A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's fascinating and humorous 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.
"A short Review of Nearly Everything"
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.
"Awsome, educational and epic work"
January 1991: IRAQ. Eight members of the SAS regiment embark upon a top-secret mission to infiltrate deep behind enemy lines. Under the command of Sergeant Andy McNab, they are to sever a vital underground communication link and to seek and destroy mobile Scud launchers. Their call sign: BRAVO TWO ZERO. Each laden with 15 stones of equipment, they tab 20km across the desert to reach their objective. But within days, their location is compromised. After a fierce fire fight, they are forced into evasive action. Four men are captured. Three die. Only one escapes.
"Even Better Than The Book"
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.
"Amazing! Wonderful! Couldn't get enough!"
This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. This narrative history employs the methods of "history from beneath" - literature, epic traditions, private letters, and accounts - to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled.
"Entertaining and informative"
In 1876, Sophia Duleep Singh was born into Indian royalty. Her father Maharajah Duleep Singh was heir to the Kingdom of the Sikhs, one of the greatest empires of the Indian subcontinent, a realm that stretched from the lush Kashmir Valley to the craggy foothills of the Khyber Pass and included the mighty cities of Lahore and Peshawar. It was a territory irresistible to the British, who plundered everything, including the fabled Koh-I-Noor diamond.
A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson's quest to find out everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. His challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. It's not so much about what we know, as about how we know what we know.
"I love it"
History for busy people. Listen to a concise history of the Siege of Leningrad in just one hour. In 1917 the world changed forever. One of the most influential and contentious events in recent history, the Russian Revolution unleashed the greatest political experiment ever conducted, one which continues to influence both Eastern and Western politics today.
"Audible is terrible"
Mutiny. Disease. Starvation. Cannibals. From the ancient wayfarers to modern astronauts, world explorers have blazed trails fraught with danger. Yet, as History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration vividly demonstrates, exploration continues to be one of humanity's deepest impulses. Across 24 lectures that unveil the process by which we came to know the far reaches of our planet, you'll witness the awe-inspiring and surprisingly interconnected tale of global exploration.
History for busy people. Listen to a succinct history of World War Two in just one hour.World War Two was one of the most devastating conflicts the world has ever seen. Between 1939 and 1945 almost every country in the world was affected by the war in some way.World War Two: History in an Hour neatly covers all the major facts and events giving you a clear and straightforward overview of the politics involved, the violence that ensued and how it changed the world in unimaginable ways.
The crown of England is the oldest surviving political institution in Europe. Throughout this audiobook Dr David Starkey emphasises the Crown's endless capacity to adapt to circumstances and reshape national policy, whilst he unmasks the personalities and achievements, the defeats and victories, which lie behind the kings and queens of British history. Each of these monarchs has contributed to the religion, geography, laws, language, and government which we live with today.
"I loved it."
Arguably no person in history had such a direct and negative impact on the lives of so many as Joseph Stalin. Under the Red Tsar terror knew no limits, it did not discriminate; no one was safe, no institution, no single town or village was immune. Yet, following his death in 1953, Stalin was deeply mourned. He had "received the country with a wooden plough, and left it with a nuclear missile shield." And no-one else, some claimed, could have led the Soviet Union to victory in the Second World War.
This Pulitzer Prize-winning history of World War II chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the Japanese empire, from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Told from the Japanese perspective, The Rising Sun is, in the author's words, "a factual saga of people caught up in the flood of the most overwhelming war of mankind, told as it happened - muddled, ennobling, disgraceful, frustrating, full of paradox."
"Excellent Miltary history reference."
Since its U.S. debut a quarter-century ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx. Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation.
"A must read"
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.
"An excellent work slightly spoilt"
History for busy people. The American Civil War was fought between the Confederates and the Union from 1861 to 1865. This is a concise history of this tumultuous period.The American Civil War started when eleven southern 'slave' states declared their independence from the United States of America. Abraham Lincoln's Republican government were strongly against slavery and fought to abolish it and keep the country united.
"In a nutshell"
Britain has invaded Afghanistan twice before in the nineteenth century. Both times tenacious Afghan fighters defended their country to humiliating British defeats. The Soviet Union also discovered what a tough enemy the Afghans are after nearly a decade of conflict from 1979 to 1989. When not fighting foreign invaders, Afghanistan was torn apart by Civil War from 1990 to 1996, resulting in victory for the Taliban.
"Great value great insights"
With an introduction read by Max Hastings. A companion volume to his best-selling 'Armageddon', Max Hastings' account of the battle for Japan is a masterful military history. Featuring the most remarkable cast of commanders the world has ever seen, the dramatic battle for Japan of 1944-45 was acted out across the vast stage of Asia: Imphal and Kohima, Leyte Gulf and Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Soviet assault on Manchuria.
"Brilliant as usual"
For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.You'll learn about the powerful dynasties that ruled China for centuries; the philosophical and religious foundations-particularly Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism-that have influenced every iteration of Chinese thought, and the larger-than-life personalities, from both inside and outside its borders, of those who have shaped China's history. As you listen to these lectures, you'll see how China's politics, economics, and art reflect the forces of its past.From the "Mandate of Heaven," a theory of social contract in place by 1500 B.C.E., 3,000 years before Western philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, to the development of agriculture and writing independent of outside influence to the technologically-advanced Han Dynasty during the time of the Roman Empire, this course takes you on a journey across ground that has been largely unexplored in the history courses most of us in the West have taken.In guiding you through the five millennia of China's history, Professor Hammond tells a fascinating story with an immense scope, a welcome reminder that China is no stranger to that stage and, indeed, has more often than not been the most extraordinary player on it.
"Wonderful set of lectures"
The Gulag - a vast array of Soviet concentration camps that held millions of political and criminal prisoners - was a system of repression and punishment that terrorized the entire society, embodying the worst tendencies of Soviet communism. In this magisterial and acclaimed history, Anne Applebaum offers the first fully documented portrait of the Gulag, from its origins in the Russian Revolution, through its expansion under Stalin, to its collapse in the era of glasnost.
"A tragic history fantastically depicted"
On the morning of April 15, 2004, the world woke up to the extraordinary news of the kidnap in a little known hamlet of Nigeria of some 276, primarily Christian schoolgirls, by the radical militant Nigerian insurgent group Boko Haram.
In each of his books, James Bradley has exposed the hidden truths behind America's engagement in Asia. Now comes his most engrossing work yet. Beginning in the 1850s, Bradley introduces us to the prominent Americans who made their fortunes in the China opium trade. As they - good Christians all - profitably addicted millions, American missionaries arrived, promising salvation for those who adopted Western ways.
In this disturbing exposé, journalist Paul L. Williams describes a secret alliance forged at the close of World War II by the CIA, the Sicilian and US mafias, and the Vatican to thwart the possibility of a Communist invasion of Europe. Williams presents evidence suggesting the existence, in many European countries, of "stay-behind" units consisting of 5,000 to 15,000 military operatives.
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.
It is the dreamland of most children in Europe and the Americas, and the mysterious home of the mythical Santa Claus, his devoted wife Mrs. Claus, the reindeer and the many elves who make Christmas toys each year. In many ways, the North Pole is the first geographical location many kids learn - if only because children over the age of three can manage to tell any interested adult that Santa Claus lives there.
Animals, and our ever-changing relationships with them, have left an indelible mark on human history. From the dawn of our existence, animals and humans have been constantly redefining their relationships with one another, and entire civilizations have risen and fallen upon this curious bond we share with our fellow fauna.
The lives and adventures of some of history's most prominent Pirate Captains. This volume relates their plundering and murdering as well as the method and way they met their end.
Africa may have given rise to the first humans, and Egypt probably gave rise to the first great civilizations, which continue to fascinate modern societies across the globe nearly 5,000 years later.
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of A Kim Jong-Il Production by Paul Fischer, read by Stephen Park. Before becoming the world's most notorious dictator, Kim Jong-Il ran North Korea's film industry. He directed every film made in the country but knew they were nothing compared to Hollywood.
Just before midnight on April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic, the largest ship in the world, hit an iceberg, starting a chain of events that would ultimately make it history's most famous, and notorious, ship. In the over 100 years since it sank on its maiden voyage, the Titanic has been the subject of endless fascination, as evidenced by the efforts to find its final resting spot, the museums full of its objects, and the countless books, documentaries, and movies made about the doomed ocean liner.
Far out in the south-eastern part of the Pacific Ocean lies one of the world's most remote islands. Located over 2,000 miles away from Chile and South America, the nearest continent, and over 1,300 miles away from its nearest inhabited neighbor, Pitcairn Island, Easter Island is a solitary mass of land alone at the southeastern-most point of the Polynesian Triangle.
The Hagia Sophia, built from 532-537, is inarguably the masterpiece of Byzantine architecture and one of the greatest buildings ever constructed. Upon its completion, the Hagia Sophia remained the largest enclosed space in the world for nearly a thousand years, a reign that only ended after the rebuilding of St. Peter's in Rome. Fittingly, the rebuilding of St. Peter's was partly inspired by the conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque in 1453.
Constructed over a span of about 20 years in the mid-17th century as a mausoleum for the wife of Emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal is aptly described by UNESCO, which designated it a World Heritage site, as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".
Perhaps the most famous and most destructive eruption in modern history was the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. Even without the instantaneous forms of communication that are now available, the world watched in wonder for new updates about a tiny South Pacific island. And though few of them would ever go there, Krakatoa remained a source of fascination for the much of the world for the next 50 years.
Gathering more than a hundred personal narratives from Americans and from Japanese, Pacific Skies recounts a history of air combat in the Pacific theater. Together their stories express fierce individualism and resourcefulness and convey the vast panorama of war that included the skies over Pearl Harbor, Wake, and Guadalcanal and missions from Saipan and Tinian.
People have always been afraid of the dead. Since the dawn of humanity, people have both cared for those who are deceased yet also tried to keep them away. There are a myriad of legends and beliefs about the dead coming back, and one of the more persistent ones is of the vampire.
China has always fascinated outsiders, much in the same way that distant light fascinates someone looking down a dark road. It is both familiar and mysterious, ancient and new, and fully understanding it seems to always remain just out of reach.
In 1938, with the Japanese army approaching from Nanking, Huan Hsu's great-great grandfather, Liu, and his five granddaughters were forced to flee their hometown on the banks of the Yangtze River. But before they left, a hole was dug as deep as a man and as wide as a bedroom, in which was stowed the family heirlooms. Among their antique furniture, jade, and scrolls was Liu's prized porcelain collection, one he had amassed over many years and which contained priceless imperial items.
What is more impressive: to become a king having come from a long lineage of kings, or to become a king having come from a long lineage of the enslaved? In the ninth and 10th centuries, enslaved East Africans were brought to the Ziyadid kingdom of Yemen. By the later 10th century they had become the prime ministers of the kingdom.
The First World War was supposed to be the war that ended all wars, hence the name: the Great War. The Great War was off to a bad start from the German perspective. The plan was to fend off France and Russia while focusing on the main purpose, helping Austria-Hungary deal with Serbia.
A brilliant investigative marrative: How six average Soviet men rose to the pinnacle of Russia's battered economy. David Hoffman, former Moscow bureau chief for The Washington Post, sheds light onto the hidden lives of Russia's most feared power brokers: the oligarchs. Focusing on six of these ruthless men Hoffman reveals how a few players managed to take over Russia's cash-strapped economy and then divvy it up in loans-for-shares deals.
I hate every wave of the ocean', the seasick Charles Darwin wrote to his family during his five-year voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle. It was this world-wide journey, however, that launched the scientists career.
"You'll never get bored!"
Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions which included a central state that could keep the peace and uniform laws that applied to all citizens. Some went on to create governments that were accountable to their constituents. We take these institutions for granted, but they are absent or are unable to perform in many of today's developing countries-with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.
"Interesting political narative"
Here is a gripping account of the major postwar trial of the Nazi hierarchy in World War II. The Nuremberg Trial brilliantly recreates the trial proceedings and offers a reasoned, often profound examination of the processes that created international law. From the whimpering of Kaltenbrunner and Ribbentrop on the stand to the icy coolness of Goering, each participant is vividly drawn.
"Old but Unbowed"
Western interpretations of the Cold War--both realist and neoconservative--have erred by exaggerating either the Kremlin's pragmatism or its aggressiveness, argues Vladislav Zubok. Explaining the interests, aspirations, illusions, fears, and misperceptions of the Kremlin leaders and Soviet elites, Zubok offers a Soviet perspective on the greatest standoff of the 20th century.
"Soviet Cold War History in an understandable form."
Tower of Basel is the first investigative history of the world's most secretive global financial institution. Based on extensive archival research in Switzerland, Britain, and the United States, and in-depth interviews with key decision-makers including Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve; Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England; and former senior Bank for International Settlements managers and officials.
"Incredible story about the Bank no-one knows"
Named one of "The Hundred Most Influential Books Since the Second World War" by the Times Literary Supplement, and one of the "100 Best Nonfiction" books by the Modern Library, Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is a landmark of scientific thought. Written in 1962, Kuhn's book took an entirely different view of how scientists perceived and achieved changes in basic theoretical assumptions - what he termed "paradigm shifts".
"Essential reading for thoughtful people"
Andrei Lankov has gone where few outsiders have ever been. A native of the former Soviet Union, he lived as an exchange student in North Korea in the 1980s. He has studied it for his entire career, using his fluency in Korean and personal contacts to build a rich, nuanced understanding. In The Real North Korea, Lankov substitutes cold, clear analysis for the overheated rhetoric surrounding this opaque police state.
"A level headed analysis of a complex topic"
Fukuyama examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. And he boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West.
Beginning in the heady days just after the First Crusade, this volume - the third in the series that began with The History of the Ancient World and The History of the Medieval World - chronicles the contradictions of a world in transition. Impressively researched and brilliantly told, The History of the Renaissance World offers not just the names, dates, and facts but the memorable characters who illuminate the years between 1100 and 1453 - years that marked a sea change in mankind's perception of the world.
This landmark book, first published in 1978, remains one of the most influential books in the Social Sciences, particularly Ethnic Studies and Postcolonialism. Said is best known for describing and critiquing "Orientalism", which he perceived as a constellation of false assumptions underlying Western attitudes toward the East. In Orientalism Said claimed a "subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture."
In 1914, a new kind of war came about, bringing with it a new kind of world. World War One began on horseback, with generals employing bayonet charges to gain ground, and ended with attacks resembling the Nazi blitzkriegs. The scale of devastation was unlike anything the world had seen before: 14 million combatants died, a further 20 million were wounded, and four empires were destroyed. Even the victors' empires were fatally damaged.
"Terrible narration - far too fast"
This clear and concise new introduction examines all the major debates and issues using a wide range of well-known examples. It discusses the challenge of using verbal and written language to analyze a visual form. Dana Arnold also examines the many different ways of writing about art, and the changing boundaries of the subject of art history. Topics covered include the canon of Art History, the role of the gallery, 'blockbuster' exhibitions, and the emergence of social histories of art.