Britain's empire has gone. Our manufacturing base is a shadow of its former self; the Royal Navy has been reduced to a skeleton. In military, diplomatic and economic terms, we no longer matter as we once did. And yet there is still one area in which we can legitimately claim superpower status: our popular culture.
""Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones""
In the summer of 1914 most of Europe plunged into a war so catastrophic that it unhinged the continent's politics and beliefs in a way that took generations to recover from. The disaster terrified its survivors, shocked that a civilization that had blandly assumed itself to be a model for the rest of the world had collapsed into a chaotic savagery beyond any comparison.
A journey into the glittering, surreal heart of 21st century Russia: into the lives of Hells Angels convinced they are messiahs, professional killers with the souls of artists, bohemian theatre directors turned Kremlin puppet-masters, supermodel sects, post-modern dictators and oligarch revolutionaries.
As hundreds of rescue workers waited on the ground, United Airlines Flight 232 wallowed drunkenly over the bluffs northwest of Sioux City. The plane slammed onto the runway and burst into a vast fireball. The rescuers didn't move at first: nobody could possibly survive that crash. And then people began emerging from the summer corn that lined the runways. Miraculously, 184 of 296 passengers lived. No one has ever attempted the complete reconstruction of a crash of this magnitude.
The 20th century should make sense. It's the period of history that we know the most about, an epic geopolitical narrative that runs through World War One, the Great Depression, World War Two, the American century and the fall of the Berlin Wall. But somehow that story doesn't quite lead into the world we find ourselves in now, this bewildering 21st century, adrift in a network of constant surveillance, unsustainable competition, tsunamis of trivia and extraordinary opportunity.
"Tour through our times."
In late March of 1943, four commandos arrive in northern Norway with a mission of establishing a base for sabotage operations. Before they can unload their cutter, they are betrayed, as a German Schnell boat arrives and turns the quiet fjord into a battle zone. Only one man, Jan Baalsrud, surrvives the attack. This is the story of his perilous journey to freedom. Wounded, the dauntless soldier swims icy fjord waters, climbs snow-laden granite peaks, endures violent snowstorms and is hurled off a mountain by an avalanche.
Winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award and the basis of a major film adaptation, Seabiscuit is the true story of three men and their dreams for one racehorse. A story that symbolises a pivotal moment in US history, as modern America was born out of the crucible of the Depression and the new century's greatest nation found the courage to bet on itself to win against the odds. In 1936, the habits of 19th-century America were finally consigned to history just as Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind was published.
This audiobook offers the first systematic analysis of Putin's two wars, placing the Second Chechen War and the War with Georgia of 2008 in their broader historical contexts. Drawing on extensive original Russian sources, Marcel H. Van Herpen analyzes in detail how Putin's wars were prepared and conducted and why they led to allegations of war crimes and genocide.
Matt Warshaw knows more about surfing than any other person on the planet, as evidenced by The History of Surfing, Warshaw's definitive take on the sport. Now he has honed that book into an abridged and excerpted edition for surfers everywhere. Each spread features a micro essay alongside an image capturing a slice of surf history, from Kelly Slater and the invention of the thruster to shark attacks and localism. A Brief History of Surfing deftly defines surf culture in an entertaining and irresistible volume with wide appeal.
A best seller on both sides of the Atlantic, Fool's Gold is a key commentary on the causes of the recent financial crisis. Taking readers back to the invention of credit-derivative obligations (CDOs) at J. P. Morgan in 1994, and the subsequent exponential growth of that market, Tett explains how credit derivatives seemed a win-win for the financial world, freeing up capital, increasing profits, and diversifying risk.
"Very revealing of corporate greed"
For the first time since that extraordinary day, investigative journalist Kris Hollington lays bare the bones of the case, using exclusive, in-depth interviews with the Diamond Geezers, the police, Dome workers and De Beers employees to get to the heart of the heist. Discover who was crazy enough to want to buy the hottest diamonds in the world, as well as the shocking secrets of the planet's most precious diamond collection.
"Fun, insightful, and atmopsheric"
Could history repeat itself, with one giant entity taking control of American information? Most consider the Internet Age to be a moment of unprecedented freedom in communications and culture. But as Tim Wu shows, each major new medium, from telephone to cable, arrived on a similar wave of idealistic optimism only to become, eventually, the object of industrial consolidation profoundly affecting how Americans communicate.
"Brilliant technological non fiction"
In A History of the World Since 9/11 Dominic Streatfeild expertly combines history, biography and investigative journalism to show how a massacre on a clear September day in 2001 has touched the lives of millions of people around the world.
"Gripping, enlightning, shocking and a must listen"
Between 1995 and 2007, the Republic of Ireland was the worldwide model of successful adaptation to economic globalisation. The success story was phenomenal: a doubling of the workforce; a massive growth in exports; a GDP that was substantially above the EU average. Ireland became the world's largest exporter of software and manufactured the world's supply of Viagra. But there were two big problems....
"Measured, balanced and easy listening"
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9-11 Commission, was created by congressional legislation and the signature of President George W. Bush in late 2002. This independent, bipartisan commission had the task of producing a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the attack, including preparedness and immediate response, and providing recommendations designed to guard against future attacks.
"Surprisingly 'wet' -"
Nothing Ever Dies, Viet Thanh Nguyen writes. All wars are fought twice, the first time on the battlefield, the second time in memory. From the author of the best-selling novel The Sympathizer comes a searching exploration of a conflict that lives on in the collective memory of both the Americans and the Vietnamese.
Surge is an insider's view of the most decisive phase of the Iraq War. Using newly declassified documents, unpublished manuscripts, interviews, author notes, and published sources, Surge explains how President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, Ambassador Crocker, General Petraeus, and other U.S. and Iraqi political and military leaders shaped the surge from the center of the maelstrom in Baghdad and Washington.
For more than a decade, Katherine Zoepf has lived in or traveled throughout the Arab world, reporting on the lives of women, whose role in the region has never been more in flux. Only a generation ago, female adolescence as we know it in the West did not exist in the Middle East. There were only children and married women. Today, young Arab women outnumber men in universities, and a few are beginning to face down religious and social tradition in order to live independently, to delay marriage, and to pursue professional goals.
In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson, the star business columnist of The New York Times, exposes how the watchdogs who were supposed to protect the country from financial harm were actually complicit in the actions that finally blew up the American economy.
While Vladimir Putin has been president and prime minister of Russia, the Kremlin has deployed the security services to intimidate the political opposition, reassert the power of the state, and carry out assassinations overseas. At the same time, its agents and spies were put beyond public accountability and blessed with the prestige, benefits, and legitimacy lost since the Soviet collapse.
The long-awaited follow-up to the global best-seller Liar's Poker, The Big Short tells a story of spectacular, epic folly. It has taken the world's greatest financial meltdown to bring Michael Lewis back to the subject that made him famous. His international best seller Liar's Poker exposed the greed and carnage of the City and Wall Street in the 1980s; he wrote it as a cautionary tale, but people seem to have read it as a how-to guide. Now, he wants to settle accounts.
"Sub-Primes for Dummies"
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.
"Fascinating , Energising and Thought Provoking."
In Parliament Ltd, investigative journalist Martin Williams reveals the true extent of greed and corruption in Westminster. Containing explosive new revelations about the activities of those at the top, this is a shocking untold tale that goes to the rotten heart of British politics.
"painfully exposing the Parliament"
The No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling modern classic: A Bravo Two Zero for the Second Gulf War. They were branded as cowards and accused of being the British Special Forces Squadron that ran away from the Iraqis. But nothing could be further from the truth. Ten years on, the story of these sixty men can finally be told. In March 2003 M Squadron - an SBS unit with SAS embeds - was sent 1,000 kilometres behind enemy lines on a true mission impossible, to take the surrender of the 100,000-strong Iraqi Army 5th Corps.
"Not what I really expected"
The downloadable audiobook edition of Andrew Feinstein's powerful exposé, The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, complete and unabridged and read by the actor Gildart Jackson.
"What an eye-opener"
The unforgiving Afghan winter settled upon the 22 men of Marine Special Operations Team 8222, call sign Dagger 22, in the remote and hostile river valley of Bala Murghab, Afghanistan. The Taliban fighters in the region would have liked nothing more than to once again go dormant and rest until the new spring fighting season began. No chance of that - this winter would be different.
At 6:00 a.m. on the morning of October 3, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating was viciously attacked by Taliban insurgents. The 53 U.S. troops, having been stationed at the bottom of three steep mountains, were severely outmanned by nearly 400 Taliban fighters. Though the Americans ultimately prevailed, their casualties made it one of the war's deadliest battles for U.S. forces. And after more than three years in that dangerous and vulnerable valley a mere 14 miles from the Pakistan border, the U.S. abandoned and bombed the camp.
"Best Audio Book I have listened to in a very long time"
13 Hours presents, for the first time ever, the true account of the events of September 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station called the Annex in Benghazi, Libya. A team of six American security operators fought to repel the attackers and protect the Americans stationed there. Those men went beyond the call of duty, performing extraordinary acts of courage and heroism, to avert tragedy on a much larger scale.
""thank goodness for the operators""
Initially dismissed by US President Barack Obama, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has shocked the world by conquering massive territories in both countries and promising to create a vast new Muslim caliphate that observes the strict dictates of Sharia law. In ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, American journalist Michael Weiss and Syrian analyst Hassan Hassan explain how these violent extremists evolved from a nearly defeated Iraqi insurgent group into a jihadi army of international volunteers who have conquered territory equal to the size of Great Britain.
"A brief but well researched history of daish"
From the streets of Iraq to the mountaintops of Afghanistan and to the third floor of Osama Bin Laden's compound, operator Mark Owen of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group - commonly known as SEAL Team Six - has been a part of some of the most memorable special operations in history, as well as countless missions that never made headlines. No Easy Day puts listeners alongside Owen and the other handpicked members of the 24-man team as they train for the biggest mission of their lives.
"An interesting slice of history"
The Only Thing Worth Dying For chronicles the most important mission in the early days of the Global War on Terror, when the men on the ground knew little about the enemy - and their commanders in Washington knew even less. With unprecedented access to surviving members of ODA 574, key war planners, and Karzai himself, award-winning author Eric Blehm cuts through the noise of politicians and high-level military officials to narrate, for the first time, a story of uncommon bravery and terrible sacrifice.
The Road to Fatima Gate is a first-person narrative account of revolution, terrorism, and war during history's violent return to Lebanon after 15 years of quiet. Michael J. Totten's version of events in one of the most volatile countries in the world's most volatile region is one part war correspondence, one part memoir, and one part road movie.
For many years after its reform and opening in 1978, China maintained an attitude of false modesty about its ambitions. That role, reports Howard French, has been set aside. China has asserted its place among the global heavyweights, revealing its plans for pan-Asian dominance by building its navy, increasing territorial claims to areas like the South China Sea, and diplomatically bullying smaller players.
The Accidental Billionaires is the inspiration behind the Oscar winning film, The Social Network, dramatising Zuckerberg's success and proving you don't get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies... Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg - an awkward maths prodigy and a painfully shy computer genius - were never going to fit in at elite, polished Harvard. Yet that all changed when master-hacker Mark crashed the university's entire computer system by creating a rateable database of female students.
"A good read"