An irresistible journey of discovery, science, history, and myth making, told through the lives and afterlives of seven famous human ancestors Over the last century, the search for human ancestors has spanned four continents and resulted in the discovery of hundreds of fossils. While most of these discoveries live quietly in museum collections, there are a few that have become world-renowned celebrity personas ambassadors of science that speak to public audiences. In Seven Skeletons, historian of science Lydia Pyne explores how seven such famous fossils of our ancestors have the social cachet they enjoy today. Drawing from archives, museums, and interviews, Pyne builds a cultural history for each celebrity fossil from its discovery to its afterlife in museum exhibits to its legacy in popular culture. These seven include the three-foot tall hobbit from Flores, the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the Taung Child, the Piltdown Man hoax, Peking Man, Australopithecus sediba, and Lucy each embraced and celebrated by generations, and vivid examples of how discoveries of how our ancestors have been received, remembered, and immortalized. With wit and insight, Pyne brings to life each fossil, and how it is described, put on display, and shared among scientific communities and the broader public. This fascinating, endlessly entertaining book puts the impact of paleoanthropology into new context, a reminder of how our past as a species continues to affect, in astounding ways, our present culture and imagination.
A bizarre collection of evolution tales . . . the weirder, the better. --Entertainment Weekly A fascinating exploration of the awe-inspiring, unsettling ingenuity of evolution from Wired writer Matt Simon, author of Plight of the Living Dead (coming soon from Penguin Books) On a barren seafloor, the pearlfish swims into the safety of a sea cucumber's anus. To find a meal, the female bolas spider releases pheromones that mimic a female moth, luring male moths into her sticky lasso web. The Glyptapanteles wasp injects a caterpillar with her young, which feed on the victim, erupt out of it, then mind-control the poor (and somehow still living) schmuck into protecting them from predators.
These are among the curious critters of The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar, a jaunt through evolution's most unbelievable, most ingenious solutions to the problems of everyday life, from trying to get laid to finding food. Join Wired science writer Matt Simon as he introduces you to the creatures that have it figured out, the ones that joust with their mustaches or choke sharks to death with snot, all in a wild struggle to survive and, of course, find true love.
Winner of the American Library Association's Alex Award
There was a national outcry in 2015 when the BBC announced that they were parting ways with Jeremy Clarkson. However, one thing was clear; he was never going to be away from our screens for long...
During his time on Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson established himself not only as a motoring aficionado but also an unlikely political commentator with a knack for telling us how it is (and putting his foot in it). However, his 'gaffes' only made the nation love him more. Whilst the Beeb tried to revive Top Gear after the departure of Clarkson, May and Hammond with an all-star line-up including Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, something just wasn't right. They soon learned to their cost that there's no one quite like Clarkson. From scandals over 'feckless Mexicans' and infamous punch-ups to his escapades on The Grand Tour, this is the true story of his extraordinary life and career. This entertaining and fully up-to-date biography charts Clarkson's rise and fall (and rise again) along with the uncensored views and hilarious anecdotes that have made him a national treasure.
No one has ever written the history of the Defense Department's most secret, most powerful, and most controversial military science R&D agency. In this first-ever, in depth account of the organization, New York Times bestselling author Annie Jacobsen draws on inside sources, exclusive interviews, private documents, and declassified memos to paint a picture of DARPA, or the Pentagon's brain, from its Cold War inception in 1958 to the present. This is the book on DARPA-- a compelling narrative about the clandestine intersection of science and the American military and the often frightening results.
Renaissance master Andrea Palladio's architectural DNA can be seen on modern-day icons from Buckingham Palace to the White House, from numerous English stately homes to Virginian plantation houses. In THE PERFECT HOUSE Witold Rybczynski travels along the Brenta River in north-eastern Italy to experience the surviving original Palladian villas for himself. He sets out to discover how a rustic sixteenth-century stonemason, born Andrea di Pietro, first had to become 'cultured' before he could be one of the most respected architects of all time, and how Palladio managed to bring the elegance of Ancient Rome to the Venetian countryside. Out of the chaos of hired cars and cheap flights, towns packed with 'Ristoranti Palladio' and herds of tourists, Rybczynski savours moments of epiphany as he contemplates Palladio's perfect houses. Part travelogue, part historical biography, part architectural guide, THE PERFECT HOUSE is a delightful and enlightening exploration of the birth of domestic architecture and the man who spawned it.
ABBEY'S CHOICE APRIL 2016 ----- At the end of World War II, it was assumed that the letters of Heinrich Himmler were lost. Yet sixty years after Himmler's capture by British troops and subsequent suicide, the letters mysteriously turned up in Tel Aviv and, in early 2014, excerpts were published for the first time by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot providing a rare, if jarring, glimpse into the family life of one of Hitler's top lieutenants while he was busy organizing the mass extermination of the Jews.
It was generally held that Himmler, once appointed head of the SS, blended seamlessly into the Nazi hierarchy. The image that emerges, however, is more subtle. Himmler is seen here as a man whose observations can often be characterized by their unpleasant banality; a man whose obsession with family life ran alongside a brutal detachment from all things human, a serial killer who oversaw the persecution and extermination of all Jews and other non-Aryans, and those opposed to the regime. His letters remove any doubt that he was the architect of the Final Solution, and a man who was much closer to Hitler than many historians previously thought.
The letters in this edition were arranged by Katrin Himmler, the great-niece of Heinrich and Marga Himmler while Michael Wildt, a renowned expert on the Nazi regime, provides historical context to the letters and their author. The entire work was translated by Thomas S. Hansen and Abby Hansen.
Joy Wilson believes that everything is better with pie. And caramel. And definitely ice cream.
Her world is pretty sweet - she dabbles daily in butter and sugar as her blogging alter ego, Joy the Baker.
Her book Joy the Baker: Homemade Decadence is packed with 125 of her favourite, super-easy, mostly over-the-top, totally delicious treats, such as:
- Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and Smoked Sea Salt Cookies
- Butterscotch Cream Pie with Thyme-Marshmallow Meringue
- Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
- Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Making your own wedding cake is easy when you've been shown the right materials and techniques, and this is the only book to teach you. It is full of step-by-step guidance and advice, with plenty of tips to help a novice create something stunning and inspirational. This visually enticing step-by-step cake baking and decorating manual makes DIY wedding cakes easily accessible for everyone. In text and images that are both instructional and entertaining, Natasha Collins takes the reader through the whole process of choosing their design, baking their cake, embellishing it, transporting it, presenting it and serving it, so that they can be certain of success at every stage. Every project includes a timetable indicating how long each part of the process will take, and gives a schedule for when the cake should best be decorated and set up in relation to when it is going to be eaten. The book begins with basic instructions such as ingredients; equipment; trimming, filling and covering a cake; creating floral and paper decorations; and getting your cake from your kitchen and on to your guests' plates. The second half of the book comprises five chapters, each representing a distinctive style and theme (with four to five cake designs provided for each theme): Romantic beginnings (traditional flavoured cakes with romantic decorations); Putting on the glitz (glamorous, 'glitzy' cakes); Laughing all the way to the altar (fun, modern cakes); Home(spun) is where the heart is (rustic, pretty cakes); Magic in the air (bohemian style cakes).
This follow-up to the author's James Beard award-winning Secrets of a Jewish Baker is a charming collection of European-style bakery classics, such as coffee cake and strudel. George Greenstein had a gift for teaching home bakers to think, work, and bake like the pros with his evocative and tactile descriptions of baking. In A Jewish Baker's Pastry Secrets, he crafts master dough recipes for Jewish holiday baking and European classics, creating a comprehensive set of building blocks for both beginners and baking enthusiasts. Greenstein's expert guidance for making doughs like bundt, babka, strudel, gugelhopf, stollen, pressburger, puff pastry, and Danish create a jumping-off point for more than 200 variations of classic pastries, including napoleons, coffee cakes, and sweet buns. The book also offers an in-depth guide to ingredients and equipment, including both professional and home ovens, as well as basic recipes for fillings, icings, and glazes. With Greenstein's steady guidance and familiar voice, home bakers and professionals alike will be encouraged to turn out flawless pastry creations for any occasion.
This book offers expert advice from the culinary world's most respected magazine. It features over 125 deliciously recipes, with chocolate, ranging from tarts and cookies to sweets and sauces! A beautiful book with recipes that are suitable for all skill levels. For years, most cooks only worried about choosing between semi-sweet and milk chocolate when whipping up chocolate creations. These days, however, it's vital to know the origins, varieties and unique characteristics of each ingredient to create perfect recipes. The experts at Fine Cooking magazine have taken the guesswork out of making more than 125 scrumptious sensations from layer cakes, tarts and pies to muffins, cookies and brownies to sweets, sauces and hot cocoa. Each recipe features must-know tips on choosing and buying just the right chocolate; simple step-by-step instructions and authoritative advice from respected experts. In other words, Absolutely Chocolate is absolutely fabulous!
The true account of the 1979 rescue of six American hostages from Iran On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal and a quake in global politics still reverberating today. But there's a little-known footnote to the crisis: six Americans escaped. And a midlevel agent named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them. Armed with foreign film visas, Mendez and an unlikely team of CIA agents and Hollywood insiders--directors, producers, and actors--traveled to Tehran under the guise of scouting locations for a fake film called Argo. While pretending to find the perfect scenery and backdrops, the team succeeded in contacting the escapees and smuggling them out of Iran without a single shot being fired. Antonio Mendez finally details the mind-bogglingly complex and dangerous operation he led more than three decades ago. A true story of secret identities and international intrigue, Argo is the gripping account of this history-making collusion between Hollywood and high-stakes espionage.
In 1945 Britain was the world's leading designer and builder of aircraft - a world-class achievement that was not mere rhetoric. And what aircraft they were. The sleek Comet, the first jet airliner. The awesome delta-winged Vulcan, an intercontinental bomber that could be thrown about the sky like a fighter. The Hawker Hunter, the most beautiful fighter-jet ever built and the Lightning, which could zoom ten miles above the clouds in a couple of minutes and whose pilots rated flying it as better than sex. Just what was it like to be alive in that marvellous post-war moment when innovative new British aircraft made their debut, and pilots were the rock stars of the age?
James Hamilton-Paterson captures that season of glory in a compelling book that fuses his own memories of being a schoolboy plane spotter with a ruefully realistic history of British decline - its loss of self confidence and power. It is the story of great and charismatic machines and the men who flew them: heroes such as Bill Waterton, Neville Duke, John Derry and Bill Beaumont who took inconceivable risks, so that we could fly without a second thought.
The untold stories of the young women who went out to India during the Raj in search of husbands.
From the late 19th century, when the Raj was at its height, many of Britain's best and brightest young men went out to India to work as administrators, soldiers and businessmen. With the advent of steam travel and the opening of the Suez Canal, countless young women, suffering at the lack of eligible men in Britain, followed in their wake. This amorphous band was composed of daughters returning after their English education, girls invited to stay with married sisters or friends, and yet others whose declared or undeclared goal was simply to find a husband. They were known as the Fishing Fleet, and this book is their story, hitherto untold. For these young women, often away from home for the first time, one thing they could be sure of was a rollicking good time. By the early twentieth century, a hectic social scene was in place, with dances, parties, amateur theatricals, picnics, tennis tournaments, cinemas, gymkhanas with perhaps a tiger shoot and a glittering dinner at a raja's palace thrown in. And, with men outnumbering women by roughly four to one, romances were conducted at alarming speed and marriages were frequent. But after the honeymoon life often changed dramatically: whisked off to a remote outpost with few other Europeans for company and where constant vigilance was required to guard against disease, they found it a far cry from the social whirlwind of their first arrival. Anne de Courcy's sparkling narrative is enriched by a wealth of first-hand sources - unpublished memoirs, letters, diaries and photographs - which bring this forgotten era vividly to life.
THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER THE EPIC TRUE STORY OF DUNKIRK - NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY CHRISTOPHER NOLAN AND STARRING KENNETH BRANAGH, TOM HARDY AND MARK RYLANCE.
In 1940, at the French port of Dunkirk, more than 300,000 trapped Allied troops were dramatically rescued from destruction at the hands of Nazi Germany by an extraordinary seaborne evacuation. The true history of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and civilians involved in the nine-day skirmish has passed into legend. Now, the story Winston Churchill described as a 'miracle' is narrated by bestselling author Joshua Levine in its full, sweeping context, including new interviews with veterans and survivors.
Told from the viewpoints of land, sea and air, Joshua Levine's Dunkirk is a dramatic account of a defeat that paved the way to ultimate victory and preserved liberty for generations to come.
WINNER INDIE AWARDS 2018 - NON-FICTION
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Iceland holds a particular fascination for Fidler, and he first met Gislason as a guest on his radio program. They became firm friends and Fidler learned that the powerful Sagas – sweeping stories of blood and family, feuds and love – are true tales of the medieval Vikings who settled on Iceland. They decide to travel to the places mentioned in the Sagas, but also to try to solve a mystery – is Gislason descended from the greatest Saga writer of them all? An enticing and enchanting read! Lindy Jones
A gripping blend of family mystery, contemporary stories and the beautiful and bloody Viking tales, set against the starkly stunning landscape of Iceland.
Broadcaster Richard Fidler and author Kari Gislason are good friends. They share a deep attachment to the sagas of Iceland - the true stories of the first Viking families who settled on that remote island in the Middle Ages.
These are tales of blood feuds, of dangerous women, and people who are compelled to kill the ones they love the most. The sagas are among the greatest stories ever written, but the identity of their authors is largely unknown. Together, Richard and Kari travel across Iceland, to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago.
They cross fields, streams and fjords to immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island. And there is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery - a gift from Kari's Icelandic father that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors.
'Wise and unassuming, humorous and remarkably affecting all at the same time, The Promise of Iceland is an enchanting reflection of a fascinating life and a profound exploration of the human condition.' Krysi Egan, Stilts
We already know Fidler is an interviewer of great empathy, now we know he mirrors that skill on the page, too.' Andrew McMillan, The Australian
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER From National Book Award finalist David I. Kertzer comes the gripping story of Pope Pius XI's secret relations with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. This groundbreaking work, based on seven years of research in the Vatican and Fascist archives, including reports from Mussolini's spies inside the highest levels of the Church, will forever change our understanding of the Vatican's role in the rise of Fascism in Europe.
The Pope and Mussolini tells the story of two men who came to power in 1922, and together changed the course of twentieth-century history. In most respects, they could not have been more different. One was scholarly and devout, the other thuggish and profane. Yet Pius XI and Il Duce had many things in common. They shared a distrust of democracy and a visceral hatred of Communism. Both were prone to sudden fits of temper and were fiercely protective of the prerogatives of their office. ( We have many interests to protect, the Pope declared, soon after Mussolini seized control of the government in 1922.) Each relied on the other to consolidate his power and achieve his political goals. In a challenge to the conventional history of this period, in which a heroic Church does battle with the Fascist regime, Kertzer shows how Pius XI played a crucial role in making Mussolini's dictatorship possible and keeping him in power. In exchange for Vatican support, Mussolini restored many of the privileges the Church had lost and gave in to the pope's demands that the police enforce Catholic morality. Yet in the last years of his life--as the Italian dictator grew ever closer to Hitler--the pontiff's faith in this treacherous bargain started to waver. With his health failing, he began to lash out at the Duce and threatened to denounce Mussolini's anti-Semitic racial laws before it was too late. Horrified by the threat to the Church-Fascist alliance, the Vatican's inner circle, including the future Pope Pius XII, struggled to restrain the headstrong pope from destroying a partnership that had served both the Church and the dictator for many years.
The Pope and Mussolini brims with memorable portraits of the men who helped enable the reign of Fascism in Italy: Father Pietro Tacchi Venturi, Pius's personal emissary to the dictator, a wily anti-Semite known as Mussolini's Rasputin; Victor Emmanuel III, the king of Italy, an object of widespread derision who lacked the stature--literally and figuratively--to stand up to the domineering Duce; and Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, whose political skills and ambition made him Mussolini's most powerful ally inside the Vatican, and positioned him to succeed the pontiff as the controversial Pius XII, whose actions during World War II would be subject for debate for decades to come.
With the recent opening of the Vatican archives covering Pius XI's papacy, the full story of the Pope's complex relationship with his Fascist partner can finally be told. Vivid, dramatic, with surprises at every turn, The Pope and Mussolini is history writ large and with the lightning hand of truth.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE Kertzer has an eye for a story, an ear for the right word, and an instinct for human tragedy. This is a sophisticated blockbuster. --Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Revolutionary Summer A fascinating and tragic story. --The New Yorker Revelatory . . . [a] detailed portrait. --The New York Review of Books