Songs of Love and War
The Dark Heart of Bird Behaviour
From a commentary on the dawn chorus in a Dorset village, with quotations from the poets as well as explanations of the behaviour compelling the birds to sing, to his final, powerful argument for conserving birds’ habitats, Dominic Couzens’s book illuminates the realities of life for songbirds. Here are the grim truths of sparrows killed by sparrowhawks, the aggression inspired by feeding tables and crows made homeless by tree-felling as well the marvels of the skylark’s song and starlings’ murmurations.
Blues in Black & White
The Landmark Ann Arbor Blues Festivals
The blues, and specifically the electric Chicago blues of the 1950s and 1960s, were hugely influential in the development of popular music, but not until the Ann Arbor Blues Festival of 1969 had the genre been presented to a mainstream American audience. This atmospheric photographic record of the legendary inaugural festivals in 1969 and 1970 includes images of Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, BB King and Howlin' Wolf, among many others.
Growing up in a humble shack in America’s poorest state, Elvis Presley dreamed that success would free him from poverty. So how did he become dependent on bank loans even after achieving huge worldwide fame, and why did he despise his own movies and songs, even fearing that he would be forgotten after his death? This biography focuses on identifying the origins of the contradictions and frailties that lay behind Elvis’s charming, confident onstage persona.
An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection
Based on an unsurpassed private collection, this lavish book is a survey of the skull – in humans and other mammals, and also birds, reptiles and fish. Exploring anatomy and species-specific features such as horns, teeth, beaks and bills, the author also discusses the skull as a powerful symbol in art, culture and religion. Specimens are displayed in more than 300 photographs, ranging from an ostrich to an orangutan, and from a crocodile to a seahorse, with notes highlighting interesting features.
The Evolution of Battle
From the horns of dung beetles or the enormous claws of male fiddler crabs to the elaborate antlers of elk, some animals have developed extravagant weapons that seem out of proportion with their size. Evolutionary biologist Douglas Emlen has made a study of the factors that drive the evolution of these extreme specializations and, in this study, draws parallels with the development of military technology in human history, concluding that the governing factors are the same.
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Complementing an Oscar-nominated documentary, this biography of Nina Simone (1933–2003) draws on previously unpublished material from her private diaries and the reflections of those who knew her best. It traces the legendary soul singer's struggles and successes, from her frustrated hopes of becoming a classical pianist to groundbreaking appearances at Carnegie Hall, her activities as a civil-rights activist and periodic visits to Africa in search of her 'secret self that is very black'.