"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.
"The most enjoyable history lesson you've ever had"
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.
"Time, the creation of gods, the needs of commerce"
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"
What we consume has become the defining feature of our lives: our economies live or die by spending, we are treated more as consumers than workers and even public services are presented to us as products in a supermarket. In this monumental study, acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary history that has shaped our material world, from late Ming China, Renaissance Italy and the British Empire to the present.
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"
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!"
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast; there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story.
"Humboldt ‘read’ plants as others did books"
The Middle East is a critically important area of our world. And, with its current prominence in international affairs, media images of the Middle East reach us on a daily basis. Much media coverage, however, is incomplete at best, failing to take account of either the complexities or the historical background of this pivotal region. For most of us, the real story of the Middle East remains untold. What made this crucial geopolitical area what it is today?
Examining the espionage and intelligence stories in World War II on a global basis, bringing together the British, American, German, Russian and Japanese histories. In The Secret War, Max Hastings examines the espionage and intelligence machines of all sides in World War II, and the impact of spies, code breakers and partisan operations on events.
"Lacking in excitement"
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"
Are you ready for the truth about World War Two? In the first of an extraordinary three-volume account of the war on land, in the air and at sea, James Holland not only reveals the truth behind the familiar legends of the Second World War but he also unveils those lesser known events which were to have the greatest significance. The first book to consider the economic, political and social as well as the military aspects of World War Two, this is a unique retelling of a monumental event in all its terrible and majestic glory.
"Pleasure to listen to"
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"
The deep-seated origins and wide-reaching lessons of ancient myths built the foundation for our modern legacies. Explore the mythologies of Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Learn what makes these stories so important, distinctive, and able to withstand the test of time. Discover how, despite geographical implausibilities, many myths from across the oceans share themes, morals, and archetypes.
"Interesting subject, too much popular culture"
The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater. The last offensive against Hitler's Third Reich, it devastated one of Europe's historic capitals and marked the final defeat of Nazi Germany. It was also one of the war's bloodiest and most pivotal battles, whose outcome would shape international politics for decades to come.
"All the information you will ever need."
Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.
"Fascinating Overview Of World Languages"
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.
This is a unique single-volume history of the road to El Alamein - 'the end of the beginning' - and the bloody battle that followed...It was the British victory at the Battle of El Alamein in November 1942 that inspired one of Churchill's most famous aphorisms: 'it is not the end nor is it the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning'. And yet the true significance of this iconic episode remains unrecognised.
Easy to spend hours with and fun to dip into, and seasoned with just the right amount of common sense skepticism, Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies is a refreshing look at some of the most fascinating people, moments, and places in history.
"a great listen"
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.
In The Triumph of Improvisation, James Graham Wilson takes a long view of the end of the Cold War, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 to Operation Desert Storm in January 1991. Drawing on deep archival research and recently declassified papers, Wilson argues that adaptation, improvisation, and engagement by individuals in positions of power ended the specter of a nuclear holocaust.
During the fourth year of the Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president of the United States, and Adolf Hitler was in power over Germany. Conditions in the United States were barely livable for most families, including Joe Rantz and his family. Joe was at the University of Washington in Seattle. Joe and his classmate, Roger Morris, were headed to the shell house on campus to try out for the Rowing team along with 175 other boys. Joe was particularly nervous about the tryouts.
Imperialism and the motivations behind it are a controversial and complex subject. But what powers the formation of an empire? Is it the fundamental urge to strike out into uncharted territory to discover "brave new worlds"? The sheer need for more territory? The desire to spread cultural, political, and religious influences? Or a straightforward lust for conquest, dominance, and plunder?
This is a paper that I wrote very early during my undergraduate work, and I cannot promise that it is very good, but it does give a fair overview of what the Aztecs faced in their final days, at the hands of Cortes and his men. The Aztecs stood up against immeasurable odds, fighting whom they believed, at first, were their gods, finally returned to Earth. When they realized their error, it was too late.
Macau, New Orleans, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. All of these metropolitan centers were once frontier cities, urban areas irrevocably shaped by cross-cultural borderland beginnings. Spanning a wide range of periods and locations, and including stories of 18th-century Detroit, 19th-century Seattle, and 20th-century Los Angeles, Frontier Cities recovers the history of these urban places and shows how, from the start, natives and newcomers alike shared streets, buildings, and interwoven lives.
One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway is a journalistic account of the 2011 Norway terror attacks. The one-day terror attack claimed 77 lives and injured at least 319 people. The attack was the work of a 32-year-old lone-wolf terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, who drew his inspiration from right-wing ideology....
By the end of World War I, Albert Einstein had become the face of the new science of theoretical physics and had made some powerful enemies. One of those enemies, Nobel Prize winner Philipp Lenard, spent a career trying to discredit him. Their story of conflict, pitting Germany's most widely celebrated Jew against the Nazi scientist who was to become Hitler's chief advisor on physics, had an impact far exceeding what the scientific community felt at the time.
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.
"Great read for fans of history"
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"
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."
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"
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!"
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"
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.
As remarkable as Columbus and the conquistador expeditions, the history of Portuguese exploration is now almost forgotten. But Portugal's navigators cracked the code of the Atlantic winds, launched the expedition of Vasco da Gama to India and beat the Spanish to the spice kingdoms of the East - then set about creating the first long-range maritime empire.
"Fascinating story, rarely told."
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"
William Doyle, the author of the classic text on the French Revolution, guides the reader through a historical event of such import and consequence that we are still living with its developments today. Beginning with a discussion of the familiar images of the French Revolution, Doyle continues on to a brief survey of the old regime and how it collapsed.
With a new introduction exclusively in audio, read by Anna Pavord. The Tulip is not a gardening book. It is the story of a flower that has made men mad. Greed, desire, anguish and devotion have all played their parts in the development of the tulip into the worldwide phenomenon it is today. No other flower has ever carried so much cultural baggage; it charts political upheavals, illuminates social behaviour, mirrors economic booms and busts and plots the ebb and flow of religious persecution.
Profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, Iranian-born scholar Vali Nasr has become one of America's leading commentators on current events in the Middle East, admired and welcomed by both media and government for his "concise and coherent" analysis (Wall Street Journal). In this "smart, clear and timely" book (Washington Post), Nasr brilliantly dissects the political and theological antagonisms within Islam. He provides a unique and objective understanding of the 1,400-year bitter struggle between Shias and Sunnis, and sheds crucial light on its modern-day consequences-from the nuclear posturing of Iran's President Ahmadinejad to the recent U.S.-enabled shift toward Shia power in Iraq and Hezbollah's continued dominance in Lebanon.
Why did the medieval Church bless William of Normandy's invasion of Christian England in 1066 and authorise cultural genocide in Provence? How could a Christian army sack Christian Constantinople in 1204? Why did thousands of ordinary men and women, led by knights and ladies, kings and queens, embark on campaigns of fanatical conquest in the world of Islam? The word 'Crusade' came later, but the concept of a 'war for the faith' is an ancient one.
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"