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    • Local history
      August 2021

      Dark History

      Murder, madness and misadventure in Penn's woods

      by Jenn Green

      Pennsylvania has a long history of strange and macabre events; these seven stories provide an insight in three centuries of murder, disease, witchcraft, cannibalism and botched executions in Chester and Delaware counties.

    • September 2021

      Dreadnoughts and Super Dreadnoughts

      by Chris McNab

      When HMS Dreadnought was commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1906 this revolutionary new class of big-gun iron-clad warship immediately changed the face of naval warfare, rendering all other battleships worldwide obsolete. The Admiralty realized that as soon as the ship was revealed to the global naval community Britain would be a in race to stay ahead, and so the first dreadnoughts were built in record time. While there were those who regarded the vessel as a triumphant revolution in naval design, the dreadnought initially had its critics, including those who thought its slower, heavier guns left it vulnerable to the secondary armament of other warships. Nevertheless, other countries, notably Germany, and the United States soon began to lay down dreadnoughts. The culmination of this arms race would be the confrontation of the British and German fleets at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 – the greatest clash of naval firepower in history. This book gives detailed insights into the design, operation and combat history of these incredible vessels.

    • Military history
      September 2021

      Ancient Greeks at War

      Warfare in the classical world from Agamemnon to Alexander

      by Simon Elliott

      Ancient Greeks at War is a lavishly illustrated tour de force covering every aspect of warfare in the Ancient Greek world from the beginnings of Greek civilization through to its assimilation into the ever expanding world of Rome. As such it begins with the onset Minoan culture on Crete around 2,000 BC, then covers the arrival of the Mycenaean civilisation and the ensuing Late Bronze Age Collapse, before moving on to Dark Age and Archaic Greece. This sets the scene for the flowering of Classical Greek civilization, as told through detailed narratives of the Greek and Persian Wars, Peloponnesian Wars and the rise of Thebes as a major power. The book then moves on to the onset of Macedonian domination under Philip II, before focusing in detail on the exploits of his son Alexander the Great, the all-conquering hero of the ancient world. His legacy was the Hellenistic world with its multiple, never ending series of conflicts that took place over a huge territory, ranging from Italy in the west all the way to India in the east. Those covered include the various Wars of the Successors, the rise of the Bactrian-Greek and Indo-Greek kingdoms, the various wars between the Antigonid Macedonian, Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms, and later the onset of the clash of cultures between the rising power of Rome in the west and the Hellenistic kingdoms. In the long run the latter proved unable to match Rome’s insatiable desire for conquest in the eastern Mediterranean, and this together with the rise of Parthia in the east ensured that one by one the Hellenistic kingdoms and states fell. The book ends with the destruction of Corinth in 146 BC after the defeat by Rome of the Achaean League. The conclusion considers the legacy of the Ancients Greeks in the Roman world, and subsequently.

    • Second World War
      December 2021

      Nazis on the Potomac

      The top-secret intelligence operation that helped win World War II

      by Robert K. Sutton

      Now a green open space enjoyed by residents, Fort Hunt, Virginia, about 15 miles south of Washington, DC. was the site of one of the highest-level, clandestine operations during World War II. Shortly after the United States entered World War II, the US military realised that it had to work on exploiting any advantages it might gain on the Axis Powers. One part of these endeavors was to establish a secret facility not too close, but also not too far from the Pentagon which would interrogate and eavesdrop on the highest-level Nazi prisoners and also translate and analyze captured German war documents. That complex was established at Fort Hunt, known by the code name: PO Box 1142. The American servicemen who interrogated German prisoners or translated captured German documents were young, bright, hard-working, and absolutely dedicated to their work. Many of them were Jews, who had escaped Nazi Germany as children—some had come to America with their parents, others had escaped alone, but their experiences and those they had been forced to leave behind meant they all had personal motivation to do whatever they could to defeat Nazi Germany. They were perfect for the difficult and complex job at hand. They never used corporal punishment in interrogations of German soldiers but developed and deployed dozens of tricks to gain information. The Allies won the war against Hitler for a host of reasons, discussed in hundreds of volumes. This is the first book to describe the intelligence operations at PO Box 1142 and their part in that success. It will never be known how many American lives were spared, or whether the war ended sooner with the programs at Fort Hunt, but they doubtless did make a difference. Moreover these programs gave the young Jewish men stationed there the chance to combat the evil that had befallen them and their families.

    • Biography: historical, political & military
      May 2021

      Vagabonds

      Tourists into the Heart of Darkness

      by Nick Brokhausen and Jeff Miller

      "A lot of confusion, a lot of humor, a lot of broken dreams and broken promises, an occasional triumph." Once a soldier has survived the ultimate contest between skill, luck, and happenstance, which defines combat, everything else seems easy and within reach. In his military career Nick Brokhausen had participated in some of the most dangerous and daring operations the United States had undertaken as a nation. After two decades in the Special Forces, including two deployments to MACV-SOG, he decided to leave the service and reinvent himself. Teaming up with Jeff Miller and other SF vets, Nick decided to use the skills he had acquired in his military career to make his way in the world. In his own inimitable style, Nick weaves the tale of a truly unique career path, running counter-terrorism training courses for SWAT teams, testing the security for the Los Angeles Olympics, training private bodyguards for wealthy families in Mexico, working security projects around the world, recovering kidnap victims, and advising resource developers. Things rarely go to plan, but a mere detail like that never stops the Green Berets.

    • Second World War
      February 2021

      From the Realm of a Dying Sun. Volume 3

      IV. SS-Panzerkorps from Budapest to Vienna, February–May 1945

      by Douglas E. Nash Sr.

      In the closing months of World War II, with Budapest’s fall on 12 February 1945 and the breakout attempt by the IX SS-Gebirgskorps having failed, the only thing the IV. SS-Panzerkorps could do was fall back to a more defensible line and fortify the key city of Stuhlweissenburg. Exhausted after three relief attempts in January 1945 and outnumbered by the ever-increasing power of Marshal Tolbukhin’s Third Ukrainian Front, SS-Obergruppenführer Gille’s veterans dug in for a lengthy period of defensive warfare. However, Adolf Hitler had not forgotten about the Hungarian theater of operations nor the country’s rich oilfields and was sending help. To the detriment of the defense of Berlin, SS-Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich’s legendary 6. Panzerarmee was on its way, not to retake Budapest, but to encircle and destroy Tolbukhin’s forces and completely reverse the situation in south-eastern Europe in Hitler’s favor. This overly ambitious offensive, known as Frühlingserwachen (Spring Awakening), was soon bogged down in the face of resolute Soviet defenses aided by the springtime thaw. Heralded as Nazi Germany’s last great offensive of World War II, it resulted in great losses to Hitler’s last armored reserve in exchange for only minor gains. Though it played a supporting role during the battle, the IV. SS-Panzerkorps was soon caught up in its aftermath, after the Red Army launched its Vienna Operation that nearly swept the armies of Heeresgruppe Süd from the battlefield. Withdrawing into Austria, Gille’s battered corps attempted to bar the route into Germany, while the Red Army bore down on Vienna. Forced to endure relentless Soviet attacks as well as the caustic leadership of the 6. Armee commander, General Hermann Balck, the men of the IV. SS-Panzerkorps fought their way through Austria to reach the safety of the demarcation line where it finally surrendered to U.S. forces on 9 May 1945 after nearly a year of relentless campaigning.

    • Historical fiction
      November 2020

      A Question of Time

      The Snake Eater Chronicles 1

      by James Stejskal

      Berlin, 1979. When the CIA’s most valuable spy is compromised, the Agency realizes it does not have the capability to bring him to safety. If he cannot evade the dreaded East German security service, the result will be chaos and a cascade of failures throughout the Agency’s worldwide operations. Master Sergeant Kim Becker lived through the hell of Vietnam as a member of the elite Studies and Operations Group. When he lost one of his best men in a pointless operation, he began to question his mission. Now, he is serving with an even more secretive Army Special Forces unit based in Berlin on the front line of the Cold War. The CIA turns to Becker’s team of unconventional warfare specialists to pull their bacon out of the fire. Becker and his men must devise a plan to get him out by whatever means possible. It's a race against time to prepare and execute the plan while, alone in East Berlin, the agent must avoid his nemesis and play for time inside the hostile secret service headquarters he has betrayed. One question remains — is the man worth the risk?

    • February 2021

      Identitti

      by Mithu Sanyal

      It’s the 2020s and things are complicated. Then there’s a scandal: Prof. Saraswati is a white woman – and nothing could be worse. Because she holds the chair of Postcolonial Studies in Düsseldorf and is the supreme goddess of identity debates, in which she describes herself as a person of colour. Nivedita is flipping out. Born in Germany to an Indian father, she strongly identifies with her professor – but what is identity after all? While Saraswati receives online threats and demonstrators demand her resignation, Nivedita asks her some probing questions: Is our identity just our personality, or is it more defined by our gender or skin colour? Is it possible to get rid of whiteness? What’s sex got to do with it? Mithu Sanyal’s writing is filled with wonderful self-deprecating humour and liberating insights. No one leaves the centrifugal force of this novel in the same way they started.

    • Literary Fiction
      January 2021

      Daddy

      by Monika Helfer

      Daddy is a memoir that pens a portrait of a post-war generation. It is a novel about growing up in difficult circumstances and the author’s search for her roots. He had a prosthetic leg, was often absent, was a widower, a pensioner and loved literature. Monika Helfer’s book orbits her father’s life and tells the story of her childhood and adolescence – the spaciousness and library in the mountain recovery home for war victims and the poverty and the cramped conditions in a South Tyrolean settlement with many children in one kitchen. She writes what she knows about her father, a man who, like many of his generation, didn’t say much. With great veracity, the result is a novel that gently unfolds existential matters and traces painful memories. »Yes, everything turned out fine. In a terrible way, it all turned out fine.«

    • Literary Fiction
      April 2021

      August

      by Peter Richter

      Richard and Stefanie, and Alec and Vera, think they’ve made it. They’ve left Berlin behind and now live in New York. One long August, they treat themselves and their children to a holiday between the pool and the sea from where they have a good view of real wealth on display in the Hamptons. But by the end of their holiday, they will no longer know how to continue with their lives. A man is doing the rounds of the luxury holiday homes on Long Island, selling ideas of »inner growth« to super-rich holidaymakers. He deems any remedy suitable to this end, from the secretions of exotic frogs to mystical morning yoga. In Stefanie he finds an enthusiastic follower – and this sets several catastrophes in motion at once. With an assured feel for comedy in his description of the couples’ struggle for happiness and melancholy when describing their dashed hopes, he depicts an acute fear of emptiness at the height of the summer of a lifetime.

    • January 2021

      The Eighth Child

      by Alem Grabovac

      Your father is a good-for-nothing, your foster father, a Nazi and your stepfather, a brutal drunkard: The Eighth Child catapults us into a life too drastic to be imagined. Smilja toils in a chocolate factory while her husband Emir, a party-loving petty criminal, eventually ends up behind bars in the notorious island prison of Goli Otok in Yugoslavia. After the birth of her son Alem, Smilja makes a far-reaching decision: she wants her baby to be raised by a strict German foster family with seven children of their own. But the boy spends every other weekend with his mother and her new violent boyfriend in the red-light district surrounding Frankfurt’s main station. Alem Grabovac tells the harrowing story of a harsh upbringing in raw detail and without judgement.

    • January 2021

      Hands

      A cultural history

      by Jochen Hörisch

      They grip and feel, caress and hit. We wave them to welcome people and use them to sign contracts. No part of our body is as versatile as our hands. Their prominent role in our lives is evident in everyday language: we ›take something in hand‹, we cannot dismiss something ›out of hand‹ and we see a goal ›within hand’s reach‹ – if we don’t have ‘two left hands’ at least. Jochen Hörisch shows us a whole variety of hands that can be found throughout literature and the history of ideas. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the most famous figure in German literature is called Faust (›fist‹ in English). Generations of people before us have felt ›saved by the hand of God‹ and today, many trust the ›invisible hand‹ of the market. Each era has its own associations with hands – and as we enter a period in history when machines are becoming increasingly voice-controlled, this says a great deal about the change we are undergoing.

    • April 2021

      The Rise of Numbers

      How mathematics reinvented itself in the Renaissance

      by Thomas de Padova

      In the 15th and 16th centuries, mathematics was revived in Europe. Arabic numerals, including the hitherto unknown zero, conquered commercial life and were combined to produce formulas for the first time. The invention of the central perspective and the rediscovery of Greek geometry fundamentally changed art and science. Pictures were now windows onto the world, as was the new form of mathematics. Regiomontanus and Albrecht Dürer in Nuremberg played roles in this unprecedented change that were equally as important as Leonardo da Vinci and Girolamo Cardano in Milan.Quick-witted and with a keen eye for hidden elements, The Power of Numbers leads us to the moment when plus, minus and multiplication signs were invented. Thomas de Padova recounts an exciting chapter in the history of mathematics and reveals a new perspective on the vibrant historical epoch of the Renaissance.

    • April 2021

      When Sharks Glow in the Dark

      A journey into the mysterious world of oceanography

      by Julia Schnetzer

      The sea is an astonishing and enigmatic ecosystem. More people have walked on the moon than on the ocean bed. Without good reason, finds the science slammer and marine biologist Julia Schnetzer. Because not only can the latest revelations about our environment be discovered in the immortality of jellyfish, the language of dolphins and the life cycles of underwater mosquitoes, but also about us people. Julia Schnetzer’s book combines up-to-date research, her own experiences and an eye for the curious. The result is a fascinating and informative dive into the oceans of the world.

    • Children's & YA
      January 2021

      Being There

      What are you feeling?

      by Kathrin Schärer

      Every child knows feelings of fear, joy, anger and sadness. Kathrin Schärer gives a face to 30 emotions in expressive animal pictures: A meerkat stands resolutely on a diving board: he is courageous. An ermine jiggles nervously from one foot to the other in the queue: she is impatient. Two piglets stare at the ghost with their eyes open and their mouths open – they are terrified. A little bear shyly hides behind his mother. In an offended pose, a chameleon crosses its arms. Angrily the rabbit stomps his paw. – A treasure chest of emotions, in which even the smallest readers can discover and recognise, name and distinguish feelings.

    • Children's & YA
      April 2021

      Dulcinea in the MagicForest

      A Fairy Tale

      by Ole Könnecke

      The magic forest is dangerous and forbidden to enter. Dulcinea has known this ever since she was a young girl. But her father has gone there to pick blueberries for her birthday pancakes. Could the witch have cast a spell on him? When he fails to return Dulcinea does not hesitate a moment to go and look for him. Resolutely, she pushes her way through the thorny undergrowth of the forest. Undaunted, she crosses the moat full of monsters. Bravely, she scales the ivy-covered castle wall all the way up to the witches’ tower. Can she even steal the witch’s secret book of spells? After all, her father would not have named her after brave Dulcinea if she couldn’t break the witch’s curse to celebrate her birthday with him in the evening.

    • Travel & Transport

      North Cape

      by Pedro Bravo

      North Cape is the adventure of an antisocial character who is angry with the world. A man who travels North in search of something, even though he's not very sure what he is after. It doesn't matter. Or maybe it does. Along the way he bumps into brave Viking women, sea currents capable of crushing a bear, Norwegian Monty Python, a tribe that resists colonisation, sharks that have not yet reached sexual maturity, eternauts who travel carrying miniatures of Lenin, fathers who rob banks, shamans devoted to Philip K. Dick and even a drunken but lucid Miles Davis. On the borderline between a chronicle and an autobiography, Pedro Bravo begins his journey in Å, the quietest village in Norway (and probably in the whole the world), and ends, or so he thinks, in the northernmost point of continental Europe.

    • Travel & Transport

      Purity

      by Ruth Miguel Franco

      Purity is a physical, emotional and cultural journey through the surroundings of a city besieged by imposing mountains. It is also the chronicle of a foretold end: that of a winter in Innsbruck.

    • Travel & Transport

      Three ways to cross a river

      by Agustina Atrio

      Tres formas de atravesar un río, by the Argentinian Agustina Atrio, is the story of a journey through water, a celebration of life, but also of uprooting. With a brutally honest voice she tells us about the impossibility of having a fixed address, a stable identity, a foot anchored on land.

    • Travel & Transport

      The year I didn't travel to Buenos Aires

      by Saray Encinoso Brito

      In El año que no viajé a Buenos Aires, Saray Encinoso Brito travels to Buenos Aires without a plane, without luggage and without a return date. It is a fascinating and original imaginary guide for a journey that never happened.

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