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

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Books in this series

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: 432
  • 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
Hachette Audio

Empty Planet

Darrell Bricker, John Ibbitson
Authors:
Darrell Bricker, John Ibbitson

A radical, provocative argument that the global population will soon begin to decline, dramatically reshaping the social, political and economic landscape.For half a century, statisticians, pundits and politicians have warned that a burgeoning planetary population will soon overwhelm the earth's resources. But a growing number of experts are sounding a different kind of alarm. Rather than growing exponentially, they argue, the global population is headed for a steep decline. Throughout history, depopulation was the product of catastrophe: ice ages, plagues, the collapse of civilizations. This time, however, we're thinning ourselves deliberately, by choosing to have fewer babies than we need to replace ourselves. In much of the developed and developing world, that decline is already underway, as urbanisation, women's empowerment, and waning religiosity lead to smaller and smaller families. In Empty Planet, Ibbitson and Bricker travel from South Florida to Sao Paulo, Seoul to Nairobi, Brussels to Delhi to Beijing, drawing on a wealth of research and firsthand reporting to illustrate the dramatic consequences of this population decline - and to show us why the rest of the developing world will soon join in. They find that a smaller global population will bring with it a number of benefits: fewer workers will command higher wages; good jobs will prompt innovation; the environment will improve; the risk of famine will wane; and falling birthrates in the developing world will bring greater affluence and autonomy for women. But enormous disruption lies ahead, too. We can already see the effects in Europe and parts of Asia, as aging populations and worker shortages weaken the economy and impose crippling demands on healthcare and vital social services. There may be earth-shaking implications on a geopolitical scale as well. Empty Planet is a hugely important book for our times. Captivating and persuasive, it is a story about urbanisation, access to education and the empowerment of women to choose their own destinies. It is about the secularisation of societies and the vital role that immigration has to play in our futures.Rigorously researched and deeply compelling, Empty Planet offers a vision of a future that we can no longer prevent - but one that we can shape, if we choose to.

PublicAffairs

Dawn of the Code War

John P. Carlin, Garret M. Graff
Authors:
John P. Carlin, Garret M. Graff

Over the past decade, there have been a series of internet-linked attacks on American interests, including North Korea's retaliatory hack of Sony Pictures, China's large-scale industrial espionage, Russia's 2016 propaganda campaign, and quite a lot more. The cyber war is upon us.Former Assistant Attorney General John Carlin has been on the frontlines of America's ongoing cyber war with its enemies. In this dramatic book, he tells the story of his years-long secret battle to keep America safe, and warns us of the perils that await us as we embrace the latest digital novelties -- smart appliances, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars -- with little regard for how our enemies might compromise them. The potential targets for our enemies are multiplying: our electrical grid, our companies, our information sources, our satellites. As each sector of the economy goes digital, a new vulnerability is exposed.The Internet of Broken Things is not merely a cautionary tale, though. It makes the urgent case that we need to start innovating more responsibly. As a fleet of web-connected cars and pacemakers rolls off the assembly lines, the potential for danger is overwhelming. We must see and correct these flaws before our enemies exploit them.

Robinson

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

Michele J. Gelfand
Authors:
Michele J. Gelfand
Constable

Viceroys

Christopher Lee
Authors:
Christopher Lee

Between 1858 and 1947, twenty British men ruled millions of some of the most remarkable people of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.From the Indian Mutiny to the cruel religious partition of India and the newly formed and named Pakistan, the Viceroy had absolute power, more than the monarch who had sent him. Selected from that exclusive class of English, Scottish and Irish breeding, the aristocracy, the Viceroys were plumed, rode elephants, shot tigers. Even their wives stood when they entered the room. Nevertheless, many of them gave everything for India. The first Viceroy, Canning, exhausted by the Mutiny, buried his wife in Calcutta before he left the subcontinent to die shortly afterwards.The average Viceroy lasted five years and was granted an earldom but rarely a sense of triumph. Did these Viceroys behave as badly as twenty-first century moralists would have us believe? When the Raj was over, the legacy of Empire continued, as the new rulers slipped easily into the offices and styles of the British who had gone. Being 'British' was now a caste.Viceroys is the tale of the British Raj, the last fling of British aristocracy. It is the supreme view of the British in India, portraying the sort of people who went out and the sort of people they were on their return. It is the story of utter power and what men did with it. Moreover, it is also the story of how modern British identity was established and in part the answer to how it was that such a small offshore European island people believed themselves to have the right to sit at the highest institutional tables and judge what was right and unacceptable in other nations and institutions.

Robinson

A Brief History Of Video Games

Rich Stanton
Authors:
Rich Stanton
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.

Piatkus

Unscaled

Hemant Taneja
Authors:
Hemant Taneja
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.

Abacus

The Lie of the Land

Amanda Craig
Authors:
Amanda Craig
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.'The final instalment of Brookes' Mangan trilogy secures its status as a classic'Telegraph (50 Best Books of 2017)'Riveting and accomplished'Sunday Times

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
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.

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
Little, Brown

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-Maker

Roger Hutchinson
Authors:
Roger Hutchinson

At the beginning of each decade for 200 years the national census has presented a self-portrait of the British Isles.The census has surveyed Britain from the Napoleonic wars to the age of the internet, through the agricultural and industrial revolutions, possession of the biggest empire on earth and the devastation of the 20th century's two world wars.In The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker, Roger Hutchinson looks at every census between the first in 1801 and the latest in 2011. He uses this much-loved resource of family historians to paint a vivid picture of a society experiencing unprecedented changes.Hutchinson explores the controversial creation of the British census. He follows its development from a head-count of the population conducted by clerks with quill pens, to a computerised survey which is designed to discover 'the address, place of birth, religion, marital status, ability to speak English and self-perceived national identity of every twenty-seven-year-old Welsh-speaking Sikh metalworker living in Swansea'.All human life is here, from prime ministers to peasants and paupers, from Irish rebels to English patriots, from the last native speakers of Cornish to the first professional footballers, from communities of prostitutes to individuals called 'abecedarians' who made a living from teaching the alphabet.The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker is as original and unique as those people and their islands on the cutting edge of Europe.

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.

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.