The String Book
Ancient Egyptian surveying equipment, medieval archers’ bows, the rigging of sailing ships and musical instruments are examples of the many uses of string explored in this miscellany. In addition to stories, discoveries, games and scientific theories about string, there is also an illustrated guide to tying 40 of the most useful knots.
How Religion Deprives Us of Happiness
In this appeal for us to reject religion’s ‘chimeras’, the businessman and philanthropist Vitaly Malkin argues that the adoption of monotheistic doctrines slowed down the progress of human civilization and has failed to make people happier. Examining the big questions of evil, death, suffering and ‘the great battle against pleasure’, he encourages the reader to question what benefit religious practices offer and to live in the present rather than wait for life after death. Slightly off-mint.
Eyes All Over the Sky
Aerial Reconnaissance in the First World War
The fighter aces took the glory but reconnaissance flyers had perhaps the more significant role during the First World War, sighting for the artillery, following troop movements, patrolling British coastal waters for U-boats and gathering data for constantly updated maps. Drawing on the experiences of British, American and German airmen, Streckfuss examines the work of balloonists, reconnaissance pilots and aerial photographers over the Western Front and UK seas.
Plato's Alarm Clock
And Other Amazing Ancient Inventions
From underwater breathing equipment (as described by Aristotle) to star charts (drawn on the walls of the Lescaux caves, 33,000–10,000 years ago), James Russell describes the inventions of ancient times. There are chapters on everyday life, with items as diverse as alarm clocks, make-up, games and chewing gum; mechanical and industrial technology, including the spoked wheel and movable type; military inventions; medical breakthroughs; scientific advances; and mysterious lost inventions such as Greek fire, Maya blue and the Baghdad battery.
Memories of London
and An Excursion to the Poor Districts of London
On his first (and only) visit to London in 1873, Italian author Edmondo De Amicis noted the magnificence of the metropolis – and recorded his impressions in the witty observational style that would later become his trademark. His essay is paired with a contrasting contemporaneous account of life in the deprived areas of the city by the French travel writer Louis Laurent Simonin.
The American novelist Henry James settled in England in 1876, and towards the end of his life collected the travel pieces he had written about his adopted country in this book. They range from his first impressions of the ‘dreadful, delightful city’ of London, to the sleepy Sussex town of Rye, where he spent his final years. With an introduction by Colm Tóibín.
Lifting the Veil
Two Centuries of Travellers, Traders and Tourists in Egypt
The first European explorers of the Nile were followed by an eclectic crowd of tourists, soldiers, archaeologists and fortune-seekers. This account tells their stories in the context of the political history of the country, following visitors including Nelson, Florence Nightingale, Flaubert, EM Forster and Noël Coward as they scramble up pyramids or party at Shepheard’s Hotel in the years between 1768 and 1956, when the last British soldier left Egypt.
Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom
Sikkim, a tiny Buddhist kingdom sandwiched between India and China, survived the withdrawal of the British Empire and the Chinese invasion of Tibet. Then, in 1975, it was quietly annexed by India, bringing its 300-year-old dynasty to an end. Drawing on interviews and archive material, and retracing a 1922 journey by the author's grandfather, this book tells the remarkable story of this forgotten Shangri-La, its last king and his American wife, and the global power struggles that spelled its doom.
Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age
George Selden’s American patent for an ‘improved road engine’, granted in 1895, earned him royalties from the fledgling automobile industry, but Henry Ford’s legal challenge set the industry free of copyright restriction after 1911. This account of the era-defining invention explores its origins in Germany and France and development in America, and profiles the business tycoons, courtroom wranglers, maverick inventors and daredevil racers who played a part in establishing the car industry in its early days. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Victorian Steam Locomotive
Its Design and Development 1804–1897
By the end of the 19th century, the steam locomotive was the most prominent and glamorous symbol of industrial modernism. This review of its history and operation was first published in 1897 and deals in the first part with the earliest locomotive designs, explaining the basic technology and outlining the improvements that gradually refined it, and in the second part with how a contemporary engine works, with diagrams and photographs.
Inside the Machine
Art and Invention in the Electronic Age
In the early twentieth century the electronics industry employed fine artists to create advertising material explaining rapid technological advancements to the general public. The resulting artwork tracks the development of new components, including valves, transistors and circuit boards, from ‘laboratory to tabletop’. Slightly off-mint.
The Human Age
The World Shaped By Us
Diane Ackerman may rue the destruction of the natural world, yet she is thrilled by human ingenuity and here contemplates nascent technologies – including those for body heat recycling, 3D-printed human tissue and carbon capture – that may yet save our planet and our species. Slightly off-mint.
A Traveller's Reader
Throughout its history, Madrid has attracted writers, artists and revolutionaries. This traveller’s reader brings the city to life through the letters, diaries, memoirs and novels of Casanova, Napoleon, Dumas, Trotsky, Hemingway, Dalí, Buñuel and many others. Selected by the eminent historian Hugh Thomas, these eyewitness accounts set five centuries of adventures and misadventures, Surrealist pranks and blood-soaked bullfights against the brooding backdrop of the Spanish capital.
During the 19th century, it became quite common for women to go sea with their merchant seamen husbands, but rarely did they write books about the experience. Between 1829 and 1831, Abby Jane Morrell accompanied her husband Benjamin on an adventurous voyage that took them from New England to the South Pacific. This is her very accomplished account of that journey aboard the schooner Antarctic.
And Soon I Heard A Roaring Wind
A Natural History of Moving Air
Before the advent of weather forecasting, ships were wrecked with alarming frequency, and even today’s mathematical modelling of cyclones fails to be completely reliable. Bill Streever sets sail aboard his own yacht to discover the power of the wind first hand, while narrating an engaging history of our understanding of this force of nature, and its impact on commerce, politics and war. The book features lively portraits of meteorological pioneers including Robert Fitzroy, creator of the first published weather forecast. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Naturalist on the River Amazons
From 1848 to 1859, Henry Walter Bates was exploring the Amazon rainforests in search of flora and fauna that would support Darwin’s theory of evolution. His book, first published in 1863, recounts his journeys and catalogues astonishing discoveries while evoking the natural beauty and rhythms of river and rainforest. This reprint of the first edition includes ‘An Appreciation’ by Charles Darwin.
Peter Mundy was a 17th-century trader whose journeys took him to Istanbul, India, China, Danzig, Russia and the Arctic. His account of his remarkable travels, illustrated with his own lively drawings of the strange people and animals he encountered, survives in a single manuscript. This edited selection provides a vivid and fascinating account of the Ottoman, Mughal, Chinese and Russian empires, as well as events in London following the coronation of Charles II in 1661.
Petrarch's Guide to the Holy Land
Itinerary to the Sepulcher of Our Lord Jesus Christ
This edition of Petrarch's Itinerarium ad Sepulchrum Domini Nostri Yehsu Christi (1358) comprises a complete facsimile and transcription of an authoritative 14th century manuscript, with an introduction, English translation and notes.
David Bushnell's Revolutionary Vessel
In 1776 a one-man underwater craft, designed by American inventor David Bushnell, set out from Manhattan on a daring mission to blow up the British flagship. The attack was a failure, but was still considered 'an effort of genius' by George Washington. This book looks at the history of undersea warfare before Bushnell and, with reference to a full-size replica of the Turtle, assesses its design and performance, and its implications for submarine development in the centuries to come.
On Foot Through Clydesdale
Despite its long industrial history, Clydesdale has areas of great natural beauty, including the spectacular Falls of Clyde. Lees introduces the region's culture, folklore and history as he rambles through a landscape ‘where every square inch is rich in romance’. First published in 1932.
Beyond the Enchanted Forest: A Literary Anthology
In its many historical incarnations, Germany has long attracted literary visitors. The Romantics were drawn to its forests and mountains, Isherwood and Spender to the edgy glamour of the Weimar Republic, and the espionage novelists Len Deighton and John le Carré to its Cold War frontier. In addition to these, this anthology assembles evocative descriptions by more than 80 British and American writers, including Boswell, Mary Shelley, George Eliot, Mark Twain, Henry James, DH Lawrence and Virginia Woolf.
The Chicago of Europe
and Other Tales of Foreign Travel
Before he achieved fame with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain honed his talent writing about new places, people and experiences. In the 68 letters, newspaper articles and lectures collected here, he takes us from the Mississippi to the Holy Land, India and Berlin, which he mischievously dubbed 'the Chicago of Europe'. These dispatches, some published here for the first time, confirm that Twain's wit, insight and human sympathy still hit the mark more than a century later. American-cut pages.
Scott on Waterloo
Sir Walter Scott was among the many tourists who visited the battlefield after Wellington's victory at Waterloo, but he went with a commission to write a travel book and a long poem. Edited, with notes and introduction by Paul O'Keeffe, this book presents those writings: Paul's Letters to His Kinsfolk, which records Scott’s travels in Holland, Belgium and France in 1815; and two poems, The Field of Waterloo and The Dance of Death.
Ancient Philosophy of Religion
Volume One: The History of Western Philosophy of Religion
Comprising chapters devoted to individual thinkers from Pythagoras to Pseudo-Dionysius, this volume covers ancient and early Christian thought on God, the gods, religious belief and practice. Vol 1 of The History of Western Philosophy of Religion.
Thomas Jefferson Travels
Selected Writings 1784–1789
As well as their interest as writings from Jefferson's years as a diplomat in Paris and traveller in Europe, culminating in his reports of the French Revolution, this anthology reveals the vast scope of his interests in education, the arts and science.
Living with a Wild God
A Non-Believer's Search for the Truth About Everything
In middle age, the acclaimed social commentator Barbara Ehrenreich rediscovered a journal she had kept as a teenager. It recorded an event so strange that she had never spoken or written about it: a mystical experience that rocked her steadfast rationalist convictions. In this profound reflection on science, religion and the human condition, she attempts to reconcile that cataclysmic moment with her secular understanding, challenging us to reassess our perceptions of life.