Book cover of Persians: The Age of the Great Kings by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
Ancient Civilizations

Persians: The Age of the Great Kings

The Achaemenid Persian kings ruled over the largest empire of antiquity, stretching from Libya to the steppes of Asia and from Ethiopia to Pakistan. From the palace-city of Persepolis, Cyrus the Great, Darius, Xerxes, and their heirs reigned supreme for centuries until the conquests of Alexander of Macedon brought the empire to a swift and unexpected end in the late 330s BCE.  […Learn More]

Book cover of Mutinous Women: How French Convicts Became Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast by Joan DeJean
Colonial Period

Mutinous Women: How French Convicts Became Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast 

The secret history of the rebellious Frenchwomen who were exiled to colonial Louisiana and found power in the Mississippi Valley

In 1719, a ship named La Mutine (the mutinous woman), sailed from the French port of Le Havre, bound for the Mississippi. It was loaded with urgently needed goods for the fledgling French colony, but its principal commodity was a new kind of export: women. […Learn More]

Book cover of James Madison: America's First Politician by Jay Cost
Biography & Autobiography

James Madison: America’s First Politician

An intellectual biography of James Madison, arguing that he invented American politics as we know it 

How do you solve a problem like James Madison? The fourth president is one of the most confounding figures in early American history; his political trajectory seems almost intentionally inconsistent. He was both for and against a strong federal government. […Learn More]

Eastern Europe

The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine

As Ukraine is embroiled in an ongoing struggle with Russia to preserve its territorial integrity and political independence, celebrated historian Serhii Plokhy explains that today’s crisis is a case of history repeating itself: the Ukrainian conflict is only the latest in a long history of turmoil over Ukraine’s sovereignty. Situated between Central Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, Ukraine has been shaped by empires that exploited the nation as a strategic gateway between East and West—from the Romans and Ottomans to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Last Emperor of Mexico: The Dramatic Story of the Habsburg Archduke Who Created a Kingdom in the New World by Edward Shawcross
Americas

The Last Emperor of Mexico: The Dramatic Story of the Habsburg Archduke Who Created a Kingdom in the New World

The true operatic tragedy of Maximilian and Carlota, the European aristocrats who stumbled into power in Mexico—and faced bloody consequences.

In the 1860s, Napoleon III, intent on curbing the rise of American imperialism, persuaded a young Austrian archduke and a Belgian princess to leave Europe and become the emperor and empress of Mexico. They and their entourage arrived in a Mexico ruled by terror, where revolutionary fervor was barely suppressed by French troops. […Learn More]

Book cover of Firepower: How Weapons Shaped Warfare by Paul Lockhart
History

Firepower: How Weapons Shaped Warfare

How military technology has transformed the world 

The history of warfare cannot be fully understood without considering the technology of killing. In Firepower, acclaimed historian Paul Lockhart tells the story of the evolution of weaponry and how it transformed not only the conduct of warfare but also the very structure of power in the West, from the Renaissance to the dawn of the atomic era.  […Learn More]

Book cover of Hitler's American Gamble: Pearl Harbor and Germany’s March to Global War by Brendan Simms and Charlie Laderman
Europe

Hitler’s American Gamble: Pearl Harbor and Germany’s March to Global War

A riveting account of the five most crucial days in twentieth-century diplomatic history: from Pearl Harbor to Hitler’s declaration of war on the United States

By early December 1941, war had changed much of the world beyond recognition. Nazi Germany occupied most of the European continent, while in Asia, the Second Sino-Japanese War had turned China into a battleground. But these conflicts were not yet inextricably linked—and the United States remained at peace. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Greeks: A Global History by Roderick Beaton
Ancient Civilizations

The Greeks: A Global History

A sweeping history of the Greeks, from the Bronze Age to today  

More than two thousand years ago, the Greek city-states, led by Athens and Sparta, laid the foundation for much of modern science, the arts, politics, and law. But the influence of the Greeks did not end with the rise and fall of this classical civilization. As historian Roderick Beaton illustrates, over three millennia Greek speakers produced a series of civilizations that were rooted in southeastern Europe but again and again ranged widely across the globe.   […Learn More]

Book cover of Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors by Adrian Goldsworthy
Ancient Civilizations

Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors

This definitive biography of one of history’s most influential father-son duos tells the story of two rulers who gripped the world — and their rise and fall from power.

Alexander the Great’s conquests staggered the world. He led his army across thousands of miles, overthrowing the greatest empires of his time and building a new one in their place. He claimed to be the son of a god, but he was actually the son of Philip II of Macedon. […Learn More]