A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. He takes subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry, and particle physics, and aims to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. In the company of some extraordinary scientists, Bill Bryson reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
"Not what I expected but brilliant!"
First there was Girt. Now comes...True Girt. In this side-splitting sequel to his best-selling history, David Hunt takes us to the Australian frontier. This was the Wild South, home to hardy pioneers, gun-slinging bushrangers, directionally challenged explorers, nervous indigenous people, Caroline Chisholm and sheep. Lots of sheep.
Girt. No word could better capture the essence of Australia.... In this hilarious history, David Hunt reveals the truth of Australia's past, from megafauna to Macquarie - the cock-ups and curiosities, the forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are. Girt introduces forgotten heroes like Mary McLoghlin, transported for the crime of "felony of sock", and Trim the cat, who beat a French monkey to become the first animal to circumnavigate Australia.
"True Blue History of Australia - Addicted"
For centuries in Europe, innocent men and women were murdered for the imaginary crime of witchcraft. This was a mass delusion and moral panic, driven by pious superstition and a deadly commitment to religious conformity. In Witch: A Tale of Terror, best-selling author Sam Harris introduces and reads from Charles Mackay's beloved book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
"Incredible....our species is so stupid!"
Fingerprints of the Gods is the revolutionary rewrite of history that has persuaded millions of listeners throughout the world to change their preconceptions about the history behind modern society. An intellectual detective story, this unique history audiobook directs probing questions at orthodox history, presenting disturbing new evidence that historians have tried - but failed - to explain.
His code name is Mr Clark. And his work for the CIA is brilliant, cold-blooded, and efficient...but who is he really? In a harrowing tour de force, Tom Clancy shows how an ordinary man named John Kelly crossed the lines of justice and morality - to become the CIA legend, Mr Clark.
This is an unforgettable journey into the heart of darkness. Without mercy. Without guilt. Without remorse.
"Great pace and characters."
The sun is setting on the Western world. Slowly but surely, the direction in which the world spins has reversed: where for the last five centuries the globe turned westward on its axis, it now turns to the east.... For centuries, fame and fortune were to be found in the West - in the New World of the Americas. Today it is the East that calls out to those in search of adventure and riches. The region stretching from Eastern Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia, deep into China and India, is taking center stage.
"Some great gems of historical fact"
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis - that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over 40 years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
It's early 1918, and after four brutal years the fate of the Great War hangs in the balance. On the one hand, the fact that Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks have seized power in Russia - immediately suing for peace with Germany - means that no fewer than one million of the Kaiser's soldiers can now be transferred from there to the Western Front. On the other, now that America has entered the war, it means that two million American soldiers are also on their way, to tip the scales of war in favor of the Allies.
"In glory they lay"
Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology.
"A smart revisionist history of humankind"
From the earliest civilizations to the 21st century: a global journey through human history, published alongside a landmark BBC One television series. Our understanding of world history is changing, as new discoveries are made on all the continents and old prejudices are being challenged. In this truly global journey, Andrew Marr revisits some of the traditional epic stories, from classical Greece and Rome to the rise of Napoleon, but surrounds them with less familiar material, from Peru to the Ukraine, China to the Caribbean.
"Enjoyed it, especially earlier on."
The 13 chapters of The Art of War, each devoted to one aspect of warfare, were compiled by the high-ranking Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher Sun-Tzu. In spite of its battlefield specificity, The Art of War has found new life in the modern age, with leaders in fields as wide and far-reaching as world politics, human psychology, and corporate strategy finding valuable insight in its timeworn words.
"An inspiring if somewhat dated read"
Most of us have a limited understanding of the powerful role economics has played in shaping human civilization. This makes economic history - the study of how civilizations structured their environments to provide food, shelter, and material goods - a vital lens through which to think about how we arrived at our present, globalized moment. Designed to fill a long-empty gap in how we think about modern history, these 48 lectures are a comprehensive journey through more than 600 years of economic history.
"A pretty good and fair illustration of economics"
Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.
Ancient Rome matters. Its history of empire, conquest, cruelty and excess is something against which we still judge ourselves. Its myths and stories - from Romulus and Remus to the rape of Lucretia - still strike a chord with us. And its debates about citizenship, security and the rights of the individual still influence our own debates on civil liberty today. SPQR is a new look at Roman history from one of the world's foremost classicists.
"This excellent history of Ancient Rome"
'I need a wife'. It's a common joke among women juggling work and family, but it's no joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a godsend on the domestic front and an asset on the work front and is an advantage enjoyed by vastly more men than women. Full of candid and funny stories from politics and the media, The Wife Drought shares intriguing research about the attitudes pulsing beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.
The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.
Bill Bryson was struck one day by the thought that we devote more time to studying the battles and wars of history than to considering what history really consists of: centuries of people quietly going about their daily business. This inspired him to start a journey around his own house, an old rectory in Norfolk, considering how the ordinary things in life came to be.
"Best use of a credit"
As raiders and explorers, the Vikings played a decisive role in the formation of Latin Christendom, and particularly of western Europe. Now, in a series of 36 vivid lectures by an honored teacher and classical scholar, you have the opportunity to understand this remarkable race as never before, studying the Vikings not only as warriors, but in all of the other roles in which they were equally extraordinary - merchants, artists, kings, raiders, seafarers, shipbuilders, and creators of a remarkable literature of myths and sagas.
"Vikings more than horned helmets"
The point of The Churchill Factor is that one man can make all the difference. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of Winston Churchill's death, Boris Johnson explores what makes up the 'Churchill Factor' - the singular brilliance of one of the most important leaders of the 20th century.
"Fascinating book excellent narration"
One Summer: America, 1927, is the new book by Britain’s favourite writer of narrative nonfiction, Bill Bryson. Narrated by the man himself, One Summer takes you to the summer when America came of age, took centre stage, and changed the world forever. In the summer of 1927, America had a booming stock market, a president who worked just four hours a day, a semi-crazed sculptor with a plan to carve four giant heads into a mountain called Rushmore, a devastating flood of the Mississippi, a sensational murder trial, and a youthful aviator named Charles Lindbergh who started the summer wholly unknown, and finished it as the most famous man on Earth.
"A Summer more or less"
Australia has more things that can kill you than anywhere else. Nevertheless, Bill Bryson journeyed to the country and promptly fell in love with it. The people are cheerful, their cities are clean, the beer is cold, and the sun nearly always shines.
"It's OK but --------------------"
In Neither Here nor There Bill Bryson brings his unique brand of humour to bear on Europe as he shoulders his backpack, keeps a tight hold on his wallet, and journeys from Hammerfest, the northernmost town on the continent, to Istanbul on the cusp of Asia.
"If you are amused by sexually deviant things"
In Made in America, Bryson de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say 'lootenant' and 'Toosday', how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up, as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr Kellogg of cornflakes fame.
"Very entertaining account of American vocabulary"
The IRGC is notable for its involvement in conflicts around the Middle East, particularly in supporting Shi'a groups through military training and finance, as well as backup support on the battlefield. This is not to say the IRGC enters into conflicts for the sake of being involved, but rather, they see these particular situations as serving the interests of Iran and furthering their brand of Shi'ism, a sect of Islam.
"Ambition is like the balloonist. To some extent, the rise is nice and he does enjoy a splendid view and a vast landscape. But when he rises more, vertigo occurs, the air becomes thin and the risk of a big fall increases." With this parable, the Austrian Archduke Maximilian of Hapsburg inadvertently predicted the destiny to which he would bravely ride, despite the warnings and the sweet talkers. In any case, he followed his heart's mandate. And Charlotte, the princess, was "one of the most cultured and beautiful" in Europe.
The legends of vampires like Dracula have generated massive interest throughout time. Indeed, the story of a man (in some versions a very handsome, dashing man), who feeds on the blood of virgins in order to survive, and who walks the earth only at night, has been revived throughout the centuries in different forms. However, one famous tale that has been lost among the legends is the story of a female Dracula, an educated woman from a well-known family of 16th century Hungary....
Fort de Chartres, built in 1719-1720 in the heart of what would become the American Midwest, embodied French colonial power for half a century. Lives of Fort de Chartres, by David MacDonald, details the French colonial experience in Illinois from 1720 to 1770 through vivid depictions of the places, people, and events around the fort and its neighboring villages.
Midair is a true account of one of the most remarkable tales of survival in the history of aviation - a midair collision at 30,000 feet by two bomb-laden B-52s over a category 5 super typhoon above the South China Sea during the outset of the Vietnam War.
The writing of Death of a President, William Manchester's award-winning account of President Kennedy's assassination, is the topic of the title essay in this collection, as it was a controversy like few others, pitting one of the most prominent historians of the day against Jackie Kennedy, the most famous and private widow in the world. The essay provides an insider's account of the struggle to see the book published.
Appalachia has played a complex and often contradictory role in the unfolding of American history. Created by urban journalists in the years following the Civil War, the idea of Appalachia provided a counterpoint to emerging definitions of progress. Early 20th-century critics of modernity saw the region as a remnant of frontier life, a reflection of simpler times that should be preserved and protected.
The Council of Nicea was not clerics in a dark and ornate hall. It was brawls in churchyards; it was emperors and governors fighting to save the empire; it was political intrigue as the governments of church and state blended into a volatile stew. It was the way a fringe group of peace-loving communal worshipers of a crucified Palestinian prophet conquered the Roman Empire.
From the Trail of Tears to Wounded Knee and Little Bighorn, the narrative of American history is incomplete without the inclusion of the Native Americans who lived on the continent before European settlers arrived in the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the first contact between natives and settlers, tribes like the Sioux, Cherokee, and Navajo have both fascinated and perplexed outsiders with their history, language, and culture.
The emergence of secret societies has always been one of the most fascinating facets of civilization, a phenomenon that has been around since the birth of mankind. Even centuries after some of these groups were founded, they remain well-known, such as the Knights Templar, a group of armored warriors who hailed from the Holy Land. But of all of history's secret societies, the legend behind one's name surpasses them all: the Illuminati.
Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilizations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later. From the Library and Lighthouse of Alexandria to the Great Pyramid at Giza, the ancient Egyptians produced several wonders of the world, revolutionized architecture and construction, created some of the world's first systems of mathematics and medicine, and established language and art that spread across the known world.
New York City. The Big Apple. The city of dreams. The city so nice they named it twice. These are just some of the monikers given to not only the most highly populated city in North America, but perhaps the most culturally diverse region in all the world. Modern age New York is stamped on the map for its breathtaking skylines and iconic financial centers, as well as being the quintessential melting pot, where people go to "make it big" and take a chance on long-awaited dreams.
Although Russia has long been considered part of Europe, it has always had a culture so distinct and a history so different that it is still foreign to Western Europe in many ways. Naturally, this sense of otherness has lent an aura of intrigue and mystique to Russia as people have struggled to understand it. Over the long course of Russian history, perhaps no aspect of the giant country has generated interest quite like Siberia, the easternmost part of Russia that lies in Asia.
Big Ben is one of the most recognizable symbols of Britain, and indeed one of the most famous structures in the world. A quintessential part of London, every movie set in London features an establishing shot of Big Ben, and many guidebooks of London have the clock tower as its cover photo. London and Big Ben are forever linked in the consciousness of the Western world.
The American South has given birth to many of the nation's great stories and legends. From the earliest Colonial times, it's been a place of mystery, replete with disappearing colonies and strange apparitions in the woods, but the South's long and proud history has always had a darker, and stranger, side to it. One of America's most famous mysteries was its first. Despite the fact he had left over 100 colonists at the island of Roanoke in 1587, John White returned to literally nothing, with all traces of the settlement gone.
In 1887 Nellie Bly had herself committed to the notorious Blackwell's Island insane asylum in New York City with the goal of discovering what life was like for its patients. While there, Bly experienced firsthand the shocking abuse and neglect of its inmates, from inedible food to horrifyingly unsanitary conditions. Ten Days in a Mad-House is Bly's exposé of the asylum.
Over the course of eight years, Barack Obama has amassed an array of outstanding achievements. His administration saved the American economy from collapse, expanded health insurance to millions who previously could not afford it, negotiated an historic nuclear deal with Iran, helped craft a groundbreaking international climate accord, reined in Wall Street, and crafted a new vision of racial progress.
In May 1941 the German battleship Bismarck, accompanied by heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, broke out into the Atlantic to attack Allied shipping. The Royal Navy's pursuit and subsequent destruction of the Bismarck was an epic of naval warfare. In this new account of those dramatic events at the height of the Second World War, Iain Ballantyne draws extensively on the graphic eyewitness testimony of veterans to construct a thrilling story, mainly from the point of view of the British battleships, cruisers, and destroyers involved.
Cool had a lot to do with sex, sex appeal, and sex roles. Girls have never received enough credit for the fantastic leap of the mind they took in the 60s. In these post-women's-power days, we've come to take a lot for granted. But when the 17-year-old girl from the comfortable home started adopting some of the attitudes of the black jazz musician, the lessons of centuries of class and gender indoctrination were dumped in the trash along with the pink plastic curlers.
What was the bloodiest war in American history? Most people with at least a little knowledge of history would quickly say that it was the Civil War (1861-65), and they would certainly be correct overall. However, when historians go farther back in time and include colonial wars and look at casualties per capita, the correct answer would be the much-lesser known conflict known as "King Philip's War" (1675-76).