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About Tom Holland
Thomas Holland (born 1968) is a British writer, who has published several popular works on classical and medieval history as well as creating two documentaries.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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'If great books encourage you to look at the world in an entirely new way, then Dominion is a very great book indeed . . . Written with terrific learning, enthusiasm and good humour, Holland's book is not just supremely provocative, but often very funny' Sunday Times History Book of the Year
Christianity is the most enduring and influential legacy of the ancient world, and its emergence the single most transformative development in Western history. Even the increasing number in the West today who have abandoned the faith of their forebears, and dismiss all religion as pointless superstition, remain recognisably its heirs. Seen close-up, the division between a sceptic and a believer may seem unbridgeable. Widen the focus, though, and Christianity's enduring impact upon the West can be seen in the emergence of much that has traditionally been cast as its nemesis: in science, in secularism, and yes, even in atheism.
That is why Dominion will place the story of how we came to be what we are, and how we think the way that we do, in the broadest historical context. Ranging in time from the Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC to the on-going migration crisis in Europe today, and from Nebuchadnezzar to the Beatles, it will explore just what it was that made Christianity so revolutionary and disruptive; how completely it came to saturate the mind-set of Latin Christendom; and why, in a West that has become increasingly doubtful of religion's claims, so many of its instincts remain irredeemably Christian. The aim is twofold: to make the reader appreciate just how novel and uncanny were Christian teachings when they first appeared in the world; and to make ourselves, and all that we take for granted, appear similarly strange in consequence. We stand at the end-point of an extraordinary transformation in the understanding of what it is to be human: one that can only be fully appreciated by tracing the arc of its parabola over millennia.
'The Book that really held me, in fact, obsessed me, was Rubicon . . . This is narrative history at its best. Bloody and labyrinthine political intrigue and struggle, brilliant oratory, amazing feats of conquest and cruelty' Ian McEwan, Books of the Year, Guardian
'Marvellously readable' Niall Ferguson
The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall.
It is a story of incomparable drama. This was the century of Julius Caesar, the gambler whose addiction to glory led him to the banks of the Rubicon, and beyond; of Cicero, whose defence of freedom would make him a byword for eloquence; of Spartacus, the slave who dared to challenge a superpower; of Cleopatra, the queen who did the same.
Tom Holland brings to life this strange and unsettling civilization, with its extremes of ambition and self-sacrifice, bloodshed and desire. Yet alien as it was, the Republic still holds up a mirror to us. Its citizens were obsessed by celebrity chefs, all-night dancing and exotic pets; they fought elections in law courts and were addicted to spin; they toppled foreign tyrants in the name of self-defence. Two thousand years may have passed, but we remain the Romans' heirs.
In 480 BC, Xerxes, the King of Persia, led an invasion of mainland Greece. Its success should have been a formality. For seventy years, victory - rapid, spectacular victory - had seemed the birthright of the Persian Empire. In the space of a single generation, they had swept across the Near East, shattering ancient kingdoms, storming famous cities, putting together an empire which stretched from India to the shores of the Aegean. As a result of those conquests, Xerxes ruled as the most powerful man on the planet. Yet somehow, astonishingly, against the largest expeditionary force ever assembled, the Greeks of the mainland managed to hold out. The Persians were turned back. Greece remained free. Had the Greeks been defeated at Salamis, not only would the West have lost its first struggle for independence and survival, but it is unlikely that there would ever have been such and entity as the West at all.
Tom Holland's brilliant new book describes the very first 'clash of Empires' between East and West. Once again he has found extraordinary parallels between the ancient world and our own. There is no competing popular book describing these events.
Of all the civilisations existing in the year 1000, that of Western Europe seemed the unlikeliest candidate for future greatness. Compared to the glittering empires of Byzantium or Islam, the splintered kingdoms on the edge of the Atlantic appeared impoverished, fearful and backward. But the anarchy of these years proved to be, not the portents of the end of the world, as many Christians had dreaded, but rather the birthpangs of a radically new order.
MILLENNIUM is a stunning panoramic account of the two centuries on either side of the apocalyptic year 1000. This was the age of Canute, William the Conqueror and Pope Gregory VII, of Vikings, monks and serfs, of the earliest castles and the invention of knighthood, and of the primal conflict between church and state. The story of how the distinctive culture of Europe - restless, creative and dynamic - was forged from out of the convulsions of these extraordinary times is as fascinating and as momentous as any in history.
In this 'thrilling. . .profoundly important book' (Christopher Hart, Sunday Times) and Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller, the acclaimed author of Rubicon gives a panoramic-and timely-account of the rise of Islam
In the 6th century AD, the Near East was divided between two great empires: the Persian and the Roman. A hundred years on, and one had vanished for ever, while the other was a dismembered, bleeding trunk. In their place, a new superpower had arisen: the empire of the Arabs. So profound was this upheaval that it spelled, in effect, the end of the ancient world.
But the changes that marked the period were more than merely political or even cultural: there was also a transformation of human society with incalculable consequences for the future. Today, over half the world's population subscribes to one of the various religions that took on something like their final form during the last centuries of antiquity. Wherever men or women are inspired by belief in a single god to think or behave in a certain way, they bear witness to the abiding impact of this extraordinary, convulsive age - though as Tom Holland demonstrates, much of what Jews, Christians and Muslims believe about the origins of their religion is open to debate.
In the Shadow of the Sword explores how a succession of great empires came to identify themselves with a new and revolutionary understanding of the divine. It is a story vivid with drama, horror and startling achievement, and stars many of the most remarkable rulers ever seen.
'A compelling detective story of the highest order, In the Shadow of the Sword is also a dazzlingly colourful journey into the world of late antiquity. Every bit as thrilling a narrative history as Holland's previous works, In the Shadow of the Sword is also a profoundly important book. It makes public and popular what scholarship has been discovering for several decades now; and those discoveries suggest a wholesale revision of where Islam came from and what it is' (Christopher Hart, Sunday Times)
'This is a wonderful, surging narrative - a brilliant and meticulous synthesis of the ancient sources . . . This is a story that should be read by anyone interested in history, politics or human nature - and it has never been better told' - Boris Johnson, Mail on Sunday
Rome was first ruled by kings, then became a republic. But in the end, after conquering the world, the Republic collapsed. Rome was drowned in blood. So terrible were the civil wars that the Roman people finally came to welcome the rule of an autocrat who could give them peace. 'Augustus,' their new master called himself: 'The Divinely Favoured One'.
The lurid glamour of the dynasty founded by Augustus has never faded. No other family can compare for sheer unsettling fascination with its gallery of leading characters. Tiberius, the great general who ended up a bitter recluse, notorious for his perversions; Caligula, the master of cruelty and humiliation who rode his chariot across the sea; Agrippina, the mother of Nero, manoeuvering to bring to power the son who would end up having her murdered; Nero himself, racing in the Olympics, marrying a eunuch, and building a pleasure palace over the fire-gutted centre of his capital.
Now, in the sequel to Rubicon, Tom Holland gives a dazzling portrait of Rome's first imperial dynasty. Dynasty traces the full astonishing story of its rule of the world: both the brilliance of its allure, and the blood-steeped shadows cast by its crimes. Ranging from the great capital rebuilt in marble by Augustus to the dank and barbarian-haunted forests of Germany, it is populated by a spectacular cast: murderers and metrosexuals, adulterers and druids, scheming grandmothers and reluctant gladiators.
Dynasty is the portrait of a family that transformed and stupefied Rome.
It is often observed that no historical figure has had a greater impact on the world than Jesus Christ. Why is that? And what difference does his impact make to the world today?
It is also often said that Jesus was a 'revolutionary', and numerous books have appeared in recent years claiming just that - from the wild and sensational to the serious and respectable.
This book, written by influential authors reflecting a diversity of expertise and points of view, considers the claims that continue to be made about Jesus, whether by believers or nonbelievers.
Philosopher, journalist and co-founder of The Philosophers' Magazine. Author of The Godless Gospel: Was Jesus a Great Moral Teacher? (Granta 2020).
Distinguished Professor of English Literature, Lancaster University. Author of Radical Sacrifice (Yale 2018).
Emeritus Professor of Applied Theology, University of Kent. Editor of the journal Theology and of The Cambridge Companion to Christian Ethics (CUP 2011).
University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science. Author of The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus (HarperOne 2006).
Professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies, American University of Beirut; formerly Professor of Arabic and a fellow of King's College, Cambridge. Translator of The Qur'an (Penguin Classics 2013),and author The Muslim Jesus (Harvard 2003).
Senior Fellow, Theos, London Author of The Evolution of the West (SPCK 2016).
Joan E. Taylor
Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism, King's College London. Author of What Did Jesus Look Like? (Bloomsbury 2018).
Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge and 104th Archbishop of Canterbury (2002-12). Author of God With Us: The meaning of the cross and resurrection - then and now (SPCK 2017).
A. N. Wilson
Novelist, journalist and broadcaster. Author of The Book of the People: How to read the Bible (Atlantic 2015).
The formation of England occurred against the odds: an island divided into rival kingdoms, under savage assault from Viking hordes. But, after King Alfred ensured the survival of Wessex and his son Edward expanded it, his grandson Athelstan inherited the rule of both Mercia and Wessex, conquered Northumbria and was hailed as Rex totius Britanniae: 'King of the whole of Britain'.
Tom Holland recounts this extraordinary story with relish and drama, transporting us back to a time of omens, raven harbingers and blood-red battlefields. As well as giving form to the figure of Athelstan - devout, shrewd, all too aware of the precarious nature of his power, especially in the north - he introduces the great figures of the age, including Alfred and his daughter Aethelflaed, 'Lady of the Mercians', who brought Athelstan up at the Mercian court. Making sense of the family rivalries and fractious conflicts of the Anglo-Saxon rulers, Holland shows us how a royal dynasty rescued their kingdom from near-oblivion and fashioned a nation that endures to this day.
Infamous poet Lord Byron comes to life with incendiary brilliance in this spellbinding blend of gothic imagination and documented fact. Wandering in the mountains of Greece, the supreme sensualist is drawn to the beauty of a mysterious fugitive slave; soon he is utterly entranced, and his fate is sealed. He embarks on a life of adventure even his genius could not have foreseen; chosen to enjoy powers beyond those any vampire has ever known, Byron traverses the centuries and enters a dark, intoxicating world of long-lost secrets, ancient arts and scorching excesses of evil. But Byron's gift is also his torment: an all-consuming thirst that withers life at the root, damning all those he loves.
With its impeccable scholarship and breathtaking storytelling, THE VAMPYRE is a wonderful combination of fact and fantasy.
Egypt, 1922: the Valley of the Kings. After years of fruitless labour, the archaeologist Howard Carter discovers a mysterious tomb, sealed and marked with a terrible curse. But what is the nature of the tomb's deadly secret? And what is the web of strange connections spreading back through millennia, to the very heart of Egypt's fabulous past? In a glorious Arabian Nightmare of lost cities, treacherous priests and daring archaeologists, an ancient civilisation shimmers into life; colourful, magical, and unutterably strange.
'True adventure stories are all too scarce nowadays. And adventure stories that have the capacity to make the reader think and wonder are an even rarer commodity. Tom Holland's latest novel manages both with tremendous verve ... a galloping page-turner' DAILY TELEGRAPH
Wiltshire, during the dying days of Oliver Cromwell's Republic. Robert Vaughan is the son of a Parliamentarian officer who is investigating a series of grisly murders which suggest a link with Satanic rituals at Stonehenge. The return of a notoriously wicked Cavalier, signalling the impending royalist restoration, leads to a terrible tragedy for the Vaughans. Robert's flight from his violent, terrifying past leads him to Restoration London, where he works as scribe for Milton, and where he survives the Plague and the Great Fire.
But Robert is led along a dark path, to vampirism and beyond, as he devotes himself to gaining the powers that will enable him to fight an evil killer of seemingly satanic powers. He will travel the globe, from the ancient ghetto of Prague to the virgin forest of the New World, as he aims to gain revenge on those who betrayed him.
Part of the ALL-NEW LADYBIRD EXPERT SERIES.
- Who was Æthelflæd?
- What role did she play in the founding of England?
- How has her legacy lasted to this day?
DISCOVER the epic history of England's forgotten queen. Planting cities, sponsoring learning and defeating her people's enemies, Æthelflæd laid the foundations of a kingdom that lasts to this day.
THE MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMAN THAT ENGLISH HISTORY FORGOT
Tom Holland's Æthelflæd puts a spotlight on this formidable leader, pulling her out of the shadowy history of the dark ages.