On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears [EPUB]
24 November 2014, 16:24
2009 | EPUB | 1.48MB
Hailed as "a feast" (Washington Post) and "a modern-day bestiary" (The New Yorker), Stephen Asma's On Monsters is a wide-ranging cultural and conceptual history of monsters--how they have evolved over time, what functions they have served for us, and what shapes they are likely to take in the future.
Beginning at the time of Alexander the Great, the monsters come fast and furious--Behemoth and Leviathan, Gog and Magog, Satan and his demons, Grendel and Frankenstein, circus freaks and headless children, right up to the serial killers and terrorists of today and the post-human cyborgs of tomorrow. Monsters embody our deepest anxieties and vulnerabilities, Asma argues, but they also symbolize the mysterious and incoherent territory beyond the safe enclosures of rational thought.
Exploring sources as diverse as philosophical treatises, scientific notebooks, and novels, Asma unravels traditional monster stories for the clues they offer about the inner logic of an era's fears and fascinations. In doing so, he illuminates the many ways monsters have become repositories for those human qualities that must be repudiated, externalized, and defeated.
The Game of Our Lives [EPUB]
24 November 2014, 14:02
2014 | EPUB | 0.6MB
The Game of Our Lives is a masterly portrait of contemporary Britain through the lens of football. In the last two decades football in the United Kingdom has made the transition from a peripheral dying sport to the very center of British popular culture, from an economic basket-case to a booming entertainment industry that has conquered the world. What does it mean when football becomes so central to the private and public lives of the British people? Has it enriched this island nation or impoverished it?
From the goals, to the players, to the managers, to the money, David Goldblatt describes how the English Premier League was forged by Margaret Thatcher's Britain and an alliance of the big clubs — Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur — the Football Association and Rupert Murdoch’s Sky TV. He identifies the real winners and losers in this extraordinary period, and explains how football has closely mirrored the wider political and social scene.
Goldblatt argues that no social phenomenon tracks the momentous economic, social and political changes of post-Thatcherite Britain in a more illuminating manner than football, and The Game of Our Lives provides the definitive social history of the EPL — most popular football league in the world.
Packaged Pleasures [EPUB]
24 November 2014, 13:13
2014 | EPUB + MOBI | 5.08/5.45MB
From the candy bar to the cigarette, records to roller coasters, a technological revolution during the last quarter of the nineteenth century precipitated a colossal shift in human consumption and sensual experience. Food, drink, and many other consumer goods came to be mass-produced, bottled, canned, condensed, and distilled, unleashing new and intensified surges of pleasure, delight, thrill—and addiction.
In Packaged Pleasures, Gary S. Cross and Robert N. Proctor delve into an uncharted chapter of American history, shedding new light on the origins of modern consumer culture and how technologies have transformed human sensory experience. In the space of only a few decades, junk foods, cigarettes, movies, recorded sound, and thrill rides brought about a revolution in what it means to taste, smell, see, hear, and touch. New techniques of boxing, labeling, and tubing gave consumers virtually unlimited access to pleasures they could simply unwrap and enjoy. Manufacturers generated a seemingly endless stream of sugar-filled, high-fat foods that were delicious but detrimental to health. Mechanically rolled cigarettes entered the market and quickly addicted millions.
And many other packaged pleasures dulled or displaced natural and social delights. Yet many of these same new technologies also offered convenient and effective medicines, unprecedented opportunities to enjoy music and the visual arts, and more hygienic, varied, and nutritious food and drink. For better or for worse, sensation became mechanized, commercialized, and, to a large extent, democratized by being made cheap and accessible. Cross and Proctor have delivered an ingeniously constructed history of consumerism and consumer technology that will make us all rethink some of our favorite things.