White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America [Audiobook]

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America [Audiobook]
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America [Audiobook] by Nancy Isenberg, read by Kirsten Potter
2016 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 15 hrs 5 mins | 412.52MB

In her groundbreaking bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg upends histroy as we know it by taking on our comforting myths about equality and uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash.

“When you turn an election into a three-ring circus, there’s always a chance that the dancing bear will win,” says Isenberg of the political climate surrounding Sarah Palin. And we recognize how right she is today. Yet the voters boosting Trump have been a permanent part of our American fabric, argues Isenberg.

The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement to today's hillbillies. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds.

Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over four hundred years, Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. Reconstruction pitted poor white trash against newly freed slaves, which factored in the rise of eugenics–-a widely popular movement embraced by Theodore Roosevelt that targeted poor whites for sterilization. These poor were at the heart of New Deal reforms and LBJ’s Great Society; they haunt us in reality TV shows like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty. Marginalized as a class, white trash have always been at or near the center of major political debates over the character of the American identity.

We acknowledge racial injustice as an ugly stain on our nation’s history. With Isenberg’s landmark book, we will have to face the truth about the enduring, malevolent nature of class as well.

Elixir: A History of Water and Humankind [Audiobook]

Elixir: A History of Water and Humankind [Audiobook]
Elixir: A History of Water and Humankind [Audiobook] by Brian Fagan, read by James Langton
2011 | MP3@128 kbps + EPUB | 13 hrs 19 mins | 729.48MB

Elixir spans five thousand years, from the beginnings of civilization to the parched American Sun Belt of today. It is a story of human endeavor: our present-day interaction with this most essential resource has deep roots in the remote past, and every human culture has been shaped by its relationship to water. For the earliest hunter-gatherers, knowing where to find water was a matter of life and death; the "songlines" of Australia's Aborigines define the whole landscape as a map of sacred water sources. In many agricultural societies, from Africa to the rice fields of Bali, a communal "water philosophy" surrounds the precious resource with social traditions that preserve fair access for people upstream and down.

The sweeping narrative moves from the Greeks and Romans, whose mighty acqueducts still water modern cities, to China, where emperors marshaled armies of laborers in a centuries-long struggle, still ongoing today, to tame the country's powerful rivers. Medieval Europe and then the Industrial Revolution brought ingenious new solutions to water management–-but, for the first time, turned water into a commodity to be bought, sold, and exploited rather than a natural force to be worshiped and husbanded. By the twentieth century, technology allowed the American desert to sparkle with swimming pools and lush golf courses–-with little regard for sustainability.

With his customary elegance and peerless scholarship, Brian Fagan illustrates that the past teaches us that technologies for solving one or another water problem are not enough. From a practical standpoint, we still live at the mercy of the natural world. To solve the water crises of the future we may need to adapt the water ethos of our ancestors.

The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations [Audiobook]

The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations [Audiobook]
The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations [Audiobook] by Brian Fagan, read by Tavia Gilbert
2010 | MP3 VBR V6 + EPUB | 9 hrs 20 mins | 274.95MB

A breakout bestseller on how the earth’s previous global warming phase reshaped human societies from the Arctic to the Sahara—a wide-ranging history with sobering lessons for our own time.

From the tenth to the fifteenth century the earth experienced a rise in surface temperature that changed climate worldwide—a preview of today’s global warming. In some areas, including western Europe, longer summers brought bountiful harvests and population growth that led to cultural flowering. In the Arctic, Inuit and Norse sailors made cultural connections across thousands of miles as they traded precious iron goods. Polynesian sailors, riding new wind patterns, were able to settle the remotest islands on earth. But in many parts of the world, the warm centuries brought drought and famine. Elaborate societies in western and central America collapsed, and the vast building complexes of Chaco Canyon and the Mayan Yucatán were left empty. The history of the Great Warming of a half millennium ago suggests that we may yet be underestimating the power of climate change to disrupt our lives today—and our vulnerability to drought, writes Fagan, is the “silent elephant in the room.”

Anthropologist and historian Brian Fagan reveals how subtle changes in the environment during the earth’s previous global warming phase, from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, reshaped human societies from the Arctic to the Sahara. The history of the Great Warming suggests that we may yet be underestimating the power of climate change to disrupt our lives today—and our vulnerability to drought, writes Fagan, is the “silent elephant in the room.”

Half a millennium ago, the earth experienced a rise in surface temperature that changed climate worldwide—a preview of today’s global warming. In some areas, including Western Europe, longer summers brought bountiful harvests and population growth that led to cultural flowering. In the Arctic, Inuit and Norse sailors made cultural connections across thousands of miles as they traded precious iron goods. Polynesian sailors, riding new wind patterns, were able to settle the remotest islands on earth. But in many parts of the world, the warm centuries brought drought and famine. Elaborate societies in western and central America collapsed, and the vast building complexes of Chaco Canyon and the Mayan Yucatan were left empty.

Fagan uses that natural history to show that the planet is due for its next warming phase, and explore the dramatic changes that may be in store for the human societies of today when it takes place.

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