Origin Story - David Christian

Staff Pick

David Christian’s TED Talk “The history of our world in 18 minutes” has been viewed more than eight million times. It covers “Big History”, a framework to make sense of the history of the Universe, from the Big Bang to the present, and then into the distant future, from a human perspective. It covers eight “thresholds” at which “Goldilocks” conditions exist for the emergence of new and more complex phenomena. From a single college course in the late 1980’s, the idea has grown into a course taught at thousands of high schools and colleges, thanks to the personal enthusiasm and financial investment of Bill Gates, raising questions about the influence of private money on public education. Origin Story covers the same ground in book form, and will give you a new perspective on how everything, from salt to supernovas, is connected.

Origin Story: A Big History of Everything By David Christian Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780316392006
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Little, Brown Spark - May 22nd, 2018

One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps - Andrea Pitzer

Staff Pick

This meticulously researched, brave and intelligent book demonstrates that the mass incarceration of civilians during war has been practiced around the world for more than a century. Andrea Pitzer traces the evolution of concentration camps from 1890’s Cuba up through the Boer War, Russian Revolution and Holocaust, and she finishes with Guantanamo, where, she writes, “we have detainees in indefinite detention.” One Long Night  is no easy read. But it is surely a book for the times, as we come to grips with the chilling implication that yes, it can happen here.

One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps By Andrea Pitzer Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780316303590
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 19th, 2017

The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire - Kyle Harper

Staff Pick

Serious history buffs will appreciate the new perspective on the decline of the Roman Empire offered in The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (Princeton, $35). While experts and armchair historians have spent years debating the human causes that contributed to the downfall of the great empire, Kyle Harper argues that it was brought to the brink of destruction by a larger, less manageable force: nature. He demonstrates that the Roman Empire was able to flourish due to an ideal climate, but when climate stability began to decay so did the fortunes of Rome. And while the Romans benefited from increased migration, travel, and trade, these factors also permitted the spread of a variety of deadly diseases. The author is clearly an expert in his field, and he makes a compelling case by drawing on modern developments in fields such as DNA sequencing, epidemiology, and climate science. As Harper lays out in his book, perhaps the Romans’ greatest mistake was holding on to the belief that they had “tamed the forces of wild nature.” These environmental factors, along with human error, helped to bring about the destruction of one of the greatest empire’s the world has ever seen.

The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (Princeton History of the Ancient World #2) By Kyle Harper Cover Image
$45.00
ISBN: 9780691166834
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Princeton University Press - October 24th, 2017

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