Top World History Ebooks

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A Short History of Nearly Everything: Special Illustrated Edition - Bill Bryson Cover Art

A Short History of Nearly Everything: Special Illustrated Edition

A Short History of Nearly Everything: Special Illustrated Edition by Bill Bryson

One of the world’s most beloved writers and bestselling author of One Summer takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. In A Walk in the Woods , Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail — well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country , he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand — and, if possible, answer — the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.

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A History of the World in 6 Glasses - Tom Standage Cover Art

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage

From beer to Coca-Cola, the six drinks that have helped shape human history. Throughout human history. certain drinks have done much more than just quench thirst. As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period. A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola. Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E. was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages. In ancient Greece wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad. Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade. Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange. And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far-reaching effects on British foreign policy. Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th-century Europe they became a 20th-century phenomenon, and Coca-Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization. For Tom Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations. You may never look at your favorite drink the same way again.

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A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson Cover Art

A Short History of Nearly Everything

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

One of the world’s most beloved writers and bestselling author of One Summer takes his ultimate journey—into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. In A Walk in the Woods , Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail — well, most of it. In A Sunburned Country , he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand — and, if possible, answer — the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.

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A Short History of the World - Christopher Lascelles Cover Art

A Short History of the World

A Short History of the World by Christopher Lascelles

There is an increasing realisation that our knowledge of world history–and how it all fits together–is far from perfect. We might all know about the odd event, but there is a good chance that if we had to talk about what was happening in the world before or after, or even at the same time, we would not be quite as knowledgeable.  A Short History of the World aims to fill the big gaps in our historical knowledge with a book that is easy to read and assumes little prior knowledge of past events. The book does not aim to come up with groundbreaking new theories on why things occurred, but rather gives a broad overview of the generally accepted version of events so that non-historians will feel less ignorant when discussing the past.  To help readers put events, places and empires into context, the book includes 32 specially-commissioned maps to accompany the text. The result is a book that is reassuringly epic in scope but refreshingly short in length. An excellent place to start to bring your historical knowledge up to scratch!

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The Templars - Barbara Frale & Gregory Conti Cover Art

The Templars

The Templars The Secret History Revealed by Barbara Frale & Gregory Conti

Barbara Frale gives us an explosive, exhaustively researched history of the medieval world’s most powerful military order, the Templars. At its height, the Order of the Knights Templar rivaled the kingdoms of Europe in military might, economic power, and political influence. For 700 years, the tragic demise of this society of warrior-monks amid accusations of heresy has been plagued by controversy, in part because the transcript of their trial by the Inquisition which held the key to the truth had vanished. Templar historian Barbara Frale happened to be studying a document at the Vatican Secret Archives when she suddenly realized that it was none other than the long-lost transcript! It revealed that Pope Clement V had absolved the order of all charges of heresy. The Templars chronicles the spectacular rise and fall of the organization against a sweeping backdrop of war, religious fervor, and the struggle for dominance, and finally lifts the centuries-old cloak of mystery surrounding one of the world’s most intriguing secret societies.

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Timeline of World History - Gordon Kerr Cover Art

Timeline of World History

Timeline of World History by Gordon Kerr

A fascinating chronological guide to all the key events and people who have helped shape the world today. From the Big Bang through the rise and fall of the greatest empires to the great technological achievements of modern times, this book will help readers view our collective past in panorama, making sense of the confusing world in which we live today. Contents 1) The Ancient World  2) The Medieval and Renaissance World 3) The Enlightened World 4) The Nineteenth Century 5) The Modern World

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The Silk Roads - Peter Frankopan Cover Art

The Silk Roads

The Silk Roads A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan

“This is history on a grand scale, with a sweep and ambition that is rare… A proper historical epic of dazzling range and achievement.” —William Dalrymple,  The Guardian    The epic history of the crossroads of the world—the meeting place of East and West and the birthplace of civilization It was on the Silk Roads that East and West first encountered each other through trade and conquest, leading to the spread of ideas, cultures and religions. From the rise and fall of empires to the spread of Buddhism and the advent of Christianity and Islam, right up to the great wars of the twentieth century—this book shows how the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East. Peter Frankopan realigns our understanding of the world, pointing us eastward. He vividly re-creates the emergence of the first cities in Mesopotamia and the birth of empires in Persia, Rome and Constantinople, as well as the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death and the violent struggles over Western imperialism. Throughout the millennia, it was the appetite for foreign goods that brought East and West together, driving economies and the growth of nations. From the Middle East and its political instability to China and its economic rise, the vast region stretching eastward from the Balkans across the steppe and South Asia has been thrust into the global spotlight in recent years. Frankopan teaches us that to understand what is at stake for the cities and nations built on these intricate trade routes, we must first understand their astounding pasts. Far more than a history of the Silk Roads, this book is truly a revelatory new history of the world, promising to destabilize notions of where we come from and where we are headed next. From the Hardcover edition.

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The Lessons of History - Will Durant Cover Art

The Lessons of History

The Lessons of History by Will Durant

A concise survey of the culture and civilization of mankind, The Lessons of History is the result of a lifetime of research from Pulitzer Prize–winning historians Will and Ariel Durant. With their accessible compendium of philosophy and social progress, the Durants take us on a journey through history, exploring the possibilities and limitations of humanity over time. Juxtaposing the great lives, ideas, and accomplishments with cycles of war and conquest, the Durants reveal the towering themes of history and give meaning to our own.

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Over the Edge of the World - Laurence Bergreen Cover Art

Over the Edge of the World

Over the Edge of the World Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe by Laurence Bergreen

Ferdinand Magellan's daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled with sex, violence, and amazing adventure. Now in Over the Edge of the World, prize-winning biographer and journalist Laurence Bergreen entwines a variety of candid, firsthand accounts, bringing to life this groundbreaking and majestic tale of discovery that changed both the way explorers would henceforth navigate the oceans and history itself.

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A Little History of the World - E. H. Gombrich & Clifford Harper Cover Art

A Little History of the World

A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich & Clifford Harper

E. H. Gombrich’s bestselling history of the world for young readers tells the story of mankind from the Stone Age to the atomic bomb, focusing not on small detail but on the sweep of human experience, the extent of human achievement, and the depth of its frailty. The product of a generous and humane sensibility, this timeless account makes intelligible the full span of human history. In forty concise chapters, Gombrich tells the story of man from the stone age to the atomic bomb. In between emerges a colorful picture of wars and conquests, grand works of art, and the spread and limitations of science. This is a text dominated not by dates and facts, but by the sweep of mankind’s experience across the centuries, a guide to humanity’s achievements and an acute witness to its frailties.

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World History For Dummies - Peter Haugen Cover Art

World History For Dummies

World History For Dummies by Peter Haugen

Now updated! Your personal tour guide to the history of the world Want to know more about global history? This concise guide explains in clear detail all the major players and events that have made the world what it is today. Covering the entirety of human history, this comprehensive resource highlights important developments in everything from religion and science to art and war — giving you an understanding of how the 21st-century world came to be. Begin to connect with the past — label the eras as you meet the Neanderthals, home in on Homer, raise Atlantis, and preserve Pharaohs Find strength in numbers — trace the growth from ancient civilizations to today's global community and discover what makes societies succeed or fail Discover the impact of thought — explore the rise of religion, the roots of philosophy, and the advance of science — and how our feelings and beliefs continually redefined us Know the global consequences of war — ride with the Greeks and the Romans, arm yourself with the cavalry, dig the trenches, and follow the paths humans took to wage modern war Meet the movers and shakers — from great leaders and courageous revolutionaries to ruthless tyrants and unsung heroes Examine significant events of the 21st century — from 9/11 and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars to climate change, Hurricane Katrina, and the economic rise of China, India, and Brazil Open the book and find: A detailed overview of history The development of the world's religions Reviews of essential historical documents, from the Bible to the Bill of Rights The invention of writing and art Scientific developments that revolutionized the world Capsule biographies of people who changed history — and a few who were changed by it Ten unforgettable dates in world history

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The Freemasons - Jasper Ridley Cover Art

The Freemasons

The Freemasons A History of the World's Most Powerful Secret Society by Jasper Ridley

What did Mozart and Bach, Oscar Wilde and Anthony Trollope, George Washington and Frederick the Great, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt have in common? They were all Freemasons, a subject of endless fascination. To the layman, they are a mysterious brotherhood of profound if uncertain influence, a secret society purported in some popular histories to have its roots in the fabled order of the Knights Templar, or in the mysteries of the Egyptian pyramids. They evoke fears of world domination by a select few who enjoy privileged access to wealth and the levers of power. The secrecy of their rites suggests the taint of sacrilege, and their hidden loyalties are sometimes accused of undermining the workings of justice and the integrity of nations. Though not a mason himself, Jasper Ridley nonetheless refutes many of the outrageous allegations made against Freemasonry, while at the same time acknowledging the masons’ shortcomings: their clannishness, misogyny, obsession with secrecy, and devotion to arcane ritual. In this much-needed reassessment, he offers a substantial work of history that sifts the truth from the myth as it traces Freemasonry from its origins to the present day.

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The Code Book - Simon Singh Cover Art

The Code Book

The Code Book The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh

In his first book since the bestselling Fermat's Enigma , Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who helped the Allies win World War II, to the incredible (and incredibly simple) logisitical breakthrough that made Internet commerce secure, The Code Book tells the story of the most powerful intellectual weapon ever known: secrecy. Throughout the text are clear technical and mathematical explanations, and portraits of the remarkable personalities who wrote and broke the world's most difficult codes. Accessible, compelling, and remarkably far-reaching, this book will forever alter your view of history and what drives it.  It will also make you wonder how private that e-mail you just sent really is.

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The Origins of Political Order - Francis Fukuyama Cover Art

The Origins of Political Order

The Origins of Political Order From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution by Francis Fukuyama

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011 A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction of 2011 title 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. Francis Fukuyama, author of the bestselling The End of History and the Last Man and one of our most important political thinkers, provides a sweeping account of how today's basic political institutions developed. The first of a major two-volume work, The Origins of Political Order begins with politics among our primate ancestors and follows the story through the emergence of tribal societies, the growth of the first modern state in China, the beginning of the rule of law in India and the Middle East, and the development of political accountability in Europe up until the eve of the French Revolution. Drawing on a vast body of knowledge—history, evolutionary biology, archaeology, and economics—Fukuyama has produced a brilliant, provocative work that offers fresh insights on the origins of democratic societies and raises essential questions about the nature of politics and its discontents.

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Open Secrets: Wikileaks, War and American Diplomacy - The New York Times Staff & Alexander Star Cover Art

Open Secrets: Wikileaks, War and American Diplomacy

Open Secrets: Wikileaks, War and American Diplomacy Complete and Updated Coverage by The New York Times, With an Introduction by Bill Keller by The New York Times Staff & Alexander Star

In 2010, the anti-secrecy organization known as WikiLeaks made headlines around the world when it released thousands of classified U.S. government diplomatic cables and battlefield reports. The New York Times played a crucial role in breaking the WikiLeaks story, and “Open Secrets” is the definitive chronicle of the documents’ release and the controversy that ensued. It includes detailed analyses of the documents by Times correspondents; opinion essays by Frank  Rich, Maureen Dowd and others; and the full text of all the cables and war logs posted on The Times's Web site, along with 27 new cables selected for this volume. It also includes an essay in which the executive editor of The Times, Bill Keller, explains how the newspaper came to publish documents obtained by WikiLeaks, and why it did; expanded profiles of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks's founder,  and Bradley Manning, the Army private suspected of being his source; and original essays on what the fracas has revealed about American diplomacy and government secrecy. A legal and technological thriller and a primer on world politics,  "Open Secrets" is  also a field guide to how information and power are wielded today, and why it matters.

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100 Mistakes that Changed History - Bill Fawcett Cover Art

100 Mistakes that Changed History

100 Mistakes that Changed History Backfires and Blunders That Collapsed Empires, Crashed Economies, and Alteredthe Course of Our World by Bill Fawcett

Collected in one volume, here are backfires and blunders that collapsed empires, crashed economies, and altered the course of the world. From the Maginot Line to the Cuban Missile Crisis, history is filled with bad moves and not-so-bright ideas that snowballed into disasters and unintended consequences. This engrossing book looks at one hundred such tipping points. Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. The Caliphs of Baghdad spend themselves into bankruptcy. The Aztecs greet the Conquistadors with open arms. Mexico invites the Americans to Texas-and the Americans never leave. And the rest is history...

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The Geography of Genius - Eric Weiner Cover Art

The Geography of Genius

The Geography of Genius A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley by Eric Weiner

Tag along on this New York Times bestselling “witty, entertaining romp” ( The New York Times Book Review ) as Eric Winer travels the world, from Athens to Silicon Valley—and back through history, too—to show how creative genius flourishes in specific places at specific times. In this “intellectual odyssey, traveler’s diary, and comic novel all rolled into one” (Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness ), acclaimed travel writer Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. A “superb travel guide: funny, knowledgeable, and self-deprecating” ( The Washington Post ), he explores the history of places like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, and Silicon Valley to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. With his trademark insightful humor, this “big-hearted humanist” ( The Wall Street Journal ) walks the same paths as the geniuses who flourished in these settings to see if the spirit of what inspired figures like Socrates, Michelangelo, and Leonardo remains. In these places, Weiner asks, “What was in the air, and can we bottle it?” “Fun and thought provoking” ( Miami Herald ), The Geography of Genius reevaluates the importance of culture in nurturing creativity and “offers a practical map for how we can all become a bit more inventive” (Adam Grant, author of Originals ).

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The Art of War - Sun Tzu Cover Art

The Art of War

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

The Art of War is a novel by Sun Tzu which inspired countless business, political, and military leaders.  The Art of War is based on 6th Century Chinese strategies and tactics dedicated to individual aspects of warfare and survival.

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A History of the World in 100 Objects - Neil MacGregor Cover Art

A History of the World in 100 Objects

A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor

"An enthralling and profoundly humane book that every civilized person should read." -- The Wall Street Journal  The blockbuster New York Times bestseller and the companion volume to the wildly popular radio series When did people first start to wear jewelry or play music? When were cows domesticated, and why do we feed their milk to our children? Where were the first cities, and what made them succeed? Who developed math--or invented money? The history of humanity is one of invention and innovation, as we have continually created new things to use, to admire, or leave our mark on the world. In this groundbreaking book, Neil MacGregor turns to objects that previous civilizations have left behind to paint a portrait of mankind's evolution, focusing on unexpected turning points.  Beginning with a chopping tool from the Olduvai Gorge in Africa and ending with a recent innovation that is transforming the way we power our world, he urges us to see history as a kaleidoscope--shifting, interconnected, constantly surprising. A landmark bestseller, A History of the World in 100 Objects is one f the most unusual and engrossing history books to be published in years.   “None could have imagined quite how the radio series would permeate the national consciousness. Well over 12.5 million podcasts have been downloaded since the first programme and more than 550 museums around Britain have launched similar series featuring local history. . . . MacGregor’s voice comes through as distinctively as it did on radio and his arguments about the interconnectedness of disparate societies through the ages are all the stronger for the detail afforded by extra space. A book to savour and start over.” — The Economist From the Trade Paperback edition.

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1492 - Felipe Fernández-Armesto Cover Art

1492

1492 The Year the World Began by Felipe Fernández-Armesto

1492: The Year the World Began is a look at one of the most fascinating years in world history, the year when many believe the modern world was born. Historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, author of Millennium, covers such iconic figures as Christopher Columbus and Alexander Borgia and explores cultures as diverse as that of Spain, China, and Africa to tell the story of 1492, a momentous year whose lessons are still relevant today

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The March of Folly - Barbara W. Tuchman Cover Art

The March of Folly

The March of Folly From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara W. Tuchman

Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman, author of the World War I masterpiece The Guns of August, grapples with her boldest subject: the pervasive presence, through the ages, of failure, mismanagement, and delusion in government.   Drawing on a comprehensive array of examples, from Montezuma’s senseless surrender of his empire in 1520 to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Barbara W. Tuchman defines folly as the pursuit by government of policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives. In brilliant detail, Tuchman illuminates four decisive turning points in history that illustrate the very heights of folly: the Trojan War, the breakup of the Holy See provoked by the Renaissance popes, the loss of the American colonies by Britain’s George III, and the United States’ own persistent mistakes in Vietnam. Throughout The March of Folly, Tuchman’s incomparable talent for animating the people, places, and events of history is on spectacular display.   Praise for The March of Folly   “A glittering narrative . . . a moral [book] on the crimes and follies of governments and the misfortunes the governed suffer in consequence.” —The New York Times Book Review   “An admirable survey . . . I haven’t read a more relevant book in years.” —John Kenneth Galbraith, The Boston Sunday Globe   “A superb chronicle . . . a masterly examination.” —Chicago Sun-Times From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Mankind The Story of All of Us™ - Pamela D. Toler Ph.D Cover Art

Mankind The Story of All of Us™

Mankind The Story of All of Us™ by Pamela D. Toler Ph.D

This is our story, a story of triumph and overcoming.  It is the story of all of us. From the dawning of time, mankind has faced numerous obstacles and made surprising leaps forward.  In an epic overview of the human race, this fast-paced story of all of us is history like you’ve never read it before.  Each event has been chosen because it’s a key turning point – a stepping stone in our journey from hunter-gatherer to global citizen. Our story is about connections – why some ideas take hold and spread around the world and how the lives of people in one part of the world are shaped by events in another.  It’s a rich, interwoven narrative – but very accessible and truly global.  With hundreds of high definition images, interactive illustrations and maps, video and stunning CGI from the epic television broadcast event, and much more, Mankind comes to life like never before.  You can also access dramatic first-person representations of key points in history: the invention of iron, the beginning of Buddhism, the crucifixion of Jesus, the sack of Rome, the rule of Genghis Kahn, the ravages of the Black Plague, the invention of the printing press, the discovery of the New World, the birth of the Industrial Revolution, the invention of the steam engine, the rise of global migration, world war, the invention of the computer, and beyond. Author Pamela D. Toler, PhD, is a member of the World History Association and the American Society of Journalists and Authors and is regularly published in national journals specializing in history and culture. HISTORY® and HISTORY HD® are the leading destinations for all original factual entertainment as well as scripted event programming that include award-winning series and specials that connect viewers with history in an informative, immersive, and entertaining manner.

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Political Order and Political Decay - Francis Fukuyama Cover Art

Political Order and Political Decay

Political Order and Political Decay From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy by Francis Fukuyama

The second volume of the bestselling landmark work on the history of the modern state Writing in The Wall Street Journal , David Gress called Francis Fukuyama's Origins of Political Order "magisterial in its learning and admirably immodest in its ambition." In The New York Times Book Review , Michael Lind described the book as "a major achievement by one of the leading public intellectuals of our time." And in The Washington Post , Gerard DeGrott exclaimed "this is a book that will be remembered. Bring on volume two." Volume two is finally here, completing the most important work of political thought in at least a generation. Taking up the essential question of how societies develop strong, impersonal, and accountable political institutions, Fukuyama follows the story from the French Revolution to the so-called Arab Spring and the deep dysfunctions of contemporary American politics. He 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. A sweeping, masterful account of the struggle to create a well-functioning modern state, Political Order and Political Decay is destined to be a classic.

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Our Oriental Heritage - Will Durant Cover Art

Our Oriental Heritage

Our Oriental Heritage The Story of Civilization, Volume I by Will Durant

The Story of Civilization , Volume I: A history of civilization in Egypt and the Near East to the Death of Alexander, and in India, China, and Japan from the beginning; with an introduction on the nature and foundations of civilization. This is the first volume of the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning series.

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A Splendid Exchange - William J. Bernstein Cover Art

A Splendid Exchange

A Splendid Exchange How Trade Shaped the World by William J. Bernstein

Acclaimed by readers and critics around the globe, A Splendid Exchange is a sweeping narrative history of world trade from Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C. to the firestorm over globalization today that brilliantly explores trade’s colorful and contentious past and provides new insights into its future.

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Empires of the Word - Nicholas Ostler Cover Art

Empires of the Word

Empires of the Word A Language History of the World by Nicholas Ostler

Nicholas Ostler's Empires of the Word is the first history of the world's great tongues, gloriously celebrating the wonder of words that binds communities together and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it. From the uncanny resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries of invasions to the engaging self-regard of Greek and to the struggles that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe, these epic achievements and more are brilliantly explored, as are the fascinating failures of once "universal" languages. A splendid, authoritative, and remarkable work, it demonstrates how the language history of the world eloquently reveals the real character of our planet's diverse peoples and prepares us for a linguistic future full of surprises.

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Sex with Kings - Eleanor Herman Cover Art

Sex with Kings

Sex with Kings 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge by Eleanor Herman

Throughout the centuries, royal mistresses have been worshiped, feared, envied, and reviled. They set the fashions, encouraged the arts, and, in some cases, ruled nations. Eleanor Herman's Sex with Kings takes us into the throne rooms and bedrooms of Europe's most powerful monarchs. Alive with flamboyant characters, outrageous humor, and stirring poignancy, this glittering tale of passion and politics chronicles five hundred years of scintillating women and the kings who loved them. Curiously, the main function of a royal mistress was not to provide the king with sex but with companionship. Forced to marry repulsive foreign princesses, kings sought solace with women of their own choice. And what women they were! From Madame de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV, who kept her position for nineteen years despite her frigidity, to modern-day Camilla Parker-Bowles, who usurped none other than the glamorous Diana, Princess of Wales. The successful royal mistress made herself irreplaceable. She was ready to converse gaily with him when she was tired, make love until all hours when she was ill, and cater to his every whim. Wearing a mask of beaming delight over any and all discomforts, she was never to be exhausted, complaining, or grief-stricken. True, financial rewards for services rendered were of royal proportions -- some royal mistresses earned up to $200 million in titles, pensions, jewels, and palaces. Some kings allowed their mistresses to exercise unlimited political power. But for all its grandeur, a royal court was a scorpion's nest of insatiable greed, unquenchable lust, and vicious ambition. Hundreds of beautiful women vied to unseat the royal mistress. Many would suffer the slings and arrows of negative public opinion, some met with tragic ends and were pensioned off to make room for younger women. But the royal mistress often had the last laugh, as she lived well and richly off the fruits of her "sins." From the dawn of time, power has been a mighty aphrodisiac. With diaries, personal letters, and diplomatic dispatches, Eleanor Herman's trailblazing research reveals the dynamics of sex and power, rivalry and revenge, at the most brilliant courts of Europe. Wickedly witty and endlessly entertaining, Sex with Kings is a chapter of women's history that has remained unwritten -- until now.

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The Hiram Key Revisited - Christopher Knight Cover Art

The Hiram Key Revisited

The Hiram Key Revisited Freemasonry: A Plan For a New World Order by Christopher Knight

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE AND COMPELLING BOOK EVER WRITTEN ABOUT THE SECRET SOCIETY THAT SHAPED THE MODERN WORLD Freemasonry, with its arcane rituals, occult symbols, and labyrinthine hierarchy, has mystifi ed the outside world for centuries. But it has become apparent that even the most senior Freemasons do not understand its ancient origins or purpose. So what is this powerful and arcane organization really for? In this eye-opening account, two seasoned researchers show that today’s Freemasons are the spiritual descendants of an ancient priesthood that was forced to act in secrecy. They predicted the birth of the coming Messiah, and Jesus Christ was part of their mission. Soon after the Crucifi xion they were nearly wiped out by a program of mass genocide conducted by the Romans; later, in feudal Europe, they grew to a position of unparalleled power before being branded as heretics and forced underground. But they could not be stopped, and they continued to work in subtle, sometimes subversive, always anonymous, ways to pursue their objective—a new world order that put God above, and yet out of, human affairs.

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End of History and the Last Man - Francis Fukuyama Cover Art

End of History and the Last Man

End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama

Ever since its first publication in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man has provoked controversy and debate. Francis Fukuyama's prescient analysis of religious fundamentalism, politics, scientific progress, ethical codes, and war is as essential for a world fighting fundamentalist terrorists as it was for the end of the Cold War. Now updated with a new afterword, The End of History and the Last Man is a modern classic.

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Age of Anger - Pankaj Mishra Cover Art

Age of Anger

Age of Anger A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra

One of our most important public intellectuals reveals the hidden history of our current global crisis How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world—from American shooters and ISIS to Donald Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media? In Age of Anger , Pankaj Mishra answers our bewilderment by casting his gaze back to the eighteenth century before leading us to the present. He shows that as the world became modern, those who were unable to enjoy its promises—of freedom, stability, and prosperity—were increasingly susceptible to demagogues. The many who came late to this new world—or were left, or pushed, behind—reacted in horrifyingly similar ways: with intense hatred of invented enemies, attempts to re-create an imaginary golden age, and self-empowerment through spectacular violence. It was from among the ranks of the disaffected that the militants of the nineteenth century arose—angry young men who became cultural nationalists in Germany, messianic revolutionaries in Russia, bellicose chauvinists in Italy, and anarchist terrorists internationally. Today, just as then, the wide embrace of mass politics and technology and the pursuit of wealth and individualism have cast many more billions adrift in a demoralized world, uprooted from tradition but still far from modernity—with the same terrible results. Making startling connections and comparisons, Age of Anger is a book of immense urgency and profound argument. It is a history of our present predicament unlike any other.

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The Penguin History of the World - J M Roberts & Odd Arne Westad Cover Art

The Penguin History of the World

The Penguin History of the World 6th edition by J M Roberts & Odd Arne Westad

This is a completely new and updated edition of J. M. Roberts and Odd Arne Westad's widely acclaimed, landmark bestseller The Penguin History of the World . For generations of readers The Penguin History of the World has been one of the great cultural experiences - the entire story of human endeavour laid out in all its grandeur and folly, drama and pain in a single authoritative book. Now, for the first time, it has been completely overhauled for its 6th edition - not just bringing it up to date, but revising it throughout in the light of new research and discoveries, such as the revolution in our understanding of many civilizations in the Ancient World. The closing sections of the book reflect what now seems to be the inexorable rise of Asia and the increasingly troubled situation in the West. About the authors: J.M. Roberts , CBE, published The Penguin History of the World in 1976 to immediate acclaim. His other major books include The Paris Commune from the Right , The Triumph of the West (which was also a successful television series), The Penguin History of Europe and The Penguin History of the Twentieth Century . He died in 2003. Odd Arne Westad , FBA, is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics. He has published fifteen books on modern and contemporary international history, among them The Global Cold War , which won the Bancroft Prize, and Decisive Encounters , a standard history of the Chinese civil war. He also served as general co-editor of the Cambridge History of the Cold War . Reviews 'A work of outstanding breadth of scholarship and penetrating judgements. There is nothing better of its kind' Jonathan Sumption, Sunday Telegraph 'A stupendous achievement' A.J.P. Taylor 'A brilliant book ... the most outstanding history of the world yet written' J.H. Plumb

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Time Travel - James Gleick Cover Art

Time Travel

Time Travel A History by James Gleick

Best Books of 2016 BOSTON GLOBE * THE ATLANTIC From the acclaimed bestselling author of  The Information  and  Chaos comes this enthralling history of time travel—a concept that has preoccupied physicists and storytellers over the course of the last century. James Gleick delivers a mind-bending exploration of time travel—from its origins in literature and science to its influence on our understanding of time itself. Gleick vividly explores physics, technology, philosophy, and art as each relates to time travel and tells the story of the concept's cultural evolutions—from H.G. Wells to  Doctor Who , from Proust to Woody Allen. He takes a close look at the porous boundary between science fiction and modern physics, and, finally, delves into what it all means in our own moment in time—the world of the instantaneous, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future.

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Las venas abiertas de América Latina - Eduardo Galeano Cover Art

Las venas abiertas de América Latina

Las venas abiertas de América Latina by Eduardo Galeano

"Una bomba literaria que muy probablemente Obama no ha leído, pero que -seamos justos- en efecto tendría que leer...Imaginemos la escena: acomodado en su asiento del Air Force One rumbo a Washington, Obama toma el libro que le obsequió Chávez y, más por aburrimiento que por curiosidad, lo hojea al desgaire, lee un par de párrafos y, como le ha ocurrido a miles, queda atrapado por la un tanto engañosa pero siempre inquietante narración de Galeano. Alguien tan sensible a las humillaciones sufridas por los afroamericanos podría descubrir en sus páginas más de una coincidencia con su educación radical, y sin duda le ayudaría a comprender mejor a quienes desconfían de Estados Unidos, incluso de esa parte de Estados Unidos que, escapando a los prejuicios, le permitió convertirse en presidente." - Jorge Volpi, "El País", Spain "Este libro supera todo lo que yo jamás he leído sobre el tema, y permanecerá a lo largo de los años venideros. Una obra maestra." - Carleton Beals, "Monthly Review", USA. "Este reportaje-ensayo-mural-obra de artesanía admirable ensambla géneros que andaban dispersos: la historia económica, el relato vital..." - Hugo Neira, "Expreso", Perú. "El mejor libro sobre nuestro maltratado continente." - Hernán Invernizzi, "El Cronista Comercial",Argentina. "Bienvenida sea esta historia de América Latina que recoge los hechos, tiene profundidad teórica y es sumamente legible. Un excelente trabajo." - Peter Roman, "Science and Society", USA. "Este libro de Galeano es absolutamente imprescindible para todos los interesados en América Latina." - "Deutsche Volkszeitung", Alemania Federal. "Una contribución muy importante a la comprensión del pasado que alimenta un presente ambiguo e incierto." - Marcel Niedergang, "Le Monde", Francia. "Un gran escritor y una gran obra, que hoy me parece más actual y necesaria que cuando apareció." - Jean Ziegler, "Afrique-Asie", Francia.

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Holy War - Nigel Cliff Cover Art

Holy War

Holy War How Vasco da Gama's Epic Voyages Turned the Tide in a Centuries-Old Clash of Civilizations by Nigel Cliff

A sweeping historical epic and a radical new interpretation of Vasco da Gama’s groundbreaking voyages, seen as a turning point in the struggle between Christianity and Islam In 1498 a young captain sailed from Portugal, circumnavigated Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, and discovered the sea route to the Indies and, with it, access to the fabled wealth of the East. It was the longest voyage known to history. The little ships were pushed beyond their limits, and their crews were racked by storms and devastated by disease. However, their greatest enemy was neither nature nor even the sheer dread of venturing into unknown worlds that existed on maps populated by coiled, toothy sea monsters. With bloodred Crusader crosses emblazoned on their sails, the explorers arrived in the heart of the Muslim East at a time when the old hostilities between Christianity and Islam had risen to a new level of intensity. In two voyages that spanned six years, Vasco da Gama would fight a running sea battle that would ultimately change the fate of three continents. An epic tale of spies, intrigue, and treachery; of bravado, brinkmanship, and confused and often comical collisions between cultures encountering one another for the first time; Holy War also offers a surprising new interpretation of the broad sweep of history. Identifying Vasco da Gama’s arrival in the East as a turning point in the centuries-old struggle between Islam and Christianity—one that continues to shape our world—Holy War reveals the unexpected truth that both Vasco da Gama and his archrival, Christopher Columbus, set sail with the clear purpose of launching a Crusade whose objective was to reach the Indies; seize control of its markets in spices, silks, and precious gems from Muslim traders; and claim for Portugal or Spain, respectively, all the territories they discovered. Vasco da Gama triumphed in his mission and drew a dividing line between the Muslim and Christian eras of history—what we in the West call the medieval and the modern ages. Now that the world is once again tipping back East, Holy War offers a key to understanding age-old religious and cultural rivalries resurgent today.

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Old Sparky - Anthony Galvin Cover Art

Old Sparky

Old Sparky The Electric Chair and the History of the Death Penalty by Anthony Galvin

In early 2013, Robert Gleason became the latest victim of the electric chair, a peculiarly American execution method. Shouting Pog mo thin ("Kiss my ass" in Gaelic) he grinned electricity shot through his system. When the current was switched off his body slumped against the leather restraints, and Gleeson, who had strangled two fellow inmates to ensure his execution was not postponed, was dead. The execution had gone flawlessly not a guaranteed result with the electric chair, which has gone horrifically wrong on many occasions. Old Sparky covers the history of capital punishment in America and the current wars” between Edison and Westinghouse which led to the development of the electric chair. It examines how the electric chair became the most popular method of execution in America, before being superseded by lethal injection. Famous executions are explored, alongside quirky last meals and poignant last words. The death penalty remains a hot topic of debate in America, and Old Sparky does not shy away from that controversy. Executions have gone spectacularly wrong, with convicts being set alight, and needing up to five jolts of electricity before dying. There have been terrible miscarriages of justice, and the death penalty has not been applied even-handedly. Historically, African-Americans, the mentally challenged, and poor defendants have been likely to get the chair, an anomaly which led the Supreme Court to briefly suspend the death penalty. Since the resumption of capital punishment in 1976 Texas alone has executed more than 500 prisoners, and death row is full. Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

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The Lost Peace - Robert Dallek Cover Art

The Lost Peace

The Lost Peace Leadership in a Time of Horror and Hope, 1945-1953 by Robert Dallek

"Robert Dallek brings to this majestic work a profound understanding of history, a deep engagement in foreign policy, and a lifetime of studying leadership. The story of what went wrong during the postwar period…has never been more intelligently explored." —Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Team of Rivals Robert Dalleck follows his bestselling Nixon and Kissenger: Partners in Power and An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 with this masterful account of the crucial period that shaped the postwar world. As the Obama Administration struggles to define its strategy for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Dallek's critical and compelling look at Truman, Churchill, Stalin, and other world leaders in the wake of World War II not only offers important historical perspective but provides timely insight on America's course into the future.

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Paper: Paging Through History - Mark Kurlansky Cover Art

Paper: Paging Through History

Paper: Paging Through History by Mark Kurlansky

From the New York Times best-selling author of Cod and Salt, a definitive history of paper and the astonishing ways it has shaped today’s world. Paper is one of the simplest and most essential pieces of human technology. For the past two millennia, the ability to produce it in ever more efficient ways has supported the proliferation of literacy, media, religion, education, commerce, and art; it has formed the foundation of civilizations, promoting revolutions and restoring stability. One has only to look at history’s greatest press run, which produced 6.5 billion copies of Máo zhuxí yulu, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Zedong)—which doesn’t include editions in 37 foreign languages and in braille—to appreciate the range and influence of a single publication, in paper. Or take the fact that one of history’s most revered artists, Leonardo da Vinci, left behind only 15 paintings but 4,000 works on paper. And though the colonies were at the time calling for a boycott of all British goods, the one exception they made speaks to the essentiality of the material; they penned the Declaration of Independence on British paper. Now, amid discussion of “going paperless”—and as speculation about the effects of a digitally dependent society grows rampant—we’ve come to a world-historic juncture. Thousands of years ago, Socrates and Plato warned that written language would be the end of “true knowledge,” replacing the need to exercise memory and think through complex questions. Similar arguments were made about the switch from handwritten to printed books, and today about the role of computer technology. By tracing paper’s evolution from antiquity to the present, with an emphasis on the contributions made in Asia and the Middle East, Mark Kurlansky challenges common assumptions about technology’s influence, affirming that paper is here to stay. Paper will be the commodity history that guides us forward in the twenty-first century and illuminates our times.

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The World That Trade Created - Kenneth Pomeranz & Steven Topik Cover Art

The World That Trade Created

The World That Trade Created Society, Culture, and the World Economy, 1400 to the Present by Kenneth Pomeranz & Steven Topik

The World That Trade Created brings to life the history of trade and its actors. In a series of brief, highly readable vignettes, filled with insights and amazing facts about things we tend to take for granted, the authors uncover the deep historical roots of economic globalization.

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Heroes of History - Will Durant Cover Art

Heroes of History

Heroes of History A Brief History of Civilization from Ancient Times to the Dawn of the Modern Age by Will Durant

In the tradition of his own bestselling masterpieces The Story of Civilization and The Lessons of History , Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Will Durant traces the lives and ideas of those who have helped to define civilization, from its dawn to the beginning of the modern world. Heroes of History is a book of life-enhancing wisdom and optimism, complete with Durant's wit, knowledge, and unique ability to explain events and ideas in simple, exciting terms. It is the lessons of our heritage passed on for the edification and benefit of future generations—a fitting legacy from America's most beloved historian and philosopher. Will Durant's popularity as America's favorite teacher of history and philosophy remains undiminished by time. His books are accessible to readers of every kind, and his unique ability to compress complicated ideas and events into a few pages without ever "talking down" to the reader, enhanced by his memorable wit and a razor-sharp judgment about men and their motives, made all of his books huge bestsellers. Heroes of History carries on this tradition of making scholarship and philosophy understandable to the general reader, and making them good reading, as well. At the dawn of a new millennium and the beginning of a new century, nothing could be more appropriate than this brilliant book that examines the meaning of human civilization and history and draws from the experience of the past the lessons we need to know to put the future into context and live in confidence, rather than fear and ignorance.

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The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve - Stephen Greenblatt Ph.D. Cover Art

The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve

The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve by Stephen Greenblatt Ph.D.

Stephen Greenblatt—Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winning author of The Swerve and Will in the World—investigates the life of one of humankind’s greatest stories. Bolder, even, than the ambitious books for which Stephen Greenblatt is already renowned, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve explores the enduring story of humanity’s first parents. Comprising only a few ancient verses, the story of Adam and Eve has served as a mirror in which we seem to glimpse the whole, long history of our fears and desires, as both a hymn to human responsibility and a dark fable about human wretchedness. Tracking the tale into the deep past, Greenblatt uncovers the tremendous theological, artistic, and cultural investment over centuries that made these fictional figures so profoundly resonant in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds and, finally, so very “real” to millions of people even in the present. With the uncanny brilliance he previously brought to his depictions of William Shakespeare and Poggio Bracciolini (the humanist monk who is the protagonist of The Swerve), Greenblatt explores the intensely personal engagement of Augustine, Dürer, and Milton in this mammoth project of collective creation, while he also limns the diversity of the story’s offspring: rich allegory, vicious misogyny, deep moral insight, and some of the greatest triumphs of art and literature. The biblical origin story, Greenblatt argues, is a model for what the humanities still have to offer: not the scientific nature of things, but rather a deep encounter with problems that have gripped our species for as long as we can recall and that continue to fascinate and trouble us today.

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Heroes & Villains - Frank McLynn Cover Art

Heroes & Villains

Heroes & Villains Inside the minds of the greatest warriors in history by Frank McLynn

In the history of warfare, an elite group of men have attained almost legendary status through their courage, ambition and unrivalled military genius. But many of these same men possessed deep personal character flaws. In Heroes & Villains , acclaimed historian Frank McLynn focuses on six of the most powerful and magnetic leaders of all time: Spartacus, Attila the Hun, Richard the Lionheart, Cortés, Tokugawa Ieyasu and Napoleon. How did these mortal men rise to positions of seemingly invincible power? What were the motives, the personal strengths and often weaknesses that drove them to achieve what no one else dared? In six powerful portraits, McLynn brilliantly evokes the critical moments when each of these warriors proved themselves in battle, changing their own lives, the destiny of their people and, in some cases, the history of the world. We discover what drove Spartacus to take on the might of Rome against seemingly impossible odds, and how the young Napoleon rose to power in dramatic fashion at the Siege of Toulon. Heroes & Villains is more than a collection of individual biographies. By examining the complex psychologies of these extraordinary men, McLynn builds up a convincing profile of the ultimate warrior. Accompanying a major BBC television series, this brilliant book takes us into the minds of the greatest warriors in history.

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Bad Days in History - Michael Farquhar Cover Art

Bad Days in History

Bad Days in History A Gleefully Grim Chronicle of Misfortune, Mayhem, and Misery for Every Day ofthe Year by Michael Farquhar

National Geographic author Michael Farquhar uncover an instance of bad luck, epic misfortune, and unadulterated mayhem tied to every day of the year. From Caligula's blood-soaked end to hotelier Steve Wynn's unfortunate run-in with a priceless Picasso, these 365 tales of misery include lost fortunes (like the would-be Apple investor who pulled out in 1977 and missed out on a $30 billion-dollar windfall), romance gone wrong (like the 16th-century Shah who experimented with an early form of Viagra with empire-changing results), and truly bizarre moments (like the Great Molasses Flood of 1919). Think you’re having a bad day? Trust us, it gets worse.

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The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time - Keith Houston Cover Art

The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time

The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time by Keith Houston

“Everybody who has ever read a book will benefit from the way Keith Houston explores the most powerful object of our time. And everybody who has read it will agree that reports of the book’s death have been greatly exaggerated.”—Erik Spiekermann, typographer We may love books, but do we know what lies behind them? In The Book, Keith Houston reveals that the paper, ink, thread, glue, and board from which a book is made tell as rich a story as the words on its pages—of civilizations, empires, human ingenuity, and madness. In an invitingly tactile history of this 2,000-year-old medium, Houston follows the development of writing, printing, the art of illustrations, and binding to show how we have moved from cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls to the hardcovers and paperbacks of today. Sure to delight book lovers of all stripes with its lush, full-color illustrations, The Book gives us the momentous and surprising history behind humanity’s most important—and universal—information technology.

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The Conquest of the Ocean - Brian Lavery Cover Art

The Conquest of the Ocean

The Conquest of the Ocean by Brian Lavery

An engaging and vivid read by author and naval historian Brian Lavery, The Conquest of the Ocean tells the 5,000 year history of the remarkable individuals who sailed the seas for trade, to conquer new lands, and to explore the unknown. From the early Polynesian sailors to the first circumnavigations by the Portuguese and the British, The Conquest of the Ocean explores the lives of these sailors and their tales of epic sea voyages, great feats of seamanship, navigation, endurance, and ingenuity. Explore the lives of famous land-seekers and globe-charters such as Christopher Columbus, Captain James Cook, and Vitus Bering through eyewitness accounts of their maritime adventures. Full color photographs, paintings, diagrams, and maps are woven into the text to help tell the compelling stories of life at sea that lie behind man's search for new lands, new trade, conquest, and uncharted waters. From the conquest of Mexico to World War II, and the voyages of the Vikings to the Exxon Valdez crisis, The Conquest of the Ocean covers the history of ships and sailing in times of exploration, war, discovery, and disaster.

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The Statues that Walked - Terry Hunt & Carl Lipo Cover Art

The Statues that Walked

The Statues that Walked Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island by Terry Hunt & Carl Lipo

T he monumental statues of Easter Island, both so magisterial and so forlorn, gazing out in their imposing rows over the island’s barren landscape, have been the source of great mystery ever since the island was first discovered by Europeans on Easter Sunday 1722. How could the ancient people who inhabited this tiny speck of land, the most remote in the vast expanse of the Pacific islands, have built such monumental works? No such astonishing numbers of massive statues are found anywhere else in the Pacific. How could the islanders possibly have moved so many multi-ton monoliths from the quarry inland, where they were carved, to their posts along the coastline? And most intriguing and vexing of all, if the island once boasted a culture developed and sophisticated enough to have produced such marvelous edifices, what happened to that culture? Why was the island the Europeans encountered a sparsely populated wasteland? The prevailing accounts of the island’s history tell a story of self-inflicted devastation: a glaring case of eco-suicide. The island was dominated by a powerful chiefdom that promulgated a cult of statue making, exercising a ruthless hold on the island’s people and rapaciously destroying the environment, cutting down a lush palm forest that once blanketed the island in order to construct contraptions for moving more and more statues, which grew larger and larger. As the population swelled in order to sustain the statue cult, growing well beyond the island’s agricultural capacity, a vicious cycle of warfare broke out between opposing groups, and the culture ultimately suffered a dramatic collapse. When Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo began carrying out archaeological studies on the island in 2001, they fully expected to find evidence supporting these accounts. Instead, revelation after revelation uncovered a very different truth. In this lively and fascinating account of Hunt and Lipo’s definitive solution to the mystery of what really happened on the island, they introduce the striking series of archaeological discoveries they made, and the path-breaking findings of others, which led them to compelling new answers to the most perplexing questions about the history of the island. Far from irresponsible environmental destroyers, they show, the Easter Islanders were remarkably inventive environmental stewards, devising ingenious methods to enhance the island’s agricultural capacity. They did not devastate the palm forest, and the culture did not descend into brutal violence. Perhaps most surprising of all, the making and moving of their enormous statutes did not require a bloated population or tax their precious resources; their statue building was actually integral to their ability to achieve a delicate balance of sustainability. The Easter Islanders, it turns out, offer us an impressive record of masterful environmental management rich with lessons for confronting the daunting environmental challenges of our own time. Shattering the conventional wisdom, Hunt and Lipo’s ironclad case for a radically different understanding of the story of this most mysterious place is scientific discovery at its very best.

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The Dangerous Book of Heroes - Conn Iggulden & David Iggulden Cover Art

The Dangerous Book of Heroes

The Dangerous Book of Heroes by Conn Iggulden & David Iggulden

Conn Iggulden, co-author of the phenomenally successful The Dangerous Book for Boys, and David Iggulden now bring us The Dangerous Book of Heroes—featuring great stories of courage and adventure to thrill and inspire any reader. From George Washington to Sitting Bull to Martin Luther King to the passengers on Flight 93, here are amazing stories of heroism that parents can share with their children, or enjoy all by themselves.

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Big History - Cynthia Stokes Brown Cover Art

Big History

Big History From the Big Bang to the Present by Cynthia Stokes Brown

Extend the human story backward for the five thousand years of recorded history and it covers no more than a millionth of a lifetime of the Earth. Yet how do we humans take stock of the history of our planet, and our own place within it? A vast historical mosaic” ( Publishers Weekly ) rendered engaging and accessible, Big History interweaves different disciplines of knowledge to offer an all-encompassing account of history on Earth. Since its publication, Cynthia Brown’s world history on a grand scale” ( Kirkus ) has been translated into nine languages and has helped propel the big history” concept to viral status. This new edition of Brown’s seminal work is more relevant today than ever before, as we increasingly must grapple with accelerating rates of change and, ultimately, the legacy we will bequeath to future generations. Here is a pathbreaking portrait of our world, from the birth of the universe from a single point the size of an atom to life on a twenty-first-century planet inhabited by 7 billion people.

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The House of Wisdom - Jim Al-Khalili Cover Art

The House of Wisdom

The House of Wisdom How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave Us the Renaissance by Jim Al-Khalili

A myth-shattering view of the Islamic world's myriad scientific innovations and the role they played in sparking the European Renaissance. Many of the innovations that we think of as hallmarks of Western science had their roots in the Arab world of the middle ages, a period when much of Western Christendom lay in intellectual darkness. Jim al- Khalili, a leading British-Iraqi physicist, resurrects this lost chapter of history, and given current East-West tensions, his book could not be timelier. With transporting detail, al-Khalili places readers in the hothouses of the Arabic Enlightenment, shows how they led to Europe's cultural awakening, and poses the question: Why did the Islamic world enter its own dark age after such a dazzling flowering?

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World's Great Men of Color, Volume I - J.A. Rogers Cover Art

World's Great Men of Color, Volume I

World's Great Men of Color, Volume I by J.A. Rogers

The classic, definitive title on the great Black figures in world history, beginning in antiquity and reaching into the modern age. World’s Great Men of Color is the comprehensive guide to the most noteworthy Black personalities in world history and their significance. J.A. Rogers spent the majority of his lifetime pioneering the field of Black studies with his exhaustive research on the major names in Black history whose contributions or even very existence have been glossed over. Well-written and informative, World’s Great Men of Color is an enlightening and important historical work.

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The Great Leveler - Walter Scheidel Cover Art

The Great Leveler

The Great Leveler Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Scheidel

How only violence and catastrophes have consistently reduced inequality throughout world history Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world. Ever since humans began to farm, herd livestock, and pass on their assets to future generations, economic inequality has been a defining feature of civilization. Over thousands of years, only violent events have significantly lessened inequality. The "Four Horsemen" of leveling—mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues—have repeatedly destroyed the fortunes of the rich. Scheidel identifies and examines these processes, from the crises of the earliest civilizations to the cataclysmic world wars and communist revolutions of the twentieth century. Today, the violence that reduced inequality in the past seems to have diminished, and that is a good thing. But it casts serious doubt on the prospects for a more equal future. An essential contribution to the debate about inequality, The Great Leveler provides important new insights about why inequality is so persistent—and why it is unlikely to decline anytime soon.

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