Just before dawn on July 16, 1942 the French Police began Opération Vent Printanier, or “Operation Spring Breeze.” That morning over 13,000 Jews were forcibly removed from their homes and trudged through the streets of Paris to the Vélodrome d’Hiver, the Winter Bicycle Racetrack, on the rue Nélaton in the city’s fifteenth arrondisement.
After a long career among both politicians and literary lights, Roy Jenkins perhaps found his ideal subject in his last great biography, Churchill. Fans of the reputation-blackening revisionism common to the genre will find little to love in this laudatory account.
Within the span of thirty years, Lev Davidovich Bronshtein (Trotsky) went from living as a revolutionary in exile to being one of the world’s most successful revolutionary leaders, only to spend the waning years of his life back in exile and on the run from the regime whose creation defined his life’s work.
A swarm of plump and colorful waxwings are feasting on rowanberries. Suddenly, a shot rings out. Suddenly, a shot rings out. “A good dozen of the birds tumble from the fruit clusters down into the snow amidst fallen berries and drops of blood.
Matthäus Schwarz of Augsburg was, in many respects, a rather typical (if unusually successful) early modern merchant: he worked his way up from an apprentice clerk to a chief accountant in the powerful Fugger banking dynasty, he married, went to war, had children, and, in 1574, he died.
Almost a century after its publication, Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians remains a landmark work in the field of biography. The author chooses four notable personalities – Henry Manning, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Arnold, and Charles George Gordon – and uses their lives to illuminate the broader history of Victorian England.
Kern calls time and space the universal, “essential” realities through which humans perceive, experience and live life, and he uses them to understand historical change.
The Voices of Morebath chronicles the coming of the English Reformation to a small village in sixteenth-century Devonshire. Duffy tells the story of Morebath through the eyes of its boisterous vicar, Sir Christopher Trychay, who kept exceptionally detailed records during his fifty-four year career in the village.
Three brilliant but frustrated editors amuse themselves by inventing European history anew in Umberto Eco’s bestselling novel, Foucault’s Pendulum. The protagonists rearrange names both familiar and obscure from a millennium of European politics, religion, and science to create a dizzying alternative narrative of Templar plots, secret society schemes, and occultist conspiracies.
With all of the components of a riveting murder-mystery, including a baffling disappearance, a set of gossipy characters, a love triangle, conflicting evidence, and a scandalous trial, A Tale of Two Murders: Passion and Power in Seventeenth-Century France by James R. Farr is a fascinating read.