Title: The Unfinished Peace
Author: Patrick O. Cohrs
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Spartacus Website: Versailles Treaty
This is a highly original and revisionist analysis of British and American efforts to forge a stable Euro-Atlantic peace order between 1919 and the rise of Hitler. Patrick Cohrs argues that this order was not founded at Versailles but rather through the first 'real' peace settlements after World War I - the London reparations settlement of 1924 and the Locarno security pact of 1925. Crucially, both fostered Germany's integration into a fledgling transatlantic peace system, thus laying the only realistic foundations for European stability. What proved decisive was that key decision-makers drew lessons from the 'Great War' and Versailles' shortcomings. Yet Cohrs also re-appraises why they could not sustain the new order, master its gravest crisis - the Great Depression - and prevent Nazism's onslaught. Despite this ultimate failure, he concludes that the 'unfinished peace' of the 1920s prefigured the terms on which a more durable peace could be founded after 1945.
Author: Patrick Delaforce
Publisher: Michael O'Mara
Spartacus Website: Winston Churchill
Prime Minister, statesman and wartime leader, master strategist, soldier, historian, orator, journalist, wit, writer and inventor - in short, a true colossus of a man - Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) was undoubtedly the greatest leader of the Second World War, and unarguably the greatest Briton of his age. Born at the height of British imperial power, and twice elected Prime Minister, he galvanized the British people and their allies to resist the onslaught from Nazi Germany and, later, Japan, and in doing became the architect of the destruction of these unquestionably evil empires. "274 Things You Should Know About Churchill" is a celebration of the man, his life and his monumental achievements, written by Patrick Delaforce, an experienced soldier and military author in his own right. It is perhaps too easy to forget that Churchill was more than an inspirational commander and figurehead to a nation. Indeed, it would be a gross dishonour to his memory to think only this of him, for because - or in spite - of his numerous and varied successes, Churchill was also a full-bloodied human being, with all of the foibles, attitude, distemper, pig-headedness and conceit that are so often the shadows of such greatness. Similarly forgotten, beyond the demands of Parliament he lived a full and varied life in an ebullient and mischievous way; sailing the seas with his wife, Clemmie, on the Admiralty yacht, HMS Enchantress, owning racehorses, playing polo, entertaining friends, all of which, and more, find a place within "274 Things You Should Know About Churchill", retold and recounted. Beautifully packaged, "274 Things You Should Know About Churchill" is, like the best miscellanies, a many-sided work; a great source of anecdotes and memories, an insight into his larger-than-life personality, a record of his often caustic yet brilliant wit, and, by the use of long out-of-print and forgotten sources, a document of his remarkable and inestimable contribution to the modern world. To contain such a man within the pages of a book is a formidable task - a man owed so much by so many, to paraphrase one of his most famous speeches - yet "274 Things You Should Know About Churchill" is, like its subject, a very notable triumph.
Title: Them and Us
Author: Charles Jennings
Spartacus Website: Henry Channon
In 1936, Henry 'Chips' Channon gave a lavish dinner for King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson at his house in Belgrave Square. Feasting on blinis, caviare, sole and beef, served by the ruthlessly-drilled precision of Chips' staff, it was a vivid demonstration of just how far the Americans had percolated high society. The British aristocracy, impoverished by death duties, agricultural collapse and higher taxation, as well as morally shattered by the First World War, could only look on. It was as if the world had been turned upside down. As Lady Londonderry observed, it seemed as if London was 'being run by an American syndicate'. What had happened to bring about this change? How had the Americans become so powerful, so rich, so over here? "Them and Us" is a story of social upheaval, of the transformation which took place when British high society - that bastion against the forces of the New - gave in to America. A lively mix of anecdote and social history, Charles Jennings' new book brings to life the most striking characters of the time and the extravagant, high-voltage period in which they lived, giving a real sense of their follies, dramas, tragedies and longings.
Title: In Defence of Atheism
Author: Michael Onfray
Publisher: Serpents Tail
Spartacus Website: Religion and Society
In the twenty-first century, religion is making a comeback, bringing in its wake extremism of all kinds. From Christian anti-abortion campaigns to suicide bombers claiming the righteousness of Islam, we are witnessing a resurgence of fundamentalism. Michel Onfray’s response to the threat of a post-modern theocracy is to lay down the principles of an authentic atheism: exposing the fiction that is God, he proposes instead a new philosophy of reason that celebrates life and humanity. In Defence of Atheism demonstrates that organised religion is motivated by worldly, historical and political power; that the three dominant monotheisms – Christianity, Islam and Judaism – exhibit the same hatred of women, reason, the body, the passions; that religion denies life and glorifies death. Onfray exposes some uncomfortable truths: Judaism invented the extermination of a people; Jesus never existed historically; Christianity was enforced with extreme violence by Constantine; Islam is anti-Semitic, misogynist, warlike and incompatible with the values of a modern democracy.