Fontainebleau is a unique castle – very large, built and rebuilt in different times, it is a veritable patchwork of architectural styles and different eras that have profoundly marked the history of France. Walking through the castle is like walking to a set of time capsules, each of them representing a certain era, connected to a historically significant individual – most of French history condensed in one site. Also, the forest and the gardens are worthy of admiration in their own right.
Emerging from France's catastrophic 1940 defeat like a bedraggled and rather sinister phoenix, the French State – better known to history as Vichy France or the Vichy Regime after its spa-town capital, stands in history as a unique and bizarre creation of German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler's European conquests. A patchwork of paradoxes and contradictions, the Vichy Regime maintained a quasi-independent French nation for some time after the Third Reich invasion until the Germans decided to include it in their occupation zone. Headed by a French war hero of World War I, Marshal Philippe Petain, and his later Prime Minister Pierre Laval, Vichy France displayed strong right-wing, conservative, and authoritarian tendencies. Nevertheless, it never lapsed fully into fascism until the Germans arrived to reduce its role to little more than a mask over their own dominion. Petain carried out several major initiatives in an effort to counteract the alleged decadence of modern life and to restore the strength and virtues of the French "race". Accordingly, he received willing support from more conservative elements of society, even some factions within the Catholic Church. Following Case Anton - the takeover of the unoccupied area by the Germans - native French fascist elements also emerged. While the French later disowned the Vichy government with considerable vehemence, evidence such as fairly broad-based popular support prior to Case Anton suggests a somewhat different story. The Petain government expressed one facet of French culture and thought. Its conservative, imperialistic nature did not represent the widespread love of "liberty, fraternity, and equality" also deeply ingrained in French thinking, but neither did it constitute a complete divergence from a national history that produced such famous authoritarians as Louis XIV and Napoleon Bonaparte. 1. Language: English. Narrator: William Crockett. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/075369/bk_acx0_075369_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
“You are charged with one of the most difficult and disagreeable tasks that a British admiral has ever been faced with. But we have complete confidence in you and rely on you to carry it out relentlessly.” (Prime Minister Winston Churchill) “90% of senior naval officers, including myself, thought [Operation Catapult] a ghastly error and still do.” (Royal Navy Admiral Andrew Cunningham, 1950) Emerging from France's catastrophic 1940 defeat like a bedraggled and rather sinister phoenix, the French State – better known to history as “Vichy France” or the “Vichy Regime” after its spa-town capital – stands in history as a unique and bizarre creation of German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler's European conquests. A patchwork of paradoxes and contradictions, the Vichy Regime maintained a quasi-independent French nation for some time after the Third Reich invasion until the Germans decided to include it in their occupation zone. While the French later disowned the Vichy government with considerable vehemence, evidence such as fairly broad-based popular support prior to Case Anton suggests a somewhat different story. Of course, this precarious position left Britain in the unenviable position of figuring out what to do with its once erstwhile ally. France is seldom deemed a maritime power, yet during World War I and in the interwar period, the French Navy developed into a relatively powerful fighting force. While it could not rival the British, American, or Japanese forces, it represented one of the medium-sized naval powers like Germany or Italy. As such, the French Navy would have an interesting role to play in the development of the Vichy state during World War II. While the Third Reich naturally cast covetous eyes at the powerful French naval vessels in the hands of their ostensible Vichy ally, they proved content to see those ships remain neutral for several years after their victory in Western Europe. Only when the French changed their alle 1. Language: English. Narrator: Mark Norman. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/112869/bk_acx0_112869_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Today, the British Army is one of the most powerful fighting forces in the world. Its highly trained professional soldiers are equipped with the most advanced military technology ever made. Its international interventions, while controversial both at home and abroad, are carried out with incredible professionalism and little loss of life among British servicemen and servicewomen. Naturally, the history and traditions behind this army are also impressive. Britain has not been successfully invaded in centuries. Its soldiers once created and defended a global empire, and during the Second World War, it was one of the leading nations standing against the brutal Axis forces, leading the way in the greatest seaborne invasion in military history. But it was not always like this. For most of its history, Britain was a patchwork of competing nations. England, the largest of its constituent countries, was often relatively weak as a land power compared with its European neighbors. Moreover, Britain’s armies, like those of the other European powers, were neither professional nor standing armies for hundreds of years. The 18th century was a tumultuous period for the British army, one often overlooked in popular accounts of British history. It began with the formal unification of Britain - a period of great success for the nation's armies - led by one of Britain's greatest generals, the Duke of Marlborough. This was followed by a period of global activity and military reform as the British Empire expanded. In the wake of the French Revolution, other European powers were eager to suppress the revolutionary example before it spread to their nations, and to capitalize on France's turmoil to their advantage. Encouraged by exiled French aristocrats, they went to war to restore the old France, only for the resulting wars to make France more powerful than it had ever been. Under Napoleon, the nation's armies took control of the Iberian and Italian Peninsulas, as 1. Language: English. Narrator: Colin Fluxman. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/115122/bk_acx0_115122_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The Wall Street Journal's award-winning business reporter unveils the bizarre and sinister story of how a math genius named Tom Hayes, a handful of outrageous confederates, and a deeply corrupt banking system ignited one of the greatest financial scandals in history. In 2006, an oddball group of bankers, traders and brokers from some of the world's largest financial institutions made a startling realization: Libor - the London interbank offered rate, which determines the interest rates on trillions in loans worldwide - was set daily by a small group of easily manipulated functionaries, and that they could reap huge profits by nudging it to suit their trading portfolios. Tom Hayes, a brilliant but troubled mathematician, became the lynchpin of a wild alliance that among others included a French trader nicknamed "Gollum"; the broker "Abbo", who liked to publicly strip naked when drinking; a Kazakh chicken farmer turned something short of financial whiz kid; a broker known as "Village" (short for "Village Idiot") and fascinated with human-animal sex; an executive called "Clumpy" because of his patchwork hair loss; and a broker uncreatively nicknamed "Big Nose". Eventually known as the "Spider Network", Hayes's circle generated untold riches - until it all unraveled in spectacularly vicious, backstabbing fashion. The Spider Network is not only a rollicking account of the scam, but a provocative examination of a financial system that was crooked throughout, designed to promote envelope-pushing behavior while shielding higher-ups from the consequences of their subordinates' rapacious actions. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Mike Chamberlain. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/harp/005851/bk_harp_005851_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In the fall of 2008, 15 of the world's leading economists - representing the broadest spectrum of economic opinion - gathered at New Hampshire's Squam Lake. Their goal: the mapping of a long-term plan for financial regulation reform.The Squam Lake Report distills the wealth of insights from the ongoing collaboration that began at these meetings and provides a revelatory, unified, and coherent voice for fixing our troubled and damaged financial markets. As an alternative to the patchwork solutions and ideologically charged proposals that have dominated other discussions, the Squam Lake group sets forth a clear nonpartisan plan of action to transform the regulation of financial markets - not just for the current climate - but for generations to come. They look at the critical holes in the existing regulatory framework for handling complex financial institutions, retirement savings, and credit-default swaps. They offer ideas for new financial instruments designed to recapitalize banks without burdening taxpayers. To lower the risk that large banks will fail, the authors call for higher capital requirements as well as a systemic regulator who is part of the central bank. They collectively analyze where the financial system has failed, and how these weak points should be overhauled.Combining an immense depth of academic, private sector, and public policy experience, The Squam Lake Report contains urgent recommendations that will positively influence everyone's financial well-being - all who care about the world's economic health need to pay attention.Contributors include Kenneth R. French, Martin N. Baily, John Y. Campbell, John H. Cochrane, Douglas W. Diamond, Darrell Duffie, Anil K. Kashyap, Frederic S. Mishkin, Raghuram G. Rajan, David S. Scharfstein, Robert J. Shiller, Hyun Song Shin, Matthew J. Slaughter, Jeremy C. Stein, and Rene M. Stulz. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Ken Kliban, Ken Kliban. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/002488/bk_adbl_002488_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.