The Invention of Nature
By Andrea Wulf
WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARDWINNER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE 2016'A thrilling adventure story' Bill Bryson'Dazzling' Literary Review 'Brilliant' Sunday Express'Extraordinary and gripping' New Scientist'A superb biography' The Economist'An exhilarating armchair voyage' GILES MILTON, Mail on Sunday Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist - more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar's revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, 'the greatest man since the Deluge'.Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps - racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles - Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and The Invention of Nature traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution. He wanted to know and understand everything and his way of thinking was so far ahead of his time that it's only coming into its own now. Alexander von Humboldt really did invent the way we see nature.
Imagination and a Pile of Junk
By Trevor Norton
'In his whistle-stop tour of inventions large and small, the scientist Trevor Norton shares the Gershwins' view that invention is fundamentally comic.' The Sunday TimesTrevor Norton, who has been compared to Gerard Durrell and Bill Bryson, weaves an entertaining history with a seductive mix of eureka moments, disasters and dirty tricks. Although inventors were often scientists or engineers, many were not: Samuel Morse (Morse code) was a painter, Lazlow Biro (ballpoint) was a sculptor and hypnotist, and Logie Baird (TV) sold boot polish. The inventor of the automatic telephone switchboard was an undertaker who believed the operator was diverting his calls to rival morticians so he decided to make all telephone operators redundant. Inventors are mavericks indifferent to conventional wisdom so critics were dismissive of even their best ideas: radio had 'no future,' electric light was 'an idiotic idea' and X-rays were 'a hoax.' Even so, the state of New Jersey moved to ban X-ray opera glasses. The head of the General Post Office rejected telephones as unneccesary as there were 'plenty of small boys to run messages.'Inventomania is a magical place where eccentrics are always in season and their stories are usually unbelievable - but rest assured, nothing has been invented.
In Our Time
By Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg's In Our Time series regularly enlightens and entertains substantial audiences on BBC Radio 4. For this book he has selected episodes which reflect the diversity of the radio programmes, and takes us on an amazing tour through the history of ideas, from philosophy, physics and history to religion, literature and biology. We can discover the reasons for the fall of the Byzantine empire, and why women were persecuted as witches in the seventeenth century. What shape is the origin of life? Where does our calendar come from? We can unearth the influence of prime numbers, Socrates and Tectonic plates. Melvyn Bragg orchestrates the ideas of leading academics in each field so that the dynamic and lively discussion from the programmes comes through vividly on the page. IN OUR TIME brings to life the signposts of history, the moments that significantly changed the world as we know it, and the individuals and ideas that made us what we are today.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Teach Yourself Ebook
By Stewart Ross
Understand the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is the essential guide to one of the world's most distressing confrontations. Putting the present situation into its broader context and examining all perspectives, it unravels the origins and development of issues which make the headlines daily. Each aspect of this complex conflict is explained with engaging objectivity which will ensure you can examine the issues from all perspectives and in a social, political, historical and international framework.NOT GOT MUCH TIME?One, five and ten-minute introductions to key principles to get you started.AUTHOR INSIGHTSLots of instant help with common problems and quick tips for success, based on the author's many years of experience.EXTEND YOUR KNOWLEDGEExtra online articles at www.teachyourself.com to give you a richer understanding.FIVE THINGS TO REMEMBERQuick refreshers to help you remember the key facts.TRY THISInnovative exercises illustrate what you've learnt and how to use it.
The Interesting Bits
By Justin Pollard
Did you give school history lessons your undivided attention? Even if you did, youre probably none the wiser as to how exactly Henry II of France came to have a two-foot splinter in his head or why Alexandra of Bavaria believed she had swallowed a piano. Or where terms like bunkum, maverick, John Bull and taking the mickey come from; or how the Tsarina of Russia once saved a life with a comma; or why Robert Pate hit Queen Victoria on the head with a walking stick. For some unknown reason the most interesting bits of history are kept out of lessons and away from syllabuses. Relegated to historys footnotes, they lie buried beneath the dense text like a few golden nuggets in a mountain of granite. Now The Interesting Bits rights this wrong; it is a veritable treasure trove of those surprising, eccentric, chaotic, baffling asides that dont fit neatly into historys official narrative. They are historys little-known treasures the gems that generations of teachers have excised from lessons on the grounds that they might make history too much like well fun.
In Search of the English Eccentric
By Henry Hemming
The English eccentric is under threat. In our increasingly homogenised society, these celebrated parts of our national identity are anomalies that may soon no longer fit. Or so it seems. On his entertaining and thought-provoking quest to discover the most eccentric English person alive today, Henry Hemming unearths a surprisingly large array of delightfully odd characters. He asks what it is to be an eccentric. Is it simply to thrive on creativity and non-conformity, and where does this incarnation of Englishness stem from? Hemming concludes that this tribe is, in fact, in rude health, as essential as ever to the English national identity, only they are no longer to be found where youd expect them.
In My Father's House: The Years before 'The Hiding Place'
By Corrie Ten Boom
Concentrating upon her family and their life in Holland before the war, this inspiring and revealing book describes in moving detail living above the family watch shop in Harlem and her memories of the family together before their lives changed for ever with the advent of war and persecution.Corrie believed that this life helped prepare them for carrying out God's work later and gave her the strength to survive the war, brutal hardship and persecution and begin her worldwide ministry.This much loved book is being re-issued in B format with a contemporary cover.
The Ivy: The Restaurant and its Recipes
By A A Gill, Harriet Logan, Henry Bourne