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.
"Such an interesting conversation with history"
Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA's African American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America's space program. Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as 'human computers', calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African American women.
"Amazing narration but weak story"
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"
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"
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.
"Fascinating, incredible, yet all true."
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.
In Amsterdam, in the summer of 1942, the Nazis forced teenager Anne Frank and her family into hiding. For over two years, they, another family and a German dentist lived in a 'secret annexe', fearing discovery. All that time, Anne kept a diary.An intimate record of tension and struggle, adolescence and confinement, anger and heartbreak, Anne Frank's diary is one of those unique documents, famed throughout the world.It portrays innocence and humanity, suffering and survival in the starkest and most moving terms.
"Brilliant reader, and amazing journey"
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."
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.
For Australians, Kokoda is the iconic battle of World War II, yet few people know just what happened and just what our troops achieved. Now, best-selling author Peter FitzSimons tells the Kokoda story in a gripping, moving story for all Australians.
"Compulsory listening...we must know this."
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
"Wonderful book. A story ever Australian should know."
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.
The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all? This is the intimate story of 20 tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition.
This comprehensive series of 84 lectures features three award-winning historians sharing their insights into this nation's past-from the European settlement and the Revolutionary War through the Civil War, 19th-century industrialization, two world wars, and the present day. These lectures give you the opportunity to grasp the different aspects of our past that combine to make us distinctly American, and to gain the knowledge so essential to recognizing not only what makes this country such a noteworthy part of world history, but the varying degrees to which it has lived up to its ideals.
"Insightful, listenable and a marathon!"
The men of the 77th Infantry Division couldn't fathom why Private Desmond T. Doss would venture into the horrors of World War II without a single weapon to defend himself. "You're nothing but a coward!" they said. But the soft-spoken medic insisted that his mission was to heal, not kill. When Desmond knelt by his bunk to pray, his fellow soldiers hurled boots and insults at him. Even his commander wanted to throw him out of the army. But when his unit arrived on the battlefield, the intrepid medic quickly proved he was no coward.
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"
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"
In every nation, in every era of history, there are inevitably one or two places that become the symbol of the times. Mention Valley Forge to an American and it will immediately conjure up visions of a hard won fight for freedom. Likewise, the word Dunkirk said to a Briton will elicit a sense of both pride and horror at the lives lost and saved at that desperate point in World War II. For the French, and those who study their history, Versailles is a symbol of, as Charles Dickens once put it, "the best of times...the worst of times."
The story of the American Civil War is not complete without examining the extraordinary and influential lives of Jessie Frémont, Nelly McClellan, Ellen Sherman, and Julia Grant, the wives of Abraham Lincoln's top generals. They were their husbands' closest confidantes and had a profound impact on the generals' ambitions and actions. Most important, the women's own attitudes toward and relationships with Lincoln had major historical significance.
Born in 1927, Nicole Braux's earliest recollections occur in the French city of Nancy, where her father owned and operated a hotel and restaurant. Her charming reflections paint a picture of a romantic culture still wounded by the First World War. Nicole was 12 when her father was recalled into the reserves in 1939. Within months, she watched German troops invade. "We peeked above the window sill and saw them...Our imaginations hadn't exaggerated; they looked as evil, it not more so, than we'd expected!"
While the Lincoln Administration and most Northerners were preoccupied with trying to capture Richmond in the summer of 1861, it would be the little known Ulysses S. Grant who delivered the Union's first major victories, over a thousand miles away from Washington. Grant's new commission led to his command of the District of Southeast Missouri, headquartered at Cairo, after he was appointed by "The Pathfinder", John C. Fremont, a national celebrity who had run for President in 1856.
Amelia Earhart once noted, "In my life I had come to realize that when things were going very well indeed it was just the time to anticipate trouble." And so it would be with America's other famous aviator. Charles Lindbergh had spent the first 30 years of his life escaping multiple plane crashes, becoming a hero across the world, and starting a family, but his luck ran out in an awful way in March of 1932.
Throughout its history, the United States, like most other countries, has faced the challenge of how to properly reward those who have risked, and often given, their lives to defend it. Should they be treated as professionals who were just doing a job? What about those who were drafted, many of whom fought against their own will? Could anyone really pay them for giving up years of their lives for others? If so, how much was enough to pay a man who had left a comfortable home to live in mud and near starvation?
Located in the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City served as the palace for the emperor of China from 1420 to 1912 CE, a period encompassing the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was home to the celestial leaders of China, men that possessed the Mandate of Heaven. A total of 24 emperors lived and ruled from the vast and magnificent complex for almost 500 years, until the last Chinese dynasty was overthrown in 1912 with the abdication of Emperor Xuantong, more commonly known as Puyi.
What defended the US after the attack on Pearl Harbor, defeated the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and is an essential tool in the fight against terror? Aircraft carriers. For 70 years, these ships remained a little-understood cornerstone of American power. In his latest book, On Wave and Wing, Barrett Tillman sheds light on the history of these floating leviathans and offers a nuanced analysis of the largest man-made vessel in the history of the world.
People have been climbing as long as they've existed, and for those who relish the challenge, nothing can top Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on the planet at over 29,000 feet. As Sir Edmund Hillary put it, "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
When interpreter Toussaint Charbonneau, and his Shoshone Indian wife, Sacagawea, joined the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1804, they headed into country largely unknown to them, as it was to Thomas Jefferson's hand-picked explorers. There is little doubt as to the importance of Sacagawea's presence on the journey. She has become a near-legendary figure for her role as interpreter, guide, and "token of peace". Toussaint, however, has been maligned in both fiction and nonfiction alike.
Weikart reveals the startling and fascinating truth about the most hated man of the 20th century: Adolf Hitler was a pantheist who believed nature was God. In Hitler's Religion, Weikart explains how the laws of nature became Hitler's only moral guide - how he became convinced he would serve God by annihilating supposedly "inferior" human beings and promoting the welfare and reproduction of the allegedly superior Aryansin accordance with racist forms of Darwinism prevalent at the time.
Believed to have been penned around the eighth century BCE or seventh century BCE, the Iliad and the Odyssey served as both entertainment and a moral guidebook of sorts for the ancient Greeks, as well as the foundation for Western literature. Although there is some scholarly debate regarding the epic's authorship, it is generally attributed to Homer. Given that he lived nearly 2800 years ago, not much is actually known about Homer; even his birthplace is debated.
There are just so many of those things that history is holding inside and whenever one tries to look over for the facts which are left behind, there is that amazing and astounded feeling of getting overwhelmed. So is the case with History of Israel which talks about so many of those things that happened with the existence of this country.
In the summer of 2002, Shannon Leone Fowler, a 28-year-old marine biologist, was backpacking with her Australian fiancé, Sean, in Thailand. They were planning to return to Australia after their excursion to Koh Pha Ngan, but their plans were tragically derailed when a box jellyfish - the most venomous animal in the world - wrapped around Sean's leg, stinging and killing him in minutes as Shannon helplessly watched.
A thriller of a war that never was - of survival in an impossible city - of surreal cataclysm. In The Last Days of New Paris, China Miéville entwines true historical events and people with his daring, uniquely imaginative brand of fiction, reconfiguring history and art into something new. It's 1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer and occult disciple Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including surrealist theorist André Breton.
The samurai are still remembered as some of the fiercest and most skilled warriors in human history. The name alone evokes an image of the grave and powerful swordsman, clad in lacquered armor and armed with a code of honor and clarity of mind that makes the soldiers of the modern era look like children new to the art. But what was it that allowed these men to hone their minds and bodies to such levels of skill and precision? They had no more and no less than any human alive today.
Here at last is a history of England that is designed to entertain as well as inform and that will delight the armchair traveler, the tourist, or just about anyone interested in history. No people have engendered quite so much acclaim or earned so much censure as the English: extolled as the Athenians of modern times, yet hammered for their self-satisfaction and hypocrisy. But their history has been a spectacular one.
Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, award-winning historian Ewan Butler writes, struggled through unions and separations with both outsiders and each other, developing their own personalities and languages yet retaining their ancient connections.
In this indispensable volume, one of America's ranking scholars combines a life's work of research and teaching with the art of lively narration. Both authoritative and beautifully told, The Middle Ages is the full story of the thousand years between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance - a time that saw the rise of kings and emperors, the flowering of knighthood, the development of Europe, the increasing power of the Catholic Church, and the advent of the middle class.
A Night in the Pech Valley is Grant McGarry's account of what it takes to become an Army Ranger and what life is like in the 75th Ranger Regiment. More importantly, it is about an operation in the most dangerous terrain for US forces anywhere in the world. The Pech Valley is surrounded by Taliban-filled mountains on the Pakistan border in the Kunar Province, where the mountain peaks push 10,000 feet.