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!"
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"
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.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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"
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"
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."
When therapist Elizabeth Heaney left her private practice to counsel military service members and their families, she came face-to-face with unheard-of struggles and fears. Emotions run deeply - and often silently - in the hearts of combat veterans in this eye-opening portrait of the complex, nuanced lives of service personnel, who return from battling the enemy and grapple with readjusting to civilian life.
No era is more pertinent to understanding how present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh evolved than the nearly 200 years of British rule. This colonial period was a time of deep change and transformation - for India and for the world. These 24 engrossing lectures offer you new perspectives on the history of European imperialism, on world economic history, on the features of British colonialism, and on the rich cultures of the Indian subcontinent.
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"
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"
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.
"An Economic History of the World"
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."
'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 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.
From the Pulitzer Prize winner and number one international best-selling author of The World Is Flat, an essential and entertaining field guide to thriving in the 21st century. We all sense it - something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your children. You can't miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are speeding up - and it is dizzying.
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.
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"
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 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.
From the opening shots to General George Pickett's ill-fated charge, Bruce Catton tells the dramatic story of the battle that resulted in more than 51,000 Union and Confederate casualties and changed the course of the war.
When superstar athlete Jim Thorpe and football legend Pop Warner met in 1904 at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, they forged one of the winningest teams in American football history. Called "the team that invented football", they took on the best opponents of their day, defeating much more privileged schools such as Harvard and Army in a series of breathtakingly close calls, genius plays, and bone-crushing hard work.
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.
The struggle for North Africa was unlike any other campaign of World War II. The desert proved a real test of generalship, pitting Germany's Erwin Rommel against Britain's Bernard Montgomery and America's George Patton. Here, from award-winning military historian Stephen W. Sears, is the dramatic story of the generals, politicians, and soldiers who changed the course of the war.
The Civil War is best remembered for the big battles and the legendary generals who fought on both sides, like Robert E. Lee facing off against Ulysses S. Grant in 1864. In kind, the Eastern theater has always drawn more interest and attention than the West. However, while massive armies marched around the country fighting each other, there were other small guerrilla groups that engaged in irregular warfare on the margins.
The British East India Company served as one of the key players in the formation of the British Empire. From its origins as a trading company struggling to keep up with its superior Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish competitors to its tenure as the ruling authority of the Indian subcontinent to its eventual hubristic downfall, the East India Company serves as a lens through which to explore the much larger economic and social forces that shaped the formation of a global British Empire.
Cities rather than individual pioneers have been the driving force in the settlement and economic development of the western half of North America. Throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, western urban centers served as starting points for conquest and settlement. As these frontier cities matured into metropolitan centers, they grew from imitators of eastern culture and outposts of eastern capital into independent sources of economic, cultural, and intellectual change.
Mankind has been on the planet for millions of years, but civilization and life in cities has only come about in the last five millennia. Through history civilizations rose and fell, dependent on nature, and they popped up independently in a handful of different places around the world. Each of those civilizations created a unique and distinctive vision of life which forms a vital counterpoint to the problems of modern society.
Most commonly known as the antagonists of the pantheon of gods led by Zeus, the Titans embody "unrest" and "transience" for the modern listener, but for reasons less than the obvious. History, after all, is the story of the winners, and the world of the ancient Greeks was a world of a very real, highly querulous pantheon that it behooved ancient writers to glorify in their works.
Get ready to take a journey through the history of the ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Roman armies. Specifically, you should be ready to discover the strategies and weapons used by each army and how they helped make the military what it is today.
Martin Luther was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Luther came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money, proposing an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his 95 Theses of 1517.
These are the words of Christopher Columbus - the record of his first voyage to America. His private journal from the trip was lost, but not before being studied and condensed by later writers like Spanish historian and Dominican friar Bartolomé de Las Casas, whose abridgement has been changed to first person perspective for this production (Columbus' actual words were often included by the friar). The result is a personal record of an enterprise which changed the whole face of history.
In the spring of 1812, the British army under Sir Arthur Wellesley, Earl of Wellington, has driven the French from Portugal. With Napoleon obsessed by the invasion of Russia, Wellington turns toward Spain. The way is barred by two fortresses, Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz. When Ciudad Rodrigo collapses after a short siege, Wellington prepares to break the fortress of Badajoz, the most formidable stronghold in Europe and commanded by the seasoned warrior, Baron Armand Philippon.
England, July 1540: it is one of the hottest summers on record, and the court of Henry VIII is embroiled once again in political scandal. Anne Cleves is out. Thomas Cromwell is to be executed and, in the countryside, an aristocratic teenager named Catherine Howard prepares to become fifth wife to the increasingly unpredictable monarch.
Shortly after World War II, Congress' House Committee on Un-American Activities began investigating Americans across the country for suspected ties to communism. Among the people called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, none are as controversial as Alger Hiss.
Even as the young United States successfully secured its independence, the new nation was beset by problems. The drafters of the Articles of Confederation had deliberately avoided giving the national legislature the power to tax, because Parliament had so abused that authority against the colonies, but this proved to be a severe limitation on the national government.