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!"
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"
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"
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."
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"
It takes a tough mind-set to be a successful sniper, to be able to dig in for days on your own as you wait for your target, to stay calm on a battlefield when you yourself have become the target the enemy most wants to take out. Craig Harrison has what it takes, and in November 2009 in Afghanistan, under intense pressure, he saved the lives of his comrades with the longest confirmed sniper kill - 2,475 metres, the length of 25 football pitches.
Australia is a proud country full of proud people, but exactly what are we proud of? Comedian and history buff Ben Pobjie delves deep into Australia's past and has a good old rummage amongst the nation's personal effects. With wit, perspicacity and a healthily elastic attitude to historical accuracy, the great saga of Australia is unravelled like an old woolly jumper. For anyone who snoozed through history class at school, this is the book to get you all caught up.
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"
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.
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"
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.
Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical, Hamilton, is as revolutionary as its subject: the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap and claims the origins of the United States for a diverse new generation. Hamilton: The Revolution gives listeners an unprecedented view of both revolutions.
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.
In 1854, Victorian miners fought a deadly battle under the flag of the Southern Cross at the Eureka Stockade. Though brief and doomed to fail, the battle is legend in both our history and in the Australian mind. Henry Lawson wrote poems about it, its symbolic flag is still raised, and even the nineteenth-century visitor Mark Twain called it: "a strike for liberty". Was this rebellion a fledgling nation’s first attempt to assert its independence under colonial rule? Or was it merely rabble-rousing by unruly miners determined not to pay their taxes?
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.
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.
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.
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."
Autumn 1944. World War II is nearly over in Europe but is escalating in the Pacific, where American soldiers face an opponent who will go to any length to avoid defeat. The Japanese army follows the samurai code of Bushido, stipulating that surrender is a form of dishonor. Killing the Rising Sun takes listeners to the bloody tropical-island battlefields of Peleliu and Iwo Jima and to the embattled Philippines, where General Douglas MacArthur has made a triumphant return and is plotting a full-scale invasion of Japan.
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"
An untold tale of Australians at war: the first ABC war correspondents and how radio broadcast from the battlefields to those at home waiting for news. With the outbreak of the Second World War, a new breed of reporters joined the ranks of war correspondents - and through the reach and power of radio, Australians back home heard their voices and their stories shaped from the sounds of battle, out of the white noise of the ether.
This is a summary, analysis, and review of the book and not the original book. With Instaread, you can get the key takeaways, summary, and analysis of a book in 15 minutes. We read every chapter, identify the key takeaways, and analyze them for your convenience.
The discovery of rich dark pools of oil residing in the pockets beneath humanity's feet remains one of the most pivotal revelations in all of history. Crude oil, a type of fossil fuel, is found swimming near the surface in tar sands and in the cracks of sedimentary rocks. These underground jackpots are used to create petroleum products across the globe, from gasoline and different fuels to heating oils, lubricating oils, and asphalt.
This celebrated classic gives a soldier's-eye-view of the Guadalcanal battles; crucial to World War II, the war that continues to fascinate us all. Unlike some of those on Guadalcanal in the fall of 1942, Richard Tregaskis volunteered to be there. One of only two on-location news correspondents, he lived alongside the soldiers: sleeping on the ground - only to be awoken by air raids - eating meager rations, and braving some of the most dangerous battlefields of World War II.
At the beginning of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and his highest-ranking general, George B. McClellan, agreed that the United States must preserve the Union. Their differing strategies for accomplishing that goal, however, created constant conflict. Lincoln, a man without military training, promoted McClellan on the advice of cabinet members and counted on "Little Mac" to whip the army into shape and end the war quickly.
This book tells the story of the 99 men who were serving on the USS Scorpion on May 22, 1968, the fateful day the submarine is believed to have sank. It appears that the crew members died quickly, but however it happened, the grief experienced by their family members dragged on for decades, exacerbated both by the Navy's lack of information about the submarine's final moments and the government's unwillingness to share what little knowledge it had.
Released to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the attack, this volume looks in detail at how the events of December 7, 1941, unfolded at Pearl Harbor, the military forces involved from both sides, and the key people who played a part. The story is told through rare eyewitness accounts with in-depth analysis of this critical turning point that changed world history forever.
The Rothschild dynasty of power and wealth would not only become a force to be reckoned with in the banking industry, but they would also become the ceaseless subject of scandal, conspiracy theories, and awe.
The sudden rise and fall of Great Britain should not have come as a surprise to those few persons who study the increase and fall of empires, and they are acquainted with the lands which, in every single case, have caused their dissolution. No writer who controls a heart can, however, afford to go through the fall of Britain merely with all the eye with the moralist or perhaps the calm historian. I would, therefore, remind my listeners of the wealth which the British Empire enjoyed in her quest to conquer the world.
One of America's preeminent military historians, James D. Hornfischer has written his most expansive and ambitious book to date. Drawing on new primary sources and personal accounts of Americans and Japanese alike, here is a thrilling narrative of the climactic end stage of the Pacific War, focusing on the US invasion of the Mariana Islands in June 1944 and the momentous events that it triggered.
In the 18th and early 19th centuries, a Native American empire rose to dominate the fiercely contested lands of the American Southwest, the southern Great Plains, and northern Mexico. This powerful empire, built by the Comanche Indians, eclipsed its various European rivals in military prowess, political prestige, economic power, commercial reach, and cultural influence. Yet, until now, the Comanche empire has gone unrecognized in American history. This compelling and original book uncovers the lost story of the Comanches.
"If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Vere Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the prime minister of Antigua. You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a prime minister would want an airport named after him - why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument. You are a tourist and you have not yet seen..." So begins Jamaica Kincaid's expansive essay, which shows us what we have not yet seen of the 10-by-12-mile island in the British West Indies.
In this book you will find information about Norse mythology. Norse mythology, or Scandinavian mythology, is the body of mythology of the North Germanic people stemming from Norse paganism and continuing after the Christianization of Scandinavia and into the Scandinavian folklore of the modern period.
From the authors who created Eyewitness to World War II and numerous other best-selling reference books, this is the shocking story behind the covert activity that shaped the outcome of one of the world's greatest conflicts - and the destiny of millions of people. National Geographic's landmark book illuminates World War II as never before. Seven narrative chapters reveal the truth behind the lies and deception that shaped the "secret war".
In an age fraught with terrorism, United States Secret Service canine teams risk their lives to safeguard the president, the vice president, their families, visiting heads of state, and a host of others. Unprecedented access to these heroic dog teams has allowed a fascinating first-time-ever look at a very special breed of heroes.
Just 75 years ago, the American government did something that most would consider unthinkable today: It rounded up over 100,000 of its own citizens based on nothing more than their ancestry and, suspicious of their loyalty, kept them in concentration camps for the better part of four years. How could this have happened? Uprooted takes a close look at the history of racism in America and carefully follows the treacherous path that led one of our nation's most beloved presidents to make this decision.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. A year later, all parties but the Nazis had been outlawed, freedom of the press was but a memory, and Hitler's dominance seemed complete. Yet over the next few years, an unlikely clutch of conspirators emerged - soldiers, schoolteachers, politicians, diplomats, theologians, even a carpenter - who would try repeatedly to end the Fuhrer's genocidal reign. This dramatic and deeply researched book tells the full story of those noble, ingenious, and doomed efforts.
From the authors of the New York Times best-selling The Heart of Everything That Is and Halsey's Typhoon comes the dramatic untold story of a daredevil bomber pilot and his misfit crew who fly their lone B-17 into the teeth of the Japanese Empire in 1943, engage in the longest dogfight in history, and change the momentum of the war in the Pacific - but not without making the ultimate sacrifice.
The heroes of each generation reflect the conditions, priorities, and goals of the era in which they reside. In the United States and throughout Europe, the wilderness explorer enjoyed widespread public adulation long before leading sports figures, rock stars, and astronauts of later decades. The ingenuity of the Industrial Revolution gave way to early manned flight, and other breakthroughs in communication and travel.