Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant.
"Very informative, fun to listen to"
Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die.
"Danger and Discovery in the Jungle"
Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology.
"Compelling pre-history and emergent history"
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.
"Best Summary of Political History I've Read"
The Crusades is an authoritative, accessible single-volume history of the brutal struggle for the Holy Land in the Middle Ages. Thomas Asbridge - a renowned historian who writes with "maximum vividness" (Joan Acocella, The New Yorker) - covers the years 1095 to 1291 in this big, ambitious, listenable account of one of the most fascinating periods in history.
Most of us have a limited understanding of the powerful role economics has played in shaping human civilization. This makes economic history - the study of how civilizations structured their environments to provide food, shelter, and material goods - a vital lens through which to think about how we arrived at our present, globalized moment. Designed to fill a long-empty gap in how we think about modern history, these 48 lectures are a comprehensive journey through more than 600 years of economic history.
This classic, definitive account of totalitarianism traces the emergence of modern racism as an "ideological weapon for imperialism", beginning with the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe in the 19th century and continuing through the New Imperialism period from 1884 to World War I.
"Vast and intricate analysis of horror"
The Mongol army led by Genghis Khan subjugated more lands and people in 25 years than the Romans did in 400. In nearly every country the Mongols conquered, they brought an unprecedented rise in cultural communication, expanded trade, and a blossoming of civilization.
"Brilliant, insightful, intriguing."
A major audiobook about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.
"Lifts you out of the ordinary"
The deep-seated origins and wide-reaching lessons of ancient myths built the foundation for our modern legacies. Explore the mythologies of Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Learn what makes these stories so important, distinctive, and able to withstand the test of time. Discover how, despite geographical implausibilities, many myths from across the oceans share themes, morals, and archetypes.
"Three Fantastic Lecturers, + one iffy one."
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, and it was the appetites for foreign goods that drove economies and the growth of nations. From the first cities in Mesopotamia to the emergence of Greece and Rome to the depredations by the Mongols, the transmission of the Black Death, the struggles of the Great Game, and the fall of Communism - the fate of the West has always been inextricably linked to the East.
"Anything east of where you are"
Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.
"You'll Never Look at Languages the Same Way Again"
An exhilarating journey into the mind and spirit of a remarkable man, a legendary teacher, and a masterful storyteller, conducted by TV journalist Bill Moyers for their acclaimed PBS series.
"A series that changed my life"
In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure.
"Fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of human behavior in response to fear"
The first volume of Will Durant's Pulitzer Prize-winning series, Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Volume I chronicles the early history of Egypt, the Middle East, and Asia.
The history of human civilization is an astonishing story of migration, innovation, and social development. Now, the exciting new field of "big history" allows us to explore human civilizations in ways unavailable to historians of previous generations. Big history scholars take a multidisciplinary approach to study great spans of time, unlocking important themes, trends, and developments across time and space.
"Too many chapters."
At the height of their power in the ninth and tenth centuries, the Vikings seemed invincible - conquering well-armed warriors whose ships were the ultimate in seafaring technology. From island bases near the deltas of major rivers, they used the waterways to scour the countryside, looting and burning towns, plundering merchant shipments, and stripping churches and monasteries of their gold, silver, and jeweled treasures.
Welcome to Today in History, your daily time capsule to historical happenings by the Associated Press. Featuring multiple moments from years past, Today in History brings you back in time to the world’s most impactful events.
Located in the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City served as the palace for the emperor of China from 1420 to 1912 CE, a period encompassing the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was home to the celestial leaders of China, men that possessed the Mandate of Heaven. A total of 24 emperors lived and ruled from the vast and magnificent complex for almost 500 years, until the last Chinese dynasty was overthrown in 1912 with the abdication of Emperor Xuantong, more commonly known as Puyi.
People have been climbing as long as they've existed, and for those who relish the challenge, nothing can top Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on the planet at over 29,000 feet. As Sir Edmund Hillary put it, "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
There are just so many of those things that history is holding inside and whenever one tries to look over for the facts which are left behind, there is that amazing and astounded feeling of getting overwhelmed. So is the case with History of Israel which talks about so many of those things that happened with the existence of this country.
In the summer of 2002, Shannon Leone Fowler, a 28-year-old marine biologist, was backpacking with her Australian fiancé, Sean, in Thailand. They were planning to return to Australia after their excursion to Koh Pha Ngan, but their plans were tragically derailed when a box jellyfish - the most venomous animal in the world - wrapped around Sean's leg, stinging and killing him in minutes as Shannon helplessly watched.
The samurai are still remembered as some of the fiercest and most skilled warriors in human history. The name alone evokes an image of the grave and powerful swordsman, clad in lacquered armor and armed with a code of honor and clarity of mind that makes the soldiers of the modern era look like children new to the art. But what was it that allowed these men to hone their minds and bodies to such levels of skill and precision? They had no more and no less than any human alive today.
Since the Arab Spring uprising of 2011, reports of terrorist attacks around the world have flooded international media. Syria has become the central battleground for many terrorist groups; those the world often focuses on and has heard much of - such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also known as ISIS and Da'ash, but from here on referred to as ISIL) - and those the world rarely hears about and is unable to make distinctions between others - such as Jabhat Al-Nusra.
This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. This narrative history employs the methods of "history from beneath" - literature, epic traditions, private letters, and accounts - to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled.
"Entertaining history lesson with dry telling."
lf a man cannot stand freedom, he will probably turn fascist. This, in the fewest possible words, is the essential argument in this modem classic, Escape from Freedom. The author, Erich Fromm, is a distinguished psychologist, late of Berlin and Heidelberg, now of New York City.
"Why is this not required reading in high school?"
Fukuyama examines the effects of corruption on governance, and why some societies have been successful at rooting it out. He explores the different legacies of colonialism in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and offers a clear-eyed account of why some regions have thrived and developed more quickly than others. And he boldly reckons with the future of democracy in the face of a rising global middle class and entrenched political paralysis in the West.
"Understanding our place thru Poly Sci"
As Nemesis opens, Adolf Hitler has achieved absolute power within Germany and triumphed in his first challenge to the European powers. Idolized by large segments of the population and firmly supported by the Nazi regime, Hitler is poised to subjugate Europe. Nine years later, his vaunted war machine destroyed, Allied forces sweeping across Germany, Hitler will end his life with a pistol shot to his head.
"Well worn ground"
Beginning in the heady days just after the First Crusade, this volume - the third in the series that began with The History of the Ancient World and The History of the Medieval World - chronicles the contradictions of a world in transition. Impressively researched and brilliantly told, The History of the Renaissance World offers not just the names, dates, and facts but the memorable characters who illuminate the years between 1100 and 1453 - years that marked a sea change in mankind's perception of the world.
"The 2nd Half of the Medieval World"
A mind-expanding and myth-destroying exploration of notions of white race—not merely a skin color but also a signal of power, prestige, and beauty to be withheld and granted selectively. Ever since the Enlightenment, race theory and its inevitable partner, racism, have followed a crooked road, constructed by dominant peoples to justify their domination of others. Filling a huge gap in historical literature that long focused on the non-white, eminent historian Nell Irvin Painter guides us through more than two thousand years of Western civilization, tracing not only the invention of the idea of race but also the frequent worship of “whiteness” for economic, social, scientific, and political ends.
"Destroys the myth that race is about skin color"
In February 1959, a group of nine experienced hikers in the Russian Ural Mountains died mysteriously on an elevation known as Dead Mountain. Eerie aspects of the incident—unexplained violent injuries, signs that they cut open and fled the tent without proper clothing or shoes, a strange final photograph taken by one of the hikers, and elevated levels of radiation found on some of their clothes—have led to decades of speculation over what really happened.
"Mystery & Intrigue In The Ural Mountains"
Lost Enlightenment recounts how, between the years 800 and 1200, Central Asia led the world in trade and economic development, the size and sophistication of its cities, the refinement of its arts, and, above all, in the advancement of knowledge in many fields. Central Asians achieved signal breakthroughs in astronomy, mathematics, geology, medicine, chemistry, music, social science, philosophy, and theology, among other subjects.
"What a wonderful find!"
Living and dying with bravery and honor is at the heart of Hagakure, a series of texts written by an 18th-century samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo. It is a window into the samurai mind, illuminating the concept of bushido (the Way of the Warrior), which dictated how samurai were expected to behave, conduct themselves, live, and die.
During the German occupation of Rome from 1942-1944, Irishman Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty ran an escape organization for Allied POWs and civilians, including Jews. Safe within the Vatican state, he regularly ventured out in disguise to continue his mission, which earned him the nickname 'The Pimpernel of the Vatican'. When the Allies entered Rome, he and his collaborators - priests, nuns, and laypeople of numerous nationalities and religious beliefs - had saved the lives of over 6,500 people.
"What a character"
A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were - and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book.
"Better than prior reviews led me to believe"
Hailed as the most compelling biography of the German dictator yet written, Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the heart of its subject's immense darkness. Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the character of the bizarre misfit in his thirty-year ascent from a Viennese shelter for the indigent to uncontested rule over the German nation that had tried and rejected democracy in the crippling aftermath of World War I.
"The heart of evil"
In 1967, not long after the Six-Day War, three young Arab men ventured into the town of Ramle, in what is now Jewish Israel. They were cousins, on a pilgrimage to see their childhood homes; their families had been driven out of Palestine nearly 20 years earlier. One cousin had a door slammed in his face, and another found his old house had been converted into a school. But the third, Bashir Al-Khairi, was met at the door by a young woman called Dalia, who invited them in.
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!
"Pulled the Plug Early on This One"
This landmark book, first published in 1978, remains one of the most influential books in the Social Sciences, particularly Ethnic Studies and Postcolonialism. Said is best known for describing and critiquing "Orientalism", which he perceived as a constellation of false assumptions underlying Western attitudes toward the East. In Orientalism Said claimed a "subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture."
"We're lucky to have this on audio"
Since its U.S. debut a quarter-century ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx. Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation.
Hilarious, fascinating, and a roller coaster of dizzying, historical what-ifs, Napoleon's Hemorrhoids is a potpourri for serious historians and casual history buffs. In one of Phil Mason's many revelations, you'll learn that Communist jets were two minutes away from opening fire on American planes during the Cuban missile crisis, when they had to turn back as they were running out of fuel. You'll discover that before the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon's painful hemorrhoids prevented him from mounting his horse to survey the battlefield.
When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Jew and a medical doctor, the prisoner Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared death for a grimmer fate: to perform "scientific research" on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the man who became known as the infamous "Angel of Death" - Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele's personal research pathologist. In that capacity he also served as physician to the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners who worked exclusively in the crematoriums and were routinely executed after four months.
"A mixed bag"