At a time when we are reexamining our values, reeling from the pace of change, witnessing the clash between good instincts and "pragmatism," dealing with the angst of a new millennium, Neil Postman, one of our most distinguished observers of contemporary society, provides for us a source of guidance and inspiration. In Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century he revisits the Enlightenment, that great flowering of ideas that provided a humane direction for the future -- ideas that formed our nation and that we would do well to embrace anew. He turns our attention to Goethe, Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Kant, Edward Gibbon, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and Franklin, and to their then-radical thinking about inductive science, religious and political freedom, popular education, rational commerce, the nation-state, progress, and happiness. Postman calls for a future connected to traditions that provide sane authority and meaningful purpose -- as opposed to an overreliance on technology and an increasing disregard for the lessons of history. And he argues passionately for specific new guidelines in the education of our children, with renewed emphasis on developing the intellect as successfully as we are developing a computer-driven world. Witty, provocative, and brilliantly reasoned, Building a Bridge to the Eighteenth Century is Neil Postman's most radical, and most commonsensical, book yet. From the Hardcover edition.
The Pulitzer Prize–winning author’s classic, “brilliantly illuminated” account of education in America (TheNew York Times Book Review). Mrs. Zajac is feisty, funny, and tough. She likes to call herself an “old-lady teacher.” (She is thirty-four.) Around Kelly School, she is infamous for her discipline: “She is mean, bro,” says one of her students. But children love her, and so will the reader of this extraordinarily moving book by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of House and The Soul of a New Machine. Tracy Kidder spent nine months in Mrs. Zajac’s fifth-grade classroom in a depressed area of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Living among the twenty schoolchildren and their indomitable teacher, he shared their joys, catastrophes, and small but essential triumphs. His resulting New York Times bestseller is a revelatory and remarkably poignant account of an inner-city school that “erupts with passionate life,” and a close-up examination of what is wrong—and right—with education in America (USA Today). “More than a book about needy children and a valiant teacher; it is full of the author’s genuine love, delight and celebration of the human condition. He has never used his talent so well.” —The New York Times
Since when was it unpatriotic to dissent? Why is it “un-American” to question our government’s policies? And how did the Far Right manage to claim the flag exclusively for itself? A book that the country desperately needs, 50 American Revolutions is a concise, quick guide to the people and events in our country’s history that progressives and anyone not impressed by the radical Right’s warped version of patriotism can be proud of. Author Mickey Z begins with Thomas Paine’s revolutionary manifesto Common Sense, written anonymously as a pamphlet in January 1776 and read by every member of Congress, and goes on to highlight the most notable people and events in the history of the United States, right through to the families of 9/11 victims in the group Peaceful Tomorrows questioning the connection between the events of that day and the United States’ subsequent acts of aggression in Iraq. In addition to concise essays on everything and everyone from the Bill of Rights to disability rights, Coxey’s Army to Public Enemy, Mickey also highlights important milestones along the timeline of the book, making for a complete picture of US history, good with bad. As with Russ Kick’s ultra-popular 50 Things You’re Not Supposed To Know, 50 American Revolutions is perfectly sized for handbags and coat pockets (it’s the same size as a CD), it’s a tremendous gift for anyone whose idea of patriotism needs some revision.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year A Los Angeles Times Book Review Favorite Book of the Year Since her girlhood, Prudence Winship has gazed across the tidal straits from her home in Brooklyn to the city of Manhattan and yearned to bridge the distance. Now, established as the owner of the enormously successful gin distillery she inherited from her father, she can begin to realize her dream. Set in eighteenth-century Brooklyn, this is the story of a determined and intelligent woman who is consumed by a vision of a bridge: a gargantuan construction of timber and masonry she devises to cross the East River in a single, magnificent span. With the help of the local surveyor, Benjamin Horsfield, and her sisters—the high-spirited, obstreperous Tem, who works with her in the distillery, and the silent, uncanny Pearl—she fires the imaginations of the people of Brooklyn and New York by promising them a bridge that will meet their most pressing practical needs while being one of the most ambitious public works ever attempted. Prue's own life and the life of the bridge become inextricably bound together as the costs of the bridge, both financial and human, rise beyond her direst expectations. Brookland confirms Emily Barton's reputation as one of the finest writers of her generation, whose work is "blessedly post-ironic, engaging and heartfelt" (Thomas Pynchon).
The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future
Author: Ian Morris
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Why does the West rule? In this magnum opus, eminent Stanford polymath Ian Morris answers this provocative question, drawing on 50,000 years of history, archeology, and the methods of social science, to make sense of when, how, and why the paths of development differed in the East and West — and what this portends for the 21st century. There are two broad schools of thought on why the West rules. Proponents of "Long-Term Lock-In" theories such as Jared Diamond suggest that from time immemorial, some critical factor — geography, climate, or culture perhaps — made East and West unalterably different, and determined that the industrial revolution would happen in the West and push it further ahead of the East. But the East led the West between 500 and 1600, so this development can't have been inevitable; and so proponents of "Short-Term Accident" theories argue that Western rule was a temporary aberration that is now coming to an end, with Japan, China, and India resuming their rightful places on the world stage. However, as the West led for 9,000 of the previous 10,000 years, it wasn't just a temporary aberration. So, if we want to know why the West rules, we need a whole new theory. Ian Morris, boldly entering the turf of Jared Diamond and Niall Ferguson, provides the broader approach that is necessary, combining the textual historian's focus on context, the anthropological archaeologist's awareness of the deep past, and the social scientist's comparative methods to make sense of the past, present, and future — in a way no one has ever done before. From the Hardcover edition.
NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY DWIGHT GARNER, THE NEW YORK TIMES • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY San Francisco Chronicle | NPR | The Root | The Telegraph | The Globe and Mail NATIONAL BESTSELLER • FINALIST, PHILLIS WHEATLEY BOOK AWARD • TEJU COLE WAS NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL AFRICANS OF THE YEAR BY NEW AFRICAN MAGAZINE For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Michael Ondaatje, Every Day Is for the Thief is a wholly original work of fiction by Teju Cole, whose critically acclaimed debut, Open City, was the winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was named one of the best books of the year by more than twenty publications. Fifteen years is a long time to be away from home. It feels longer still because I left under a cloud. A young Nigerian living in New York City goes home to Lagos for a short visit, finding a city both familiar and strange. In a city dense with story, the unnamed narrator moves through a mosaic of life, hoping to find inspiration for his own. He witnesses the “yahoo yahoo” diligently perpetrating email frauds from an Internet café, longs after a mysterious woman reading on a public bus who disembarks and disappears into a bookless crowd, and recalls the tragic fate of an eleven-year-old boy accused of stealing at a local market. Along the way, the man reconnects with old friends, a former girlfriend, and extended family, taps into the energies of Lagos life—creative, malevolent, ambiguous—and slowly begins to reconcile the profound changes that have taken place in his country and the truth about himself. In spare, precise prose that sees humanity everywhere, interwoven with original photos by the author, Every Day Is for the Thief—originally published in Nigeria in 2007—is a wholly original work of fiction. This revised and updated edition is the first version of this unique book to be made available outside Africa. You’ve never read a book like Every Day Is for the Thief because no one writes like Teju Cole. Praise for Every Day Is for the Thief “A luminous rumination on storytelling and place, exile and return . . . extraordinary.”—San Francisco Chronicle “Cole is following in a long tradition of writerly walkers who, in the tradition of Baudelaire, make their way through urban spaces on foot and take their time doing so. Like Alfred Kazin, Joseph Mitchell, J. M. Coetzee, and W. G. Sebald (with whom he is often compared), Cole adds to the literature in his own zeitgeisty fashion.”—The Boston Globe “Crisp, affecting . . . Cole constructs a narrative of fragments, a series of episodes that he allows to resonate.”—The New York Times Book Review “Hugely rewarding . . . both a celebration of one of the world’s most vibrant cities and a lament over what can be one of the most frustrating and difficult places to live. It is also a story of family breakup and an uneasy homecoming—the narrator has been away for fifteen years and must relearn how to navigate a place that was once home.”—NPR “[Every Day Is for the Thief has] a restraint that allows [Cole] to slip in these exquisitely rendered observations on life, love, art that leave you feeling richer and more attuned to your own reality once you’ve finished reading.”—Dinaw Mengestu, The Atlantic From the Hardcover edition.
Stirring Up Trouble About Language, Technology and Education
Author: Neil Postman
Category: Social Science
In a series of feisty and ultimately hopeful essays, one of America's sharpest social critics casts a shrewd eye over contemporary culture to reveal the worst -- and the best -- of our habits of discourse, tendencies in education, and obsessions with technological novelty. Readers will find themselves rethinking many of their bedrock assumptions: Should education transmit culture or defend us against it? Is technological innovation progress or a peculiarly American addiction? When everyone watches the same television programs -- and television producers don't discriminate between the audiences for Sesame Street and Dynasty -- is childhood anything more than a sentimental concept? Writing in the traditions of Orwell and H.L. Mencken, Neil Postman sends shock waves of wit and critical intelligence through the cultural wasteland. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900's and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
The main driver of inequality—returns on capital that exceed the rate of economic growth—is again threatening to generate extreme discontent and undermine democratic values. Thomas Piketty’s findings in this ambitious, original, rigorous work will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.
The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
Author: Steven Pinker
An assessment of the human condition in the twenty-first century presents data demonstrating that life quality, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise throughout the world because of the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.
Mr Mungo Campbell,Mr E. Geoffrey Hancock,Professor Nick Pearce
The Art and Science of Eighteenth-Century Collecting
Author: Mr Mungo Campbell,Mr E. Geoffrey Hancock,Professor Nick Pearce
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
Despite William Hunter's stature as one of the most important collectors and men of science of the eighteenth century, and the fact that his collection is the foundation of Scotland's oldest public museum, The Hunterian, until now there has been no comprehensive examination in a single volume of all his collections in their diversity. This volume comprises essays by international specialists and are as diverse as Hunter's collections themselves, dealing as they do with material that ranges from medical and scientific specimens, to painting, prints, books and manuscripts, and includes a special feature of links to the Hunterian's web pages and on-line databases. Locating Hunter's collecting within the broader context of his age and environment, this book provides an original approach to a man and collection whose importance has yet to be comprehensively assessed.
The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
Author: Dava Sobel
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Anyone alive in the eighteenth century would have known that "the longitude problem" was the thorniest scientific dilemma of the day-and had been for centuries. Lacking the ability to measure their longitude, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. Thousands of lives, and the increasing fortunes of nations, hung on a resolution. The scientific establishment of Europe-from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton-had mapped the heavens in both hemispheres in its certain pursuit of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to imagine a mechanical solution-a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had ever been able to do on land. Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest, and of Harrison's forty-year obsession with building his perfect timekeeper, known today as the chronometer. Full of heroism and chicanery, it is also a fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation, and clockmaking, and opens a new window on our world.
"Olivier Bernier's richly detailed, engaging, and elegant books offers a splendid refresher course on a pivotal moment in world history - the dawn of the modern era." - Francine du Plessix Gray In the year 1800, almost everyone lived very much as their ancestors had, going back countless generations. In the countryside, illiterate peasants - the majority of the population - still scratched out a living from the soil, while in the cities, merchants hawked their wares in open-air market stalls and nobles led lives of opulent leisure. Yet everywhere were unmistakable signs that all of this would soon change forever. Spread by France's seemingly invincible citizens' army, the seeds of republicanism had been planted throughout Europe. In the Americas, the United States had proved to the world the feasibility of a government of, by, and for the people, and Mexico was threatening to follow its lead. And while it still took four months for an official dispatch to travel from London to Calcutta, Europe's leading nations - France and England - had established global empire-building strategies. In the year 1800, the world suddenly found itself enmeshed in a web of money, war, and political intrigue, out of which a new world - our world - was struggling to be born. Bringing all his talents as a first-rate storyteller to bear, Bernier takes us inside the courts and parliaments of the major powers to listen in on the political discourse of the day. He leads us into the boudoirs and ballrooms of the rich, the cramped homes of the middle class, and the hovels of the poor to provide an intimate glimpse of the private lives of the first modern men and women. A spellbinding account of one of the most momentous chapters in the story of civilization, The World in 1800 is a singular achievement by a premier historian and an irresistible read.
Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life's work, The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker's brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie -- man's refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than twenty years after its writing.
In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today’s most pressing issues. How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children? Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive. In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis? Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading.