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World History

Front cover of Severed by Frances Larson
Severed - Frances Larson

Severed by Frances Larson ia about the fascination we have with heads, ours and others. The human head is exceptional. It accommodates four of our five senses, encases the brain and boasts the most expressive set of muscles in the body. It is our most distinctive attribute and it connects our inner selves to the outer world more evocatively than any other part of the body. Yet there is a dark side to the head's pre-eminence. Over the centuries, human heads have decorated our churches, festooned our city walls and filled our museums.

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Front cover of The Psychedelic Reader by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Gunther M Weil
The Psychedelic Reader - Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Gunther M Weil

The Psychedelic Reader edited by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Gunther M Weil collects the very best writing from the dawn of the psychedelic era. From precise dosage guidelines to rumination on the poetry of Herman Hesse, this powerful anthology presents the entire psychedelic spectrum with both the seriousness and open mindedness it requires.

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Front Cover of Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
Tigress of Forli - Elizabeth Lev

Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev shows how between her birth in 1463 as the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Milan, to her death in 1509 as a member of the powerful Medici family, Caterina Sforza's life crossed the firmament of Italy's High Renaissance like a shooting star.

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Front cover of The Nazis Next Door by Eric Lichtblau
The Nazis Next Door - Eric Lichtblau

The Nazis Next Door by Eric Lichtblau is the shocking story of how America became one of the world's safest postwar havens for Nazis. Until recently, historians believed America gave asylum only to key Nazi scientists after World War II, along with some less famous perpetrators who managed to sneak in and who eventually were exposed by Nazi hunters. But the truth is much worse, and has been covered up for decades: the CIA and FBI brought thousands of perpetrators to America as possible assets against their new Cold War enemies.

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Front cover of Jet the Rescue Dog by David Long
Jet the Rescue Dog - David Long

Jet the Rescue Dog and Other Extraordinary Stories of Animals in Wartime by David Long is uplifting and deeply moving. It tells the stories of these brave, silent heroes with sensitivity and gentle humour for readers age 8+. As mascots, messengers, rat-catchers and even spies, animals have long marched into war alongside servicemen and women. Dogs, horses, cats (even birds, camels and elephants) have saved thousands of lives through instinct, intelligence, courage and devotion.

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Front cover of The Lexicographers Dilemma by Jack Lynch
The Lexicographers Dilemma - Jack Lynch

The Lexicographers Dilemma by Jack Lynch offers the first narrative history of those who have tried to regulate, or otherwise organise, the way we speak showing clearly that what we now regard as the only "correct" way to speak emerged out of specific historical and social conditions over the course of centuries. As literary historian Jack Lynch has discovered, every rule has a human history, and the characters peopling his narrative are as interesting for their obsession as for their erudition.

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Front cover of Sincerity by R Jay Magill Jr
Sincerity - R Jay Magill Jr

Sincerity by R Jay Magill Jr argues that we can't shake sincerity's deep theological past, emotional resonance, and the sense of conscience it has carved in the Western soul. From Protestant theology to paintings by crazy people, from French satire to the anti-hipster movement, Magill navigates history, religion, art, and politics to create a portrait of an ideal that, despite its abuse, remains a strange magnetic north in our secular moral compass. People have long been duped by "straight-talking" politicians, confessional talk-show hosts, and fake-earnest advertisers.

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Front cover of Galley Slave by Jean Marteilhe
Galley Slave - Jean Marteilhe

Galley Slave by Jean Marteilhe is a remarkable memoir which tells of the miseries of Jean Marteilhe of Bergerac, a Protestant condemned to the Galleys of France for his Religion, who, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, attempted, like so many French Huguenots, to escape to the more sympathetic Protestant countries bordering France. In 1700, heading through the Ardennes towards Charleroi, he was captured by French Dragoons and thrown into gaol. In 1707 he then found himself, like so many Huguenots, condemned to serve in the French Mediterranean galleys.

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Front cover of The Prince of Medicine by Susan P Mattern
The Prince of Medicine - Susan P Mattern

The Prince of Medicine by Susan P Mattern offers the first authoritative biography in English of this brilliant, audacious, and profoundly influential figure. Galen of Pergamum (A.D. 129 - ca. 216) began his remarkable career tending to wounded gladiators in provincial Asia Minor. Later in life he achieved great distinction as one of a small circle of court physicians to the family of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, at the very heart of Roman society.

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Front cover of Globish by Robert McCrum
Globish - Robert McCrum

Globish by Robert McCrum is a provocative and compelling new look at the course of empire, in which Robert McCrum, coauthor of the best-selling book and television series The Story of English, shows how the language of the Anglo-American imperium has become the world s lingua franca. In fascinating detail he describes the ever-accelerating changes wrought on the language by the far-flung cultures claiming citizenship in the new hegemony.

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Front cover of Indigo by Catherine E McKinley
Indigo - Catherine E McKinley

Indigo by Catherine E McKinley brims with rich, electrifying tales of the precious dye and its ancient heritage. Indigo is also the story of a personal quest: Catherine McKinley is the descendant of a clan of Scots who wore indigo tartan; Jewish "rag traders"; a Massachusetts textile factory owner; and African slaves―her ancestors were traded along the same Saharan routes as indigo, where a length of blue cotton could purchase human life.

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Front cover of The Paper Trail  by Alexander Monro
The Paper Trail - Alexander Monro

The Paper Trail by Alexander Monro is the story of how paper, a simple Chinese invention, has wrapped itself around our world, with history's most momentous ideas etched upon its surface. The emergence of paper in the imperial court of Han China brought about a revolution in the transmission of knowledge and of ideas. For over two millennia, it has allowed ideas, religions, philosophies and propaganda to spread around the world with ever greater ease.

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Front cover of The Story of Spanish by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow
The Story of Spanish - Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow

The Story of Spanish by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow is the first full biography of a language that shaped the world we know, and the only global language with two names―Spanish and Castilian. The story starts when the ancient Phoenicians set their sights on "The Land of the Rabbits," Spain's original name, which the Romans pronounced as Hispania. The Spanish language would pick up bits of Germanic culture, a lot of Arabic, and even some French on its way to taking modern form just as it was about to colonise a New World.

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Front cover of The Sea & Civilization by Lincoln Paine
The Sea & Civilization - Lincoln Paine

The Sea & Civilization by Lincoln Paine is a monumental retelling of world history through the lens of the sea—revealing in breathtaking depth how people first came into contact with one another by ocean and river, lake and stream, and how goods, languages, religions, and entire cultures spread across and along the world’s waterways, bringing together civilizations and defining what makes us most human.

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Front cover of God's Bankers by Gerald Posner
God's Bankers - Gerald Posner

God's Bankers by Gerald Posner traces the political intrigue and inner workings of the Catholic Church. Decidedly not about faith, belief in God, or religious doctrine, this book is about the church's accumulation of wealth and its byzantine entanglements with financial markets across the world. Told through 200 years of prelates, bishops, cardinals, and the Popes who oversee it all, Gerald Posner uncovers an eyebrow-raising account of money and power in perhaps the most influential organization in the history of the world.

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Front cover of The Dark Defile by Diana Preston
The Dark Defile - Dianna Preston

The Dark Defile by Diana Preston vividly recounts the drama of this First Afghan War, one of the opening salvos in the strategic rivalry between Britain and Russia for supremacy in Central Asia. As insightful about geography as she is about political and military miscalculation, Preston draws on rarely documented letters and diaries to bring alive long-lost characters-Lord Auckland, the weak British governor-general in India; his impetuous aide William Macnaghten; and the prescient adventurer-envoy Alexander Burnes, whose sage advice was steadfastly ignored.

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Front cover of Between Man and Beast by Monte Reel
Between Man and Beast - Monte Reel

Between Man and Beast by Monte Reel contains all the elements of an enthralling adventure story. In 1856, Paul Du Chaillu ventured into the African jungle in search of a mythic beast, the gorilla. After wild encounters with vicious cannibals, deadly snakes, and tribal kings, Du Chaillu emerged with 20 preserved gorilla skins--two of which were stuffed and brought on tour--and walked smack dab into the biggest scientific debate of the time: Darwin's theory of evolution. Quickly, Du Chaillu's trophies went from objects of wonder to key pieces in an all-out intellectual war.

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Front Cover of 30-Second Twentieth Century edited by Jonathan T Reynolds
30-Second Twentieth Century - Jonathan T Reynolds

30-Second Twentieth Century edited by Jonathan T Reynolds refresh your memory with these pacey profiles on everything from Sputnik to Stonewall. Twentieth Century presents a unique approach to modern history, condensing 100 years of innovation and art, politics and conflict, triumph and disaster, into 50 graphic snapshots that offer an instant appreciation of the way the world revolves and evolves. Consider which events define a period of history and why. From the Red Army to Black Monday, from Woodstock to the World Wide Web, this is the fastest way to travel in time.

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Front cover of The Celts by Alice Roberts
The Celts - Alice Roberts

The Celts by Alice Roberts goes in search of the Celts and their treasures in a narrative history to accompany a new BBC series. We know a lot about the Roman Empire. The Romans left monuments to their glories and written histories charting the exploits of their heroes. But there was another ancient people in Europe - feared warriors with chariots, iron swords, exquisite jewellery, swirling tattoos and strange rituals and beliefs. For hundreds of years Europe was theirs, not Rome's.

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Front cover of Dead Certainties by Simon Schama
Dead Certainties - Simon Schama

Dead Certainties by Simon Schama is an imaginative comment on the nature of historiography. On 13 September 1759, General James Wolfe, having led the British troops up the St Lawrence to victory in the Battle of Quebec, died on the Heights of Abraham. Schama examines this death, and how Wolfe was made to die again - through the spectacular painting by Benjamin West, and through the writings of the 19th-century historian Francis Parkman.

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Front cover of Black Ranching Frontiers by Andrew Sluyter
Black Ranching Frontiers - Andrew Sluyter

Black Ranching Frontiers by Andrew Sluyter is a groundbreaking book in which the author demonstrates for the first time that Africans played significant creative roles in establishing open-range cattle ranching in the Americas. In so doing, he provides a new way of looking at and studying the history of land, labor, property, and commerce in the Atlantic world. Sluyter shows that Africans' ideas and creativity helped to establish a production system so fundamental to the environmental and social relations of the American colonies that the consequences persist to the present.

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Front cover of The Reckoning by Jacob Soll
The Reckoning - Jacob Soll

The Reckoning by Jacob Soll shows how the use and misuse of financial bookkeeping has determined the fates of entire societies. Time and again, Soll reveals, good and honest accounting has been a tool to build successful companies, states and empires. Yet when it is neglected or falls into the wrong hands, accounting has contributed to cycles of destruction that continue to this day.

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Front Cover of Classical Civilization by Nigel Spivey
Classical Civilization - Nigel Spivey

Classical Civilization by Nigel Spivey is a concise and accessible study of the foundations, development and enduring legacy of the cultures of Greece and Rome, centred on ten locations of seminal importance in the development of Classical civilisation.

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Front cover of The Venetians by Paul Strathern
The Venetians - Paul Strathern

The Venetians by Paul Strathern is a refreshing and authoritative new look at the history of the most evocative of city states. The Republic of Venice was the first great economic, cultural, and naval power of the modern Western world. After winning the struggle for ascendency in the late 13th century, the Republic enjoyed centuries of unprecedented glory and built a trading empire which at its apogee reached as far afield as China, Syria and West Africa. This golden period only drew to an end with the Republic's eventual surrender to Napoleon.

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Front cover of The Death of Caesar by Barry Strauss
The Death of Caesar - Barry Strauss

The Death of Caesar by Barry Strauss is an original, fresh perspective on an event that seems well known, this book sheds new light on this fascinating, pivotal moment in world history. Thanks to William Shakespeare, the death of Julius Caesar is the most famous assassination in history. But what actually happened on March 15, 44 BC is even more gripping than Shakespeare's play. In this thrilling new book, Barry Strauss tells the real story. Shakespeare shows Caesar's assassination to be an amateur and idealistic affair.

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