The Last Of The Tsars
In March 1917, Nicholas II, the last Tsar of All the Russias, abdicated and the dynasty that had ruled an empire for three hundred years was forced from power by revolution. In this masterful and forensic study, Robert Service examines the last year Nicholas’s reign and the months between that momentous abdication and his death, with his family, in Ekaterinburg in July 1918.
Drawing on the Tsar’s own diaries and other hitherto unexamined contemporary records, The Last of the Tsars reveals a man who was almost entirely out of his depth, perhaps even willfully so. It is also a compelling account of the social, economic and political foment in Russia in the aftermath of Alexander Kerensky’s February Revolution, the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917 and the beginnings of Lenin’s Soviet republic.
The murder of Dele Giwa remains on the infamous list of Nigeria’s unsolved murders. More than twenty-five years after Nigeria’s first ever parcel bomb ended the life of one of the country’s most colourful investigative journalists, the case has refused to be laid to rest. In Honour for Sale, Debo Basorun, with the insight of his proximity to some of the dramatis personae, examines the lurid circumstances of this controversial murder. He unearths a web of ‘intrigue and treachery, clannishness and base humanity’ of some of the men in uniform who, only recently, ran the affairs of the country.
Most accounts of Nigeria’s colonisation were written by British officials, presenting it as a noble civilising mission to rid Africans of barbaric superstition and corrupt tribal leadership. Thanks to this skewed writing of history, many Nigerians today still have Empire nostalgia and view the
colonial period through rose-tinted glasses.
Max Siollun offers a bold rethink: an unromanticised history, arguing compellingly that colonialism had few benevolent intentions, but many unjust outcomes. It may have ended slavery and human sacrifice, but it was accompanied by extreme violence; ethnic and religious identity were cynically exploited to maintain control, while the forceful remoulding of longstanding legal and social practices permanently altered the culture and internal politics of indigenous communities. The aftershocks of this colonial meddling are still being felt decades after independence. Popular narratives often suggest that the economic and political turmoil are homegrown, but the reality is that Britain created many of Nigeria’s crises, and has left them behind for Nigerians to resolve.
This is a definitive, head-on confrontation with Nigeria’s experience under British rule, showing how it forever changed the country–perhaps cataclysmically.
A landmark historical investigation into crimes against humanity and the nature of evil
Vast and revelatory, Dan Gretton’s I You We Them is an unprecedented study of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity: the “desk killers” who ordered and directed some of the worst atrocities of the modern era. From Albert Speer’s complicity in Nazi barbarism to Royal Dutch Shell’s role in the murders of the Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and the rest of the Ogoni Nine, Gretton probes the depths of the figure “who, by giving orders, uses paper or a phone or a computer to kill, instead of a gun.”
Over the past twenty years, Gretton has interviewed survivors and perpetrators, and pored over archives and thousands of pages of testimony. His insight into the psychology of the desk killer is contextualized by the journey he took to penetrate it. Woven into the narrative are his contemplative interludes―perspectives gleaned during walks in the woods, reminiscences about a lost love, and considerations of timeless moral conundrums. The result is a genre-bending work steeped as much in personal reflection as it is in literature and historical and psychological illumination.
A synthesis of history, reportage, and memoir, I You We Them is the first volume of a groundbreaking journal of discovery that bears witness to and reckons with the largest and most pressing questions before humanity.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat is the expert on the “strongman” playbook employed by authoritarian demagogues from Mussolini to Putin—enabling her to predict with uncanny accuracy the recent experience in America and Europe. In Strongmen, she lays bare the blueprint these leaders have followed over the past 100 years, and empowers us to recognize, resist, and prevent their disastrous rule in the future.
For ours is the age of authoritarian rulers: self-proclaimed saviors of the nation who evade accountability while robbing their people of truth, treasure, and the protections of democracy. They promise law and order, then legitimize lawbreaking by financial, sexual, and other predators.
They use masculinity as a symbol of strength and a political weapon. Taking what you want, and getting away with it, becomes proof of male authority. They use propaganda, corruption, and violence to stay in power.
Vladimir Putin and Mobutu Sese Seko’s kleptocracies, Augusto Pinochet’s torture sites, Benito Mussolini and Muammar Gaddafi’s systems of sexual exploitation, and Silvio Berlusconi and Donald Trump’s relentless misinformation: all show how authoritarian rule, far from ensuring stability, is marked by destructive chaos.
No other type of leader is so transparent about prioritizing self-interest over the public good. As one country after another has discovered, the strongman is at his worst when true guidance is most needed by his country.
Recounting the acts of solidarity and dignity that have undone strongmen over the past 100 years, Ben-Ghiat makes vividly clear that only by seeing the strongman for what he is—and by valuing one another as he is unable to do—can we stop him, now and in the future.
Africa south of the Sahara is a land of wide-ranging traditions and varying cultures. Despite the diversity and the lack of early written records, the continent possesses a rich body of folk tales and legends that have been passed down through the strong custom of storytelling and which often share similar elements, characters and ideas between peoples. So this collection offers a hefty selection of legends and tales – stories of the gods, creation and origins, trickster exploits, animal fables and stories which entertain and edify – from ‘Obatala Creates Mankind’, from the Yoruba people of west Africa, to ‘The Girl Of The Early Race, Who Made Stars’, from the San people of southern Africa, all collected in a gorgeous gold-foiled and embossed hardback to treasure.