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The End Is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from the Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses
Do tough times create tougher people? Can humanity handle the power of its weapons without destroying itself? Will human technology or capabilities ever peak or regress? No one knows the answers to such questions, but no one asks them in a more interesting way than Dan Carlin.In The End is Always Near, Dan Carlin looks at questions and historical events that force us to consider what sounds like fantasy; that we might suffer the same fate that all previous eras did. Will our world ever become a ruin for future archaeologists to dig up and explore? The questions themselves are both philosophical and like something out of The Twilight Zone.Combining his trademark mix of storytelling, history and weirdness Dan Carlin connects the past and future in fascinating and colorful ways. At the same time the questions he asks us to consider involve the most important issue imaginable: human survival. From the collapse of the Bronze Age to the challenges of the nuclear era the issue has hung over humanity like a persistent Sword of Damocles.Inspired by his podcast, The End is Always Near challenges the way we look at the past and ourselves. In this absorbing compendium, Carlin embarks on a whole new set of stories and major cliffhangers that will keep readers enthralled. Idiosyncratic and erudite, offbeat yet profound, The End is Always Near examines issues that are rarely presented, and makes the past immediately relevant to our very turbulent present.
The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America
Ever since this nation’s inception, the idea of an open and ever-expanding frontier has been central to American identity. Symbolizing a future of endless promise, it was the foundation of the United States’ belief in itself as an exceptional nation—democratic, individualistic, forward-looking. Today, though, America has a new symbol: the border wall.In The End of the Myth, acclaimed historian Greg Grandin explores the meaning of the frontier throughout the full sweep of U.S. history—from the American Revolution to the War of 1898, the New Deal to the election of 2016. For centuries, he shows, America’s constant expansion—fighting wars and opening markets—served as a “gate of escape,” helping to deflect domestic political and economic conflicts outward. But this deflection meant that the country’s problems, from racism to inequality, were never confronted directly. And now, the combined catastrophe of the 2008 financial meltdown and our unwinnable wars in the Middle East have slammed this gate shut, bringing political passions that had long been directed elsewhere back home.It is this new reality, Grandin says, that explains the rise of reactionary populism and racist nationalism, the extreme anger and polarization that catapulted Trump to the presidency. The border wall may or may not be built, but it will survive as a rallying point, an allegorical tombstone marking the end of American exceptionalism.
Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare
This revelatory and dramatic history of disinformation traces the rise of secret organized deception operations from the interwar period to contemporary internet troll farmsWe live in the age of disinformation—of organized deception. Spy agencies pour vast resources into hacking, leaking, and forging data, often with the goal of weakening the very foundation of liberal democracy: trust in facts. Thomas Rid, a renowned expert on technology and national security, was one of the first to sound the alarm. More than four months before the 2016 election, he warned that Russian military intelligence was "carefully planning and timing a high-stakes political campaign" to disrupt the democratic process. But as crafty as such so-called active measures have become, they are not new.The story of modern disinformation begins with the post-Russian Revolution clash between communism and capitalism, which would come to define the Cold War. In Active Measures, Rid reveals startling intelligence and security secrets from materials written in more than ten languages across several nations, and from interviews with current and former operatives. He exposes the disturbing yet colorful history of professional, organized lying, revealing for the first time some of the century’s most significant operations—many of them nearly beyond belief. A White Russian ploy backfires and brings down a New York police commissioner; a KGB-engineered, anti-Semitic hate campaign creeps back across the Iron Curtain; the CIA backs a fake publishing empire, run by a former Wehrmacht U-boat commander, that produces Germany’s best jazz magazine. Rid tracks the rise of leaking, and shows how spies began to exploit emerging internet culture many years before WikiLeaks. Finally, he sheds new light on the 2016 election, especially the role of the infamous “troll farm” in St. Petersburg as well as a much more harmful attack that unfolded in the shadows.Active Measures takes the reader on a guided tour deep into a vast hall of mirrors old and new, pointing to a future of engineered polarization, more active and less measured—but also offering the tools to cut through the deception.
Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis
In his international bestsellers Guns, Germs and Steel and Collapse, Jared Diamond transformed our understanding of what makes civilizations rise and fall. Now, in his third book in this monumental trilogy, he reveals how successful nations recover from crises while adopting selective changes -- a coping mechanism more commonly associated with individuals recovering from personal crises.Diamond compares how six countries have survived recent upheavals -- ranging from the forced opening of Japan by U.S. Commodore Perry's fleet, to the Soviet Union's attack on Finland, to a murderous coup or countercoup in Chile and Indonesia, to the transformations of Germany and Austria after World War Two. Because Diamond has lived and spoken the language in five of these six countries, he can present gut-wrenching histories experienced firsthand. These nations coped, to varying degrees, through mechanisms such as acknowledgment of responsibility, painfully honest self-appraisal, and learning from models of other nations. Looking to the future, Diamond examines whether the United States, Japan, and the whole world are successfully coping with the grave crises they currently face. Can we learn from lessons of the past?Adding a psychological dimension to the in-depth history, geography, biology, and anthropology that mark all of Diamond's books, Upheaval reveals factors influencing how both whole nations and individual people can respond to big challenges. The result is a book epic in scope, but also his most personal book yet.
Signing Their Rights Away: The Fame and Misfortune of the Men Who Signed the United States Constitution
An entertaining and essential collection of stories about the surprising and strange fates of the thirty-nine statesmen who created the U.S. Constitution.Remember when our elected officials knew how to compromise? Here are short, irreverent, fun, and fact-filled biographies of the 39 men who set aside their differences and signed their names to the U.S. Constitution - the oldest written constitution of any nation in the world. You’ll meet:• The Signer Who Believed in Aliens• The Signer Who Was Shot in the Stomach• The Signer Who Went Bankrupt• The Peg-Legged Signer• And many more colorful colonists!Complete with portraits of every signatory, Signing Their Rights Away provides an entertaining and enlightening narrative for students, history buffs, politicos, and Hamilton fans alike.
Six Days of War
Oren, Michael B.
Though it lasted for only six tense days in June, the 1967 Arab-Israeli war never really ended. Every crisis that has ripped through this region in the ensuing decades, from the Yom Kippur War of 1973 to the ongoing intifada, is a direct consequence of those six days of fighting. Michael B. Oren’s magnificent Six Days of War, an internationally acclaimed bestseller, is the first comprehensive account of this epoch-making event.
Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty
The Magna Carta is revered around the world as the founding document of Western liberty. Its principles - even its language - can be found in our Bill of Rights and in the Constitution. But what was this strange document and how did it gain such legendary status?Dan Jones takes us back to the turbulent year of 1215, when, beset by foreign crises and cornered by a growing domestic rebellion, King John reluctantly agreed to fix his seal to a document that would change the course of history. At the time of its creation the Magna Carta was just a peace treaty drafted by a group of rebel barons who were tired of the king's high taxes, arbitrary justice, and endless foreign wars. The fragile peace it established would last only two months, but its principles have reverberated over the centuries. Jones's riveting narrative follows the story of the Magna Carta's creation, its failure, and the war that subsequently engulfed England, and charts the high points in its unexpected afterlife. Reissued by King John's successors it protected the Church, banned unlawful imprisonment, and set limits to the exercise of royal power. It established the principle that taxation must be tied to representation and paved the way for the creation of Parliament. In 1776 American patriots, inspired by that long-ago defiance, dared to pick up arms against another English king and to demand even more far-reaching rights. We think of the Declaration of Independence as our founding document but those who drafted it had their eye on the Magna Carta.
American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good
The author of American Nations examines the history of and solutions to the key American question: how best to reconcile individual liberty with the maintenance of a free societyThe struggle between individual rights and the good of the community as a whole has been the basis of nearly every major disagreement in our history, from the debates at the Constitutional Convention and in the run up to the Civil War to the fights surrounding the agendas of the Federalists, the Progressives, the New Dealers, the civil rights movement, and the Tea Party. In American Character, Colin Woodard traces these two key strands in American politics through the four centuries of the nation's existence, from the first colonies through the Gilded Age, Great Depression and the present day, and he explores how different regions of the country have successfully or disastrously accommodated them. The independent streak found its most pernicious form in the antebellum South but was balanced in the Gilded Age by communitarian reform efforts; the New Deal was an example of a successful coalition between communitarian-minded Eastern elites and Southerners.Woodard argues that maintaining a liberal democracy, a society where mass human freedom is possible, requires finding a balance between protecting individual liberty and nurturing a free society. Going to either libertarian or collectivist extremes results in tyranny. But where does the "sweet spot" lie in the United States, a federation of disparate regional cultures that have always strongly disagreed on these issues? Woodard leads readers on a riveting and revealing journey through four centuries of struggle, experimentation, successes and failures to provide an answer. His historically informed and pragmatic suggestions on how to achieve this balance and break the nation's political deadlock will be of interest to anyone who cares about the current American predicament--political, ideological, and sociological.
Every Man a King: A Short, Colorful History of American Populists
From Fox News' politics editor Chris Stirewalt -- a fun and lively account of America's populist tradition, from Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt, to Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, and Donald Trump.Whatever the ideological fad of the moment, American populism has always been home to a fascinating assortment of charismatic leaders, characters, kooks, cranks, and sometimes charlatans who have - with widely varying degrees of success - led the charge of ordinary folks who have gotten wise to the ways of the swamp.This attitude of skeptical resentment also makes populism a fertile field for the work of conspiracy theorists and other enthusiastic apostates from civic convention. After all, if the people in power are found to be rigging one part of the system, why not the rest?EVERY MAN A KING tells the stories of America's populist leaders, from an elderly Andrew Jackson brutally caning his would-be-assassin, to William Jennings Bryan's pre-speech routine that combined equally prodigious quantities of prayer and food, to Ross Perot's military-style campaign that made even volunteers wear badges with stars to show rank. It is a rollicking history of an American attitude that has shaped not only our current moment, but also the long struggle over who gets to define the truths we hold to be self evident.
Cohen, Eliot A.
Cohen challenges the long standing belief that politicians should leave war to the military citing Lincoln, Clemenceau, and Churchill as examples.
Spanning twenty-five years, this historic collection of writings shows Vaclav Havel's evolution from a modestly known playwright who had the courage to advise and criticize Czechoslovakia's leaders to a newly elected president whose first address to his fellow citizens begins, "I assume you did not propose me for this office so that I, too, would lie to you." Some of the pieces in Open Letters, such as "Dear Dr. Husak" and the essay "The Power of the Powerless," are by now almost legendary for their influence on a generation of Eastern European dissidents; others, such as some of Havel's prison correspondence and his private letter to Alexander Dubcek, appear in English for the first time. All of them bear the unmistakable imprint of Havel's intellectual rigor, moral conviction, and unassuming eloquence, while standing as important additions to the world's literature of conscience.
Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto
This is a manifesto for the 99 percent.Unaffordable housing, poverty wages, inadequate healthcare, border policing, climate change - these are not what you ordinarily hear feminists talking about. But aren’t they the biggest issues for the vast majority of women around the globe?Taking as its inspiration the new wave of feminist militancy that has erupted globally, this manifesto makes a simple but powerful case: feminism shouldn’t start - or stop - with the drive to have women represented at the top of their professions. It must focus on those at the bottom, and fight for the world they deserve. And that means targeting capitalism. Feminism must be anticapitalist, eco-socialist and antiracist.
The Law Book
Roffer, Michael H.
Which was the last country to abolish slavery? Which is the only amendment to the U.S. Constitution ever to be repealed? How did King Henry II of England provide a procedural blueprint for criminal law?These are just a few of the thought-provoking questions addressed in this beautifully illustrated book. Join author Michael H. Roffer as he explores 250 of the most fundamental, far-reaching, and often-controversial cases, laws, and trials that have profoundly changed our world - for good or bad. Offering authoritative context to ancient documents as well as today’s hot-button issues, The Law Book presents a comprehensive look at the rules by which we live our lives. It covers such diverse topics as the Code of Hammurabi, the Ten Commandments, the Trial of Socrates, the Bill of Rights, women’s suffrage, the insanity defense, and more. Roffer takes us around the globe to ancient Rome and medieval England before transporting us forward to contemporary accounts that tackle everything from civil rights, surrogacy, and assisted suicide to the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Google Books, and the fight for marriage equality.Organized chronologically, the entries each consist of a short essay and a stunning full-color image, while the “Notes and Further Reading” section provides resources for more in-depth study. Justice may be blind, but this collection brings the rich history of the law to light.
Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan
Neustadt, Richard E.
Suggests a theory of presidential power, and tests it against the events in the administrations of the postwar presidents.
Bigger Than Bernie: How We Go from the Sanders Campaign to Democratic Socialism
Bernie Sanders' 2016 candidacy expanded the scope of political possibility in the United States, putting socialism and class politics back on the map. His radical campaign - not just for the Democratic presidential candidacy but against "the billionaire class" - helped catalyze other transformative left-wing politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to seek and win office, just as he inspired teachers from West Virginia to Los Angeles to win hard-fought, historic strike campaigns. Sanders has, in short, helped cohere a new movement in American politics.But even when coverage of Sanders takes stock of the sea change he has affected in American politics, it all too often fails to grasp what's unique about his approach. The senior senator from Vermont has demanded new policies and political approaches in this country - though he has also hinted at more, calling repeatedly for a "political revolution", something that he says would involve "millions of Americans" getting involved in politics not just at the ballot box, but in their workplaces and neighborhoods, too.In this book, Micah Uetricht and Meagan Day go beyond a simple balance sheet of Democratic Party politics. In a clear and effective style, they detail what we need to do to get beyond the Sanders campaign or presidency to transform the US from top to bottom.
Socialism 101: From the Bolsheviks and Karl Marx t
Socialism 101 is a comprehensive and accessible guide to the historical and modern applications of socialism.In today’s political climate, more and more presidential candidates are espousing socialist—or democratic socialist—policies. Once associated with oppression, socialism is now a current topic of conversation with everyday Americans, including policies like taxing the rich and healthcare for all. But what exactly is socialism and why does it spark such an intense debate?Socialism 101 provides an easy-to-understand, unbiased overview to the nearly 300-year-old origins of this mode of government, its complex history, basic constructs, modern-day interpretations, key figures in its development, and up-to-date concepts and policies in today’s world. As capitalism has become less appealing and socialism experiences a surge in popularity, the need for clarification of what it means has never been more necessary than now.
The Fourth Revolution: The Global Race to Reinvent the State
From the bestselling authors of The Right Nation, a visionary argument that our current crisis in government is nothing less than the fourth radical transition in the history of the nation-stateDysfunctional government: It’s become a cliche, and most of us are resigned to the fact that nothing is ever going to change. As John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge show us, that is a seriously limited view of things. In fact, there have been three great revolutions in government in the history of the modern world. The West has led these revolutions, but now we are in the midst of a fourth revolution, and it is Western government that is in danger of being left behind.Now, things really are different. The West’s debt load is unsustainable. The developing world has harvested the low-hanging fruits. Industrialization has transformed all the peasant economies it had left to transform, and the toxic side effects of rapid developing world growth are adding to the bill. From Washington to Detroit, from Brasilia to New Delhi, there is a dual crisis of political legitimacy and political effectiveness.The Fourth Revolution crystallizes the scope of the crisis and points forward to our future. The authors enjoy extraordinary access to influential figures and forces the world over, and the book is a global tour of the innovators in how power is to be wielded. The age of big government is over; the age of smart government has begun. Many of the ideas the authors discuss seem outlandish now, but the center of gravity is moving quickly.This tour drives home a powerful argument: that countries’ success depends overwhelmingly on their ability to reinvent the state. And that much of the West - and particularly the United States - is failing badly in its task. China is making rapid progress with government reform at the same time as America is falling badly behind. Washington is gridlocked, and America is in danger of squandering its huge advantages from its powerful economy because of failing government. And flailing democracies like India look enviously at China’s state-of-the-art airports and expanding universities.The race to get government right is not just a race of efficiency. It is a race to see which political values will triumph in the twenty-first century - the liberal values of democracy and liberty or the authoritarian values of command and control. The stakes could not be higher.
The Portable Edmund Burke ( Viking Portable Library)
Kramnick, Isaac (Edt)
A broad-based selection of the writings and letters of the influential 18th-century orator, politician, and philosopher. Includes famous examples of Burke's oratory, plus an assessment of the life and work of the man who has often been called the father of modern political conservatism.
Reveille for Radicals
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Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life
In an era of such great national divisiveness, there could be no more timely biography of one of our greatest presidents than one that focuses on his unparalleled political ability as a uniter and consensus maker. Robert Dallek’s Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life takes a fresh look at the many compelling questions that have attracted all his biographers: how did a man who came from so privileged a background become the greatest presidential champion of the country’s needy? How did someone who never won recognition for his intellect foster revolutionary changes in the country’s economic and social institutions? How did Roosevelt work such a profound change in the country’s foreign relations?For FDR, politics was a far more interesting and fulfilling pursuit than the management of family fortunes or the indulgence of personal pleasure, and by the time he became president, he had commanded the love and affection of millions of people. While all Roosevelt’s biographers agree that the onset of polio at the age of thirty-nine endowed him with a much greater sense of humanity, Dallek sees the affliction as an insufficient explanation for his transformation into a masterful politician who would win an unprecedented four presidential terms, initiate landmark reforms that changed the American industrial system, and transform an isolationist country into an international superpower.Dallek attributes FDR’s success to two remarkable political insights. First, unlike any other president, he understood that effectiveness in the American political system depended on building a national consensus and commanding stable long-term popular support. Second, he made the presidency the central, most influential institution in modern America’s political system. In addressing the country’s international and domestic problems, Roosevelt recognized the vital importance of remaining closely attentive to the full range of public sentiment around policy-making decisions—perhaps FDR’s most enduring lesson in effective leadership.
The Empire and the Five Kings: America's Abdication and the Fate of the World
The United States was once the hope of the world, a beacon of freedom and the defender of liberal democracy. Nations and peoples on all continents looked to America to stand up for the values that created the Western world, and to oppose autocracy and repression. Even when America did not live up to its ideals, it still recognised their importance, at home and abroad.But as Bernard-Henri Levy lays bare in this powerful and disturbing analysis of the world today, America is retreating from its traditional leadership role, and in its place have come five ambitious powers, former empires eager to assert their primacy and influence. Levy shows how these five - Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, and Sunni radical Islamism - are taking steps to undermine the liberal values that have been a hallmark of Western civilisation.The Empire and the Five Kings is a cri de coeur that draws upon lessons from history and the eternal touchstones of human culture to reveal the stakes facing the West as America retreats from its leadership role, a process that did not begin with Donald Trump's presidency and is not likely to end with him. The crisis is one whose roots can be found as far back as antiquity and whose resolution will require the West to find a new way forward if its principles and values are to survive.
Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right provoked an outpouring of controversy and became an instant New York Times bestseller in hardcover, spending 8 weeks on the list. Now in paperback and with a new afterword by the author, David Brock's chilling expose of the right's political scandal machine provides an insider's perspective on the "vast right-wing conspiracy" that Hillary Clinton accused of poisoning Beltway politics. David Brock reported on - and in some cases instigated - many of the major scandals of the Clinton years, from his infamous book The Real Anita Hill to his discovery of a woman named Paula in Arkansas. In this fascinating political memoir, Brock comes clean about a deeply disturbing moment in American politics.
Lincoln Speeches (Civic Classics)
Beeman, Richard (Edt)
As president, Abraham Lincoln endowed the American language with a vigor and moral energy that have all but disappeared from today's public rhetoric. His words are testaments of our history, windows into his enigmatic personality, and resonant examples of the writer's art. Renowned Lincoln and Civil War scholar Allen C. Guelzo brings together this volume of Lincoln Speeches that span the classic and obscure, the lyrical and historical, the inspirational and intellectual. The book contains everything from classic speeches that any citizen would recognize - the first debate with Stephen Douglas, the "House Divided" Speech, the Gettysburg Address, the Second Inaugural Address - to the less known ones that professed Lincoln fans will come to enjoy and intellectuals and critics praise. These orations show the contours of the civic dilemmas Lincoln, and America itself, encountered: the slavery issue, state v. federal power, citizens and their duty, death and destruction, the coming of freedom, the meaning of the Constitution, and what it means to progress.
Crippled: Austerity and the Demonization of Disabled People
The austerity crisis and threat to disability rightsIn austerity Britain, disabled people have been recast as worthless scroungers. From social care to the benefits system, politicians and the media alike have made the case that Britain’s 12 million disabled people are nothing but a drain on the public purse. In Crippled, journalist and campaigner Frances Ryan exposes the disturbing reality, telling the stories of those most affected by this devastating regime. It is at once both a damning indictment of a safety net so compromised it strangles many of those it catches and a passionate demand for an end to austerity, which hits hardest those most in need.
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