Cyril Aydon - A Brief History of Mankind - Little, Brown Book Group

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A Brief History of Mankind

By Cyril Aydon

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

From the Stone Age to the Space Age - an entertaining journey through our own story that asks not just how we got here, but also, where are we going?

A Brief History of Mankind is the thrilling introduction to the big ideas in history combining the latest research in history and archaeology to look for answers to some of the questions we ask ourselves: Where do we come from? Why has the human race been so successful? What are the origins of our religions?

In a sweeping, panoramic narrative Cyril Aydon tells the story of our species from origins in Africa, the development of technology, the rise of nations and empires, and the evolution of culture from cave painting to the internet. Packed with fascinating facts and insights, the book also looks to the future and asks is the crisis of climate change one challenge too far for Homo Sapiens?

Biographical Notes

Cyril Aydon is a full time writer. His previous works include A Brief Guide to Charles Darwin: His Life and Times and Scientific Curiosities which sold in over 8 countries. He lives in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781845297480
  • Publication date: 29 Jan 2009
  • Page count: 420
  • Imprint: Robinson

This is a wide-ranging study of endless fascination, encapsulating succinctly the astonishing story of our species.

From man's initial wanderings out of Africa, through the emergence of settled agriculture, the spread of language and religion, the rise of great civilizations, the Industrial Revolution and right up to the technological advancements of the 21st century, Homo sapiens has proved both remarkable adaptable and innovative.Aygdon narrates 150,000 years worth of key events, some familiar, some new, from the domestication of sheep to the invention of paper money, the re-peopling of the Americas to the rise of modern China, and poses some questions for our future survival.

— Good Book Guide
Robinson

A Brief History Of Video Games

Rich Stanton
Authors:
Rich Stanton

From the first wood-panelled Pong machines in California to the masterpieces of engineering that now sit in countless homes all over the world, A Brief History of Video Games reveals the vibrant history and culture of interactive entertainment. Above all, this is a book about the games - how the experience of playing has developed from simple, repetitive beginnings into a cornucopia of genres and styles, at once utterly immersive and socially engaging. With full-colour illustrations throughout, it shows how technological advances have transformed the first dots and dashes of bored engineers into sophisticated, responsive worlds that are endlessly captivating. As thrilling and surprising as the games it describes, this is an indispensable read for anyone serious about the business of having fun.

Robinson

The Physics of Everyday Things

James Kakalios
Authors:
James Kakalios

Most of us are clueless when it comes to the physics that makes our modern world so convenient. What's the simple science behind motion sensors, touch screens and toasters? How do we enter our offices using touch-on passes or find our way to new places using GPS? In The Physics of Everyday Things, James Kakalios takes us on an amazing journey into the subatomic marvels that underlie so much of what we use and take for granted.Breaking down the world of things into a single day, Kakalios engages our curiosity about how our refrigerators keep food cool, how a plane manages to remain airborne, and how our wrist fitness monitors keep track of our steps. Each explanation is coupled with a story revealing the interplay of the astonishing invisible forces that surround us. Through this 'narrative physics' The Physics of Everyday Things demonstrates that - far from the abstractions conjured by terms like the Higgs boson, black holes and gravity waves - sophisticated science is also quite practical. With his signature clarity and inventiveness, Kakalios ignites our imaginations and enthralls us with the principles that make up our lives.

Robinson

Mismatch

Ronald Giphart, Mark van Vugt
Authors:
Ronald Giphart, Mark van Vugt

Our brains evolved to solve the survival problems of our Stone Age ancestors, so when faced with modern day situations that are less extreme, they often encounter a mismatch. Our primitive brains put us on the wrong foot by responding to stimuli that - in prehistoric times - would have prompted behaviour that was beneficial. If you've ever felt an anxious fight or flight response to a presenting at a board meeting, equivalent to facing imminent death by sabre-toothed tiger, then you have experienced a mismatch.Mismatch is about the clash between our biology and our culture. It is about the dramatic contrast between the first few million years of human history - when humans lived as hunters and gatherers in small-scale societies - and the past twelve thousand years following the agricultural revolution which have led us to comfortable lives in a very different social structure. Has this rapid transition been good for us? How do we, using our primitive minds, try to survive in a modern information society that radically changes every ten years or so?Ronald Giphart and Mark van Vugt show that humans have changed their environment so drastically that the chances for mismatch have significantly increased, and these conflicts can have profound consequences.Reviewed through mismatch glasses, social, societal, and technological trends can be better understood, ranging from the popularity of Facebook and internet porn, to the desire for cosmetic surgery, to our attitudes towards refugees.Mismatches can also affect our physical and psychological well-being, in terms of our attitudes to happiness, physical exercise, choosing good leaders, or finding ways to feel better at home or work.Finally, Mismatch gives us an insight into politics and policy which could enable governments, institutions and businesses to create an environment better suited to human nature, its potential and its constraints.This book is about converting mismatches into matches. The better your life is matched to how your mind operates, the greater your chances of leading a happy, healthy and productive life.

Basic Books

Designing Reality

Neil Gershenfeld, Alan Gershenfeld, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld
Authors:
Neil Gershenfeld, Alan Gershenfeld, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld

The 20th century witnessed two digital revolutions. Computing power has revolutionized every industry, from finance to agriculture to pharmaceuticals. We've got computers at work and at home, in our pockets and our bags, on our wrists, and even embedded in the architecture of our houses. At the same time a revolution in digital communication unfolded, which has forever altered our lives-work, social, and private-by enabling a world in which we're never impossible to reach and have nearly limitless power to express ourselves. But no one saw the downsides of these: powerful computers threaten to displace human labor from a range of jobs, both blue and white collar, and, after an election in which the Internet played such a pivotal role in spreading disinformation-not to mention the simple problem of never being able to escape our jobs if our email goes with us everywhere-the possible pitfalls of free communication become clearer.And now, as Neil Gershenfeld, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, and Alan Gershenfeld make clear, we are in the early years of the third digital revolution: from computation and communication comes fabrication. Fabrication includes everything from 3D printing to laser cutters to machines that can assemble anything, including themselves, by precisely controlling the placement of individual atoms. We will soon be able to program matter the same way we can now program a computer. This may sound outlandish, but just as the smartphone is the logical conclusion of trends in computing that began in the 1960s, so is this fabrication technology of the future the extension of today's trends in manufacturing. Neil Gershenfeld, an MIT professor, is at the forefront of making it a reality, through his scientific work as well as his championing of Fab Labs, a sort of low-cost personal factory. In Designing Reality, he and his brothers Alan and Joel explore not just the promise but the perils of this revolution in fabrication. On one extreme, it promises self-sufficient cities, the end of work, and the ability for each of us to design and create anything we can imagine. On the other, it could lead to the concentration of wealth in very few hands. Neither guaranteeing utopia nor insisting that our worst nightmares are about to come true, the Gershenfelds are trying to anticipate the future and teach us how best to prepare for it, personally and as a society, across education, employment and more. The first two digital revolutions caught us flat-footed, and there has been a heavy price to pay. Let us prepare for the future, not simply react to it.

Piatkus

Living in a Mindful Universe

Eben Alexander, Karen Newell
Authors:
Eben Alexander, Karen Newell

What is the relationship between the mind and the brain?In Living in a Mindful Universe, Dr Eben Alexander, author of the international phenomenon Proof of Heaven, shares the next phase of his journey to understand the true nature of consciousness and how to cultivate a state of harmony with the universe and our higher purpose.'Dr Alexander's life-transforming NDE during a coma had shattered all of his former beliefs about the nature of consciousness, the roles of the mind and brain, and the meaning of life and death. Living in a Mindful Universe illuminates the many steps he took to expand his understanding of a much larger, richer, and deeper cosmos' Bill Guggenheim, coauthor of Hello from HeavenWhen eminent neurosurgeon Dr Eben Alexander experienced a startling near-death experience, he was plunged into the deepest realms of consciousness and woke a changed man, certain of the infinite reach of the soul and a life beyond death.In Living in a Mindful Universe, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Proof of Heaven and The Map of Heaven shares the next phase of his journey to understand the true origins of consciousness and uncover ways to cultivate a state of harmony with the universe and our higher purpose. Questioning, thoughtful but also practical, Living in a Mindful Universe demonstrates how we can tap into our greater mind and the power of the heart to enhance many facets of our lives, including healing, relationships and creativity.

Constable

Viceroys

Christopher Lee
Authors:
Christopher Lee
Constable

Don't Let My Past Be Your Future

Harry Leslie Smith
Authors:
Harry Leslie Smith

'Harry Leslie Smith is a vital and powerful voice speaking across generations about the struggle for a just society' Jeremy CorbynTHIS A CALL TO ARMS FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW: DON'T LET THE PAST BECOME OUR FUTURE Harry Leslie Smith is a great British stalwart. A survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War veteran, a lifelong Labour supporter and a proud Yorkshire man, Harry's life has straddled two centuries. As a young man, he witnessed a country in crisis with no healthcare, no relief for the poor, and a huge economic gulf between the North and South. Now in his nineties, Harry wanders through the streets of his youth and wonders whether anything has actually changed.Britain is at its most dangerous juncture since Harry's youth - the NHS and social housing are in crisis, whilst Brexit and an unpopular government continue to divide the country - but there is hope. Just as Clement Attlee provided hope in 1945, Labour's triumphant comeback of June 2017 is a beacon of light in this season of discontent. Britain has overcome adversity before and will do so again - a new nation will be forged from the ashes of grave injustice.Moving and passionate, Don't Let My Past be Your Future interweaves memoir and polemic in a call to arms. Above all, this book is a homage to the boundless grace and resilience of the human spirit.

Sphere

The Spy's Daughter

Adam Brookes
Authors:
Adam Brookes

'Authentic, taut and compelling. Brookes is the real deal'Charles CummingThe stunning third novel from multi-award-nominated author Adam Brookes is paranoid, tense and spy fiction at its very finest.Meet Pearl Tao: an American girl with a lethal secret.Pearl longed for the life of a normal American teenager: summers at the pool, friends, backyard barbecues in the Washington DC suburbs. But she was different. Pearl had a gift for mathematics, a college sponsorship from a secretive technology corporation, and a family riven with anger and dysfunction. And it's only now, at nineteen years old, that she has started to understand what role she is to play. What her parents intend for her. For Pearl Tao, any hope of escape lies with two British spies: Trish Patterson, sidelined in disgrace, and Philip Mangan, blown and discredited - and following his own trail of corruption. Finding out the truth about Pearl will be the most urgent, the most dangerous mission they'll ever undertake.

Back Bay

And Soon I Heard A Roaring Wind

Bill Streever
Authors:
Bill Streever

Scientist and bestselling nature writer Bill Streever goes to any extreme to explore wind--the winds that built empires, the storms that wreck them--by traveling right through it. Narrating from a fifty-year-old sailboat, Streever leads readers through the world's first forecasts, Chaos Theory, and a future affected by climate change. Along the way, he shares stories of wind-riding spiders, wind-sculpted landscapes, wind-generated power, wind-tossed airplanes, and the uncomfortable interactions between wind and wars, drawing from natural science, history, business, travel, as well as from his own travels. AND SOON I HEARD A ROARING WIND is an effortless personal narrative featuring the keen observations, scientific rigor, and whimsy that readers love. You'll never see a breeze in the same light again.

Robinson

Sugar

James Walvin
Authors:
James Walvin

The story of sugar, and of mankind's desire for sweetness in food and drink is a compelling, though confusing story. It is also an historical story.The story of mankind's love of sweetness - the need to consume honey, cane sugar, beet sugar and chemical sweeteners - has important historical origins. To take a simple example, two centuries ago, cane sugar was vital to the burgeoning European domestic and colonial economies. For all its recent origins, today's obesity epidemic - if that is what it is - did not emerge overnight, but instead evolved from a complexity of historical forces which stretch back centuries. We can only fully understand this modern problem, by coming to terms with its genesis and history: and we need to consider the historical relationship between society and sweetness over a long historical span. This book seeks to do just that: to tell the story of how the consumption of sugar - the addition of sugar to food and drink - became a fundamental and increasingly troublesome feature of modern life.Walvin's book is the heir to Sidney Mintz's Sweetness and Power, a brilliant sociological account, but now thirty years old. In addition, the problem of sugar, and the consequent intellectual and political debate about the role of sugar, has been totally transformed in the years since that book's publication.

Little, Brown

The Lie of the Land

Amanda Craig
Authors:
Amanda Craig

Basic Books

Wild Nights

Benjamin Reiss
Authors:
Benjamin Reiss
Little, Brown

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker

Roger Hutchinson
Authors:
Roger Hutchinson
Robinson

A Brief History of the Martial Arts

Jonathan Clements
Authors:
Jonathan Clements

Folk tales of the Shaolin Temple depict warrior monks with superhuman abilities. Today, dozens of East Asian fighting styles trace their roots back to the Buddhist brawlers of Shaolin, although any quest for the true story soon wanders into a labyrinth of forgeries, secret texts and modern retellings.This new study approaches the martial arts from their origins in military exercises and callisthenics. It examines a rich folklore from old wuxia tales of crime-fighting heroes to modern kung fu movies. Centre stage is given to the stories that martial artists tell themselves about themselves, with accounts (both factual and fictional) of famous practitioners including China's Yim Wing-chun, Wong Fei-hong, and Ip Man, as well as Japanese counterparts such as Kano Jigoro, Itosu Anko and So Doshin.The history of martial arts encompasses secret societies and religious rebels, with intimate glimpses of the histories of China, Korea and Japan, their conflicts and transformations. The book also charts the migration of martial arts to the United States and beyond. Special attention is paid to the turmoil of the twentieth century, the cross-cultural influence of Japanese colonies in Asia, and the post-war rise of martial arts in sport and entertainment - including the legacy of Bruce Lee, the dilemma of the ninja and the global audience for martial arts in fiction.

Robinson

Waves of Prosperity

Greg Clydesdale
Authors:
Greg Clydesdale

When the Venetian merchant, Marco Polo, first arrived in Dynastic China he was faced with a society far advanced of anything he had encountered in Europe. The ports were filled with commodities from all over the eastern world, while new technology was driving the economy forward. It would take another 400 years before European trade in the Atlantic eclipsed the Pacific markets.From China's phenomenally successful Sung dynasty (c. AD 960-1279), Cargoes reveals the power of the Mughals merchants of Gujarat, who built an empire so powerful that, even in the 17th century, the richest man in the world was a Gujarat trader. It was not until the opening up of the spice routes and the discovery of South American gold that medieval Iberia came to the fore. It was only then that the Atlantic Empire of the west came to dominate world trade, first the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century, then the British Empire in the age of the Industrial Revolution, American supremacy in the twentieth century, and the development of post-war Japan. Along the way Greg Clydesdale looks at the parallel lives and ideas of merchants and explorers, missionaries, kings, bankers and emperors. He shows how great trading nations rise on a wave of technological and financial innovation and how in that success lies the cause of their inevitable decline.

Basic Books

Play Anything

Ian Bogost
Authors:
Ian Bogost

Play Anything is nothing short of brilliant... I will be recommending this provocative and entertaining book to everyone I know." u- Jane McGonigal, bestselling author of Reality is Broken and SuperBetter ife is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun . But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities.The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations . Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning. Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances, like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints,as sources for meaning and joy. We can play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears.Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed,and enjoyed,when we first impose boundaries on ourselves. "An essential read for those seeking to understand how a new idea of play can be positive for our lives." u- Library Journal (STARRED review) /u Play Anything is a profound book: both a striking assessment of our current cultural landscape, and at the same time a smart self-improvement guide, teaching us the virtues of a life lived playfully." u- Steven Johnson, author of How We Got To Now and Everything Bad Is Good For You /u

Corsair

The Goddess Pose

Michelle Goldberg
Authors:
Michelle Goldberg

When the woman who would become Indra Devi was born in Russia in 1899, yoga was virtually unknown outside of India. By the time of her death, in 2002, it was being practiced everywhere, from Brooklyn to Berlin to Ulaanbaatar. In The Goddess Pose, New York Times best-selling author Michelle Goldberg traces the life of the incredible woman who brought yoga to the West and in so doing paints a sweeping picture of the twentieth century.Born into the minor aristocracy (as Eugenia Peterson), Devi grew up in the midst of one of the most turbulent times in human history. Forced to flee the Russian Revolution as a teenager, she joined a famous Berlin cabaret troupe, dove into the vibrant prewar spiritualist movement, and, at a time when it was nearly unthinkable for a young European woman to travel alone, followed the charismatic Theosophical leader Jiddu Krishnamurti to India. Once on the subcontinent, she performed in Indian silent cinema and hobnobbed with the leaders of the independence movement. But her greatest coup was convincing a recalcitrant master yogi to train her in the secrets of his art. Devi would go on to share what she learned with people around the world, teaching in Shanghai during World War II, then in Hollywood, where her students included Gloria Swanson and Greta Garbo. She ran a yoga school in Mexico during the height of the counterculture, served as spiritual adviser to the colonel who tried to overthrow Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, and, in her eighties, moved to Buenos Aires at the invitation of a besotted rock star. Everywhere she went, Indra Devi evangelized for yoga, ushering in a global craze that continues unabated. Written with vivid clarity, The Goddess Pose brings her remarkable story as an actress, yogi, and globetrotting adventuress to life.

Basic Books

The Good Book of Human Nature

Carel van Schaik, Kai Michel
Authors:
Carel van Schaik, Kai Michel

The Bible is the bestselling book of all time. It has been venerated -or excoriated,as God's word, but so far no one has read the Bible for what it is: humanity's diary, chronicling our ancestors' valiant attempts to cope with the trials and tribulations of life on Earth.In The Good Book of Human Nature , evolutionary anthropologist Carel van Schaik and historian Kai Michel advance a new view of Homo sapiens' cultural evolution. The Bible, they argue, was written to make sense of the single greatest change in history: the transition from egalitarian hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies. Religion arose as a strategy to cope with the unprecedented levels of epidemic disease, violence, inequality, and injustice that confronted us when we abandoned the bush,and which still confront us today.Armed with the latest findings from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, archeology, and religious history, van Schaik and Michel take us on a journey through the Book of Books, from the Garden of Eden all the way to Golgotha. The Book of Genesis, they reveal, marked the emergence of private property,one can no longer take the fruit off any tree, as one could before agriculture. The Torah as a whole is the product of a surprisingly logical, even scientific, approach to society's problems. This ground-breaking perspective allows van Schaik and Michel to coax unexpected secrets from the familiar stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, Abraham and Moses, Jesus of Nazareth and Mary. The Bible may have a dark side, but in van Schaik and Michel's hands, it proves to be a hallmark of human indefatigability.Provocative and deeply original, The Good Book of Human Nature offers a radically new understanding of the Bible. It shows that the Bible is more than just a pillar for religious belief: it is a pioneering attempt at scientific inquiry.

Da Capo Press

Heads

Jesse Jarnow
Authors:
Jesse Jarnow

Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America uncovers a hidden history of the biggest psychedelic distribution and belief system the world has ever known. Through a collection of fast-paced interlocking narratives, it animates the tale of an alternate America and its wide-eyed citizens: the LSD-slinging graffiti writers of Central Park, the Dead-loving AI scientists of Stanford, utopian Whole Earth homesteaders, black market chemists, government-wanted Anonymous hackers, rogue explorers, East Village bluegrass pickers, spiritual seekers, Internet pioneers, entrepreneurs, pranksters, pioneering DJs, and a nation of Deadheads.WFMU DJ and veteran music writer Jesse Jarnow draws on extensive new firsthand accounts from many never-before-interviewed subjects and a wealth of deep archival research to create a comic-book-coloured and panoramic American landscape, taking readers for a guided tour of the hippie highway filled with lit-up explorers, peak trips, big busts, and scenic vistas, from Vermont to the Pacific Northwest, from the old world head capitals of San Francisco and New York to the geodesic dome- dotted valleys of Colorado and New Mexico. And with the psychedelic research moving into the mainstream for the first time in decades, Heads also recounts the story of the quiet entheogenic revolution that for years has been brewing resiliently in the Dead's Technicolour shadow.Featuring over four dozen images, many never before seen- including pop artist Keith Haring's first publicly sold work- Heads weaves on of the 20th and 21st centuries' most misunderstood subcultures into the fabric of the nation's history. Written for anyone who wondered what happened to the heads after the Acid Tests, through the'70s, during the Drug War, and on to the psychedelic present, Heads collects the essential history of how LSD, Deadheads, tie-dye, and the occasional bad trip have become familiar features of the American experience.

Constable

The Salient

Alan Palmer
Authors:
Alan Palmer

Ypres today is an international 'Town of Peace', but in 1914 the town, and the Salient, the 35-mile bulge in the Western Front, of which it is part, saw a 1500-day military campaign of mud and blood at the heart of the First World War that turned it into the devil's nursery. Distinguished biographer and historian of modern Europe Alan Palmer tells the story of the war in Flanders as a conflict that has left a deep social and political mark on the history of Europe. Denying Germany possession of the historic town of Ypres and access to the Channel coast was crucial to Britain's victory in 1918. But though Flanders battlefields are the closest on the continent to English shores, this was always much more than a narrowly British conflict. Passchendaele, the Menin Road, Hill 60 and the Messines Ridge remain names etched in folk memory. Militarily and tactically the four-year long campaign was innovative and a grim testing ground with constantly changing ideas of strategy and disputes between politicians and generals. Alan Palmer details all its aspects in an illuminating history of the place as much as the fighting man's experience.