Confrontations with naked human bodies can provoke powerful, and often contradictory, impressions and feelings. Just as they might either thrill or revolt, they can signal innocence or sexiness, frankness or madness, a oneness with nature or a separation from society. Advertisers and the media are very aware of the complex and highly subjective associations that most of us have towards nakedness, and use images incessantly to compete for our attention. Yet mystics have embraced nudity to get clo..
For nearly thirty years, during which it has been continuously in print, Jeffrey Russell’s A History of Witchcraft has been the one authoritative concise illustrated history of witchcraft. Now, in collaboration with Brooks Alexander, this classic book has been fully revised with additional chapters accompanied by new illustrations. It now includes an analysis of the importance of the Internet and films in the dissemination of witchcraft today, and the potential tensions as a movement that was or..
A comic history of humankind's love affair with booze, from the Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of The Etymologicon'Haha! . . . Highly suitable for Xmas!' - Margaret AtwoodAlmost every culture on earth has drink, and where there's drink there's drunkenness. But in every age and in every place drunkenness is a little bit different. It can be religious, it can be sexual, it can be the duty of kings or the relief of peasants. It can be an offering to the ancestors, or a way of marking the end..
Another Kyoto is an insider's meditation on the hidden wonders of Japan's most enigmatic city. Drawing on decades living in Kyoto, and on lore gleaned from artists, Zen monks and Shinto priests, Alex Kerr illuminates the simplest things - a temple gate, a wall, a sliding door - in a new way.
'A rich book of intimate proportions ... In Kyoto, facts and meaning are often hidden in plain sight. Kerr's gift is to make us stop and cast our eyes upward to a temple plaque, or to squint into the gloom ..
'I learned much from this book. Priya Parker has created both an art and a science to gathering in ways that can bring joy and fulfillment to any meeting.' - Deepak Chopra MD'This is a must-read!' - Chris Anderson, owner and curator of TED'A fantastic book' - Forbes'Remarkable' - BustleWe spend our lives gathering - first in classrooms and then in meetings, weddings, conferences and away days. Yet so many of us spend this time in underwhelming moments that fail to engage us, inspire us, or conne..
"Radical and inspiring ... Yanagi's vision puts the connection between heart and hand before the transient and commercial" - Edmund de WaalThe daily lives of ordinary people are replete with objects, common things used in commonplace settings. These objects are our constant companions in life. As such, writes Soetsu Yanagi, they should be made with care and built to last, treated with respect and even affection. They should be natural and simple, sturdy and safe - the aesthetic result of wholehe..
There was life before the fall.1989 was a year of astonishing and rapid change: the fall of the Berlin Wall marked the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and an end to an entire way of life for millions of people behind the Iron Curtain. Bloc Life collects first hand testimony of the people who lived in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania during the Cold War era, and reveals a rich tapestry of experience that goes beyond the headlines of spies and surveillance, secret police and politi..
Cat traces the relationship between humans and the cat from its original domestication in ancient Egypt c. 2000 BC, through the centuries as a utilitarian rodent catcher, its gradual acceptance as a charming and amiable pet, and its present status as a companion on a par with the dog. Long before people valued cats, however, they recognized something special about them. Their graceful, fluid movements, and their self-detachment even as they live in our homes, seems to indicate strange, even supe..
Covering ancient ceremonies, mythology, the gospels and traditions from around the world, Andy Thomas uncovers the fascinating background to one of the biggest festive seasons – Christmas.Have you ever wondered where Christmas comes from? Or why and how it has been celebrated throughout the centuries? This book takes you on an intriguing and entertaining journey through its social history.Learn about the:astrological associationssymbolism of the Nativityexcesses of the Roman festival of Saturnal..
An eclectic history of human curiosity, a great feast of ideas, and a memoir of a reading life from an internationally celebrated reader and thinker Curiosity has been seen through the ages as the impulse that drives our knowledge forward and the temptation that leads us toward dangerous and forbidden waters. The question "Why?" has appeared under a multiplicity of guises and in vastly different contexts throughout the chapters of human history. Why does evil exist? What is beauty? How does lang..
A decimated Shiite shrine in Iraq. The smoking World Trade Center site. The scorched cityscape of 1945 Dresden. Among the most indelible scars left by war is the destroyed landscapes, and such architectural devastation damages far more than mere buildings. Robert Bevan argues here"that shattered buildings are not merely "collateral damage," but rather calculated acts of cultural annihilation.From Hitler's Kristallnacht to the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in the Iraq War, Bevan deftly sift..
Essential reading for the #MeToo era: a powerful, lucid analysis of how misogyny works from a remarkable philosopherMisogyny is a hot topic, yet it's often misunderstood. What is misogyny exactly? Who deserves to be called a misogynist? How does misogyny contrast with sexism, and why is it prone to persist - or increase - even when sexist gender roles are waning?In Down Girl moral philosopher Kate Manne argues that misogyny should not be understood primarily in terms of the hatred or hostility s..
'Magnificent ... groundbreaking ... a triumph' Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads'A masterpiece, a delight to read ... a rare and beautiful thing' Gerard DeGroot, The TimesWhat we consume has become the defining feature of our lives: our economies live or die by spending, we are treated more as consumers than workers, and even public services are presented to us as products in a supermarket. In this monumental study, acclaimed historian Frank Trentmann unfolds the extraordinary history th..
An examination of remedies for violent rage rediscovered in ancient Greek myths Millennia ago, Greek myths exposed the dangers of violent rage and the need for empathy and self-restraint. Homer's Iliad, Euripides' Hecuba, and Sophocles' Ajax show that anger and vengeance destroy perpetrators and victims alike. Composed before and during the ancient Greeks' groundbreaking movement away from autocracy toward more inclusive political participation, these stories offer guidelines for modern efforts ..
In Everyday Life Joseph A. Amato offers a panoramic account of the evolution of our daily existence and reflects on the complex and changing textures of everyday life. Beginning with societies of scarcity and relative lack of change and ending with our own twenty-first-century lives, he ranges widely through topics as varied as dirt and muck, walking and the charm of spices, and through time from early agriculture to mechanization and the modern urban existence.Amato argues that what seems to be..
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE 2018Bestselling author Simon Winchester writes a magnificent history of the pioneering engineers who developed precision machinery to allow us to see as far as the moon and as close as the Higgs boson.Precision is the key to everything. It is an integral, unchallenged and essential component of our modern social, mercantile, scientific, mechanical and intellectual landscapes. The items we value in our daily lives – a camera, phone, computer, b..
How dangerous were fairies? In the late seventeenth century, they could still scare people to death. Little wonder, as they were thought to be descended from fallen angels, and to have the power to destroy the world itself. Such beliefs, along with some remarkably detailed sightings, lingered on well into the twentieth century. In literature and art fairies often retained this edge of danger. From the wild magic of A Midsummer Night's Dream, through the dark glamour of Keats, to the improbably e..
An exploration of the convulsive history of the 20th century's first five decades, seen through the lens of families and family life In this masterly twentieth-century history, Paul Ginsborg places the family at center stage, a novel perspective from which to examine key moments of revolution and dictatorship. His groundbreaking book spans 1900 to 1950 and encompasses five nation states in the throes of dramatic transition: Russia in revolutionary passage from Empire to Soviet Union; Turkey in t..
When the Sex Pistols swore live on tea-time telly in 1976, there was outrage across Britain. Headlines screamed. Christians marched. TVs were kicked in. Thirty years on, all those words are media-mainstream - bandied about with impunity on TV and in the papers. This is the story of our bad language and its three-decade journey from the fringes of decency to the working centre of a more linguistically liberal nation. Silverton takes a clear, comprehensive and witty look at swearing and the impact..
'The most influential thinker, in my life, has been the psychologist Richard Nisbett. He basically gave me my view of the world.'-Malcolm Gladwell"One of the world's leading thinkers" Daily TelegraphWhen Richard Nisbett showed an animated underwater scene to his American students, they zeroed in on a big fish swimming among smaller fish. Japanese subjects, on the other hand, made observations about the background environment...and the different "seeings" are a clue to profound underlying cogniti..
**WINNER OF THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE**‘A remarkable and deeply moving book’ Henry Marsh, bestselling author of Do No Harm‘A breathtaking, extraordinary work of non-fiction’ Times Literary SupplementOn 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan. It was Japan’s greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo, and sp..
In the history of the numinous there are few things more common than the belief in ghosts. From the earliest writings such as the Epic of Gilgamesh to today's ghost-hunting reality TV shows, ghosts have chilled the air of nearly every era and every culture in human history. In this book, now available in B-format paperback, Lisa Morton wrangles together history's most enduring ghosts into an entertaining and comprehensive look at what otherwise seems to always evade our eyes."Morton's brisk, han..
** A RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK **'Fascinating . . . The history of the world through the eye of a needle . . . I recommend this book to anyone' THE SPECTATOR'A charming, absorbing and history that takes us on a journey from the silk roads to sportswear, from ruffs to spacesuits . . . I devoured this quietly feminist book' SUNDAY TIMES'Joyful and beautiful' NATURE'Will make you rethink your relationship with fabric' ELLE DECORATIONAll textiles begin with a twist. From colourful 30,000-year old thr..
A richly illustrated and extremely enjoyable reference book on the historical evolution of the nude. From the Palaeolithic “Great Mothers” to the Greek athletes, from the Venus of Urbino by Titian to Leonardo’s Virtuvian Man, from the Odalisque by Boucher to those by Ingres, to the amazons of Helmut Newton and the desolate lifeless bodies of Andres Serrano, the nude is the theme of artistic representation par excellence. The nude body as the incarnation of perfect beauty and the suspicions conce..
An 'entertaining, informative and utterly depressing global history of an important commodity . . . By alerting readers to the ways that modernity's very origins are entangled with a seemingly benign and delicious substance, How Sugar Corrupted the World raises fundamental questions about our world.'Sven Beckert, the Laird Bell professor of American history at Harvard University and the author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History, in the New York Times'A brilliant and thought-provoking history ..
In Miniature is a delightful, entertaining and illuminating investigation into our peculiar fascination with making things small, and what small things tell us about the world at large.Here you will find the secret histories of tiny Eiffel Towers, the truth about the flea circus, a doll's house made for a queen, eerie tableaux of crime scenes, miniature food, model villages and railways, and more. Simon Garfield brings together history, psychology, art and obsession, to explore what fuels the st..
A leading contrarian thinker explores the ethical paradox at the heart of history's wounds The conventional wisdom about historical memory is summed up in George Santayana's celebrated phrase, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Today, the consensus that it is moral to remember, immoral to forget, is nearly absolute. And yet is this right? David Rieff, an independent writer who has reported on bloody conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, and Central Asia, insists that th..
When we are born, we are each assigned a gender based on our physical anatomy. But why is it that some people experience such dissonance between their biological sex and their inner identity? Is gender something we are or something we do? Is our expression of gender inborn or does it develop as we grow? Are the traditional binary male and female gender roles relevant in an increasingly fluid and flexible world? This intelligent, stimulating volume assesses the connections between gender, psychol..
A timely exploration of the exceptional power and intrinsic vulnerability of manhoodIn the wake of the #MeToo movement and the upsurge in feminist and men’s rights activism, traditional masculinity has become a topic of impassioned debate. But what exactly do we mean by ‘masculinity’ and in what ways can it be said to be harmful? This incisive volume evaluates modern masculinity’s capacity for good against its potential for destruction. It reviews evolving definitions of masculinity since the ag..
This is a fresh and surprising account of Japan's culture from the 'opening up' of the country in the mid-nineteenth century to the present.'How much I admired it, what a lot I learned from it and, above all, how very much I enjoyed it ... Masterly.' Neil MacGregorIt is told through the eyes of people who greeted this change not with the confidence and grasping ambition of Japan's modernizers and nationalists, but with resistance, conflict, distress.We encounter writers of dramas, ghost stories ..
A New Statesman Book of the YearLondon. A city apart. Inimitable. Or so it once seemed.Spiralling from the outer limits of the Overground to the pinnacle of the Shard, Iain Sinclair encounters a metropolis stretched beyond recognition. The vestiges of secret tunnels, the ghosts of saints and lost poets lie buried by developments, the cycling revolution and Brexit. An electrifying final odyssey, The Last London is an unforgettable vision of the Big Smoke before it disappears into the air of memor..
By the author of the best-selling, prize-winning Stuff Matters'A truly delightful read' Jim Al-Khalili, author of Paradox'Exciting, anarchic and surprising' Katy Guest, The GuardianThis fascinating new book by the bestselling scientist and engineer Mark Miodownik is an expert tour of the world of the droplets, heartbeats and ocean waves that we come across every day. Structured around a plane journey which sees encounters with substances from water and glue to coffee and wine, he shows how these..
'Fresh, compelling ... an important book, revealing that 50 years on, 1968 is still unfinished business' Andrew Hussey, Financial Times'A thoughtful, readable account of a moment in history that deserves to be dwelt on' Andrew Marr, The Times1968 saw an extraordinary range of protests across much of the western world. Some of these were genuinely revolutionary - around ten million French workers went on strike and the whole state teetered on the brink of collapse. Others were more easily contain..
In the glorious, boozy party after the first World War, a new being burst defiantly onto the world stage: the so-called flapper. Young, impetuous, and flirtatious, she was an alluring, controversial figure, celebrated in movies, fiction, plays, and the pages of fashion magazines. But, as this book argues, she didn't appear out of nowhere. This spirited, beautifully illustrated history presents a fresh look at the reality of young women's experiences in America and Britain from the 1890s to the 1..
'Lucy Inglis has done a wonderful job bringing together a wide range of sources to tell the history of the most exciting and dangerous plants in the world. Telling the story of opium tells us much about our faults and foibles as humans – our willingness to experiment; our ability to become addicts; our pursuit of money. This book tells us more than about opium; it tells us about ourselves.' - Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads‘The only thing that is good is poppies. They are gold.’Poppy t..
Mark Kurlansky's first global food history since the bestselling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic and culinary story of milk and all things dairy - with recipes throughoutWhile mother's milk may be the essence of nourishment, it is the milk of other mammals that humans have cultivated ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago. Today, milk is a test case in the most pressing issues in food politics, from industrial farming and animal rights to GMOs, the lo..
An inspiring and radical celebration of 70 women, girls, and gender nonbinary people who have changed--and are still changing--the world, from the Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall riots through Black Lives Matter and beyond.
With a radical and inclusive approach to history, Modern HERstory profiles and celebrates seventy women and nonbinary champions of progressive social change in a bold, colorful, illustrated format for all ages. Despite making huge contributions to the liberation moveme..
**The instant New York Times bestseller** *An international bestseller*"Hugely impressive, a major work."--NPRA pioneering and groundbreaking work of narrative nonfiction that offers a dramatic new perspective on the history of humankind, showing how through millennia, the mosquito has been the single most powerful force in determining humanity's fate.Why was gin and tonic the cocktail of choice for British colonists in India and Africa? What does Starbucks have to thank for its global dominatio..
Drawing on newly available materials from the Soviet archives, Polly Jones offers an innovative, comprehensive account of de-Stalinization in the Soviet Union during the Khrushchev and early Brezhnev eras. Jones traces the authorities' initiation and management of the de-Stalinization process and explores a wide range of popular reactions to the new narratives of Stalinism in party statements and in Soviet literature and historiography. Engaging with the dynamic field of memory studies, this boo..
SHORTLISTED FOR THE JHALAK PRIZE AND THE JAMES TAIT BLACK PRIZE 2019LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING'My book of the year. It's personal, historical, political, and it speaks to where we are now. This is the book I've been waiting for - for years' Benjamin Zephaniah'Powerful ... The kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching' Afua Hirsch, Observer'Part biography, part polemic, this powerful, wide-ranging study picks apart the Briti..
From the earliest Paleolithic cave rituals, magic has gripped the imagination. Magic and magicians appear in early Babylonian texts, the Bible, Judaism and Islam. Secret words, spells and incantations lie at the heart of every mythological tradition. Today, magic means many things: contemporary Wicca is practised widely as a modern pagan religion in Europe and the US; 'magic' also evokes the cathartic rituals of Chaos magic, but stretches to include the non-spiritual, rapid-fire sleight of hand ..
'An intellectual hero ... A superb celebrator of science in all its manifestations' Ian McEwan
'Darwin's great successor' Jeffrey Sachs
The legendary biologist Edward O. Wilson offers his most philosophically probing work to date
'Creativity is the unique and defining trait of our species; and its ultimate goal, self-understanding,' begins Edward Wilson's sweeping examination of the humanities and their relationship to the sciences. By studying fields as diverse as paleontology, evoluti..
For most of western history, all sex outside marriage was illegal, with the church and state punishing any dissent. Between 1600 and 1800, this entire world-view was shattered by revolutionary new ideas - that consenting adults have the freedom to do what they like with their own bodies, and morality cannot be imposed by force. This groundbreaking book shows that the creation of this modern culture of sex - broadcasted and debated in a rapidly expanding universe of public media - was a central p..
Roman Britain is vividly portrayed in this fascinating and authentically detailed story about a year in the life of an ordinary woman and her family. The year is AD 133. Hadrian is Emperor of Rome and all its vast empire, including Britannia. The greater part of that island has long been under imperial rule and the Roman legions control most of the land, quelling uprisings and building new forts and towns. Around the fortress of Eboracum (now known as York), a bustling garrison settlement is dev..
**The Financial Times' Travel Book of the Year 2018** How many snowflakes does it take to build a snowman? Where is the snowiest place on Earth? When will the last snowflake fall? Snow has a lot in common with religion. It comes from heaven. It changes everything. It creates an alternative reality and brings on irrational behaviour in humans. But unlike most religions, snow has never had a bible, until now. Giles Whittell, a passionate snow enthusiast, takes the reader on a quest through centuri..
A vivid exploration of the evolution of reading as an essential social and domestic activity during the eighteenth century Two centuries before the advent of radio, television, and motion pictures, books were a cherished form of popular entertainment and an integral component of domestic social life. In this fascinating and vivid history, Abigail Williams explores the ways in which shared reading shaped the lives and literary culture of the time, offering new perspectives on how books have been ..
Trolls are everywhere. They lurk on the internet; they fill the pages of popular fantasy literature; they are hunted in Norwegian film. They are the homeless in California; they are comforting or threatening characters in children's books; they are amusing dolls. Although trolls are ubiquitous today, for centuries they were confined to the landscape of Scandinavia. They were beings in nature, and their environment was a pre-industrial world in which people lived by farming and fishing on a small..
In this engrossing book, Paul Barber surveys centuries of folklore about vampires and offers the first scientific explanation for the origins of the vampire legends. From the tale of a sixteenth-century shoemaker from Breslau whose ghost terrorized everyone in the city, to the testimony of a doctor who presided over the exhumation and dissection of a graveyard full of Serbian vampires, his book is fascinating reading.'This study's comprehensiveness and the author's bone-dry wit make this compell..
For thousands of years, humans have built walls and assaulted them, admired walls and reviled them. Great Walls have appeared on nearly every continent, accompanying the rise of cities, nations, and empires.In Walls, David Frye uncovers a story that is more than just bricks and stone: he reveals the startling link between what we build and how we live, who we are and how we came to be. It is nothing less than the story of civilization.Haunting and brilliant. Author: Tom HollandThese are good sto..
How has the way we spend our time changed over the last fifty years? Are we really working more, sleeping less and addicted to our phones?What does this mean for our health, wealth and happiness?Everything we do happens in time and it feels like our lives are busier than ever before. Yet a detailed look at our daily activities reveals some surprising truths about the social and economic structure of the world we live in. This book delves into the unrivalled data collection and expertise of the C..
'Funny, angry, urgent. Ghodsee is going to start a revolution' Daisy Buchanan, author of The Sisterhood A witty, fiercely intelligent exploration of why capitalism is rigged against women and what we can do about it.Unregulated capitalism is bad for women. Socialism, if done properly, leads to economic independence, better labour conditions, better work/family balance and, yes, even better sex. If you like the idea of such outcomes, then come along for an exploration of how we can change women’s..