Why do otherwise intelligent individuals form seething masses of idiocy when they engage in collective action? We may think that the Great Crash of 1929, junk bonds of the '80s, and over-valued high-tech stocks of the '90s are peculiarly 20th century aberrations, but Mackay's classic - first published in 1841 - shows that the madness and confusion of crowds knows no limits, and has no temporal bounds.
"People don't change"
This work, unsurprisingly, offers invaluable insights into the life and times of Charles Darwin, his personality and the formative influences that made him what he was, for here we have his own words and ‘voice’ at the close of a prodigiously productive career. He tells of his childhood, his student days at Edinburgh and Cambridge, his love of beetles, shooting and geology and of his grandfather, Josiah Wedgwood. He talks at some length about his meetings with the great scientific men of the age, his attitudes to his critics, to religion and of his theories of evolution.
"Excellent and important for understanding the man."
A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America's most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past. New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African-American Louisiana town where he grew up - a place where slavery's legacy was felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders' stories and in the near-constant wash of violence.
"Authors should NOT read their books."
Frederick Douglass was born a slave, and it seemed likely that he would live and die a slave since he was uncertain of his date of birth or the identity of his father. But young Douglass promised himself a different future - he would teach himself to read and write, and one day he would be free from slavery. When he was sent to work as a field hand on a plantation in St. Michael's in 1832, his life was so dispiriting and exhausting that he nearly forgot his dreams of freedom.
"Excellent Read...Highly Recommended!"
"A long time ago, when all the grandfathers and grandmothers of today were little boys and little girls or very small babies, or perhaps not even born, Pa and Ma and Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie left their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin." So begins the first of a series of primarily autobiographical books for children that would give 20th century America a look at what it was like when the country was still young and the West was a largely empty, untamed wilderness.
"an overview only"
Ray Charles (1930-2004) led one of the most extraordinary lives of any popular musician. In Brother Ray, he reveals his life story unsparingly, from the chronicle of his musical development to his heroin addiction to his tangled romantic life.
"Brother Ray is a true inspiration"
Americans have long been fascinated by the Civil War, marveling at the size of the battles, the leadership of the generals, and the courage of the soldiers. Since the war's start over 150 years ago, the events have been subjected to endless debate among historians and the generals themselves. The Civil War was the deadliest conflict in American history, and had the two sides realized it would take four years and inflict over a million casualties, it might not have been fought.
Margeretha Geertruida Zelle, better known to history by the exotic, glamorous name of Mata Hari, was a woman who profited greatly from the power of illusion during much of her brief life. Born to a hatter named Adam Zelle and his wife Antje van der Meulen, Mata Hari moved from a financially rewarding but miserable marriage to circus performances to exotic dancing and celebrity to the role of ostensible international spy in an arc that ended tragically in front of a French firing squad.
Until the implementation of new legislation on March 26, 2015, men were given preference to women in the British royal line. This system of male primogeniture meant that women seldom inherited the throne, and even when they did, they were often dominated by male councilors. Those women who married British kings gained the title of queen, but they were queen consorts, holding the title with no power. This makes Elizabeth II one of a select few queens regnant - queens ruling in their own right.
Robert E. Lee, one of the most famous figures in American history, vanished after his dramatic surrender at Appomattox. In fact, he lived only another five years, during which time he did more than any other American to heal the wounds between North and South during the tempestuous postwar period.
"An incredible leader"
Award-winning journalist Jeff Guinn's highly acclaimed Manson has won rave reviews and is a top-pick on must-read lists everywhere. This superb biography answers lingering questions about the Manson Family murders, while delivering stunning revelations about the life of America's most notorious psychopath.
"Charles Manson: Even worse than you imagined"
Charles Spurgeon was England's best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. He frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000, without the help of microphones and speakers. Listen to performances of two of Spurgeon's sermons: "All Joy in All Trials," and "Daily Blessings for God's People."
"Blessing to my soul!"
This magnificent volume by veteran European correspondent Don Cook is the first major biography of de Gaulle written by an American from an American perspective. Rich with new anecdotal material, it offers fresh evaluations and sheds new light on Europe's most controversial and enigmatic general, politician, and statesman.
"A great book about a complex person"
Charles Darwin's foremost biographer, Janet Browne, delivers a vivid and accessible introduction to the book that permanently altered our understanding of what it is to be human. A sensation on its publication in 1859, The Origin of the Species profoundly shocked Victorian readers by calling into question the belief in a Creator with its description of evolution through natural selection. And Darwin's seminal work is nearly as controversial today.
"Darwin in History"
Of Charles Dickens, Jane Smiley says that "his novels shaped his life as much as his life shaped his novels". Smiley's Charles Dickens is at once a sensitive profile of the great master and a fascinating meditation on the writing life. Smiley evokes Dickens as he might have seemed to his contemporaries: convivial, astute, boundlessly energetic, and lionized.
"Outstanding book, deserves 6 stars, not 5"
In the decades since his execution by the Nazis in 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor, theologian, and anti-Hitler conspirator, has become one of the most widely read and inspiring Christian thinkers of our time. Now, drawing on extensive new research, Strange Glory offers a definitive account, by turns majestic and intimate, of this modern icon.
"Excellent life of Bonhoeffer"
The private and professional life of the most intriguing and delightful of The New Yorker's cartoonists. The first complete biography of famed New Yorker cartoonist Charles Addams, the 'father' of The Addams Family, which, with his widow's blessing, pulls out all the stops.
"A Marvelous Reading of My Book"
The American writer Charles Bukowski (1920-94) developed a cult following for his simple and vivid poems, stories and novels based on his experiences as a hard-drinking postal worker in Los Angeles. His classic books include Post Office, Women and Love Is a Dog from Hell. In this engrossing biography, studded with excerpts from Bukowski's writing, Howard Sounes tells the true story of Bukowski's life in the same punchy style as his subject.
C. S. Lewis is the 20th century's most widely read Christian writer and J. R. R. Tolkien its most beloved mythmaker. For three decades they and their closest associates formed a literary club known as the Inklings, which met weekly in Lewis' Oxford rooms and a nearby pub. They read aloud from works in progress, argued about anything that caught their fancy, and gave one another invaluable companionship, inspiration, and criticism.
"A Thorough Moving Tribute"
In September 1838, a young Englishman named Charles Darwin hit upon the idea that "natural selection" among competing individuals would lead to wondrous adaptations and species diversity. Twenty-one years passed between that epiphany and publication of On the Origin of Species. The human drama and scientific controversy of that time constitute a fascinating, tangled tale that illuminates this cautious naturalist who sparked an intellectual revolution.