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: 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
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.

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
Abacus

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.

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

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

Viceroys is the story of the British aristocracy sent to govern India during the reigns of five British monarchs. It is also the story of how the modern British identity was established. British history from the Hundred Years War onwards gives an impression of how the British were seen. It is a misconception or more kindly, a British view. Until the nineteenth century the British did not have an identity readily recognized throughout the world. Even the Elizabethans were never established other than as great individuals. From 1815, an image of Britain as the first superpower was built that would make do until even the twenty first century. Direct rule in the name of a long-lived queen and the consequential superlatives of style and theatre of conquest had the whole world believing that it knew the secret of that British identity. To be white and British even at the lowest social level was enough to command and to be white, British and aristocratic was enough to rule. By the end of Victoria's reign a quarter of the world saluted the authority of the British identity. It took until the second half of the twentieth century for even the Americans to question that authority. The token in that identity, the plumed viceroy whose quarterings linked everyone who held that office to the aristocracy that was the guardian of that image, is not just an illusion. Viceroys is not a chronological biography of each viceroy from Canning to Mountbatten. It is instead, the story of the viceregal caste. It is the supreme view of the British in India, describing 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.Viceroys will come to a conclusion as to what created the international identity of the British that was cherished well into the twentieth century. It was and is an identity that has coloured in the worst pictures of the British character and ambition as seen by modern radicalized people and loyalties around the globe. Ironically, it is in part the answer to how was it that such a small offshore European island people believed themselves to have the right to sit at the highest institutional tables and judge what is right and what is unacceptable in other nations and institutions.

Constable

Don't Let My Past Be Your Future

Harry Leslie Smith
Authors:
Harry Leslie Smith
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.

Basic Books

Wild Nights

Benjamin Reiss
Authors:
Benjamin Reiss

Why is sleep frustrating for so many people? Why do we spend so much time and money managing and medicating it, and training ourselves and our children to do it correctly? In Wild Nights, Benjamin Reiss finds answers in sleep's hidden history--one that leads to our present, sleep-obsessed society, its tacitly accepted rules, and their troubling consequences.Today we define a good night's sleep very narrowly: eight hours in one shot, sealed off in private bedrooms, children apart from parents. But for most of human history, practically no one slept this way. Tracing sleep's transformation since the dawn of the industrial age, Reiss weaves together insights from literature, social and medical history, and cutting-edge science to show how and why we have tried and failed to tame sleep. In lyrical prose, he leads readers from bedrooms and laboratories to factories and battlefields to Henry David Thoreau's famous cabin at Walden Pond, telling the stories of troubled sleepers, hibernating peasants, sleepwalking preachers, cave-dwelling sleep researchers, slaves who led nighttime uprisings, rebellious workers, spectacularly frazzled parents, and utopian dreamers. We are hardly the first people, Reiss makes clear, to chafe against our modern rules for sleeping.A stirring testament to sleep's diversity, Wild Nights offers a profound reminder that in the vulnerability of slumber we can find our shared humanity. By peeling back the covers of history, Reiss recaptures sleep's mystery and grandeur and offers hope to weary readers: as sleep was transformed once before, so too can it change today.

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.

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
Da Capo Press

Heads

Jesse Jarnow
Authors:
Jesse Jarnow
PublicAffairs

The Hacked World Order

Adam Segal
Authors:
Adam Segal

For more than three hundred years, the world wrestled with conflicts that arose between nation-states. Nation-states wielded military force, financial pressure, and diplomatic persuasion to create world order." Even after the end of the Cold War, the elements comprising world order remained essentially unchanged.     But 2012 marked a transformation in geopolitics and the tactics of both the established powers and smaller entities looking to challenge the international community. That year, the US government revealed its involvement in Operation Olympic Games," a mission aimed at disrupting the Iranian nuclear program through cyberattacks Russia and China conducted massive cyber-espionage operations and the world split over the governance of the Internet. Cyberspace became a battlefield.     Cyber conflict is hard to track, often delivered by proxies, and has outcomes that are hard to gauge. It demands that the rules of engagement be completely reworked and all the old niceties of diplomacy be recast. Many of the critical resources of statecraft are now in the hands of the private sector, giant technology companies in particular. In this new world order, cybersecurity expert Adam Segal reveals, power has been well and truly hacked.

Basic Books

Home

John S. Allen
Authors:
John S. Allen

As the adage goes, home is where the heart is. This may seem self-explanatory, but none of our close primate cousins have anything like homes. Whether we live in an igloo or in Buckingham Palace, the fact that Homo sapiens create homes is one of the greatest puzzles of our evolution. In Home , neuroanthropologist John S. Allen marshals evidence from evolutionary anthropology, neuroscience, the study of emotion, and modern sociology to argue that the home is one of the most important cognitive, technological, and cultural products of our species' evolution. It is because we have homes,relatively secure against whatever horrors lurk outside,that human civilizations have been able to achieve the periods of explosive cultural and creative progress that are our species' hallmark.Narratives of human evolution are dominated by the emergence of language, the importance of hunting and cooking, the control of fire, the centrality of cooperation, and the increasingly long time periods children need to develop. In Home , Allen argues that the home served as a nexus for these activities and developments, providing a stable and safe base from which forays into the unknown,both mental and physical,could be launched. But the power of the home is not just in what we accomplish while we have it, but in what goes wrong when we do not. According to Allen, insecure homes foster depression in adults and health problems in all ages, and homelessness is more than an economic tragedy: it is a developmental and psychological disaster.Home sheds new light on the deep pleasures we receive from our homes, rooting them in both our evolution and our identity as humans. Home is not simply where the heart is, but the mind too. No wonder we miss it so when we are gone.