Related to: 'Eve and the New Jerusalem'

Robinson

Heavens on Earth

Michael Shermer
Authors:
Michael Shermer

A scientific exploration into humanity's obsession with the afterlife and the quest for immortality from the bestselling author and sceptic Michael ShermerIn his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans' belief in life after death. For millennia, the awareness of our own mortality and failings has led to religions concocting comforting notions of an afterlife, of heaven and hell, utopias and dystopias, and of the perfectibility of human nature.Heavens on Earth explores the numerous manifestations of the afterlife - a place where souls might go after the death of the physical body. Religious leaders have toiled to make sense of this place that a surprisingly high percentage of people believe exists, but from which no one has ever returned to report what it is really like.This is one of the most profound questions of the human condition and has long driven philosophers and theologians to try to understand the meaning and purpose of life for mortal beings, and how we can transcend mortality. Shermer details recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality by radical life extentionists, extropians, transhumanists, cryonicists and mind-uploaders, along with utopians who have attempted to create heaven on earth. Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and what we can do in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.

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.

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.

Virago

I Call Myself A Feminist

Victoria Pepe
Authors:
Victoria Pepe

Is feminism still a dirty word? We asked twenty-five of the brightest, funniest, bravest young women what being a feminist in 2015 means to them.We hear from Laura Bates (of the Everyday Sexism Project), Reni Eddo-Lodge (award-winning journalist and author), Yas Necati (an eighteen-year-old activist), Laura Pankhurst, great-great granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and an activist in her own right, comedian Sofie Hagen, engineer Naomi Mitchison and Louise O'Neill, author of the award-winning feminist Young Adult novel Only Ever Yours. Writing about a huge variety of subjects, we have Martha Mosse on how she became a feminist, Alice Stride on sexism in language, Amy Annette addressing the body politic and Samira Shackle on having her eyes opened in a hostel for survivors of acid attacks in Islamabad, while Maysa Haque thinks about the way Islam has informed her feminism and Isabel Adomakoh Young insists that women don't have to be perfect. There are twelve other performers, politicians and writers who include Jade Anouka, Emily Benn, Abigail Matson-Phippard, Hajar Wright and Jinan Younis.Is the word feminist still to be shunned? Is feminism still thought of as anti-men rather than pro-human? Is this generation of feminists - outspoken, funny and focused - the best we've had for long while? Has the internet given them a voice and power previously unknown?Rachel Holmes' most recent book is Eleanor Marx: A Life; Victoria Pepe is a literary scout; Amy Annette is a comedy producer currently working on festivals including Latitude; Alice Stride works for Women's Aid and Martha Mosse is a freelance producer and artist.

Twelve

The Scarlet Sisters

Myra MacPherson
Authors:
Myra MacPherson

Victoria Claflin Woodhull and Tennessee 'Tennie' Claflin were true American originals. These vastly forward-thinking sisters' push for women's fiscal, political, and sexual independence placed them among the most fascinating, flamboyant, and scandalous women of the 19th century. In just a few decades, they achieved a stunning list of firsts: half a century before women could vote, Victoria became the first woman to run for president, choosing former slave Frederick Douglass as her running mate; Tennie ran for congress and shocked the world by becoming the honorary colonel of a black regiment. Together, they opened the first brokerage house run by women, not only surviving 1869's infamous Black Friday, but actually making money, and were bankrolled by legendary tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt amid high gossip that he was Tennie's lover. They were the first female publishers of a radical weekly newspaper, leaders in the Spiritualist movement, and heroines among the liberal wing of Suffragettes for revealing Victorian hypocrisy in their speeches and in Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly. In exposing Henry Ward Beecher's alleged adulterous affair they took on the most famous preacher in America and starred in the 'Trial of the Century' that rivaled the Civil War for media coverage. Telling their story with vivid and engaging detail, award-winning historian Myra MacPherson brings these inspiring and outrageous sisters brilliantly to life, and in doing so deconstructs the manners and mores of Victorian America.

Virago

Woman

Natalie Angier
Authors:
Natalie Angier
Basic Books

The Last Empire

Serhii Plokhy
Authors:
Serhii Plokhy

On Christmas Day, 1991, President George H. W. Bush addressed the nation to declare an American victory in the Cold War: earlier that day Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned as the first and last Soviet president. The enshrining of that narrative, one in which the end of the Cold War was linked to the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the triumph of democratic values over communism, took centre stage in American public discourse immediately after Bush's speech and has persisted for decades,with disastrous consequences for American standing in the world.As Prize-winning historian Serhii Plokhy reveals in The Last Empire , the collapse of the Soviet Union was anything but the handiwork of the United States. On the contrary, American leaders dreaded the possibility that the Soviet Union,weakened by infighting and economic turmoil,might suddenly crumble, throwing all of Eurasia into chaos. Bush was firmly committed to supporting his ally and personal friend Gorbachev, and remained wary of nationalist or radical leaders such as recently elected Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Fearing what might happen to the large Soviet nuclear arsenal in the event of the union's collapse, Bush stood by Gorbachev as he resisted the growing independence movements in Ukraine, mouldova, and the Caucasus. Plokhy's detailed, authoritative account shows that it was only after the movement for independence of the republics had gained undeniable momentum on the eve of the Ukrainian vote for independence that fall that Bush finally abandoned Gorbachev to his fate.Drawing on recently declassified documents and original interviews with key participants, Plokhy presents a bold new interpretation of the Soviet Union's final months and argues that the key to the Soviet collapse was the inability of the two largest Soviet republics, Russia and Ukraine, to agree on the continuing existence of a unified state. By attributing the Soviet collapse to the impact of American actions, US policy makers overrated their own capacities in toppling and rebuilding foreign regimes. Not only was the key American role in the demise of the Soviet Union a myth, but this misplaced belief has guided,and haunted,American foreign policy ever since.

Virago

Vagina

Naomi Wolf
Authors:
Naomi Wolf
Virago

Fifty Shades of Feminism

Lisa Appignanesi, Susie Orbach, Rachel Holmes
Authors:
Lisa Appignanesi, Susie Orbach, Rachel Holmes
Nation Books

The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century

Peter Dreier
Authors:
Peter Dreier

A hundred years ago, any soapbox orator who called for women's suffrage, laws protecting the environment, an end to lynching, or a federal minimum wage was considered a utopian dreamer or a dangerous socialist. Now we take these ideas for granted, because the radical ideas of one generation are often the common sense of the next. We all stand on the shoulders of earlier generations of radicals and reformers who challenged the status quo of their day. Unfortunately, most Americans know little of this progressive history. It isn't taught in most high schools. You can't find it on the major television networks. In popular media, the most persistent interpreter of America's radical past is Glenn Beck, who teaches viewers a wildly inaccurate history of unions, civil rights, and the American Left. The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century , a colourful and witty history of the most influential progressive leaders of the twentieth century and beyond, is the perfect antidote.

Virago

Living Dolls

Natasha Walter
Authors:
Natasha Walter
Basic Books

Philosophy In The Flesh

George Lakoff
Authors:
George Lakoff

What are human beings like? How is knowledge possible? What is truth? Where do moral values come from? Questions like these have stood at the centre of Western philosophy for centuries. In addressing them, philosophers have made certain fundamental assumptions,that we can know our own minds by introspection, that most of our thinking about the world is literal, and that reason is disembodied and universal,that are now called into question by well-established results of cognitive science. It has been shown empirically that:Most thought is unconscious. We have no direct conscious access to the mechanisms of thought and language. Our ideas go by too quickly and at too deep a level for us to observe them in any simple way.Abstract concepts are mostly metaphorical. Much of the subject matter of philosopy, such as the nature of time, morality, causation, the mind, and the self, relies heavily on basic metaphors derived from bodily experience. What is literal in our reasoning about such concepts is minimal and conceptually impoverished. All the richness comes from metaphor. For instance, we have two mutually incompatible metaphors for time, both of which represent it as movement through space: in one it is a flow past us and in the other a spatial dimension we move along.Mind is embodied. Thought requires a body,not in the trivial sense that you need a physical brain to think with, but in the profound sense that the very structure of our thoughts comes from the nature of the body. Nearly all of our unconscious metaphors are based on common bodily experiences.Most of the central themes of the Western philosophical tradition are called into question by these findings. The Cartesian person, with a mind wholly separate from the body, does not exist. The Kantian person, capable of moral action according to the dictates of a universal reason, does not exist. The phenomenological person, capable of knowing his or her mind entirely through introspection alone, does not exist. The utilitarian person, the Chomskian person, the poststructuralist person, the computational person, and the person defined by analytic philosopy all do not exist.Then what does?Lakoff and Johnson show that a philosopy responsible to the science of mind offers radically new and detailed understandings of what a person is. After first describing the philosophical stance that must follow from taking cognitive science seriously, they re-examine the basic concepts of the mind, time, causation, morality, and the self: then they rethink a host of philosophical traditions, from the classical Greeks through Kantian morality through modern analytic philosopy. They reveal the metaphorical structure underlying each mode of thought and show how the metaphysics of each theory flows from its metaphors. Finally, they take on two major issues of twentieth-century philosopy: how we conceive rationality, and how we conceive language. Philosopy in the Flesh reveals a radically new understanding of what it means to be human and calls for a thorough rethinking of the Western philosophical tradition. This is philosopy as it has never been seen before.

Virago

The New Feminism

Natasha Walter
Authors:
Natasha Walter

Where has British feminism gone? Has it retreated into the academy, did it burn out at Greenham Common, has it emigrated to the United States? Natasha Walter discovers that there is a new feminism right here and now in Britain. It is alive and kicking and speaking in the voices of young British women. In defining this new feminism, Natasha Walter celebrates women's growing power, casts aside the dogma of previous generations, and argues that the old adage 'The Personal is Political' does more harm than good. Because above all, this new feminism is frankly materialist. Who cares about how women dress, how they talk, how they make love? First, feminism must deliver political power and economic equality.With tremendous wit, verve and intelligence, THE NEW FEMINISM marks out fresh ground in feminist debate.

Virago

Sexual Anarchy

Elaine Showalter
Authors:
Elaine Showalter
Virago

The Female Malady

Elaine Showalter
Authors:
Elaine Showalter

In this informative, timely and often harrowing study, Elaine Showalter demonstrates how cultural ideas about 'proper' feminine behaviour have shaped the definition and treatment of female insanity for 150 years, and given mental disorder in women specifically sexual connotations. Along with vivid portraits of the men who dominated psychiatry, and descriptions of the therapeutic practices that were used to bring women 'to their senses', she draws on diaries and narratives by inmates, and fiction from Mary Wollstonecraft to Doris Lessing, to supply a cultural perspective usually missing from studies of mental illness.Highly original and beautifully written, The Female Malady is a vital counter-interpretation of madness in women, showing how it is a consequence of, rather than a deviation from, the traditional female role.

Lisa Appignanesi

Lisa Appignanesi was born in Poland and grew up in France and Canada. A novelist and writer, she is visiting professor of Literature and the Medical Humanities at King's College London. She was chair of the Freud Museum from 2008-2014 and is a former president of English PEN. She was awarded an OBE for services to Literature in 2013. Her published work includes Mad, Bad and Sad, All About Love and Losing the Dead. @LisaAppignanesi

Myra MacPherson

Myra MacPherson is the award-winning and bestselling author of four previous books, including The Power Lovers, the Vietnam War classic Long Time Passing, and All Governments Lie. She was an acclaimed journalist at the Washington Post, and has also written for the New York Times, numerous magazines, and websites. She lives in Washington, D.C.

by Valerie Martin

Property - Introduction

Valerie Martin introduces her book' 'Porperty': the book that dared to tell a different story.

Chapter One

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

Read the first chapter of the latest book in Alexander McCall Smith's Sunday Philosophy Club series. The victim of an important art theft appeals to Isabel Dalhousie, Edinburgh philosopher and sleuth, for help.

Author of 'The Casual Vacancy'

An interivew with J.K. Rowling

Best-selling author J.K. Rowling is interviewed about her first novel for adults, 'The Casual Vacancy'.