry Morgan and the pirates who ruled the Caribbean waves. 2009. Read by David Bauckham, 11 hours 43 minutes. TB 17256. He challenged the greatest empire on earth with a ragtag bunch of renegades - and brought it to its knees. Henry Morgan, crossed the Atlantic in 1655, hell-bent on making his fortune. Awash with bloody battles, political intrigues, and natural disasters, Empire of Blue Water re-creates the passions and the violence of the age of exploration and empire. TB 17256. Tinniswood, Adrian Pirates of Barbary: corsairs, conquests and captivity in the seventeenth- century Mediterranean. 2010. Read by Gordon Griffin, 12 hours 43 minutes. TB 17813. This is an extraordinary record of the European renegades and Islamic sea-rovers who terrorised the Mediterranean and beyond throughout the seventeenth century. Studying the origins of these men, their culture and practices - from pirate etiquette to intimidation tactics - the author recreates the twilight world of the corsairs in details, and uncovers a remarkable clash of civilisations. TB 17813. 20 Troubetzkoy, Alexis S Imperial legend: the disappearance of Tsar Alexander I. 2002. Read by Simon Curwen, 12 hours 10 minutes. TB 17436. In 1825, at the age of 48, Tsar Alexander, a sturdy man in excellent health, died under mysterious circumstances. Rumour had it that the Tsar had faked his death in order to shed the burdens of the throne, a position he had reluctantly assumed after his father was assassinated, and escaped into self-imposed exile. This book attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of Tsar Alexander I and offers up an explanation of what really happened to the leader of one of the world's most powerful nations. TB 17436. Wheatcroft, Andrew The enemy at the gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe. 2009. Read by Richard Burnip, 13 hours 13 minutes. TB 17815. In 1683, two empires - the Ottoman, based in Constantinople, and the Habsburg dynasty in Vienna - came face to face in the culmination of a 250-year power struggle: the Great Siege of Vienna. Within the city walls the choice of resistance over surrender to the largest army ever assembled by the Turks created an all-or-nothing scenario: every last survivor would be enslaved or ruthlessly slaughtered. Both sides remained resolute, sustained by hatred of their age-old enemy, certain that their victory would be won by the grace of God. TB 17815. Wilson, Derek A Peter the Great. 2009. Read by David Learner, 11 hours 3 minutes. TB 16778. Peter I, Emperor of all the Russias, has been a subject of curiosity and scrutiny for almost three centuries. But what was he really like? This biography tells his story with emphasises on the impact this one man made not only on Russia, but also on the wider world. TB 16778. Wolmar, Christian Engines of war: how wars were won & lost on the railways. 2010. Read by Peter Crerar, 11 hours 48 minutes. TB 18393. Before the nineteenth century, armies had to rely on slow and unreliable methods of transportation to move soldiers and equipment during times of conflict. However, as Christian Wolmar demonstrates in this book, the birth of the railway in the early 1830s would transform the theatres of war. "Engines of War" spans more than a century and takes in all the engagements in which railways played a part, including the Crimean War, American Civil War, both world wars, the Korean War, and the Cold War - with its mysterious missile trains. It shows that the 'iron road' not only made armies far more mobile, but also greatly increased the scale and power of available weaponry. TB 18393. 21 Wolmar, Christian Blood, iron and gold: how the railways transformed the world. 2009. Read by Peter Crerar, 14 hours 34 minutes. TB 17055. The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 marked the beginning of a revolution in transportation. This book reveals the huge impact of the railways as they spread rapidly across the world, linking cities that had hitherto been isolated, stimulating both economic growth and social change on an unprecedented scale. From Panama to the Punjab, Tasmania to Turin, Christian Wolmar describes the vision and determination of the pioneers who developed railways that would one day span continents, as well as the labour of the navvies who endured horrific conditions to build this global network. TB 17055. Wood, Michael Conquistadors. 2000. Read by John Telfer, 10 hours 37 minutes. TB 18744. In this text, Michael Wood follows in the footsteps of some of the greatest of the Spanish adventurers travelling from the forests of Amazonia to Lake Titicaca, the deserts of North Mexico, the snowpeaks of the Andes and the heights of Machu Picchu. He experiences the epic journeys of Cortes, Pizarro, Orellana and Cabeza de Vaca, and explores the turbulent and terrifying events surrounding the Spanish conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires. Wood brings these stories to vivid life, highlighting both the heroic accomplishments and the complex moral legacy of the European invasion. TB 18744. Zamoyski, Adam Warsaw 1920: Lenin's failed conquest of Europe. 2008. Read by Adam Zamoyski, 4 hours 20 minutes. TB 18199. This book tells the dramatic and little-known story of how, in the summer of 1920, Lenin came within a hair's breadth of shattering the painstakingly constructed Versailles peace settlement and spreading Bolshevism to western Europe. The author describes how the Polish army led by self-taught general and former terrorist Josef Pilsudski achieved at the last minute one of the most decisive victories in military history, in which aeroplanes and tanks were swamped by swirling masses of mounted Cossacks and lancers in scenes reminiscent of the Napoleonic wars. TB 18199. If you have read a book you particularly enjoyed (or didn't enjoy) and want to share your thoughts with other readers, visit the new RNIB Readers Forum at www.rnib.org.uk/booktalk and post your review on the Forum. 22