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The Rhine is one of the world's greatest rivers. Once forming the outer frontier of the Roman Empire, it flows 800 miles from the social democratic playground of the Netherlands, through the industrial and political powerhouses of Germany and France, to the wealthy mountain fortresses of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
For five years, Ben Coates lived alongside a major channel of the river in Rotterdam, crossing it daily, swimming and sailing in its tributaries. In The Rhine, he sets out by bicycle from the Netherlands where it enters the North Sea, following it through Germany, France and Liechtenstein, to its source in the icy Alps. He explores the impact that the Rhine has had on European culture and history and finds out how influences have flowed along and across the river, shaping the people who live alongside it.
Blending travelogue and offbeat history, The Rhine tells the fascinating story of how a great river helped shape a continent.
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The enlightenment was an age of endeavours. From Johnson’s Dictionary to campaigns for liberty to schemes for measuring the dimensions of the solar system, Britain was consumed by the impulse for grand projects, undertaken at speed. Endeavour was also the name given to a Whitby collier bought by the Royal Navy in 1768 for an expedition to the South Seas. No one could have guessed that Endeavour, a commonplace, coal carrying vessel, would go on to become the most significant ship in the history of British exploration
Endeavour famously carried Captain James Cook on his first great voyage, visiting Pacific islands unknown to European geography, charting New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia for the first time and almost foundering on Great Barrier Reef. But Endeavour was a ship with many lives. She was there at the Wilkes Riots in London in 1768, and during battles for control of New York in 1776, she witnessed the bloody birth of the United States of America. As well as carrying botanists, a Polynesian priest and the remains of the first kangaroo to arrive in Britain, she transported Newcastle coal and Hessian soldiers. According to Charles Darwin, she helped Cook add a hemisphere to the civilised world. NASA named a space shuttle after her. To others she would be a toxic symbol, responsible for the dispossession of the oldest continuous human society and the disruption of many others.
No one has ever told Endeavour’s complete story before. Peter Moore sets out to explore the different lives of this remarkable ship and her rich and complex legacy.
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For more than a century and a half, a grim tale has passed down through Michael Veitch’s family: the story of the Ticonderoga, a clipper ship that sailed from Liverpool in August 1852, crammed with poor but hopeful emigrants – mostly Scottish victims of the Clearances and the potato famine. A better life, they believed, awaited them in Australia.
Three months later, a ghost ship crept into Port Phillip Bay flying the dreaded yellow flag of contagion. On her horrific three-month voyage, deadly typhus had erupted, killing a quarter of Ticonderoga’s passengers and leaving many more desperately ill. Sharks, it was said, had followed her passage as the victims were buried at sea.
Panic struck Melbourne. Forbidden to dock at the gold-boom town, the ship was directed to a lonely beach on the far tip of the Mornington peninsula, a place now called Ticonderoga Bay
James Henry William Veitch was the ship’s assistant surgeon, on his first appointment at sea. Among the volunteers who helped him tend to the sick and dying was a young woman from the island of Mull, Annie Morrison. What happened between them on that terrible voyage is a testament to human resilience and to love.
Michael Veitch is their great-great-grandson, and Hell Ship is his brilliantly researched narrative of one of the biggest stories of its day, now all but forgotten. Broader than his own family’s story, it brings to life the hardships and horrors endured by those who came by sea to seek a new life in Australia.
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The Art of the French Voyages to French Polynesia.
This bilingual book brings to attention the artwork by French navigators and scientists in French Polynesia during the great voyages of exploration of the Pacific in the 18th and 19th centuries – by Bougainville, Dumont d’Urville, etc.
Following the format of a similar work on New Zealand (2000), it reproduces a selection of 60 images which include engravings, watercolours, maps and sketches, some of which have never before been published. Prior to the invention of photography, artwork was the sole means of visual documentation. Thus the illustrations depict housing, landscapes, people, customs, artefacts, clothing, canoes . . . and new species of birds, fish and plants. An illustrated introduction outlines the historical background and the significant contribution of the French scientists to knowledge of the Great Ocean.
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The story of the mutiny of the Bounty and William Bligh and his men's survival on the open ocean for 48 days and 3,618 miles has become the stuff of legend. But few realize that Bligh's escape across the seas was not the only open-boat journey in that era of British exploration and colonization. Indeed, 9 convicts from the Australian penal colony, led by Mary Bryant, also traveled 3,250 miles across the open ocean and some uncharted seas to land at the same port Bligh had reached only months before.
In this meticulously researched dual narrative of survival, acclaimed historian Diana Preston provides the background and context to explain the thrilling open-boat voyages each party survived and the Pacific Island nations each encountered on their journey to safety. Through this deep-dive, readers come to understand the Pacific Islands as they were and as they were perceived, and how these seemingly utopian lands became a place where mutineers, convicts, and eventually the natives themselves, were chained.
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Aphrodite's Island is a bold new account of the European discovery of Tahiti, the Pacific island of mythic status that has figured so powerfully in European imaginings about sexuality, the exotic, and the nobility or bestiality of “savages.”
In this groundbreaking book, Anne Salmond takes readers to the center of the shared history to furnish rich insights into Tahitian perceptions of the visitors while illuminating the full extent of European fascination with Tahiti. As she discerns the impact and meaning of the European effect on the islands, she demonstrates how, during the early contact period, the mythologies of Europe and Tahiti intersected and became entwined. Drawing on Tahitian oral histories, European manuscripts and artworks, collections of Tahitian artifacts, and illustrated with contemporary sketches, paintings, and engravings from the voyages, Aphrodite's Island provides a vivid account of the Europeans' Tahitian adventures. At the same time, the book's compelling insights into Tahitian life significantly change the way we view the history of this small island during a period when it became a crossroads for Europe.
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This vivid book retells the story of Captain Cook's great voyages in the South Seas, focusing on the encounters between the explorers and the island peoples they "discovered." While Cook and his men were initially confounded by the Polynesians, they were also curious. Cook and his crew soon formed friendships-and often more intimate relationships-with the islanders. The islanders, who initially were not certain if the Englishmen were even human, came to experiment with Western customs and in some cases joined the voyagers on their expeditions. But familiarity quickly bred contempt. Shipboard discipline was threatened by these new relationships, and the culture of the islands was also changed forever. Captain Cook, initially determined to act as an enlightened leader, saw his resolve falter during the third voyage. Amicable relations turned hostile, culminating in Cook's violent death on the shores of Hawaii.
In this masterful account of Cook's voyages, Anne Salmond-a preeminent authority on the history of the south seas-reimagines two worlds that collided in the eighteenth century, and the enduring impact of that collision.
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The story of Britain’s colourful maritime past seen through the changing fortunes of the Cornish port of Falmouth.
Within the space of few years, during the 1560s and 1570s, a maritime revolution took place in England that would contribute more than anything to the transformation of the country from a small rebel state on the fringes of Europe into a world power. Until then, it was said, there was only one Englishman capable of sailing across the Atlantic. Yet within ten years an English ship with an English crew was circumnavigating the world.
At the same time in Cornwall, in the Fal estuary, just a single building a lime kiln existed where the port of Falmouth would emerge. Yet by the end of the eighteenth century, Falmouth would be one of the busiest harbours in the world.
The Levelling Sea’ uses the story of Falmouth’s spectacular rise and fall to explore wider questions about the sea and its place in history and imagination.
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Norfolk Island isolation, savagery, mystery and murder.
Aren t remote South Pacific islands supposed to be paradise? Perhaps, from a distance, Norfolk Island looks a peaceful place lush with tall pines. But look closer and that idyllic facade is shattered.
For all of the 220 years we have known it, Norfolk's story has been one of darkness, pain, rage and horror. Long-buried bones and axes hint at the violence before Captain Cook arrived and claimed the place for England. And then the horror truly began. From its earliest days, the isolation of life on this rocky outcrop took its toll.
Author Robert Macklin, tells the vivid, bewitching story of how a unique lifestyle and culture evolved amongst the almost two thousand inhabitants. From a brutal penal colony, a refuge for descendants of the Bounty mutineers when they outgrew Pitcairn Island in 1856, to the murder of Janelle Patton in 2002, Norfolk Island is exposed like never before. A place full of shadows and wrongful deaths, its history is a mesmerising tale all the more powerful because it is true.
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The incredible voyage of a shipload of "disorderly girls" and the men who transported them, fell for them, and sold them.
This riveting work of rediscovered history tells for the first time the plight of the female convicts aboard the Lady Julian, which set sail from England in 1789 and arrived in Australia's Botany Bay a year later. The women, most of them petty criminals, were destined for New South Wales to provide its hordes of lonely men with sexual favors as well as progeny. But the story of their voyage is even more incredible, and here it is expertly told by a historian with roots in the boatbuilding business and a true love of the sea.
Siân Rees delved into court documents and firsthand accounts to extract the stories of these women's experiences on board a ship that both held them prisoner and offered them refuge from their oppressive existence in London. At the heart of the story is the passionate relationship between Sarah Whitelam, a convict, and the ship's steward, John Nicol, whose personal journals provided much of the material for this book. Along the way, Rees brings the vibrant, bawdy world of London -- and the sights, smells, and sounds of an eighteenth-century ship -- vividly to life. In the tradition of Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea, this is a winning combination of dramatic high seas adventure and untold history.
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In the spring of 1553 three ships sailed north-east from London into uncharted waters. The scale of their ambition was breathtaking. Drawing on the latest navigational science and the new spirit of enterprise and discovery sweeping the Tudor capital, they sought a northern passage to Asia and its riches. The success of the expedition depended on its two leaders: Sir Hugh Willoughby, a brave gentleman soldier, and Richard Chancellor, a brilliant young scientist and practical man of the sea. When their ships became separated in a storm, each had to fend for himself. Their fates were sharply divided. One returned to England, to recount extraordinary tales of the imperial court of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. The tragic, mysterious story of the other two ships has to be pieced together through the surviving captain's log book, after he and his crew became lost and trapped by the advancing Arctic winter.
This long-neglected endeavour was one of the boldest in British history, and its impact was profound. Although the 'merchant adventurers' failed to reach China as they had hoped, their achievements would lay the foundations for England's expansion on a global stage.
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Early Europeans believed the world was flat, but by the late Middle Ages they accepted that it was a globe. What remained a mystery, however, was what lay on “the other side”. Some believed it was a source of riches, an ocean harbouring countries where gold and unimaginable riches could be found, including islands from which King Solomon had obtained his wealth. In addition, the belief in a vast southern continent went back centuries, and many expeditions set out to find it, sometimes in search of wealth, sometimes to convert its inhabitants to Christianity.
This is the story of the voyages into this great unknown, by the Chinese and early Americans, the Dutch, Spanish, French and English; it recounts the exploits of pirates and scientists, and even the impact of popular fiction on popular imagination, leading to the debunking of many myths, from the sunken Great Southern Continent, to the idea that in the “antipodes” people walked upside down.
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Saturnine and quick-tempered, the formidable North Sea is often overlooked – even by those living within a stone's throw of its steel-grey waters. But as playground, theatre of war and cultural crossing-point, it has shaped the world in myriad ways, forged villains and heroes, and determined the fates of nations.
It's not all grim, though: the seaside holiday was born on North Sea beaches, and artists, poets and writers have been as equally inspired by glinting sun on the wave-tops as they have the drama of a winter storm.
With a wry eye and a warm coat, Tom Blass travels the edges of the North Sea meeting fishermen, artists, bomb disposal experts, burgermeisters – and those who have found themselves flung to the sea's perimeters quite by chance. In doing so he attempts to piece together its manifold histories and to reveal truths, half-truths and fictions otherwise submerged.
The book begins with its author in the Humber, on a Swedish cargo ship heading for Skagerrak – “Skayraak, it’s pronounced, like the rasping of a crow” – before diving into the history of the humans who live by, on and off the North Sea: Frisians, Chauci, Saxons, then Danes, Vikings, the Dutch. Tom Blass, travelling around its shores and across its water, tells a gobby oil rig worker in Shetland about the book he’s writing. “Yes, but what it’s about?” the man replies. “The North Sea’s a big place.” He suggests a subtitle: “Travels at the edge of despair”
At the end of the day though, this book is about sea people: those who live on the sea, but also try to exist alongside it, with all its vagaries, mystery and difficulty. Erosion, invasion, surges, storms: the people of the North Sea have to deal with them all.
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How Dutch sailors found Australia and an English Pirate almost beat Captain Cook..
For many, the colonial story of Australia starts with Captain Cook's discovery of the east coast in 1770, but it was some 164 years before his historic voyage that European mariners began their romance with the immensity of the Australian continent. Between 1606 and 1688, while the British had their hands full with the Gunpowder Plot and the English Civil War, it was highly skilled Dutch seafarers who, by design, chance or shipwreck, discovered and mapped the majority of the vast, unknown waters and land masses in the Indian and Southern Oceans.
This is the setting that sees Rob Mundle back on the water with another sweeping and powerful account of Australian maritime history. It is the story of 17th-century European mariners - sailors, adventurers and explorers - who became transfixed by the idea of the existence of a Great South Land: 'Terra Australis Incognita'.
Rob takes you aboard the tiny ship, Duyfken, in 1606 when Dutch navigator and explorer, Willem Janszoon, and his 20-man crew became the first Europeans to discover Australia on the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In the decades that followed, more Dutch mariners, like Hartog, Tasman, and Janszoon (for a second time), discovered and mapped the majority of the coast of what would become Australia. Yet, incredibly, the Dutch made no effort to lay claim to it, or establish any settlements. This process began with British explorer and former pirate William Dampier on the west coast in 1688, and by the time Captain Cook arrived in 1770, all that was to be done was chart the east coast and claim what the Dutch had discovered.
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The Island Kingdom of Tonga was probably the first part of Polynesia to be settled, about 3000 years ago. Periods of isolation alternated with periods of regular contact with neighbouring Island groups while Tongan culture developed its distinctive variant of the Polynesian theme.
Modern Tonga was moulded by dramatic changes in the 19th century during which the population converted to Christianity, and a formal state was established under a written constitution. As a result of benign British supervision, Tonga was the only Pacific Archipelago not to be formally controlled by a European power. After two or three generations of tranquil consolidation, late in the 20th century a vigorous and ambitous King forced his country into a trajectory of economic development and rapid social change, which eventually created a demand for political reform and democratisation. Tonga is less isolated, more prosperous and yet seemingly more troubled now than at any time in history.
First published in 1992, Island Kingdom is the only comprehensive treatment of its subject and is widely acknowledged as being the Authorative history of Tonga.
This 3rd Edition is updated and revised in accordance with recent research, and new chapters bring the story up to date to the end of 2014.
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As remarkable as Columbus and the conquistador expeditions, the history of Portuguese exploration is now almost forgotten. But Portugal's navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched the expedition of Vasco da Gama to India and beat the Spanish to the spice kingdoms of the East - then set about creating the first long-range maritime empire. In an astonishing blitz of thirty years, a handful of visionary and utterly ruthless empire builders, with few resources but breathtaking ambition, attempted to seize the Indian Ocean, destroy Islam and take control of world trade.
Told with Roger Crowley's customary skill and verve, this is narrative history at its most vivid - an epic tale of navigation, trade and technology, money and religious zealotry, political diplomacy and espionage, sea battles and shipwrecks, endurance, courage and terrifying brutality. Drawing on extensive first-hand accounts, it brings to life the exploits of an extraordinary band of conquerors - men such as Afonso de Albuquerque, the first European since Alexander the Great to found an Asian empire - who set in motion five hundred years of European colonisation and unleashed the forces of globalisation.
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It has an astonishing recent past, an uncertain present and a hugely important future. The ocean and its peoples are the new lifeblood, fizz and thrill of America - which draws so many of its minds and so much of its manners from the sea - while the inexorable rise of the ancient center of the world, China, is a fixating fascination. The presence of rogue states - North Korea most notoriously today - suggest that the focus of the responsible world is shifting away from the conventional post-war obsessions with Europe and the Middle East, and towards a new set of urgencies.
Navigating the newly evolving patterns of commerce and trade, the world's most violent weather and the fascinating histories, problems and potentials of the many Pacific states, Simon Winchester's thrilling journey is a grand depiction of the future ocean.
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A monumental, wholly accessible work of scholarship that retells human history through the story of mankind's relationship with the sea. An accomplishment of both great sweep and illuminating detail, The Sea and Civilization is a stunning work of history that reveals in breathtaking depth how people first came into contact with one another by ocean and river, and how goods, languages, religions, and entire cultures spread across and along the world's waterways.
Lincoln Paine takes us back to the origins of long-distance migration by sea with our ancestors' first forays from Africa and Eurasia to Australia and the Americas. He demonstrates the critical role of maritime trade to the civilizations of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley. He reacquaints us with the great seafaring cultures of antiquity like those of the Phoenicians and Greeks, as well as those of India, Southeast and East Asia who parlayed their navigational skills, shipbuilding techniques, and commercial acumen to establish vibrant overseas colonies and trade routes in the centuries leading up to the age of European overseas expansion. His narrative traces subsequent developments in commercial and naval shipping through the post-Cold War era. Above all, Paine makes clear how the rise and fall of civilizations can be traced to the sea.
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Black Sea is a homage to an ocean and its shores and a meditation on Eurasian history, from the earliest times to the present. It explores the culture, history and politics of the volatile region which surrounds the Black Sea.
Ascherson recalls the world of Herodotus and Aeschylus; Ovid's place of exile on what is now the coast of Romania; the decline and fall of Byzantium; the mysterious Christian Goths; the Tatar Khanates; the growth of Russian power across the grasslands, and the centuries of war between Ottoman and Russian Empires around the Black Sea. He examines the terrors of Stalinism and its fascist enemy, both striving for mastery of these endlessly colourful and complex shores, and investigates the turbulent history of modern Ukraine.
This is a story of Greeks, Scythians, Samatians, Huns, Goths, Turks, Russians, Ukrainians and Poles. This is the sea where Europe ended. It is the place where 'barbarism' was born.
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OUTLAWS OF THE ATLANTIC
By Marcus Rediker. Hardback, 150mm X 220mm, 0.43 kg, 241 pages, Published 2014.
Sailors, pirates, and motley crews in the age of sail.
Explores the dramatic world of maritime adventure, not from the perspective of admirals, merchants, and nation-states but from the viewpoint of commoners—sailors, slaves, indentured servants, pirates, and other outlaws from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century. Bringing together their seafaring experiences for the first time.
Author Marcus Rediker reveals how the “motley”—that is, multiethnic—crews were a driving force behind the American Revolution; that pirates, enslaved Africans, and other outlaws worked together to subvert capitalism; and that, in the era of the tall ship, outlaws challenged authority from below deck. By bringing these marginal seafaring characters into the limelight, Rediker shows how maritime actors have shaped history that many have long regarded as national and landed. And by casting these rebels by sea as cosmopolitan workers of the world, he reminds us that to understand the rise of capitalism, globalization, and the formation of race and class, we must look to the sea.
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WHO DISCOVERED AMERICA?
By Gavin Menzies. Paperback, 150mm X 230mm, 0.38 kg 308 pages, Colour photographs Published 2014.
The untold story of the peopling of the Americas.
A groundbreaking new book that upends our understanding of ancient America Conventional history tells us humans migrated on foot across present-day Alaska, populating the Americas far later than other continents. However, emerging new evidence suggests seafarers reached the continents thousands of years earlier and developed far more sophisticated civilizations than previously imagined. . . .
A revolutionary new account of how the first humans came to North and South America. Author Gavin Menzies reveals that ancient peoples used the oceans' natural currents and prevailing winds to make voyages across both the Atlantic and Pacific. What's more, we now must accept that they had time to develop remarkably advanced cultures. Armed with cutting-edge DNA evidence, newly unearthed artifacts, and astonishing linguistic and archaeological discoveries, Menzies shows humans have been making transoceanic voyages as far back as 100,000 years ago, vastly predating the supposed overland migration to the Americas during the last Ice Age.
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In an era when Google Maps is regarded as a standard convenience, this history of 12 epoch-defining maps—including Google’s—is a revelation. Renaissance scholar Brotton examines a cross-cultural sampling of historic world maps, exploring them as representations of both the Earth, and of the philosophical mores of the cultures that produced them. The maps range in function from the “practical maintenance of empire” to the spiritual concerns of uniting “the earth and the heavens in a harmonious, universal whole.” Each simultaneously represents a geographical survey, an aesthetic achievement, technological progress, theological instruction, and political demarcation. These multiple functions are mirrored in the structure of the book, which reflects political, philosophical, and cultural development. The maps are about humanity’s changing relationship with itself, others, the Earth, and the heavens, and this broad scope makes for rich reading.
This is the kind of book map lovers and history buffs adore. Beautifully illustrations and brilliantly original.
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A ripping story that starts on the sea, aboard a clipper ship charging across the Southern Ocean, laden with passengers heading for Melbourne in response to the lure of gold. Brimming with countless stories of the magnificent ships and fearless (and feckless) characters we find on them, like Englishman "Bully" Forbes and American "Bully" Waterman driving their ships to the limit and the tragic legacy of the many shipwrecks that were so much a part of this era.
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With customary sweep and swell, Mundle puts you alongside 48-year-old Captain Arthur Phillip on the quarterdeck of the Royal Navy escort HMS Sirius, as he commands his small armada of eleven ships, carrying over 1400 men, women and children, to the other side of the world.
At the heart of Mundle's story of the First Fleet is the extraordinary seamanship of the masters and their crews in their day-to-day workings on individual ships, battling all that nature could throw at them - from disastrous conditions to disease - in order to fulfil the grand plans and strategic visions of politicians and authorities. To arrive in Sydney Cove in January 1788 with all ships intact and such a low loss of life is a tribute to Phillip, his officers and crews, and to the wherewithal and brilliance of eighteenth-century seamanship.
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SWEET WATER AND BITTER.
By Sian Rees, Paperback, 129mm x 199mm, black & white drawings, 340 pages.
This book is the extraordinary sequel to Britain's abolition of the slave trade in 1807. The last legal British slave-ship left Africa that year, but other countries and illegal slavers continued to trade. When the Napoleonic Wars ended in 1815, British diplomats negotiated anti-slave-trade treaties and a 'Preventive Squadron' was formed to cruise the West African coast. In six decades, this small fleet liberated 150,000 Africans and lost 17,000 its own men in doing so. This is the tale of their exciting and arduous campaign.
It is a story of unforeseen consequences, and a swashbuckling naval adventure, full of sensational, first-hand accounts of life at sea; of the grim 'barracoons', the slave-brokers' luxurious compounds and the lonely garrisons dotting the coast. Combining flawless research with an intimated and dramatic narrative, this is a voyage that no one will forget.
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When Suleiman the Magnificent’s invasion fleet set sail for Rhodes in 1521, it was the start of a sixty-year struggle for control of the Mediterranean. It was t be a contest between East and West, Islam and Christianity, as well as a story of pirates, slavery and military crusading. In this sweeping narrative history, Roger Crowley takes us from Istanbul to the gates of Gibraltar as he introduces us to extraordinary warriors including the pirate Barbarossa and the Knights of St. John, and brings vividly to life the bloody siege of Malta and the shattering final sea battle at Lepanto.
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CITY OF FORTUNE. - HOW VENICE WON AND LOST A NAVAL EMPIRE.
By Roger Crowley. Paperback, 0.34kg, 126mm x 196mm, 405 pages, published 2011.
Drawing on first-hand accounts of crusaders, sea captains and merchants, as well as the state records, renowned historian Roger Crowley's City of Fortune is a rich narrative about commerce and empire, seafaring and piracy, which ranges across the Mediterranean from the Adriatic to Alexandria, from Crete to Constantinople and the Black Sea.
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MR SELDEN'S MAP OF CHINA
ByTimothy Brook. Paperback, 150mm x 227mm, 211 pages. Published 2015
In the 1650's, a vast an unusual map of China was bequeathed to the Bodleian Library, Oxford, by John Selden, a lawyer, political activist, jailed member of Parliament and the City's first Oriental scholar. When Timothy Brook came across it in 2009, he realised he had stumbled across an exceptional artifact, so unsettingly modern-looking that it could almost be a forgery. But it was genuine, and what it has to tell us is remarkable. It shows China not cut off from the world, but a participant in the embryonic networks of Global trade that fuelled the rise of Europe- and which now powers China's ascent.
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1434 - THE YEAR A MAGNIFICENT CHINESE FLEET SAILED TO ITALY AND IGNITED THE RENAISSANCE
ByGavin Menzies. Pbk, 129m x 198mm, 400 pages.
The international bestselling author of 1421 offers compelling new evidence that traces the roots of the European Renaissance to Chinese exploration in the fifteenth century.
The brilliance of the European Renaissance laid the foundation of the modern world. Textbooks tell us that it came about as a result of a re-discovery of the ideas and ideals of classical Greece and Rome.
But now Gavin Menzies makes the startling argument that in the year 1434, China - then the world's most technologically advanced civilization - provided the spark that set the Renaissance ablaze.
Fifteenth-century Florence and Venice were hubs of world trade, attracting merchants from across the globe. In 1434, a Chinese fleet - official ambassadors of the Emperor - arrived in Tuscany and met with Pope Eugenius IV in Florence. Based on nearly twenty years of research, Menzies' compelling history argues that the delegation presented the influential Pope with a diverse wealth of Chinese learning: art, geography (including world maps which were later passed on to Columbus and Magellan), astonomy, mathematics, printing, architecture, civil engineering, military weapons, and more. This vast treasure of knowledge spread across Europe, igniting the legendary inventiveness of the Renaissance, including Da Vinci's mechanical creations, the Copernican revolution and Galileo's discoveries.
In 1434, Gavin Menzies combines historical reinterpretation with the excitement of an investigative adventure. He brings us aboard the remarkable Chinese fleet as it sets sail from China to Cairo and Florence, and then back across the world. Erudite and brilliantly reasoned, 1434 will change the way we see ourselves, our history and our world.
This new edition has 30 extra pages with new controversial material.
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In The Origin of Species, Darwin outlined his theory of evolution, which proposed that species had been evolving and differentiating over time under the influence of natural selection. On its publication it became hugely influential, bringing about a seismic shift in the scientific view of humanity's place in the world that is still controversial today. It is both a brilliant work of science and also a clear, vivid and at times even moving, piece of writing that reflects both Darwin's genius and his boundless enthusiasm for the natural world.
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