The fascinating, often surprising story of how a simple black rock has altered the course of history. Prized as "the best stone in Britain" by Roman invaders who carved jewelry out of it, coal has transformed societies, powered navies, fueled economies, and expanded frontiers. It made China a twelfth-century superpower, inspired the writing of the Communist Manifesto, and helped the northern states win the American Civil War.
For 2,000 years, cadavers—some willingly, some unwittingly—have been involved in science's boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating, ennobling account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and, in so doing, tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.
John Paul Jones, at sea and in the heat of battle, was the great American hero of the Age of Sail. He was to history what Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey and C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower are to fiction. Ruthless, indomitable, clever; he vowed to sail, as he put it, "in harm's way."
Eisenhower, the CIA, and the Hidden Story of America's Space Espionage
Philip Taubman Michael Prichard
During the early and most dangerous years of the cold war, a handful of Americans, led by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, revolutionized spying and warfare. In great secrecy and beyond the prying eyes of Congress and the press, they built exotic new machines that opened up the Soviet Union to surveillance and protected the United States from surprise nuclear attack. Secret Empire is the dramatic story of these men and their inventions, told in full for the first time.
How the United States Was Shaped by the Greatest Land Sale in History
Andro Linklater Alan Sklar
How we ultimately gained the American Customary System-the last traditional system in the world-and how Gunter's chain indelibly imprinted its dimensions on the land, on cities, and on our culture from coast to coast is both an exciting human and intellectual drama and one of the great untold stories in American history. Sagely argued and beautifully written, Measuring America offers readers nothing less than the opportunity to see America's history-and our democracy-in a brilliant new light.
An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror
Stephen Kinzer Michael Prichard
In a cloak-and-dagger story of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents, Stephen Kinzer reveals the involvement of Eisenhower, Churchill, Kermit Roosevelt, and the CIA in Operation Ajax, which restored Mohammad Reza Shah to power in Iran.
Cayce Pollard is a new kind of prophet - a world renowned "coolhunter" who predicts the hottest trends. While in London to evaluate the redesign of a famous corporate logo, she's offered a different assignment: find the creator of the obscure, enigmatic video clips being uploaded on the Internet - footage that is generating massive underground buzz worldwide.
Ireland's patron saint has long been shrouded in legend: he drove the snakes out of Ireland; he triumphed over Druids and their super-natural powers; he used a shamrock to explain the Christian mystery of the Trinity. But his true story is more fascinating than the myths.
How Bill Clinton's Failures Unleashed Global Terror
Richard Miniter Alan Sklar
Years before the public knew about bin Laden, Bill Clinton did. Bin Laden first attacked Americans during Clinton's presidential transition in December 1992. He struck again at the World Trade Center in February 1993. Over the next eight years the arch-terrorist's attacks would escalate, killing hundreds and wounding thousands - while Clinton did his best to stymie the FBI and CIA, and refused to wage a real war on terror. Why?
The Untold Story of America's Anti-Terrorist Commander
Rowan Scarborough Alan Sklar
When terrorists crashed a plane into the Pentagon, he was there-helping carry the wounded to safety. And he's been there-leading the war on terror, directing its operations around the world in both open and covert missions, and bluntly focusing on one primary goal: killing terrorists. He is Donald Rumsfeld. His great fear was a second Pearl Harbor. When it happened on September 11, 2001, he led the charge to make sure it never happens again.
Using a mix of experiential reportage, personal storytelling, and fresh scientific discovery, Steven Johnson describes how the brain works — its chemicals, structures, and subroutines — and how these systems connect to the day-to-day realities of individual lives. For a hundred years, he says, many of us have assumed that the most powerful route to self-knowledge took the form of lying on a couch, talking about our childhoods. The possibility entertained in this book is that you can follow another path, in which learning about the brain's mechanics can widen one's self-awareness as powerfully as any therapy or meditation or drug.
Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism
Bob Edwards Bob Edwards
Good Night, and Good Luck nominated for 6 Academy Awards!
Long before the era of the news anchor, the pundit, and the mini-cam, one man blazed a trail that thousands would follow. Edwards brings to life the great stories Murrow covered and brought into American living rooms for the first time—the rooftop reports of the London Blitz, bombing raids over Berlin, and the 1954 broadcast that helped bring down Senator Joe McCarthy—as well as the ups and downs of his career at CBS. Edwards reveals how Murrow dramatically impacted public opinion and how the high standards he lived by influenced an entire generation of broadcasters. Includes LIVE radio broadcasts.
On the Front Lines with the Disease Detectives of the Epidemic Intelligence Service
Maryn McKenna Ellen Archer
IN THE WAR AGAINST DISEASES, THEY ARE THE SPECIAL FORCES.
They always keep a bag packed. They seldom have more than twenty-four hours' notice before they are dispatched. The phone calls that tell them to head to the airport, sometimes in the middle of the night, may give them no more information than the country they are traveling to and the epidemic they will tackle when they get there.
The Popes' Secret Plot to Capture Rome from the New Italian State
David I. Kertzer Alan Sklar
Based on a wealth of documents long buried in the Vatican archives, Prisoner of the Vatican tells the story of the Church's secret attempt to block the unification of Italy and seize control - not in ancient times, but in the late nineteenth century. For more than fifty years, the pope was a self-imposed prisoner within the Vatican walls, planning to flee Italy, to return only as the restored ruler of Rome and the Papal States. The scheme to dismantle the newborn Italian nation involved not only the cardinals and the Curia but also attempts to exploit the rivalries among France, Germany, Austria, Spain, and England.
The extraordinary story of the little South African boy whose bravery and fierce determination to make a difference despite being born with AIDS has made him the human symbol of the world's fight against the disease, told by the veteran American journalist whose life he changed.
From these slender moments Trevor creates whole lives, conjuring up characters marked by bitterness and loss. William Trevor's graceful prose is a wonder in itself, and as convincing when inhabiting the mind of a school lunchmaid, an adulterous Irish country librarian or a murderer on the London streets. And as is always the case with William Trevor, venom and tragedy are never far from the still surface of the stories.
At the heart of this stunning collection is Trevor's characteristic tenderness and unflinching eye for both the humanizing and dehumanizing aspects of modern urban and rural life.