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
Hachette Audio

Talking to Robots

David Ewing Duncan
Authors:
David Ewing Duncan

What robot and AI systems are being built and imagined right now? What do they say about us, their creators? Will they usher in a fantastic new future, or destroy us? What do some of our greatest thinkers, from physicist Brian Greene and futurist Kevin Kelly to inventor Dean Kamen, geneticist George Church, and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, anticipate for our human-robot future? For even as robots and AI intrigue us and make us anxious about the future, our fascination with robots has always been about more than the potential of the technology - it's also about what robots tell us about being human.From present-day Facebook and Amazon bots to near-future 'intimacy' bots and 'the robot that stole my job' bots, bestselling American popular science writer David Ewing Duncan's Talking to Robots is a wonderfully entertaining and insightful guide to possible future scenarios about robots, both real and imagined. These scenarios are informed by interviews with actual engineers, scientists, artists, philosophers, futurists and others, who share with us their ideas, hopes and fears about robots. In the future, we will all remember when the robots truly arrived. Perhaps a robot surgeon saved your child's life, or maybe your inaugural robot moment will be more banal, when you realised with relief that the machines had taken over all the tasks you used to hate - taking out the rubbish, changing nappies, paying bills . . . Perhaps your recollection will be less benign, a memory of when a robot turned against you: the robot that threatened to seize your assets over a tax dispute. You might also remember when the robots began campaigning for equal rights with humans, and for an end to robot slavery, abuse and exploitation. Or when robots became so smart that they became our benign overlords, treating us like cute and not very bright pets. Or when the robots grew tired of us and decided to destroy us, turning our own robo-powered weapons of mass destruction against us. Further into the future we will remember when robots became organic, created in a lab from living tissue to look and be just like us, only better and more resilient. Even further in the future, we will recall when we first had the option of becoming robots ourselves, by downloading our minds into organic-engineered beings that could theoretically live forever. And yet . . . will we feel that something is missing as the millennia pass? Will we grow weary of being robots, invulnerable and immortal? Mostly we love our technology as it whisks us across and over continents and oceans at 35,000 feet, or summons us rides in someone else's Prius or connects us online to long-lost friends. Yet deep down, many of us fear that a robo-Apocalypse is all too possible. We seem obsessed with robots, as we embrace contrasting visions of robo-utopia and robo-dystopia that titillate, bring hope and scare the hell out of us.

Robinson

Barbarians

Stephen P. Kershaw
Authors:
Stephen P. Kershaw

'And now what will become of us without barbarians?Those people were a sort of solution.' 'Waiting for the Barbarians' C. P. CavafyHistory is written by the victors, and Rome had some very eloquent historians. Those the Romans regarded as barbarians left few records of their own, but they had a tremendous impact on the Roman imagination. Resisting from outside Rome's borders or rebelling from within, they emerge vividly in Rome's historical tradition, and left a significant footprint in archaeology.Rome's history, as written by the Romans, follows a remarkable trajectory from its origins as a tiny village of refugees from a conflict zone to a dominant superpower, before being transformed into the medieval and Byzantine worlds. But throughout this history, Rome faced significant resistance and rebellion from peoples whom it regarded as barbarians. Gibbon saw the Roman Empire as one of the highest points of human achievement destroyed by barbarian invaders: Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Goths, Vandals, Huns, Picts and Scots. To others, as Rome was ravaged, new life was infused into an expiring Italy. Gibbon's 'decline and fall' has been reappraised as transformation, through religious and cultural revolution. Based both on ancient historical writings and modern archaeological research, this new history takes a fresh look at the Roman Empire, through the personalities and lives of key opponents of Rome's rise, dominance and fall - or transformation. These include: Brennus, the Gaul who sacked Rome; the Plebs, those barbarous insiders and internal resistors; Hannibal; Viriathus, the Iberian shepherd and skilled guerilla; Jugurtha and the struggle to free Africa; the Germanic threat from the Cimbri and the Teutones; Spartacus, the gladiator; Vercingetorix and rebellion in Gaul; Cleopatra; Boudicca, the Queen of the Iceni and the scourge of Rome; the Great Jewish Revolt; Alaric the Goth and the Sack of Rome; Attila the Hun, 'Born to Shake the Nations'; and the Vandals and the fall of Rome.

Black Dog & Leventhal

The Amusement Park

Stephen M. Silverman
Authors:
Stephen M. Silverman
Robinson

The Last Hurrah

Graham Viney
Authors:
Graham Viney
Hachette Audio

Freedom

James Walvin
Authors:
James Walvin

In this timely and very readable new work, Walvin focuses not on abolitionism or the brutality and suffering of slavery, but on resistance, the resistance of the enslaved themselves - from sabotage and absconding to full-blown uprisings - and its impact in overthrowing slavery. He also looks that whole Atlantic world, including the Spanish Empire and Brazil. In doing so, he casts new light on one of the major shifts in Western history in the past five centuries. In the three centuries following Columbus's landfall in the Americas, slavery became a critical institution across swathes of both North and South America. It saw twelve million Africans forced onto slave ships, and had seismic consequences for Africa. It led to the transformation of the Americas and to the material enrichment of the Western world. It was also largely unquestioned. Yet within a mere seventy-five years during the nineteenth century slavery had vanished from the Americas: it declined, collapsed and was destroyed by a complexity of forces that, to this day, remains disputed, but there is no doubting that it was in large part defeated by those it had enslaved. Slavery itself came in many shapes and sizes. It is perhaps best remembered on the plantations - though even those can deceive. Slavery varied enormously from one crop to another- sugar, tobacco, rice, coffee, cotton. And there was in addition myriad tasks for the enslaved to do, from shipboard and dockside labour, to cattlemen on the frontier, through to domestic labour and child-care duties. Slavery was, then, both ubiquitous and varied. But if all these millions of diverse, enslaved people had one thing in common it was a universal detestation of their bondage. They wanted an end to it: they wanted to be like the free people around them. Most of these enslaved peoples did not live to see freedom. But an old freed man or woman in, say Cuba or Brazil in the 1880s, had lived through its destruction clean across the Americas. The collapse of slavery and the triumph of black freedom constitutes an extraordinary historical upheaval - and this book explains how that happened.

Piatkus

Mindfulness for All

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Authors:
Jon Kabat-Zinn

More than twenty years ago, Jon Kabat-Zinn changed the way we thought about awareness in everyday life with his now-classic introduction to mindfulness, Wherever You Go, There You Are. He followed that up with 2005's Coming to Our Senses, the definitive book for our time on the connection between mindfulness and our well-being on every level, physical, cognitive, emotional, social, planetary, and spiritual.Now, Coming to Our Senses is being repackaged into 4 smaller books, each focusing on a different aspect of mindfulness, and each with a new foreword written by the author. In the fourth of these books, Mindfulness for All (which was originally published as Part VII and Part VIII of Coming to Our Senses), Kabat-Zinn focuses on how mindfulness really can be a tool to transform the world--explaining how democracy thrives in a mindful context, and why mindfulness is a vital tool for both personal and global understanding and action in these tumultuous times. By "coming to our senses"--both literally and metaphorically--we can become more compassionate, more embodied, more aware human beings, and in the process, contribute to the healing of the body politic as well as our own lives in ways both little and big.

Robinson

Empty Planet

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

'A fascinating study . . . written with energy' Sunday Times'Riveting and vitally important' - Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment NowEmpty Planet offers 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 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.

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-colored 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 Technicolor shadow.Featuring over four dozen images, many never before seen--including pop artist Keith Haring's first publicly sold work--Heads weaves one 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.

Robinson

Rule Makers, Rule Breakers

Michele J. Gelfand
Authors:
Michele J. Gelfand
Constable

Don't Let My Past Be Your Future

Harry Leslie Smith
Authors:
Harry Leslie Smith
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

The Physics of Everyday Things

James Kakalios
Authors:
James Kakalios
Piatkus

Unscaled

Hemant Taneja
Authors:
Hemant Taneja
Little, Brown

China's Great Wall of Debt

Dinny McMahon
Authors:
Dinny McMahon

The world has long considered China a juggernaut of economic strength, but since the global financial crisis, the country's economy has ballooned in size, complexity, and risk. Once dominated by four state-owned banks, the nation's financial system is a tangle of shadow banking entities, informal financial institutions, and complex corporate funding arrangements that threaten growth, stability, and reform efforts. The country has accumulated so much debt so quickly that economists increasingly predict a financial crisis that could make 'Brexit' or Greece's economic ruin seem minor, and could undermine China's ascent as a superpower. Earlier this year, President Xi Jinping issued an urgent call for reform that gives the country until 2020 to transform its economy - a vaguely-defined objective that most economists agree is unrealistic. Whether or not China will be responsible for the next global recession, as some experts forecast, the fate of its economy will have far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world. Yet the inner workings of China's financial system are still very much a mystery to most outsiders. Now more than ever, as the country's slowing economy is being felt around the globe, it is essential to understand how China allowed its economy to become so mired in debt. China's Great Wall of Debt is a penetrating examination of the country's opaque financial system and the complex factors - demographic shifts; urbanization; industrialization; a pervasive over-reliance on debt-fueled investments - that have brought the country to the brink of crisis. Anchored by stories of China's cities and its people; from factory workers and displaced farmers to government officials and entrepreneurs, the narrative will take readers inside the country's ghost cities, zombie companies, start-ups, and regulatory institutions as McMahon explains how things got so bad, why fixing the problems is so hard, and what the economic outlook means for China and for the rest of us.

Robinson

Mismatch

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

The Middle Class

Lawrence James
Authors:
Lawrence James

Constable

Reading Allowed

Chris Paling
Authors:
Chris Paling
Basic Books

Designing Reality

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