AsiaXPAT Editor Recommended Books



Search  
ORIGINAL POST
Posted by PSR_AXP 8 mths ago
Money: A Suicide Note
by Martin Amis
 
Absolutely one of the funniest, smartest, meanest books I know. John Self, the Rabelaisian narrator of the novel, is an advertising man and director of TV commercials who lurches through London and Manhattan, eating, drinking, drugging and smoking too much, buying too much sex, and caring for little else besides getting the big movie deal that will make him lots of money. Hey, it was the '80s. Most importantly, however, Amis in Money musters more sheer entertainment power in any single sentence than most writers are lucky to produce in a career. 
 
One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey
by Sam Keith, Richard Proenneke
 
To live in a pristine land unchanged by man...to roam a wilderness through which few other humans have passed...to choose an idyllic site, cut trees and build a log cabin...to be a self-sufficient craftsman, making what is needed from materials available...to be not at odds with the world but content with one's own thoughts and company.
 
Thousands have had such dreams, but Richard Proenneke lived them. He found a place, built a cabin, and stayed to become part of the country. One Man's Wilderness is a simple account of the day-to-day explorations and activities he carried out alone, and the constant chain of nature's events that kept him company.
 
From Proenneke's journals, and with first-hand knowledge of his subject and the setting, Sam Keith has woven a tribute to a man who carved his masterpiece out of the beyond.
 
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
by S.C. Gwynne
 
In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all.
 
S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.
 
Although readers may be more familiar with the tribal names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and when the American West opened up. Comanche boys became adept bareback riders by age six; full Comanche braves were considered the best horsemen who ever rode.
 
They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. So effective were the Comanches that they forced the creation of the Texas Rangers and account for the advent of the new weapon specifically designed to fight them: the six-gun.
 
The war with the Comanches lasted four decades, in effect holding up the development of the new American nation. Gwynne’s exhilarating account delivers a sweeping narrative that encompasses Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads—a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being.
 
Against this backdrop Gwynne presents the compelling drama of Cynthia Ann Parker, a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower-blue eyes who was kidnapped by Comanches from the far Texas frontier in 1836. She grew to love her captors and became infamous as the "White Squaw" who refused to return until her tragic capture by Texas Rangers in 1860. More famous still was her son Quanah, a warrior who was never defeated and whose guerrilla wars in the Texas Panhandle made him a legend.
 
S. C. Gwynne’s account of these events is meticulously researched, intellectually provocative, and, above all, thrillingly told.
 
Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire
by Tom Zoellner
 
From a New York Times bestselling author, a gripping account of the slave rebellion that led to the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.
 
For five horrific weeks after Christmas in 1831, Jamaica was convulsed by an uprising of its enslaved people. What started as a peaceful labor strike quickly turned into a full-blown revolt, leaving hundreds of plantation houses smoking ruins. By the time British troops had put down the rebels, more than a thousand Jamaicans lay dead from summary executions and extrajudicial murder.
 
While the rebels lost their military gamble, their sacrifice accelerated the larger struggle for freedom in the British Atlantic. The daring and suffering of the Jamaicans galvanized public opinion throughout the empire, resulting in a decisive turn against slavery. For centuries bondage had fed Britain's appetite for sugar. Within two years of the Christmas rebellion, slavery was formally abolished.
 
Island on Fire is a dramatic day-by-day account of this transformative uprising. A skillful storyteller, Tom Zoellner goes back to the primary sources to tell the intimate story of the men and women who tasted liberty for a few brief weeks. He memorably evokes the sights and sounds of the Caribbean in the 1830s, provides the first full portrait of its enigmatic leader Samuel Sharpe, and gives us a poignant glimpse of the dreams of the many Jamaicans who died for liberty.
 
The House of the Dead
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
 
Accused of political subversion as a young man, Fyodor Dostoyevsky was sentenced to four years of hard labor at a Siberian prison camp — a horrifying experience from which he developed this astounding semi-autobiographical memoir of a man condemned to ten years of servitude for murdering his wife.
 
As with a number of the author's other works, this profoundly influential novel brilliantly explores his characters' thoughts while probing the depths of the human soul. Describing in relentless detail the physical and mental suffering of the convicts, Dostoyevsky's character never loses faith in human qualities and the goodness of man.
 
A haunting and remarkable work filled with wonder and resignation, The House of the Dead ranks among the Russian novelist's greatest masterpieces. Of this powerful autobiographical novel, Tolstoy wrote, "I know no better book in all modern literature."
 
The Crimean War: A History
by Orlando Figes
 
From "the great storyteller of modern Russian historians," (Financial Times) the definitive account of the forgotten war that shaped the modern age
 
The Charge of the Light Brigade, Florence Nightingale—these are the enduring icons of the Crimean War. Less well-known is that this savage war (1853-1856) killed almost a million soldiers and countless civilians; that it enmeshed four great empires—the British, French, Turkish, and Russian—in a battle over religion as well as territory; that it fixed the fault lines between Russia and the West; that it set in motion the conflicts that would dominate the century to come.
 
In this masterly history, Orlando Figes reconstructs the first full conflagration of modernity, a global industrialized struggle fought with unusual ferocity and incompetence. Drawing on untapped Russian and Ottoman as well as European sources, Figes vividly depicts the world at war, from the palaces of St. Petersburg to the holy sites of Jerusalem; from the young Tolstoy reporting in Sevastopol to Tsar Nicolas, haunted by dreams of religious salvation; from the ordinary soldiers and nurses on the battlefields to the women and children in towns under siege..
 
Original, magisterial, alive with voices of the time, The Crimean War is a historical tour de force whose depiction of ethnic cleansing and the West's relations with the Muslim world resonates with contemporary overtones. At once a rigorous, original study and a sweeping, panoramic narrative, The Crimean War is the definitive account of the war that mapped the terrain for today's world..
 
The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company
by William Dalrymple
 
'Dalrymple is a superb historian with a visceral understanding of India … A book of beauty' – Gerard DeGroot, The Times
In August 1765 the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and forced him to establish in his richest provinces a new administration run by English merchants who collected taxes through means of a ruthless private army – what we would now call an act of involuntary privatisation.
 
The East India Company's founding charter authorised it to 'wage war' and it had always used violence to gain its ends. But the creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional international trading corporation dealing in silks and spices and became something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational business. In less than four decades it had trained up a security force of around 200,000 men – twice the size of the British army – and had subdued an entire subcontinent, conquering first Bengal and finally, in 1803, the Mughal capital of Delhi itself. The Company's reach stretched until almost all of India south of the Himalayas was effectively ruled from a boardroom in London.
 
The Anarchy tells the remarkable story of how one of the world's most magnificent empires disintegrated and came to be replaced by a dangerously unregulated private company, based thousands of miles overseas in one small office, five windows wide, and answerable only to its distant shareholders. In his most ambitious and riveting book to date, William Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before, unfolding a timely cautionary tale of the first global corporate power.
 
The Spy and the Traitor
by Ben Macintyre
 
The celebrated author of A Spy Among Friends and Rogue Heroes returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling Cold War-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union.
 
If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation's communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union's top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6.
 
For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped the West turn the tables on the KGB, exposing Russian spies and helping to foil countless intelligence plots, as the Soviet leadership grew increasingly paranoid at the United States's nuclear first-strike capabilities and brought the world closer to the brink of war. Desperate to keep the circle of trust close, MI6 never revealed Gordievsky's name to its counterparts in the CIA, which in turn grew obsessed with figuring out the identity of Britain's obviously top-level source. Their obsession ultimately doomed Gordievsky: the CIA officer assigned to identify him was none other than Aldrich Ames, the man who would become infamous for secretly spying for the Soviets.
 
Unfolding the delicious three-way gamesmanship between America, Britain, and the Soviet Union, and culminating in the gripping cinematic beat-by-beat of Gordievsky's nail-biting escape from Moscow in 1985, Ben Macintyre's latest may be his best yet. Like the greatest novels of John le Carré, it brings readers deep into a world of treachery and betrayal, where the lines bleed between the personal and the professional, and one man's hatred of communism had the power to change the future of nations.
 
A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891 - 1924
by Orlando Figes
 
It is history on an epic yet human scale. Vast in scope, exhaustive in original research, written with passion, narrative skill, and human sympathy, A People's Tragedy is a profound account of the Russian Revolution for a new generation. Many consider the Russian Revolution to be the most significant event of the twentieth century. Distinguished scholar Orlando Figes presents a panorama of Russian society on the eve of that revolution, and then narrates the story of how these social forces were violently erased.
 
Within the broad stokes of war and revolution are miniature histories of individuals, in which Figes follows the main players' fortunes as they saw their hopes die and their world crash into ruins. Unlike previous accounts that trace the origins of the revolution to overreaching political forces and ideals, Figes argues that the failure of democracy in 1917 was deeply rooted in Russian culture and social history and that what had started as a people's revolution contained the seeds of its degeneration into violence and dictatorship. A People's Tragedy is a masterful and original synthesis by a mature scholar, presented in a compelling and accessibly human narrative. 
 
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898
by Edwin G. Burrows, Mike Wallace
 
To European explorers, it was Eden, a paradise of waist-high grasses, towering stands of walnut, maple, chestnut, and oak, and forests that teemed with bears, wolves, raccoons, beavers, otters, and foxes. Today, it is the site of Broadway and Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, and the home of millions of people, who have come from every corner of the nation and the globe.
 
In Gotham, Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace have produced a monumental work of history, one that ranges from the Indian tribes that settled in and around the island of Manna-hata, to the consolidation of the five boroughs into Greater New York in 1898. It is an epic narrative, a story as vast and as varied as the city it chronicles, and it underscores that the history of New York is the story of our nation.
 
Readers will relive the tumultuous early years of New Amsterdam under the Dutch West India Company, Peter Stuyvesant's despotic regime, Indian wars, slave resistance and revolt, the Revolutionary War and the defeat of Washington's army on Brooklyn Heights, the destructive seven years of British occupation, New York as the nation's first capital, the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, the Erie Canal and the coming of the railroads, the growth of the city as a port and financial center, the infamous draft riots of the Civil War, the great flood of immigrants, the rise of mass entertainment such as vaudeville and Coney Island, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the birth of the skyscraper. Here too is a cast of thousands--the rebel Jacob Leisler and the reformer Joanna Bethune; Clement Moore, who saved Greenwich Village from the city's street-grid plan; Herman Melville, who painted disillusioned portraits of city life; and Walt Whitman, who happily celebrated that same life.
 
We meet the rebel Jacob Leisler and the reformer Joanna Bethune; Boss Tweed and his nemesis, cartoonist Thomas Nast; Emma Goldman and Nellie Bly; Jacob Riis and Horace Greeley; police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt; Colonel Waring and his "white angels" (who revolutionized the sanitation department); millionaires John Jacob Astor, Cornelius Vanderbilt, August Belmont, and William Randolph Hearst; and hundreds more who left their mark on this great city.
 
The events and people who crowd these pages guarantee that this is no mere local history. It is in fact a portrait of the heart and soul of America, and a book that will mesmerize everyone interested in the peaks and valleys of American life as found in the greatest city on earth. Gotham is a dazzling read, a fast-paced, brilliant narrative that carries the reader along as it threads hundreds of stories into one great blockbuster of a book.
 
Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
by Patrick Radden Keefe
 
In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville's children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress--with so many kids, she had always kept it handy for diapers or ripped clothes.
 
Patrick Radden Keefe's mesmerizing book on the bitter conflict in Northern Ireland and its aftermath uses the McConville case as a starting point for the tale of a society wracked by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose consequences have never been reckoned with. The brutal violence seared not only people like the McConville children, but also I.R.A. members embittered by a peace that fell far short of the goal of a united Ireland, and left them wondering whether the killings they committed were not justified acts of war, but simple murders.
 
Patrick Radden Keefe writes an intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions.
 
In Search of Lost Time
by Marcel Proust
 
A BBC Radio six-part dramatisation of Marcel Proust's groundbreaking series of novels, tracing the extraordinary story of the author's own life. Starring James Wilby and Jonathan Firth, and with a distinguished cast including Harriet Walter, Imogen Stubbs, and Corin Redgrave, this rich, multi-layered adaptation brings out all the variety and subtlety of Proust's magnificent masterpiece.
 
Featuring a fictional version of himself - 'Marcel' - and a host of friends, acquaintances, and lovers, In Search of Lost Time is Proust's search for the key to the mysteries of memory, time, and consciousness. As he recalls his childhood days, the sad affair of Charles Swann and Odette de Crecy, his transition to manhood, the tortures of love and the ravages of war, he realises that the simplest of discoveries can lead to astonishing possibilities.
 
The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World
 
In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.
 
Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him. As he says, a happy forest is a healthy forest, and he believes that eco-friendly practices not only are economically sustainable but also benefit the health of our planet and the mental and physical health of all who live on Earth.

Please support our advertisers:
COMMENTS
PSR_AXP 8 mths ago
Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance between the Vatican, the CIA, and the Mafia
by Paul L. Williams
 
This disturbing exposé describes a secret alliance forged at the close of World War II by the CIA, the Sicilian and US mafias, and the Vatican to thwart the possibility of a Communist invasion of Europe. Journalist Paul L. Williams presents evidence suggesting the existence of “stay-behind” units in many European countries consisting of five thousand to fifteen thousand military operatives. According to the author’s research, the initial funding for these guerilla armies came from the sale of large stocks of SS morphine that had been smuggled out of Germany and Italy and of bogus British bank notes that had been produced in concentration camps by skilled counterfeiters. As the Cold War intensified, the units were used not only to ward off possible invaders, but also to thwart the rise of left-wing movements in South America and NATO-based countries by terror attacks.
 
Williams argues that Operation Gladio soon gave rise to the toppling of governments, wholesale genocide, the formation of death squads, financial scandals on a grand scale, the creation of the mujahideen, an international narcotics network, and, most recently, the ascendancy of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit cleric with strong ties to Operation Condor (an outgrowth of Gladio in Argentina) as Pope Francis I.
 
Sure to be controversial, Operation Gladio connects the dots in ways the mainstream media often overlooks.
 
And Quiet Flows the Don
by Mikhail Sholokhov
 
And Quiet Flows the Don or Quietly Flows the Don (Тихий Дон, lit. "The Quiet Don") is 4-volume epic novel by Russian writer Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov. The 1st three volumes were written from 1925 to '32 & published in the Soviet magazine October in 1928–32. The 4th volume was finished in 1940. The English translation of the 1st three volumes appeared under this title in 1934. The novel is considered one of the most significant works of Russian literature in the 20th century. It depicts the lives & struggles of Don Cossacks during WWI, the Russian Revolution & Russian Civil War. In 1965, Sholokhov was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The authorship of the novel is contested by some literary critics & historians, who believe it wasn't entirely written by Sholokhov. However, following the discovery of the manuscript, the consensus is that the work is, in fact, Sholokhov’s. 
 

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel

by A.J. Hartley
 
It is a tale of ghosts, of madness, of revenge - of old alliances giving way to new intrigues. Denmark is changing, shaking off its medieval past. War with Norway is on the horizon. And Hamlet - son of the old king, nephew of the new - becomes increasingly entangled in a web of deception - and murder.
 
Struggling to find his place in this strange new order Hamlet tries to rekindle his relationship with Ophelia - the daughter of Elsinore's cunning spy master, a man with plots of his own. Hamlet turns for advice and support to the one person he can trust -- Young Yorick, the slippery, unruly jester, whose father helped Hamlet through a difficult childhood. And all the while the armed forces of Fortinbras, prince of Norway, start to assemble, threatening to bring down Elsinore forever.
 
Beautifully performed by actor Richard Armitage ("Thorin Oakenshield" in the Hobbit films), Hamlet, Prince of Denmark takes Shakespeare's original into unexpected realms, reinventing a story we thought we knew.
 
A. J. Hartley is the New York Times best-selling author of the Will Hawthorne fantasy series and several thrillers, as well as the Darwen Arkwright books for younger readers. He is the Russell Robinson Distinguished Professor of Shakespeare at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
 
David Hewson is the best-selling author of more than 20 novels, including the Nic Costa crime series and a trilogy of books based on the hit Danish television show The Killing. His most-recent novel, The House of Dolls, begins a new series set in Amsterdam.
 
First Love
by Ivan Turgenev
 
Vladimir Petrovich Voldemar, a 16-year-old, is staying in the country with his family and meets Zinaida Alexandrovna Zasyekina, a beautiful 21-year-old woman, staying with her mother, Princess Zasyekina, in a wing of the manor. This family, as with many of the Russian minor nobility with royal ties of that time, were only afforded a degree of respectability because of their titles; the Zasyekins, in the case of this story, are a very poor family. The young Vladimir falls irretrievably in love with Zinaida, who has a set of several other (socially more eligible) suitors whom he joins in their difficult and often fruitless search for the young lady's favour.Ivan Turgenev was a Russian novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, translator and popularizer of Russian literature in the west.His first major publication, a short story collection entitled A Sportman  
 
Macbeth: A Novel
by A.J. Hartley
 
Macbeth: A Novel brings the intricacy and grit of the historical thriller to Shakespeare’s tale of political intrigue, treachery, and murder. In this full-length novel written exclusively for audio, authors A. J. Hartley and David Hewson rethink literature’s most infamous married couple, grounding them in a medieval Scotland whose military and political upheavals are as stark and dramatic as the landscape on which they are played.
 
Macbeth is a war hero and a patriot, doing everything in his power to hold together Duncan’s crumbling kingdom, which is beset by sedition from within and with threats from overseas. But when Duncan, contrary to ancient Scottish tradition, turns to building a family dynasty instead of rewarding those who have borne the brunt of the fighting, Macbeth and his powerful wife, Skena, make plans of their own, plans designed to hold both the nation and their strained relationship together. Sinister figures who claim supernatural knowledge spur them on, but the terrible outcome is as much about accident and failure as it is malevolence. Soon Macbeth and his wife find themselves preeminent in all the land, but struggling to hold themselves and their country together as former friends turn into bitter and deadly enemies.
 
This is Macbeth as you have not heard it before: fresh, edgy, and vital. It is a story of valor in battle, whispering in shadows, witchcraft in the hollows of an ancient landscape, and the desperate struggle of flawed people to do what they think is right. 
 
Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization
by Richard Miles
 
This book is the first full-scale history of Carthage in decades. The devastating struggle to the death between the Carthaginians and the Romans was one of the defining dramas of the ancient world. In an epic series of land and sea battles, both sides came close to victory before the Carthaginians finally succumbed and their capital city, history, and culture were almost utterly erased.
 
Drawing on a wealth of new archaeological research, Richard Miles brings to life this lost empire-from its origins among the Phoenician settlements of Lebanon to its apotheosis as the greatest seapower in the Mediterranean. And at the heart of the history of Carthage lies the extraordinary figure of Hannibal-the scourge of Rome and one of the greatest military leaders, but a man who also unwittingly led his people to catastrophe.
 
Go Wild: Free Your Body and Mind from the Afflictions of Civilization
by John J. Ratey, Richard Manning
 
The scientific evidence behind why maintaining a lifestyle more like that of our ancestors will restore our health and well-being.
 
In Go Wild, Harvard Medical School Professor John Ratey, MD, and journalist Richard Manning reveal that although civilization has rapidly evolved, our bodies have not kept pace. This mismatch affects every area of our lives, from our general physical health to our emotional wellbeing. Investigating the power of living according to our genes in the areas of diet, exercise, sleep, nature, mindfulness and more, Go Wild examines how tapping into our core DNA combats modern disease and psychological afflictions, from Autism and Depression to Diabetes and Heart Disease. By focusing on the ways of the past, it is possible to secure a healthier and happier future, and Go Wild will show you how.
 
Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes: A Year Alone in the Patagonia Wilderness
by Robert Kull
 
Years after losing his lower right leg in a motorcycle crash, Robert Kull traveled to a remote island in Patagonia’s coastal wilderness with equipment and supplies to live alone for a year. He sought to explore the effects of deep solitude on the body and mind and to find the spiritual answers he’d been seeking all his life. With only a cat and his thoughts as companions, he wrestled with inner storms while the wild forces of nature raged around him. The physical challenges were immense, but the struggles of mind and spirit pushed him even further.
 
Solitude: Seeking Wisdom in Extremes is the diary of Kull’s tumultuous year. Chronicling a life distilled to its essence, Solitude is also a philosophical meditation on the tensions between nature and technology, isolation and society. With humor and brutal honesty, Kull explores the pain and longing we typically avoid in our frantically busy lives as well as the peace and wonder that arise once we strip away our distractions. He describes the enormous Patagonia wilderness with poetic attention, transporting the reader directly into both his inner and outer experiences. 
 
Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human
by Richard W. Wrangham
 
Ever since Darwin and The Descent of Man, the existence of humans has been attributed to our intelligence and adaptability. But in Catching Fire, renowned primatologist Richard Wrangham presents a startling alternative: our evolutionary success is the result of cooking. In a groundbreaking theory of our origins, Wrangham shows that the shift from raw to cooked foods was the key factor in human evolution. when our ancestors adapted to using fire, humanity began.
 
Once our hominid ancestors began cooking their food, the human digestive tract shrank and the brain grew. Time once spent chewing tough raw food could be used instead to hunt and to tend camp. Cooking became the basis for pair bonding and marriage, created the household, and even led to a sexual division of labor.
 
Tracing the contemporary implications of our ancestors' diets, Catching Fire sheds new light on how we came to be the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today. A pathbreaking new theory of human evolution, Catching Fire will provoke controversy and fascinate anyone interested in our ancient origins--or in our modern eating habits.
--from the dustjacket
 
Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States
by James C. Scott
 
An Economist Best History Book 2017
 
“History as it should be written.”—Barry Cunliffe, Guardian
 
“Scott hits the nail squarely on the head by exposing the staggering price our ancestors paid for civilization and political order.”—Walter Scheidel, Financial Times
 
Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today’s states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family—all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction.
 
Scott explores why we avoided sedentism and plow agriculture, the advantages of mobile subsistence, the unforeseeable disease epidemics arising from crowding plants, animals, and grain, and why all early states are based on millets and cereal grains and unfree labor. He also discusses the “barbarians” who long evaded state control, as a way of understanding continuing tension between states and nonsubject peoples.
 
The New York Trilogy
by Paul Auster
 
The remarkable, acclaimed series of interconnected detective novels – from the author of 4 3 2 1: A Novel
 
The New York Review of Books has called Paul Auster’s work “one of the most distinctive niches in contemporary literature.” Moving at the breathless pace of a thriller, this uniquely stylized triology of detective novels begins with City of Glass, in which Quinn, a mystery writer, receives an ominous phone call in the middle of the night. He’s drawn into the streets of New York, onto an elusive case that’s more puzzling and more deeply-layered than anything he might have written himself. In Ghosts, Blue, a mentee of Brown, is hired by White to spy on Black from a window on Orange Street. Once Blue starts stalking Black, he finds his subject on a similar mission, as well. In The Locked Room, Fanshawe has disappeared, leaving behind his wife and baby and nothing but a cache of novels, plays, and poems.
 
This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition includes an introduction from author and professor Luc Sante, as well as a pulp novel-inspired cover from Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic artist of Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers.
 
The Jungle
by Upton Sinclair
 
For nearly a century, the original version of Upton Sinclair's classic novel has remained almost entirely unknown.
 
When it was published in serial form in 1905, it was a full third longer than the censored, commercial edition published in book form the following year. That expurgated commercial edition edited out much of the ethnic flavor of the original, as well as some of the goriest descriptions of the meat-packing industry and much of Sinclair's most pointed social and political commentary.
 
The text of this new edition is as it appeared in the original uncensored edition of 1905.
It contains the full 36 chapters as originally published, rather than the 31 of the expurgated edition.
 
A new foreword describes the discovery in the 1980s of the original edition and its subsequent suppression, and a new introduction places the novel in historical context by explaining the pattern of censorship in the shorter commercial edition.

Please support our advertisers:
PSR_AXP 8 mths ago
Zorba the Greek
by Nikos Kazantzakis
 
A wonderful tale of a young man’s coming of age, Zorba the Greek has been a classic of world literature since it was first translated into English in 1952 and made into an unforgettable movie with Anthony Quinn. Zorba, an irrepressible, earthy hedonist, sweeps his young disciple along as he wines, dines, and loves his way through a life dedicated to fulfilling his copious appetites. Zorba is irresistible in this charming audio production by veteran narrator George Guidall. 
 
Journey to the End of the Night
by Louis-Ferdinand Celine
 
Louis-Ferdinand Celine's revulsion and anger at what he considered the idiocy and hypocrisy of society explodes from nearly every minute of this novel. Filled with slang and obscenities and written in raw, colloquial language, Journey to the End of the Night is a literary symphony of violence, cruelty, and obscene nihilism. This book shocked most critics when it was first published in France in 1932, but quickly became a success with the public in Europe, and later in America, where it was first published by New Directions in 1952. The story of the improbable, yet convincingly described travels of the petit-bourgeois (and largely autobiographical) antihero, Bardamu, from the trenches of World War I, to the African jungle, to New York and Detroit, and finally to life as a failed doctor in Paris, takes the listeners by the scruff and hurtles them toward the novel's inevitable, sad conclusion. 
 
Shadow of the Silk Road
by Colin Thubron
 
Out of the heart of China into the mountains of Central Asia, across Northern Afghanistan and the plains of Iran into Kurdish Turkey, Colin Thubron undertakes a journey along the greatest land route on earth: the Silk Road. Travelling 7,000 miles in eight months, he traces the passage not only of trade and armies, but of ideas, religions and inventions. With a gift for talking to others, and of getting them to talk to him, Thubron meets some fascinating people and encounters some of the world's discontented margins, where the true boundaries are not political borders but the frontiers of tribe, ethnicity, language and religion. 
 
The Fate of Rome
Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire
by Kyle Harper
 
A sweeping new history of how climate change and disease helped bring down the Roman Empire
 
Here is the monumental retelling of one of the most consequential chapters of human history: the fall of the Roman Empire. The Fate of Rome is the first book to examine the catastrophic role that climate change and infectious diseases played in the collapse of Rome's power - a story of nature's triumph over human ambition.
 
Interweaving a grand historical narrative with cutting-edge climate science and genetic discoveries, Kyle Harper traces how the fate of Rome was decided not just by emperors, soldiers, and barbarians but also by volcanic eruptions, solar cycles, climate instability, and devastating viruses and bacteria. He takes listeners from Rome's pinnacle in the second century, when the empire seemed an invincible superpower, to its unraveling by the seventh century, when Rome was politically fragmented and materially depleted. Harper describes how the Romans were resilient in the face of enormous environmental stress, until the besieged empire could no longer withstand the combined challenges of a "little ice age" and recurrent outbreaks of bubonic plague.
 
A poignant reflection on humanity's intimate relationship with the environment, The Fate of Rome provides a sweeping account of how one of history's greatest civilizations encountered, endured, yet ultimately succumbed to the cumulative burden of nature's violence. The example of Rome is a timely reminder that climate change and germ evolution have shaped the world we inhabit - in ways that are surprising and profound.
 
The Possessed
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
 
Also known as Demons, The Possessed is a powerful socio-political novel about revolutionary ideas and the radicals behind them. It follows the career of Pyotr Stepanovich Verkhovensky, a political terrorist who leads a group of nihilists on a demonic quest for societal breakdown. They are consumed by their desires and ideals, and have surrendered themselves fully to the darkness of their "demons". This possession leads them to engulf a quiet provincial town and subject it to a storm of violence. Inspired by a real political killing in 1869, the book is an impassioned response to the ideologies of European liberalism and nihilism, which threatened Russian Orthodoxy; it eerily predicted the Russian Revolution, which would take place 50 years later. Funny, shocking, and tragic, it is a profound and affecting work with deep philosophical discourses about God, human freedom and political revolution. 
 
The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution
by Francis Fukuyama
 
Virtually all human societies were once organized tribally, yet over time most developed new political institutions that 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 unable to function in many of today’s developing countries—with often disastrous consequences for the rest of the world.
 
Francis Fukuyama, author of the best-selling 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.
 
The Scarlet Pimpernel
by Baroness Orczy
 
"Who is this man, this Scarlet Pimpernel?" Each day this question grew more pressing to the leaders of the French Revolution. Only this man and his band of followers threatened their total power. Only this maddeningly elusive figure defied the vast network of fanatics, informers, and secret agents that the Revolution spread out to catch its enemies.
 
Some said this man of many disguises, endless ruses, and infinite daring was an exiled French nobleman, returned to wreak vengeance. Others said he was an English lord, seeking sheer adventure and supreme sport in playing the most dangerous game of all. But of only one thing could those who sought him be sure. They knew all too well the symbol of his presence: the blood-red flower known as the Scarlet Pimpernel.
 
The Gambler
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
 
The Gambler paints a stark picture of the attractions—and addictions—of gambling. Using skillful characterization, Dostoevsky faithfully depicts life among the gambling set in old Germany. This probing psychological novel explores the tangled love affairs and complicated lives of Alexey Ivanovitch, a young gambler, and Polina Alexandrovna, the woman he loves.
 
Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky (1821–1881) was born in Moscow, the son of a surgeon. Leaving the study of engineering for literature, he published Poor Folk in 1846. As a member of revolutionary circles in St. Petersburg, he was condemned to death in 1849. A last-minute reprieve sent him to Siberia for hard labor. Returning to St. Petersburg in 1859, he worked as a journalist and completed his masterpiece, Crime and Punishment, as well as other works, including The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov.
 
The Belly of Paris
by Émile Zola
 
Although it is little known in this country, The Belly of Paris is considered one of Émile Zola’s best novels. Set in the newly built food markets of Paris, it is a story of wealth and poverty set against a sumptuous banquet of food and commerce.
 
Having just escaped from prison after being wrongfully accused, young Florent arrives at Paris’ food market, Les Halles, half starved, surrounded by all he can’t have, and indignant at his world, which he now knows to be unjust. He finds that the city’s working classes have been displaced to make way for bigger streets and bourgeois living quarters, so he settles in with his brother’s family. Gradually, he takes up with the local socialists, who are more at home in bars than on the revolutionary streets. Slowly, the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor drags the city to the breaking point.
 
Germinal
by Émile Zola
 
Germinal is one of the most striking novels in the French tradition. Widely regarded as Zola's masterpiece, the novel describes the working conditions of French coalminers in the 1860s in harsh and realistic terms. It is visceral, graphic, and unrelenting. Its strong socialist principles and vivid accounts of the miners' strikes meant that the novel became a key symbol in the workers' fight against oppression, with chants of "Germinal! Germinal!" resonating high above the author's funeral. 

Please support our advertisers:
PSR_AXP 8 mths ago
Le Pere Goriot
by Honoré de Balzac
 
Honoré de Balzac uses his classic style of detail to describe a most controversial setting in his novel Le Pere Goriot. The story takes place in Paris just after the fall of Napoleon in 1819. The story focuses on three characters, Rastignac, a student who wants to try and make it big in the capital, Vautrin, an interesting and funny character who is also quite mysterious, and the main character, Goriot, that carries a heavy burden that only a loving parent would endure.
 
The story follows the journey of Rastignac, the two daughters of Goriot, and Goriot himself who was once a wealthy businessman. It's a heart wrenching story of a man driven to poverty by the selfless acts and the overwhelming love and devotion that he has for his two daughters, both of whom are very selfish, and do not share the same love for their father.
How far will Goriot go to keep his daughters happy, and will the daughters ever appreciate the great sacrifices this man has made for them?
 
Haitian Revolution: A Captivating Guide to the Abolition of Slavery
by Captivating History
 
Explore How the Slaves Freed Themselves in the Haitian Revolution
 
The Haitian Revolution was a slave rebellion that began in 1791 in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, now known as Haiti. On this small island, the tyrants were the slave owners, people who not only denied their slaves freedom, but felt justified in killing them.
 
The Haitian Revolution began to change the way slaves were viewed all over the world. Although it took nearly another 100 years to eradicate slavery in the west, the parallels between what the Americans and French had done to the slaves was impossible to ignore. The Haitian Revolution was the first and only time that a slave rebellion resulted in a new state.
 
An American Tragedy
by Theodore Dreiser
 
An American Tragedy is the story of Clyde Griffiths, who spends his life in the desperate pursuit of success. On a deeper, more profound level, it is the masterful portrayal of the society whose values both shape Clyde's ambitions and seal his fate; it is an unsurpassed depiction of the harsh realities of American life and of the dark side of the American dream. Extraordinary in scope and power, vivid in its sense of wholesale human waste, unceasing in its rich compassion, An American Tragedy stands as Theodore Dreiser's supreme achievement.
 
First published in 1925 and based on an actual criminal case, An American Tragedy was the inspiration for the 1951 film A Place in the Sun, which won six Academy Awards and starred Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.
 
Caught in the Revolution
Petrograd, Russia, 1917 - a World on the Edge
by Helen Rappaport
 
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Romanov Sisters, Caught in the Revolution is Helen Rappaport's masterful telling of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution through eyewitness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold.
 
Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin's Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St. Petersburg) was in turmoil - felt nowhere more keenly than on the fashionable Nevsky Prospekt. There, the foreign visitors who filled hotels, clubs, offices, and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps and beneath their windows.
 
Among this disparate group were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, bankers, governesses, volunteer nurses, and expatriate socialites. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic to the black valet of the US ambassador, far from his native Deep South, to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women's Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareva.
 
Helen Rappaport draws upon this rich trove of material, much of it previously unpublished, to carry us right up to the action - to see, feel, and hear the revolution as it happened to an assortment of individuals who suddenly felt themselves trapped in a "red madhouse".
 
Mother Night
by Kurt Vonnegut
 
American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty? In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Kurt Vonnegut turns black and white into a chilling shade of grey with a verdict that will haunt us all. Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense.
 
As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Kurt Vonnegut's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview – where James Atlas interviews Gay Talese about the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut – begins as soon as the audiobook ends.
 

Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
 
Acclaimed by many as the world's greatest novel, Anna Karenina provides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in all of literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature - with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author's own views and convictions.
 
Throughout, Tolstoy points no moral, merely inviting us not to judge but to watch. As Rosemary Edmonds comments, 'He leaves the shifting patterns of the kaleidoscope to bring home the meaning of the brooding words following the title, 'Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.
 
The Last Picture Show
Thalia Trilogy, Book 1
by Larry McMurtry
 
An almost-true story about a small town in Texas that ought to exist if it doesn’t, with characters like Sam the Lion, the delectable Jacy, and Ruth Popper, the coach’s wife. Set in a small, dusty, Texas town, The Last Picture Show introduced the characters of Jacy, Duane, and Sonny: teenagers stumbling toward adulthood, discovering the beguiling mysteries of sex and the even more baffling mysteries of love. Populated by a wonderful cast of eccentrics and animated by McMurtry's wry and raucous humor, The Last Picture Show is a wild, heartbreaking, and poignant novel that resonates with the magical passion of youth. 
 
Kim
by Rudyard Kipling
 
Kipling's masterpiece Kim is his final and most famous work and one of the first and greatest espionage stories ever written. It explores the life of Kimball O'Hara, an Irish orphan who spends his childhood as a vagrant in Lahore. When he befriends an aged Tibetan lama his life is transformed as he is requested to accompany him on a mysterious quest to find the legendary River of the Arrow and achieve Enlightenment. The pilgrimage will take them across the vast continent, across rivers, and up the Himalayas.
 
While Kim wishes to take part in the imperialistic Great Game, learning espionage from the British secret service, he feels spiritually bound to the lama. Kim has a difficult choice to make: his companion or his country?
 
A rich and colourful depiction of India's exotic landscape and culture in the imperialistic world of the late 19th century, this audiobook celebrates their friendship and explores a young man's quest for identity.
 
Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist who was the first English language author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Some of his most memorable works include The Jungle Book and Just So Stories.
 
In 1998 Kim was ranked at Number 78 on the Modern Library's list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. In 2003 it was listed on the BBC's The Big Read poll of the UK's 'best-loved novel'.
 
How Paris Became Paris
The Invention of the Modern City
by Joan DeJean
 
At the start of the 17th century, Paris was known for a few monuments, but it had not yet put its brand on urban space. Like many European cities, it was still emerging from its medieval past. But within a century, Paris would be transformed into the modern and mythic city we now know. Most people associate the signature characteristics of Paris with the 19th century.
 
Joan DeJean demonstrates that the Parisian model for urban space was in fact invented two centuries earlier, when the first full design for the French capital was implemented. During this period, Paris saw many changes: It became the first city to tear down its fortifications. A large-scale urban plan was created and executed, with organized streets and boulevards, modern bridges, sidewalks, and public parks. Venues opened for urban entertainment, from opera and ballet to another pastime invented in Paris, recreational shopping.
 
Parisians enjoyed the earliest street lighting and public transportation, even as theirs became Europe’s first great walking city. A century of planned development made Paris beautiful and exciting.
 
It gave people reasons to be out in public as never before and as nowhere else. It gave Paris its modern identity as a place that people dreamed of seeing. As Joan DeJean shows us in this compelling portrait of a city in transition, by 1700 Paris had become the capital that would transform forever our conception of the city and of urban life.
 
The Bloody White Baron
The Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia
by James Palmer
 
In the history of the modern world, there have been few characters more sadistic, sinister, and deeply demented as Baron Ungern-Sternberg. An anti-Semitic fanatic with a penchant for Eastern mysticism and a hatred of communists, Baron Ungern-Sternberg took over Mongolia in 1920 with a ragtag force of White Russians, Siberians, Japanese, and native Mongolians. While tormenting friend and foe alike, he dreamed of assembling a horse-borne army with which he would retake communist controlled Moscow.
 
In this epic saga, which ranges from Austria to the Mongolian Steppe, historian and travel writer James Palmer has brought to light the gripping life story of a madman whose actions foreshadowed the most grotesque excesses of the 20th century.

Please support our advertisers:
PSR_AXP 8 mths ago
The North Water
A Novel
by Ian McGuire
 
A 19th-century whaling ship sets sail for the Arctic with a killer aboard in this dark, sharp, and highly original tale that grips like a thriller.
 
Behold the man: stinking, drunk, and brutal. Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaler bound for the rich hunting waters of the arctic circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money, and no better option than to sail as the ship's medic on this violent, filthy, and ill-fated voyage.
 
In India, during the Siege of Delhi, Sumner thought he had experienced the depths to which man can stoop. He had hoped to find temporary respite on the Volunteer, but rest proves impossible with Drax on board. The discovery of something evil in the hold rouses Sumner to action. And as the confrontation between the two men plays out amid the freezing darkness of an arctic winter, the fateful question arises: Who will survive until spring?
With savage, unstoppable momentum and the blackest wit, Ian McGuire's The North Water weaves a superlative story of humanity under the most extreme conditions.
 
Pale Fire
by Vladimir Nabokov
 
A 999 line poem in heroic couplets, divided into 4 cantos, was composed - according to Nabokov's fiction - by John Francis Shade, an obsessively methodical man, during the last 20 days of his life.
 
Tortilla Flat
by John Steinbeck
 
Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a Camelot on a shabby hillside above the town of Monterey, California, and peopled it with a colorful band of knights. At the center of the tale is Danny, whose house, like Arthur’s castle, becomes a gathering place for men looking for adventure, camaraderie, and a sense of belonging—men who fiercely resist the corrupting tide of honest toil and civil rectitude.
 
As Steinbeck chronicles their deeds—their multiple lovers, their wonderful brawls, their Rabelaisian wine-drinking—he spins a tale as compelling and ultimately as touched by sorrow as the famous legends of the Round Table, which inspired him.
 
The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood
 
Margaret Atwood's popular dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale explores a broad range of issues relating to power, gender, and religious politics. Multiple Golden Globe award-winner Claire Danes (Romeo and Juliet, The Hours) gives a stirring performance of this classic in speculative fiction, one of the most powerful and widely read novels of our time.
 
After a staged terrorist attack kills the President and most of Congress, the government is deposed and taken over by the oppressive and all-controlling Republic of Gilead. Offred, now a Handmaid serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules in hopes of ending this oppression.
 
A Moveable Feast
The Restored Edition
by Ernest Hemingway
 
When Ernest Hemingway died in 1961 he had nearly completed A Moveable Feast, which eventually was published posthumously in 1964 and edited by his widow Mary Hemingway. This new special edition of Hemingway's classic memoir of his early years in Paris in the 1920's presents the original manuscript as the author intended it to be published at the time of his death.
 
This new publication also includes a number of unfinished Paris sketches on writing and experiences that Hemingway had with his son, Jack, his wife Hadley, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Maddox Ford and others. A personal foreword by Patrick Hemingway, Ernest's sole surviving son, precedes an introduction by the editor, Sean Hemingway, grandson of the author.
 
Dune
by Frank Herbert
 
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Maud'dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family - and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream.
 
A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction.
 
Frank Herbert's death in 1986 was a tragic loss, yet the astounding legacy of his visionary fiction will live forever.
 
The Stranger
by Albert Camus
 
Albert Camus' The Stranger is one of the most widely read novels in the world, with millions of copies sold. It stands as perhaps the greatest existentialist tale ever conceived, and is certainly one of the most important and influential books ever produced. Now, for the first time, this revered masterpiece is available as an unabridged audio production.
 
When a young Algerian named Meursault kills a man, his subsequent imprisonment and trial are puzzling and absurd. The apparently amoral Meursault, who puts little stock in ideas like love and God, seems to be on trial less for his murderous actions, and more for what the authorities believe is his deficient character.
 
War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy
 
Often called the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is at once an epic of the Napoleonic wars, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit. Tolstoy's genius is clearly seen in the multitude of characters in this massive chronicle, all of them fully realized and equally memorable. Out of this complex narrative emerges a profound examination of the individual's place in the historical process, one that makes it clear why Thomas Mann praised Tolstoy for his Homeric powers and placed War and Peace in the same category as The Iliad. 
 
The Death of Ivan Ilyich
A Leo Tolstoy Short Story
by Leo Tolstoy
 
The brilliance of this story is in how a normal bureaucrat, a judge in this case, has a small accident that winds up gradually taking his life. As he deals with this incident, with hope at first and then despair, he comes to terms with his family, his life, and the mediocrities that we all suffer with, except for the exceptional few. This story rings a particularly poignant note for those in early middle age facing the next part of their lives. This story is considered Tolstoy's best. 
 
1493
Uncovering the New World Columbus Created
by Charles C. Mann
 
From the author of 1491 - the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas - a deeply engaging new history that explores the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs.
 
More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed radically different suites of plants and animals. When Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, he ended that separation at a stroke. Driven by the economic goal of establishing trade with China, he accidentally set off an ecological convulsion as European vessels carried thousands of species to new homes across the oceans. The Columbian Exchange, as researchers call it, is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in Florida, chocolates in Switzerland, and chili peppers in Thailand. More important, creatures the colonists knew nothing about hitched along for the ride. Earthworms, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; honeybees, dandelions, and African grasses; bacteria, fungi, and viruses; rats of every description - all of them rushed like eager tourists into lands that had never seen their like before, changing lives and landscapes across the planet.
 
Eight decades after Columbus, a Spaniard named Legazpi succeeded where Columbus had failed. He sailed west to establish continual trade with China, then the richest, most powerful country in the world. In Manila, a city Legazpi founded, silver from the Americas, mined by African and Indian slaves, was sold to Asians in return for silk for Europeans. It was the first time that goods and people from every corner of the globe were connected in a single worldwide exchange. Much as Columbus created a new world biologically, Legazpi and the Spanish empire he served created a new world economically.
 
As Charles C. Mann shows, the Columbian Exchange underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest research by ecologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City - where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted - the center of the world. In such encounters, he uncovers the germ of today’s fiercest political disputes, from immigration to trade policy to culture wars.
 
In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination.

Please support our advertisers:
PSR_AXP 8 mths ago
Post Office
A Novel
by Charles Bukowski
 
"It began as a mistake." By middle age, Henry Chinaski has lost more than 12 years of his life to the U.S. Postal Service. In a world where his three true, bitter pleasures are women, booze, and racetrack betting, he somehow drags his hangover out of bed every dawn to lug waterlogged mailbags up mud-soaked mountains, outsmart vicious guard dogs, and pray to survive the day-to-day trials of sadistic bosses and certifiable coworkers. This classic 1971 novel - the one that catapulted its author to national fame - is the perfect introduction to the grimly hysterical world of legendary writer, poet, and Dirty Old Man Charles Bukowski and his fictional alter ego, Chinaski.
 
Ham on Rye
A Novel
by Charles Bukowski
 
In what is widely hailed as the best of his many novels, Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter ego Henry Chinaski. From a harrowingly cheerless childhood in Germany through acne-riddled high school years, and his adolescent discoveries of alcohol, women, and the Los Angeles Public Library's collection of D. H. Lawrence, Ham on Rye offers a crude, brutal, and savagely funny portrait of an outcast's coming-of-age during the desperate days of the Great Depression.
 
Paris 1928
by Henry Miller
 
"That night I didn’t sleep a wink. It wasn’t the bedbugs that kept me awake, it was Europe, the horror and misery, which penetrated it through and through."

Henry Miller's Nexus was censored 50 years ago, while Miller and his publishers fought for freedom of speech. Nexus II was never published, and looks at his first trip to Paris and Europe in 1928, a world on the edge of the great depression. Paris 1928 collates these unpublished memoirs as Henry Miller wished, together with the censored pages from Nexus.
 
Tropic of Capricorn
by Henry Miller
 
Banned in America for almost 30 years because of its explicit sexual content, this companion volume to Miller's Tropic of Cancer chronicles his life in 1920s New York City. Famous for its frank portrayal of life in Brooklyn's ethnic neighborhoods and Miller's outrageous sexual expolits, Tropic of Capricorn is now considered a cornerstone of modern literature. 
 
Eating Dirt
by Charlotte Gill
 
Winner of the BC National Award for Non-Fiction, and short-listed for both the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and the 2011 Hilary Weston Writer's Trust Award.
 
A tree planter's vivid story of a unique subculture and the magical life of the forest.
 
Charlotte Gill spent twenty years working as a tree planter in the forests of Canada. During her million-tree career, she encountered hundreds of clearcuts, each one a collision site between human civilization and the natural world, a complicated landscape presenting geographic evidence of our appetites. Charged with sowing the new forest in these clearcuts, tree planters are a tribe caught between the stumps and the virgin timber, between environmentalists and loggers.
 
In Eating Dirt, Gill offers up a slice of tree planting life in all of its soggy, gritty exuberance, while questioning the ability of conifer plantations to replace original forests that evolved over millennia into complex ecosystems. She looks at logging's environmental impact and its boom-and-bust history, and touches on the versatility of wood, from which we have devised countless creations as diverse as textiles and airplane parts.
 
Eating Dirt also eloquently evokes the wonder of trees, which grow from tiny seeds into one of the world's largest organisms, our slowest-growing ""renewable"" resource. Most of all, the book joyously celebrates the priceless value of forests and the ancient, ever-changing relationship between humans and trees.
 
The Fountainhead
by Ayn Rand
 
The revolutionary literary vision that sowed the seeds of Objectivism, Ayn Rand's groundbreaking philosophy, and brought her immediate worldwide acclaim.
 
This modern classic is the story of intransigent young architect Howard Roark, whose integrity was as unyielding as granite...of Dominique Francon, the exquisitely beautiful woman who loved Roark passionately, but married his worst enemy...and of the fanatic denunciation unleashed by an enraged society against a great creator. As fresh today as it was then, Rand’s provocative novel presents one of the most challenging ideas in all of fiction—that man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress...
 
“A writer of great power. She has a subtle and ingenious mind and the capacity of writing brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly...This is the only novel of ideas written by an American woman that I can recall.”—The New York Times
 
Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand
 
This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators?
 
Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies, but against those who needed him most, and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world’s motor — and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story.
 
Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life — from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy — to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction — to the philosopher who becomes a pirate — to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph — to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad — to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels.
 
You must be prepared, when you read this novel, to check every premise at the root of your convictions.
 
This is a mystery story, not about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit. It is a philosophical revolution, told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, a ruthlessly brilliant plot structure and an irresistible suspense. Do you say this is impossible? Well, that is the first of your premises to check.
 
Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power
by Steve Coll
 
In Private Empire Steve Coll investigates the largest and most powerful private corporation in the United States, revealing the true extent of its power. ExxonMobil’s annual revenues are larger than the economic activity in the great majority of countries. In many of the countries where it conducts business, ExxonMobil’s sway over politics and security is greater than that of the United States embassy. In Washington, ExxonMobil spends more money lobbying Congress and the White House than almost any other corporation. Yet despite its outsized influence, it is a black box.
 
Private Empire pulls back the curtain, tracking the corporation’s recent history and its central role on the world stage, beginning with the Exxon Valdez accident in 1989 and leading to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The action spans the globe, moving from Moscow, to impoverished African capitals, Indonesia, and elsewhere in heart-stopping scenes that feature kidnapping cases, civil wars, and high-stakes struggles at the Kremlin. At home, Coll goes inside ExxonMobil’s K Street office and corporation headquarters in Irving, Texas, where top executives in the “God Pod” (as employees call it) oversee an extraordinary corporate culture of discipline and secrecy.
 
The narrative is driven by larger than life characters, including corporate legend Lee “Iron Ass” Raymond, ExxonMobil’s chief executive until 2005. A close friend of Dick Cheney’s, Raymond was both the most successful and effective oil executive of his era and an unabashed skeptic about climate change and government regulation.. This position proved difficult to maintain in the face of new science and political change and Raymond’s successor, current ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson, broke with Raymond’s programs in an effort to reset ExxonMobil’s public image. The larger cast includes countless world leaders, plutocrats, dictators, guerrillas, and corporate scientists who are part of ExxonMobil’s colossal story.
 
The first hard-hitting examination of ExxonMobil, Private Empire is the masterful result of Coll’s indefatigable reporting. He draws here on more than four hundred interviews; field reporting from the halls of Congress to the oil-laden swamps of the Niger Delta; more than one thousand pages of previously classified U.S. documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act; heretofore unexamined court records; and many other sources. A penetrating, newsbreaking study, Private Empire is a defining portrait of ExxonMobil and the place of Big Oil in American politics and foreign policy.
 
Winner of the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award 2012
 
Ghost Wars
The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001
by Steve Coll
 
The news-breaking book that has sent shockwaves through the Bush White House, Ghost Wars is the most accurate and revealing account yet of the CIA's secret involvement in al-Qaeda's evolution. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005.
 
Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll has spent years reporting from the Middle East, accessed previously classified government files and interviewed senior US officials and foreign spymasters. Here he gives the full inside story of the CIA's covert funding of an Islamic jihad against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, explores how this sowed the seeds of Bin Laden's rise, traces how he built his global network and brings to life the dramatic battles within the US government over national security. Above all, he lays bare American intelligence's continual failure to grasp the rising threat of terrorism in the years leading to 9/11 - and its devastating consequences.
 
The Stranger
by Albert Camus
 
Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in English in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward. 

Please support our advertisers:
PSR_AXP 8 mths ago
The Meursault Investigation
by Kamel Daoud
 
He was the brother of “the Arab” killed by the infamous Meursault, the antihero of Camus’s classic novel. Seventy years after that event, Harun, who has lived since childhood in the shadow of his sibling’s memory, refuses to let him remain anonymous: he gives his brother a story and a name—Musa—and describes the events that led to Musa’s casual murder on a dazzlingly sunny beach.
In a bar in Oran, night after night, he ruminates on his solitude, on his broken heart, on his anger with men desperate for a god, and on his disarray when faced with a country that has so disappointed him. A stranger among his own people, he wants to be granted, finally, the right to die.
 
Crime and Punishment
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
 
Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden sex worker, can offer the chance of redemption.
 
The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
 
The Brothers Karamazov is a murder mystery, a courtroom drama, and an exploration of erotic rivalry in a series of triangular love affairs involving the “wicked and sentimental” Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his three sons―the impulsive and sensual Dmitri; the coldly rational Ivan; and the healthy, red-cheeked young novice Alyosha. Through the gripping events of their story, Dostoevsky portrays the whole of Russian life, is social and spiritual striving, in what was both the golden age and a tragic turning point in Russian culture.
 
The Idiot
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
 
Returning to Russia from a sanitarium in Switzerland, the Christ-like epileptic Prince Myshkin finds himself enmeshed in a tangle of love, torn between two women—the notorious kept woman Nastasya and the pure Aglaia—both involved, in turn, with the corrupt, money-hungry Ganya. In the end, Myshkin’s honesty, goodness, and integrity are shown to be unequal to the moral emptiness of those around him. In her revision of the Garnett translation, Anna Brailovsky has corrected inaccuracies wrought by Garnett’s drastic anglicization of the novel, restoring as much as possible the syntactical structure of the original story.
 
Lolita
by Vladimir Nabokov
 
Humbert Humbert - scholar, aesthete and romantic - has fallen completely and utterly in love with Dolores Haze, his landlady's gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.
 
Dead Souls
by Nikolai Gogol
 
Dead Souls is eloquent on some occasions, lyrical on others, and pious and reverent elsewhere. Nicolai Gogol was a master of the spoof. The American students of today are not the only readers who have been confused by him. Russian literary history records more divergent interpretations of Gogol than perhaps of any other classic.
 
In a new translation of the comic classic of Russian literature, Chichikov, an enigmatic stranger and conniving schemer, buys deceased serfs' names from their landlords' poll tax lists hoping to mortgage them for profit and to reinvent himself as a likeable gentleman.
 
Eugene Onegin
by Alexander Pushkin
 
Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in 1820s Russia, Pushkin's verse novel follows the fates of three men and three women. Engaging, full of suspense, and varied in tone, it also portrays a large cast of other characters and offers the reader many literary, philosophical, and autobiographical digressions, often in a highly satirical vein. Eugene Onegin was Pushkin's own favourite work, and this new translation conveys the literal sense and the poetic music of the original.
 
Fathers and Sons
by Ivan Turgenev
 
Bazarov—a gifted, impatient, and caustic young man—has journeyed from school to the home of his friend Arkady Kirsanov. But soon Bazarov’s outspoken rejection of authority and social conventions touches off quarrels, misunderstandings, and romantic entanglements that will utterly transform the Kirsanov household and reflect the changes taking place across all of nineteenth-century Russia.
 
Fathers and Sons enraged the old and the young, reactionaries, romantics, and radicals alike when it was first published. At the same time, Turgenev won the acclaim of Flaubert, Maupassant, and Henry James for his craftsmanship as a writer and his psychological insight. Fathers and Sons is now considered one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century.
 
A timeless depiction of generational conflict during social upheaval, it vividly portrays the clash between the older Russian aristocracy and the youthful radicalism that foreshadowed the revolution to come—and offers modern-day readers much to reflect upon as they look around at their own tumultuous, ever changing world.
 
Doctor Zhivago
by Boris Pasternak
 
This epic tale about the effects of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath on a bourgeois family was not published in the Soviet Union until 1987. One of the results of its publication in the West was Pasternak's complete rejection by Soviet authorities; when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 he was compelled to decline it. The book quickly became an international best-seller.
 
Dr. Yury Zhivago, Pasternak's alter ego, is a poet, philosopher, and physician whose life is disrupted by the war and by his love for Lara, the wife of a revolutionary. His artistic nature makes him vulnerable to the brutality and harshness of the Bolsheviks. The poems he writes constitute some of the most beautiful writing featured in the novel.
 
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
 
First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir in 1962, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich stands as a classic of contemporary literature. The story of labor-camp inmate Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, it graphically describes his struggle to maintain his dignity in the face of communist oppression. An unforgettable portrait of the entire world of Stalin's forced work camps, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of the most extraordinary literary documents to have emerged from the Soviet Union and confirms Solzhenitsyn's stature as "a literary genius whose talent matches that of Dosotevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy"--Harrison Salisbury

Please support our advertisers:
PSR_AXP 8 mths ago
Demons
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
 
Inspired by the true story of a political murder that horrified Russians in 1869, Fyodor Dostoevsky conceived of Demons as a "novel-pamphlet" in which he would say everything about the plague of materialist ideology that he saw infecting his native land. What emerged was a prophetic and ferociously funny masterpiece of ideology and murder in pre-revolutionary Russia.
 
The Death of Ivan Ilych
by Leo Tolstoy
 
Hailed as one of the world's supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his dying so much as a passing thought. But one day, death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise, he is brought face to face with his own mortality.
 
How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?
 
This short novel was an artistic culmination of a profound spiritual crisis in Tolstoy's life, a nine-year period following the publication of Anna Karenina during which he wrote not a word of fiction.
 
A thoroughly absorbing, and, at times, terrifying glimpse into the abyss of death, it is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation.
 
The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956
by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
 
Drawing on his own incarceration and exile, as well as on evidence from more than 200 fellow prisoners and Soviet archives, Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn reveals the entire apparatus of Soviet repression—the state within the state that ruled all-powerfully. Through truly Shakespearean portraits of its victims—men, women, and children—we encounter secret police operations, labor camps and prisons; the uprooting or extermination of whole populations, the welcome that awaited Russian soldiers who had been German prisoners of war. Yet we also witness the astounding moral courage of the incorruptible, who, defenseless, endured great brutality and degradation. The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956—a grisly indictment of a regime, fashioned here into a veritable literary miracle—has now been updated with a new introduction that includes the fall of the Soviet Union and Solzhenitsyn's move back to Russia.
 
Travels with Herodotus
by Ryszard Kapuściński
 
From the master of literary reportage whose acclaimed books include Shah of Shahs, The Emperor, and The Shadow of the Sun, an intimate account of his first youthful forays beyond the Iron Curtain.
 
Just out of university in 1955, Kapuscinski told his editor that he’d like to go abroad. Dreaming no farther than Czechoslovakia, the young reporter found himself sent to India. Wide-eyed and captivated, he would discover in those days his life’s work—to understand and describe the world in its remotest reaches, in all its multiplicity. From the rituals of sunrise at Persepolis to the incongruity of Louis Armstrong performing before a stone-faced crowd in Khartoum, Kapuscinski gives us the non-Western world as he first saw it, through still-virginal Western eyes.
 
The companion on his travels: a volume of Herodotus, a gift from his first boss. Whether in China, Poland, Iran, or the Congo, it was the “father of history”—and, as Kapuscinski would realize, of globalism—who helped the young correspondent to make sense of events, to find the story where it did not obviously exist. It is this great forerunner’s spirit—both supremely worldly and innately Occidental—that would continue to whet Kapuscinski’s ravenous appetite for discovering the broader world and that has made him our own indispensable companion on any leg of that perpetual journey.
 
The House of the Dead
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
 
Accused of political subversion as a young man, Fyodor Dostoyevsky was sentenced to four years of hard labor at a Siberian prison camp — a horrifying experience from which he developed this astounding semi-autobiographical memoir of a man condemned to ten years of servitude for murdering his wife.
 
As with a number of the author's other works, this profoundly influential novel brilliantly explores his characters' thoughts while probing the depths of the human soul. Describing in relentless detail the physical and mental suffering of the convicts, Dostoyevsky's character never loses faith in human qualities and the goodness of man.
 
A haunting and remarkable work filled with wonder and resignation, The House of the Dead ranks among the Russian novelist's greatest masterpieces. Of this powerful autobiographical novel, Tolstoy wrote, "I know no better book in all modern literature."
 
Shah of Shahs
by Ryszard Kapuściński
 
In Shah of Shahs Kapuscinski brings a mythographer's perspective and a novelist's virtuosity to bear on the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, one of the most infamous of the United States' client-dictators, who resolved to transform his country into "a second America in a generation," only to be toppled virtually overnight. From his vantage point at the break-up of the old regime, Kapuscinski gives us a compelling history of conspiracy, repression, fanatacism, and revolution.
 
The Emperor
by Ryszard Kapuściński
 
Haile Selassie, King of Kings, Elect of God, Lion of Judah, His Most Puissant Majesty and Distinguished Highness the Emperor of Ethiopia, reigned from 1930 until he was overthrown by the army in 1974. While the fighting still raged, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Poland's leading foreign correspondent, traveled to Ethiopia to seek out and interview Selassie's servants and closest associates on how the Emperor had ruled and why he fell. This "sensitive, powerful. . .history" (The New York Review of Books) is Kapuscinski's rendition of their accounts—humorous, frightening, sad, grotesque—of a man living amidst nearly unimaginable pomp and luxury while his people teetered between hunger and starvation.
 
Imperium
by Ryszard Kapuściński
 
Imperium is the story of an empire: the constellation of states that was submerged under a single identity for most of the twentieth century - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This is Kapuscinski's vivid, compelling and personal report on the life and death of the Soviet superpower, from the entrance of Soviet troops into his hometown in Poland in 1939, through his journey across desolate Siberia and the republics of Central Asia in the 1950s and 60s, to his wanderings over the vast Soviet lands - from Poland to the Pacific, the Arctic Circle to Afghanistan - in the years of the USSR's decline and final disintegration in 1991.
 
The Soccer War
by Ryszard Kapuściński
 
Part diary and part reportage, The Soccer War is a remarkable chronicle of war in the late twentieth century. Between 1958 and 1980, working primarily for the Polish Press Agency, Kapuscinski covered twenty-seven revolutions and coups in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Here, with characteristic cogency and emotional immediacy, he recounts the stories behind his official press dispatches—searing firsthand accounts of the frightening, grotesque, and comically absurd aspects of life during war. The Soccer War is a singular work of journalism.
 
The Shadow of the Sun
by Ryszard Kapuściński
 
In 1957, Ryszard Kapuscinski arrived in Africa to witness the beginning of the end of colonial rule as the first African correspondent of Poland's state newspaper. From the early days of independence in Ghana to the ongoing ethnic genocide in Rwanda, Kapuscinski has crisscrossed vast distances pursuing the swift, and often violent, events that followed liberation. Kapuscinski hitchhikes with caravans, wanders the Sahara with nomads, and lives in the poverty-stricken slums of Nigeria. He wrestles a king cobra to the death and suffers through a bout of malaria. What emerges is an extraordinary depiction of Africa--not as a group of nations or geographic locations--but as a vibrant and frequently joyous montage of peoples, cultures, and encounters. Kapuscinski's trenchant observations, wry analysis and overwhelming humanity paint a remarkable portrait of the continent and its people. His unorthodox approach and profound respect for the people he meets challenge conventional understandings of the modern problems faced by Africa at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
 
 
This is London: Life and Death in the World City
by Ben Judah
 
In This is London, the author turns his reporter’s eye on home, immersing himself in the hidden world of the city’s immigrants – from the richest to the poorest – to discover the complex and varied individuals who are making London what it is today. He’s had dinner with oligarchs and meetings with foreign royalty, spent nights streetwalking and sleeping rough; he’s heard stories of heart-breaking failure, but also witnessed extraordinary acts of compassion, hope and the triumph of love.
 

Please support our advertisers:
Ed 4 mths ago
Ghost Empire
by Richard Fidler 

Ghost Empire is a rare treasure - an utterly captivating blend of the historical and the contemporary, realised by a master storyteller.

In 2014, Richard Fidler and his son Joe made a journey to Istanbul. Fired by Richard's passion for the rich history of the dazzling Byzantine Empire - centred around the legendary Constantinople - we are swept into some of the most extraordinary tales in history.
 
The clash of civilisations, the fall of empires, the rise of Christianity, revenge, lust, murder.
Turbulent stories from the past are brought vividly to life at the same time as a father navigates the unfolding changes in his relationship with his son. Ghost Empire is a revelation: a beautifully told ode to a lost civilisation, and a warmly observed father-son adventure far from home.
 
 
 
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families 
Philip Gourevitch 
 
Winner of the Guardian First Book award, a first-hand account of one of the defining outrages of modern history.
 
All at once, as it seemed, something we could have only imagined was upon us - and we could still only imagine it. This is what fascinates me most in existence: the peculiar necessity of imagining what is, in fact, real.
 
In 1994, the Rwandan government orchestrated a campaign of extermination, in which everyone in the Hutu majority was called upon to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Close to a million people were slaughtered in a hundred days, and the rest of the world did nothing to stop it. A year later, Philip Gourevitch went to Rwanda to investigate the most unambiguous genocide since Hitler's war against the Jews.
 
Hailed by the Guardian as one of the hundred greatest nonfiction books of all time, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families is a firsthand account one of the defining outrages of modern history, an unforgettable anatomy of Rwanda's decimation. As riveting as it is moving, it is a profound reckoning with humanity's betrayal and its perseverance.
 
 
The Long Walk - The True Story of a Trek to Freedom
Slavomir Rawicz 
 
The harrowing true tale of seven escaped Soviet prisoners who desperately marched out of Siberia through China, the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and over the Himalayas to British India.
 
 
Coming Up for Air
George Orwell
 
George Orwell's paean to the end of an idyllic era in British history, Coming Up for Air is a poignant account of one man's attempt to recapture childhood innocence as war looms on the horizon.
 
George Bowling, 45, mortgaged, married with children, is an insurance salesman with an expanding waistline, a new set of false teeth - and a desperate desire to escape his dreary life. He fears modern times - since, in 1939, the Second World War is imminent - foreseeing food queues, soldiers, secret police and tyranny. So he decides to escape to the world of his childhood, to the village he remembers as a rural haven of peace and tranquillity. But his return journey to Lower Binfield may bring only a more complete disillusionment.
 



Please support our advertisers:

< Back to main category



Login now
Ad