Book mentions in this thread

  • Votes: 8

    City of Fortune

    by Roger Crowley

    A magisterial work of gripping history, City of Fortune tells the story of the Venetian ascent from lagoon dwellers to the greatest power in the Mediterranean - an epic five hundred year voyage that encompassed crusade and trade, plague, sea battles and colonial adventure. In Venice, the path to empire unfolded in a series of extraordinary contests - the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, the fight to the finish with Genoa and a desperate defence against the Turks. Under the lion banner of St Mark, she created an empire of ports and naval bases which funnelled the goods of the world through its wharfs. In the process the city became the richest place on earth - a brilliant mosaic fashioned from what it bought, traded, borrowed and stole. Based on first hand accounts of trade and warfare, seafaring and piracy and the places where Venetians sailed and died, City of Fortune is narrative history at its finest. Beginning on Ascension Day in the year 1000 and ending with an explosion off the coast of Greece - and the calamitous news that the Portuguese had pioneered a sea route to India - it will fascinate anyone who loves Venice and the Mediterranean world.
  • Votes: 7

    The Bomber Mafia

    by Malcolm Gladwell

    Malcolm Gladwell's exploration of how technology and best intentions collide in the heat of war In The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War, Malcolm Gladwell, author of New York Times bestsellers including Talking to Strangers and host of the podcast Revisionist History, weaves together the stories of a Dutch genius and his homemade computer, a band of brothers in central Alabama, a British psychopath, and pyromaniacal chemists at Harvard to examine one of the greatest moral challenges in modern American history. Most military thinkers in the years leading up to World War II saw the airplane as an afterthought. But a small band of idealistic strategists had a different view. This "Bomber Mafia" asked: What if precision bombing could, just by taking out critical choke points--industrial or transportation hubs--cripple the enemy and make war far less lethal? In his podcast, Revisionist History, Gladwell re-examines moments from the past and asks whether we got it right the first time. In TheBomber Mafia, he steps back from the bombing of Tokyo, the deadliest night of the war, and asks, "Was it worth it?" The attack was the brainchild of General Curtis LeMay, whose brutal pragmatism and scorched-earth tactics in Japan cost thousands of civilian lives, but may have spared more by averting a planned US invasion. Things might have gone differently had LeMay's predecessor, General Haywood Hansell, remained in charge. As a key member of the Bomber Mafia, Hansell's theories of precision bombing had been foiled by bad weather, enemy jet fighters, and human error. When he and Curtis LeMay squared off for a leadership handover in the jungles of Guam, LeMay emerged victorious, leading to the darkest night of World War II. The Bomber Mafia is a riveting tale of persistence, innovation, and the incalculable wages of war.
  • Votes: 5

    Four Lost Cities

    by Annalee Newitz

    One of Apple's Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021 A quest to explore some of the most spectacular ancient cities in human history—and figure out why people abandoned them. In Four Lost Cities, acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on an entertaining and mind-bending adventure into the deep history of urban life. Investigating across the centuries and around the world, Newitz explores the rise and fall of four ancient cities, each the center of a sophisticated civilization: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman vacation town of Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor in Cambodia, and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia, which stood beside the Mississippi River where East St. Louis is today. Newitz travels to all four sites and investigates the cutting-edge research in archaeology, revealing the mix of environmental changes and political turmoil that doomed these ancient settlements. Tracing the early development of urban planning, Newitz also introduces us to the often anonymous workers—slaves, women, immigrants, and manual laborers—who built these cities and created monuments that lasted millennia. Four Lost Cities is a journey into the forgotten past, but, foreseeing a future in which the majority of people on Earth will be living in cities, it may also reveal something of our own fate.
  • Votes: 4

    Empire of the Black Sea

    by Duane W. Roller

    "Existing from the early third century BC to 63 BC, the Mithridatic kingdom of Pontos was one of the most powerful entities in the Mediterranean world. Under a series of vigorous kings and queens, it expanded from a fortress in the mountainous territory of northern Asia Minor to rule almost all the Black Sea perimeter. This is the first study in English of this kingdom in its entirety, from its origins under King Mithridates I around 280 BC until its last and greatest king, the erudite and cultured Mithridates VI the Great, fell victim to the expanding ambitions of the Roman Republic in 63 BC. Through a series of astute marriage alliances (one of which produced the ancestors of Cleopatra of Egypt), political acumen, and military ability, the Pontic rulers (most of whom were named Mithridates) dominated the culture and politics of the Black Sea region for over 200 years. There is a thorough exploration of the internal dynamics of the kingdom as well as its relations with the rest of the Mediterranean world, especially the ever-expanding Roman Republic"--
  • Votes: 3

    The Valley of the Shadow

    by Edward L. Ayers

    This selection of documents offers an insightful look at one Northernand one Southern community only 200 miles apart in the ShenandoahValley during the Civil War.
  • Votes: 3

    Master Of The Senate

    by Robert A. Caro

    'The greatest biography of our era ... Essential reading for those who want to comprehend power and politics' The Times Robert A. Caro's legendary, multi-award-winning biography of US President Lyndon Johnson is a uniquely riveting and revelatory account of power, political genius and the shaping of twentieth-century America. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Master of the Senate takes Johnson's story through one of its most remarkable periods- his twelve years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate had become a parody of itself and an obstacle that for decades had blocked desperately needed liberal legislation. Caro shows how Johnson's brilliance, charm and ruthlessness enabled him to become the youngest and most powerful Majority Leader in history and how he used his incomparable legislative genius - seducing both Northern liberals and Southern conservatives - to pass the first Civil Rights legislation since Reconstruction.
  • Votes: 3

    Nature's Metropolis

    by William Cronon

  • Votes: 3

    Cod

    by Mark Kurlansky

    'Who would ever think that a book on cod would make a compulsive read? And yet this is precisely what Kurlansky has done' Express on Sunday The Cod. Wars have been fought over it, revolutions have been triggered by it, national diets have been based on it, economies and livelihoods have depended on it. To the millions it has sustained, it has been a treasure more precious that gold. This book spans 1,000 years and four continents. From the Vikings to Clarence Birdseye, Mark Kurlansky introduces the explorers, merchants, writers, chefs and fisherman, whose lives have been interwoven with this prolific fish. He chronicles the cod wars of the 16th and 20th centuries. He blends in recipes and lore from the Middle Ages to the present. In a story that brings world history and human passions into captivating focus, he shows how the most profitable fish in history is today faced with extinction.
  • Votes: 3

    The Dreamt Land

    by Mark Arax

  • Votes: 3

    History of Information Graphics --multilingual (Multilingual Edition)

    by Sandra Rendgen

    A l'ère du "big data" et de la diffusion numérique, alors que les informations voyagent plus vite et plus loin et que les médias se disputent une part volatile de l'attention des internautes, l'infographie est propulsée sur le devant de la scène. A la fois nuancée et claire, l'infographie sait traduire des idées abstraites, des statistiques complexes et des découvertes inouïes sous une forme synthétique, percutante et souvent très esthétique. Cartographes, designers, programmeurs, statisticiens, scientifiques et journalistes réunissent leur expertise pour rendre visuel le savoir complexe. Pourtant cette approche n'est pas nouvelle - ses traces se décèlent à travers les siècles. Ce recueil ambitieux explore la riche histoire de la forme infographique en retraçant l'évolution de la visualisation des données, du Moyen Age à l'ère du numérique. Conçu sous la direction de Sandra Rendgen, il offre un panorama spectaculaire et systématique de la communication graphique à travers quelque 400 exemples qui relèvent de l'astronomie, la cartographie, la zoologie, la technologie et autres disciplines. Une sélection qui s'étend aussi à travers les pays, les époques et les techniques - où les manuscrits médiévaux côtoient les impressions en couleur, les rouleaux de parchemin rencontrent les atlas de prestige et les diagrammes peints à la main voisinent avec les infocartes digitales. Parmi les chefs d'oeuvre présentés, on trouve la fameuse carte du monde de Martin Waldseemüller, les représentations cartographiques célestes d'Andreas Cellarius et les méticuleuses études zoologiques de Ernst Haeckel, ainsi qu'une multitude de trésors inconnus. L'introduction de l'auteure et les légendes détaillées éclairent le contexte historique et culturel des oeuvres, tandis que quatre experts de l'infographie - David Rumsey, Michael Friendly, Michael Stoll et Scott Klein - offrent en autant de chapitres un aperçu des collections historiques uniques qu'ils ont chacun constituées.
  • Votes: 2

    And a Bottle of Rum, Revised and Updated

    by Wayne Curtis

    Now revised, updated, and with new recipes, And a Bottle of Rum tells the raucously entertaining story of this most American of liquors From the grog sailors drank on the high seas in the 1700s to the mojitos of Havana bar hoppers, spirits and cocktail columnist Wayne Curtis offers a history of rum and the Americas alike, revealing that the homely spirit once distilled from the industrial waste of the booming sugar trade has managed to infiltrate every stratum of New World society. Curtis takes us from the taverns of the American colonies, where rum delivered both a cheap wallop and cash for the Revolution; to the plundering pirate ships off the coast of Central America; to the watering holes of pre-Castro Cuba; and to the kitsch-laden tiki bars of 1950s America. Here are sugar barons and their armies conquering the Caribbean, Paul Revere stopping for a nip during his famous ride, Prohibitionists marching against "demon rum," Hemingway fattening his liver with Havana daiquiris, and today's bartenders reviving old favorites like Planter's Punch. In an age of microbrewed beer and single-malt whiskeys, rum--once the swill of the common man--has found its way into the tasting rooms of the most discriminating drinkers. Complete with cocktail recipes for would-be epicurean time-travelers, this is history at its most intoxicating.
  • Votes: 2

    Midnight in Chernobyl

    by Adam Higginbotham

    A New York Times Best Book of the Year A Time Best Book of the Year A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Finalist One of NPR’s Best Books of 2019 Journalist Adam Higginbotham’s definitive, years-in-the-making account of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster—and a powerful investigation into how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the twentieth century’s greatest disasters. Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering history’s worst nuclear disaster. In the thirty years since then, Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers its citizens and the entire world. But the real story of the accident, clouded from the beginning by secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation, has long remained in dispute. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham has written a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the disaster to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed it firsthand. The result is a masterful nonfiction thriller, and the definitive account of an event that changed history: a story that is more complex, more human, and more terrifying than the Soviet myth. Midnight in Chernobyl is an indelible portrait of one of the great disasters of the twentieth century, of human resilience and ingenuity, and the lessons learned when mankind seeks to bend the natural world to his will—lessons which, in the face of climate change and other threats, remain not just vital but necessary.
  • Votes: 2

    Naming Infinity

    by Loren Graham

    Looks at the competition between French and Russian mathematicians over the nature of infinity during the twentieth century.
  • Votes: 2

    Rabid

    by Bill Wasik

    A maddened creature, frothing at the mouth, lunges at an innocent victim—and, with a bite, transforms its prey into another raving monster. It’s a scenario that underlies our darkest tales of supernatural horror, but its power derives from a very real virus, a deadly scourge known to mankind from our earliest days. In this fascinating exploration, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart four thousand years in the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. The most fatal virus known to science, rabies kills nearly 100 percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. A disease that spreads avidly from animals to humans, rabies has served throughout history as a symbol of savage madness, of inhuman possession. And today, its history can help shed light on the wave of emerging diseases, from AIDS to SARS to avian flu, that we now know to originate in animal populations. From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh, fascinating, and often wildly entertaining look at one of mankind’s oldest and most fearsome foes.
  • Votes: 2

    The Imperial Cruise

    by James Bradley

    In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Howard Taft on the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in history to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. Roosevelt's glamorous twenty-one year old daughter Alice served as mistress of the cruise, which included senators and congressmen. On this trip, Taft concluded secret agreements in Roosevelt's name. In 2005, a century later, James Bradley traveled in the wake of Roosevelt's mission and discovered what had transpired in Honolulu, Tokyo, Manila, Beijing and Seoul. In 1905, Roosevelt was bully-confident and made secret agreements that he though would secure America's westward push into the Pacific. Instead, he lit the long fuse on the Asian firecrackers that would singe America's hands for a century.
  • Votes: 2

    Command and Control

    by Eric Schlosser

  • Votes: 2

    Things I Should Have Known

    by Claire LaZebnik

    An unforgettable story about autism, sisterhood, and first love that’s perfect for fans of Jenny Han, Sophie Kinsella, and Sarah Dessen. New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things Julie Buxbaum raved: “I couldn’t put it down.” Meet Chloe Mitchell, a popular Los Angeles girl who’s decided that her older sister, Ivy, who’s on the autism spectrum, could use a boyfriend. Chloe already has someone in mind: Ethan Fields, a sweet, movie-obsessed boy from Ivy’s special needs class. Chloe would like to ignore Ethan’s brother, David, but she can’t—Ivy and Ethan aren’t comfortable going out on their own so Chloe and David have to tag along. Soon Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan form a quirky and wholly lovable circle. And as the group bonds over frozen yogurt dates and movie nights, Chloe is forced to confront her own romantic choices—and the realization that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.
  • Votes: 2

    This One Sky Day

    by ROSS Leone

    'A true feat of imagination and wonder.' Nikesh Shukla 'It blisters with life, love, grief and magic.' Niven Govinden 'Stunning.' Kei Miller Dawn breaks across the archipelago of Popisho. The world is stirring awake again, each resident with their own list of things to do: A wedding feast to conjure and cook An infidelity to investigate A lost soul to set free As the sun rises two star-crossed lovers try to find their way back to one another across this single day. When night falls, all have been given a gift, and many are no longer the same. The sky is pink, and some wonder if it will ever be blue again. What readers are saying 'Brimming with and life and love and just absolutely gorgeous writing. a one-of-a-kind novel.' 'I couldn't put it down and I will be recommending it to everyone.' 'A story luxuriously and confidently told, which is sumptuous from sentence to sentence. There is both literal and literary magic here.' 'This book is bursting at the seams with beauty! Magic! Love! Imagination! It is a burst of colour and flame.' 'It's hard to explain, but if you love getting lost in a story, this could be one for you.'
  • Votes: 2

    The Field of Blood

    by Joanne B. Freeman

  • Votes: 2

    Country Life UK

  • Votes: 2

    Citizens

    by Simon Schama

    Explores the French Revolution in terms of the vitality and infatuation with technology that motivated French citizenry toward change and the conflicting, strained economics frustrating their visions for France
  • Votes: 2

    The River of Doubt

    by Candice Millard

    At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt’s harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth. The River of Doubt—it is a black, uncharted tributary of the Amazon that snakes through one of the most treacherous jungles in the world. Indians armed with poison-tipped arrows haunt its shadows; piranhas glide through its waters; boulder-strewn rapids turn the river into a roiling cauldron. After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find, the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon. Together with his son Kermit and Brazil’s most famous explorer, Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it. In the process, he changed the map of the western hemisphere forever. Along the way, Roosevelt and his men faced an unbelievable series of hardships, losing their canoes and supplies to punishing whitewater rapids, and enduring starvation, Indian attack, disease, drowning, and a murder within their own ranks. Three men died, and Roosevelt was brought to the brink of suicide. The River of Doubt brings alive these extraordinary events in a powerful nonfiction narrative thriller that happens to feature one of the most famous Americans who ever lived. From the soaring beauty of the Amazon rain forest to the darkest night of Theodore Roosevelt’s life, here is Candice Millard’s dazzling debut.
  • Votes: 2

    In the Kingdom of Ice

    by Hampton Sides

  • Votes: 2

    Caste

    by Isabel Wilkerson

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. "[Caste] should be at the top of every American's reading list."--Chicago Tribune "As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power--which groups have it and which do not." In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people's lives and behavior and the nation's fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people--including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball's Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others--she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.
  • Votes: 2

    The Tiger

    by John Vaillant

    It's December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote Russian village. The tiger isn't just killing people, it's annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. As the trackers sift through the gruesome remains of the victims, they discover that these attacks aren't random: the tiger is apparently engaged in a vendetta. Injured, starving, and extremely dangerous, the tiger must be found before it strikes again. As he re-creates these extraordinary events, John Vaillant gives us an unforgettable portrait of this spectacularly beautiful and mysterious region. We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshipped and lived alongside tigers, even sharing their kills with them. We witness the arrival of Russian settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, soldiers and hunters who greatly diminished the tiger populations. And we come to know their descendants, who, crushed by poverty, have turned to poaching and further upset the natural balance of the region. Beautifully written and deeply informative, The Tiger circles around three main characters: Vladimir Markov, a poacher killed by the tiger; Yuri Trush, the lead tracker; and the tiger himself. It is an absolutely gripping tale of man and nature that leads inexorably to a final showdown in a clearing deep in the taiga.
  • Votes: 2

    A People’s History of Computing in the United States

    by Joy Lisi Rankin

    Does Silicon Valley deserve all the credit for digital creativity and social media? Joy Rankin questions this triumphalism by revisiting a pre-PC time when schools were not the last stop for mature consumer technologies but flourishing sites of innovative collaboration--when users taught computers and visionaries dreamed of networked access for all.
  • Votes: 2

    Strongmen

    by Ruth Ben-Ghiat

    What modern authoritarian leaders have in common (and how they can be stopped).
  • Votes: 2

    White Flight

    by Kevin M. Kruse

  • Votes: 2

    The Age of Gold

    by H. W. Brands

    A history of the people and commercial imperatives that contributed to the California gold rush discusses the massive influx of hundreds of thousands of people to the area, which became a state in record time, in a volume set against the political climate and national issues of the period. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.
  • Votes: 2

    A World Lit Only by Fire

    by William Manchester

  • Votes: 2

    1688

    by Steve Pincus

    Examines England's Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689 through a broad geographical and chronological framework, discussing its repercussions at home and abroad and why the subsequent ideological break with the past makes it the first modern revolution.
  • Votes: 2

    American Colossus

    by H. W. Brands

    From bestselling historian H. W. Brands, a sweeping chronicle of how a few wealthy businessmen reshaped America from a land of small farmers and small businessmen into an industrial giant.
  • Votes: 1

    Salt

    by Mark Kurlansky

  • Votes: 1

    King of the World

    by David Remnick

    With an introduction by Salman Rushdie and an afterword by the author. It was the night of February 25, 1964. A cloud of cigar smoke drifted through the ring lights. Cassius Clay threw punches into the gray floating haze and waited for the bell. When Cassius Clay burst onto the sports scene in the 1950s, he broke the mould. He changed the world of sports and went on to change the world itself: from his early fights as Cassius Clay, the young, wiry man from Louisville, unwilling to play the noble and grateful warrior in a white world, to becoming Muhammad Ali, the voice of black America and the most recognized face on the planet. King of the World is the story of an incredible rise to power, a book of battles fought inside the ring and out. With grace and power, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David Remnick tells of a transcendent athlete and entertainer, a rapper before rap was born. Ali was a mirror of his era, a dynamic figure in the racial and cultural clashes of his time and King of the World is a classic piece of non-fiction and a book worthy of America's most dynamic modern hero.