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Books

This month’s best historical reads
ALAMY X1, GETTY X2

“As the nation needed more firepower, its brightest minds worked to find ways of producing better guns, more quickly”

Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution

By Priya Satia

Gerald Duckworth and Co, £30, hardback, 544 pages

When you think of guns, it’s unlikely that the first revolution that comes to mind is the Industrial Revolution. Yet this book argues that firearms were, in fact, key to Britain’s extraordinary development in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, because of what else was happening during that period: war. As the nation needed more firepower, its brightest minds worked to find ways of producing better guns, more quickly, and on a vastly increased scale. It’s a complex but remarkable story, with some surprising lead characters – who would have thought that the Quakers played such a large role in such a violent episode?

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

In this month's issue… Everything you ever wanted to know about castles The complete story of the greatest emblem of the medieval age: how they evolved from simple forts into impregnable bastions, how they were built without modern machinery and how you could break into one. Plus: the Women's Liberation Movement; the peasant who became Japan's second great unifier; top 10 ancient board games; the football match that sparked a war; and a graphic guide to London Zoo's most famous residents.