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"
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"
So much of our human body is made up of salt that we'd be dead without it. The fine balance of nature, the trade of salt as a currency of many nations and empires, the theme of a popular Shakespearean play...Salt is best selling author Mark Kurlansky's story of the only rock we eat.
"More than SALT"
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."
Many of us know the Black Death as a catastrophic event of the medieval world. But the Black Death was arguably the most significant event in Western history, profoundly affecting every aspect of human life, from the economic and social to the political, religious, and cultural. In its wake the plague left a world that was utterly changed, forever altering the traditional structure of European societies and forcing a rethinking of every single system of Western civilization: food production and trade, the church, political institutions, law, art, and more.
"informative, interesting, well organized"
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."
Over 5,000 years, India has been home to a rich tapestry of peoples and cultures. Two of the world's great religions - Hinduism and Buddhism - have their origins in South Asia, and the lands east of the Indus River have long been a central hub for trade, migration, and cultural exchange. Today the subcontinent contains 20 percent of the world's population and is a thriving center for global business, making this region one of most significant economic powerhouses in the world.
"Quite Good & Much Interesting information"
Since its original publication by Little, Brown and Company, in 1942, Edith Hamilton's Mythology has sold millions of copies throughout the world and established itself as a perennial best-seller in its various available formats. Mythology succeeds like no other audiobook in bringing to life for the modern listener the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths and legends that are the keystone of Western culture - the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present.
"Good reading of classical myths"
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"
This historical magnum opus covers 4,000 years of the extraordinary history of the Jews as a people, a culture, and a nation. It shows the impact of Jewish character on the world: their genius, imagination, and, most of all, their ability to persevere despite severe persecutions. Compelling insights into events and individuals are chronologically detailed, from Moses and Jesus to Spinoza, Marx, Freud, the Rothschilds, and Golda Meir.
"well done and educational"
This Pulitzer Prize-winning history of World War II chronicles the dramatic rise and fall of the Japanese empire, from the invasion of Manchuria and China to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Told from the Japanese perspective, The Rising Sun is, in the author’s words, "a factual saga of people caught up in the flood of the most overwhelming war of mankind, told as it happened - muddled, ennobling, disgraceful, frustrating, full of paradox."
"First rate history"
Eating is an indispensable human activity. As a result, whether we realize it or not, the drive to obtain food has been a major catalyst across all of history, from prehistoric times to the present. Epicure Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said it best: "Gastronomy governs the whole life of man."
"One of my top 3 favorite courses!"
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.
"An Historic Achievement"
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"
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.
"Fun and Informative"
In an exciting partnership with the Smithsonian, The Great Courses presents these 24 lectures that offer an unforgettable tour of Japanese life and culture. Professor Ravina, with the expert collaboration of the Smithsonian's historians, brings you a grand portrait of Japan.
"Informative, entertaining, and well-presented!"
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, historian Barbara Tuchman brings to life the people and events that led up to World War I. This was the last gasp of the Gilded Age, of Kings and Kaisers and Czars, of pointed or plumed hats, colored uniforms, and all the pomp and romance that went along with war. How quickly it all changed...and how horrible it became.
This is how wars are fought now by children, hopped up on drugs, and wielding AK-47s. In the more than 50 violent conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But it is rare to find a first-person account from someone who endured this hell and survived. In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now 26 years old, tells a riveting story in his own words: how, at the age of 12, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence.
Gwenda and Douglas Brady were among the millions of British children sent to live with new families for their own safety during the Second World War, leaving behind their parents, their friends and all that felt familiar and safe. Evacuation could be a scary experience, but five-year-old Gwenda and her brother were lucky enough to be housed with a kindly schoolmaster and his wife, and soon the realities of the war felt very far away.
Keggie Carew grew up in the gravitational field of an unorthodox father who lived on his wits and dazzling charm. As his memory begins to fail, she embarks on a quest to unravel his story and soon finds herself in a far more consuming place than she had bargained for. Tom Carew was a maverick, a left-handed stutterer, a law unto himself. As a member of an elite SOE unit, he was parachuted behind enemy lines to raise guerrilla resistance in France, then Burma, in the Second World War.
The title of Norwegian-born historian Odd Arne Westad's 2005 work - The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times - offers a window into his thesis. Between the end of World War II and the early 1990s, both the Soviet Union and the United States "intervened" (or "offered aid and support to") developing nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In Westad's view, these interventions were more important than events in Europe, where most studies of the Cold War focus.
Renowned sportswriter David Goldblatt has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal for writing "with the expansive eye of a social and cultural critic". In The Games, Goldblatt delivers a magisterial history of the biggest sporting event of them all: the Olympics. He tells the epic story of the games from their reinvention in Athens in 1896 to the present day, chronicling classic moments of sporting achievement from Jesse Owens to Nadia Comaneci, the Miracle on Ice to Usain Bolt.
American sociologist Jack A. Goldstone examines the causes of revolutions and uprisings in the period between 1500 and 1800. Investigating cases in both Europe and Asia, the conclusions he reaches are surprising. Many thinkers had previously believed that Europe's distinctive history - and particularly the rise of capitalism - had created the specific revolutions and political changes that launched the continent on a path to global supremacy. Goldstone says this is wrong, and that European and Asian states were, in fact, all experiencing similar developments.
Ptahhotep was a vizier in ancient Egypt who was known for his influential wisdom literature. The teachings in this book emphasize the importance of humility, faithfulness to one's own duties, and that silence really can be golden. One of the major reasons why this book is so interesting is because it shows that Black people actually wrote in that time period.
Genghis Khan was arguably one of the most decisive figures in medieval history. He is responsible for the creation and management of one of history's largest empires. He did things during this rise to power, and the subsequent conquests that followed it, that will be remembered in history for their brutality and bloodshed, giving him a mixed reputation across the world. This biography explores the life of Genghis Khan, breaking down the benevolent unifier and leader, and the horrifically violent warlord that he was.
This audiobook contains stories from each of the empires, some of them fables, some of them religious stories, and others simply history. It also contains information on each one of these empires, discussing the history of each of them as well as how they have influenced the world that we live in today.
The modern world has been marked by a series of immense social revolutions that have transformed the states where they happened. In 1979, American sociologist Theda Skocpol published States and Social Revolutions and examined three of these uprisings: in France at the end of the 18th century, then in Russia and in China in the first half of the 20th century. She pinpointed a number of common factors that affected each of these countries at the time revolution happened.
For the first time, the era's Muslim voices can be heard fully, and their accounts challenge narratives of the Crusades that have been subsequently accepted in the West and the East. Their different understandings of jihad, the often-friendly relations between Muslims and Crusaders, the widespread inter-Arab warfare and near indifference to the invaders' religious beliefs may well surprise listeners. Given today's worldwide political and religious conflicts, interest in the Crusades is greater than ever.
In the 1960s, British historian Jonathan Riley-Smith first began studying the knightly orders of the Middle Ages that formed after the First Crusade. By the late 1970s, he had begun writing books from a "revisionist" point of view, challenging the common belief that the Crusades were motivated by fanaticism, and were designed to plunder the Holy Lands. To an extent, Riley-Smith's 1986 book The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading overturned this previously held view.
In 2011 a wave of revolution spread through the Middle East as protesters demanded an end to tyranny, corruption, and economic decay. From Egypt to Yemen, a generation of young Arabs insisted on a new ethos of common citizenship. Five years later their utopian aspirations have taken on a darker cast as old divides reemerge and deepen. In one country after another, brutal terrorists and dictators have risen to the top.
Do you want to know how the Human Race got to where it is today? Hear about the 50 most important events in human history, from the first civilizations to the birth of the Internet. This book is perfect for history lovers. Author James Weber did the research and compiled this huge list of events that changed the course of history forever. The book includes explanations to every event, making this the perfect resource for students and anyone wanting to broaden their knowledge of history.
Published in 1938, Cyril Lionel Robert (C. L. R.) James' The Black Jacobins is the little-known story of the only successful slave revolution known in history. It was this 12-year struggle of the African slaves in the French colony of San Domingo that led to the establishment of the Republic of Haiti in 1804. The uprising was inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution that had begun in 1789, just two years before, and in this work James goes to great lengths to show the relationship between the two upheavals.
"A diamond is forever." Who among us doesn't recognize this slogan and, with it, the fascination that diamonds hold in our collective imagination as emblems of royalty, glamor, and eternal love? Rachelle Bergstein's cultural biography illuminates the enticing, often surprising story of our society's enduring obsession with diamonds - and the people who have worked tirelessly to ensure their continued allure.
What did it feel like to be a woman living in Paris during the years 1939 to 1949? These were years of fear, power, aggression, courage, deprivation and secrets until, finally, there was renewal and retribution. Even at the darkest moments, dogs and cats might be abandoned howling on the street, the swastika flew from the Eiffel Tower and danger lurked on every corner, but glamour was ever present.
Nearly 100,000 US soldiers were deployed to Afghanistan at the height of the campaign, fighting the longest war in the nation's history. But what do Americans know about the land where this conflict is taking place? Many have come to have a grasp of the people, history, and geography of Iraq, but Afghanistan remains a mystery. Historian Brian Glyn Williams, who has traveled to Afghanistan frequently over the past decade, provides essential background to the war, tracing the rise, fall, and reemergence of the Taliban.
This book presents all the latest evidence concerning the African origins of modern humanity. For 200,000 years Africa was at the forefront of human progress. The author smashes all racist misuse of evolution. He also takes a detailed look at the implications of an African origin.
Adolf Eichmann, also known as "The Master," was put in charge of organizing the Jews and sending them away to concentration camps. On Sunday, March 19th, 1944, Eichmann was standing in what would become one of many concentration camps; from there he led a long convoy of SS members into Hungary. As Eichmann and his men rolled along the trail, Hitler ordered troops of men to invade the capital city of Hungary and seize strategic positions. Eichmann was methodic in his annihilation of the Jews.
At the beginning of the Second World War, medical experts predicted epidemics of physical and mental illness on the home front. Rationing would decimate the nation's health, they warned; drugs, blood and medical resources would be in short supply; air raid shelters and evacuation would spread diseases; and the psychological effects of bombing raids would leave mental hospitals overflowing. Yet, astonishingly, Britain ended the war in better health than ever before.
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"
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.
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"
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"
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"
By midsummer 1945, Japan had long since lost the war in the Pacific. The people were not told the truth, and neither was the emperor. Japanese generals, admirals, and statesmen knew, but only a handful of leaders were willing to accept defeat. Most were bent on fighting the Allies until the last Japanese soldier died and the last city burned to the ground.
"Superbly written history"
What we consume has become the defining feature of our lives: our economies live or die by spending, we are treated more as consumers than workers and even public services are presented to us as products in a supermarket. In this monumental study, acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary history that has shaped our material world, from late Ming China, Renaissance Italy and the British Empire to the present.
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"
The Clockwork Universe is the story of a band of men who lived in a world of dirt and disease but pictured a universe that ran like a perfect machine. A meld of history and science, this book is a group portrait of some of the greatest minds who ever lived as they wrestled with natures most sweeping mysteries. The answers they uncovered still hold the key to how we understand the world.
"Calculus Ergo Modernity"
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"
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.
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.
Martin Meredith has revised this classic history to incorporate important recent developments, including the Darfur crisis in Sudan, Robert Mugabe’s continued destructive rule in Zimbabwe, controversies over Western aid and exploitation of Africa’s resources, the growing importance and influence of China, and the democratic movement roiling the North African countries of Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan.
"Africa: Land of Hope and Horror"
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.
Far too often, public discussion of science is carried out by journalists, voters, and politicians who have received their science secondhand. The Story of Western Science shows us the joy and importance of reading groundbreaking science writing for ourselves and guides us back to the masterpieces that have changed the way we think about our world, our cosmos, and ourselves.
"Story of Science."
Here is a gripping account of the major postwar trial of the Nazi hierarchy in World War II. The Nuremberg Trial brilliantly recreates the trial proceedings and offers a reasoned, often profound examination of the processes that created international law. From the whimpering of Kaltenbrunner and Ribbentrop on the stand to the icy coolness of Goering, each participant is vividly drawn.
"A really interesting listen"
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"
Trevor Corson takes us behind the scenes at America's first sushi-chef training academy, as eager novices strive to master the elusive art of cooking without cooking. He delves into the biology and natural history of the edible creatures of the sea, and tells the fascinating story of an Indo-Chinese meal reinvented in 19th-century Tokyo as a cheap fast food.
"I want to see Top Chef: Sushi on the Food Network"