Pagan Christmas [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 16:32
2006 | EPUB + MOBI | 13.23/12.45MB
An examination of the sacred botany and the pagan origins and rituals of Christmas
- Analyzes the symbolism of the many plants associated with Christmas
- Reveals the shamanic rituals that are at the heart of the Christmas celebration
The day on which many commemorate the birth of Christ has its origins in pagan rituals that center on tree worship, agriculture, magic, and social exchange. But Christmas is no ordinary folk observance. It is an evolving feast that over the centuries has absorbed elements from cultures all over the world--practices that give plants and plant spirits pride of place. In fact, the symbolic use of plants at Christmas effectively transforms the modern-day living room into a place of shamanic ritual.
Christian Rätsch and Claudia Müller-Ebeling show how the ancient meaning of the botanical elements of Christmas provides a unique view of the religion that existed in Europe before the introduction of Christianity. The fir tree was originally revered as the sacred World Tree in northern Europe. When the church was unable to drive the tree cult out of people’s consciousness, it incorporated the fir tree by dedicating it to the Christ child. Father Christmas in his red-and-white suit, who flies through the sky in a sleigh drawn by reindeer, has his mythological roots in the shamanic reindeer-herding tribes of arctic Europe and Siberia. These northern shamans used the hallucinogenic fly agaric mushroom, which is red and white, to make their soul flights to the other world. Apples, which figure heavily in Christmas baking, are symbols of the sun god Apollo, so they find a natural place at winter solstice celebrations of the return of the sun. In fact, the authors contend that the emphasis of Christmas on green plants and the promise of the return of life in the dead of winter is just an adaptation of the pagan winter solstice celebration.
The Everything Store [Audiobook]
18 November 2013, 16:28
2013 | MP3@128 kbps + EPUB | 13 hrs | 715.41MB
The definitive story of Amazon.com, one of the most successful companies in the world, and of its driven, brilliant founder, Jeff Bezos.
Amazon.com started off delivering books through the mail. But its visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn't content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that's never been cracked. Until now. Brad Stone enjoyed unprecedented access to current and former Amazon employees and Bezos family members, giving readers the first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon. Compared to tech's other elite innovators--Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg--Bezos is a private man. But he stands out for his restless pursuit of new markets, leading Amazon into risky new ventures like the Kindle and cloud computing, and transforming retail in the same way Henry Ford revolutionized manufacturing.
THE EVERYTHING STORE will be the revealing, definitive biography of the company that placed one of the first and largest bets on the Internet and forever changed the way we shop and read.
Paddle Your Own Canoe [Audiobook]
18 November 2013, 16:10
2013 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 10 hrs 53 mins | 297.85MB
Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman shares his humorous fulminations on life, manliness, meat, and much more in his first book.
Growing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman - who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation's Ron Swanson? Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking - he runs his own woodshop - Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman's childhood in small-town Minooka, Illinois - "I grew up literally in the middle of a cornfield" - to his theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his now-wife Megan Mullally. It also offers hard-bitten battle strategies in the arenas of manliness, love, style, religion, woodworking, and outdoor recreation, among many other savory entrees.
A mix of amusing anecdotes, opinionated lessons and rants, sprinkled with offbeat gaiety, Paddle Your Own Canoe will not only tickle readers pink but may also rouse them to put down their smart phones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even handcraft (and paddle) their own canoes.
100 Must-read Life-Changing Books [PDF]
18 November 2013, 15:53
2008 | PDF | 631.23KB
Novels which transform our ideas about human possibilities, biographies which celebrate the achievements of extraordinary individuals, polemical works of non-fiction which oblige us to alter our views of the world or of human society: all of us can remember reading at least one book which made us think about the world anew. Here, the author of the popular Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide, selects the very best books which may or may not have changed the world, but which have certainly changed the lives of thousands of people who have read them.
100 Must-read Classic Novels [PDF]
18 November 2013, 15:53
2006 | PDF | 1.9MB
Want to become a classic novel buff, or expand your reading of some of the finest novels ever published? With 100 of the best titles fully reviewed and a further 500 recommended, you’ll quickly set out on a journey of discovery.
100 Must-read Fantasy Novels [PDF]
18 November 2013, 15:52
2009 | PDF | 1.84MB
Fantasy is one of the most visible genres in popular culture - we see the creation of magical and imagined worlds and characters in every type of media, with very strong fan bases in tow.
This latest guide in the successful Bloomsbury Must-Read series covers work from a wide range of authors: Tolkien, Philip Pullman, Terry Pratchett, Michael Moorcock, Rudyard Kipling and C.S Lewis to very contemporary writers such as Garth Nix and Steven Erikson. If you want to expand your range of reading or deepen your understanding of this genre, this is the best place to start.
100 Must-Read Crime Novels [PDF]
18 November 2013, 15:51
2006 | PDF | 2.17MB
Want to become a crime novel buff, or expand your reading in your favourite genre? This is a good place to start! From the publishers of the popular, Good Reading Guide comes a rich selection of the some of the finest crime novels ever published. With 100 of the best titles fully reviewed and a further 500 recommended, you'll quickly become an expert on the world of crime. The book also allows you to browse by theme, includes ‘a reader's fast-guide to the world of crime fiction' as well listing the top 10 crime characters and their creators, award winners and book club recommendations.
The Chariot Makers [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 09:55
2011 | EPUB | 1.3MB
Former F1 mechanic turned TV broadcaster Steve Matchett is trapped overnight in New York, in a fogbound JFK Airport with some fellow motor racing enthusiasts. With no sign of the fog letting up and a long twelve hours to get through, talk inevitably turns to Formula 1. During the course of the night, and fuelled by regular trips to the departure lounge bar, the three protagonists, drawing upon Matchett's encyclopaedic knowledge of life in the F1 pit lane, decide to piece together the perfect Formula 1 Grand Prix car...
Starting with the monocoque (or chassis) and moving through the engine type, gearbox, exhaust, suspension and aerodynamics etc, no bolt is left unexamined in Matchett's comprehensive and detailed, technical expose of the inner workings of the fastest cars on the planet. In straightforward, clear and concise language, Matchett explains how the F1 teams have arrived at their current state-of-the-art designs; how, exactly, a Formula 1 car is put together.
If Kennedy Lived by Jeff Greenfield [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 09:09
2013 | EPUB | 426.92KB
From one of the country’s most brilliant political commentators, the bestselling author of Then Everything Changed, an extraordinary, thought-provoking look at Kennedy’s presidency—after November 22, 1963.
November 22, 1963: JFK does not die. What would happen to his life, his presidency, his country, his world?
In Then Everything Changed, Jeff Greenfield created an “utterly compelling” (Joe Klein), “riveting” (The New York Times), “eye-opening” (Peggy Noonan), “captivating” (Doris Kearns Goodwin) exploration of three modern alternate histories, “with the kind of political insight and imagination only he possesses” (David Gregory). Based on memoirs, histories, oral histories, fresh reporting, and his own knowledge of the players, the book looked at the tiny hinges of history—and the extraordinary changes that would have resulted if they had gone another way.
Now he presents his most compelling narrative of all about the historical event that has riveted us for fifty years. What if Kennedy were not killed that fateful day? What would the 1964 campaign have looked like? Would changes have been made to the ticket? How would Kennedy, in his second term, have approached Vietnam, civil rights, the Cold War? With Hoover as an enemy, would his indiscreet private life finally have become public? Would his health issues have become so severe as to literally cripple his presidency? And what small turns of fate in the days and years before Dallas might have kept him from ever reaching the White House in the first place?
As with Then Everything Changed, the answers Greenfield provides and the scenarios he develops are startlingly realistic, rich in detail, shocking in their projections, but always deeply, remarkably plausible. It is a tour de force of American political history.
Then Everything Changed [Audiobook +]
18 November 2013, 07:10
Then Everything Changed: Stunning Alternate Histories of American Politics: JFK, RFK, Carter, Ford, Reagan [Audiobook] by Jeff Greenfield, read by Michael Kramer and the Author
2011 | MP3@160 kbps + EPUB + MOBI | 17 hrs 46 mins | 1.19GB
These things are true:
- In December 1960, a suicide bomber paused when he saw the young President-elect John F. Kennedy's family come to the door to wave good-bye....
- In June 1968, Robert F. Kennedy declared victory in California, and then instead of heading to another ballroom, as intended, was hustled off through the kitchen....
- In October 1976, President Ford made a critical gaffe in a debate against Jimmy Carter, turning the tide in an election that had been rapidly narrowing.
But what if they had gone the other way? In three narratives based on memoirs, oral histories, fresh reporting with key participants, and his own knowledge of the principal players, Jeff Greenfield explores how accidents of fate could have altered the course of history. The scenarios that Greenfield depicts are startlingly realistic, rich in detail, shocking in their projections, but always deeply, remarkably plausible.
Shadow Warrior: William Egan Colby [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 05:30
2013 | EPUB | 3.19MB
World War II commando, Cold War spy, and CIA director under presidents Nixon and Ford, William Egan Colby played a critical role in some of the most pivotal events of the twentieth century. A quintessential member of the greatest generation, Colby embodied the moral and strategic ambiguities of the postwar world, and first confronted many of the dilemmas about power and secrecy that America still grapples with today.
In Shadow Warrior, eminent historian Randall B. Woods presents a riveting biography of Colby, revealing that this crusader for global democracy was also drawn to the darker side of American power. Aiming to help reverse the spread of totalitarianism in Europe and Asia, Colby joined the U.S. Army in 1941, just as America entered World War II. He served with distinction in France and Norway, and at the end of the war transitioned into America’s first peacetime intelligence agency: the CIA. Fresh from the fight against fascism, Colby zealously redirected his efforts against international communism. He insisted on the importance of fighting communism on the ground, doggedly applying guerilla tactics for counterinsurgency, sabotage, surveillance, and information-gathering on the new battlefields of the Cold War. Over time, these strategies became increasingly ruthless; as head of the CIA’s Far East Division, Colby oversaw an endless succession of assassination attempts, coups, secret wars in Laos and Cambodia, and the Phoenix Program, in which 20,000 civilian supporters of the Vietcong were killed. Colby ultimately came clean about many of the CIA’s illegal activities, making public a set of internal reports—known as the “family jewels”—that haunt the agency to this day. Ostracized from the intelligence community, he died under suspicious circumstances—a murky ending to a life lived in the shadows.
Drawing on multiple new sources, including interviews with members of Colby’s family, Woods has crafted a gripping biography of one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of the twentieth century.
US Army Combat Pistol Training Handbook [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 05:29
2013 | EPUB | 3.46MB
Learn how to shoot a like a true Army recruit!
This handbook is perfect for those interested in joining the army as well as for those who merely want to learn how to shoot combat pistols. The U.S. Army Combat Pistol Training Handbook (FM 3-23.35) reflects current Army standards in weapons qualification and can be a guide for the instructor to develop training programs, plans, and lessons that meet the objectives of the U.S. Army Marksmanship program for developing combat effective marksmen.
The first part focuses on the components and functions of the pistols, where readers will learn about components, ammunition, maintenance and assembly, clearing procedures, preventive maintenance, operation, loading, unloading and clearing, troubleshooting, and much more. The second part is where things get fun and where readers will find instructions on topics such as basic marksmanship, grip and aiming, breath control, trigger squeeze, techniques of firing, target engagement, combat reloading techniques, coaching, and safety, among others. Finally, the appendixes include a thorough explanation of the U.S. Army qualification courses and training schedules.
This compact guide will tell you everything you need to know about training with an M9 or M11 pistol. Loaded with illustrations and charts, this handbook shows as well as tells how to be the best pistol shooter in the Army.
Soldier of Fortune by Barry Davies [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 05:26
2013 | EPUB | 9.11MB
No matter if you're being followed or stalked or need to get away as soon as possible, being able to disappear without a trace is something that you will need to know. Whether you're an ordinary civilian or a military operative, having this skill is imperative to ultimate survival . . . and there's nobody better at knowing how to vanish at a moment's notice than a former SAS expert.
Barry Davies has produced a solution to all of these problems and more with the Soldier of Fortune Guide to How to Disappear and Never Be Found. Davies divulges the secret ways to disappear that only a military-trained soldier could know. Formerly serving in the British Special Air Service, Davies was trained in this secret art and will inform you of the many companies to call in order to erase all records, how to give false information, how to disappear in our social media environment, and much more.
In this priceless guide, readers can learn how to protect themselves, their friends, and their families, all with the secret ways that Davies reveals. By following this model, one never has to feel unsafe or afraid ever again.
Death Before Dishonour [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 05:25
2013 | EPUB | 3.19
In the past forty years, the devastating effects of international terror have forced their way into the forefront of world affairs. To counter this new threat to civilisation – and to the safety of ordinary people – a new breed of soldier was created to fight the terrorists on their own terms. They are the world’s Special Forces, and Death Before Dishonour tells the inside stories behind these fearsome fighting units. It captures the drama, action, pain and glory of the most striking operations ever undertaken by the world’s various Special Forces and for the first time ever reveals the truth behind their bloodiest battles, and gives top secret information about the terrifying techniques and gadgetry they employ.
The Unseen War [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 05:16
2013 | EPUB | 5.2MB
America's second war against Iraq differed notably from its first. Operation Desert Storm was a limited effort by coalition forces to drive out those Iraqi troops who had seized Kuwait six months before. In contrast, the major combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 was a more ambitious undertaking aimed at decisively ending Saddam Hussein's rule.
After several days of intense air strikes against fixed enemy targets, allied air operations began concentrating on Iraqi ground troops. The intended effect was to destroy Iraqi resistance and allow coalition land forces to maneuver without pausing in response to enemy actions. Iraqi tank concentrations were struck with consistently lethal effect, paving the way for an allied entrance into Baghdad that was largely unopposed. Hussein's regime finally collapsed on April 9. Viewed in hindsight, it was the combination of allied air power as an indispensable enabler and the unexpected rapidity of the allied ground advance that allowed coalition forces to overrun Baghdad before Iraq could mount a coherent defense.
In achieving this unprecedented level of performance, allied air power was indispensable in setting the conditions for the campaign's end. Freedom from attack and freedom to attack prevailed for allied ground forces. The intended effect of allied air operations was to facilitate the quickest capture of Baghdad without the occurrence of any major head-to-head battles on the ground.
This impressive short-term achievement, however, was soon overshadowed by the ensuing insurgency that continued for four years thereafter in Iraq. The mounting costs of that turmoil tended, for a time, to render the campaign's initial successes all but forgotten. Only more recently did the war begin showing signs of reaching an agreeable end when the coalition's commander put into effect a new counterinsurgency strategy in 2007 aimed at providing genuine security for Iraqi citizens.
The toppling of Hussein's regime ended the iron rule of an odious dictator who had brutalized his people for more than 30 years. Yet the inadequate resourcing with which that goal was pursued showed that any effective plan for a regime takedown must include due hedging against the campaign's likely aftermath in addition to simply seeing to the needs of major combat. That said, despite the failure of the campaign's planners to underwrite the first need adequately, those who conducted the three-week offensive in pursuit of regime change performed all but flawlessly, thanks in considerable part to the mostly unobserved but crucial enabling contributions of allied air power.
The Easy Day Was Yesterday [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 05:02
2013 | EPUB | 3.07MB
My SAS selection course instructor, was as hard as nails. At the start of each day’s training, he would say, ‘Men, the easy day was yesterday.’ With that, we’d all let out a silent sigh contemplating the tortures that lay ahead of us.
From his cage in a putrid, overcrowded Indian gaol, Paul Jordan reflects on a life lived on the edge and curses the miscalculation that robbed him of his freedom. His childhood, marred by the loss of his father and brother, produce a young man hell bent on being the best of the best — an ambition he achieves by being selected to join the elite SAS. He survives the gut-wrenching training regime, deployment to the jungles of Asia and the horrors of genocide in Rwanda before leaving the army to embark on a career as a security adviser.
His new life sees him pursuing criminals and gun-toting bandits in Papua New Guinea and the Solomons, protecting CNN newsmen as the US 7th Cavalry storms into Baghdad with the outbreak of the Iraq War, and facing death on a massive scale as he accompanies reporters into the devastated Indonesian town of Banda Aceh, flattened by the Boxing Day tsunami.
During his 24 days in an Indian gaol, Paul Jordan discovers that friendship and human dignity somehow survive the filth and deprivation. This is a personal account of a tough, hardened fighter who suddenly finds himself totally dependent on others for his every need.
The Easy Day was Yesterday is fast paced, brutally honest and raw, but laced with dark humour. The core of Paul Jordan’s eventful life, however, is the strength of his bonds with family and friends and the ability of the human spirit to survive even the direst adversity.
Predators: The CIA's Drone War on al Qaeda [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 04:51
2013 | EPUB | 16.67MB
Predators is a riveting introduction to the murky world of Predator and Reaper drones, the CIA’s and U.S. military’s most effective and controversial killing tools. Brian Glyn Williams combines policy analysis with the human drama of the spies, terrorists, insurgents, and innocent tribal peoples who have been killed in the covert operation—the CIA’s largest assassination campaign since the Vietnam War era—being waged in Pakistan’s tribal regions via remote control aircraft known as drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles.
Having traveled extensively in the Pashtun tribal areas while working for the U.S. military and the CIA, Williams explores in detail the new technology of airborne assassinations. From miniature Scorpion missiles designed to kill terrorists while avoiding civilian “collateral damage” to prathrais, the cigarette lighter–size homing beacons spies plant on their unsuspecting targets to direct drone missiles to them, the author describes the drone arsenal in full.
Evaluating the ethics of targeted killings and drone technology, Williams covers more than a hundred drone strikes, analyzing the number of slain civilians versus the number of terrorists killed to address the claims of antidrone activists. In examining the future of drone warfare, he reveals that the U.S. military is already building more unmanned than manned aerial vehicles. Predators helps us weigh the pros and cons of the drone program so that we can decide whether it is a vital strategic asset, a “frenemy,” or a little of both.
One Hundred Years of U.S. Navy Air Power [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 04:45
2010 | EPUB | 3.39MB
Published to coincide with the centennial celebration of U.S. Navy Aviation, this book chronicles Navy aviation from its earliest days, before the Navy's first aircraft carrier joined the fleet, through the modern jet era marked by the introduction of the F-18 Hornet. It tells how naval aviation got its start, profiles its pioneers, and explains the early bureaucracy that fostered and sometimes inhibited its growth.
The book then turns to the refinement of carrier aviation doctrine and tactics and the rapid development of aircraft and carriers, highlighting the transition from propeller-driven aircraft to swept wing jets in the period after WW II. Land-based Navy aircraft, rotary-wing aircraft and rigid airships, and balloons are also considered in this sweeping tribute.
Honor, Courage Commitment: Navy Boot Camp [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 04:28
2002 | EPUB | 3.42MB
J. F. Leahy chronicles the transition of eighty-one men and women from civilians to sailors at the U.S. Navy Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois. Granted unlimited and unprecedented access to the recruits during the fall of 2000, his examination of the unique American institution - popularly known as boot camp - offers a look into the hearts and minds of a group of young people who are a cross section of the nation. The work offers a unique view into the training experience of all recruits and sheds light on the differences between those entering the military services and the society they serve.
During the fall of 2000, the author was granted unlimited and unprecedented access to the recruits from the time they arrived at Chicago's airport until their graduation. Observing their training evolutions first hand, he interviewed them at every opportunity and surveyed them through a series of his own specially designed reaction papers. He watched them as they struggled through obstacle courses and learned how to fight shipboard fires. He listened as they shared their feelings, and he cheered them on as they faced the challenges of "Battle Stations" and tested their physical, mental, and moral preparations before entering the fleet. Leahy also shared their pride at the final parade and graduation ceremonies. Both eye-opening and inspiring, his guide will be valuable to future recruits and those who influence them, as well as those who have been there and want a reminder of that special time in their lives.
Embedded by Wesley R Gray [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 04:20
2009 | EPUB | 3.16MB
The clash between political ideology in Washington and thousands of years of history in Iraq meet head-on in this Marine Corp Lieutenant's account of the Iraq War. The fuzzy gray areas that permeate war, marginalized by media and politicians, and funded by American tax payers become strikingly clear as insurgents wreck havoc and Arabic culture pulls downward on Iraq's attempts to lift itself up as a nation.
Landing in Iraq as an embedded advisor to an Iraqi army unit, Gray falls into a rabbit-hole and ends up in a modern-day Wonderland where down is up, up is down, and the Iraqi army is supposed to find it's way out. Assigned with the outwardly simple task of military adviser, Gray quickly learns how difficult his task (and the United States Military's) would be. Aside from the daily threats from insurgent attacks and IEDS, the moral struggles and pursuit to maintain professionalism in helping a society where it is okay and expected to beat your wife, resolve most issues with violence, be corrupt and always show up late are played-out in Gray's first-hand accounts. Nevertheless, Gray carries on in the face of adversity and the Iraqi solidiers (jundis) befriend him; teaching him their ways of life and the reasons for doing some of the strange things that they do. The tragedies and sadness that the Iraqis have had to endure make the drive for their success more than just a job, and Gray fights whole-heartedly for the cause. Just as things are looking hopeful for this Iraqi unit, tragedy strikes, and overcoming the obstacles for installing a democracy in a third-world country seems like a pipe-dream.
This book really reflects the differences between what you think you know about the Iraq war, it's people, the military and what is really going on in Iraq. There are many great quotes from the book to exemplify this, I laughed out loud at many of them. If you want to learn about Iraqi culture, military culture, enjoy war stories or adventure, then this book is for you. - By Daniel Spiteri
The Book of 'Unnecessary' Quotation Marks [EPUB]
18 November 2013, 04:04
2012 | EPUB | 23.44MB
From the sarcastic to the suggestive, here are quotation marks as we love them best, doing horrible damage to the English language. Who wouldn't have second thoughts about ordering the "hamburger" on the diner's menu? Would it be best to skip the "blowout" sale at the department store? What hidden price must be paid for something marked "free"?
Assembled by the creator of the wildly popular "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks, this book surveys the havoc wreaked by quotation marks on signs, menus, placards, and posters that leave reality upended by supposed "facts." This smarty-pants guide is "perfect" for desperate grammarians, habitual air quoters, and anyone who appreciates a good laugh.