A to Z of Almost Everything


This seventh edition of the A to Z of almost Everything has been exhaustively revised and updated to accommodate
new, and for the expansion of existing, material. All the information from the sixth edition remains intact except for
two sections: Current Affairs, which has been replaced by three more recent years as per my norm, and the results
of the 2010 General Election, which has been replaced with the results of the 2015 General Election.
Although my cut-off point for the current affairs section is 31 December 2015 without this section I have endeavoured
to maintain records right up to going to press in October 2016 so you will notice many of the lists are updated to 2016
unless the event takes place after this date. This was precipitated by Brexit, and the subsequent resignation of David
Cameron; the latest news being the announcement on 2 October 2016 by Theresa May that Article 50 will be triggered
by the end of March 2017 which would make the UK set to leave the EU by the end of March 2019. I’m sure my very
patient proof readers, typesetter and printer have some misgivings about this decision but it has enabled me to include
all the British Gold Medal Winners of the Rio Olympics and also complete results of all the athletics medal winners;
my final entry, the American Ryder Cup victory over Europe, actually taking place in the same month as the book is
For this edition every section through Abbreviations, Architecture, Art, Astronomy, Britain, Cinema, Famous People,
Literature, Music, Nature, Politics, Science, Sport, Transport and USA has been revised and added to as new terms
become en vogue, young artists flourish, planetary moons continue to be discovered, films win awards and chemical
elements previously unnamed are now given nomenclature - albeit temporary in some cases.
As always, I have taken heed of the feedback from my readership and to that end, at the beginning of my ‘Britain’
section I have attempted to steer the reader through the murky waters of the United Kingdom county system and
explain as comprehensively as possible the difference between administrative, ceremonial, geographical and
traditional, including full details of both modern and historic counties across all four nations.
For the first time I have shown details of films released in the same year as the publication date of the book and this
includes the critically acclaimed Eddie the Eagle, the grossly disappointing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,
the widely panned (but guilty pleasure of mine) Grimsby and Finding Dory, the 17th offering of Pixar, the American
CGI film production company based in Emeryville, California. Interestingly, John Ratzenberger has voiced characters
in all 17 films.
The Geography section is always a major undertaking and I’d like to thank Sharon Chladek for painstakingly and
accurately helping to update large parts of it for me.
The History section now sees all the relevant dates that commodities were put on the ration from the outset of WWII
and taken off gradually during the decade of austerity that followed its end.
My Military section has additions to Operations, Victoria Cross and Battles as with all sections but even now as I
peruse the extensive list of battles numbering several hundred I wish I had included the Relief of Newark, Prince
Rupert of the Rhine’s victory over Sir John Meldrum’s Parliamentarians at Newark on 21 March 1644 and although
alluding to the Siege of Stalingrad (Operations Little Saturn and Winter Storm) I should have included more detail of
the decisive Russian victory over the German Wehrmacht (defence force) i.e. the Heer (army), the Kriegsmarine
(navy) and the Luftwaffe (air force). I can rest a little easier now that I’ve partially righted the wrong but for the record
the siege took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943 with the Germans taking a bloody toll of Russians
in the first three months; the tide eventually turning on 19 November 1942, the Red Army launching Operation Uranus
against the Romanian and Hungarian forces protecting the German 6th Army’s flanks which eventually led to their
surrender. In my defence I originally quoted my criteria for inclusion as a battle ‘short-lived exchanges with identifiable
leaders on both sides’ but clearly Stalingrad, with casualties numbering almost two million, bears mentioning in
Again, by popular demand, the Sport section now includes the present managers of English Football League Clubs
as well as a list of former England managers; Sam Allardyce being sacked on 27 September 2016 and replaced by
Gareth Southgate after one game in charge; a 1-0 defeat of Slovakia.
I hope you will be edified and entertained when dipping in to the book.
As always I have done my utmost to achieve 100 per cent accuracy, but if I have fallen short or you would like to
suggest new topics or discuss existing ones, please write to me via my website.
At this point perhaps it is time I mentioned previous contributors once again as the original book, compiled almost
twenty years ago, could not have been done so without the invaluable help of so many of my friends some of which
are sadly no longer with us. Take a bow Kevin Ashman, Jeremy Beadle, Mike Billson, Mark Bytheway, Eric Carden,
Peter Chitty, Bob Collier, Patricia Cowley, Andy Curtis, Peter Ediss, Robert Edwards, Brian Ennis, Keith Fawdry, Gavin
Fuller, Gavin Gaughan, Phillida Grantham, Dag Griffiths, Paul Henderson, Chris Hughes, Bob Jones, Will Jones, Ann
Kelly, Mark Kerr, Eric Kilby, Mel Kinsey, Phil Lewis, Magnus Magnusson KBE, Ruth Benjamin Marvin, Christine
Moorcroft, Mike O’Sullivan, Anita Oxley, Trevor Parry, Peter Phelan, Fiona Redmond, Craig Scott, Tony Sherwood,
John Snow, Leo Stevenson, Rob Sutherland, Geoff Thomas, Gordon Troughton, Ritchie Venner, Ray Ward, Tim
Westcott, Neil White, John Wilson and last but not least my beloved June - cruelly in the advanced stages of
Alzheimer’s but still a source of great joy to me.

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