Henry VIII’s Wives: History in an Hour

The reign of Henry VIII was one of the most revolutionary periods in English History.  The King’s obsessive search for true-love and intense desire for a male heir led to England’s break from the rule of Catholicism and the complete Reformation of the Church. ‘Divorced, Beheaded, Died; Divorced, Beheaded, Survived’ – This popular rhyme that many use to remember the fate of the six wives of Henry VIII shows us just that; their final destiny.

Although many rulers of the time married only for political reasons, Henry wanted an ideal we still crave today; a truly loving matrimony.  His quest for this improbable perfection changed him from a fun-loving prince into a belligerent tyrant.

The women he tried to squash to fit this perfect mould differed vastly.  First came the devoutly Catholic and devoted Catherine of Aragon, then the tantalising, volatile, Reforming Protestant Anne Boleyn.  She in turn was ousted by the gentle and submissive touch of Jane Seymour. After her death, Henry made his only attempt at a wholly political alliance by choosing Anne of Cleves and he even tried to turn that into a romantic story.  He went on to allow his heart free rein in the rule of his head in selecting the party-loving teenage tease, Katherine Howard before finally settling for the intelligent and independent Catherine Parr.  This book, in an hour, will introduce you to these six entirely diverse and captivating personalities and the events that propelled them to their individual fate.

Also available as an audio download and an app for the iPhone / iPad


  • Catherine of Aragon
  • Anne Boleyn
  • Divorcing Catherine to Marry Anne
  • Anne’s Fall From Favour
  • Jane Seymour
  • Anne of Cleves
  • Katherine Howard
  • Catherine Parr

Reader Reviews:

“This book helped enormously, learning about the wives I did not know much about. Concise, not too much of a commitment, easy to read and recall, I loved the book, loved the subject matter, and loved the learning experience.” From review on Mrs Christine.

“Julie Wheeler has managed to compress history and still make it very interesting. Her book is a good starting point for a study of Henry VIII’s wives.”

“I am fairly well read on this era but I still thoroughly enjoyed this quick read. I’d recommend this as a really good starting point for anyone interested in Henry VIII’s wives and/or Tudor history in general. I really enjoyed Julie Wheeler’s version of Anne of Cleves; some of the books I’ve read or listened to have not been so kind to her. There are pictures of paintings scattered throughout, which are particularly good for an ebook and the one of Anne of Cleves is one of my favourites and very flattering. Well written and concise there is a lot of history compressed into this little book.”

“Straight talking. Many historical books baffle you by jumping decades and then reverting back – this book is a credit to the author – very interesting. I have learnt more from this book than reading several others on the same subject.”

“Loved it! Excellently written. Wish there were more books on English kings and queens like this one. Should be read in schools as part of history education.”

“I learnt so much about Henry VIII’s wives without all the waffle. This book is concise and to the point. Highly recommended!

“I discovered the life and history of Henry and his six wives, as if it was a fiction, with great characters and amazing stories. It is fun, easy to read and you learn a lot! I would recommend it!”

“Ms. Wheeler does an excellent job of leaving the reader wanting more. By making complex history simple, readable, and enjoyable you are soon drawn in. This is an excellent read and has me keen to venture further into the lives of Henry’s wives!”

“As someone who finds it difficult to read large volumes, I found this perfect for giving me a quick overview of this topic. An interesting read and once started I wanted to finish it which I did within the hour! As someone who enjoys history I’m sure I will download the other books in this series.”

“I enjoyed reading this short hour long book, I was interested in the background of his wife’s after watching the video series of the Tudors. I would definitely recommend this book.”

Loved this book. A great way to spend an hour. Certainly not a boring history book, very interesting indeed. Plentiful with information.”

“I was never interested [in Tudor history] at school, but this was a really good read. Will be getting some family members to have a good go at this.”

Well written book that goes into a bit more detail about the wives. Well worth the read.”

“I have to say this book is pretty good! I’m fascinated with the Tudor Era and have read a lot about Henry VIII and his wives… and this book is a good intro to the story. It’s accurate and touches on the politics of the day, which is no mean feat. Did I manage to read this in an hour? Yes, I think I did. Its a nice handy into to the era, and I’ll look out for the others in the series.”

Excellent reading and researched well. Took a little longer than an hour to read but still enjoyable. Highly recommend it.”

“I found this an entertaining read and gave a short description of the lives of all of the king’s wives. Good as a short intro to the wives of Henry.”

“A very interesting read and a good starting point for anyone interested in Henry the VIII and his wives. Covers the relevant facts without getting bogged down with too many dates and names. Ideal for a long train or plane journey.”

“I love history and the tudor period and I am always on the look out for a new authors. This ebook is a great read, full of facts, well researched and concise. Because I don’t always get as much time as would I like to feed my addiction for historical facts, this book was perfect for me. I loved the way the facts were presented in such a way that I really felt the people come alive. Cannot wait for more!!”

“It was a very concise history of that period and amazingly easy to read and absorb in one hour. I will now read the other recommended history in an hour books.”

“This was very informative and interesting. Also a very quick read. Highly recommend!! Very enjoyable and entertaining. Can’t wait to read more history in an hour!”

“This was a quick read, but very well put together. It really only took about an hour to read because the book stated facts in a concise manner. Easy to follow and interesting.”

“It’s short but to the point and gives the facts you need. As it says it’s good for an hour’s read and brilliant if you want the basics.”

“What a thrilling and concise read. Well written and had all the facts to hand. Perfect for someone like myself and sufficient references to allow further research.”

“Absolutely true to its title – a full history in one hour which told me everything I never learnt at school.”

Enjoyable and concise review of the lives of the wives of Henry VIII, easy to read and informative and great value.”

“Very informative and well written. A very good read in a short amount of time. Fantastic.”

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Nazi Germany: History in an Hour

“And so it had all come to this. Did all this happen only so that a gang of wretched criminals could lay hands on the fatherland? Hatred grew in me, hatred for those responsible for this deed.”

The words are those of Adolf Hitler; the deed – Germany’s surrender in the First World War, and the wretched criminals – the politicians who had meekly accepted the surrender and the defeat of Germany.

Read about Hitler’s experience as a soldier during World War One, the Nazi Party’s climb to power, the elimination of opponents and the Weimar constitution.

Learn about life in Nazi Germany, for women, the family, the Jews, and the use of state control, propaganda and security. See how Hitler manipulated foreign policy to achieve his aims, and how he brought the world into war.

This, in an hour, is Nazi Germany…

Only 99p. Buy now from iTunesAmazonB&N and other online stores.

Also available as an audio download and an app for the iPhone / iPad

  • The German Revolution – The End of the Second Reich
  • The Weimar Republic – A republic is born
  • The Treaty of Versailles“An armistice for twenty years.”
  • DAP: Member 555
  • NSDAP: Nationalism and socialism under one roof
  • Adolf Hitler – the Corporal
  • The Nazi manifesto – A thousand years
  • The Munich Putsch“The national revolution has begun”
  • Mein Kampf – “Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice.”
  • The Ruhr – An economic downturn
  • The Great Depression – The Crash
  • Nazi elections: “He can lick stamps with my head on them.” 
  • Hitler becomes Chancellor – “A God-given signal.”
  • The Enabling Act“Fanatics, hooligans and eccentrics have got the upper hand.”
  • The first anti-Jew laws: ‘Non-citizens.’
  • Night of the Long Knives: “The Fuhrer’s soldierly decision and exemplary courage.”
  • The Fuhrer – 99% approval
  • Nazi Germany and the economy – “Guns will make us strong; butter will make us fat.”
  • State control – Guilty before innocent
  • The family: “I detest women who dabble in politics.”
  • Propaganda: “Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.” 
  • The 1936 Olympics
  • The Jews – Judenfrei.
  • Kristallnacht – The Night of Broken Glass
  • Foreign policy – “Germany will of its own accord never break the peace.”
  • The Rhineland – “We have no territorial claims to make in Europe.”
  • The Spanish Civil War – “Germany’s destiny for good or bad.”
  • Anschluss: “I can strongly recommend the Gestapo to one and all.”
  • The Sudetenland: “The last major problem to be solved.”
  • Czechoslovakia – “That senile old rascal.”
  • Poland – Guaranteed 
  • The eve of war
  • Germany’s War 1939 – “This country is at war with Germany.”
  • Germany’s War 1940 to 1941
  • Germany’s War 1942 to 1945
Book reviews:
“So what can you lean in an hour about Nazi Germany on your iPhone? Quite a bit, actually.” Suite 101 review of Nazi Germany In An Hour
Reader reviews:

“I bought this book to help me understand key aspects of the Nazis Rise to and Consolidation of their power. This was to help with my GCSE exam next month and it offers in depth details and interesting pictures to help understand what was occurring politically in World War One, the aftermath and the Second World War. At such a low price it is a must buy for anybody studying history or anyone remotely interested in it! And yes they only do take about an hour to read, so perfect for a long journey or some reading before bed! Thank you HIAH and Rupert Colley!”

Really good read and compliments other books in the history in an hour series. The book provides a very high level historical account that makes interesting reading”

Well written, quality history in an hour!”

“A historian’s dream app: detailed yet pleasantly concise; one could not ask for a higher quality history supplement at this price.”

“Appearance: This app has a nice appearance with a textbook kind of icon because of the faded brown color that matches well with the app itself.  User Interface: This app has some pretty smooth controls with no crashes and easy to navigate.  Organization: Everything is put in chronological order and in neat folders. Very handy when you want to continue reading from where you left off.  Information: Contains a ton of detailed information on Nazi Germany. This app covers a huge time span of how the Nazis took over and what they did afterwards. Some key people were listed also. A timeline and lots of pictures are also included.  Overall: Very informative and has some nice information. Good for anyone to read for fun or doing research. If you get this app (which I highly recommend) also check out Adolf Hitler in an Hour since these two apps are like salt and pepper. Well worth getting and will be sure to give lots of info!”

A very good, concise account of the rise and fall of Nazi Germany and The Third Reich.”

“A great addition to my iBook shelf, concise and to the point covering all the major themes of Nazi Europe. Gives the reader the info they need to begin deeper research. 5 star!

“Yippee it’s working and very good too. Originally this app did not work but has since been fixed, so I’ve re-rated it as it’s a very good app which has obviously had a lot of work done on it.”

Really good if you’re looking for some info of Nazi Germany history. Sparked my interest after playing too much Nazi zombies. Good amount of pics with some descent sized info.”

“I don’t often read books but this is a subject I wanted to know more about and it was a very interesting and straight to the point description of major events leading up to WW2. I am now very much looking forward to reading the next in the series by this author.”

“Another interesting book by this author. Really good. Thank you!”

“I read this book in little over an hour. It was an informative, moving read, where I learnt quite a lot of things I never knew. It was detailed enough to give me a fair understanding of the Nazis and Hitler, enough to hold a decent conversation about. I would recommend others read this, and learn about the horrific way in which Jews and other minority groups were treated.”

“A very clear timeline summary of this crucial period in history. Recommended for those who need an organized, interesting summary of the period.”

The Afghan Wars: History in an Hour

In June 2010 America’s war in Afghanistan surpassed the Vietnam War as the longest war in America’s history. American, British and coalition forces have been fighting in Afghanistan since October 2001, a month following the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. By the end of the year the war seemed won. But a decade on the ongoing conflict seems far from over.

Today’s conflict has historical parallels – in the nineteenth century Great Britain twice invaded Afghanistan, in 1839 and 1878. Both times they had seemingly defeated the Afghan forces only to find the Afghan soldier, not knowing the meaning of defeat, fought back inflicting on the mighty British Empire humiliating retreats.

A century later, the Soviet Union, technologically and militarily superior, also discovered to its cost that the Afghan was a tenacious foe, impossible to defeat. After a decade of conflict the Soviet Union withdrew, its military reputation in tatters.

Afghanistan has been in a state of constant conflict for almost four decades. When not fighting external enemies its people have fought against each other. The Civil War of 1990 to 1996, during which the Taliban emerged, was ferocious in its intensity.

The coalition forces of today are embroiled in an equally unending war. But why are we still fighting in Afghanistan? What are the lessons of history? Who are the Taliban; who are the Mujahedeen, and why was Osama bin Laden so significant?

These, in an hour, are the Afghan Wars.

Only 99p. Buy now from iTunesAmazonB&N and other online stores.

Also available as downloadable audio and as an app for the iPhone / iPad


  • The First Anglo-Afghan War
  • The Second Anglo-Afghan War
  • The Third Anglo-Afghan War
  • The ‘Saur’ Revolution
  • The Communist Era
  • The Soviet War in Afghanistan
  • The Afghan Civil War
  • The Taliban
  • Afghanistan Under the Taliban
  • 9/11
  • The Afghanistan War
  • The Taliban Insurgency
  • The Death of Osama bin Laden

Readers’ reviews:

Easy to read concise, history of recent wars in Afghanistan. Perhaps our ex-P.M. should have read it! Explains how we and the Russians have spent a lot of time and money – not to mention lives – trying to influence this country.”

“If you are curious, and have an hour, this is perfect. Plus you cannot beat the price!”

Very succinct and interesting book on contemporary history and the current Afghan conflict would recommend to anyone interested in the current conflict and the history behind it.”

Very good coverage of the history of the wars in Afghan. Opened my eyes. Very easy to follow. Overall great book.”

“This book gives an excellent and factual account of a war that let’s be honest we’ll never ever win. I always try to rate my books and this is no exception so I rate it 10/10.”

Very well written concise version of events – easy to follow and some interesting information.” (GoodReads)

The Reformation: History in an Hour

REFORMATIONFrom the time of St. Peter to 1521 AD, the Roman Catholic Church was the only “official” Christian church in Western Europe. It provided the only means through which a person could expect to have access to God and gain entry into Heaven. The Church however was not immune to corruption, and there had been several attempts to rein in Church leaders who were often distracted from their pastoral duties with more earth-bound interests such as the gathering of power and wealth. Yet, the one Church remained intact and unchanged in its ways throughout the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and up to the Reformation.

In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther began his feverish quest for salvation and church reform, and started an evangelical movement which spread beyond the borders of sixteenth-century Germany. This movement is the first of three distinct developments of the Protestant Reformation.  Luther’s (and others’)  evangelical revolution evolved into personal causes for rulers and monarchs, who sought to impose their religious will upon their subjects, and signified a second phase, the reformation “from above”.  During the Reformation’s third, confessional (religious wars) period, in which princes, territories and national churches conducted wars of belief, Protestants migrated to and colonized new settlements, and created their own methods of preserving the faith.

The era of the Protestant Reformation begins in 1517 and, by 1648, becomes fully shaped in Europe as a movement embodying several new independent churches, revolutionized systems of belief, and geopolitical changes that affected monarchs and their subjects throughout the region.  By the mid-17th century, the original one Church had become several different churches without any hope of reuniting.

Only 99p. Buy now from iTunesAmazonB&N and other online stores.

Also available as an app for the iPhone / iPad


  • Origins of the Protestant Reformation
  • 131 Years of the Reformation
  • The Sacraments, Heaven and Hell
  • “The Third Place”: Purgatory
  • “Shortening a Stay in Purgatory”
  • Early Sixteenth-Century Efforts at Reform
  • Martin Luther
  • Luther’s Interpretation of St. Paul
  • The Renaissance Papacy
  • The Birth of Classical Protestantism
  • The Diet of Worms
  • One Man Alone
  • “Infallible Donkey” and “Upstart Heretics”
  • “Preaching God’s Word Purely”
  • Zwingli vs Luther on the Eucharist
  • Zwingli’s Death
  • The Creation of Sects
  • John Calvin and His “Reformed Church”
  • Anti-Tolerance of Anti-Trinitarianism
  • Hunted Heretic
  • The Spread of Protestantism
  • The End of Choices: The Territorial Churches
  • Protestantism on a European-Political Basis
  • The Reformation After 1550
  • The French Wars of Religion (1562-1593)
  • The Low Countries
  • The Calvinist Diaspora to New France
  • New England Diaspora
  • How the Protestant Reformation Ended

Readers’ reviews:

“This book offers a highly readable account of a confusing time. The author accomplished this by by giving a short synopsis in an understandable manner. He does not get involved in deep theological discussion, but instead focuses on the main points. This is a VERY good introduction to the Reformation. Money and time well spent.”

“This was an excellent synopsis of a complicated subject. There was information and people that I had not heard of before involved at various levels.”

I love the history in an hour series, they enable a quick overview and give basic relevant facts. It was sufficient for me to see areas that I might want to then further explore in more depth.”

Neat summary provides good background for further reading. I’ve seen and read so many versions of the period that, for me, it’s good to get some objective facts and proper historical context.”

I would recommend this to any reader who is trying to get some basic info without reading 300 pages.”

Well written and enlightening to those interested in the beginning of religion in as we know it today.”

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World War Two: History in an Hour

History for busy people. Read a succinct history of World War Two in just one hour.

World War Two was one of the most devastating conflicts the world has ever seen. Between 1939 and 1945 almost every country in the world was affected by the war in some way.

World War Two: History in an Hour neatly covers all the major facts and events giving you a clear and straightforward overview of the politics involved, the violence that ensued and how it changed the world in unimaginable ways. World War Two: History in an Hour is engagingly written and accessible for all history lovers.

Love your history? Find out about the world with History in an Hour…

Only 99p / $1.99. Buy now from iTunesAmazonB&N and other online stores.

Also available as an audio download and an app for the iPhone / iPad






Germany’s Invasion of Poland – “This is how I deal with any European city”
The Soviet-Finnish War – “The Winter War”
The Norweigan Campaign – “Missed the bus.”
The Fall of France – “France has lost a battle but France has not lost the war.”
The Mediterranean“One moment on a battlefield is worth a thousand years of peace.”
North Africa: “A great general.”
Germany’s Invasion of the Soviet Union“The whole rotten structure will come crashing down.”
War in the Far East“Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”
The Battles of Stalingrad and KurskThe New Field-Marshal.
The Holocaust“The man with an iron heart.” 
The Battle of the Atlantic“The U-boat peril”
Italy Falls“You are the most hated man in Italy.”
The Bomber Offensive“My name is Meyer.”
The Normandy InvasionsD-Day.
France Free“Liberated by her own people.”
Approach from the East“The good will all be dead.”
The End of War in EuropeThe Death of a Corporal.
The End of the War in Japan“Complete and utter destruction.”


Reader reviews:

“This is an excellent quick read for those Americans of a younger age that got sex ed courses in high school instead of World and American History. Hopefully it will increase their interest and self-education will result.”

“Very good, quick revision: This is an excellent overview for anyone who wants a summary of key events into which they can slot all the details they might have learned previously. 

It strikes a good balance between creating a coherent narrative but still including surprisingly comprehensive information for such a short recording.

 It’s also a very fair price. 

More of these ‘history in an hour’ productions would be very welcome!” Audio review.

“For those who wish to brush up on history, this book is great for that. This book allows the reader to discover important facts and the key players involved in the war.”

“This book is very concise and a very well written for a book on the whole of WW2. Almost all other books I came across relentlessly launched me into ridiculous amounts of banal detail which I found both unnecessary and uninteresting. This book invariably sticks to interesting facts and for all its succinctness; manages to relay the story in an engaging way with clear language in paragraphs and sentences and devoid of rare/defunct lexicon. It truly is a brilliant introduction to World War Two and became more & more engrossing as I read through.”

“This very short history of the Second World War lives up to its name, cramming an overview of the key events of six years of conflict into a handy one-sitting primer. It also provides a timeline and biographies of key participants in two useful appendices. The style is very readable throughout, and the liberal use of brief, snappy quotations ensures that it never becomes dry. (If you vaguely remember half a dozen Churchillian bon mots, but don’t know what they refer to, this will set you straight.) An excellent introduction to a fascinating subject.”

“The final installment in this World War Two trilogy of titles is a solid and, once again, informative one that manages to translate an extremely complicated and broad topic into a very accessible tool.”

A good read about World War Two that I found didn’t get bogged down in minute detail. For me it gave just enough facts about the events and the decision makers involved to give me the overview of who, why and where relating to the major events of the conflict. Worth reading again.”

“I lived the “great” war, in the US Navy, and this little book brought back lots of memories, but it was most useful to me to help me fit my experience into the whole picture as presented in this book.”

“As with the other books of this series, this is a brilliant concise and quick summary of the key events of the second world war”

Fascinating factual listen. Helps you understand the sequence of events during the period of the second world war.” (Audio review)

“If like me you were not taught the WW2 period of history at school and gleaned most of your info from films, tv, etc. then this is a great summary account of all the main campaigns and events that span the war years 1939 to 1945. There are also overviews of the main characters of the war, Hitler, Churchill, etc. towards the end of the ebook. All in all, a very inexpensive way to become acquainted with the WW2 in a quick easy-access manner.”

“Read just after the Nazi history one. Good history, well written.”

“I found this a very easy-reading introduction to WW2. I already knew a lot of this but it also had detail in it that was new to me. Read in conjunction with ‘Hitler – a history in an hour‘”

“I read a lot about world war ii but the problem is that there are too many events to know the timeline. This title is good to grab the history of world war two in just a few minutes. Clear and very good.”

“Easy to read, informative and well worth the money.”

“Does what it says on the cover!! Plenty of information and facts.”

Brilliant short insight to WW2, categorised from start to finish, also information on individual persons, ie Montgomery and Hitler. Also key battles explained, ie Operation Market Garden and D-Day, etc., straight to the point. Plenty of photography also described. I’ll be buying more of these “In An Hour” ebooks. I’ve already purchased the history of the Cold War!”

“This is a great read. I learnt a lot.”

“I am in my twenties and up to now knew a very patchy version of how WW2 came about, progressed and ended. I now have a very good overview of events as they unfolded.”

This is a great book! It has made me eager to learn more about WWII”

Very interesting and very informational!!!”

Alexander Burnes – hacked to death in Afghanistan

‘British diplomat hacked to death in Afghanistan’ – it would make a shocking headline. Yet on 2 November 1841, this is exactly what happened.

Britain was entrenched in Afghanistan, much as it is today, but the situation was seemingly stable. The British had just defeated the Afghans in the First Anglo-Afghan War, ousted a ruler they considered anti-British and replaced him with one more compliant to their needs. All was well. But on 2 November 1841, a mob of Afghans murdered the British political envoy living in Kabul, Sir Alexander Burnes. It was the start of an ignominious end to Britain’s foray in Afghanistan.

The Dandy Scot

Alexander Burnes, born in Montrose on 16 May 1805, was the epitome of a nineteenth century adventurer cum dandy – dashing, intelligent and courageous.

In 1831, the British government in Delhi ordered a survey of the Indus River, unchartered since the time of Alexander the Great. The man they entrusted this mission to was Alexander Burnes. A journey of over 1,000 miles, Burnes, a natural linguist, charmed the usually antagonistic tribal leaders he came upon, and eventually reached Lahore, his reputation greatly enhanced.

His next adventure took him to Afghanistan, dressed as a native having discarded, in his words, ‘the useless paraphernalia of civilization; we threw away all our European clothes, and adopted, without reserve, the costume of the Asiatic… groaning under ponderous turbans.’

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The Man Who Tried to Bury Stalin – Khrushchev and De-Stalinization

On 31 October 1961, a small but symbolic event took place in Moscow. The embalmed body of former Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, was re-interred behind the Kremlin Wall. It was a symptomatic relegation for the man once known as the Great Leader who, for the eight years since his death, had lain on public display alongside Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet state. The man who ordered that Stalin be reburied under several layers of concrete, was his successor and former protégé, Nikita Khrushchev.

But no amount of concrete can keep down the ghost of Joseph Stalin.

Nikita KhrushchevThere is no excuse for repression

Fifty years on, few speak of Khrushchev (pictured). But Stalin’s shadow still looms large over Russian society. A poll run in April this year, by the VTsIOM (All-Russia Centre for the Study of Public Opinion), found much support for Stalin, the man who ‘received the country with a wooden plough, and left it with a nuclear missile shield’.

In 2009, a new plaque was unveiled at a Moscow metro station that included a line from the former Soviet national anthem: ‘Stalin brought us up to be loyal to people, inspired us to labour and feats’. Imagine today seeing a quote from Hitler in the Berlin underground?

It gets worse – in July 2011, a new statue of Stalin was unveiled in the Russian town of Penza, 390 miles southeast of Moscow. Sixty years ago, Khrushchev went to great pains to have two Stalin statues removed from the same town.

Putin and Medvedev – who won the war?

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The Experiences of Guernsey Evacuees in Northern England, 1940 – 1945

Guernsey, the Channel Islands, 1940, a beautiful rural island only 12 miles by 7 miles in size. Inhabited by 40,000 people, whose income was derived from tourism, fishing, agriculture and horticulture.

Northern  England, 1940, consisting of factory towns, with the buildings coated in soot from domestic and industrial chimneys. Inhabited by people, whose income was mainly derived from industry and manufacturing.

Little did these two populations realise that their fates would become inextricably linked during World War Two, as Germany invaded France and the threat of Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands became inevitable.

In late June 1940, the first to leave the island were around 5,000 Guernsey children who were evacuated with their schools.  Accompanied by hundreds of their  teachers and ‘helpers’ – mothers with infants –  these children fled their island, leaving their own parents behind. Many possessed only the clothes they were wearing, others had just one small suitcase containing a change of clothes and a sandwich.  As many of the parents said goodbye to their children, they told them they would try to follow on the next available boat. However, on 28th June,  Germany bombed Guernsey’s harbour, so that ‘next boat’ never arrived. (Pictured, Mrs Miriam Robilliard with her daughter Margaret, just as they were about to evacuate to England).

As a result, only around 17,000 men, women and children – just under half the population – escaped Guernsey before it was occupied by German Forces on 30th June. Many parents had to remain on Guernsey, not knowing where their children would end up in Britain, or whether they would ever see them again. They would not meet again for five long years.

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Huldreich Zwingli – a summary

On 11 October 1531, the radical Protestant reformer, Huldreich Zwingli, was killed while attending the wounded and dying in battle. Edward A Gosselin summarizes his life.

Huldreich Zwingli was born in 1484 in the eastern Swiss village of Wildhaus to a family of Alpine shepherds. Zwingli remained proud of his peasant origins throughout his life, and, from a young age, maintained an ardent patriotism and fondness for his fellow Swiss which only increased with his humanist education. In 1500, aged sixteen, Zwingli began his classical studies in Vienna where his circle of friends included other future reformers, some of whom would later become his opponents.

Zwingli returned to Switzerland in 1502 to the University of Basel where he continued his humanist studies. Here he also embarked on a serious study of the Bible under the tutelage of Thomas Wyttenbach of Biel. Wyttenbach impressed Zwingli with his criticisms of scholarly ‘trifling’, Church abuses and the papal doctrine of indulgences. Zwingli attributed to Wyttenbach his interest in becoming a village pastor in the town of Glarus, south-east of Zurich. He continued his humanist studies, and began to learn Greek so that he might better understand the New Testament and to study the Greek Fathers in addition to the Latin Church Fathers.

Zwingli and Erasmus

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The ‘Abbasid Revolution

The outcome of the ‘Abbasid Revolution of 747-750 CE was unambiguous: the ruling Umayyad dynasty was deposed from the caliphate, at that time the supreme political and religious authority in the Islamic empire, and in their place was installed a member of the ‘Abbasid family, which traced its origins back to the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle al-‘Abbas. As for the rest, there is considerable confusion, particularly over the basis of the ‘Abbasid family’s claim to be legitimate rulers of the empire. In order to make sense of this confusion, and to properly understand the events of 747-750, it is necessary to appreciate the nature of authority in Islam, and in particular the divide between Sunnis and Shi’a on this issue, as well as the particular political situation in the Middle-East in the 8th century.

The Muslim World Divided

The Sunnis and the Shi’a make up the wider nation of Muslims. The divide between the two is essentially political in origin, dating from the debate over who should succeed Muhammad as leader of the ummah(Islamic nation). The Shi’a are so named because they descend from the shi’at ‘Ali, the Party of ‘Ali, Muhammad’s nephew and son-in-law. This party proposed that the religious and political leader of the Muslims, whom they called the imam, should be a descendant of the Prophet. In time, mainstream Shi’ism would insist that the imam be descended from Muhammad through the line of ‘Ali and his wife Fatima, Muhammad’s daughter. At the time of the ‘Abbasid Revolution, however, there was not such a fixed Shi’i orthodoxy regarding the lineage of the imam. Indeed, to talk about Sunnis and Shi’a at this point at all is something of an anachronism, as there was by no means the clear split that one sees today. What is most important to remember is that in the mid-8th century there were several proto-Shi’i movements who stirred up rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate in the name of a member of the noble family of the Prophet.

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