A glorious?and conclusive?chronicle of the wars waged by one of the most polarizing figures in military history
Acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic as a new standard on the subject, this sweeping, boldly written history of the Napoleonic era reveals its central protagonist as a man driven by an insatiable desire for fame, and determined ?to push matters to extremes.? More than a myth-busting portrait of Napoleon, however, it offers a panoramic view of the armed conflicts that spread so quickly out of revolutionary France to countries as remote as Sweden and Egypt. As it expertly moves through conflicts from Russia to Spain, "Napoleon's Wars" proves to be history writing equal to its subject?grand and ambitious?that will reframe the way this tumultuous era is understood.
An engrossing study of Leo Africanus and his famous book, which introduced Africa to European readers
Al-Hasan al-Wazzan--born in Granada to a Muslim family that in 1492 went to Morocco, where he traveled extensively on behalf of the sultan of Fez--is known to historians as Leo Africanus, author of the first geography of Africa to be published in Europe (in 1550). He had been captured by Christian pirates in the Mediterranean and imprisoned by the pope, then released, baptized, and allowed a European life of scholarship as the Christian writer Giovanni Leone. In this fascinating new book, the distinguished historian Natalie Zemon Davis offers a virtuoso study of the fragmentary, partial, and often contradictory traces that al-Hasan al-Wazzan left behind him, and a superb interpretation of his extraordinary life and work.
In Trickster Travels, Davis describes all the sectors of her hero's life in rich detail, scrutinizing the evidence of al-Hasan's movement between cultural worlds; the Islamic and Arab traditions, genres, and ideas available to him; and his adventures with Christians and Jews in a European community of learned men and powerful church leaders. In depicting the life of this adventurous border-crosser, Davis suggests the many ways cultural barriers are negotiated and diverging traditions are fused.
A comprehensive view of the mythical and historic significance of the great medieval queen- Explains that courtly love was not a platonic and intellectual affectation but an initiatic process of male transcendence akin to Tantra - Shows that Eleanor's embodiment of divine power undermined the pattern of patriarchy - Reveals how Eleanor inspired the powerful influence of the Arthurian cycle's figures Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) has been long noted for her political and cultural achievements that profoundly shaped twelfth-century Europe. Culturally, beyond her role as wife of kings Louis VII of France and Henry II of England and mother of kings Richard and John, she inspired the huge diffusion of the Arthurian cycle and the Celtic myths underpinning it. Without Eleanor, figures such as Merlin, Arthur, and Guinevere (for whom Eleanor served as model) would never have assumed the enormous symbolic value they now possess. Politically, she embodied divine power that ended the dark age of patriarchy, playing a crucial role not only in the development of the Plantagenet Empire, but also in the granting of charters to merchants and craftsmen that led to the birth of the modern middle class. But her greatest influence, still shaping modern sensibilities, was her role as the symbol of courtly love, which was not a mere diversion of the aristocracy but a process of male initiation and transcendence that bore a close resemblance to Indian Tantra. While the Virgin Mary was restoring a feminine face to medieval religious life, Eleanor embodied the adulterous queen who incarnates sovereignty--the woman who shares authority with the men who act in her name, but only after that power has been transmitted to them through an initiatory process leading to sexual union.
In the summer of 1812 Napoleon gathered his fearsome Grande Arm e, more than half a million strong, on the banks of the Niemen River. He was about to undertake the most daring of all his many campaigns: the invasion of Russia. Meeting only sporadic opposition and defeating it easily along the way, the huge army moved forward, advancing ineluctably on Moscow through the long hot days of summer. On September 14, Napoleon entered the Russian capital, fully anticipating the Czar's surrender. Instead he encountered an eerily deserted city--and silence. The French army sacked the city, and by October, with Moscow in ruins and his supply lines overextended, and with the Russian winter upon him, Napoleon had no choice but to turn back. One of the greatest military debacles of all time had only just begun.In this famous memoir, Philippe-Paul de S gur, a young aide-de-camp to Napoleon, tells the story of the unfolding disaster with the keen eye of a crack reporter and an astute grasp of human character. His book, a fundamental inspiration for Tolstoy's War and Peace, is a masterpiece of military history that teaches an all-too-timely lesson about imperial hubris and its risks.
The Prussian king Frederick II is today best remembered for successfully defending his tiny country against the three great European powers of France, Austria, and Russia during the Seven Years' War. But in his youth, tormented by a spectacularly cruel and dyspeptic father, the future military genius was drawn to the flute and French poetry, and throughout his long life counted nothing more important than the company of good friends and great wits. This was especially evident in his longstanding, loving, and vexing relationship with Voltaire. An absolute ruler who was allergic to pomp, a non-hunter who wore no spurs, a reformer of great zeal who maintained complete freedom of the press and religion and cleaned up his country's courts, a fiscal conservative and patron of the arts, the builder of the rococo palace Sans Souci and improver of the farmers' lot, maddening to his rivals but beloved by nearly everyone he met, Frederick was--notwithstanding a penchant for merciless teasing--arguably the most humane of enlightened despots.In Frederick the Great, a richly entertaining biography of one of the eighteenth century's most fascinating figures, the trademark wit of the author of Love in a Cold Climate finds its ideal subject.
Geert Mak spent the year of 1999 criss-crossing the continent, tracing the history of Europe from Verdun to Berlin, Saint Petersburg to Auschwitz, Kiev to Srebrenica. He set off in search of evidence and witnesses, looking to define the condition of Europe at the verge of a new millennium. The result is mesmerizing: Mak's rare double talent as a sharp-eyed journalist and a hugely imaginative historian makes "In Europe" a dazzling account of that journey, full of diaries, newspaper reports and memoirs, and the voices of prominent figures and unknown players; from the grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II to Adrinana Warno in Poland, with her job at the gates of the camp at Birkenau.
But Mak is above all an observer. He describes what he sees at places that have become Europe's wellsprings of memory, where history is written into the landscape. At Ypres, he hears the blast of munitions from the Great War that are still detonated there twice a day. In Warsaw, he finds the point where the tram rails that led to the Jewish ghetto come to a dead end in a city park. And in an abandoned nursery school near Chernobyl, where tiny pairs of shoes still stand in neat rows, he is transported back to the moment time stood still in the dying days of the Soviet Union.
Mak combines the larger story of twentieth-century Europe with details that give it a face, a taste and a smell. His unique approach makes the reader an eyewitness to a half-forgotten past, full of unknown peculiarities, sudden insights and touching encounters. "In Europe" is a masterpiece; it reads like the epic novel of Europe's most extraordinary century.
In this monumental account and brilliant new analysis of the Napoleonic era in Europe, Frederick W. Kagan, distinguished historian and military policy expert, reveals the complex interaction of continental politics and war that dominated Europe in the early nineteenth century. Using hitherto untapped archival materials from Austria, Prussia, France, and Russia, Kagan tells the story of Napoleon and Europe that is vastly different from previous histories. He presents these crucial years from the perspective of all the major players of Europe, as well as countless others. With clear and lively prose, Kagan deftly guides the reader through the intriguing and complex web of international politics and war. The End of the Old Order is the first in a new and comprehensive series of studies of Napoleon and Europe.
The Balkans, in particular the turbulent ex-Yugoslav territory, have been among the most important world regions in Noam Chomsky's political reflections and activism for decades. His articles, public talks, and correspondence have provided a critical voice on political and social issues crucial not only to the region but the entire international community, including "humanitarian intervention," the relevance of international law in today's politics, media manipulations, and economic crisis as a means of political control.
This volume provides a comprehensive survey of virtually all of Chomsky's texts and public talks that focus on the region of the former Yugoslavia, from the 1970s to the present. With numerous articles and interviews, this collection presents a wealth of materials appearing in book form for the first time along with reflections on events twenty-five years after the official end of communist Yugoslavia and the beginning of the war in Bosnia. The book opens with a personal and wide-ranging preface by Andrej Grubačic that affirms the ongoing importance of Yugoslav history and identity, providing a context for understanding Yugoslavia as an experiment in self-management, antifascism, and mutlethnic coexistence.