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Justinian's Flea: The First Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire

by William Rosen

The epic story of the collision between one of nature?s smallest organisms and history?s mightiest empire During the golden age of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian reigned over a territory that stretched from Italy to North Africa. It was the zenith of his achievements and the last of them. In 542 AD, the bubonic plague struck. In weeks, the glorious classical world of Justinian had been plunged into the medieval and modern Europe was born. At its height, five thousand people died every day in Constantinople. Cities were completely depopulated. It was the first pandemic the world had ever known and it left its indelible mark: when the plague finally ended, more than 25 million people were dead. Weaving together history, microbiology, ecology, jurisprudence, theology, and epidemiology, Justinian?s Flea is a unique and sweeping account of the little known event that changed the course of a continent. .

Gut Feelings

by Gerd Gigerenzer

Why is split second decision-making superior to deliberation? Gut Feelings delivers the science behind Malcolm Gladwell?s Blink Reflection and reason are overrated, according to renowned psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer. Much better qualified to help us make decisions is the cognitive, emotional, and social repertoire we call intuition?a suite of gut feelings that have evolved over the millennia specifically for making decisions. ?Gladwell drew heavily on Gigerenzer?s research. But Gigerenzer goes a step further by explaining just why our gut instincts are so often right. Intuition, it seems, is not some sort of mystical chemical reaction but a neurologically based behavior that evolved to ensure that we humans respond quickly when faced with a dilemma? (BusinessWeek). .

The First Word

by Christine Kenneally

An accessible exploration of a burgeoning new field: the incredible evolution of language The first popular book to recount the exciting, very recent developments in tracing the origins of language, The First Word is at the forefront of a controversial, compelling new field. Acclaimed science writer Christine Kenneally explains how a relatively small group of scientists that include Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker assembled the astounding narrative of how the fundamental process of evolution produced a linguistic ape?in other words, us. Infused with the wonder of discovery, this vital and engrossing book offers us all a better understanding of the story of humankind. .

Fateful Choices

by Ian Kershaw

Ian Kershaw's Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World, 1940-41 offers a penetrating insight into a series of momentous political decisions that shaped the course of the Second World War. The hurricane of events that marked the opening of the Second World War meant that anything could happen. For the aggressors there was no limit to their ambitions; for their victims a new Dark Age beckoned. Over the next few months their fates would be determined. In Fateful Choices Ian Kershaw re-creates the ten critical decisions taken between May 1940, when Britain chose not to surrender, and December 1941, when Hitler decided to destroy Europe's Jews, showing how these choices would recast the entire course of history. 'Powerfully argued . . . important . . . this book actually alters our perspective of the Second World War' Andrew Roberts 'This fascinating, closely-argued book adds to our understanding of a terrible war' Alan Massie 'A compelling re-examination of the conflict . . . Kershaw displays here those same qualities of scholarly rigour, careful argument and sound judgement that he brought to bear so successfully in his life of Hitler' Richard Overy 'A splendidly lucid and impeccably argued exposition of the greatest political decisions of the Second World War' Max Hastings 'How fortunate that it is Ian Kershaw bringing his immense knowledge and clarity of thought to the task . . . brilliantly explained . . . an immensely wise book' Anthony Beevor Ian Kershaw (b. 1943) was Professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield from 1989-2008, and is one of the world's leading authorities on Hitler. His books include The 'Hitler Myth', his two volume biography Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris and Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis, and Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World, 1940-1941. He was knighted in 2002.

Fallen Founder

by Nancy Isenberg

A controversial challenge to the works of Ron Chernow and David McCullough With Fallen Founder , Nancy Isenberg plumbs rare and obscure sources to shed new light on everyone?s favorite founding villain. The Aaron Burr whom we meet through Isenberg?s eye-opening biography is a feminist, an Enlightenment figure on par with Jefferson, a patriot, and?most importantly?a man with powerful enemies in an age of vitriolic political fighting. Revealing the gritty reality of eighteenth-century America, Fallen Founder is the authoritative restoration of a figure who ran afoul of history and a much-needed antidote to the hagiography of the revolutionary era. .

The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn

by Joseph M. Marshall III

The author of The Journey of Crazy Horse presents a legendary battle through the eyes of the Lakota The saga of ?Custer?s Last Stand? has become ingrained in the lore of the American West, and the key players?Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, and George Armstrong Custer?have grown to larger-than-life proportions. Now, award-winning historian Joseph M. Marshall presents the revisionist view of the Battle of the Little Bighorn that has been available only in the Lakota oral tradition. Drawing on this rich source of storytelling, Marshall uncovers what really took place at the Little Big Horn and provides fresh insight into the significance of that bloody day. .

The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears

by Theda Perdue Michael D. Green

In the early nineteenth century, the U. S. government shifted its policy from trying to assimilate American Indians to relocating them, and proceeded to forcibly drive seventeen thousand Cherokees from their homelands. This journey of exile became known as the Trail of Tears. Historians Perdue and Green reveal the government?s betrayals and the divisions within the Cherokee Nation, follow the exiles along the Trail of Tears, and chronicle the hardships found in the West. In its trauma and tragedy, the Cherokee diaspora has come to represent the irreparable injustice done to Native Americans in the name of nation building?and in their determined survival, it represents the resilience of the Native American spirit. .

Body of Work

by Christine Montross

The first monograph entirely dedicated to the works of interior architect Dennis T' Jampens.

Blessed Unrest

by Paul Hawken

Organizations working to restore the environment and foster social justice collectively comprise the largest movement on earth. This movement with no name, leader, or location is a creative expression of people's needs worldwide.

The Assault on Reason

by Al Gore

A #1 New York Times bestseller: A visionary analysis of the degradation of our public sphere and its consequences for our democracy Nobel Peace Prize winner, bestselling author, activist, and political icon, Al Gore has become one of the most respected and influential public intellectuals in America today. The Assault on Reason takes an unprecedented look at how faith in the power of reason?the idea that citizens can govern themselves through rational debate?is now under assault. The marketplace of ideas, once open to everyone through the printed word, has been corrupted by the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism, and blind faith. By leading us to an understanding of what we can do to restore the rule of reason, Gore has written a farsighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking. .

Strawberry Fields

by Marina Lewycka

The bestselling author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is back with an ?effervescent comedy? (The New Yorker) The follow up to her hugely popular first novel presents a Canterbury Tales?inspired picaresque that is also a biting satire of economic exploitation. When a ragtag international crew of migrant workers is forced to flee the strawberry fields they have been working in, they set off across England looking for employment. Displaying the same sense of compassion, social outrage, and gift for hilarity that she showed in A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, Marina Lewycka chronicles their bumpy road trip with a tender affection for her downtrodden characters and their search for a taste of the good life. .

Red Rover

by Deirdre Mcnamer

Deirdre McNamer has won praise for the intelligence, beauty, precision, and breadth of her fiction. This beautifully crafted, far-ranging novel of idealism laid waste and the haunting, redemptive bonds of friendship tells the story of three Montana men-brothers Aidan and Neil Tierney, and their friend Roland Taliaferro-who get swept up in the machinations of World War II and its fateful aftermath. After the war, Aidan returns to Montana ill and emotionally shattered from the war, and on a cold December day in 1946 is found fatally shot, an apparent suicide. Only when Neil and Roland are very old men does Aidan's death become illuminated, amplified, and finally put to rest. .

Luncheon of the Boating Party

by Susan Vreeland

Bestselling author Susan Vreeland returns with a vivid exploration of one of the most beloved Renoir paintings in the worldInstantly recognizable, Auguste Renoir's masterpiece depicts a gathering of his real friends enjoying a summer Sunday on a café terrace along the Seine near Paris. A wealthy painter, an art collector, an Italian journalist, a war hero, a celebrated actress, and Renoir's future wife, among others, share this moment of la vie moderne, a time when social constraints were loosening and Paris was healing after the Franco-Prussian War. Parisians were bursting with a desire for pleasure and a yearning to create something extraordinary out of life. Renoir shared these urges and took on this most challenging project at a time of personal crises in art and love, all the while facing issues of loyalty and the diverging styles that were tearing apart the Impressionist group. Narrated by Renoir and seven of the models and using settings in Paris and on the Seine, Vreeland illuminates the gusto, hedonism, and art of the era. With a gorgeous palette of vibrant, captivating characters, she paints their lives, loves, losses, and triumphs in a brilliant portrait of her own.

God Is Dead

by Jr. Ron Currie

From a mind-blowing new talent, an audacious novel that imagines the world after God descends to Earth as a Dinka woman from the Sudan and subsequently dies in the Darfur desert. The result is a world both bizarrely new yet eerily familiar. In Currie's provocative, wise, and emotionally resonant novel we meet God himself; the Dinka woman whose mortality He must suffer when He inhabits her body; people all over the world coping with the devastating news of God's demise; a group of young men who, fearing the end of the world, take fate into their own hands; mental patients who insist that a god still exists; armies taking up the eternal war between fate and free will; and parents who, in the absence of a deity and the "lack of anything to do on Sundays," worship their children. On the surface, this world utterly transformed-yet certain things remain unchanged: protective parents clash with willful, idealistic teenagers; idols are exalted; small town rumor mills run unabated; and children often don't realize how to forgive their parents until it's too late. In God Is Dead, Currie brings together a prescient satirical gift worthy of Jonathan Swift, the raw appeal of Chuck Palahniuk's blackest comedy, and the thought-provoking ethical questions of Kurt Vonnegut, all with a light touch, empathy, and wisdom that make for an exhilarating reading experience. Off beat yet accessible, God Is Dead is an exciting debut from a fresh new voice in contemporary fiction.

Girls of Riyadh

by Rajaa Alsanea

Gamrah's faith in her new husband is not exactly returned . . . Sadeem is a little too willing to please her fiancé . . . Michelle is half-American and the wrong class for her boyfriend's family . . . While Lamees works hard with little time for love. The girls of Riyadh are young, attractive and living by Saudi Arabia's strict cultural traditions. Well, not quite. In-between sneaking out behind their parents' backs, dating, shopping, watching American TV and having fun, they're still trying to be good little Muslim girls. That is, pleasing their families and their men. But can you be a twenty-first century girl and a Saudi girl?

Five Skies

by Ron Carlson

Beloved story writer Ron Carlson's first novel in thirty years, Five Skies is the story of three men gathered high in the Rocky Mountains for a construction project that is to last the summer. Having participated in a spectacular betrayal in Los Angeles, the giant, silent Arthur Key drifts into work as a carpenter in southern Idaho. Here he is hired, along with the shiftless and charming Ronnie Panelli, to build a stunt ramp beside a cavernous void. The two will be led by Darwin Gallegos, the foreman of the local ranch who is filled with a primeval rage at God, at man, at life. As they endeavor upon this simple, grand project, the three reveal themselves in cautiously resonant, profound ways. And in a voice of striking intimacy and grace, Carlson's novel reveals itself as a story of biblical, almost spiritual force. A bellwether return from one of our greatest craftsmen, Five Skies is sure to be one of the most praised and cherished novels of the year. .

The Crime Writer

by Gregg Hurwitz

Drew Danner , an L. A. -based crime novelist, awakens in a hospital bed with a scar on his head, blood under his nails, and a cop by his side. Accused of murdering his ex-fiancée, Drew has no memory of the crime but reconstructs the story the only way he knows how--as a novel. As he searches the dark corridors of his life and the city he loves, another young woman is similarly murdered and Drew must confront the very real possibility of his own guilt. A thrilling piece of contemporary L. A. noir, The Crime Writer is sure to boost Hurwitz's profile as one of the coming masters of the genre. .

Consequences

by Penelope Lively

A chance meeting in St. Jamess Park begins young Lorna and Matts intense relationship. Wholly in love, they leave London for a cottage in a rural Somerset village. Their intimate life togetherMatts woodcarving, Lornas self-discovery, their new babyis shattered with the arrival of World War II. In 1960s London, Molly happens upon a forgotten newspapera seemingly small moment that leads to her first job and, eventually, a pregnancy by a wealthy man who wants to marry her, but whom she does not love. Thirty years later, Ruth, who has always considered her existence a peculiar accident, questions her own marriage and begins a journey that takes her back to 1941and a redefinition of herself, and of love. Told in Livelys incomparable prose, Consequences is a powerful story of growth, death, and rebirth and a study of the previous centuryits major and minor events, its shaping of public consciousness, and its changing of lives. Her greatest gift, though, is her ability to see beyond mere cultural ephemera and grasp the unchanging essence of life. The Wall Street Journal Her characters are beguiling, and her blend of romance and stinging social commentary is tonic. Booklist (starred review) A flawlessly constructed mini-epic. The Telegraph A beautifully written novel San Francisco Chronicle A fine novel: intricate, heartbreaking and redemptive. Publishers Weekly

Among other things, I've taken up smoking

by Aoibheann Sweeney

Critically acclaimed by reviewers across the country, Aoibheann Sweeney?s beautifully written debut novel is a story of the profound human need for intimacy. For Miranda, the adolescence spent in her fog-shrouded Maine home has been stark and isolated? alone with her troubled father, a man consumed with his work translating Ovid?s Metamorphoses, her mother mysteriously gone from their lives. Now, having graduated from high school, Miranda?s father arranges for her to stay with old friends in Manhattan, and she embarks on a journey that will open up her father?s past?and her own world?in ways she cannot begin to imagine. .

Pilgrims

by Elizabeth Gilbert

The cowboys, strippers, labourers and magicians of Pilgrimsare all on their way to being somewhere, or someone, else. Some are browbeaten and world-weary, others are deluded and naïve, yet all seek companionship as fiercely as they can. A tough East Coast girl dares a western cowboy to run off with her; a matronly bar owner falls in love with her nephew; an innocent teenager falls hopelessly for the local bully's sister. These are tough heroes and heroines, hardened by their experiences, who struggle for their epiphanies. Yet hope is never far away and though they may act blindly, they always act bravely. Sharply drawn and tenderly observed, Pilgrimsis filled with Gilbert's inimitable humour and warmth.

Wayfare

by Pattiann Rogers

A lively new collection from one of America's most celebrated contemporary poets Denise Levertov has called acclaimed poet Pattiann Rogers "a visionary of reality, perceiving the material world with such intensity of response that impulse, intention, meaning, interconnections beyond the skin of appearance are revealed. " In her new collection, Rogers takes the reader on an exploration of human endeavor. Full of color and action, wonder and fear, these poems investigate, reflect upon, and create experiences relative to music, art, and theater, as well as to the universe and its creatures, large and small. They are distinguished by the penetrating vision and avid imagination that have made Rogers one of today's most outstanding poets. .

The Mistress's Daughter

by A. M. Homes

The acclaimed writer A. M. Homes was given up for adoption before she was born. Her biological mother was a twenty-two-year-old single woman who was having an affair with a much older married man with a family of his own. The Mistress's Daughter is the ruthlessly honest account of what happened when, thirty years later, her birth parents came looking for her. Homes relates how they initially made contact and what happened afterwards, and digs through the family history of both sets of her parents in a twenty-first-century electronic search for self. Daring, heartbreaking, and startlingly funny, Homes's memoir is a brave and profoundly moving consideration of identity and family. .

Miss Julia Strikes Back

by Ann B. Ross

The irresistible, indefatigable Miss Julia is back, turning the tables on a thief who chose the wrong belle to burgle Having earned a devoted following for her rollicking antics and unshakable poise, Miss Julia's eighth outing begins with an unfortunate discovery. Her cherished engagement ring-an exact replica of Princess Di's-turns up missing after a party, making her the latest target of a Florida- based gang who, according to Sergeant Coleman Bates, has been denuding Dixie of its jewelry. Incensed, Miss Julia packs Little Lloyd into the car and heads south to claim what is rightfully hers-and to show the feds that there's more than one way to do reconnaissance: selling the Good Book! .

Four Queens

by Nancy Goldstone

The four beautiful, cultured and clever daughters of the Count and Countess of Provence made illustrious marriages and lived at the epicentre of political power and intrigue in 13th-century Europe. Marguerite accompanied her husband, King Louis IX of France, on his disastrous first crusade to the Holy Land, where straight from childbirth she ransomed him from the Mamluks. And with her sister Eleanor, queen of England, Marguerite engineered a sturdy peace between France and England. Ambitious Eleanor walked a narrow line while she struggled to build her own power base without alienating her cowardly husband, Henry III. Beatrice's coronation as queen of Sicily was the culmination of her long, hard-fought campaign to earn respect from her world-famous, mightily accomplished older siblings. Sanchia wed one of the richest men in Europe, but her reign as queen of Germany, brought her only misery. From Goldstone's rich, beautifully woven tapestry, medieval Europe springs to vivid life, from the lavish menus of the royal banquets and the sweet songs of the troubadours to the complex machinations of the Pope against the Holy Roman Emperor. This compelling work of history gives women their due as movers and shakers in tumultuous times.

Blue Grit

by Laura Flanders

Noted political commentator Laura Flanders investigates the state of American politics from the bottom upWith her trademark wit and indefatigable reporting, Laura Flanders, host of RadioNation and bestselling author of Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species, reveals as only she can the state of progressive America today. All over the country, grassroots organizations are making a difference, and democrats of all stripes are doing what the national party has failed to do: engage new voters, advance progressive issues, and even run their own candidates for office-and win-in some of the most unlikely places. With a fiery polemic, assured narrative, and acute political commentary, Blue Grit is crucial reading for anyone interested in the future of the Democrats-and this country.

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