Doron Swade - The Cogwheel Brain - Little, Brown Book Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds

The Cogwheel Brain

Charles Babbage and the Quest to Build the First Computer

By Doron Swade

  • Paperback
  • £17.00

Vivid biography of Charles Babbage (1791-1871), the British scientist who 'invented the computer too soon'.

In 1821, 30-year-old inventor and mathematician Charles Babbage was poring over a set of printed mathematical tables with his friend, the astronomer John Herschel. Finding error after error in the manually evaluated results, Babbage made an exclamation, the consequences of which would not only dominate the remaining 50 years of his life, but also lay the foundations for the modern computer industry: 'I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam!'

A few days later, he set down a plan to build a machine that would carry out complex mathematical calculations without human intervention and, at least in theory, without human errors. The only technology to which he had access for solving the problem was the cogwheel escapement found inside clocks. Babbage saw that a machine constructed out of hundreds of escapements, cunningly and precisely linked, might be able to handle calculations mechanically. The story of his lifelong bid to construct such a machine is a triumph of human ingenuity, will and imagination.

Biographical Notes

Doron Swade is senior curator at the Science Museum in London, and the instigator of the construction of one of Babbage's Difference Engines, completed in 1991.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780349112398
  • Publication date: 02 Aug 2001
  • Page count: 352
  • Imprint: Abacus
[A] marvellous book... It is Sawde's total immersion in Babbage's machines and in the man himself... that makes THE COGWHEEL BRAIN so compelling. — SPECTATOR
LONGITUDE Mark 2 — GUARDIAN
Grand Central Publishing

Sisters First

Jenna Bush Hager, Barbara Pierce Bush
Authors:
Jenna Bush Hager, Barbara Pierce Bush
Constable

Backing into the Spotlight

Michael Whitehall
Authors:
Michael Whitehall
Abacus

Song Of The Rolling Earth

John Lister-Kaye
Authors:
John Lister-Kaye

Conservationist and naturalist John Lister-Kaye, founder of the Aigas Field Centre, writes about his life in the glens, the wildlife that surrounds him and the primeval magical exchange that takes place between man and nature once so central to ancient civilisations. He describes finding the ruined nineteenth-century estate that is to become Aigas, taking it over and turning it into a going concern as an Educational Centre, and his own personal motivation, following the Torrey Canyon oil spillage and natural disasters in the 1960s, to become a conservationist. Interspersed within the narrative detail are engaging and enlightening descriptions of flora and fauna. John Lister-Kaye carries the reader very effectively into the minute worlds he observes and backs up keen scrutiny with facts and figures.SONG OF THE ROLLING EARTH is a notably entertaining and enlightening addition to the canon of naturalist writing that includes Gavin Maxwell's RING OF BRIGHT WATER, Henry Williamson's TARKA THE OTTER and the works of Gerald Durrell.

Constable

Homeward Bound

Peter Ames Carlin
Authors:
Peter Ames Carlin

To have been alive during the last sixty years is to have lived with the music of Paul Simon. The boy from Queens scored his first hit record in 1957, just months after Elvis Presley ignited the rock era. As the songwriting half of Simon & Garfunkel, his work helped define the youth movement of the '60s. On his own in the '70s, Simon made radio-dominating hits. He kicked off the '80s by reuniting with Garfunkel to perform for half a million New Yorkers in Central Park. Five years later, Simon's album "Graceland" sold millions and spurred an international political controversy. And it doesn't stop there.The grandchild of Jewish immigrants from Hungary, the nearly 75-year-old singer-songwriter has not only sold more than 100 million records, won 15 Grammy awards and been installed into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame twice, but has also animated the meaning?and flexibility?of personal and cultural identity in a rapidly shrinking world.Simon has also lived one of the most vibrant lives of modern times; a story replete with tales of Carrie Fisher, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Shelley Duvall, Nelson Mandela, the Grateful Dead, drugs, depression, marriage, divorce, and more. A life story with the scope and power of an epic novel, Carlin's Homeward Bound is the first major biography of one of the most influential popular artists in American history.

Constable

Lucky Lupin

Charlie Mortimer
Authors:
Charlie Mortimer
Da Capo Press

How to Talk Dirty and Influence People

Lewis Black, Howard Reich, Lenny Bruce
Authors:
Lewis Black, Howard Reich, Lenny Bruce
Da Capo Press

Crucible of Command

William C. Davis
Authors:
William C. Davis

Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee have never before been paired as they are here. In Crucible of Command , William C. Davis, one of America's preeminent historians, presents a thoroughly fresh portrait of these great commanders, revealing their personalities, their character, their ethical and moral compasses, and their political and military worlds as they took each other's measure across the battlefield. The result is history at its finest and one of the great books on the Civil War.

Constable

The Visitors' Book

Jon Lys Turner
Authors:
Jon Lys Turner

'An absolute goldmine for Bacon biographers' Lynn Barber, Sunday Times Denis Wirth-Miller and Dicky Chopping were a couple at the heart of the mid-twentieth century art world, with the visitors' book of the Essex townhouse they shared from 1945 until 2008 painting them as Zeligs of British society. The names recorded inside make up an astonishing supporting cast - from Francis Bacon to Lucian Freud to Randolph Churchill to John Minton. Successful artists, although not household names themselves, writing Dicky and Denis off as just footnotes in history would be a mistake. After Denis's death in 2010, Jon Lys-Turner, one of two executors of the couple's estate, came into possession of an extraordinary archive of letters, works of art and symbolically loaded ephemera the two had collected since they met in the 1930s. It is no exaggeration to state that this archive represents a missing link in British art history - the wealth of new biographical information disclosed about Francis Bacon, for example, is truly staggering. The Visitors' Book is both an extraordinary insight into the minutiae of Dicky and Denis's life together and what it meant to be gay in pre-Wolfenden Britain, as well as a pocket social history of the era and a unique perspective into mid-twentieth century art. With reams of previously unseen material, this is a fascinating and unique opportunity to delve into post-war Britain.

Virago

What Language Do I Dream In?

Elena Lappin
Authors:
Elena Lappin

Elena Lappin's life could be described as 'five languages in search of an author'. She now lives in London, but she was born in Russia and has lived in Czechoslovakia, Germany, Israel, Canada, and the United States. As a multiple émigré, her decision to write in English was the unexpected result of many wanderings, and this memoir tells the story of finding a voice in a language that is not one's own. Russian, Czech, German, Hebrew, and finally English: how do they, and the family roots and cultures they represent define who she is, and how has adopting English allowed her to be a writer?The story of Lappin's identity is unexpectedly complicated by the discovery, in middle age, that her biological father was an American living in Russia. Their encounter introduces an element of mystery to the search for her roots, and a surprise: suddenly, English is more than the accidental 'home in exile' - it is the language she may have been close to from the very beginning.

Da Capo Press

You're Making Me Hate You

Corey Taylor
Authors:
Corey Taylor

Corey Taylor has had it. Had it with the vagaries of human behaviour and life in this postmodern digital blanked-out waiting room that passes for a world. Reality TV, awful music, terrible drivers, megamalls, airports, family reunions, bad fashion choices, other people's monstrous children, and badly-behaved "adult" human beings are warping life in the twenty-first century into an often-unbearable endurance test of one's patience, fortitude, and faith. Funny, profane, blasphemous, and above all right on target, You're Making Me Hate You is pure Corey Taylor unleashed, exposing the underbelly of human depravity in all its ragged glory.

Little, Brown

The Brontës: A Life in Letters

Juliet Barker
Authors:
Juliet Barker
Da Capo Press

NOFX

Jeff Alulis, NOFX
Authors:
Jeff Alulis, NOFX

NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories is the first tell-all autobiography from one of the world's most influential and controversial punk bands. Fans and non-fans alike will be shocked by the stories of murder, suicide, addiction, counterfeiting, riots, bondage, terminal illness, the Yakuza, and drinking pee. Told from the perspective of each of the band's members, this book looks back at more than thirty years of comedy, tragedy, and completely inexplicable success.

Basic Books

John Quincy Adams

James Traub
Authors:
James Traub

John Quincy Adams was the last of his kind,a Puritan from the age of the Founders who despised party and compromise, yet dedicated himself to politics and government. The son of John Adams, he was a brilliant ambassador and secretary of state, a frustrated president at a historic turning point in American politics, and a dedicated congressman who literally died in office,at the age of 80, in the House of Representatives, in the midst of an impassioned political debate.In John Quincy Adams , scholar and journalist James Traub draws on Adams' diary, letters, and writings to evoke a diplomat and president whose ideas remain with us today. Adams was a fierce nationalist who, as secretary of state, championed the idea of American expansion. Yet, at the same time he warned against moralistic and militaristic policies abroad,a chastening wisdom that makes him the father of what we now call realism" in foreign policy. As president, he was a bold proponent of the idea of activist government later brought to fruition by Abraham Lincoln and others.Adams' numerous achievements,and equally numerous failures,stand as testaments to his unwavering moral convictions. A man who refused to take refuge in the politically prudent course of action, Adams was repudiated by his own Federalist party and, as president, by the nation that voted him out of office. And yet, in the final decade of his life, Adams regained the country's regard, and even reverence, for as a congressman he often stood alone against the forces of slavery, twice beating back motions of censure. John Quincy Adams tells the story of this brilliant, flinty, and unyielding man whose life exemplified political courage,a life against which each of us might measure our own.

Da Capo Press

Easy Street (the Hard Way)

Ron Perlman
Authors:
Ron Perlman
Basic Books

Redeemer

Randall Balmer
Authors:
Randall Balmer
Basic Books

Masters of Sex (Media tie-in)

Thomas Maier
Authors:
Thomas Maier
Center Street

I'm Here To Win

Chris Mccormack, Tim Vandehey
Authors:
Chris Mccormack, Tim Vandehey

The Ironman World Championship is one of the most gruelling tests of mental and physical endurance and athleticism in the world. Its competitors have 17 hours to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run a full marathon, 26.2 miles. Chris McCormack has dedicated his life to training for - and winning - this race, a feat he has accomplished twice, along with winning the Australian Ironman five years in a row and coming in first at both the Triathlon World Championships and the International Triathlon Union World Cup. But his journey to athletic greatness is more than one of just physical endurance. I'M HERE TO WIN is McCormack's account of everything it takes - mind, body and spirit - to become a champion. In 2010, McCormack silenced his critics when he won the Hawaiian Ironman Championship at 37. He ran the race not just for himself, but for his late mother and the charity he founded in her honour to fight breast cancer. While Macca gives much credit to his physical performance, he believes his success comes from what he does before and after the race as much as during.

Da Capo Press

Genius of Place

Justin Martin
Authors:
Justin Martin

Frederick Law Olmsted is arguably the most important historical figure that the average American knows the least about. Best remembered for his landscape architecture, from New York's Central Park to Boston's Emerald Necklace to Stanford University's campus, Olmsted was also an influential journalist, early voice for the environment, and abolitionist credited with helping dissuade England from joining the South in the Civil War. This momentous career was shadowed by a tragic personal life, also fully portrayed here. Most of all, he was a social reformer. He didn't simply create places that were beautiful in the abstract. An awesome and timeless intent stands behind Olmsted's designs, allowing his work to survive to the present day. With our urgent need to revitalize cities and a widespread yearning for green space, his work is more relevant now than it was during his lifetime. Justin Martin restores Olmsted to his rightful place in the pantheon of great Americans.

Da Capo Lifelong Books

True Strength

Kevin Sorbo
Authors:
Kevin Sorbo

On television, Kevin Sorbo portrayed an invincible demigod in his real life, a sudden health crisis left him partially blind and incapacitated at just thirty-eight years old. Yet since appearances are everything in Hollywood, he hid the full details about his condition from the press and continued to film Hercules , which was the number one TV series in the world. In this inspiring memoir, Sorbo shares the story of the crisis that ultimately redefined his measure of success. True Strength is the story of transformation, persistence, and hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Sorbo reflects on his childhood in Minnesota and his early acting days in Hollywood, to his charmed life as television's beloved Hercules, and where he is today. He recounts the onset of his symptoms, his frightening hospitalization, and his arduous path to recovery. With this honest account of personal tragedy and triumph, Sorbo aims to blaze a trail for those who have ever suffered acute illness or a serious setback in life and are now struggling to find their way back.

Virago

The Glass Castle

Jeannette Walls
Authors:
Jeannette Walls

Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents. At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane, middle class existence' she had always craved. In her apartment, overlooked by 'a portrait of someone else's ancestor' she recounts poignant remembered images of star watching with her father, juxtaposed with recollections of irregular meals, accidents and police-car chases and reveals her complex feelings of shame, guilt, pity and pride toward her parents.