Alexander the Great, perhaps the most commanding leader in history, united his empire and his army by the titanic force of his will. His death at the age of thirty-two spelled the end of that unity.
The story of Alexander’s conquest of the Persian empire is known to many readers, but the dramatic and consequential saga of the empire’s collapse remains virtually untold. It is a tale of loss that begins with the greatest loss of all, the death of the Macedonian king who had held the empire together.
With his demise, it was as if the sun had disappeared from the solar system, as if planets and moons began to spin crazily in new directions, crashing into one another with unimaginable force.
Alexander bequeathed his power, legend has it, “to the strongest,” leaving behind a mentally damaged half brother and a posthumously born son as his only heirs. In a strange compromise, both figures—Philip III and Alexander IV—were elevated to the kingship, quickly becoming prizes, pawns, fought over by a half-dozen Macedonian generals. Each successor could confer legitimacy on whichever general controlled him.
At the book’s center is the monarch’s most vigorous defender; Alexander’s former Greek secretary, now transformed into a general himself. He was a man both fascinating and entertaining, a man full of tricks and connivances, like the enthroned ghost of Alexander that gives the book its title, and becomes the determining factor in the precarious fortunes of the royal family.
James Romm, brilliant classicist and storyteller, tells the galvanizing saga of the men who followed Alexander and found themselves incapable of preserving his empire. The result was the undoing of a world, formerly united in a single empire, now ripped apart into a nightmare of warring nation-states struggling for domination, the template of our own times.
Image: Map shewing the movements of the U.S. Army now engaged in the conquest of Mexico: exhibiting the probable routes of the army from its departure from Comargo to Monterey, Satillo &co.
Image: View of crowd with umbrellas, in front of platform on east portico of U.S. Capitol, where Chief Justice Roger B. Taney administers the oath of office to James K. Polk.
Illus. in: The illustrated London news, v. 6, 1845 April 19, p. 244, bottom.
Image: Henry Clay
Image: Mrs. James Knox Polk, half-length portrait, facing front. Currier & Ives : a catalogue raisonné / compiled by Gale Research. Detroit, MI : Gale Research, c1983, no. 3470.
Lithograph after daguerreotype by John Plumbe.
Often forgotten and overlooked, the U.S.-Mexican War featured false starts, atrocities, and daring back-channel negotiations as it divided the nation, paved the way for the Civil War a generation later, and launched the career of Abraham Lincoln. Amy S. Greenberg’s skilled storytelling and rigorous scholarship bring this American war for empire to life with memorable characters, plot-lines, and legacies.
When President James K. Polk compelled a divided Congress to support his war with Mexico, it was the first time that the young American nation would engage another republic in battle. Caught up in the conflict and the political furor surrounding it were Abraham Lincoln, then a new congressman; Polk, the dour president committed to territorial expansion at any cost; and Henry Clay, the aging statesman whose presidential hopes had been frustrated once again, but who still harbored influence and had one last great speech up his sleeve. Beyond these illustrious figures, A Wicked War follows several fascinating and long-neglected characters: Lincoln’s arch-rival John Hardin, whose death opened the door to Lincoln’s rise; Nicholas Trist, gentleman diplomat and secret negotiator, who broke with his president to negotiate a fair peace; and Polk’s wife, Sarah, whose shrewd politicking was crucial in the Oval Office.
This definitive history of the 1846 conflict paints an intimate portrait of the major players and their world. It is a story of Indian fights, Manifest Destiny, secret military maneuvers, gunshot wounds, and political spin. Along the way it captures a young Lincoln mismatching his clothes, the lasting influence of the Founding Fathers, the birth of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and America’s first national antiwar movement. A key chapter in the creation of the United States, it is the story of a burgeoning nation and an unforgettable conflict that has shaped American history.
The Fourteenth Day: JFK and the Aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis; Based on the Secret White House Tapes
Photo: CIA reference photograph of Soviet medium-range ballistic missile (SS-4 in U.S. documents, R-12 in Soviet documents) in Red Square, Moscow.
Photo: A US Navy P-2H Neptune of VP-18 flying over a Soviet cargo ship with crated Il-28s on deck during the Cuban Crisis.
Photo: More than 100 US-built missiles having the capability to strike Moscow with nuclear warheads were deployed in Italy and Turkey in 1961
Photo: The Day After. Cuban Missile Crisis: The Aftermath, also known as The Day After: Fight for Promised Land and known in Russia as Caribbean Crisis (Russian: Карибский кризис), is a real-time tactics computer game published by 1C Company in Russia, Black Bean in Europe and Strategy First in United States. It was made using Nival Interactive's Enigma engine and is similar to Blitzkrieg.
"A portrait of the JFK White House after the Cuban Missile Crisis as it really was…human and revealing." —Evan Thomas
Popular history marks October 28, 1962, as the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yet as JFK’s secretly recorded White House tapes reveal, the aftermath of the crisis was a political and diplomatic minefield. The president had to push hard to get Khrushchev to remove Soviet weaponry from Cuba without reigniting the volatile situation, while also tackling midterm elections and press controversy. With a new preface that highlights recently declassified information, historian David G. Coleman puts readers in the Oval Office during the turning point of Kennedy’s presidency and the watershed of the Cold War.
Photo: The Battle of Gaugamela, also called the Battle of Arbela, was the decisive battle of Alexander the Great's invasion of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. In 331 BC Alexander's army of the Hellenic League met the Persian army of Darius III near Gaugamela, close to the modern city of Dohuk in Iraqi Kurdistan. Here: The Battle of Gaugamela, Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1602. This glorious painting is rich in imagination, as the actual site is flat, in the Nineveh Plain,
Photo: Hannibal's crossing of the Alps in 218 BC was one of the major events of the Second Punic War, and one of the most celebrated achievements of any military force in ancient warfare. Here: War elephants depicted in Hannibal Barca crossing the Rhône, by Henri Motte, 1878
Photo: Caesar pauses before crossing the Rubicon.
n Masters of Command, Barry Strauss compares the way the three greatest generals of the ancient world—Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar—waged war and draws lessons from their experiences that apply on and off the battlefield.
Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar—each was a master of war. Each had to look beyond the battlefield to decide whom to fight, when, and why; to know what victory was and when to end the war; to determine how to bring stability to the lands he conquered. Each general had to be a battlefield tactician and more: a statesman, a strategist, a leader.
Tactics change, weapons change, but war itself remains much the same throughout the centuries, and a great warrior must know how to define success. Understanding where each of these three great (but flawed) commanders succeeded and failed can serve anyone who wants to think strategically or has to demonstrate leadership. In Masters of Command, Barry Strauss explains the qualities these great generals shared, the keys to their success, from ambition and judgment to leadership itself.
The result of years of research, Masters of Command is based on surviving written documents and archeological evidence as well as the author’s travels in Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, and Tunisia in the footsteps of Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar.
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Weaving together information from long-forgotten diaries and declassified Secret Service documents, the journalist and historian Robert Klara exposes the private tensions and conflicts of a journey long shrouded in mystery.
The April 1945 journey of FDR's funeral train became a thousand-mile odyssey, fraught with heartbreak and scandal. As it passed through the night, few of the grieving onlookers gave thought to what might be happening behind the Pullman shades, where women whispered and men tossed back highballs. Inside was a Soviet spy, a newly widowed Eleanor Roosevelt, who had just discovered that her husband's mistress was in the room with him when he died, all the Supreme Court justices, and incoming president Harry S. Truman who was scrambling to learn secrets FDR had never shared with him.
Weaving together information from long-forgotten diaries and declassified Secret Service documents, journalist and historian Robert Klara enters the private world on board that famous train. He chronicles the three days during which the country grieved and despaired as never before, and a new president hammered out the policies that would galvanize a country in mourning and win the Second World War.
Although the framers gave the president little authority, George Washington knew whatever he did would set precedents for generations of future leaders. To ensure their ability to defend the nation, he simply ignored the Constitution when he thought it necessary.
In a revealing new look at the birth of American government, “Mr. President” describes Washington's presidency in a time of continual crisis, as rebellion and attacks by foreign enemies threatened to destroy this new nation. Constantly weighing preservation of the Union against preservation of individual liberties and states' rights, Washington assumed more power with each crisis. In a series of brilliant but unconstitutional maneuvers he forced Congress to cede control of the four pillars of executive power: war, finance, foreign affairs, and law enforcement.
Drawing on rare documents and letters, Unger shows how Washington combined political cunning and sheer genius to seize ever-widening powers, impose law and order while ensuring individual freedom, and shape the office of President of the United States.
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In The Crisis of Liberalism: Prelude to Trump, Fred Siegel leverages New York City to uncover the key political conflicts and social contradictions in American liberalism over the last century. This wide-ranging collection of essays critically recounts how passionate intellectual debates and then heated cultural struggles over how to realize "the good life" in the modern city emerged from the writings of early progressive "thought leaders." Herbert Croly and H. G. Wells once envisioned college graduates as a new elite that could pick up the project of enlightened democratic governance where the European aristocracy had failed. Yet, as Eric Hoffer observed, these graduates left top-notch schools as liberal technocrats wanting "power, lordship, and opportunities for imposing action."
The epic story of one of England's greatest families, focusing on the towering figure of Winston Churchill.
The first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722) was a soldier of such genius that a lavish palace, Blenheim, was built to honor his triumphs. Succeeding generations of Churchills sometimes achieved distinction but also included profligates and womanizers, and were saddled with the ruinous upkeep of Blenheim. The family fortunes were revived in the nineteenth century by the huge dowries of New York society beauties Jennie Jerome (Winston's mother) and Consuelo Vanderbilt (wife to Winston's cousin).
Mary S. Lovell brilliantly recounts the triumphant political and military campaigns, the construction of great houses, the domestic tragedies, and the happy marriage of Winston to Clementine Hosier set against the disastrous unions of most of his family, which ended in venereal disease, papal annulment, clinical depression, and adultery.
The Churchills were an extraordinary family: ambitious, impecunious, impulsive, brave, and arrogant. Winston—recently voted "The Greatest Briton"—dominates them all. His failures and triumphs are revealed in the context of a poignant and sometimes tragic private life.
From his youth as a voracious newspaper reader, Abraham Lincoln became a free thinker, reading Tom Paine, as well as Shakespeare and the Bible. In the “fascinating” (Booklist, starred review) A Self-Made Man, Sidney Blumenthal reveals how Lincoln’s antislavery thinking began in his childhood in backwoods Kentucky and Indiana. Intensely ambitious, he held political aspirations from his earliest years. Yet he was a socially awkward suitor who had a nervous breakdown over his inability to deal with the opposite sex. His marriage to the upper class Mary Todd was crucial to his social aspirations and his political career. “The Lincoln of Blumenthal’s pen is…a brave progressive facing racist assaults on his religion, ethnicity, and very legitimacy that echo the anti-Obama birther movement….Blumenthal takes the wily pol of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals and goes deeper, finding a Vulcan logic and House of Cards ruthlessness” (The Washingtonian).
Based on prodigious research of Lincoln’s record, and of the period and its main players, Blumenthal’s robust biography reflects both Lincoln’s time and the struggle that consumes our own political debate. This first volume traces Lincoln from his birth in 1809 through his education in the political arts, rise to the Congress, and fall into the wilderness from which he emerged as the man we recognize as Abraham Lincoln. “Splendid…no one can come away from reading A Self-Made Man…without eagerly anticipating the ensuing volumes.” (Washington Monthly).
It's 1942 and the Nazis are racing to be the first to build a weapon unlike any known before. They have the physicists, they have the uranium, and now all their plans depend on amassing a single ingredient: heavy water, which is produced in Norway's Vemork, the lone plant in all the world that makes this rare substance. Under threat of death, Vemork's engineers push production into overdrive.
For the Allies, the plant must be destroyed. But how would they reach the castle fortress set on a precipitous gorge in one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on Earth?
Based on a trove of top-secret documents and never-before-seen diaries and letters of the saboteurs, The Winter Fortress is an arresting chronicle of a brilliant scientist, a band of spies on skies, perilous survival in the wild, sacrifice for one's country, Gestapo manhunts, soul-crushing setbacks, and a last-minute operation that would end any chance Hitler could obtain the atomic bomb—and alter the course of the war.