A Guardian best history book of 2016 Every family has its skeletons, but in 1823 the grand Wallop family was about to share theirs with the world. The 3rd earl of Portsmouth was a peculiar man but, by most accounts, a harmless one. An aristocrat of enormous wealth, he kept company with England's most famous names, inviting Jane Austen to balls and having Lord Byron as chief witness to his second marriage. For the first fifty years of his life he had moved with ease in high society, but at the age of fifty-five his own family set out to have him declared insane. Elizabeth Foyster invites us into Freemasons' Hall for the most extraordinary, expensive and controversial British insanity trial ever heard. Amid accusations of abductions, sodomy, blackmail and violence, jurors have to decide if Portsmouth is just a shy, stammering eccentric with foolish habits or a sinister madman attempting to mask his dangerous and immoral nature. Both provocative and heart-rending, The Trials of the King of Hampshire goes beyond the fate of a single man to question Georgian society and examine the treatment of the mentally ill and disabled both then and now.
Given the merciless way in which the war on the Eastern Front of World War II was conducted, it is difficult to envisage anyone changing sides during the conflict. Yet after the German invasion of Russia in Operation Barbarossa, well over 400,000 former Soviet citizens went on to fight for Nazi Germany. These included not only the 'legions' recruited from non-Russian ethnic groups eager for freedom from Stalin's dictatorship, but also some 100,000 Russians and Cossacks. What began as small local security units of 'Ostruppen', enrolled for the ongoing campaigns against Soviet partisans, were later reorganized, given special systems of uniform and insignia, amalgamated into larger formations, and eventually committed to the front line. This book offers up an essential guide to the appearance, formation and equipment of the myriad Russian and Soviet units that fought for the Germans. It uses rare photographs and revealing colour illustrations to create a peerless visual reference to the troops who The Trials of the King of Hampshire free epub switched from one ruthless superpower to another and met with a horrific fate when the fighting was over.
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