The Europeans: Three Lives and the Making of a Cosmopolitan Culture [Audiobook]
25 November 2019, 02:47
2019 | M4B@128 kbps + EPUB | 21h 39m | 1.15GB
From the "master of historical narrative" (Financial Times), a dazzling, richly detailed, panoramic work - the first to document the genesis of a continent-wide European culture.
The 19th century in Europe was a time of unprecedented artistic achievement. It was also the first age of cultural globalization - an epoch when mass communications and high-speed rail travel brought Europe together, overcoming the barriers of nationalism and facilitating the development of a truly European canon of artistic, musical, and literary works. By 1900, the same books were being read across the continent, the same paintings reproduced, the same music played in homes and heard in concert halls, the same operas performed in all the major theatres.
Drawing from a wealth of documents, letters, and other archival materials, acclaimed historian Orlando Figes examines the interplay of money and art that made this unification possible. At the center of the book is a poignant love triangle: the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev; the Spanish prima donna Pauline Viardot, with whom Turgenev had a long and intimate relationship; and her husband Louis Viardot, an art critic, theater manager, and republican activist. Together, Turgenev and the Viardots acted as a kind of European cultural exchange - they either knew or crossed paths with Delacroix, Berlioz, Chopin, Brahms, Liszt, the Schumanns, Hugo, Flaubert, Dickens, and Dostoyevsky, among many other towering figures.
As Figes observes, nearly all of civilization's great advances have come during periods of heightened cosmopolitanism - when people, ideas, and artistic creations circulate freely between nations. Vivid and insightful, The Europeans shows how such cosmopolitan ferment shaped artistic traditions that came to dominate world culture.
Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy [Audiobook]
16 November 2019, 09:08
2019 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 21h 28m | 592.31MB
The astonishing story of the longest and most decisive military campaign of the Civil War in Vicksburg, Mississippi, which opened the Mississippi River, split the Confederacy, freed tens of thousands of slaves, and made Ulysses S. Grant the most important general of the war.
Vicksburg, Mississippi, was the last stronghold of the Confederacy on the Mississippi River. It prevented the Union from using the river for shipping between the Union-controlled Midwest and New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. The Union navy tried to take Vicksburg, which sat on a high bluff overlooking the river, but couldn't do it. General Grant moved his army south and joined forces with Admiral Porter, but even together they could not come up with a successful plan. At one point, Grant even tried to build a canal so that the river could be diverted away from Vicksburg.
In Vicksburg, Donald L. Miller tells the full story of this yearlong campaign to win the city. He brings to life all the drama, characters, and significance of Vicksburg, a historic moment that rivals any war story in history. Grant's efforts repeatedly failed until he found a way to lay siege and force the city to capitulate. In the course of the campaign, tens of thousands of slaves fled to the Union lines, where more than 20,000 became soldiers, while others seized the plantations they had been forced to work on, destroying the economy of a large part of Mississippi and creating a social revolution.
Ultimately, Vicksburg was the battle that solidified Grant's reputation as the Union's most capable general. Today, no general would ever be permitted to fail as often as Grant did, but in the end, he succeeded in what he himself called the most important battle of the war, the one that all but sealed the fate of the Confederacy.
The Mysterious Affair at Olivetti [Audiobook]
16 November 2019, 05:52
2019 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 11h 27m | 314.63MB
The never-before-told true account of the design and development of the first desktop computer by the world's most famous high-styled typewriter company, more than a decade before the arrival of the Osborne 1, the Apple 1, the first Intel microprocessor, and IBM's PC5150.
The human, business, design, engineering, cold war, and tech story of how the Olivetti company came to be, how it survived two world wars and brought a ravaged Italy back to life, how after it mastered the typewriter business with the famous "Olivetti touch," it entered the new, fierce electronics race; how its first desktop computer, the P101, came to be; how, within 18 months, it had caught up with, and surpassed, IBM, the American giant that by then had become an arm of the American government, developing advanced weapon systems; Olivetti putting its own mainframe computer on the market with its desktop prototype, selling 40,000 units, including to NASA for its lunar landings. How Olivetti made inroads into the US market by taking control of Underwood of Hartford, CT as an assembly plant for Olivetti's own typewriters and future miniaturized personal computers; how a week after Olivetti purchased Underwood, the US government filed an antitrust suit to try to stop it; how Adriano Olivetti, the legendary idealist, socialist, visionary, heir to the company founded by his father, built the company into a fantastical dynasty - factories, offices, satellite buildings spread over more than 50 acres - while on a train headed for Switzerland in 1960 for supposed meetings and then to Hartford, never arrived, dying suddenly of a heart attack at 58...how 18 months later, his brilliant young engineer, who had assembled Olivetti's superb team of electronic engineers, was killed, as well, in a suspicious car crash, and how the Olivetti company and the P101 came to its insidious and shocking end.
Cover image: Olivetti Programma 101. Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci, Milan. Wikimedia Creative Commons.