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"
"A wonderful idea, gloriously put into practice. Greg Jenner as is witty as he is knowledgeable." (Tom Holland) Who invented beds? When did we start cleaning our teeth? How old are wine and beer? Which came first: the toilet seat or toilet paper? What was the first clock? Every day, from the moment our alarm clocks wake us in the morning until our heads hit our pillows at night, we all take part in rituals that are millennia old.
"Detailed, but could be more thorough"
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"
Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systems - to relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? There's not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods - that is, long before the invention of coins or cash.
"The ethics of debt"
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!"
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"
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.
The ancient world has cast a long shadow, influencing our customs and religious beliefs, our laws, and the form of our governments. It has taught us when and how we make war or pursue peace. It has shaped the buildings we live and work in and the art we hang on our walls. It has given us the calendar that organizes our year and has left its mark on the games we play.
"A stand out purchase - fantastic"
In an exciting partnership with the Smithsonian, The Great Courses presents these 24 lectures that offer an unforgettable tour of Japanese life and culture. Professor Ravina, with the expert collaboration of the Smithsonian's historians, brings you a grand portrait of Japan.
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"
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"
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.
Churchill's history of the Second World War is, and will remain, the definitive work. Lucid, dramatic, remarkable for its breadth and sweep and for its sense of personal involvement, it is universally acknowledged as a magnificent reconstruction.
"Extremely good listening"
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.
"Great audio book"
Erich von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods is a work of monumental importance---the first book to introduce the shocking theory that ancient Earth was visited by aliens. This world-famous best seller has withstood the test of time, inspiring countless books and films, including the author's own popular sequel, The Eye of the Sphinx.
History for busy people. The Cold War: History in an Hour gives a brilliant overview of the unusual and non-violent war between East and West that lasted nearly fifty years.From the end of World War Two to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 the world lived within the shadow of the Cold War. Russia and America eyed each other with suspicion and hostility.
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"
Once in a generation, a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read or heard - a product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill. Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. Breathtaking in ambition, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible and covers the world, following the three main strands of the Christian faith.
"Great content - disappointing narration"
Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.
"fascinating, and a joy to listen to"
Welcome to Today in History, your daily time capsule to historical happenings by the Associated Press. Featuring multiple moments from years past, Today in History brings you back in time to the world's most impactful events.
Without our domesticated plants and animals, human civilization as we know it would not exist. We would still be living at subsistence level as hunter-gatherers if not for domestication. It is no accident that the cradle of civilization - the Middle East - is where sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, and cats commenced their fatefully intimate associations with humans.
Far too often, public discussion of science is carried out by journalists, voters, and politicians who have received their science secondhand. The Story of Science shows us the joy and importance of reading groundbreaking science writing for ourselves and guides us back to the masterpieces that have changed the way we think about our world, our cosmos, and ourselves.
Why do otherwise intelligent individuals form seething masses of idiocy when they engage in collective action? We may think that the Great Crash of 1929, junk bonds of the '80s, and over-valued high-tech stocks of the '90s are peculiarly 20th century aberrations, but Mackay's classic - first published in 1841 - shows that the madness and confusion of crowds knows no limits, and has no temporal bounds.
Even centuries before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, the leaders of Mecca established that their city was the preeminent holy site in Western Arabia and established a truce for pilgrims to the city. In the process one effect of this was that Mecca became a center for what might today be described as tourism, as even ancient visitors needed places for food, water, and sleep. Of course Mecca is now best known for being Islam's holiest city, revered as the birthplace of Muhammad and the site where Allah first revealed the Qu'ran to him.
Almost half a century ago, a young reporter from Germany arrived in still-glamorous Saigon to cover the Vietnam War over a period of five years. In this memoir, he tells the story of how he fell in love with the Vietnamese people. He praises the beauty, elegance, and feistiness of their women. He describes blood-curdling Communist atrocities and fierce combat scenes he witnessed. He introduces a striking array of characters: heroes, villains, statesmen and spooks, hilarious eccentrics, street urchins, and orphans herding water buffalos.
Blood Rubber: How the Amazon Died tells the extraordinary story of one of the blackest episodes in Amazonian history, known as the Putumayo Affair. In 1907, Walter Hardenburg, a young American explorer and engineer, was canoeing slowly down a meandering tributary of the great river, in deepest Amazonia, in search of adventure. The realm of Captain Kurtz's Apocalypse Now seems tame by comparison with what he found through the mist up ahead.
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"
Preeminent military historian Max Hastings presents Winston Churchill as he has never been seen before. Winston Churchill was the greatest war leader Britain ever had. In 1940, the nation rallied behind him in an extraordinary fashion. But thereafter, argues Max Hastings, there was a deep divide between what Churchill wanted from the British people and their army, and what they were capable of delivering.
"Superbly written and delivered"
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"
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"
During World War II, Canada trained tens of thousands of airmen under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Those selected for Bomber Command operations went on to rain devastation upon the Third Reich in the great air battles over Europe, but their losses were high. German fighters and anti-aircraft guns took a terrifying toll. The chances of surviving a tour of duty as a bomber crew were almost nil.
"A wonderful and moving account of bomber warfare."
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.
"Succint and ambitious"
From William Dalrymple-award-winning historian, journalist and travel writer-a masterly retelling of what was perhaps the West's greatest imperial disaster in the East, and an important parable of neocolonial ambition, folly and hubris that has striking relevance to our own time.
"Feeble story, poorly read."
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"
One of the best selling History titles of 2009. Examining the Second World War on every front, Andrew Roberts asks whether, with a different decision-making process and a different strategy, Hitler's Axis might even have won. Were those German generals who blamed everything on Hitler after the war correct, or were they merely scapegoating their former Führer once he was safely beyond defending himself?
"An Outstanding Piece of Work"
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."
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.
The early Christian Church was a chaos of contending beliefs. Some groups of Christians claimed that there was not one God but two or twelve or thirty. Some believed that the world had not been created by God but by a lesser, ignorant deity. Certain sects maintained that Jesus was human but not divine, while others said he was divine but not human.
From primitive man's cowrie shells to the electronic cash card, from the markets of Timbuktu to the New York Stock Exchange, The History of Money explores how money and the myriad forms of exchange have affected humanity, and how they will continue to shape all aspects of our lives--economic, political, and personal.
"Money over the history of humanity"
A pacy, compelling and penetrating account from Wolfson Prize-winning author Norman Stone, that shows World War Two in a fresh new light. After the unprecedented destruction of the Great War, the world longed for a lasting peace. The victors, however, valued vengeance even more than stability and demanded a massive indemnity from Germany in order to keep it from rearming.
Already infamous for the arbitrary, paranoid persecution of its own citizens throughout much of the 20th century, the Soviet Union - as is revealed in John Koeher's revelatory, eye-opening exposé - also waged a vicious espionage campaign against the Catholic Church and its followers. From the persecution of local priests to an assassination order against Pope John Paul II, the KGB viewed Catholicism as a threat to stability in Eastern Europe and treated the church as an enemy of the State. Lifetime journalist and former U.S. Army Intelligence Officer John Koehler has written the definitive book on this startling history.
A CIA station chief, later Jordan's lawyer in Washington, reveals the secret history of a lost peace.
Jack O'Connell possessed an uncanny ability to be at the center of things. On his arrival in Jordan in 1958, he unraveled a coup aimed at the young King Hussein, who would become America's most reliable Middle East ally. Over time, their bond of trust and friendship deepened. His narrative contains secrets that will revise our understanding of the Middle East.