Presented in the 16th century as a gift from Macchiavelli to 'His Magnificence' Lorenzo de Medici, this treatise on power and leadership has become a perennial classic of philosophy. Peter Constantine's fresh translation is erudite, forthright and readable in the extreme.
Hughes traces the city’s history from its mythic foundation with Romulus and Remus to Fascism, Fellini and beyond. Hughes’ Rome is an effervescent mass of contradictions and a monument to glory and error.
A confident, colourful tapestry of Venetian history from Ascension Day 1000 to 1500. Crowley's grasp of the complex forces - political, ideological and mercantile - driving this exploration is accompanied by a knack for anecdote and irresistable character sketches.
Originally published in 1938, this is Orwell's classic account of his experiences during the Spanish Civil War. In what is one of his finest books he describes the calamity and humanity of a chaotic war.
Drawing on years of interviews and conversations with Leigh Fermor and his closest friends, this beautifully crafted biography portrays a man of extraordinary gifts - widely considered to be the greatest travel writer of our time.
In Cruel Crossing Stourton reveals the remarkable personal stories of endurance, betrayal and incredible bravery of those who struggled along the escape routes through the Pyrenees from France to Spain during the Second World War. Drawing on interviews with the few remaining survivors and the families of those who were there, Stourton's vivid history of this little-known aspect of WWII is shocking, dramatic and intensely moving. One of the best books on the war, and the personal tragedies suffered, to come along for some time.
Esteemed scholar Carr here edits a broad and sinuous collection of essays addressing the prevalent social and intellectual trends of Spanish history. In emphasising the remarkable artistic and literary achievements of its people this book does much to enhance our understanding of Spain's rich cultural heritage.
An imaginative, expansive and vivid tribute to an extraordinary locus of world civilisation. Abulafia takes on the Herculean task of charting Mediterranean history from 3500 BC to the present day, celebrating its linguistic, religious and ethnic diversity without ever losing sight of identifiable individuals.
A surprisingly fresh social and cultural history of Venice which succeeds because of Ackroyd's biographical style, personal insights and his way of representing the city's peculiarly illusory and contradictory nature.
Native Neopolitan turned US-based history professor Astarita here crafts a masterful account of this complex region. Covering art, politics and landscape in prose that is lucid, evocative and richly detailed, it is a book both scholarly and instantly accessible to all.
Marcus Aurelius was Emperor of Rome at the zenith of its power and expansion. His enduring, aphoristic meditations on life and death remain to this day a popular and potent source of philosophical perspective and affirming wisdom.
A prominent Italian journalist of 1950s and '60s, Barzini here paints a wittily anecdotal and critically insightful portrait of his compatriots, marshalling the broad sweep of history with great skill. Published in 1964 it of course lacks commentary on recent decades, but his universal truths of Italian morals and manners still resonate today.
Published in 2007 but written before the author made his name with such classics as 'Stalingrad' and 'Berlin', Beevor's account of the Spanish conflict is erudite and compelling, if at times a touch overwhelming in its scholarly depth. Best tackled by those wanting something more complex than Orwell.
Beginning as an investigation into the fire that destroyed the historic Fenice theatre in 1996, Berendt's book meanders broadly through the murky world of the city, taking in all manner of weird and wonderful characters. Though perhaps lacking the cohesive potency of 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' - for which the author was shortlisted for the Pulitzer - this is nonetheless a deeply interesting and enjoyable account of contemporary Venice.
Boatswain's clear and well-structured book is packed with arresting detail and readable in the extreme. Cyprus's location has long endowed it with strategic importance far beyond its size, and it has suffered a complex history as a result. Essential for any visitor, and probably for readers with an interest in European geopolitics too.
Bowen's magnificent evocation of the city illuminates its history and architecture whilst portraying beautifully the impressions it made upon her. Throughout she employs the considerable skills of observation and description that made her such a singular novelist.
A rich and engaging portrait of Renaissance life, dense with sumptuous detail. In setting Borgia's controversial story firmly in its historical context, Bradford occasionally allows her subject to become lost in the wider frame. That said, the complexity of her research cannot be faulted, and her handling of the material is admirable.