BookSeriesList
Robinson

A Brief History of Bad Medicine

Ian Schott, Robert Youngston
Authors:
Ian Schott, Robert Youngston

A doctor removes the normal, healthy side of a patient's brain instead of the malignant tumor. A man whose leg is scheduled for amputation wakes up to find his healthy leg removed. These recent examples are part of a history of medical disasters and embarrassments as old as the profession itself.In Brief History of Bad Medicine, Robert M. Youngson and Ian Schott have written the definitive account of medical mishap in modern and not-so- modern times. From famous quacks to curious forms of sexual healing, from blunders with the brain to drugs worse than the diseases they are intended to treat, the book reveals shamefully dangerous doctors, human guinea pigs, and the legendary surgeon who was himself a craven morphine addict.Exploring the line between the comical and the tragic, the honest mistake and the intentional crime, Brief History of Bad Medicine illustrates once and for all that you can't always trust the people in white coats.

Robinson

A Brief History of Britain 1485-1660

Ronald Hutton
Authors:
Ronald Hutton

From the death of Richard III on Bosworth Field in 1485 to the execution of Charles I, after the Civil Wars of 1642-48, England was transformed by two Dynasties. Firstly the Tudors, who won the crown on the battlefield and changed both the nature of kingship but also the nation itself. England became a Protestant nation and began to establishment itself as a trading power; facing down impossible odds it defeated its enemies on land and sea. Yet after a century Elizabeth I died with no heir and the crown was passed to the Stuarts, who were keen to remould the kingdom in their own image. Leading Historian, Ronald Hutton brilliantly recreates the political landscape over this early modern period and shows how the modern nation was forged in these anxious, transformative years. Combining skilful pen portraits of the leading figures, culture, economics and accounts of everyday life, he reveals insights in this key era in our nation's story.This the second book in the four volume Brief History of Britain which brings together some of the leading historians to tell our nation's story from the Norman Conquest of 1066 to the present-day. Combining the latest research with accessible and entertaining story telling, it is the ideal introduction for students and general readers.

Robinson

A Brief History of Hitmen and Assassinations

Richard Belfield
Authors:
Richard Belfield

The true stories behind some of the most shocking assassinations in recent history.We live in a new age of political assassination; within our lifetimes all the senior members of the UN Security Council have used it as an extension of political policy in all corners of the globe. In every case, the orders came from the very top. Today, while leading governments use covert ops, drones and lazer guided missiles, the terrorist methods of car bombs and suicide bombers make the game even more dangerous. In his compelling history of hit men, assassinations and the men who command them, Richard Bellfield recalls the major hits in history from Julius Caesar to twenty of the most shocking assassinations in recent history.He also reveals: how the assassination of President Sadat of Egypt launched Al Qaeda. How President Kennedy ordered the death of President Diem of Vietnam. And with excerpts from CIA and Al Qaeda manuals he shows how they have changed the course of history. He also uncovers the hidden world of killers and cover ups.

Robinson

A Brief History of Infinity

Brian Clegg
Authors:
Brian Clegg

'Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.' Douglas Adams, Hitch-hiker's Guide to the GalaxyWe human beings have trouble with infinity - yet infinity is a surprisingly human subject. Philosophers and mathematicians have gone mad contemplating its nature and complexity - yet it is a concept routinely used by schoolchildren. Exploring the infinite is a journey into paradox. Here is a quantity that turns arithmetic on its head, making it feasible that 1 = 0. Here is a concept that enables us to cram as many extra guests as we like into an already full hotel. Most bizarrely of all, it is quite easy to show that there must be something bigger than infinity - when it surely should be the biggest thing that could possibly be. Brian Clegg takes us on a fascinating tour of that borderland between the extremely large and the ultimate that takes us from Archimedes, counting the grains of sand that would fill the universe, to the latest theories on the physical reality of the infinite. Full of unexpected delights, whether St Augustine contemplating the nature of creation, Newton and Leibniz battling over ownership of calculus, or Cantor struggling to publicise his vision of the transfinite, infinity's fascination is in the way it brings together the everyday and the extraordinary, prosaic daily life and the esoteric.Whether your interest in infinity is mathematical, philosophical, spiritual or just plain curious, this accessible book offers a stimulating and entertaining read.

Robinson

A Brief History of Mathematical Thought

Luke Heaton
Authors:
Luke Heaton

Mathematics is a product of human culture which has developed along with our attempts to comprehend the world around us. In A Brief History of Mathematical Thought, Luke Heaton explores how the language of mathematics has evolved over time, enabling new technologies and shaping the way people think. From stone-age rituals to algebra, calculus, and the concept of computation, Heaton shows the enormous influence of mathematics on science, philosophy and the broader human story.The book traces the fascinating history of mathematical practice, focusing on the impact of key conceptual innovations. Its structure of thirteen chapters split between four sections is dictated by a combination of historical and thematic considerations. In the first section, Heaton illuminates the fundamental concept of number. He begins with a speculative and rhetorical account of prehistoric rituals, before describing the practice of mathematics in Ancient Egypt, Babylon and Greece. He then examines the relationship between counting and the continuum of measurement, and explains how the rise of algebra has dramatically transformed our world. In the second section, he explores the origins of calculus and the conceptual shift that accompanied the birth of non-Euclidean geometries. In the third section, he examines the concept of the infinite and the fundamentals of formal logic. Finally, in section four, he considers the limits of formal proof, and the critical role of mathematics in our ongoing attempts to comprehend the world around us. The story of mathematics is fascinating in its own right, but Heaton does more than simply outline a history of mathematical ideas. More importantly, he shows clearly how the history and philosophy of maths provides an invaluable perspective on human nature.

Robinson

A Brief History of Modern Warfare

Richard Connaughton
Authors:
Richard Connaughton

Since Vietnam, both the way we fight and our reasons for going to war have become much more complex.The importance of a conflict is determined not by its size or by the numbers of combatants involved but by its ripple effects and its influence upon future events. In a series of thrilling recreations of eight of the most significant encounters of the last three decades, military historian Richard Connaughton presents a fascinating insight into modern warfare, including interviews with some of the major figures. The conflicts include Goose Green in the Falklands, the invasion of Grenada, Operation Desert Storm - the first Iraq War, Operations in Mogadishu as immortalized in the book and film Blackhawk Down, the Siege of Gorazde and Operation Barras in Sierra Leone, as well as more recent events at Fallujah, Iraq, and in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Richard Connaughton has interviewed most of the major figures involved in each of the conflicts and offers powerful insights into why battles either work or don't. This book will tell you what warfare means in the contemporary world and how it can affect tomorrow.

Robinson

A Brief History of Sherlock Holmes

Nigel Cawthorne
Authors:
Nigel Cawthorne

Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887, Sherlock Holmes appears in four novels and fifty-six short stories. Although Holmes was not the first literary detective, he continues to have a perennial allure as the ultimate sleuth. As Holmes is being re-introduced to a new audience through TV and film, Cawthorne introduces the general reader to Holmes and his creator Arthur Conan Doyle. He gives a full biography of author as well as his creation, including his resurrection following his unlikely death at the hands of arch enemy, Moriarty. Cawthorne also surveys the world of Holmes, looking at Victorian crime, the real characters behind Dr Watson and Inspector Lestrade, as well as the world on the doorstep of 22b Baker Street.

Robinson

A Brief History of Slavery

Jeremy Black
Authors:
Jeremy Black

A thought-provoking and important book that raises essential issues crucial not only for our past but also the present day.In this panoramic history, Jeremy Black tells how slavery was first developed in the ancient world, and reaches all the way to present day and the contemporary crimes of trafficking and bonded labour. He shows how slavery has taken many forms throughout history and across the world - from the uprising of Spartacus, the plantations of the Indies, and the murderous forced labour of the gulags and concentration camps.Slavery helped consolidated transoceanic empires and helped mould new world societies such as America and Brazil. In the Atlantic trade, Black also looks at the controversial area of how complicit the African peoples were in the trade. He then charts the long fight for abolition in the 19th century, including both the campaigners as well as the lost voices of the slaves themselves who spoke of their misery.Finally, as Black points out, slavery has not been completely abolished today and coerced labour can be found closer to home than is comfortable.

Robinson

A Brief History of Stonehenge

Aubrey Burl
Authors:
Aubrey Burl

A complete new history of the world's greatest stone circleBritain's leading expert on stone circles turns his attention to the greatest example of them all - Stonehenge. Every aspect of Stonehenge is re-considered in Aubrey Burl's new analysis. He explains for the first time how the outlying Heel Stone long predates Stonehenge itself, serving as a trackway marker in the prehistoric Harroway. He uncovers new evidence that the Welsh bluestones were brought to Stonehenge by glaciation rather than by man. And he reveals just how far the design of Stonehenge was influenced by Breton styles and by Breton cults of the dead.Meticulously research sets the record straight on the matter of Stonehenge's astronomical alignments. Although the existence of a sightline to the midsummer sunrise is well known, the alignment and the viewing-position are different from popular belief. And the existence of an earlier alignment to the moon and a later one to the midwinter sunset has been largely unrealized.One almost unexplained puzzle remains. The site of Stonehenge lies at the heart of a vast six-mile wide graveyard, but before it was built there appears to have been a mysterious gap two miles across on that site. Burl argues that earlier totem-pole style constructions served a ceremonial purpose for the living - to celebrate success in the hunt.

Robinson

A Brief History of Tea

Roy Moxham
Authors:
Roy Moxham

Behind the wholesome image of the world's most popular drink lies a strangely murky and often violent past. When tea began to be imported into the West from China in the seventeenth century, its high price and heavy taxes made it an immediate target for smuggling and dispute at every level, culminating in international incidents like the notorious Boston Tea Party. In China itself the British financed their tea dealings by the ruthless imposition of the opium trade. Intrepid British tea planters soon began flocking to India, Ceylon and Africa, setting up huge plantations; often workers were bought and sold like slaves.Roy Moxham's account of this extraordinary history begins with his own sojourn in Africa, managing 500 acres of tea and a thousand-strong workforce. His experiences inform the book and led him to investigate the early history of tea - and the results of his researches reflect little credit on the British Empire, while often revealing a fascinating world story.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Amazons

Lyn Webster Wilde
Authors:
Lyn Webster Wilde

'Golden-shielded, silver-sworded, man-loving, male-child slaughtering Amazons,' is how the fifth-century Greek historian Hellanicus described the Amazons, and they have fascinated humanity ever since. Did they really exist? For centuries, scholars consigned them to the world of myth, but Lyn Webster Wilde journeyed into the homeland of the Amazons and uncovered astonishing evidence of their historic reality.North of the Black Sea she found archaeological excavations of graves of Iron Age women buried with arrows, swords and armour. In the hidden world of the Hittites, near the Amazons' ancient capital of Thermiscyra in Anatolia, she unearthed traces of powerful priestesses, women-only religious cults, and an armed, bisexual goddess - all possible sources for the ferocious women.Combining scholarly penetration with a sense of adventure, Webster Wilde has produced a coherent and absorbing book that challenges preconceived notions, still disturbingly widespread, of what men and women can do.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Cold War

John Hughes-Wilson
Authors:
John Hughes-Wilson

The Cold War was an undeclared war, fought silently and carefully between ideological opponents armed with the most fearsome weapons mankind has ever seen. Hughes-Wilson takes a cool look at this war, from the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 to the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the dissolution of the USSR thereafter. He examines the suspicion and paranoia -- on both sides -- of the greatest stand-off in history. Written by one of Britain's leading, popular, military historians, this book makes accessible for the first time one of the key periods to shape our world.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Crusades

Geoffrey Hindley
Authors:
Geoffrey Hindley

Why did the medieval Church bless William of Normandy's invasion of Christian England in 1066 and authorise cultural genocide in Provence? How could a Christian army sack Christian Constantinople in 1204? Why did thousands of ordinary men and women, led by knights and ladies, kings and queens, embark on campaigns of fanatical conquest in the world of Islam? The word 'Crusade' came later, but the concept of a 'war for the faith' is an ancient one. Geoffrey Hindley instructively unravels the story of the Christian military expeditions that have perturbed European history, troubled Christian consciences and embittered Muslim attitudes towards the West. He offers a lively record of the Crusades, from the Middle East to the pagan Baltic, and fascinating portraits of the major personalities, from Godfrey of Bouillon, the first Latin ruler of Jerusalem, to Etienne, the visionary French peasant boy who inspired the tragic Children's Crusade. Addressing questions rarely considered, Hindley sheds new light on pressing issues surrounding religious division and shows how the Crusades have helped to shape the modern world and relations between Christian and Muslim countries to this day.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Druids

Peter Berresford Ellis
Authors:
Peter Berresford Ellis

A history of the cult of the ancient Druids, exploring who they really were and what role they played in the Celtic world. The author's interpretation of the facts is based on both archaeological and etymological findings. Peter Berresford Ellis sifts through evidence and, with reference to the latest archaeological findings and the use of etymology, shows that the Druids have been subject to a swaythe of propaganda and myth-making through the centuries.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Magna Carta

Geoffrey Hindley
Authors:
Geoffrey Hindley

In 1215, the Barons of England forced King John to sign a revolutionary document which would change the political landscape of Britain and beyond for the next 800 years. Magna Carta was the forerunner of the Constitution that limited the powers of the crown and its echoes can be found in the seventeenth century Civil Wars, the struggles for American Independence, the work of Thomas Paine and in the bedrock of all contemporary liberal nations. As civil liberties and the rule of law are increasingly under question as part of the 'War on Terror', it has never been more essential to return to the original document, signed at Runnymede in June 1215. Leading medieval historian Geoffrey Hindley retells the story of events leading up to the conference and looks at the document itself, showing how it has resonated over centuries and throughout the world.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Middle East

Christopher Catherwood
Authors:
Christopher Catherwood

Western civilization began in the Middle East: Judaism and Christianity, as well as Islam, were born there. For over a millennium, the Islamic empires were ahead of the West in learning, technology and medicine, and were militarily far more powerful. It took another three hundred centuries for the West to catch up, and overtake, the Middle East.Why does it seem different now? Why does Osama bin Laden see 1918, with the fall of the Ottoman Empire, as the year everything changed? These issues are explained in historical detail here, in a way that deliberately seeks to go behind the rhetoric to the roots of present conflicts. A Brief History of the Middle East is essential reading for an intelligent reader wanting to understand what one of the world's key regions is all about. Fully updated with a new section on the Iraq Invasion of 2003, the question of Iran and the full context of the Isreali/Palestine conflict.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Private Life of Elizabeth II

Michael Paterson
Authors:
Michael Paterson

Elizabeth II is within a few years of becoming the longest-reigning British monarch. A personally quiet, modest and dutiful person, she is far better-informed about the lives of her subjects than they often realize. She has known every Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and every American President since Eisenhower.Yet what of the woman behind the crown?The book seeks to take a new look at this exhaustively-documented life and show how Queen Elizabeth became the person she is. Who, and what, have been the greatest influences upon her? What are her likes and dislikes? What are her hobbies? Who are her friends? What does she feel about the demands of duty and protocol? Is she really enjoying herself when she smiles during official events? How differently does she behave when out of the public eye? Examining the places in which she grew up or has lived, the training she received and her attitudes to significant events in national life, it presents a fresh view of one of recent history's most important figures.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Roman Empire

Stephen P. Kershaw
Authors:
Stephen P. Kershaw

In this lively and very readable history of the Roman Empire from its establishment in 27 BC to the barbarian incursions and the fall of Rome in AD 476, Kershaw draws on a range of evidence, from Juvenal's Satires to recent archaeological finds. He examines extraordinary personalities such as Caligula and Nero and seismic events such as the conquest of Britain and the establishment of a 'New Rome' at Constantinople and the split into eastern and western empires. Along the way we encounter gladiators and charioteers, senators and slaves, fascinating women, bizarre sexual practices and grotesque acts of brutality, often seen through eyes of some of the world's greatest writers. He concludes with a brief look at how Rome lives on in the contemporary world, in politics, architecture, art and literature.

Robinson

A Brief History of the Vikings

Jonathan Clements
Authors:
Jonathan Clements

'From the Fury of the Northmen deliver us, O Lord.'Between the eighth and eleventh centuries, the Vikings surged from their Scandinavian homeland to trade, raid and invade along the coasts of Europe. Their influence and expeditions extended from Newfoundland to Baghdad, their battles were as far-flung as Africa and the Arctic. But were they great seafarers or desperate outcasts, noble heathens or oafish pirates, the last pagans or the first of the modern Europeans? This concise study puts medieval chronicles, Norse sagas and Muslim accounts alongside more recent research into ritual magic, genetic profiling and climatology. It includes biographical sketches of some of the most famous Vikings, from Erik Bloodaxe to Saint Olaf, and King Canute to Leif the Lucky. It explains why the Danish king Harald Bluetooth lent his name to a twenty-first century wireless technology; which future saint laughed as she buried foreign ambassadors alive; why so many Icelandic settlers had Irish names; and how the last Viking colony was destroyed by English raiders. Extending beyond the traditional 'Viking age' of most books, A Brief History of the Vikings places sudden Scandinavian population movement in a wider historical context. It presents a balanced appraisal of these infamous sea kings, explaining both their swift expansion and its supposed halt. Supposed because, ultimately, the Vikings didn't disappear: they turned into us.

Robinson

A Brief History of Walt Disney

Brian J. Robb
Authors:
Brian J. Robb

Both a fascinating account of Walt Disney's own significant artistic creations, from the iconic Mickey Mouse to the groundbreaking Snow White in 1937, and an insightful history of the hugely successful entertainment behemoth he created, from Dumbo to Pixar's Toy Story, as well as the hugely popular theme parks. But Disney's dark side is also explored: his disputed parentage; industrial disputes; his work for the FBI; and his anti-Communist and allegedly racist and antisemitic views.The company Disney built is today stronger than ever, encompassing not only the ongoing legacy of Disney animation, but also acting as the guardian of other well-loved creative endeavours, such as Pixar, The Muppets, Marvel Comics and now Star Wars.Sections include 'Before Mickey: The Road to the Mouse House', covering from 1901 to 1945 - the creation of Mickey Mouse, the creation of the world's first full-length animated feature film, the Golden Age of animation and Disney's help for the American war effort, despite labour disputes; 'Disney Studios: The Disney Genius' - difficult times, theme parks and television, live-action movies, including Mary Poppins; 'Animation's Second Coming', from the Lady and the Tramp to The Sword in the Stone, and Walt Disney's death; 'After Walt: The Disney Legacy' - family attempts to keep the studio afloat, decline and the loss of lustre in the 1970s and 1980s; 'Disney Resurgent' - a triumphant rebirth under new management with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The Lion King and other blockbuster hits; 'From Eisner to Iger' - the corporate battle for the soul of Disney; 'Disney Goes Digital' - from Pixar to Star Wars, via Marvel Comics and The Muppets, Disney buyy up other studios, themselves often enough inspired by the original.