Best books

Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography

By David S. Reynolds

In his poetry Walt Whitman got down to surround all of the US and in so doing heal its deepening divisions. This magisterial biography demonstrates the epic scale of his success, in addition to the desires and anxieties that impelled it, for it areas the poet securely in the political and cultural context of his age.

Combing during the complete diversity of Whitman's writing, David Reynolds exhibits how Whitman collected proposal from each stratum of nineteenth-century American lifestyles: the convulsions of slavery and melancholy; the raffish dandyism of the Bowery "b'hoys"; the exuberant rhetoric of actors, orators, and divines. We see how Whitman reconciled his personal sexuality with modern social mores and the way his lively courtship of the general public presaged the vogues of advertisements and superstar. Brilliantly researched, captivatingly instructed, Walt Whitman's America is a victorious paintings of scholarship that breathes new lifestyles into the biographical style.

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Technology: A World History (New Oxford World History)

By Daniel R. Headrick

At the present time know-how has created a global of mind-blowing growth, becoming disparities of wealth and poverty, and looming threats to the surroundings. Technology: a global History bargains an illuminating backdrop to our current moment--a magnificent historical past of invention all over the world. Historian Daniel R. Headrick levels from the Stone Age and the beginnings of agriculture to the commercial Revolution and the digital revolution of the hot previous. In tracing the growing to be strength of people over nature via more and more strong thoughts, he compares the evolution of know-how in several components of the realm, supplying a much wider account than is located in different histories of expertise. We additionally observe how small alterations occasionally have dramatic results--how, for example, the stirrup revolutionized warfare and gave the Mongols a perilous virtue over the chinese language. and the way the nailed horseshoe was once a pivotal leap forward for western farmers. Enlivened with many illustrations, Technology bargains a desirable examine the unfold of innovations world wide, either as boons for humanity and as guns of destruction.

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Flying Colours (Hornblower Saga)

By C. S. Forester

Compelled to give up his send, the Sutherland, after an extended and bloody conflict, Captain Horatio Hornblower now bides his time as a prisoner in a French citadel. inside of days he and his first lieutenant, Bush, who used to be crippled within the final struggle, are to be taken to Paris to be attempted on trumped-up fees of violating the legislation of battle, and most likely completed as a part of Napoleon's try to rally the warweary empire at the back of him. whether Hornblower escapes this destiny and by some means reveals his as far back as England, he'll face court-martial for his hand over of a British send. As fears for his existence and his recognition compete in his brain with concerns approximately his pregnant spouse and his in all likelihood widowed lover, the indomitable captain imetierntly awaits the opportunity to make his subsequent flow.

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Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy

By John Julius Norwich

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In a chronicle that captures approximately thousand years of idea and intrigue, John Julius Norwich recounts in riveting aspect the histories of the main major popes and what they intended politically, culturally, and socially to Rome and to the realm. Norwich offers such popes as blameless I, who within the 5th century effectively negotiated with Alaric the Goth, an invader civil specialists couldn't defeat; Leo I, who twenty years later tamed (and probably paid off) Attila the Hun; the notorious “pornocracy”—the 5 libertines who have been descendants or fans of Marozia, debauched daughter of 1 of Rome’s strongest households; Pope Paul III, “the maximum pontiff of the 16th century,” who reinterpreted the Church’s instructing and self-discipline; John XXIII, who in 5 brief years beginning in 1958 instituted reforms that ended in Vatican II; and Benedict XVI, who's dealing with today’s worldwide priest intercourse scandal. Epic and compelling, Absolute Monarchs is a captivating historical past from “an enthralling and pleasing raconteur” (The Washington Post).

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Backstage at the Lincoln Assassination: The Untold Story of the Actors and Stagehands at Ford’s Theatre

By Thomas A. Bogar

April 14, 1865. A recognized actor pulls a set off within the presidential balcony, leaps to the level and escapes, because the president lies fatally wounded. within the panic that follows, forty-six terrified humans scatter in and round Ford’s Theater as infantrymen take in stations by way of the doorways and the viewers surges into the streets chanting, “Burn where down!”

This is the untold tale of Lincoln’s assassination: the forty-six level fingers, actors, and theater staff to be had for the bewildering occasions within the theater that evening, and what every one of them witnessed within the chaos-streaked hours sooner than John Wilkes sales space used to be chanced on to be the offender. In Backstage on the Lincoln Assassination, historian Thomas A. Bogar delves into formerly unpublished assets to inform the tale of Lincoln’s assassination from behind the scenes, and the story is surprising. Police rounded up and arrested dozens of blameless humans, losing time that allowed the genuine offender to get extra away. a few heavily hooked up to John Wilkes sales space weren't even puzzled, whereas blameless witnesses have been relentlessly pursued. sales space used to be extra hooked up with the construction than you could have known—learn how he knew every one member of the forged and group, which used to be a hotbed of secessionist resentment. Backstage on the Lincoln Assassination additionally tells the tale of what occurred to every of those witnesses to historical past, after the research used to be over—how every one lived their lives after seeing one in every of America’s maximum presidents shot useless with no warning.

Backstage on the Lincoln Assassination is an exquisitely distinctive examine this recognized occasion from a wholly special approach. it truly is needs to interpreting for a person occupied with the saga of Lincoln’s existence and the Civil conflict era.

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In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

By Nathaniel Philbrick

From the writer of Mayflower and the drawing close Valiant Ambition, the riveting bestseller tells the tale of the real occasions that encouraged Melville's Moby-Dick.

Winner of the nationwide publication Award, Nathaniel Philbrick's booklet is a lovely saga of survival and event, steeped within the lore of whaling, with deep resonance in American literature and background.

In 1820, the whaleship Essex was rammed and sunk through an offended sperm whale, leaving the determined team to float for greater than 90 days in 3 tiny boats. Nathaniel Philbrick makes use of little-known files and shiny information about the Nantucket whaling culture to bare the chilling evidence of this notorious maritime catastrophe. In the center of the Sea, lately tailored right into a significant function movie starring Chris Hemsworth, is a ebook for the a while.

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1920: The Year of the Six Presidents

By David Pietrusza

The presidential election of 1920 used to be between history’s so much dramatic. Six once-and-future presidents-Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt-jockeyed for the White residence. With citizens settling on among Wilson’s League of countries and Harding’s front-porch isolationism, the 1920 election formed smooth the United States. ladies gained the vote. Republicans outspent Democrats via four to at least one, as electorate witnessed the 1st broad newsreel insurance, smooth crusade advertisements, and effects broadcast on radio. the US had turn into an city country: cars, mass creation, chain shops, and straightforward credits remodeled the economic system. 1920 paints a brilliant portrait of the US, beset by way of the purple Scare, jailed dissidents, Prohibition, smoke-filled rooms, bomb-throwing terrorists, and the Klan, gingerly crossing modernity’s threshold.

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Geographies of the Holocaust (The Spatial Humanities)

This ebook explores the geographies of the Holocaust at each scale of human event, from the ecu continent to the reviews of person human our bodies. outfitted on six cutting edge case stories, it brings jointly historians and geographers to interrogate the areas and areas of the genocide. The situations surround the landscapes of specific locations (the killing zones within the East, deportations from websites in Italy, the camps of Auschwitz, the ghettos of Budapest) and the intimate areas of our bodies on evacuation marches. Geographies of the Holocaust places ahead types and a study time table for various methods of visualizing and brooding about the Holocaust by means of interpreting the areas and areas the place it used to be enacted and experienced.

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Why the West Rules--for Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future

By Ian Morris

A New York Times impressive e-book for 2011

Sometime round 1750, English marketers unleashed the miraculous energies of steam and coal, and the realm used to be without end replaced. The emergence of factories, railroads, and gunboats propelled the West's upward push to energy within the 19th century, and the improvement of pcs and nuclear guns within the 20th century secured its international supremacy. Now, firstly of the twenty-first century, many fear that the rising monetary energy of China and India spells the tip of the West as a superpower. for you to comprehend this probability, we have to glance again in time. Why has the West ruled the globe for the prior 2 hundred years, and may its energy last?

Describing the styles of human historical past, the archaeologist and historian Ian Morris bargains excellent new solutions to either questions. it's not, he unearths, changes of race or tradition, or perhaps the strivings of serious participants, that designate Western dominance. it's the results of geography at the daily efforts of standard humans as they care for crises of assets, illness, migration, and weather. As geography and human ingenuity proceed to have interaction, the area will switch in remarkable methods, reworking Western rule within the process.

Deeply researched and brilliantly argued, Why the West Rules―for Now spans fifty thousand years of historical past and gives clean insights on approximately each web page. The ebook brings jointly the most recent findings throughout disciplines―from historical background to neuroscience―not simply to provide an explanation for why the West got here to rule the area but additionally to foretell what the longer term will herald the subsequent hundred years.

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Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him

By Donald Rayfield

Stalin didn't act on my own. The mass executions, the mock trials, the betrayals and purges, the jailings and mystery torture that ravaged the Soviet Union through the 3 many years of Stalin’s dictatorship, have been the results of a decent community of depended on henchmen (and women), spies, psychopaths, and thugs. on the most sensible of this pyramid of terror sat 5 imperative hangmen who presided over many of the incarnations of Stalin’s mystery police. Now, in his harrowing new e-book, Donald Rayfield probes the lives, the minds, the twisted careers, and the unpunished crimes of Stalin’s dependable assassins.

Founded by means of Feliks Dzierzynski, the Cheka–the outstanding Commission–came to lifestyles within the first years of the Russian Revolution. Spreading worry in a time of chaos, the Cheka proved an ideal tool for Stalin’s ruthless consolidation of energy. yet brutal because it used to be, the Cheka lower than Dzierzynski used to be amateurish in comparison to the well-oiled killing machines that succeeded it. Genrikh Iagoda’s OGPU really expert in political assassination, propaganda, and the manipulation of overseas intellectuals. Later, the NKVD recruited a brand new iteration of torturers. beginning in 1938, terror mastermind Lavrenti Beria introduced violent repression to a brand new top of ingenuity and sadism.

As Rayfield exhibits, Stalin and his henchmen labored relentlessly to coerce and suborn major Soviet intellectuals, artists, writers, legal professionals, and scientists. Maxim Gorky, Aleksandr Fadeev, Alexei Tolstoi, Isaak Babel, and Osip Mandelstam have been all stuck in Stalin’s web–courted, toyed with, betrayed, after which ruthlessly destroyed. In bringing to gentle the careers, personalities, relationships, and “accomplishments” of Stalin’s key henchmen and their such a lot trendy sufferers, Rayfield creates a chilling drama of the intersection of political fanaticism, own vulnerability, and blind lust for energy spanning part a century.

Though Beria misplaced his power–and his life–after Stalin’s loss of life in 1953, the basic tools of the hangmen maintained their grip into the second one 1/2 the 20th century. certainly, Rayfield argues, the culture of terror, faraway from disappearing, has emerged with renewed power less than Vladimir Putin. Written with grace, ardour, and a stunning command of the intricacies of Soviet politics and society, Stalin and the Hangmen is a devastating indictment of the contributors and beliefs that saved Stalin in strength.

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