Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War [Audiobook]

Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War [Audiobook]
Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War [Audiobook] by Stephen R Platt, read by Angela Lin
2012 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 17 hrs 32 mins | 478.47MB

A gripping account of China’s nineteenth-century Taiping Rebellion, one of the largest civil wars in history. Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom brims with unforgettable characters and vivid re-creations of massive and often gruesome battles—a sweeping yet intimate portrait of the conflict that shaped the fate of modern China.

The story begins in the early 1850s, the waning years of the Qing dynasty, when word spread of a major revolution brewing in the provinces, led by a failed civil servant who claimed to be the son of God and brother of Jesus. The Taiping rebels drew their power from the poor and the disenfranchised, unleashing the ethnic rage of millions of Chinese against their Manchu rulers. This homegrown movement seemed all but unstoppable until Britain and the United States stepped in and threw their support behind the Manchus: after years of massive carnage, all opposition to Qing rule was effectively snuffed out for generations. Stephen R. Platt recounts these events in spellbinding detail, building his story on two fascinating characters with opposing visions for China’s future: the conservative Confucian scholar Zeng Guofan, an accidental general who emerged as the most influential military strategist in China’s modern history; and Hong Rengan, a brilliant Taiping leader whose grand vision of building a modern, industrial, and pro-Western Chinese state ended in tragic failure.

This is an essential and enthralling history of the rise and fall of the movement that, a century and a half ago, might have launched China on an entirely different path into the modern world.

A Cool and Lonely Courage: The Untold Story of Sister Spies in Occupied France [Audiobook]

A Cool and Lonely Courage: The Untold Story of Sister Spies in Occupied France [Audiobook]
A Cool and Lonely Courage: The Untold Story of Sister Spies in Occupied France [Audiobook] by Susan Ottaway, read by Catherine Harvey
2014 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 9 hrs 4 mins | 247.16MB

The incredible true story of British special agents Eileen and Jacqueline Nearne, sisters who risked everything to fight for freedom during the Second World War.

When elderly recluse Eileen Nearne died, few suspected that the quiet little old lady was a decorated WW II war hero. Volunteering to serve for British intelligence at age 21, Eileen was posted to Nazi-occupied France to send encoded messages of crucial importance for the Allies, until her capture by the Gestapo.

Eileen was not the only agent in her family - her sister Jacqueline was a courier for the French resistance. While Jacqueline narrowly avoided arrest, Eileen was tortured by the Nazis, then sent to the infamous Ravensbrück women's concentration camp. Astonishingly, this resourceful young woman eventually escaped her captors and found her way to the advancing American army.

In this amazing true story of triumph and tragedy, Susan Ottaway unveils the secret lives of two sisters who sacrificed themselves to defend their country.

Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World [Audiobook]

Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World [Audiobook]
Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World [Audiobook] by Aja Raden, read by Justine Eyre
2016 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 10 hrs 56 mins | 298.0MB

What makes a stone a jewel? What makes a jewel priceless? And why do we covet beautiful things? In this brilliant account of how eight jewels shaped the course of history, jeweler and scientist Aja Raden tells an original and often startling story about our unshakeable addiction to beauty and the darker side of human desire.

What moves the world is what moves each of us: desire. Jewelry - which has long served as a stand-in for wealth and power, glamour and success - has birthed cultural movements, launched political dynasties, and started wars. Masterfully weaving together pop science and history, Stoned breaks history into three categories - want, take, and have - and explains what the diamond on your finger has to do with the GI Bill, why green-tinted jewelry has been exalted by so many cultures, why the glass beads that bought Manhattan for the Dutch were initially considered a fair trade, and how the French Revolution started over a coveted necklace. Studded with lively personalities and fascinating details, Stoned tells the remarkable story of our abiding desire for the rare and extraordinary.

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