Top World History Ebooks

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Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World - Joshua B. Freeman Cover Art

Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World

Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World by Joshua B. Freeman

A sweeping, global history of the rise of the factory and its effects on society. We live in a factory-made world: modern life is built on three centuries of advances in factory production, efficiency, and technology. But giant factories have also fueled our fears about the future since their beginnings, when William Blake called them "dark Satanic mills." Many factories that operated over the last two centuries—such as Homestead, River Rouge, and Foxconn—were known for the labor exploitation and class warfare they engendered, not to mention the environmental devastation caused by factory production from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution up to today. In a major work of scholarship that is also wonderfully accessible, celebrated historian Joshua B. Freeman tells the story of the factory and examines how it has reflected both our dreams and our nightmares of industrialization and social change. He whisks readers from the textile mills in England that powered the Industrial Revolution and the factory towns of New England to the colossal steel and car plants of twentieth-century America, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union and on to today’s behemoths making sneakers, toys, and cellphones in China and Vietnam. The giant factory, Freeman shows, led a revolution that transformed human life and the environment. He traces arguments about factories and social progress through such critics and champions as Marx and Engels, Charles Dickens, Alexander Hamilton, Henry Ford, and Joseph Stalin. He chronicles protests against standard industry practices from unions and workers’ rights groups that led to shortened workdays, child labor laws, protection for organized labor, and much more. In Behemoth, Freeman also explores how factories became objects of great wonder that both inspired and horrified artists and writers in their time. He examines representations of factories in the work of Charles Sheeler, Margaret Bourke-White, Charlie Chaplin, Diego Rivera, and Edward Burtynsky. Behemoth tells the grand story of global industry from the Industrial Revolution to the present. It is a magisterial work on factories and the people whose labor made them run. And it offers a piercing perspective on how factories have shaped our societies and the challenges we face now.


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.


Fifty Things You Need to Know About World History - Hugh Williams Cover Art

Fifty Things You Need to Know About World History

Fifty Things You Need to Know About World History by Hugh Williams

What are the key 50 events you really need to understand to grasp the developments of our world? In this highly entertaining read Hugh Williams distils world history into an insightful overview. By selecting fifty key people, places, battles, objects and events, he casts a clear eye over the way the world has developed and how we live today. Injecting life into familiar historical landmarks as well as bringing lesser-known events to the forefront, Hugh shapes the fifty things into themes as all-encompassing today as they were over two thousand years ago: wealth, religion, conquest, discovery and freedom. The Fifty Things include… Origin of Species Model T Ford The Russian Revolution Plato Conquest of Mexico Mao Tse Tung Crucifixion of Jesus Via Egnatia Worldwide web Ozymandias 9/11 Nelson Mandela Coronation of Charlemagne American Declaration of Independence Franco-Prussian War Mahabharata The Black Death And many more… Reviews On Fifty Things you Need to Know about British History; ‘If history is your subject, then look no further than Fifty Things you Need to Know about British History. If you want an overview of what went on here, in bite-size chunks, throughout the centuries, this is the book for you’ The Lady ‘It offers insight and knowledge upon which to build a better understanding of the country we live in today’ Today’s History Best General History ‘Combining simplicity with significance and anecdote with fact, this book will have relevance for every modern British reader’ Family History Monthly About the author About the author Hugh Williams read Modern History at Oxford before beginning his career in television with the BBC. He has specialised in history and current affairs programming and in the early 80s was responsible for introducing the famous BBC history programme ‘Timewatch’ into the schedules. While Head of Broadcasting in Manchester he had the idea for and subsequently commissioned A.N. Wilson’s series ‘Eminent Victorians’.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 Altered the 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...


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 ).


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.


1492 - Felipe Fernández-Armesto Cover Art


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


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.


The History Book - DK Cover Art

The History Book

The History Book by DK

The History Book is a fascinating journey through the most significant events in history and the big ideas behind each one, from the dawn of civilization to the lightning-paced culture of today. One hundred crystal-clear articles explore the Law Code of Hammurabi, the Renaissance, the American Revolution, World War II, and much, much more, bringing the events and people of history to life. As part of DK's award-winning Big Ideas Simply Explained series, The History Book uses infographics and images to explain key ideas and themes. Biographies of key leaders, thinkers, and warriors, from Julius Caesar to Barack Obama, offer insight into their lives and further historical insight into these world-changing episodes. The History Book makes the past 4,000 years of history accessible and provides enlightenment on the forces that shaped the world as we know it today, for students and history buffs alike.


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.


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.


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.


It's Better Than It Looks - Gregg Easterbrook Cover Art

It's Better Than It Looks

It's Better Than It Looks Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook

Is civilization teetering on the edge of a cliff? Or are we just climbing higher than ever? Most people who read the news would tell you that 2017 is one of the worst years in recent memory. We're facing a series of deeply troubling, even existential problems: fascism, terrorism, environmental collapse, racial and economic inequality, and more. Yet this narrative misses something important: by almost every meaningful measure, the modern world is better than it ever has been. In the United States, disease, crime, discrimination, and most forms of pollution are in long-term decline, while longevity and education keep rising and economic indicators are better than in any past generation. Worldwide, malnutrition and extreme poverty are at historic lows, and the risk of dying by war or violence is the lowest in human history. It's not a coincidence that we're confused--our perspectives on the world are blurred by the rise of social media, the machinations of politicians, and our own biases. Meanwhile, political reforms like the Clean Air Act and technological innovations like the hybridization of wheat have saved huge numbers of lives. In that optimistic spirit, Easterbrook offers specific policy reforms to address climate change, inequality, and other problems, and reminds us that there is real hope in conquering such challenges. In an age of discord and fear-mongering, It's Better Than It Looks will profoundly change your perspective on who we are, where we're headed, and what we're capable of.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Old Sparky - Anthony Galvin Cover Art

Old Sparky

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

A shocking exploration of America’s preferred method of capital punishment. In early 2013, Robert Gleason became the latest victim of the electric chair, a peculiarly American execution method. Shouting Póg mo thóin ( Kiss my ass” in Gaelic), he grinned as 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 that 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 or 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 five hundred prisoners, and death row is full.


Wonderland - Steven Johnson Cover Art


Wonderland How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson

“A house of wonders itself. . . .  Wonderland  inspires grins and well-what-d'ya-knows” — The New York Times Book Review From the  New York Times– bestselling author of  How We Got to Now  and  Where Good Ideas Come From, a look at the world-changing innovations we made while keeping ourselves entertained. This lushly illustrated history of popular entertainment takes a long-zoom approach, contending that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Steven Johnson argues that, throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused.    Johnson’s storytelling is just as delightful as the inventions he describes, full of surprising stops along the journey from simple concepts to complex modern systems. He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows.     In Wonderland , Johnson compellingly argues that observers of technological and social trends should be looking for clues in novel amusements. You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.


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.


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. 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.


Babel No More - Michael Erard Cover Art

Babel No More

Babel No More The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners by Michael Erard

A “fascinating” ( The Economist ) dive into the world of linguistics that is “part travelogue, part science lesson, part intellectual investigation…an entertaining, informative survey of some of the most fascinating polyglots of our time” ( The New York Times Book Review ). In Babel No More , Michael Erard, “a monolingual with benefits,” sets out on a quest to meet language superlearners and make sense of their mental powers. On the way he uncovers the secrets of historical figures like the nineteenth-century Italian cardinal Joseph Mezzofanti, who was said to speak seventy-two languages, as well as those of living language-superlearners such as Alexander Arguelles, a modern-day polyglot who knows dozens of languages and shows Erard the tricks of the trade to give him a dark glimpse into the life of obsessive language acquisition. With his ambitious examination of what language is, where it lives in the brain, and the cultural implications of polyglots’ pursuits, Erard explores the upper limits of our ability to learn and use languages and illuminates the intellectual potential in everyone. How do some people escape the curse of Babel—and what might the gods have demanded of them in return?


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.


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 of the 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.


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.


A Conflict of Visions - Thomas Sowell Cover Art

A Conflict of Visions

A Conflict of Visions Ideological Origins of Political Struggles by Thomas Sowell

In this classic work, Thomas Sowell analyzes the two competing visions that shape our debates about the nature of reason, justice, equality, and power: the constrained” vision, which sees human nature as unchanging and selfish, and the unconstrained” vision, in which human nature is malleable and perfectible. He describes how these two radically opposed views have manifested themselves in the political controversies of the past two centuries, including such contemporary issues as welfare reform, social justice, and crime. Updated to include sweeping political changes since its first publication in 1987, this revised edition of A Conflict of Visions offers a convincing case that ethical and policy disputes circle around the disparity between both outlooks.


Warrior Politics - Robert D. Kaplan Cover Art

Warrior Politics

Warrior Politics Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos by Robert D. Kaplan

“The side that knows when to fight and when not will take the victory. There are roadways not to be traveled, armies not to be attacked, walled cities not to be assaulted.” —Sun-Tzu We live in dangerous times, when a new kind of leadership is required. Visionary and ruthlessly strategic, Warrior Politics extracts the best of the wisdom of the ages for modern leaders who are faced with the complex life-and-death challenges of today’s world—and determined to win. Sun-Tzu urges leaders to “plan and calculate like a hungry man.” Machiavelli defines a policy not by its excellence but by its outcome. Churchill derives his greatness from his imagination of history. Livy shows that the vigor to face down adversaries must ultimately come from pride in our own past achievements. “Never mind if they call your caution timidity, your wisdom sloth, your generosity weakness,” he writes. “It is better that a wise enemy should fear you than that foolish friends should praise.” “Men often oppose a thing merely because they have no agency in planning it,” Alexander Hamilton says, “or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike.” Replete with maxims, warnings, examples from history, and shrewd recommendations, Warrior Politics wrests from the past the lessons we need to arm ourselves for the present. It offers an invaluable template for any decision-maker—in foreign policy or in business—faced with high stakes and inadequate knowledge of a mine-filled terrain. As we gear ourselves up for a new kind of war, no book is more prescient, more shrewd, or more essential. From the Hardcover edition.


Voodoo Histories - David Aaronovitch Cover Art

Voodoo Histories

Voodoo Histories The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History by David Aaronovitch

"Meticulous in its research, forensic in its reasoning, robust in its argument, and often hilarious in its debunking... a highly entertaining rumble with the century's major conspiracy theorists and their theories." --John Lahr, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Tennessee Williams From an award-winning journalist, a history so funny, so true, so scary, it's bound to be called a conspiracy. 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 David Aaronovitch, there came a time when he started to see a pattern among these inflammatory theories. these theories used similarly murky methods with which to insinu­ate their claims: they linked themselves to the supposed conspiracies of the past (it happened then so it can happen now); they carefully manipulated their evidence to hide its holes; they relied on the authority of dubious aca­demic sources. Most important, they elevated their believers to membership of an elite- a group of people able to see beyond lies to a higher reality. But why believe something that entails stretching the bounds of probabil­ity so far? In this entertaining and enlightening book, he examines why people believe conspiracy theories, and makes an argument for a true skepticism: one based on a thorough knowledge of history and a strong dose of common sense.

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