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100 Mistakes that Changed History

by Bill Fawcett

Collected in one volume, here are backfires and blunders that collapsed empires, crashed economies, and altered the course of the world. From the Maginot Line to the Cuban Missile Crisis, history is filled with bad moves and not-so-bright ideas that snowballed into disasters and unintended consequences. This engrossing book looks at one hundred such tipping points. Japan bombs Pearl Harbor. The Caliphs of Baghdad spend themselves into bankruptcy. The Aztecs greet the Conquistadors with open arms. Mexico invites the Americans to Texas-and the Americans never leave. And the rest is history...

Doomed to Repeat: The Lessons of History We've Failed to Learn

by Bill Fawcett

"Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it." And so we have. Time and again, mankind has faced down problems, but have often failed to take the hard-earned knowledge into the next battle. Doomed to Repeat is a collection of essays, edited by Bill Fawcett, that illuminates some of the problems we've faced repeatedly throughout history, including Islamic jihad, terrorism, military insurgencies, inflation and the devaluation of currency, financial disasters, ecological collapses, radical political minorities like the Nazis and Bolsheviks, and pandemics and epidemics like the Black Death. With more than 35 chapters of the Groundhog Days of world history, both infamous and obscure, Doomed to Repeat: The Lessons of History We've Failed to Learn is chock-full of trivia, history, and fascinating looks at the world's repeated mistakes.

How to Lose a Battle: Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders

by Bill Fawcett

A remarkable compendium of the worst military decisions and the men who made them. The annals of history are littered with horribly bad military leaders. These combat incompetents found amazing ways to ensure their army's defeat. Whether it was a lack of proper planning, miscalculation, ego, bad luck, or just plain stupidity, certain wartime stratagems should never have left the drawing board. Written with wit, intelligence, and eminent readability, How to Lose a Battle pays dubious homage to these momentous and bloody blunders, including: Cannae, 216 B.C.: the bumbling Romans lose 80,000 troops to Hannibal's forces. The Second Crusade: an entire Christian army is slaughtered when it stops for a drink of water. The Battle of Britain: Hitler's dreaded Luftwaffe blows it big-time. Pearl Harbor: more than one warning of the impending attack is there, but nobody listens. How to Lose a Battle includes more than thirty-five chapters worth of astonishing (and avoidable) disasters, both infamous and obscure -- a treasure trove of trivia, history, and jaw-dropping facts about the most costly military missteps ever taken.

How to Lose a War at Sea

by Bill Fawcett

An engrossing compendium of high-seas military disasters From the days of the Spanish Armada to the modern age of aircraft carriers, battles have been bungled just as badly on water as they have been on land. Some blunders were the result of insufficient planning, overinflated egos, espionage, or miscalculations; others were caused by ideas that didn't hold water in the first place. In glorious detail, here are thirty-three of history's worst maritime mishaps, including: The British Royal Navy's misguided attempts to play it safe during the American Revolution The short life and death of the Imperial Japanese Navy The scuttling of the Graf Spee by a far inferior force The sinking of the Nazi megaship Bismarck "Remember the Maine!"--the lies that started the Spanish-American War Admiral Nelson losing track of Napoleon but redeeming himself at the Nile The ANZAC disaster at Gallipoli Germany's failed WWII campaign in the North Atlantic Kennedy's quarantine of Cuba Chock-full of amazing facts and hilarious trivia, How to Lose a War at Sea is the most complete volume of nautical failures ever assembled.

How to Lose a War: More Foolish Plans and Great Military Blunders

by Bill Fawcett

From the Crusades to the modern age of chemical warfare and smart bombs, history is littered with truly disastrous military campaigns. How to Lose a War chronicles some of the most remarkable strategic catastrophes and doomed military adventures of overreaching invaders and clueless defenders--whether the failure was a result of poor planning, miscalculations, monumental ego, or failed intelligence . . . or just a really stupid idea to begin with. Alexander invades India--and ends up in deep vindaloo. Sacre bleu! The French are humiliated by Prussia in 1870. spain's "invincible navy" breaks up off the coast of britain while attempting an invasion. the mau mau rebellion against the british in kenya shows us how not to run an insurgency. Chiang Kai-Shek's pathetic army fails to keep Mao's Communists from grabbing China.

How to Lose the Civil War

by Bill Fawcett

A fascinating and fact-filled collection of the greatest and dumbest missteps of America's bloodiest conflictFor four years in the middle of the nineteenth century, brother fought brother on American soil. No American war ever had higher stakes than, or changed a nation as profoundly as, the terrible conflict between the Union and the Confederacy. A dark historical panorama populated by a remarkable cast of colorful characters, the War Between the States was indelibly marked by both brilliant military maneuvers and mind-boggling battlefield blunders that gravely threatened the continuation of the American Experiment.With suitable irreverence, Bill Fawcett chronicles the unbelievably disastrous decisions made by both sides in this monumental clash, including:The Second Battle of Bull Run, where Robert E. Lee looks smart beating a remarkably stupid general How the Union's shortsighted Colonel James Ripley's bad decision arms the Confederate Army better than his ownLincoln's roller-coaster search for competent commanders, a long-running dark comedy of tragic errorsA golden opportunity squandered: General Lee fails to exploit a vulnerable Union and capture Washington, D.C.Pickett's disastrous charge and the many, many Confederate command failures at GettysburgLincoln's contentious draft policy that nearly burns New York City to the ground

How to Lose the Civil War: Military Mistakes of the War Between the States

by Bill Fawcett

A fascinating and fact-filled collection of the greatest and dumbest missteps of America's bloodiest conflict. For four years in the middle of the nineteenth century, brother fought brother on American soil. No American war ever had higher stakes than, or changed a nation as profoundly as, the terrible conflict between the Union and the Confederacy. A dark historical panorama populated by a remarkable cast of colorful characters, the War Between the States was indelibly marked by both brilliant military maneuvers and mind-boggling battlefield blunders that gravely threatened the continuation of the American Experiment. With suitable irreverence, Bill Fawcett chronicles the unbelievably disastrous decisions made by both sides in this monumental clash, including: The Second Battle of Bull Run, where Robert E. Lee looks smart beating a remarkably stupid general; How the Union's shortsighted Colonel James Ripley's bad decision arms the Confederate Army better than his own; Lincoln's roller-coaster search for competent commanders, a long-running dark comedy of tragic errors; A golden opportunity squandered: General Lee fails to exploit a vulnerable Union and capture Washington, D.C.; Pickett's disastrous charge and the many, many Confederate command failures at Gettysburg; Lincoln's contentious draft policy that nearly burns New York City to the ground; and more.

How to Lose WWII: Bad Mistakes of the Good War

by Bill Fawcett

An engrossing and fact-filled collection of the great screwups of the Great War. Never had there been a war on the scale of World War II--a global conflict so widespread and involving so many different military organizations from such a diverse pool of combatant countries that the consequences of every decision, both the brilliant and the bad, were multiplied one hundredfold. Bill Fawcett, popular chronicler of monumental military mistakes and truly boneheaded battlefield blunders now looks closely at the historic errors that ultimately determined the course of post-WWII history. A cornucopia of catastrophic missteps, including: An unprepared Poland is caught napping as the Nazis storm in virtually unopposed; Germany misses a golden opportunity to take Britain out of the war at Dunkirk; Russia plays Goliath to Finland's David; Four valuable months are wasted as Allied forces sit trapped on the beaches of Anzio; Germany squanders its costly development of jet power; The secret 1942 battle Marshal Zhukov lost, along with half a million soldiers; Battles lost that should have been won, including Moscow, Stalingrad, and D-Day.

Hunters & Shooters: An Oral History of the U.S. Navy SEALs in Vietnam

by Bill Fawcett

The U.S. Navy SEALs have long been considered among the finest, most courageous, and professional soldiers in American military history--an elite fighting force trained as parachutists, frogmen, demolition experts, and guerrilla warriors ready for sea, air, and land combat. Born out of a proud naval tradition dating back to World War II, the first SEAL teams were commissioned in the early 1960s. Vietnam was their proving ground. In this remarkable volume, fifteen former SEALs--most of them original founding team members, or "plankowners"--share their vivid first-person remembrances of action in Vietnam. Here are honest, brutal, and relentlessly thrilling stories of covert missions, ferocious firefights, and red-hot chopper insertions and extractions, revealing astonishing little-known truths that will only add strength to the enduring SEAL legend.

It Looked Good on Paper: Bizarre Inventions, Design Disasters, and Engineering Follies

by Bill Fawcett

A remarkable compendium of wild schemes, mad plans, crazy inventions, and truly glorious disasters. Every phenomenally bad idea seemed like a good idea to someone. How else can you explain the Ford Edsel or the sword pistol-absolutely absurd creations that should have never made it off the drawing board? It Looked Good on Paper gathers together the most flawed plans, half-baked ideas, and downright ridiculous machines throughout history that some second-rate Einstein decided to foist on an unsuspecting populace with the best and most optimistic intentions. Some failed spectacularly. Others fizzled after great expense. One even crashed on Mars. But every one of them at one time must have looked good on paper, including: The lead water pipes of Rome The Tacoma Narrows Bridge-built to collapse The Hubble telescope-the $2 billion scientific marvel that couldn't see The Spruce Goose-Howard Hughes's airborne atrocity: big, expensive, slow, unstable, and made of wood With more than thirty-five chapters full of incredibly insipid inventions, both infamous and obscure, It Looked Good on Paper is a mind-boggling, endlessly entertaining collection of fascinating failures.

It Seemed Like a Good Idea...: A Compendium of Great Historical Fiascoes

by William R. Forstchen Bill Fawcett

Throughout the annals of history, the best of intentions--and sometimes the worst--have set in motion events with a vastly different outcome than originally intended. In this entertaining, fact-filled chronicle, William Forstchen and Bill Fawcett explore the watersheds of history that began as the best of ideas and ended as the worst of fiascoes. A Holy War--The Medieval Crusades for religious liberation become centuries of slaughter and destruction. Sibling Rivalry--Leif Erikson spares his sister's life and delays the discovery of the New World for five hundred years. Big Guns--Emperor Constantine XI refuses to buy a new supercannon that would let him dominate his enemies, so its creator sells the cannon to the Turks, who then crush Constantinople. With casual wit and subtle insight, It Seemed Like a Good Idea...tucks tongue in cheek and rides out the fiascoes of history.

Men at War

by Bill Fawcett

Epic battles?as seen through the eyes of the men who fought them. From Gettysburg to D-Day, history?s most momentous battles have been recounted to the world on a grand scale. This book, for the first time ever, looks at man?s most epic battles from the point of view of the soldiers on the front lines; providing new insight into the great wars of history. Stories told by the Roman Legionaire, the British Doughboy, and the American Doggie, delve into these battles and battlefronts: Roman Legion Third Crusade under Richard Lionheart Waterloo, French under Napoleon American Civil War: Gettysburg WWI: Americans at Ardennes WWII: Japanese Island Defense WWII: D-Day, Americans at Normandy Marines at Chosin.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2010

by Bill Fawcett

The year's best science fiction and fantasy in one essential volume. An annual commemoration, the Nebula Awards are presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to those members whose imaginations refine and re-define the infinite storytelling possibilities found within the genre. The Nebula Awards Showcase represents the best of the best in fantasy in one indispensible collection. This year's compilation includes stories by: ?Ursula K. LeGuin ?Catherine Asaro ?John Kessel ?Nina Kiriki Hoffman ?Harry Harrison, this year's Grandmaster

Oval Office Oddities: An Irreverent Collection of Presidential Facts, Follies, and Foibles

by Bill Fawcett

Every four years Americans go to the polls to elect a leader--a personage of unimpeachable sobriety and moral standing who will serve as a paragon for the rest of us. But truth be told, presidents and their families are people too--with quirks and character flaws like everyone else ... and plenty of skeletons rattling around in their closets. Oval Office Oddities is a grand compendium of fascinating, sometimes embarrassing presidential facts, gaffes, and oddball behaviors--available in plenty of time for Election Day! White House Whoopee: We've all heard about the dalliances of Clinton and Kennedy-but what were Washington, Jefferson, FDR, and Ike doing behind closed doors? America's Imelda: Mary Todd Lincoln had an endearing little clothing fetish . . . and once purchased 300 pairs of gloves in a single month! Go West, Young Prez: "California Dreamin'" was not a top presidential priority . . . since no Commander in Chief bothered to visit the neglected coast until Rutherford B. Hayes did in 1880. Crazy Jack: Many prominent leaders were absolutely convinced that John Adams was stark raving bonkers!

Railway Architecture

by Bill Fawcett

A guide to the architecture that gives British railways their identity, from stations to signal boxes.Roots of Britain's railways lie in the wooden-railed colliery wagonways of around 1600, but it was almost 1830 before specific railway architecture became needed. This evolved rapidly down to 1850, and for some time afterwards Britain led the world in designing passenger stations. Though stylistic dress followed contemporary fashions, their handling of space and of large crowds of people was something quite new. Glass and iron were used to produce elegant platform roofs, many exploiting the decorative potential of cast iron. However, the most striking contribution was made by the great arched station sheds, often seen as the 19th century's counterpart to medieval cathedrals. Between the 20th century's two world wars, architectural progress on Britain's railways was largely confined to London Transport, but the last few decades have seen a renewal of confidence and investment, matched by some interesting new buildings.

Trust Me, I Know What I'm Doing

by Bill Fawcett

Hindsight hurts. * The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act, having the American colonies pay for their own defense--which instead starts a revolution. * In 1929, President Herbert Hoover decides to let the economy fix itself...and the Great Depression gets greater. * Nixon tapes everything he says in the Oval Office, believing it will all be of great historical value. He turns out to be right when those same tapes cost him his presidency. * Charles the First cuts a deal with the Irish to fight Parliament that instead loses him public support--and later his head. Along with 100 Mistakes that Changed the World, Trust Me, I Know What I'm Doing proves once again that when global leaders drop the ball, the whole world shakes. With a hundred more bombshell blunders--from Pickett's Charge to the Lewinski scandal--this compendium takes a fascinating look at some of history's greatest turns for the worse.

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