Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch

Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch

Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch: Skull-Crushing True Stories of the Most Hardcore Duels, Showdowns, Fistfights, Last Stands, Suicide Charges, and Military Engagements of All Time by Ben Thompson
William Morrow | 2013 | ISBN: 0062112341 | EPUB | 7.49MB

From the Ben Thompson, author of Badass: The Birth of a Legend, comes a collection of history’s most awe-inspiring duels and showdowns, brutal crusades and epic brawls, and profiles of the fascinating people who fought in them.

From Caliphs to Green Berets, some of civilization’s toughest warriors are profiled in Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch, including Cyrus the Great, St. Moses the Black, and The Rani of Jhansi, as well as in-depth analyses of how they battled their way to victory.

Featuring original artworks by top graphic artists and comic book illustrators, and Ben Thompson’s signature wry, side-splitting commentary, Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch is the history of badasses, the only way it should be written: covered in blood!

Badass: The Birth of a Legend

Badass: The Birth of a Legend

Badass: The Birth of a Legend: Spine-Crushing Tales of the Most Merciless Gods, Monsters, Heroes, Villains, and Mythical Creatures Ever Envisioned by Ben Thompson
HarperCollins | 2011 | ISBN: 0062074946 | EPUB | 5.43MB

From sex-crazed gods to ravenous monsters, Ben Thompson brings legendary titans to life in tales of adventure, bloodlust, and unrelenting badassitude.

Since the beginning of human history people have created myths, tall tales, superheroes, and arch-villains—men and women who embarked on insane adventures, performed extraordinary feats of unparalleled awesomeness, and overcame all odds to violently smite their foes into bloody pulp. In Badass: The Birth of a Legend, Ben Thompson compiles these fantastical tales from the beginning of time to today and tells them in the completely over-the-top manner in which they were intended, including:

Rama
The Indian god-king who led an army of monkeys against the King of All Demons

Thor
The Viking god of thunder and awesome hair, who crushed the skulls of giants with a ridiculously huge hammer

Beowulf
An Anglo-Saxon hero so hardcore he could arm-wrestle monsters' joints out of their sockets

Moby-Dick
The hate-filled literary behemoth who obliterated ship hulls with his face

Skuld
The Norse necromancer queen who summoned a horde of zombie berserkers

Dirty Harry Callahan
The prototypical modern-day antihero and very embodiment of badass

Badass

Badass

Badass: A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders to Ever Live by Ben Thompson
William Morrow | 2009 | ISBN: 0061749443 | EPUB | 7.78MB

An unstoppable collection of the most hardcore figures who ever strapped on chain mail and ran screaming into battle.

Throughout history—from the bone-crushing age of antiquity to the sack-tearing modern era—there have been larger-than-life ass-kickers with a natural talent for unleashing their epic bloodlust on anyone who crossed them. They built empires, smashed armies, and ravaged civilizations for wealth, glory, and ultimate supremacy. Sometimes villains, sometimes heroes, sometimes criminally insane, they had one thing in common: They were all . . . Badass!

Chandragupta Maurya
An Indian warlord who commanded an army of drunken war elephants and employed an elite detachment of highly trained female bodyguards

Peter Francisco
An unsung hero of the American Revolution, this powerful giant battled the British with a massive five-foot-long broadsword

Wolf the Quarrelsome
A mysterious barbarian leader who only appears in history twice—and both times he's kicking someone's ass

Bhanbhagta Gurung
A fearless Gurkha who won the Victoria Cross by clearing out six Japanese foxholes with nothing more than grenades, a bayonet, and a knife

From Alexander the Great to George S. Patton, from Genghis Khan to Bruce Lee, this pantheon of ass-kicking awesomeness should inspire you to quit your stupid job and dive headfirst into a new career as a professional badass.

Tanks of Hitler's Eastern Allies 1941-45

Tanks of Hitler's Eastern Allies 1941-45

Tanks of Hitler's Eastern Allies 1941-45 by Steven J Zaloga
Osprey | 2013 | ISBN: 1780960204 | PDF | 3.61MB

The titanic armor battles of the Russian Front are widely known, but the role of Germany's eastern allies is not as well known. Two of these countries, Romania and Hungary, manufactured their own tanks as well as purchasing tanks from Germany. These ranged from older, obsolete types such as the PzKpfw 35(t) all the way up to the latest and best German vehicles including the Tiger I and Hetzer. These tanks played a frequent role in the battles in southern Russia and Ukraine and were especially prominent in the disaster at Stalingrad where the Red Army specifically chose the weaker Romanian and Hungarian salients for their critical envelopment operation.

This New Vanguard will provide a broad survey of the various and colorful tanks used. Besides covering the largest of these Axis tank forces, this book will cover the many smaller and lesser known forces including the Italian contingent in Russia, the Finnish armored force, and the small but interesting armored forces of the Russian Vlasov (RONA), Croatian, Bulgarian and Slovakian armies. This subject is seeing increasing interest in the modeling world; for example Tamiya recently announced a PzKpfw 35 (t) (suitable for Romanian, Slovak armies) a Finnish StuG III, and a Finnish BT-42.

The Battle of Bretton Woods

The Battle of Bretton Woods

The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil
Princeton University Press | 2013 | ISBN: 0691149097 | EPUB | 1.67MB

When turmoil strikes world monetary and financial markets, leaders invariably call for 'a new Bretton Woods' to prevent catastrophic economic disorder and defuse political conflict. The name of the remote New Hampshire town where representatives of forty-four nations gathered in July 1944, in the midst of the century's second great war, has become shorthand for enlightened globalization. The actual story surrounding the historic Bretton Woods accords, however, is full of startling drama, intrigue, and rivalry, which are vividly brought to life in Benn Steil's epic account.

Upending the conventional wisdom that Bretton Woods was the product of an amiable Anglo-American collaboration, Steil shows that it was in reality part of a much more ambitious geopolitical agenda hatched within President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Treasury and aimed at eliminating Britain as an economic and political rival. At the heart of the drama were the antipodal characters of John Maynard Keynes, the renowned and revolutionary British economist, and Harry Dexter White, the dogged, self-made American technocrat. Bringing to bear new and striking archival evidence, Steil offers the most compelling portrait yet of the complex and controversial figure of White--the architect of the dollar's privileged place in the Bretton Woods monetary system, who also, very privately, admired Soviet economic planning and engaged in clandestine communications with Soviet intelligence officials and agents over many years.

A remarkably deft work of storytelling that reveals how the blueprint for the postwar economic order was actually drawn, The Battle of Bretton Woods is destined to become a classic of economic and political history.

Dirty Work

Dirty Work

Dirty Work by Glen McNamara
New Holland Publishers | 2011 | ISBN: 1741108519 | EPUB | 2.66MB

This true story of police corruption and undercover assignments will have you reeling.

"All crime revolves around the financial powerhouse that is the drug trade. And drugs and paedophilia go together like a hand in a glove." This is Inner Sydney in the heat of the 1980s and the cash and drugs are flowing freely.

The Sinatra Files: The Secret FBI Dossier

The Sinatra Files: The Secret FBI Dossier

The Sinatra Files: The Secret FBI Dossier by Tom Kuntz, Phil Kuntz
Three Rivers Press | 2000 | ISBN: 0812932765 | EPUB | 1.96MB

An American Icon Under Government Surveillance.

When Frank Sinatra died in 1998, he was one of the most chronicled celebrities ever, but the most unusual record of his life came to light only posthumously: a 1,275-page dossier recording decades of FBI surveillance stemming from J. Edgar Hoover's belief that Sinatra had mob or Communist ties. This shadow biography, with information never before presented in book form, details:

  • Hoover's search through Sinatra's past to see if he got a bogus medical deferment from military service, ultimately yielding the simple fact that Sinatra really had suffered a perforated eardrum as a youth
  • The FBI's previously unreported cooperation with journalists looking for dirt on Sinatra, including one who had recently been punched out by the singerNumerous instances of the star's carousing and intemperate behavior -- including a detailed report alleging that he rampaged through a Las Vegas hotel after he and his wife Mia Farrow lost small fortunes gambling
  • The mob's attempts to curry favor with John F. Kennedy through Sinatra -- and its anger when Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy turned up the heat.

This fascinating record of governmental scrutiny will captivate every Sinatra fan, as well as anyone who wants to understand the second half of the American century -- the Cold War, popular culture, the cult of celebrity, Camelot, and the FBI's mania for investigating American citizens -- all personified by the most dominant entertainer of the era.

Escaping the Delta

Escaping the Delta

Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues by Elijah Wald
Amistad | 2004 | ISBN: 0060524278 | EPUB | 464.29KB

The life of blues legend Robert Johnson becomes the centerpiece for this innovative look at what many consider to be America's deepest and most influential music genre. Pivotal are the questions surrounding why Johnson was ignored by the core black audience of his time yet now celebrated as the greatest figure in blues history.

Trying to separate myth from reality, biographer Elijah Wald studies the blues from the inside -- not only examining recordings but also the recollections of the musicians themselves, the African-American press, as well as examining original research. What emerges is a new appreciation for the blues and the movement of its artists from the shadows of the 1930s Mississippi Delta to the mainstream venues frequented by today's loyal blues fans.

Victorian Tales of Cannabis

Victorian Tales of Cannabis

Victorian Tales of Cannabis
Sound Photosynthesis | 2000 | ISBN: 1569640106 | MP3 VBR V5 | 2 hrs 33 mins | 95.82MB

A fully orchestrated production conceived by Faustin and Brian of Sound Photosynthesis of stories by Bayard Taylor, Louisa May Alcott and other Victorian period writers audio-animated that will surprise and delight you. Terence reads the male voice and Kat reads the female story line and they are accompanied by an audio-illuminated full cast of characters. Artfully album contained.

The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse [Audiobook]

The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse [Audiobook]

The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse [Audiobook] narrated by Donovan
Phoenix Audio | 1999 | ASIN: B0000544OY | MP3@320 kbps | 2 hrs 51 mins | 393.58MB

Step into a world of visions, philosophy, and passion in which dreamers, seekers, princesses, and wandering poets dwell. The 6 wonderful, romantic tales in this collection are reminiscent of ancient Oriental and German fairy tales. The selections, "The Poet," "The Flute Dream," "The Dwarf," "Faldum," "Ziegler," and "Dream of the Gods" were hand-picked by the narrator, legendary folk and rock musician Donovan.

Merging Eastern mysticism with the motifs of the European fairy tale, the stories translated for this volume, many for the first time, offer insight into Hesse's development as an artist during the first two decades of this century. Sometimes lush and lyrical, sometimes in the simple language of the parable, these tales elaborate Hesse's concerns with mortality, the unity of life and the isolation of the artist.

Characters renounce human society to become poets, vegetarians or, as in the fantastic story "Faldum," a mountain. The artist as ascetic, observer and loner, misunderstood by his audience, is a recurring theme. Several of the stories reflect Hesse's pacifist stance during WWI, covering great spans of time to drive home the devastation of war and transience of civilization. Whether evoking the rise and fall of a nation or an individual, Hesse is preoccupied with the need for both to rediscover their "undestroyed essence" and begin anew. A refreshing lack of narrative closure distinguishes Hesse's tales, which mitigates an irritating tendency to equate self-knowledge with the return home to an eternal, spiritual mother.

Quirky and evocative, Hesse's fairy tales stand alone, but also amplify the ideas and utopian longings of such counterculture avatars as Siddhartha and Steppenwolf.

How to Create a Mind [Audiobook]

How to Create a Mind [Audiobook]

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed [Audiobook] by Ray Kurzweil
Brilliance Audio | 2012 | ISBN: 1469203944 | MP3@96 kbps | 10 hrs 05 mins | 416.04MB

Ray Kurzweil, the bold futurist and author of the New York Times bestseller The Singularity Is Near, is arguably today’s most influential technological visionary. A pioneering inventor and theorist, he has explored for decades how artificial intelligence can enrich and expand human capabilities.

Now, in his much-anticipated How to Create a Mind, he takes this exploration to the next step: reverse-engineering the brain to understand precisely how it works, then applying that knowledge to create vastly intelligent machines. Drawing on the most recent neuroscience research, his own research and inventions in artificial intelligence, and compelling thought experiments, he describes his new theory of how the neocortex (the thinking part of the brain) works: as a self-organizing hierarchical system of pattern recognizers.

Kurzweil shows how these insights will enable us to greatly extend the powers of our own mind and provides a road map for the creation of super-intelligence — humankind’s most exciting next venture. We are now at the dawn of an era of radical possibilities in which merging with our technology will enable us to effectively address the world’s grand challenges.

How to Create a Mind is certain to be one of the most widely discussed and debated science books in many years — a touchstone for any consideration of the path of human progress.

"Kurzweil writes boldly and with a showman’s flair, expertly guiding the lay reader into deep thickets of neuroscience."
~Kate Tuttle, Boston Globe

This book is a breath of fresh air.... Kurzweil makes an argument for optimism.
~Laura Spinney, New Scientist

"A fascinating exercise in futurology."
~Kirkus Reviews

"It is rare to find a book that offers unique and inspiring content on every page. How to Create a Mind achieves that and more. Ray has a way of tackling seemingly overwhelming challenges with an army of reason, in the end convincing the reader that it is within our reach to create nonbiological intelligence that will soar past our own. This is a visionary work that is also accessible and entertaining.
~Rafael Reif, president, MIT

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language

The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language [Audiobook] by Steven Pinker
Brilliance Audio | 2012 | MP3@128 kbps + EPUB | 18 hrs 54 mins | 1.01GB
'Dazzling...Pinker's big idea is that language is an instinct...as innate to us as flying is to geese...Words can hardly do justice to the superlative range and liveliness of Pinker's investigations' - Independent

'A marvellously readable book...illuminates every facet of human language: its biological origin, its uniqueness to humanity, it acquisition by children, its grammatical structure, the production and perception of speech, the pathology of language disorders and the unstoppable evolution of languages and dialects' - Nature

In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution.

The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published.



EPUB

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling [Audiobook]

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling [Audiobook]

Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling [Audiobook] by Ross King
Books On Tape | 2003 | ISBN: 0736690824 | MP3@64 kbps | 10 hrs 28 mins | 287.28MB

The author of the acclaimed Brunelleschi's Dome tells the extraordinary story of the four years during which Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Although the artist considered himself a sculptor, Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo as a painter. With only scant knowledge of the art of fresco, Michelangelo created figures so beautiful that when they were unveiled in 1512, they stunned the onlookers.

Ross King chronicles what went into this monumental project: not only Michelangelo's experiments with the composition of pigment and plaster, but also his ill health, financial difficulties, domestic problems, and bitter rivalry with Raphael, who was working on the neighboring Papal Apartments. A masterly picture of day-to-day life on the scaffolding and outside in the upheaval of early sixteenth-century Rome.

Leonardo and the Last Supper

Leonardo and the Last Supper

Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King
Walker & Company | 2012 | ISBN: 0802717055 | EPUB | 7.79MB

Early in 1495, Leonardo da Vinci began work in Milan on what would become one of history's most influential and beloved works of art - The Last Supper.

After a dozen years at the court of Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, Leonardo was at a low point personally and professionally: at forty-three, in an era when he had almost reached the average life expectancy, he had failed, despite a number of prestigious commissions, to complete anything that truly fulfilled his astonishing promise. His latest failure was a giant bronze horse to honor Sforza's father: His 75 tons of bronze had been expropriated to be turned into cannons to help repel a French invasion of Italy.

The commission to paint The Last Supper in the refectory of a Dominican convent was a small compensation, and his odds of completing it were not promising: Not only had he never worked on a painting of such a large size-15' high x 30' wide-but he had no experience in the extremely difficult medium of fresco.

In his compelling new book, Ross King explores how-amid war and the political and religious turmoil around him, and beset by his own insecurities and frustrations-Leonardo created the masterpiece that would forever define him. King unveils dozens of stories that are embedded in the painting. Examining who served as the models for the Apostles, he makes a unique claim: that Leonardo modeled two of them on himself. Reviewing Leonardo's religious beliefs, King paints a much more complex picture than the received wisdom that he was a heretic. The food that Leonardo, a famous vegetarian, placed on the table reveals as much as do the numerous hand gestures of those at Christ's banquet.

As King explains, many of the myths that have grown up around The Last Supper are wrong, but its true story is ever more interesting. Bringing to life a fascinating period in European history, Ross King presents an original portrait of one of the world's greatest geniuses through the lens of his most famous work.

Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power

Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power

Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power by Ross King
Eminent Lives | 2007 | ISBN: 0060817178 | PDF | 3.69MB

The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli's handbook on power—how to get it and how to keep it—has been enormously influential in the centuries since it was written, garnering a heady mixture of admiration, fear, and contempt. Its author, born to an established middle-class family, was no prince himself. Machiavelli (1469 - 1527) worked as a courtier and diplomat for the Republic of Florence and enjoyed some small fame in his time as the author of bawdy plays and poems. Upon the Medici's return to power, however, he found himself summarily dismissed from the government he had served for decades and exiled from the city where he was born.

In this discerning new biography, Ross King rescues Machiavelli's legacy from caricature, detailing the vibrant political and social context that influenced his thought and underscoring the humanity of one of history's finest political thinkers. Ross King's Machiavelli visits fortune-tellers, produces wine on his Tuscan estate, travels Europe tirelessly on horseback as a diplomatic envoy, and is a passionate scholar of antiquity—but above all, a keen observer of human nature.

Spies for Hire [Audiobook]

Spies for Hire [Audiobook]

Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing [Audiobook] by Tim Shorrock
Tantor Media | 2008 | ISBN: 1400157722 | MP3@64 kbps | 15 hrs 43 mins | 432.65MB

Running spy networks overseas. Tracking down terrorists in the Middle East. Interrogating enemy prisoners. Analyzing data from spy satellites and intercepted phone calls. All of these are vital intelligence tasks that have traditionally been performed by government officials accountable to Congress and the American people. But that is no longer the case.

Starting during the Clinton administration, when intelligence budgets were cut drastically and privatization of government services became national policy, and expanding dramatically in the wake of 9/11, when the CIA and other agencies were frantically looking to hire analysts and linguists, the intelligence community has been relying more and more on corporations to perform sensitive tasks heretofore considered to be exclusively the work of federal employees. This outsourcing of intelligence activities is now a $50 billion-a-year business that consumes up to 70 percent of the U.S. intelligence budget. And it's a business that the government has tried hard to keep under wraps.

Drawing on interviews with key players in the intelligence-industrial complex, contractors' annual reports and public filings with the government, and on-the-spot reporting from intelligence industry conferences and investor briefings, Spies for Hire provides the first behind-the-scenes look at this new way of spying. Shorrock shows how corporations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin, SAIC, CACI International, and IBM have become full partners with the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Pentagon in their most sensitive foreign and domestic operations. He explores how this partnership has led to wasteful spending and how it threatens to erode the privacy protections and congressional oversight that is so important to American democracy.

Shorrock exposes the kinds of spy work the private sector is doing, such as interrogating prisoners in Iraq, managing covert operations, and collaborating with the NSA to eavesdrop on Americans' overseas phone calls and e-mails. And he casts light on a "shadow intelligence community" made up of former top intelligence officials who are now employed by companies that do this spy work, such as former CIA directors George Tenet and James Woolsey. Shorrock also traces the rise of Michael McConnell from his days as head of the NSA, to being a top executive at Booz Allen Hamilton, to returning to government as the nation's chief spymaster.

From CIA covert actions to NSA eavesdropping, from Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo, from the Pentagon's techno-driven war in Iraq to the coming global battles over information dominance and control of cyberspace, contractors are doing it all. Spies for Hire goes behind today's headlines to highlight how private corporations are aiding the growth of a new and frightening national surveillance state.