Books

Aleppo: The Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City (2016)

Aleppo lies in ruins. Its streets are plunged in darkness, most of its population has fled. But this was once a vibrant world city, where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived and traded together in peace. Few places are as ancient and diverse as Aleppo one of the oldest, continuously inhabited cities in the world successively ruled by the Assyrian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Arab, Ottoman and French empires. Under the Ottomans, it became the empire’s third largest city, after Constantinople and Cairo. It owed its wealth to its position at the end of the Silk Road, at a crossroads of world trade, where merchants from Venice, Isfahan and Agra gathered in the largest suq in the Middle East. Throughout the region, it was famous for its food and its music. For 400 years British and French consuls and merchants lived in Aleppo; many of their accounts are used here for the first time. In the first history of Aleppo in English, Dr Philip Mansel vividly describes its decline from a pinnacle of cultural and economic power, a poignant testament to a city shattered by Syria’s civil war.

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The Eagle in Splendour: Inside the Court of Napoleon (2015)

This book offers a fresh view of the most famous man in history. It shows him as a monarch rather than a genius on the battlefield. Although Napoleon arose through the events of the Revolution, he was primarily interested in establishing a dynasty to rank with the Bourbons or the Hapsburgs, and in extending his influence throughout Europe.

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Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean (2010)

The first history in English of Smyrna, Alexandria and Beirut in the modern age, this book demonstrates that they were ‘windows on the West’, inhabited by Muslims, Christians and Jews. It also shows the vulnerability of these cosmopolitan cities: in the twentieth century, Smyrna was burnt; Alexandria Egyptianised; Beirut lacerated by civil war.

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Dressed to Rule: Royal and Court Costume from Louis XIV to Elizabeth II (2005)

Throughout history rulers have used dress as a form of legitimisation and propaganda. The clothes they chose were also a reflection of their own preferences and character. This book explores how rulers tried to control their image through their appearance and includes fascinating glimpses into the lives of many European monarchs.

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Prince of Europe: The Life of Charles-Joseph de Ligne (1735-1814) (2003)

Charles-Joseph Prince de Ligne was a Renaissance man in Enlightenment Europe: a grand seigneur, a talented general, a provocative writer, a brilliant conversationalist, a garden lover, a moralist and a memoirist. His desire for military glory and literary fame was as great as his appetite for women.

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Paris Between Empires 1814-1852 (2001)

Paris between 1814 and 1852 was the capital of Europe, a city of power and pleasure, a magnet for people of all nationalities that exerted an influence far beyond the reaches of France. It was the stage where the great conflicts of the age were fought out. Not since imperial Rome had one city so dominated European life.

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Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire 1453-1924 (1995)

The only city situated on two continents, Constantinople has always been both meeting-place and battlefield. This book describes the city and its dual role when it was the capital of the Ottoman Sultans, dominating an empire which at its height stretched from Morocco to Russia and from the Danube to the Persian Gulf.

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Le Prince de Ligne: Le Charmeur de l’Europe (1992)

Though sometimes neglected in Britain, the Prince de Ligne has remained a popular historical figure in Europe. An effortless European, he witnessed the fall of Napoleon, who fascinated him but whom he refused to meet, and died during the Congress of Vienna, which redrew the map of Europe to the accompaniment of balls and intrigues.

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The Court of France 1789-1830 (1989)

Drawing on many years of research in archives throughout Europe, this book describes the succession of courts and monarchies in France between the revolutionary period and the fall of Charles X, and shows that the revolution resulted in a stronger monarchy and a larger and more elitist series of courts than had existed previously.

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Sultans in Splendour: Monarchs of the Middle East 1869-1945 (1988)

The history of the Middle East between 1869 and 1945 is largely the story of its monarchs and dynasties. In 1869, the Ottoman Sultan ruled a powerful empire stretching from the Danube to the Gulf, at whose heart lay one of the largest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world: Constantinople, the city of the Sultans.

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Pillars of Monarchy: An Outline of the Political and Social History of Royal Guards 1400-1984 (1984)

Guards are a key to history. Since the personal bodyguards and household troops of the different monarchies of Europe were the largest military force in their respective capitals, it was they who, in moments of crisis, decided the fate of the monarchy. They were always there when history was being made, and they often made it themselves.

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Louis XVIII (1981)

The career of Louis XVIII mirrored in many ways that of Charles II of England. He escaped from Paris during the revolution and lived in exile for over twenty years. He returned to France in 1814, and during his reign France had parliamentary government and freedom of speech. Napoleon was ultimately vanquished; Louis XVIII died on his throne.

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Monarchy and Exile: The Politics of Legitimacy from Marie de Médicis to Wilhelm II (2011)

From the Jacobite diaspora and the French royalist émigrés to the German monarchists who hoped to install the Bavarian Crown Prince as German Emperor after the First World War, the absent monarch remained a focus of opposition, loyalism and patriotism. Monarchical exile was not just a personal fate without further historical relevance.

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The French Emigres in Europe and the Struggle Against Revolution, 1789-1814 (1999)

The essays in this book underline the achievements rather than the failures of the French émigrés in Europe from 1789 to 1814, describing the impact they had in many countries, and focusing on their importance in the politics, ideology and culture of their time and their role in the European struggle against the French Revolution.

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