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.
"Such an interesting conversation with history"
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"
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.
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 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.
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."
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"
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."
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.
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.
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"
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.
Bill was massive. He had power, intelligence, and unmatched courage. In performance and character he stood above all the other 200,000 Australian horses sent to the Middle East in the Great War. But as war horses go he had one serious problem. No one could ride him but one man - Major Michael Shanahan. Some even thought Bill took a sneering pleasure in watching would-be riders hit the dust. Bill the Bastard is the remarkable tale of a bond between a determined trooper and his stoic but cantankerous mount. They fought together.
Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us - an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings. In best-selling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours. The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself.
On 25 April 1915, Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in present-day Turkey to secure the sea route between Britain and France in the west and Russia in the east. After eight months of terrible fighting, they would fail. Turkey regards the victory to this day as a defining moment in its history, a heroic last stand in the defence of the nation's Ottoman Empire.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany. In a country where the headquarters of the secret police could become a museum literally overnight, and one in 50 East Germans were informing on their fellow citizens, there are thousands of captivating stories.
Napoleon Bonaparte lived one of the most extraordinary of all human lives. In the space of just 20 years, from October 1795, when as a young artillery captain he cleared the streets of Paris of insurrectionists, to his final defeat at the (horribly mismanaged) battle of Waterloo in June 1815, Napoleon transformed France and Europe. After seizing power in a coup d'état, he ended the corruption and incompetence into which the revolution had descended.
"Well worth the listen"
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"
At the height of the Dust Bowl came a heat wave in 1936. Ironically, the weather early that year did not exactly suggest that heat would be a problem. In fact, February 1936 was the coldest month in the nation's history. As a result, when the weather began to warm up in March and April, people breathed a sigh of relief, but it kept getting warmer, and rain ceased to fall in some areas. In June, normally warm southern states grew unbearably hot, setting record high temperatures in excess of 110 degrees.
Even enemies will agree that the United States is a unique nation, in that its culture has been developed almost entirely by immigrants—people who have come to the country from other places and carved their way into society. Sometimes called a melting pot, sometimes a tossed salad, the nation has been shaped by all that is good and bad of the people who live here. Sadly, history has taught that where there is immigration, there will always be conflict.
Stirringly evocative, thought provoking, and often jaw dropping, The Operator ranges across SEAL Team Operator Robert O'Neill's awe-inspiring 400-mission career that included his involvement in attempts to rescue "Lone Survivor" Marcus Luttrell and abducted-by-Somali-pirates Captain Richard Phillips and culminated in those famous three shots that dispatched the world's most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden.
In his final speech "I've Been to the Mountaintop," Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his support of African American garbage workers on strike in Memphis. Although some consider this oration King's finest, it is mainly known for its concluding two minutes, wherein King compares himself to Moses and seems to predict his own assassination. But King gave an hour-long speech, and the concluding segment can only be understood in relation to the whole.
A groundbreaking account of how Britain became the base of operations for the exiled leaders of Europe in their desperate struggle to reclaim their continent from Hitler, from the New York Times best-selling author of Citizens of London and Those Angry Days.
The kingdom of France of the medieval ages emerged from the Western dominion of Europe. It was called Charlemagne's empire of Carolingians. During those days the territory was prominently called Western Francis. It was during the later years in and around 987 that the prominence of this Western Francis heightened with the formation of the Hugh Capet. The house of Capet is quite significant in the French history.
From the Yangtze to the Yellow River, China is traversed by great waterways, which have defined its politics and ways of life for centuries. Water has been so integral to China's culture, economy, and growth and development that it provides a window on the whole sweep of Chinese history. In The Water Kingdom, renowned writer Philip Ball opens that window to offer an epic and powerful new way of thinking about Chinese civilization. Water, Ball shows, is a key that unlocks much of Chinese culture.
Not since Merrill Peterson's Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation has a scholar attempted to write a comprehensive biography of the most complex Founding Father. In Jefferson, John B. Boles plumbs every facet of Thomas Jefferson's life, all while situating him amid the sweeping upheaval of his times. We meet Jefferson the politician and political thinker - as well as Jefferson the architect, scientist, bibliophile, paleontologist, musician, and gourmet.
Stalking the Red Bear, for the first time ever, describes the action principally from the perspective of a commanding officer of a nuclear submarine during the Cold War - the one man aboard a sub who makes the critical decisions - taking us closer to the Soviet target than any work on submarine espionage has ever done before. This is the untold story of a covert submarine espionage operation against the Soviet Union during the Cold War as experienced by the commanding officer of an active submarine.
The high command of the Army of the Potomac was a changeable, often dysfunctional band of brothers, going through the fires of war under seven commanding generals in three years, until Grant came east in 1864. The men in charge all too frequently appeared to be fighting against the administration in Washington instead of for it, increasingly cast as political pawns facing down a vindictive congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War.
With Their Bare Hands traces the fate of the US 79th Division - men drafted off the streets of Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia - from their training camp in Maryland through the final years of World War I, focusing on their most famous engagement: the attack on Montfaucon, the most heavily fortified part of the German Line, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918.
Karl Tanzler, also known as Count Carl von Cosel, was a radiologist in Key West, Florida, who developed an obsession for one of his patients, Elena Milagro Hoyos. The beautiful young woman died from tuberculosis in 1931. With her parents' permission von Cosel had an above-ground mausoleum built for her. He visited the tomb every night and by 1933 he had taken the body home. In writing this definitive and mesmerizing tale of the most obsessive love imaginable, Ben Harrison did his homework thoroughly.
Whether a visitor to, or a native of, the great and ancient metropolis of London, the listener will be drawn in by this book's strange and sometimes horrendous tales about this global melting pot of a city. It discusses in detail some of the demons, ghosts, and life-essence stealers who inhabit London's netherworld and call it their home. This book's tales of hauntings and terror deal exclusively with that hugely haunted area of London known as the West End which has the famous Piccadilly Circus at its centre.
In southern Iraq, a crushing silence hangs over the dunes. For nearly 5000 years, the sands of the Iraqi desert have held the remains of the oldest known civilization: the Sumerians. When American archaeologists discovered a collection of cuneiform tablets in Iraq in the late 19th century, they were confronted with a language and a people who were at the time only scarcely known to even the most knowledgeable scholars of ancient Mesopotamia.
The day that will live in infamy was just the beginning.... In 1940, still in high school, Henry P. Lawrence joined the Navy Reserves. Little did he know that a year later, in May of 1941, he'd be called to service and deployed to Hawaii. No one believed the Japanese would be aggressive enough to attack a US territory. Their plan...to cripple the United States military. The attack at Pearl came hard and fast. I Was Just a Radioman is a collection of the memoirs of ARM Henry P. Lawrence, a WWII Pearl Harbor survivor and decorated war veteran.
In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration commissioned an oral history of the remaining former slaves. Bullwhip Days is a remarkable compendium of selections from these extraordinary interviews, providing an unflinching portrait of the world of government-sanctioned slavery of Africans in America. Here are 29 full narrations, as well as nine sections of excerpts related to particular aspects of slave life, from religion to plantation life to the Reconstruction era.
How did the ancient Egyptians travel in this quaint old land thousands of years ago? What sort of transportation did they use? For how long did they go? What destinations did they visit? For which purposes did they travel? Is it correct to describe the ancient Egyptian travels as "tourism" or not? According to our current perceptions of tourism, if the Egyptians had tourism in ancient times, did they understand it as such? Which varieties of tourism did the ancient Egyptians have compared to what mankind has today?
Human ingenuity has ensured that over the centuries, we have progressed enough to walk on the very moon. Submarine technology, then, comes as no surprise to us. The use of subs during the wars certainly turned the tide of the battle; the Allied Powers would no doubt have lost had they not engaged in naval battles of such grandeur.
Herodotus was a Greek historian born in Halicarnassus, subject at the time of the great Persian Empire. He lived in the fifth century BC (c. 484 - c. 425 BC), a contemporary of Socrates. He is often referred to as "The Father of History", a title originally conferred by Cicero. Herodotus was the first historian known to have broken from Homeric tradition in order to treat historical subjects as a method of investigation, specifically by collecting his materials in a critical, systematic fashion and then arranging them into a chronological narrative.
Two days after Ramzi Yousef's attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the FBI and the Texas National Guard surrounded the Mount Carmel Center compound outside of Waco, Texas. They were there to search the property of the Branch Davidians, a religious cult, due to allegations that cult members were sexually abusing children and had assault weapons.