Spanning some eleven millennia, the new Yale University Press History Catalogue brings together new and bestselling books that explore a wide range of historical events, people and places. In advance of the 2014 International Medieval Congress at Leeds University, and the 83rd Anglo-American Congress of Historians, held at Senate House, we have selected the following highlights from the Yale history list. These books, many of them prizewinners, examine everything from seventeenth century climate change to family life in the Soviet Union, showcasing Yale University Press’ commitment to publishing vivid and rigorous history.
The Anglo-Saxon period, stretching from the fifth to the late eleventh century, begins with the Roman retreat from the Western world and ends with the Norman takeover of England. Between these epochal events, many of the contours and patterns of English life that would endure for the next millennium were shaped. In this authoritative work, Nicholas Higham and Martin Ryan re-examine Anglo-Saxon England in the light of new research in disciplines as wide-ranging as historical genetics, paleobotany, archaeology, literary studies, art history and numismatics. The result is the definitive introduction to the Anglo-Saxon world, enhanced with a rich array of photographs, maps, genealogies and other illustrations.
‘You could hardly have a better, more timely, and more attractive demonstration of how the Anglo-Saxons still matter to us.’ – Michael Wood, author of In Search of the Dark Ages
Rory Muir’s masterly new biography, the first of a two volume set, is the result of thirty years research into the Duke of Wellington and his times. The author brings Wellington into much sharper focus than ever before, critically examining every aspect of his life from his unhappy childhood, his baptism into British and Irish politics and his remarkable successes in India, to the setbacks and triumphs of the Peninsular War. This is the first biography to address the significance of Wellington’s political connections and the way they both helped and hindered his campaigns. The work also gives fresh insight into Wellington’s character: his many strengths and the flaws that together made him a complex and interesting man as well as a great soldier. An accompanying commentary by Rory Muir is available to download free here. Volume 2 coming Spring 2015.
‘A formidable achievement, already the Wellington biography for our time.’ – Gary Sheffield, BBC History Magazine
Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century by Geoffrey Parker • New paperback available August
The Sunday Times History Book 2013
This epic history compares the empires built by Spain and Britain in the Americas, from Columbus’ arrival in the New World to the end of Spanish colonial rule in the early nineteenth century. J. H. Elliott, one of the most distinguished and versatile historians working today, offers us history on a grand scale, contrasting the worlds built by Britain and by Spain on the ruins of the civilisations they encountered and destroyed in North and South America. Elliott identifies and explains both the similarities and differences in the two empires’ processes of colonisation, the character of their colonial societies, their distinctive styles of imperial government, and the independence movements mounted against them. Based on wide reading in the history of the two great Atlantic civilisations, the book sets the Spanish and British colonial empires in the context of their own times and offers us insights into aspects of this dual history that still influence the Americas.
‘Parker’s approach is systematic and painstaking … giving us a rich and emotionally intense sense of how it felt to live through chaotic times.’ – Lisa Jardine, Financial Times
Winner of the 2008 PROSE Award for Excellence in World History & Biography/Autobiography
Europe is, in world terms, a relatively minor peninsula attached to the Eurasian land mass, yet it became one of the most innovative regions on the planet, bearing restless adventurers who traversed the globe to trade and often to settle. By the fifteenth century Europe was a driving world force, but the origins of its success have until now remained obscured in prehistory. In this magnificent book, the distinguished archaeologist Barry Cunliffe sees Europe not in terms of states and shifting land boundaries, but as a geographical niche particularly favoured in facing many seas. These and the great transpeninsular rivers ensured a rich diversity of natural resources, and encouraged the interaction of dynamic people across networks of communication and exchange. The development of these early Europeans is rooted in complex interplays, shifting balances, geographic and demographic fluidity. A bold book of exceptional scholarship and an erudite and engaging narrative, Europe Between the Oceans heralds an entirely new understanding of Old Europe.
‘An admirable distillation of an enormous amount of evidence – full of what is beautiful, interesting and true.’ – James Fenton, The Sunday Times.
Selected forthcoming History Books – October 2014:
The Hundred Years War dominated life in England and France for well over a century. It became the defining feature of existence for generations. This sweeping book is the first to tell the human story of the longest military conflict in history. David Green focuses on the ways the war affected different groups, among them knights, clerics, women, peasants, soldiers, peacemakers and kings. Using the events of the war as a narrative thread, Green illuminates the realities of battle and the conditions of those compelled to live in occupied territory; the roles played by clergy and their shifting loyalties to king and pope; and the influence of the war on developing notions of government, literacy and education. Peopled with vivid and well-known characters – Henry V, Joan of Arc, Philippe the Good of Burgundy, Edward the Black Prince, John the Blind of Bohemia, as well as a host of ordinary individuals who were drawn into the struggle, this absorbing book reveals for the first time not only the Hundred Years War’s impact on warfare, institutions and nations, but also its true human cost.
In this masterly twentieth-century history, Paul Ginsborg places the family at centre stage. His groundbreaking book spans 1900 to 1950 and encompasses five nation states in the throes of dramatic transition: Russia in revolutionary passage from Empire to Soviet Union; Turkey in transition from Ottoman Empire to modern Republic; Italy, from liberalism to fascism; Spain during the Second Republic and Civil War; and Germany from the failure of the Weimar Republic to the National Socialist state. Ginsborg explores the effects of political upheaval and radical social policies on family life and, in turn, the impact of families on revolutionary change itself. Families, he shows, do not simply experience the effects of political power, but are themselves actors in the historical process.
Philip II is not only the most famous king in Spanish history, but also the most infamous king in English history: the man who launched the Spanish Armada was the same man who attempted the assassination of Elizabeth Tudor. This compelling biography of Europe’s most powerful sixteenth-century monarch begins with his conception (1526) and ends with his ascent to heaven (1603), two occurrences surprisingly well-documented by contemporaries. Geoffrey Parker draws on decades of research and a recent, extraordinary archival discovery – a trove of 3,000 documents in the vaults of the Hispanic Society of America in New York City, unread since crossing Philip’s own desk.