We are constantly bombarded with inaccurate, contradictory and sometimes misleading information - until now. Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dubious science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases and missed opportunities of our time. He also shows us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, and gives us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves.
"Making science truly entertaining"
Tom Cruise and John Travolta say the Church of Scientology is a force for good. Others disagree. Award-winning journalist John Sweeney investigated the Church for more than half a decade. During that time he was intimidated, spied on, and followed, and the results were spectacular: Sweeney lost his temper with the Church's spokesman on camera, and his infamous 'exploding tomato' clip was seen by millions around the world.
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.
"Gripping account of a special forces op"
A million listeners bought The Undercover Economist to get the lowdown on how economics works on a small scale, in our everyday lives. Since then, economics has become big news. Crises, austerity, riots, bonuses - all are in the headlines all the time. But how does this large-scale economic world really work? What would happen if we cancelled everyone's debt? How do you create a job? Will the BRIC countries take over the world?
"The perfect book for that business flight"
In 1979, a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US army. Defying all known accepted military practice - and, indeed, the laws of physics - they believed that a soldier could adopt the cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. Entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries, they were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more, they're back and fighting the War on Terror.
"Satirical humour highlights the true terror"
Our age is obsessed by the idea of conspiracy. We see it everywhere - from Pearl Harbor to 9/11, from the assassination of Kennedy to the death of Diana. In this age of terrorism we live in, the role of conspiracy is a serious one - one that can fuel radical or fringe elements to violence. For award-winning journalist David Aaronovitch, there came a time when he started to see a pattern among these inflammatory theories.
"Not what I wanted"
Brilliant and engagingly written, Why Nations Fail answers the question that has stumped the experts for centuries: Why are some nations rich and others poor, divided by wealth and poverty, health and sickness, food and famine?
"History made science"
Killing Pablo is the inside story of the brutal rise and violent fall of Colombian cocaine cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar.
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"
In The Next 100 Years, Friedman turns his eye on the future. Drawing on a profound understanding of history and geopolitical patterns dating back to the Roman Empire, he shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, experiencing the dawn of a new historical cycle.
"American-centric but interesting"
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.
At 24 years of age, U.S. Army Ranger Sean Parnell was named commander of a forty-man elite infantry platoon - a unit that came to be known as the Outlaws - and was tasked with rooting out Pakistan-based insurgents from a mountain valley along Afghanistan's eastern frontier. Parnell and his men assumed they would be facing a ragtag bunch of civilians, but in May 2006 what started out as a routine patrol through the lower mountains of the Hindu Kush became a brutal ambush.
"One of the most emotional accounts of modern war i have ever heard"
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"
James Gleick, the author of the best sellers Chaos and Genius, brings us his crowning work: a revelatory chronicle that shows how information has become the modern era's defining quality-the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world.
"Informative but temporarily boring as an audiobook"
Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays showcases the Hitchens rejection of consensus and cliché, whether he's reporting from abroad in Indonesia, Kurdistan, Iraq, North Korea, or Cuba, or when his pen is targeted mercilessly at the likes of William Clinton, Mother Theresa ("a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud"), the Dalai Lama, Noam Chomsky, Mel Gibson, and Michael Bloomberg.
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.
He was the Western convert who would plunge deep inside al-Qaeda. He named his first son Osama after 9/11 and became a Jihadist. But then - after a sudden loss of faith - Morten Storm made a life-changing decision. He became a double agent and joined the CIA, MI6 and MI5. Filled with hair-raising close calls and deception, Storm's story builds to the climactic finale when he must betray his friend and mentor al-Awlaki - al-Qaeda's biggest threat to the West.
Armageddon tells the story of the climatic months of the Second World War and the destruction of Hitler's Germany. In this compelling study, the author addresses the big human and military questions. Why did the Allies not win the war in 1944, when they were vastly stronger than the Germans? Why did the Russians produce the best generals? What was it like to fight the British, American, German and Soviet armies?
"Masterful history. Story telling at its best."
From Anna Akhmatova to Stefan Zweig, via Charles de Gaulle, Hitler, Thomas Mann and Charlie Chaplin, this varied and unfailingly absorbing book is both story and history, both public memoir and personal record - and provides an essential field-guide to the vast movements of taste, intellect, politics and delusion that helped to prepare the times we live in now.
"Another great clearing in the jungle from CJ"
The Shipping Forecast is a curious peace of broadcasting: at once impenetrably baffling yet at the same time reassuringly familiar. But where are these places, and what secrets do they conceal? Charlie Connelly sets off on a journey round the forecast to find out, unearthing the history and culture behind one of Britain's best-loved broadcasting institutions.
"Attention All Shipping"
In the Encyclical on Climate Change and Inequality, the beloved pope exhorts the world to combat environmental degradation and its impact on the poor. In a stirring, clarion call that is not merely aimed at Catholic listeners but rather at a wide, lay audience, the pope cites the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change and does not hesitate to detail how it is the result of a historic level of unequal distribution of wealth.
In the early morning of February 10, 1962, James B. Donovan began his walk toward the center of the Glienicke Bridge, the famous "Bridge of Spies" that then linked West Berlin to East. With him walked Rudolf Ivanovich Abel, master spy, and for years the chief of Soviet espionage in the United States. Approaching them from the other side, under equally heavy guard, was Francis Gary Powers, the American U-2 spy plane pilot famously shot down by the Soviets, whose exchange for Abel Donovan had negotiated.
Unmanned is an in-depth examination of why seemingly successful wars never seem to end. The problem centers on drones, now accumulated in the thousands, the front end of a spying and killing machine that is disconnected from either security or safety. Drones, however, are only part of the problem. William Arkin shows that security is actually undermined by an impulse to gather as much data as possible, the appetite and the theory both skewed toward the notion that no amount is too much.
This book spells out what global banks intend to do with our savings during the next banking crisis. Americans, including ourselves, feel that when we put our money in our local bank, the money we put in is ours. Not anymore! Once the teller takes your money and gives you the deposit slip, it becomes the bank's money. Chapter one explains the new rules that we all must live with as of November 2014.
When Ye Pei dreamed of Venice as a girl, she imagined a magical floating city of canals and gondola rides. And she imagined her mother, successful in her new life and eager to embrace the daughter she had never forgotten. But when Ye Pei arrives in Italy, she learns her mother works on a farm far from the city. Her only connection, a mean-spirited Chinese auntie, puts Ye Pei to work in a small-town café. Rather than giving up and returning to China, a determined Ye Pei takes on a grueling schedule.
America's blueprint for mass education has been followed across the globe - yet international student assessments show that achievement varies sharply, with the US and much of Europe typically scoring average at best. Not surprisingly, this state of affairs has sparked anxieties about an educational crisis. The problem, if there is one, is highly complex, and in these 24 thought-provoking lectures led by an associate professor of comparative and international education, you'll take a meaningful look at education around the world to understand why.
The definitive investigation into the greatest aviation mystery in history, with a startling hypothesis about who took the plane, where they took it, and how. On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared. A year later, still no trace of the plane - or the 239 people onboard - has been found. But why? In The Plane That Wasn't There, science journalist and CNN aviation analyst Jeff Wise sweeps aside the conspiracy theories and misconceptions and lays out, with clear concision, just what we know about the plane's fate - and what we don't.
Shortly after the Titanic sank on the morning of April 15, 1912, author Logan Marshall compiled a history of the tragic event. His narrative reads like a novel, yet every word is true. Bruce Caplan took the original work and edited and abridged the book to include new information and today is a much sought-after public speaker and considered a premier Titanic expert.
Glaciers: The Politics of Ice is a scientific, cultural, and political examination of the cryosphere - the earth's ice - and the environmental policies that aim to protect it. Jorge Daniel Taillant discusses the debates and negotiations behind the passing of the world's first glacier protection law in the mid-2000s and reveals the tension between the industry experts, politicians, and glacier conservationists.
Africa supplies the majority of the world's diamonds, yet consumers generally know little about the origins and history of these precious stones beyond sensationalized media accounts of so-called blood diamonds.
In the past five years, Israel has mounted three major assaults on the 1.8 million Palestinians trapped behind its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Taken together, Operation Cast Lead (2008-9), Operation Pillar of Defense (2012), and Operation Protective Edge (2014) have resulted in the deaths of some 3,700 Palestinians. Meanwhile a total of 90 Israelis were killed in the invasions. On the face of it, this succession of vastly disproportionate attacks has often seemed frenzied and pathological.
How could things have gone so badly wrong? Writing with customary calmness and clarity, and drawing on unrivaled experience as a reporter in the region, Cockburn analyzes the unfolding of one of the West's greatest foreign policy debacles and the rise of the new jihadis.
Last year was a "blood year" in the Middle East - massacres and beheadings, fallen cities, collapsed and collapsing states, the unravelling of a decade of Western strategy. We saw the rise of ISIS, the splintering of government in Iraq, and foreign fighters - many from Europe, Australia and Africa - flowing into Syria at a rate ten times that during the height of the Iraq War. What went wrong?In Blood Year, David Kilcullen calls on twenty-five years' experience to answer that question.
Early on the morning of September 1, 1996, the Israeli military began preparing for a war with Syria they were convinced was imminent. The Israelis had received top-secret intelligence from a Syrian general and informant code-named Red Falcon, recruited 23 years earlier by Mossad spy Yehuda Gil - himself known as "the man of a thousand faces." Gil had been the general's sole handler, the conduit of decades of critical intelligence. But now, on the brink of war, questions arose about who exactly was handling whom. What information was real and what was a lie?
Michael Oren served as the Israeli ambassador to the United States from 2009 to 2013. An American by birth and a historian by training, Oren arrived at his diplomatic post just as Benjamin Netanyahu, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton assumed office. During Oren's tenure in office, Israel and America grappled with the Palestinian peace process, the Arab Spring, and existential threats to Israel posed by international terrorism and the Iranian nuclear program.
Many see China's rise as a threat to US leadership in Asia and beyond. Thomas J. Christensen argues instead that the real challenge lies in dissuading China from regional aggression while eliciting its global cooperation. Drawing on decades of scholarship and experience as a senior diplomat, Christensen offers a deep perspective on China's military and economic capacity. Assessing China's political outlook and strategic goals, Christensen shows how nationalism and the threat of domestic instability influence the party's decisions about regional and global affairs.
Twenty year-old "Melodie", a recent convert to Islam, meets the leader of an Islamist brigade on Facebook. In 48 hours he has "fallen in love" with her, calls her day and night, urges her to marry him, join him in Syria to enjoy a life of paradise - and join his jihad. Discover how ISIS entraps people such as the teenage girls from Bethnal Green.
"Good read, didn't put it down for long."
The continuing crisis in Syria has raised a question mark over the common perception of Middle Eastern affairs as an offshoot of global power politics. To Western intellectuals, foreign-policy experts, and politicians, "empire" and "imperialism" are categories that apply exclusively to the European powers and more recently to the United States of America. Lacking an internal dynamic of its own, the view of such people is that Middle Eastern history is the product of its unhappy interaction with the West.
The events of the Arab Spring have come to be overshadowed by the civil war in the Arabic-speaking nation of Syria, which has been ruled throughout the 21st century by Bashar al-Assad. Though he had not planned on ruling Syria, several events conspired to make Bashar the successor of his father, Hafez. Though the West frequently looked for signs that Bashar might be a reformer, due in part to his formerly popular Western wife, Assad remained part of a critical alliance with Iran and the sub-state groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
In captivating detail, Stevenson provides a fast-paced, hour-by-hour narration from the hijacking of Air France Flight 139 to the final 90-minute mission. In addition to discussing the incredible rescue itself, Stevenson also covers the political backdrop behind the hijacking, especially Ugandan President Idi Amin's support for the hijackers, which marked one of the first times a leader of a nation had backed terrorist activities.
In No One Left to Lie to, a New York Times best seller, Christopher Hitchens casts an unflinching eye on the Clinton political machine and offers a searing indictment of a president who sought to hold power at any cost. With blistering wit and meticulous documentation, Hitchens masterfully deconstructs Clinton's abject propensity for pandering to the Left while delivering to the Right.
"Great book - slightly soporific reading!"
In July 1995, San Jose Mercury-News reporter Gary Webb found the Big One - the blockbuster story every journalist secretly dreams about - without even looking for it. A simple phone call concerning an unexceptional pending drug trial turned into a massive conspiracy involving the Nicaraguan Contra rebels, L.A. and Bay Area crack cocaine dealers, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
"Not what I was expecting"
Most people regard tax havens as being relevant only to celebrities, crooks and spivs, and mistakenly believe that the main offshore problems are money laundering and terrorist financing. These are only small parts of the whole picture. The offshore system has been (discreetly) responsible for the greatest ever shift of wealth from poor to rich. It also undermines our democracies by offering the wealthiest members of society escape routes from normal democratic controls.
"To pay, or not to pay tax ...?"
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' -"
"A religious fundamentalist, a political operative, a primitive sermonizer, and an accomplice of worldly secular powers. Her mission has always been of this kind. The irony is that she has never been able to induce anybody to believe her. It is past time that she was duly honored and taken at her word." Among his many books, perhaps none have sparked more outrage than The Missionary Position, Christopher Hitchens's meticulous study of the life and deeds of Mother Teresa.
"Illuminating (with a not so saintly light)"
This Economist book describes emerging military technologies and places them in the larger context of today's politics, diplomacy, business and social issues. It shows how efforts to win wars or keep the peace are driving enormous and multifold technological advances. Broadly speaking, defence technologies will continue to provide enormous advantages to advanced, Western armed forces. For anyone who wants to know just how smart the global war, defence and intelligence machine is, this will be revealing and fascinating reading.
"Nothing new but a miss mash of old articles."
Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over 15 years - a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung and the unchallenged rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population.
"Great book - dreary reader"
James Brabazon is narrating this story of war, violence, and political intrigue. He wanted a war. And, for his sins, he got one. James Brabazon was an ambitious young war reporter when he entered the chaos of the Liberian Civil War in 2002. Running with the infamous LURD rebels, he survived numerous deadly ambushes, the privations of dysentery and a dramatic two hundred-mile escape from Government troops through dense equatorial jungle. He even had a bounty put on his head.
The world has watched stunned at the bloodshed in Mexico. Thirty thousand murdered since 2006; police chiefs shot within hours of taking office; mass graves comparable to those of civil wars; car bombs shattering storefronts; headless corpses heaped in town squares. The United States throws Black Hawk helicopters and drug agents at the problem. But in secret, Washington is confused and divided about what to do. "Who are these mysterious figures tearing Mexico apart?" they wonder.
"Narration is awful!"
Twenty years ago, the image of burning copies of Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" held aloft by thousand-strong mobs of protestors became an internationally familiar symbol of anger and offence. Kenan Malik examines how the Rushdie affair transformed the debate worldwide on multiculturalism, tolerance and free speech, helped fuel the rise of radical Islam and pointed the way to the horrors of 9/11 and 7/7.
"Be careful what you campaign for"
This book offers a stimulating introduction to globalization and its varying impacts across, between, and within societies. It is a highly listenable text that contributes to a better understanding of the crucial aspects and dimensions of the developments and transformations that go by the name of globalization.
Beyond the Border, based on two journeys that Yoginder Sikand undertook to Pakistan, covering Lahore, Multan, Hyderabad (Sindh), Moenjo Daro, Bhit Shah, and Islamabad, among others, is a strikingly unconventional account of what life is like for "ordinary" Pakistanis. The Pakistan he discovers only remotely resembles the stereotypical Muslim nation of the Hindu imagination. Departing from the fiercely polemical rhetoric common in Indian and Pakistani accounts of each other, Yoginder Sikand dispels the myths that have filtered into the Indian psyche about Pakistan being the terrible other.