The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick [EPUB]

The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick [EPUB]
The Restless Clock: A History of the Centuries-Long Argument over What Makes Living Things Tick by Jessica Riskin
2016 | EPUB | 5.02MB

Today, a scientific explanation is not meant to ascribe agency to natural phenomena: we would not say a rock falls because it seeks the center of the earth. Even for living things, in the natural sciences and often in the social sciences, the same is true. A modern botanist would not say that plants pursue sunlight. This has not always been the case, nor, perhaps, was it inevitable. Since the seventeenth century, many thinkers have made agency, in various forms, central to science.

The Restless Clock examines the history of this principle, banning agency, in the life sciences. It also tells the story of dissenters embracing the opposite idea: that agency is essential to nature. The story begins with the automata of early modern Europe, as models for the new science of living things, and traces questions of science and agency through Descartes, Leibniz, Lamarck, and Darwin, among many others. Mechanist science, Jessica Riskin shows, had an associated theology: the argument from design, which found evidence for a designer in the mechanisms of nature. Rejecting such appeals to a supernatural God, the dissenters sought to naturalize agency rather than outsourcing it to a “divine engineer.” Their model cast living things not as passive but as active, self-making machines.

The conflict between passive- and active-mechanist approaches maintains a subterranean life in current science, shaping debates in fields such as evolutionary biology, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence. This history promises not only to inform such debates, but also our sense of the possibilities for what it means to engage in science—and even what it means to be alive.

The Everything Guide to the Human Brain [EPUB]

The Everything Guide to the Human Brain [EPUB]
The Everything Guide to the Human Brain: Journey Through the Parts of the Brain, Discover How It Works, and Improve Your Brain's Health by Rudolph C Hatfield
2013 | EPUB | 3.16MB

An essential guide for understanding the inner workings of your brain!

  • Do you really only use 10 percent of your brain?
  • Can a bump to the head really restore memories?
  • Does your brain ever lie to you?
  • Why do you always forget where your glasses are, but never how to read?

The brain makes you who you are. This fascinating organ creates your personality and controls your reactions and emotions. It's responsible for how you perceive the world around you--all while controlling hundreds of physical functions like breathing, moving, circulation, and digestion. The brain is simply amazing!

The Everything Guide to the Human Brain will help you to unlock the mysteries of the brain. You'll learn how the brain communicates with each part of the body, how it affects your emotional life, why you dream, and how you remember things. And you'll also get in-depth descriptions of brain disorders and how science and medicine are working to heal or reverse them. Written in plain English, this ultimate user's guide will help you learn about the most influential part of your body!

Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword [EPUB]

Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword [EPUB]
Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword by David K Shipler
2015 | EPUB | 2.6MB

A provocative, timely assessment of the state of free speech in America

With his best seller The Working Poor, Pulitzer Prize winner and former New York Times veteran David K. Shipler cemented his place among our most trenchant social commentators. Now he turns his incisive reporting to a critical American ideal: freedom of speech. Anchored in personal stories—sometimes shocking, sometimes absurd, sometimes dishearteningly familiar—Shipler’s investigations of the cultural limits on both expression and the willingness to listen build to expose troubling instabilities in the very foundations of our democracy.

Focusing on recent free speech controversies across the nation, Shipler maps a rapidly shifting topography of political and cultural norms: parents in Michigan rallying to teachers vilified for their reading lists; conservative ministers risking their churches’ tax-exempt status to preach politics from the pulpit; national security reporters using techniques more common in dictatorships to avoid leak prosecution; a Washington, D.C., Jewish theater’s struggle for creative control in the face of protests targeting productions critical of Israel; history teachers in Texas quietly bypassing a reactionary curriculum to give students access to unapproved perspectives; the mixed blessings of the Internet as a forum for dialogue about race.

These and other stories coalesce to reveal the systemic patterns of both suppression and opportunity that are making today a transitional moment for the future of one of our founding principles. Measured yet sweeping, Freedom of Speech brilliantly reveals the triumphs and challenges of defining and protecting the boundaries of free expression in modern America.

Textual Vision: Augustan Design and the Invention of 18-Century British Culture [EPUB]

Textual Vision: Augustan Design and the Invention of 18-Century British Culture [EPUB]
Textual Vision: Augustan Design and the Invention of Eighteenth-Century British Culture by Timothy Erwin
2015 | EPUB | 21.15MB

A stylish critique of literary attitudes towards painting, Textual Vision explores the simultaneous rhetorical formation and empirical fragmentation of visual reading in enlightenment Britain. Beginning with an engaging treatment of Pope's Rape of the Lock, Timothy Erwin takes the reader on a guided tour of the pointed allusion, apt illustration, or the subtle appeal to the mind's eye within a wide array of genres and texts, before bringing his linked case studies to a surprising close with the fiction of Jane Austen.

At once carefully researched, theoretically informed and highly imaginative, Textual Vision situates textual vision at the cultural crossroads of ancient pictura-poesis doctrine and modernist aesthetics. It provides reliable interpretive poles for reading enlightenment imagery, offers vivid new readings of familiar works, and promises to invigorate the study of Restoration and eighteenth-century visual culture.

100 Illustrated Bible Verses: Inspiring Words Beautiful Art [EPUB]

100 Illustrated Bible Verses: Inspiring Words Beautiful Art [EPUB]
100 Illustrated Bible Verses: Inspiring Words Beautiful Art by Workman Publishing
2015 | EPUB | 56.81MB

The strong God of Exodus. The ancient poetry of the Psalms, and the eternal teachings of Proverbs. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and the mystical beauty of John. The new heaven and earth of Revelation.

Bible verses—an enduring source of guidance, peace, and rejuvenation—are here given a very special treatment in colorful letterpress illustrations that bring each phrase to life in a fresh and meaningful way. The verses are drawn from seven translations (including the New International Version, The New Revised Standard Version, and The King James Bible) and arranged in order, beginning with Genesis 1:1. These selections include 100 of the most distinctly meaningful passages of the Old and New Testament, made even more powerful through the transformative lens of art.

Like a contemporary update on medieval illuminated manuscripts, the book combines the timeless words of the Bible with timely artwork—in this case, hand-lettering and illustration in a variety of beautiful styles and remarkable aesthetics from 25 contemporary artists. It’s a new and vibrant way to experience the living word.

Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have [EPUB]

Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have [EPUB]
Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie F Downs
2014 | EPUB | 1.01MB

Annie F. Downs admits she's not exactly the bravest girl in the world. She still cries sometimes when she leaves her parents' home in Georgia, she's never jumped out of a plane, and she only rides roller coasters to impress boys. But Annie knows that courage resides inside each and every one of us, and she's on a mission to triumph over her own fears while encouraging the reader to do the same.

As a single young woman, writer, speaker, and blogger, Annie F. Downs shares her journey toward bravery with honesty and humor. Using wonderful stories from her own life, contemporary real-life examples, and fascinating historical and biblical references, Annie encourages readers to grab hold of the brave life that they desperately desire.

How often does fear hold us back from the very things we most want to taste, touch, and experience? The call to be brave isn't just for one person--it's for everyone. Let's All Be Brave is more than a book, it's a battle cry. Annie challenges us to live boldly, she calls us to step into those places that require courage, and she gives us the help to take the next step forward--even when it's scary.

This non-fiction, essay-driven book opens the door to many different views of courage--nudging, encouraging, and inspiring readers to be brave whenever given the chance.

Secret Societies and Clubs in American History [PDF]

Secret Societies and Clubs in American History [PDF]
Secret Societies and Clubs in American History by David Luhrssen
2015 | PDF | 7.78MB

Grounded in extensive historical research, this eye-opening survey reveals the long-undervalued role secret societies have played in American history.

Secret Societies and Clubs in American History is enjoyable to read and informative about many of the secretive organizations, from the Freemasons to the Ku Klux Klan and the Mafia, that have shaped American life for better or for worse. Author David Luhrssen (who also wrote Hammer of the Gods about Germany’s covert Thule Society) neither exaggerates nor underestimates the importance of the groups he writes about. He’s neither a conspiracy theorist nor a debunker, but takes the path of trying to establish what can be known about groups that kept their activities secret, and to understand what they actually accomplished. It’s a good read for anyone interested in American History.

  • Based on scholarly research, this book appeals to both academics and the general public
  • Sheds light on familiar figures from American history
  • Includes photographs

Napoleon: His Wives and Women [EPUB]

Napoleon: His Wives and Women [EPUB]
Napoleon: His Wives and Women by Christopher Hibbert
2010 | EPUB | 0.5MB

A masterly biography of Napoleon, concentrating on his private life, by the historian described by Stella Tillyard as ‘a master portraitist of great men’s private lives’ and by Amanda Foreman as ‘one of England’s greatest living historical writers’.

Modern history has produced one single myth on a heroic scale to rival those of Alexander and Caesar – that of Napoleon. The continuing fascination of this astonishingly gifted man is reflected in the number of books published each year on various aspects of the Napoleonic legend: some 250,000 volumes in all since Napoleon’s mysterious death in 1821.

What is still needed is now provided by Christopher Hibbert: an authoritative up-to-date account of Napoleon’s private life at all stages of his developing and extraordinary career, based on the fruits of modern research, his character, interests and tastes, his friendships, enmities and love affairs, his relations with the members of his remarkable family, the impressions he made on his contemporaries away from the council chamber and the battlefield, his personal life at war, in exile and as emperor in peacetime, the mystery surrounding his death: in short, the man revealed behind the soldier, statesman and legend.

Operation Damocles: Israel's Secret War Against Hitler's Scientists [EPUB]

Operation Damocles: Israel's Secret War Against Hitler's Scientists [EPUB]
Operation Damocles: Israel's Secret War Against Hitler's Scientists, 1951-1967 by Roger Howard
2013 | EPUB | 0.9MB

The forgotten cloak-and-dagger history of the former Nazi scientists who were recruited by Egypt to develop long-range missiles capable of striking Israel

From 1951 to 1967 Egypt pursued a secret programme to build military rockets that could have conceivably posed a threat to neighbouring Israel. Because such an ambitious project required Western expertise, the Egyptian leader President Nasser hired West German scientists, many of them veterans of the Nazi rocket programmes at Peenemünde and elsewhere.

These covert plans soon came to the attention of Israel’s legendary secret service, Mossad, and caused deep alarm in Tel Aviv. Would Israel fall under the shadow of long-range missiles held by a ruler who had sworn to destroy the Jewish state? Could the missiles be fitted with warheads filled with radiological, chemical, or even nuclear materials? Israel responded by using threats, intimidation, and brutal assassination squads to deter the German scientists from working on Nasser’s behalf.

This book tells the gripping story of the mysterious arms dealers, scientists and Mossad assassins who all played their part in Operation Damocles.

Hot Dogs and Cocktails: When FDR Met King George VI at Hyde Park on Hudson [EPUB]

Hot Dogs and Cocktails: When FDR Met King George VI at Hyde Park on Hudson [EPUB]
Hot Dogs and Cocktails: When FDR Met King George VI at Hyde Park on Hudson by Peter Conradi
2013 | EPUB | 0.6MB

From the coauthor of The King's Speech, the story behind the historic meeting between FDR and King George VI on the eve of World War II, a meeting that is now the subject of a major Hollywood movie, Hyde Park on Hudson

Between June 9th and 12th 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were the guests of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at his country estate in Hyde Park, New York, during what was the first ever visit by a reigning British monarch to the United States. Coming at a time when Britain desperately needed U.S. help in the conflict that now seemed inevitable, the meeting was front page news on both sides of the Atlantic and imbued with huge political significance. This fascinating book recreates the backdrop to the royal visit, analyzing the political background and the media's reaction, and tells the back stories both of the King and of Roosevelt, whose colorful personal life became entwined with the visit.

The Little Blue-Eyed Vampire from Hell [EPUB]

The Little Blue-Eyed Vampire from Hell [EPUB]
The Little Blue-Eyed Vampire from Hell by Richard Ellis
2012 | EPUB | 14.78MB

Seek out the mysterious vampire squid on a stunning journey into the ocean’s depths with leading marine conservationist Richard Ellis

Renowned marine conservationist Richard Ellis gives a fascinating account of the vampire squid. Named Vampyroteuthis infernalis (“the vampire squid from Hell”) by its nineteenth-century discoverer because of its sinister appearance, it is neither a vampire nor a true squid, and lives in the deep ocean where few humans ever catch sight of it. A unique, stunning creature, it is sometimes called a “living fossil,” and it can light up or turn inside out at a moment’s notice.

Ellis’s narrative of the vampire squid’s history, evolution, and characteristics is brought into context by his broad knowledge of other squid, octopus, and marine species. More than thirty dazzling images illustrate the book. The Little Blue-Eyed Vampire from Hell is an exhilarating journey into the ocean’s abyss, boldly illuminating one of the earth’s most elusive creatures.

The Mechanical Mind, 3rd Edition [PDF]

The Mechanical Mind, 3rd Edition [PDF]
The Mechanical Mind: A Philosophical Introduction to Minds, Machines and Mental Representation, 3rd Edition by Tim Crane
2015 | PDF | 1.08MB

How can the human mind represent the external world? What is thought, and can it be studied scientifically? Should we think of the mind as a kind of machine? Is the mind a computer? Can a computer think? Tim Crane sets out to answer these questions and more in a lively and straightforward way, presuming no prior knowledge of philosophy or related disciplines.

Since its first publication, The Mechanical Mind has introduced thousands of people to some of the most important ideas in contemporary philosophy of mind. Crane explains the fundamental ideas that cut across philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence and cognitive science: what the mind–body problem is; what a computer is and how it works; what thoughts are and how computers and minds might have them. He examines different theories of the mind from dualist to eliminativist, and questions whether there can be thought without language and whether the mind is subject to the same causal laws as natural phenomena. The result is a fascinating exploration of the theories and arguments surrounding the notions of thought and representation.

This third edition has been fully revised and updated, and includes a wholly new chapter on externalism about mental content and the extended and embodied mind. There is a stronger emphasis on the environmental and bodily context in which thought occurs. Many chapters have been reorganised to make the reader’s passage through the book easier. The book now contains a much more detailed guide to further reading, and the chronology and the glossary of technical terms have also been updated.

The Mechanical Mind is accessible to anyone interested in the mechanisms of our minds, and essential reading for those studying philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, or cognitive psychology.

The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters [EPUB]

The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters [EPUB]
The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters by Bruce Parker
2012 | EPUB | 3.05MB

The Power of the Sea describes our struggle to understand the physics of the sea, so we can use that knowledge to predict when the sea will unleash its fury against us. In a wide-sweeping narrative spanning much of human history, Bruce Parker, former chief scientist of the National Ocean Service, interweaves thrilling and often moving stories of unpredicted natural disaster with an accessible account of scientific discovery.

The result is a compelling scientific journey, from ancient man's first crude tide predictions to today's advanced early warning ability based on the Global Ocean Observing System. It is a journey still underway, as we search for ways to predict tsunamis and rogue waves and critical aspects of El Niño and climate change caused by global warming.

The Great Scientists: From Euclid to Stephen Hawking [EPUB]

The Great Scientists: From Euclid to Stephen Hawking [EPUB]
The Great Scientists: From Euclid to Stephen Hawking by John Farndon
2005 | EPUB | 11.35MB

From skyscrapers to jet aircraft, from mobile phones to computers, the products of modern science surround us on all sides.

Perhaps the most significant product of science, however, is not the microwave, or the space station or the widescreen TV; it is the scientific method itself. Those societies that have actively embraced this method have flourished.

The men and women who appear in The Great Scientists haver all excelled in their chosen field of science; some have excelled across a range of scientific areas, while still others can, with some justification, claim to be the founders of their own disciplines.

The road into the light of reason has not always been an easy one: skepticism, mockery, threats and worse have often been the lot of the experimental scientist who has dared to challenge the accepted 'truths'. Yet they have persevered, and in doing so have provided a shining example for the rest of humanity.

The great scientists have burned, in Bertrand Russell's telling phrase, 'wiht all the noonday brightness of human genius. The Great Scientists tells their story.

Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change [EPUB]

Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change [EPUB]
Far and Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change by Andrew Solomon
2016 | EPUB | 1.17MB

From the winner of the National Book Award and the National Books Critics’ Circle Award—and one of the most original thinkers of our time—a riveting collection of essays about places in dramatic transition.

Far and Away collects Andrew Solomon’s writings about places undergoing seismic shifts—political, cultural, and spiritual. Chronicling his stint on the barricades in Moscow in 1991, when he joined artists in resisting the coup whose failure ended the Soviet Union, his 2002 account of the rebirth of culture in Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban, his insightful appraisal of a Myanmar seeped in contradictions as it slowly, fitfully pushes toward freedom, and many other stories of profound upheaval, this book provides a unique window onto the very idea of social change. With his signature brilliance and compassion, Solomon demonstrates both how history is altered by individuals, and how personal identities are altered when governments alter.

A journalist and essayist of remarkable perception and prescience, Solomon captures the essence of these cultures. Ranging across seven continents and twenty-five years, Far and Away takes a magnificent journey into the heart of extraordinarily diverse experiences, yet Solomon finds a common humanity wherever he travels. Illuminating the development of his own genius, his stories are always intimate and often both funny and deeply moving.

Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Up [EPUB]

Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Up [EPUB]
Mismeasuring Our Lives: Why GDP Doesn't Add Up by Joseph E Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, Jean-Paul Fitoussi
2010 | EPUB | 0.9MB

In February of 2008, amid the looming global financial crisis, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France asked Nobel Prize–winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, along with the distinguished French economist Jean Paul Fitoussi, to establish a commission of leading economists to study whether Gross Domestic Product (GDP)—the most widely used measure of economic activity—is a reliable indicator of economic and social progress. The Commission was given the further task of laying out an agenda for developing better measures.

Mismeasuring Our Lives is the result of this major intellectual effort, one with pressing relevance for anyone engaged in assessing how and whether our economy is serving the needs of our society. The authors offer a sweeping assessment of the limits of GDP as a measurement of the well-being of societies—considering, for example, how GDP overlooks economic inequality (with the result that most people can be worse off even though average income is increasing); and does not factor environmental impacts into economic decisions.

In place of GDP, Mismeasuring Our Lives introduces a bold new array of concepts, from sustainable measures of economic welfare, to measures of savings and wealth, to a “green GDP.” At a time when policymakers worldwide are grappling with unprecedented global financial and environmental issues, here is an essential guide to measuring the things that matter.

The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins [EPUB]

The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins [EPUB]
The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2-3 and the Human Origins Debate by John H Walton
2015 | EPUB | 3.2MB

For centuries the story of Adam and Eve has resonated richly through the corridors of art, literature and theology. But for most moderns, taking it at face value is incongruous. And even for many thinking Christians today who want to take seriously the authority of Scripture, insisting on a "literal" understanding of Genesis 2–3 looks painfully like a "tear here" strip between faith and science.

How can Christians of good faith move forward? Who were the historical Adam and Eve? What if we've been reading Genesis―and its claims regarding material origins―wrong? In what cultural context was this couple, this garden, this tree, this serpent portrayed?

Following his groundbreaking Lost World of Genesis One, John Walton explores the ancient Near Eastern context of Genesis 2–3, creating space for a faithful reading of Scripture along with full engagement with science for a new way forward in the human origins debate. As a bonus, an illuminating excursus by N. T. Wright places Adam in the implied narrative of Paul's theology.

The Lost World of Adam and Eve will be required reading for anyone seeking to understand this foundational text historically and theologically, and wondering how to view it alongside contemporary understandings of human origins.

The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate [PDF]

The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate [PDF]
The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate by John H Walton
2010 | PDF | 4.88MB

In this astute mix of cultural critique and biblical studies, John H. Walton presents and defends twenty propositions supporting a literary and theological understanding of Genesis 1 within the context of the ancient Near Eastern world and unpacks its implications for our modern scientific understanding of origins.

Ideal for students, professors, pastors and lay readers with an interest in the intelligent design controversy and creation-evolution debates, Walton's thoughtful analysis unpacks seldom appreciated aspects of the biblical text and sets Bible-believing scientists free to investigate the question of origins.

Palestinians in Syria: Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities [EPUB]

Palestinians in Syria: Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities [EPUB]
Palestinians in Syria: Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities by Anaheed Al-Hardan
2016 | EPUB | 1.75MB

One hundred thousand Palestinians fled to Syria after being expelled from Palestine upon the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Integrating into Syrian society over time, their experience stands in stark contrast to the plight of Palestinian refugees in other Arab countries, leading to different ways through which to understand the 1948 Nakba, or catastrophe, in their popular memory.

Conducting interviews with first-, second-, and third-generation members of Syria's Palestinian community, Anaheed Al-Hardan follows the evolution of the Nakba―the central signifier of the Palestinian refugee past and present―in Arab intellectual discourses, Syria's Palestinian politics, and the community's memorialization. Al-Hardan's sophisticated research sheds light on the enduring relevance of the Nakba among the communities it helped create, while challenging the nationalist and patriotic idea that memories of the Nakba are static and universally shared among Palestinians. Her study also critically tracks the Nakba's changing meaning in light of Syria's twenty-first-century civil war.

Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World's Most Successful Companies [Audiobook]

Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World's Most Successful Companies [Audiobook]
Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World's Most Successful Companies [Audiobook] by Charles G Koch, read by Paul Michael
2015 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 9 hrs 14 mins | 254.6MB

The unique management system from a legendary CEO

In 1967 Charles Koch took the reins of his father's company and began the process of growing it from a $21 million start-up into a global corporation with revenues of about $115 billion, according to Forbes.

So how did this MIT engineer manage to grow Koch Industries into one of the largest private companies in the world today, with growth exceeding that of the S&P 500 by almost 30-fold over the last five decades? Through his unique five-dimensional management process and system called Market-Based Management. Based on five decades of cross-disciplinary studies, experimental discovery, and practical implementation across Koch companies and their 100,000 employees worldwide, the core objective of Market-Based Management's framework is as simple as it is effective: to generate good profit.

What is good profit? Good profit results when a company creates value for customers in a way that helps them improve their lives. Good profit is the result of innovations that customers freely vote for with their own dollars; it's the result of business decisions that create long-term value for everyone - customers, employees, shareholders, and society.

While you won't find the Koch Industries name on your home's stain-resistant carpet, your baby's more comfortable but absorbent diapers, your stretch denim jeans, or your television with a better clarity screen, MBM drove these innovations and many more.

Here, drawing on revealing, honest stories from his five decades in business - the company's many successes as well as its stumbles - Koch walks the listener step by step through the five dimensions of Market-Based Management to show stockholders, entrepreneurs, leaders, students - and innovators, supervisors and employees of all kinds, in any field - how to apply the principles to generate Good Profit in their organizations, companies, and lives.

Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality [Audiobook]

Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality [Audiobook]
Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality [Audiobook] by Don Watkins, Yaron Brook, read by Jeff Cummings
2016 | MP3@64 kbps | 9 hrs 8 mins | 252.88MB

We've all heard that the American Dream is vanishing, and that the cause is rising income inequality. The rich are getting richer by rigging the system in their favor, leaving the rest of us to struggle just to keep our heads above water. To save the American Dream, we're told that we need to fight inequality through tax hikes, wealth redistribution schemes, and a far higher minimum wage.

But what if that narrative is wrong? What if the real threat to the American Dream isn't rising income inequality - but an all-out war on success?

In this timely and thought-provoking work, Don Watkins and Yaron Brook reveal that almost everything we've been taught about inequality is wrong. You'll discover:

  • Why successful CEOs make so much money - and deserve to
  • How the minimum wage hurts the very people it claims to help
  • Why middle-class stagnation is a myth
  • How the little-known history of Sweden reveals the dangers of forced equality
  • The disturbing philosophy behind Obama's economic agenda.

The critics of inequality are right about one thing: The American Dream is under attack. But instead of fighting to make America a place where anyone can achieve success, they are fighting to tear down those who already have. The real key to making America a freer, fairer, more prosperous nation is to protect and celebrate the pursuit of success - not pull down the high fliers in the name of equality.

Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government [Audiobook]

Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government [Audiobook]
Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government [Audiobook] by Yaron Brook, Don Watkins, read by Tom Weiner
2012 | MP3@64 kbps | 8 hrs 13 mins | 226.62MB

Here is a look at how our current economic crises are caused by too much government-and how Ayn Rand's bold defense of free markets can help us change course.

The rise of the Tea Party and the 2010 election results revealed that tens of millions of Americans are alarmed by big government but skeptical that anything can or will be done to stop the growth of the state. In Free Market Revolution, the keepers of Ayn Rand's legacy argue that the answer lies in Rand's pioneering philosophy of capitalism and self-interest-a philosophy that more and more people are turning to for answers. In the past few years, Rand's works have surged to new peaks of popularity, as politicians like Paul Ryan, media figures like John Stossel, and businessmen like John Mackey routinely name her as one of their chief influences. Here, Brook and Watkins explain how her ideas can solve a host of political and economic ills, including the debt crisis, inflation, overregulation, and the growing welfare state. And most importantly, they show how Rand's philosophy can enable defenders of the free market to seize the moral high ground in the fight to limit government. This is a fresh and urgent look at the ideas of one of the most controversial figures in modern history-ideas that may prove the only hope for the future.

I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford and the Most Important Car Ever Made [Audiobook]

I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford and the Most Important Car Ever Made [Audiobook]
I Invented the Modern Age: The Rise of Henry Ford and the Most Important Car Ever Made [Audiobook] by Richard Snow, read by
2013 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB + MOBI | 12 hrs 18 mins | 338.96MB

Every century or so, our republic has been remade by a new technology: 170 years ago the railroad changed Americans' conception of space and time; in our era, the microprocessor revolutionized how humans communicate. But in the early 20th century the agent of creative destruction was the gasoline engine, as put to work by an unknown and relentlessly industrious young man named Henry Ford.

Born the same year as the battle of Gettysburg, Ford died two years after the atomic bombs fell, and his life personified the tremendous technological changes achieved in that span. Growing up as a Michigan farm boy with a bone-deep loathing of farming, Ford intuitively saw the advantages of internal combustion. Resourceful and fearless, he built his first gasoline engine out of scavenged industrial scraps. It was the size of a sewing machine. From there, scene by scene, Richard Snow vividly shows Ford using his innate mechanical abilities, hard work, and radical imagination as he transformed American industry.

In many ways, of course, Ford's story is well known; in many more ways, it is not. Richard Snow masterfully weaves together a fascinating narrative of Ford's rise to fame through his greatest invention, the Model T. When Ford first unveiled this car, it took 12 and a half hours to build one. A little more than a decade later, it took exactly one minute. In making his car so quickly and so cheaply that his own workers could easily afford it, Ford created the cycle of consumerism that we still inhabit. Our country changed in a mere decade, and Ford became a national hero. But then he soured, and the benevolent side of his character went into an ever-deepening eclipse, even as the America he had remade evolved beyond all imagining into a global power capable of producing on a vast scale not only cars, but airplanes, ships, machinery, and an infinity of household devices.

A highly pleasurable listen, filled with scenes and incidents from Ford's life, particularly during the intense phase of his secretive competition with other early car manufacturers, I Invented the Modern Age shows Richard Snow at the height of his powers as a popular historian and reclaims from history Henry Ford, the remarkable man who, indeed, invented the modern world as we know it.

Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free [Audiobook]

Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free [Audiobook]
Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free [Audiobook] by Charles P Pierce, read by Bronson Pinchot
2011 | MP3@80 kbps + EPUB | 9 hrs 46 mins | 336.07MB

The culture wars are over and the idiots have won. This is a veteran journalist's caustically funny, righteously angry lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States.

The three Great Premises of Idiot America:

  • Any theory is valid if it sells books, soaks up ratings, or otherwise moves units.
  • Anything can be true if someone says it loudly enough.
  • Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it.

Charles Pierce has led a career-long quest to separate the smart from the pap, and now it's time to try and salvage the Land of the Enlightened, buried somewhere in this new Home of the Uninformed. With his razor-sharp wit and erudite reasoning, Pierce delivers a gut-wrenching, side-splitting lament about the glorification of ignorance in the United States and how a country founded on intellectual curiosity has deteriorated into a nation of simpletons more apt to vote for an American Idol contestant than a presidential candidate.

With Idiot America, Pierce's thunderous denunciation is also a secret call to action, as he hopes that, somehow, being intelligent will stop being a stigma and that pinheads will once again be pitied, not celebrated.

Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity [Audiobook]

Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity [Audiobook]
Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity [Audiobook] by Josh Linkner, read by
2015 | MP3@128 kbps + PDF | 6 hrs 50 mins | 377.3MB

We live in an era when business cycles are measured in months, not years. The only way to sustain long term innovation and growth is through creativity - at all levels of an organization. Disciplined Dreaming shows you how to create profitable new ideas, empower all your employees to be creative, and sustain your competitive advantage over the long term. Linkner distills his years of experience in business and jazz - as well as hundreds of interviews with CEOs, entrepreneurs, and artists - into a 5-step process that will make creativity easy for you and your organization. The methodology is simple, backed by proven results. Disciplined Dreaming shows even the stuffiest corporate bureaucracies how to cultivate creativity in order to become more competitive in today's shifting marketplace.

The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt, A Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Natural History [Audiobook]

The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt, A Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Natural History [Audiobook]
The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt, A Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Natural History [Audiobook] by Darrin Lunde, read by Scott Brick
2016 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 9 hrs 56 mins | 273.47MB

The surprising story of intrepid naturalist Theodore Roosevelt and how his lifelong passion for the natural world set the stage for America's wildlife conservation movement.

Perhaps no American president is more associated with nature and wildlife than Theodore Roosevelt, a prodigious hunter and adventurer and an ardent conservationist. We think of Roosevelt as an original, yet in The Naturalist, Darrin Lunde shows how from his earliest days Roosevelt actively modeled himself in the proud tradition of museum naturalists - the men who pioneered a key branch of American biology through their desire to collect animal specimens and develop a taxonomy of the natural world. The influence these men would have on Roosevelt would shape not just his personality but his career, informing his work as a politician and statesman and ultimately affecting generations of Americans' relationships to this country's wilderness.

Pulling from Roosevelt's diaries and expedition journals, Lunde constructs a brilliantly researched, singularly insightful history that reveals the roots of Roosevelt's enduring naturalist legacy through the group of little-known men whose work and lives defined his own.

The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics [Audiobook]

The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics [Audiobook]
The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics [Audiobook] by Stephen Coss, read by Bob Souer
2016 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 9 hrs 46 mins | 267.47MB

In The Fever of 1721, Stephen Coss brings to life an amazing cast of characters in a year that changed the course of history, including Cotton Mather, the great Puritan preacher; Zabdiel Boylston, a doctor whose name is on one of Boston's grand avenues; James and his younger brother Benjamin Franklin; and Elisha Cooke and his protégé Samuel Adams.

During the worst smallpox epidemic in Boston history, Mather convinced Doctor Boylston to try a procedure that he believed would prevent death - by making an incision in the arm of a healthy person and implanting it with smallpox. "Inoculation" led to vaccination, one of the most profound medical discoveries in history.

A political fever also raged. Elisha Cooke was challenging the Crown for control of the colony and finally forced Royal Governor Samuel Shute to flee Massachusetts. Samuel Adams and the Patriots would build on this to resist the British in the run-up to the American Revolution. And bold young printer James Franklin launched America's first independent newspaper and landed in jail. His teenage brother, Benjamin Franklin, however, learned his trade in James's shop and became a father of the Independence movement.

When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan [Audiobook]

When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan [Audiobook]
When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan [Audiobook] by Peggy Noonan, read by the Author
2001 | MP3@64 kbps | 5 hrs 25 mins | 148.2MB

It is 20 years - a full generation - since Ronald Reagan first walked into the White House and ignited a revolution. From the beginning, he enjoyed affection from so many Americans, but now, as he approaches the end of his life, he has received what he deserved even more: their deep respect.

"Presidents tend to come from something," writes Peggy Noonan. What was the wellspring of Ronald Reagan's greatness? Noonan argues that the secret of Reagan's success was no secret at all. It was his character - his courage, his kindness, his persistence, his honesty, and his almost heroic patience in the face of setbacks - that was the most important element of his success.

No one has ever captured Ronald Reagan like Peggy Noonan. In When Character Was King, Noonan brings her own reflections on Reagan to bear, as well as new stories - from President George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, his Secret Service men and White House colleagues, his wife, his daughter Patti Davis, and his close friends - to reveal the true nature of a man even his opponents now view as a maker of big history.

Marked by incisive wit and elegant prose, When Character Was King will both enlighten and move listeners. It may well be the last word on Ronald Reagan, not only as a leader but as a man.

Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape [Audiobook]

Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape [Audiobook]
Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape [Audiobook] by Peggy Orenstein, read by the Author
2016 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 7 hrs 25 mins | 202.61MB

The author of the New York Times best seller Cinderella Ate My Daughter offers a clear-eyed picture of the new sexual landscape girls face in the postprincess stage - high school through college - and reveals how they are negotiating it.

A generation gap has emerged between parents and their girls. Even in this age of helicopter parenting, the mothers and fathers of tomorrow's women have little idea what their daughters are up to sexually or how they feel about it. Drawing on in-depth interviews with over 70 young women and a wide range of psychologists, academics, and experts, renowned journalist Peggy Orenstein goes where most others fear to tread, pulling back the curtain on the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important possibilities of girls' sex lives in the modern world.

While the media has focused - often to sensational effect - on the rise of casual sex and the prevalence of rape on campus, in Girls and Sex Peggy Orenstein brings much more to the table. She examines the ways in which porn and all its sexual myths have seeped into young people's lives; what it means to be the "the perfect slut" and why many girls scorn virginity; the complicated terrain of hookup culture; and the unfortunate realities surrounding assault. In Orenstein's hands these issues are never reduced to simplistic "truths"; rather, her powerful reporting opens up a dialogue on a potent, often silent subtext of American life today, giving listeners comprehensive and in-depth information with which to understand and navigate this complicated new world.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture [EPUB]

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture [EPUB]
Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein
2011 | EPUB | 7.49MB

The acclaimed author of the groundbreaking bestseller Schoolgirls reveals the dark side of pink and pretty: the rise of the girlie-girl, she warns, is not that innocent.

Pink and pretty or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences our daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. Somewhere between the exhilarating rise of Girl Power in the 1990s and today, the pursuit of physical perfection has been recast as a source—the source—of female empowerment. And commercialization has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages.

But, realistically, how many times can you say no when your daughter begs for a pint-size wedding gown or the latest Hannah Montana CD? And how dangerous is pink and pretty anyway—especially given girls' successes in the classroom and on the playing field? Being a princess is just make-believe, after all; eventually they grow out of it. Or do they? Does playing Cinderella shield girls from early sexualization—or prime them for it? Could today's little princess become tomorrow's sexting teen? And what if she does? Would that make her in charge of her sexuality—or an unwitting captive to it?

Those questions hit home with Peggy Orenstein, so she went sleuthing. She visited Disneyland and the international toy fair, trolled American Girl Place and Pottery Barn Kids, and met beauty pageant parents with preschoolers tricked out like Vegas showgirls. She dissected the science, created an online avatar, and parsed the original fairy tales. The stakes turn out to be higher than she—or we—ever imagined: nothing less than the health, development, and futures of our girls. From premature sexualization to the risk of depression to rising rates of narcissism, the potential negative impact of this new girlie-girl culture is undeniable—yet armed with awareness and recognition, parents can effectively counterbalance its influence in their daughters' lives.

Cinderella Ate My Daughter is a must-read for anyone who cares about girls, and for parents helping their daughters navigate the rocky road to adulthood.

The Glitter and the Gold: The American Duchess - In Her Own Words [Audiobook]

The Glitter and the Gold: The American Duchess - In Her Own Words [Audiobook]
The Glitter and the Gold: The American Duchess - In Her Own Words [Audiobook] by Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, read by Coleen Marlo
2012 | MP3@64 kbps | 9 hrs 44 mins | 267.72MB

Consuelo Vanderbilt was young, beautiful and the heir to a vast family fortune. She was also deeply in love with an American suitor when her mother chose instead for her to fulfill her social ambitions and marry an English Duke. Leaving her life in America, she came to England as the Duchess of Marlborough in 1895 and took up residence in her new home: Blenheim Palace.

The ninth Duchess gives unique first-hand insight into life at the very pinnacle of English society in the Edwardian era. An unsnobbish, but often amused observer of the intricate hierarchy both upstairs and downstairs at Blenheim Palace, she is also a revealing witness to the glittering balls, huge weekend parties, and major state occasions she attended or hosted. Here are her encounters with every important figure of the day - from Queen Victoria, Edward VII, and Queen Alexandra to Tsar Nicholas, Prince Metternich, and the young Winston Churchill.

This intimate, richly enjoyable memoir is a wonderfully revealing portrait of a golden age.

Primates of Park Avenue: Adventures Inside the Secret Sisterhood of Manhattan Moms [Audiobook]

Primates of Park Avenue: Adventures Inside the Secret Sisterhood of Manhattan Moms [Audiobook]
Primates of Park Avenue: Adventures Inside the Secret Sisterhood of Manhattan Moms [Audiobook] by Wednesday Martin, read by Madeleine Maby
2015 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 8 hrs 9 mins | 224.77MB

Like an urban Dian Fossey, Wednesday Martin decodes the primate social behaviors of Upper East Side mothers in a brilliantly original and witty memoir about her adventures assimilating into that most secretive and elite tribe.

After marrying a man from the Upper East Side and moving to the neighborhood, Wednesday Martin struggled to fit in. Drawing on her background in anthropology and primatology, she tried looking at her new world through that lens, and suddenly things fell into place. She understood the other mothers' snobbiness at school drop-off when she compared them to olive baboons. Her obsessional quest for a Hermes Birkin handbag made sense when she realized other females wielded them to establish dominance in their troop. And so she analyzed tribal migration patterns; display rituals; physical adornment, mutilation, and mating practices; extra-pair copulation; and more. Her conclusions are smart, thought provoking, and hilariously unexpected.

Every city has its Upper East Side, and in Wednesday's memoir listeners everywhere will recognize the strange cultural codes of powerful social hierarchies and the compelling desire to climb them. They will also see that Upper East Side mothers want the same things for their children that all mothers want - safety, happiness, and success - and not even sky-high penthouses and chauffeured SUVs can protect this ecologically released tribe from the universal experiences of anxiety and loss. When Wednesday's life turns upside down, she learns how deep the bonds of female friendship really are.

Intelligent, funny, and heartfelt, Primates of Park Avenue lifts a veil on a secret, elite world within a world - the exotic, fascinating, and strangely familiar culture of privileged Manhattan motherhood.

You Changed My Life: A Memoir [Audiobook]

You Changed My Life: A Memoir [Audiobook]
You Changed My Life: A Memoir [Audiobook] by Abdel Sellou, read by Ray Chase
2012 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 5 hrs 45 mins | 158.56MB
My gift? Insensitivity. I was a human fortress inside - Superman and his colleagues were nothing. I was convinced that the world counted on real, and rare, superheroes…and that I was one of them.

The highest-grossing non-English-language film of all time, The Intouchables reveals the life of a charismatic con man, Abdel Sellou (played by the award-winning actor Omar Sy), whose friendship with a disabled French aristocrat, Phillippe Pozzo di Borgo, inspired the record-breaking hit movie. You Changed My Life is Abdel Sellou's memoir of growing up on the streets of Paris as a cheeky young Algerian immigrant, honing his talents as a petty thief and scam artist before meeting the man who would forever change his life, as Abdel would change his.

In 1992, Count Phillippe Pozzo di Borgo, on the heels of his wife's diagnosis with a terminal illness, suffered a paragliding accident that left him a quadriplegic. Forty-two years old, trapped inside his luxurious Paris town house, he was an outcast for the first time in his life. Abdel, an unemployed Algerian immigrant who had been an outcast for his entire existence, would become Phillipe's unlikely caretaker. Quick-thinking, unsentimental, and more than a little wild, Abdel surprises both himself and his employer by developing an unswerving loyalty - and orchestrating more than a few adventures - that help restore Phillipe's appetite for life.

The story of Abdel's friendship with Phillipe has already touched the hearts of millions. Now his personal story of transformation from a kid who cares for no one to the person he is today will affect many more.

Consequence: A Memoir [Audiobook]

Consequence: A Memoir [Audiobook]
Consequence: A Memoir [Audiobook] by Eric Fair, read by Eric Fair
2016 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 7 hrs 5 mins | 194.36MB

Consequence is the story of Eric Fair, a kid who grew up in the shadows of crumbling Bethlehem Steel plants nurturing a strong faith and a belief that he was called to serve his country. It is a story of a man who chases his own demons from Egypt, where he served as an army translator, to a detention center in Iraq to seminary at Princeton and, eventually, to a heart transplant ward at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2004, after several months as an interrogator with a private contractor in Iraq, Eric Fair's nightmares take new forms: first there had been the shrinking dreams; now the liquid dreams begin. By the time he leaves Iraq after that first deployment (he will return), Fair will have participated in or witnessed a variety of aggressive interrogation techniques, including sleep deprivation, stress positions, diet manipulation, exposure, and isolation. Years later, his health and marriage crumbling, haunted by the role he played in what we now know as "enhanced interrogation", it is Fair's desire to speak out that becomes a key to his survival.

Spare and haunting, Eric Fair's memoir is both a brave, unrelenting confession and a book that questions the very depths of who he and we as a country have become.

This audiobook includes a conversation between the author and Phil Klay, author of Redeployment.

The Federalist Papers [Audiobook]

The Federalist Papers [Audiobook]
The Federalist Papers [Audiobook] by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay, read by Michael Edwards
2011 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 18 hrs 14 mins | 498.67MB

The US Constitution was approved by the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787. It was to become law only if it was ratified by nine of the 13 states. New York was a key state, but it contained strong forces opposing the Constitution. A series of eighty-five letters appeared in New York City newspapers between October 1787 and August 1788 urging support for the Constitution. These letters remain the first and most authoritative commentary on the American concept of federal government.

Later known as The Federalist Papers, they were published under the pseudonym 'Publius,' although written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond [Audiobook]

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond [Audiobook]
Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond [Audiobook] by Gene Kranz, read by Danny Campbell
2011 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 18 hrs 17 mins | 501.29MB

Gene Kranz was present at the creation of America's manned space program and was a key player in it for three decades. As a flight director in NASA's Mission Control, Kranz witnessed firsthand the making of history. He participated in the space program from the early days of the Mercury program to the last Apollo mission, and beyond. He endured the disastrous first years when rockets blew up and the United States seemed to fall further behind the Soviet Union in the space race. He helped to launch Alan Shepard and John Glenn, then assumed the flight director's role in the Gemini program, which he guided to fruition. With his teammates, he accepted the challenge to carry out President John F. Kennedy's commitment to land a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s.

Kranz was flight director for both Apollo 11, the mission in which Neil Armstrong fulfilled President Kennedy's pledge, and Apollo 13. He headed the Tiger Team that had to figure out how to bring the three Apollo 13 astronauts safely back to Earth. (In the film Apollo 13, Kranz was played by the actor Ed Harris, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance.)

In Failure Is Not an Option, Gene Kranz recounts these thrilling historic events and offers new information about the famous flights. What appeared as nearly flawless missions to the moon were, in fact, a series of hair-raising near misses. When the space technology failed, as it sometimes did, the controllers' only recourse was to rely on their skills and those of their teammates. Kranz takes us inside Mission Control and introduces us to some of the whiz kids - still in their twenties, only a few years out of college - who had to figure it all out as they went along, creating a great and daring enterprise. He reveals behind-the-scenes details to demonstrate the leadership, discipline, trust, and teamwork that made the space program a success.

The Right Way to Do Wrong: A Unique Selection of Writings by History's Greatest Escape Artist [EPUB]

The Right Way to Do Wrong: A Unique Selection of Writings by History's Greatest Escape Artist [EPUB]
The Right Way to Do Wrong: A Unique Selection of Writings by History's Greatest Escape Artist by Harry Houdini
2012 | EPUB | 1.95MB

One of the most intriguing and recognized figures of the twentieth century conducts a masterclass in subversion

Originally published in 1906, The Right Way to Do Wrong was a masterclass in subversion conducted by the world’s greatest illusionist. It collected Hou­dini’s findings, from interviews with criminals and police officers, on the most surefire ways to commit crime and get away with it.

This volume presents the best of those writings alongside little-known articles by Houdini on his own brand of deception: magic. Revealing the secrets of his signature tricks, including handcuff and rope escapes, and debunking the methods of his rivals, he proves himself to be just as clever and nimble a writer as he was a magician—and surprisingly free with trade secrets! All of which makes this unique selection of works both the ultimate anti-etiquette guide and proof that things are not always as they seem.

In an exclusive introduction to this volume, Teller—magician, comedian, and silent sidekick of Penn Jillette—speaks up about the greatest magician of modern times.

The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution [EPUB]

The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution [EPUB]
The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution by Donald R Prothero
2015 | EPUB | 37.8MB

Every fossil tells a story. Best-selling paleontology author Donald R. Prothero describes twenty-five famous, beautifully preserved fossils in a gripping, scientific history of life on Earth. Recounting the adventures behind the discovery of these objects and fully interpreting their significance within the larger fossil record, Prothero creates a riveting and enlightening overview for anyone interested in the history of life on our planet.

The twenty-five fossils lovingly portrayed in this book catch animals in their evolutionary splendor as they transition from one kind of organism to another. We witness extinct plants and animals of microscopic and immense size and thrilling diversity. We learn about fantastic land and sea creatures that have no match in nature today. Along the way, we encounter such fascinating fossils as the earliest trilobite, Olenellus; the giant shark Carcharocles; the "Frogamander" and the "Turtle on the Half Shell"; the "fishibian" Tiktalik; the first bird, Archaeopteryx; the walking whale Ambulocetus; enormous marine reptiles and the biggest dinosaurs known; the gigantic hornless rhinoceros Paraceratherium, the largest land mammal that ever lived; and the Australopithecus nicknamed "Lucy," the oldest human skeleton. We learn about the scientists and adventurers who pioneered paleontology and the larger intellectual and social contexts in which their discoveries were made. Finally, we are told where to see these splendid fossils in the world's great museums. Ideal for all who love prehistoric landscapes and delight in the history of science, Prothero's new book will be a treasured addition to any bookshelf, stoking curiosity in the evolution and life on Earth.

Crocodile: Evolution's Greatest Survivor [EPUB]

Crocodile: Evolution's Greatest Survivor [EPUB]
Crocodile: Evolution's Greatest Survivor by Lynne Kelly
2007 | EPUB | 3.69MB

An ancient animal whose ancestors have roamed the earth since the time of the dinosaurs, the crocodile has survived continental drift, ice ages and the loss of once-prolific species. Today, the Australian saltie, the Chinese alligator, the Indian gharial and the black caiman are just some of the twenty-three species of crocodilian descendants found across the world.

Human interaction with these dangerous yet intriguing animals has been reflected in myths and legends dating back to earliest recorded history. Feared or revered, crocodilians have always fascinated. Sadly, many breeds of this seemingly indestructible species are now facing extinction because of human activity, intrusion into their habitats and retaliation for the threat they pose to humans.

This is the fascinating and extraordinary story of the crocodile, one of evolution's greatest survivors.

Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World [EPUB]

Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World [EPUB]
Mapping Mars: Science, Imagination, and the Birth of a World by Oliver Morton
2002 | EPUB | 2.7MB

Who are the extraordinary individuals that will take us on the next great space race, the next great human endeavor, our exploration and colonization of the planet Mars? And more importantly, how are they doing it?

Acclaimed science writer Oliver Morton explores the peculiar and fascinating world of the new generation of explorers: geologists, scientists, astrophysicists and dreamers. Morton shows us the complex and beguiling role that mapping will play in our understanding of the red planet, and more deeply, what it means for humans to envision such heroic landscapes. Charting a path from the 19th century visionaries to the spy-satellite pioneers to the science fiction writers and the arctic explorers -- till now, to the people are taking us there -- Morton unveils the central place that Mars has occupied in the human imagination, and what it will mean to realize these dreams.

A pioneering work of journalism and drama, Mapping Mars gives us our first exciting glimpses of the world to come and the curious, bizarre, and amazing people who will take us there.

The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain [EPUB]

The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain [EPUB]
The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain by Dario Fernandez-Morera
2016 | EPUB | 0.9MB

Scholars, journalists, and even politicians uphold Muslim-ruled medieval Spain—“al-Andalus”—as a multicultural paradise, a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in harmony.

There is only one problem with this widely accepted account: it is a myth.

In this groundbreaking book, Northwestern University scholar Darío Fernández-Morera tells the full story of Islamic Spain. The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise shines light on hidden history by drawing on an abundance of primary sources that scholars have ignored, as well as archaeological evidence only recently unearthed.

This supposed beacon of peaceful coexistence began, of course, with the Islamic Caliphate’s conquest of Spain. Far from a land of religious tolerance, Islamic Spain was marked by religious and therefore cultural repression in all areas of life and the marginalization of Christians and other groups—all this in the service of social control by autocratic rulers and a class of religious authorities.

The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise provides a desperately needed reassessment of medieval Spain. As professors, politicians, and pundits continue to celebrate Islamic Spain for its “multiculturalism” and “diversity,” Fernández-Morera sets the historical record straight—showing that a politically useful myth is a myth nonetheless.

Islam Through Western Eyes: From the Crusades to the War on Terrorism [EPUB]

Islam Through Western Eyes: From the Crusades to the War on Terrorism [EPUB]
Islam Through Western Eyes: From the Crusades to the War on Terrorism by Jonathan Lyons
2015 | EPUB | 15.17MB

Despite the West's growing involvement in Muslim societies, conflicts, and cultures, its inability to understand or analyze the Islamic world threatens any prospect for East–West rapprochement. Impelled by one thousand years of anti-Muslim ideas and images, the West has failed to engage in any meaningful or productive way with the world of Islam. Formulated in the medieval halls of the Roman Curia and courts of the European Crusaders and perfected in the newsrooms of Fox News and CNN, this anti-Islamic discourse determines what can and cannot be said about Muslims and their religion, trapping the West in a dangerous, dead-end politics that it cannot afford.

In Islam Through Western Eyes, Jonathan Lyons unpacks Western habits of thinking and writing about Islam, conducting a careful analysis of the West's grand totalizing narrative across one thousand years of history. He observes the discourse’s corrosive effects on the social sciences, including sociology, politics, philosophy, theology, international relations, security studies, and human rights scholarship. He follows its influence on research, speeches, political strategy, and government policy, preventing the West from responding effectively to its most significant twenty-first-century challenges: the rise of Islamic power, the emergence of religious violence, and the growing tension between established social values and multicultural rights among Muslim immigrant populations.

Through the intellectual "archaeology" of Michel Foucault, Lyons reveals the workings of this discourse and its underlying impact on our social, intellectual, and political lives. He then addresses issues of deep concern to Western readers—Islam and modernity, Islam and violence, and Islam and women—and proposes new ways of thinking about the Western relationship to the Islamic world.

Lives of the Poets (With Guitars): Thirteen Outsiders Who Changed Rock & Roll [EPUB]

Lives of the Poets (With Guitars): Thirteen Outsiders Who Changed Rock & Roll [EPUB]
Lives of the Poets (With Guitars): Thirteen Outsiders Who Changed Rock & Roll by Ray Robertson
2016 | EPUB | 5.41MB

“The days of poets moping around castle steps wearing black capes is over. The poets of today are amplified.”— LEONARD COHEN

Picking up where Samuel Johnson left off more than two centuries ago, Ray Robertson’s Lives of the Poets (with Guitars) offers up an amplified gathering of thirteen portraits of rock & roll, blues, folk, and alt-country’s most inimitable artists. Irreverent and riotous, Robertson explores the “greater or lesser heat” with which each musician shaped their genre, while offering absorbing insight into their often tumultuous lives.

Includes essays on Gene Clark, Ronnie Lane, The Ramones, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Townes Van Zandt, Little Richard, Alan Wilson, Willie P. Bennett, Gram Parsons, Hound Dog Taylor, Paul Siebel, Willis Alan Ramsey, and John Hartford.

Counting Down the Rolling Stones: Their 100 Finest Songs [EPUB]

Counting Down the Rolling Stones: Their 100 Finest Songs [EPUB]
Counting Down the Rolling Stones: Their 100 Finest Songs by Jim Beviglia
2015 | EPUB | 0.9MB

No band has ever been able to demonstrate the enduring power of rock and roll quite like The Rolling Stones, who continue to enthrall, provoke, and invigorate their legions of fans more than fifty years since they began. In Counting Down the Rolling Stones: Their 100 Finest Songs, rock writer Jim Beviglia dares to rank the band’s finest 100 songs in descending order.

Beviglia provides an insightful explanation about why each song deserves its place. Looking at the story behind the song and supplying a fresh take on the musical and lyrical content, he illuminates these unforgettable songs for new and diehard fans alike. Taken together, the individual entries in Counting Down the Rolling Stones tell a fascinating story of the unique personalities and incredible talents that made The Stones a band for the ages.

Counting Down the Rolling Stones is the perfect playlist builder, whether it is for the longtime fan or the newbie just getting acquainted with the work of Mick, Keith, and the boys.

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition [TTC Video]

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition [TTC Video]
How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition [TTC Video] by Robert Greenberg
Course No 700 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 48x45 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 10.9GB

Learning how to appreciate the unmatched beauty, genius, and power of concert music can permanently enrich your life. Why is this so? As award-winning composer and Professor Robert Greenberg explains, "Music, the most abstract and sublime of all the arts, is capable of transmitting an unbelievable amount of expressive, historical, and even philosophical information to us, provided that our antennas are up and pointed in the right direction. A little education goes a long way to vitalizing and rendering relevant a body of music that many feel is beyond their grasp.

"And why is an understanding of concert music worthwhile? I would suggest a few reasons:

“The skills one brings to listening to music—imagination; abstract, nonconcrete thinking; intuition; and instinctive reaction and trusting those instincts—have gone uncultivated in our educational system and culture for too long.

“Music, as a universal, nonverbal language, allows us to tap into the social, cultural, and aesthetic traditions of different cultures and historical eras. We become more aware of our shared humanity and the wisdom and vision of others.

“Music allows us to transcend our own world and partake in utterly different realities.

“Last, but certainly not least, good music is fun to listen to, relatively inexpensive—we can do it by ourselves or with others—and there are any number of ways to expand our knowledge and appreciation of the art."

The Tools, the Times, the Composers, and Their Music

Grammar: Professor Greenberg gives you an outstanding grasp of musical forms, techniques, and terms—the grammatical elements that make you fluent in the language of music. These are not dull concepts. Professor Greenberg alerts us to the need for them:

"Music, like any pseudoscience, requires an adjectival palette by which we can isolate events that without proper terms we might not even be able to notice. It's an interesting question to what degree language allows us to perceive things that are not language-associated. I'm a strong believer that if you've got the right word to identify something, you can perceive it. I think my favorite pseudoscience when it comes to this kind of thing is wine-tasting, where one has to come up with an adjectival palette that is almost a cartoon unto itself. But silly as these phrases may be—'Oh, this has a hint of young tobacco, and old oak fragrant with raspberries'—silly as these terms are, they allow us to draw distinctions without which we may not be able to draw at all. So we will create a useful vocabulary."

Rich Context: Professor Greenberg teaches the powerful influence of social context on musical creation. Bestselling author James Collins, writing in Inc. magazine, explains: "The Greenberg series combines a history of Western civilization with a history of great music from ancient Greece to the 20th century. Greenberg's 48 lectures come alive with passion and knowledge. The course illustrates the interplay between societal change and innovation and offers a unique perspective on the acceleration of change wrought by the 20th century."

Professor Greenberg's lectures show how musical creativity has provided, throughout the history of our civilization, a vibrant means of expression for grand spiritual, intellectual, political, social, and economic forces.

Whether it's the profound influence of Lutheran spirituality on Bach or the effect of the French Revolution on Beethoven (to give just two examples), you'll see how such forces have swirled through the lives of music's creators and listeners in various historical epochs. You'll also grasp how these forces have stimulated the creation of musical masterpieces that are both transcendent works of art and compositions deeply rooted in their respective eras, telling us something central about the human condition in each one.

The Composers: The course examines the contributions of nearly every major composer. But one of Professor Greenberg's aims is to make their music accessible, and, for this, we must accept that every one of them was human and no more. (He observes at one point that an English translation of the name Giuseppe Verdi would be simply "Joe Green.") You will remember their music, and you will never forget the composers who are brought to life throughout the lectures. Consider Professor Greenberg's introduction to Berlioz:

"Hector Berlioz begins writing the Symphonie fantastique in 1829 and he completes it in 1830, the same year he graduates from the conservatory, so he's only 27 years old and still learning his craft.

"The Symphonie fantastique is an experimental artwork if there ever was one. It is an absolutely avant-garde piece of music. It attempts to unite the four great loves of Berlioz's life, as he felt them then and as they continued to be throughout his life. Those four great loves, in no particular order, are: first, Shakespeare's plays and Shakespeare's sense of drama; second: Beethoven's symphonies, which Berlioz worshipped; third: opera, which Berlioz lived for; and we must not forget the fourth great love of Berlioz's life: himself. It's a very autobiographical work. Again, we have to understand that autobiography is very typical of the self-involvement and expressive self-indulgence of the 19th- and indeed, the 20th-century artist."

The Music: Using digitally recorded musical passages to illustrate his points, Professor Greenberg will take you inside magnificent compositions by Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Verdi, Wagner, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and more. You have listened to many of the illustrative pieces all your life—you will never hear them the same way again after Professor Greenberg has opened them up. Look at the titles of the lectures in this course to see how much you'll learn.

How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, 3rd Edition [TTC Video]

The Concerto [TTC Video]

The Concerto [TTC Video]
The Concerto [TTC Video] by Robert Greenberg
Course No. 7270 | .AVI, XviD, 642 kbps, 400x288 | English, MP3, 256 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x47 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 9.73GB

Ready for thrills? A concerto is exciting in ways that no other instrumental music can match. Where a symphony enthralls us with themes that are contrasted, varied, transformed, and developed, a concerto adds the extra dimension of human drama—the exhilaration of a soloist or group of soloists ringing forth against the mass of the orchestra.

Little wonder, then, that the concerto grew out of the same musical setting in 17th-century Italy that gave birth to opera. And like opera, the concerto is a vehicle for the depiction of every human emotion and relationship imaginable, from the gentlest and most tender to the most violent and confrontational, and everything in between.

The concerto is also an extreme sport for soloists, representing musical life lived at the edge, as instruments and the musicians who play them are pushed to the very limit of what is possible by composers exploring the extremes of instrumental virtuosity.

Best of all, the concerto repertoire is huge! The genre was invented long before the symphony. As a result, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, and Telemann composed hundreds of concerti, but among them not a single symphony. Mozart's great concerti far outnumber his great symphonies; Beethoven wrote almost as many concerti as symphonies; and Brahms composed equal numbers of both. During the 18th and 19th centuries, at least as many concerti were composed as symphonies. And during the 20th century, in terms of sheer quantity, the concerto was by far the single most important genre of orchestral music.

Thrills, drama, emotion, virtuosity, and a vast repertoire—what more could a music lover ask?

300 Years of Concerti

In this series of 24, 45-minute lectures, Professor Robert Greenberg gives you a guided tour of the concerto from its conception as a child of Renaissance ideals, through its maturation in the Classical age, its metamorphosis in the Romantic era, and its radical transformation in the 20th century. The course closes with a look into the future at concerto composers who are now in mid-career and poised to carry this vibrant musical tradition well into the 21st century.

These lectures are musically rich, including selections from nearly 100 concerti representing more than 60 composers—from Gabrieli to Gershwin, from Schumann to Shostakovich.

Along with the bedrock of the repertoire, represented by Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Rachmaninoff, Bartok, and many others, you will be introduced to superb concerti by Hummel, Vieuxtemps, Wieniawski, Moszkowski, Paderewski, Ginastera, and other less-familiar masters.

The many pieces you will explore in depth include:

  • Mozart's Concerto for Flute in G Major, K. 313: For one who claimed to detest the flute, Wolfgang Mozart composed some of the most gorgeous music ever written for the instrument.
  • Haydn's Concerto for Trumpet in E-flat Major: Often heard on today's concert stage, this stirring piece was nearly lost forever. It was only found in 1929—120 years after Joseph Haydn's death.
  • Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 4 in G Major, op. 58: Ludwig van Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto is one of his greatest works in the genre—filled with compositional, pianistic, and expressive innovations that changed the course of Western music.
  • Chopin's Piano Concerto no. 2 in F Minor, op. 21: Disdaining large-scale form, Frederic Chopin strove for achingly beautiful themes and an amazing harmonic palette. The spectacular third movement of this piece is a Polish mazurka gone wild.
  • Grieg's Piano Concerto in A Minor, op. 16: The most beloved and recognizable concerto to early 20th century audiences was not by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, or Brahms; it was this piece by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
  • Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major, op. 35: In Professor Greenberg's estimation, this concerto is Peter Tchaikovsky's single greatest work and one of the greatest concerti of the 19th century.

Other highlights of the course include virtually an entire lecture devoted to Johannes Brahms's Piano Concerto no. 2 in B-flat Major, op. 83; and another lecture focusing on Antonin Dvorak's Concerto for Cello in B Minor, op. 104, "the greatest cello concerto ever written," says Professor Greenberg. You also explore some notoriously esoteric and difficult 20th-century composers, including Arnold Schoenberg and Elliott Carter, learning how their music is much more accessible than it appears.

Concerto Play-by-Play

As in his many other courses for The Teaching Company, Professor Greenberg has put together a fascinating itinerary that will surprise, delight, and instruct you, introducing you to new realms of music and also teaching you how to appreciate familiar pieces in new ways.

And, as always, his musical analysis is a vivid play-by-play, mixing technical information (which he always explains) with a connoisseur's appreciation for the grand effect, the crucial detail, and the telling anecdote that help bring a piece of music to life. For example:

  • Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 in G Major, BWV 1048: "One could argue quite persuasively that rather than feature no soloist at all, Brandenburg 3 demands that virtually every player become a soloist."
  • Mozart's Concerto for Piano no. 21 in C Major, K. 467: "Mozart creates for the piano a persona that is a rakish bon vivant that stands in contrast to the orchestra's grandeur. The piano is 'escorted' on stage, Dean Martin-like, by what I imagine to be three lovely ladies: a sultry redhead, portrayed by a solo oboe; a husky-voiced brunette, portrayed by a solo bassoon; and a ravishing blonde, portrayed by a solo flute."
  • Bartok's Piano Concerto no. 2: "Bartok's music is precisely what all 21st century music should aspire to be: personal, powerful, and brilliantly crafted; music that somehow manages to reconcile diverse aspects of our global environment into a whole greater than its parts. Bartok is, truly, a composer for our time."
  • Richard Strauss's Oboe Concerto in D Major: "Strauss's Oboe Concerto is a masterwork of elegance, melodic grace, and concision, though it begins with a passage that strikes fear and dread in the heart of every oboist. To play the passage, an oboist has to use a technique called circular breathing, during which she must exhale air held in the cheeks while simultaneously inhaling through the nose."

A Thrill in Every Sense

Professor Greenberg observes that the same qualities of drama and conflict that make concerti exciting experiences for the audience also create the prospect for real-life conflict among the musicians. "The performance of a concerto is ripe with potential for interpersonal conflict that goes beyond the usual conductor versus orchestra warfare," he notes. "By adding an outsider—a featured soloist—to the mix, we are witness to an exponential increase in the likelihood for interpersonal rivalry, resentment, envy, and sabotage." Professor Greenberg gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse at several incidents that illustrate the fragile egos and turf wars that seem to be an inevitable part of the business of making great music.

But great music it is—a thrill in every sense. The concerto is a genuinely theatric construct. Beyond its pitches, rhythms, and forms, it is about the aspirations of the individual—each of us, as we venture forth and make our way in a sometimes hostile, sometimes friendly, but always challenging environment.

The Concerto [TTC Video]

The String Quartets of Beethoven [TTC Video]

The String Quartets of Beethoven [TTC Video]
The String Quartets of Beethoven [TTC Video] by Robert Greenberg
Course No 7240 | AVI, AVC, 640x480 | AC3, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x46 mins | 5.34GB

In his 16 quartets for two violins, viola, and cello, Beethoven created a Mount Everest for string players and some of the most sublime, unforgettable music ever written. Continuing to astound listeners after 200 years, these glorious quartets give voice to the innermost landscape of the human heart and spirit. They stand, like Michelangelo's statues or the plays of Shakespeare, at the pinnacle of Western art.

These history-making pieces revolutionized the string quartet as an art form, bringing to it bold new musical resources and expressive content. In these works, Beethoven mastered, then transcended, the accepted musical norms, creating the quartets as both a trailblazing manifesto of personal expression and a daring challenge to the Western conception of music itself.

How can we get the most from these intriguing masterpieces? In their mold-breaking construction and rich complexity, how can we find our way to their essence and hear them with full understanding?

In The String Quartets of Beethoven, Professor Robert Greenberg, composer and celebrated music historian at San Francisco Performances, guides you in a deep encounter with these majestic works of art, offering you the rare opportunity to grasp the musical riches and spiritual greatness of the quartets in a clear and accessible way. Speaking with passion, profound insight, and refreshing informality, Dr. Greenberg reveals the secrets of these multifaceted works in twenty-four 45-minute lectures, aided at every turn by the masterful interpretations of the Alexander String Quartet.

Decoding Genius

In this compelling inquiry, you uncover the musical underpinnings of the luminous beauty, emotional depth, and dramatic scope that make these quartets legendary, and you probe the inner workings of one of history's most innovative minds.

This is not formal, academic analysis, but rather a directly accessible entry into the real substance of the quartets, giving you both an intelligent way to listen to them and follow their structure as well as an understanding of what makes them expressively impactful, dazzlingly original, and ultimately great as works of art.

The String Quartets of Beethoven gives you a way of knowing these quartets that opens the door to years of pleasure and insight into great music.

One Man Transforms an Art Form

As the course opens, Dr. Greenberg plunges you directly into the exciting atmosphere of Vienna in the late 18th century. In Vienna and Italy, the string quartet evolves from the earlier "trio sonata" into what many consider the single most intimate and conversational of musical genres. You learn the "ritual template" of the Classical string quartet, and you probe the seminal innovations of Haydn and Mozart within the template, as they set the stage for the explosive arrival of Beethoven.

At the heart of the course, Dr. Greenberg takes you on a movement-by-movement exploration of the individual Beethoven quartets, revealing the arc of the composer's fierce independence and imagination, as he brings to the string quartet an expressive, formal, and narrative range undreamed of by earlier musicians.

Your exploration includes extensive listening and study of these landmark quartets:

  • Opus 18, no. 6: The most radically innovative of the early quartets. Here Beethoven alters the Classical structure of the string quartet, forcing listeners to think and hear in new ways.
  • Opus 59, no. 1: Proceeding from his "heroic" self-reinvention of 1803, in Opus 59, no. 1 Beethoven unveils string quartet writing of symphonic scope and dramatic power, demonstrating his mature compositional innovations.
  • Opus 127: The haunting, exquisite lyricism of this quartet, set within a work of dramatic contrasts, is one of the high points of Beethoven's work with the genre.
  • Opus 130 and the Grand Fugue: A rich, unfolding sequence of diverse movements, culminating in the monumental Grand Fugue, is the epitome of Beethoven's personal, subjective vision of fugue.
  • Opus 131: Plumbing the multiple expressive milestones of this seven-part, operatically conceived quartet, you devote three lectures to what many consider to be Beethoven's single "most perfect" work.

Professor Greenberg's many provocative insights deepen your understanding, as in his suggestion that you hear the structure of Opus 130 as "circular" rather than linear, relating each individual movement organically to the Grand Fugue.

Revolutionary Music, Conceived for a Later Age

Your immersion in the musical "meat" of the individual quartets grounds the story of Beethoven's artistic trajectory with the quartets as a whole. You delve deeply into the musical innovations that underlie Beethoven's phenomenal, unfolding creativity in these works:

  • "Motivic" development: You learn how Beethoven created entire movements using the simplest musical ideas or "motives"—how his core focus was not the musical material per se, but what the material could become, through transformation.
  • Ongoing dramatic narrative: Throughout the quartets, you see how Beethoven conceived of a multimovement instrumental composition telling a single, narrative story.
  • Originality: You observe how Beethoven pursued an uncompromising ideal of artistic growth and personal inventiveness, and how his refusal to "stand still" redefined the role of the composer.
  • Contextual use of form: You see how, in the quartets, Beethoven altered and extended musical forms such as sonata, fugue, and theme and variation, bending them to his own expressive purposes or "contextual" needs.

Vivid Details of a Path of Creation

Professor Greenberg brings out details of Beethoven's personal life as they relate to the writing of the quartets, showing how multiple aspects of his difficult circumstances and personality—in addition to practical and commercial matters—contributed to the specific direction he took with these works.

You learn how Beethoven arrived in Vienna at the time of a public mania for string quartets, and how his Opus 18 quartets gave him the chance to wrestle with the form and prove himself, as both a master of the Classical quartet "template" and a boldly original voice.

You see how in late 1802, driven close to suicide by his oncoming deafness, Beethoven managed to reinvent himself with the Enlightenment-inspired identity of a hero triumphing over fate—and how this "new self" took direct and dynamic musical form in the quartets of Opus 59.

You learn how Beethoven's personal belief in redemption through struggle and perseverance is reflected in the "cathartic" narrative structure of Opuses 95, 131, and 132.

And you observe how, in his last years, ill, isolated, and poverty stricken, he poured his remaining resources of body and spirit into the magnificent late quartets, creating them as the "last revelations of his spirit."

Professor Greenberg's gift as a teacher is his ability to make the abstraction of great music directly comprehensible, while speaking to a range of experience in his listeners. Seasoned musicians will find the lectures an ingenious and far-reaching illumination of the quartets and of Beethoven's unfolding innovations. Newcomers to Classical music will find them a very welcoming and accessible path to the heart of these extraordinary creations.

Throughout the course, the quartets come to vibrant life in the playing of the renowned Alexander String Quartet—a group that has lived these works deeply, praised by The New York Times for the "power and poignancy" of its interpretations.

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world." —Beethoven

In The String Quartets of Beethoven, Dr. Greenberg offers you a rare and life-enriching opportunity: to grapple with the inner workings of musical genius, with the creation of the deepest and richest of human expression, in your encounter with these works that define the power of art.

With a rare melding of nonverbal "voices," Beethoven gives expression to the poignant depths and heights of human experience; to the anguish, awe, and ecstasy of living—and to a liberating, transcendent domain of the spirit, beyond place and time.

Take this opportunity, in The String Quartets of Beethoven, to know the scope of Beethoven's genius, his most unforgettable music, and the profound humanity and beauty that live through them.

The String Quartets of Beethoven [TTC Video]

Beethoven's Piano Sonatas [TTC Video]

Beethoven's Piano Sonatas [TTC Video]
Beethoven's Piano Sonatas [TTC Video] by Robert Greenberg
Course No 7250 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 160 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x45 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 7.04GB

Beethoven was a revolutionary man living in a revolutionary time. He captured his inner voice—demons and all—and the spirit of his time, and in doing so, created a body of music the likes of which no one had ever before imagined. "An artist must never stand still," he once said. A virtuoso at the keyboard, Beethoven used the piano as his personal musical laboratory, and the piano sonata became, more than any other genre of music, a place where he could experiment with harmony, motivic development, the contextual use of form, and, most important, his developing view of music as a self-expressive art.

Pushing the Piano to Its Limit and Beyond

Spanning the length of his compositional career, Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas provide a window into his personal musical development, and they show the concept of the piano as an instrument and the piano sonata as a genre undergoing an extraordinary evolution.

The sonatas are not simply compositions for the piano, but are about the developing technology of the piano itself, an evolving instrument that Beethoven pushed to its limits and then beyond, ultimately writing music for an idealized piano that didn't come into existence until some 40 years after his death.

An Engaging and Exhilarating Professor

As in his previous courses, Professor Greenberg combines his perceptive analyses of musical excerpts with historical anecdotes, metaphors, and humor. He shows what goes on inside a musical composition: how it came to be written, how it works, and how—as is often the case with Beethoven—it may break all the rules to achieve a new and powerful effect. This course is somewhat technical and although musical knowledge is helpful, it is not necessary.

Popular, Experimental, Revolutionary, Shocking

Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas include some of his most popular works as well as some of his most experimental. This course touches on every one of these fascinating pieces, approaching them chronologically, from the terse and powerful first sonata of 1795 to the revolutionary Hammerklavier Sonata of 1818 and the radical last three sonatas of 1820–1822.

In addition to the Hammerklavier, you will explore in detail the other sonatas that, by virtue of their popularity or other special qualities, have been bestowed with evocative nicknames. These include:

  • Pathétique (Piano Sonata no. 8 in C Minor, op. 13): The modern popularity of this piece has obscured its shocking originality, which led a contemporary to characterize Beethoven's work as "lots of crazy stuff."
  • Funeral March (Piano Sonata no. 12 in A-Flat, op. 26): Beethoven's first 11 piano sonatas challenged and eventually broke the bonds of the 18th-century Classical style. In this work, he fully embraced a genuinely experimental, avant-garde approach to the sonata.
  • Moonlight (Piano Sonata no. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, op. 27, no. 2): The composer Hector Berlioz wrote that the haunting first movement of this famous work is "one of those poems that human language does not know how to qualify."
  • Tempest (Piano Sonata no. 17 in D Minor, op. 31, no. 2): Although Shakespeare's The Tempest reportedly inspired this sonata, the thematic parallels between the two works are elusive. But like the title of Shakespeare's play, Beethoven's sonata must qualify as one of the most expressively "tempestuous" in the repertoire.
  • Farewell (Piano Sonata no. 26 in E-Flat, op. 81a): Also known as Les Adieux and Das Lebewohl, this programmatic work commemorates the departure from and return to Vienna of Beethoven's close friend Archduke Rudolph.

Not all of Beethoven's greatest piano sonatas have nicknames. The last three are conventionally known by their opus numbers—109, 110, and 111—and are among Beethoven's most pathbreaking works.

"Oh, to Have Heard Him Play!"

Beethoven first achieved fame as a thrilling and unorthodox pianist who treated the piano, according to his contemporaries, in an "entirely new manner."

"When Beethoven played, expression always came first," says Professor Greenberg. "Beethoven was no more capable of slavish adherence to a steady beat than he was able to follow the constructs and rituals of Classicism. Oh, to have heard him play!"

To be present while Beethoven played was considered by contemporaries to be a revelatory experience. Johann Wenzel Tomaschek, a rival piano virtuoso, observed: "Beethoven's magnificent phrasing and particularly the daring of his improvisation stirred me strangely to the depths of my soul; indeed, I found myself so profoundly bowed down that I did not touch my piano for several days."

Piano manufacturers saw things differently. According to Andreas Streicher, Beethoven was so violent at the keyboard that he was "unworthy of imitation. ... He carries on in a fiery manner, and treats his instrument like a man who, bent on revenge, has his archenemy in his hands and, with cruel relish, wants to torture him slowly to death."

Nonetheless, once he became famous, Beethoven rarely if ever had to buy his own pianos, as piano builders vied with each other to lend him instruments. Nor did Beethoven let shortcomings of contemporary pianos limit his creativity. In his Piano Sonata no. 7 in D, op. 10, no. 3, he expands two musical phrases into high and low registers that didn't exist on the keyboards of the day.

Transferring Despair into Musical Action

Beethoven's childhood was dominated by abuse and loss. Already a bundle of gastric ailments and psychological neuroses, he went deaf over the course of his young and middle adulthood. He was desperately unlucky in love. Desiring a child, he did everything in his power to steal his nephew Karl from the boy's mother; when he succeeded, Karl attempted suicide.

As he entered his final decade, Beethoven became genuinely paranoid. And yet, says Professor Greenberg, Beethoven translated his experience into action—musical action—by composing pieces that by some amazing alchemy universalized his problems and his solutions.

Analyzing Beethoven's "Game"

Professor Greenberg analyzes many musical passages, taking you note-by-note, phrase-by-phrase through different movements of the sonatas, showing how Beethoven plans and achieves his surprising effects. Beethoven paid scrupulous attention to all aspects of his compositions, and Professor Greenberg elucidates these features and brings them vividly to life, such as thematic development, tempo, large-scale dramatic progression, and psychological manipulation by the performer.

You will learn a wealth of musical vocabulary: terms such as Viennese Classical style, sonata form, theme and variations, exposition, modulating bridge, recapitulation, cadence, minuet, rondo, fugue, and scherzo.

What You Will Hear: Extraordinary Performances by a Celebrated Pianist

Beethoven died 50 years before the invention of sound recording, so we will never hear his voice or the sound of his playing.

You will hear literally hundreds of excerpts of Maestro Claude Frank's recordings over the span of the course. Frank's recording of the 32 sonatas was originally released for the Beethoven bicentennial in 1970, and was hailed as "one of the year's 10 best" by Time magazine.

Truly, Beethoven's piano music is his voice, emerging from his mind, through his fingers, to our ears and hearts. And his piano sonatas are, more than any other of his amazing works, his personal testament, expressed in his own voice.

Beethoven's Piano Sonatas [TTC Video]

My Life with Wagner: Fairies, Rings, and Redemption [EPUB]

My Life with Wagner: Fairies, Rings, and Redemption [EPUB]
My Life with Wagner: Fairies, Rings, and Redemption: Exploring Opera's Most Enigmatic Composer by Christian Thielemann
2016 | EPUB | 3.44MB

One of today's most outstanding conductors, Christian Thielemann, composes a brilliant account of the great―and controversial―Richard Wagner.

Over a distinguished career conducting some of the world's finest orchestras, Christian Thielemann has earned a reputation as the leading modern interpreter of Richard Wagner.

My Life with Wagner chronicles his ardent personal and professional engagement with the great composer, whose work has shaped his thinking and feeling from early childhood. Thielemann retraces his journey around the world with Wagner―from Berlin to Bayreuth via Venice, Hamburg, and Chicago―and combines his analysis with revealing insights drawn from his many years of experience as a Wagner conductor.

Thielemann discusses each of Wagner's operas in turn, and his appraisal is illuminated by a deep affinity for the music, an intimate knowledge of the scores, and the inside perspective of a world-class practitioner. And yet for all the adulation Wagner's art inspires, Thielemann does not shy away from unpalatable truths about the man himself, explaining why today Wagner is venerated and reviled in equal measure.My Life with Wagner is a richly rewarding read for admirers of a composer who continues to fascinate long after his death.