Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence: Approaching the Dharma as Poetry [EPUB]

Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence: Approaching the Dharma as Poetry [EPUB]
Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence: Approaching the Dharma as Poetry by Paul Weiss
2015 | EPUB | 0.7MB

A rich and original collection of Dharma teachings, Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence weaves the poetic and the expository in a series of Zen poems and commentaries that invite both direct experience and meditative study. Paul Weiss evokes the awake, pristine, and poetic nature of our human experience while also examining the mechanisms of ego that define our personal and cultural experience of separation and suffering.

Here you will find simple, ecstatic celebrations of luminous and transparent reality; clarification of technical points of practice; support for everyday life; and reflections on issues of history, culture, and human ecology. All become threads in a jeweled net of integrative spiritual thought and practice that will inform and encourage any reader's practice, contemplation and personal growth. Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence points beyond our literal fixations with language, ideas, and doctrines to the great ungraspable poetic reality that is expressed in all our spirituality and in all our human experience.

American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 [Audiobook]

American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 [Audiobook]
American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 [Audiobook] by Alan Taylor, read by Mark Bramhall
2016 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 18 hrs 53 mins | 520.3MB

The American Revolution is often portrayed as a high-minded, orderly event whose capstone, the Constitution, provided the ideal framework for a democratic, prosperous nation. Alan Taylor, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, gives us a different creation story in this magisterial history of the nation's founding.

Rising out of the continental rivalries of European empires and their native allies, Taylor's Revolution builds like a ground fire overspreading Britain's mainland colonies, fueled by local conditions, destructive, hard to quell. Conflict ignited on the frontier, where settlers clamored to push west into Indian lands against British restrictions, and in the seaboard cities, where commercial elites mobilized riots and boycotts to resist British tax policies. When war erupted, patriot crowds harassed loyalists and nonpartisans into compliance with their cause. Brutal guerrilla violence flared all along the frontier, from New York to the Carolinas, fed by internal divisions as well as the clash with Britain. Taylor skillfully draws France, Spain, and native powers into a comprehensive narrative of the war that delivers the major battles, generals, and common soldiers with insight and power.

With discord smoldering in the fragile new nation through the 1780s, nationalist leaders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton sought to restrain unruly state democracies and consolidate power in a federal Constitution. Assuming the mantle of "we the people", the advocates of national power ratified the new frame of government. But their opponents prevailed in the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, whose vision of a Western "empire of liberty" aligned with the long-standing, expansive ambitions of frontier settlers. White settlement and black slavery spread west, setting the stage for a civil war that nearly destroyed the union created by the founders.

Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race and the Cold War [EPUB]

Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race and the Cold War [EPUB]
Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race and the Cold War by Nancy Mitchell
2016 | EPUB | 8.85MB

In the mid-1970s, the Cold War had frozen into a nuclear stalemate in Europe and retreated from the headlines in Asia. As Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter fought for the presidency in late 1976, the superpower struggle overseas seemed to take a backseat to more contentious domestic issues of race relations and rising unemployment. There was one continent, however, where the Cold War was on the point of flaring hot: Africa.

Jimmy Carter in Africa opens just after Henry Kissinger's failed 1975 plot in Angola, as Carter launches his presidential campaign. The Civil Rights Act was only a decade old, and issues of racial justice remained contentious. Racism at home undermined Americans' efforts to "win hearts and minds" abroad and provided potent propaganda to the Kremlin. As President Carter confronted Africa, the essence of American foreign policy—stopping Soviet expansion—slammed up against the most explosive and raw aspect of American domestic politics—racism.

Drawing on candid interviews with Carter, as well as key U.S. and foreign diplomats, and on a dazzling array of international archival sources, Nancy Mitchell offers a timely reevaluation of the Carter administration and of the man himself. In the face of two major tests, in Rhodesia and the Horn of Africa, Carter grappled with questions of Cold War competition, domestic politics, personal loyalty, and decision-making style. Mitchell reveals an administration not beset by weakness and indecision, as is too commonly assumed, but rather constrained by Cold War dynamics and by the president's own temperament as he wrestled with a divided public and his own human failings. Jimmy Carter in Africa presents a stark portrait of how deeply Cold War politics and racial justice were intertwined.

Secret Teachings of Padmasambhava: Essential Instructions on Mastering the Energies of Life [EPUB]

Secret Teachings of Padmasambhava: Essential Instructions on Mastering the Energies of Life [EPUB]
Secret Teachings of Padmasambhava: Essential Instructions on Mastering the Energies of Life by Padmasambhava
2010 | EPUB | 0.2MB

These Tibetan Buddhist teachings provide instructions for gathering and harnessing basic life energy. According to the tradition, a very effective way to do this is to arouse sexual energy and to direct the essence of that energy toward spiritual realization. According to the philosophy, sexual energy brings one naturally and effortlessly into flow with creativity and awareness in both mind and body—when used skillfully by committed practitioners with appropriate training.

These ancient texts, attributed to the great Tibetan meditation master Padmasambhava (who practiced sexual union with the famous Tibetan queen Yeshe Tsogyal), offer traditional Buddhist teachings on the nature of the elements that all beings and our world are made of. They show us a practical view of how to use life-energy for personal development. The teachings are for experienced Buddhist practitioners.

The Next Pandemic: On the Front Lines Against Humankind's Gravest Dangers [Audiobook]

The Next Pandemic: On the Front Lines Against Humankind's Gravest Dangers [Audiobook]
The Next Pandemic: On the Front Lines Against Humankind's Gravest Dangers [Audiobook] by Ali Khan, William Patrick, read by Ben Sullivan
2016 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 8 hrs 54 mins | 242.74MB

An inside account of the fight to contain the world's deadliest diseases - and the panic and corruption that make them worse.

Throughout history, humankind's biggest killers have been infectious diseases: the Black Death, the Spanish Flu, and AIDS alone account for over 100 million deaths. We ignore this reality most of the time, but when a new threat - Ebola, SARS, Zika - seems imminent, we send our best and bravest doctors to contain it. People like Dr. Ali S. Khan.

In his long career as a public health first responder - protected by a thin mask from infected patients, napping under nets to keep out scorpions, making life-and-death decisions on limited, suspect information - Khan has found that rogue microbes will always be a problem, but outbreaks are often caused by people. We make mistakes, politicize emergencies, and, too often, fail to imagine the consequences of our actions.

The Next Pandemic is a firsthand account of disasters like anthrax, bird flu, and others - and how we could do more to prevent their return. It is both a gripping story of our brushes with fate and an urgent lesson on how we can keep ourselves safe from the inevitable next pandemic.

Jean Renoir: A Biography [EPUB]

Jean Renoir: A Biography [EPUB]
Jean Renoir: A Biography by Pascal Merigeau
2017 | EPUB | 76.06MB

Originally published in France in 2012, Pascal Mérigeau's definitive biography of legendary film director Jean Renoir is a landmark work—the winner of a Prix Goncourt, France's top literary achievement. Now available in the English language for the first time, Jean Renoir: A Biography, is the definitive study of one of the most fascinating and creative artistic figures of the twentieth century. The French filmmaker made more than forty films from the silent era to the late '60s and today he is revered by filmmakers and seen by many as one of the greatest of all time. Renoir made acclaimed movies in France, America, India, and Italy and became a writer during the last part of his life.

An estimated 75 percent of the book details previously unknown information about the filmmaker, including Renoir's close affiliation with Communism in the '30s (when he was the Party's official director) and his work with the fascist regimes during World War II; his previously uncredited Hollywood film, The Amazing Mrs. Holiday; and new information on the making of his most famous films.

Drawing from unpublished or little known sources, this biography is a completely fresh approach to the maker of Grand Illusion and The Rules of the Game, redefining the very function of the movie director and simultaneously recounting the history of a century.

The Kiss: A Memoir [EPUB]

The Kiss: A Memoir [EPUB]
The Kiss: A Memoir by Kathryn Harrison
2011 | EPUB | 2.16MB

In this acclaimed and groundbreaking memoir, Kathryn Harrison transforms into a work of art the darkest passage imaginable in a young woman’s life: an obsessive love affair between father and daughter that begins when she, at age twenty, is reunited with the father whose absence had haunted her youth.

Exquisitely and hypnotically written, like a bold and terrifying dream, The Kiss is breathtaking in its honesty and in the power and beauty of its creation. A story both of transgression and of family complicity in breaking taboo, The Kiss is also about love—about the most primal of love triangles, the one that ensnares a child between mother and father.

Museum Masterpieces: The Metropolitan Museum of Art [TTC Video]

Museum Masterpieces: The Metropolitan Museum of Art [TTC Video]
Museum Masterpieces: The Metropolitan Museum of Art [TTC Video] by Richard Brettell
Course No 7510 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 7.05GB

Where else can you find masterpieces extending from the dawn of civilization to today; or encyclopedic holdings from all the major cultures on earth; or genres ranging from paintings to period rooms, sculpture to suits of armor, metalwork to musical instruments—all situated in a palatial building beside one of the world's most magnificent parks?

No other museum covers the history of humanity and its achievements as thoroughly as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Professor Richard Brettell believes that The Metropolitan Museum of Art is not just the greatest art museum in America, but that it is also the most complete encyclopedic art museum on the planet, rivaled only by the Louvre in Paris and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, whose collections have significant gaps by comparison.

A Consummate Guide

Professor Brettell is a scholar, an author, a teacher, and a former museum director, known to many Teaching Company customers for his dazzling investigation of a much-loved period in From Monet to Van Gogh: A History of Impressionism and his overview of a legendary cultural icon in Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre. Above all, he is a consummate guide who delights in selecting superb works of art and then exploring their resonance with other works. For example, in this course he exploits The Metropolitan Museum of Art's wide-ranging holdings to draw your attention to masterpieces that share intriguing similarities, linking different cultures, genres, and periods:

  • Two noble countenances: Auguste Rodin's lifelike portrait bust of Honoré de Balzac from 1891 evokes, in its realistic power, the remarkable 4,000-year-old copper head of a ruler in the museum's Ancient Near Eastern Art collection.
  • A study in forms: The overlapping abstract forms of Willem de Kooning's 1949 painting Attic strikingly recall the figures crowded onto the surface of Roman funerary sarcophagi or the swarming melee in Nicolas Poussin's The Abduction of the Sabine Women.
  • Mother and child: Every culture uses art to depict the bond between mother and child. Professor Brettell chooses four paradigmatic examples: an early Italian painting by Berlinghiero, a 14th-century Indian copper sculpture, a pre-Hispanic Olmec figurine, and a Renaissance relief by Andrea della Robbia.

Many Museums under One Roof

In these 24 visually rich, half-hour lectures, Professor Brettell takes you through The Metropolitan Museum of Art from front to back, from bottom to top, introducing practically every department in the museum. Each is a museum unto its own, representing one of the world's finest collections in its field. You will see an astonishing number of works—more than 400 in all—focusing on Professor Brettell's favorites, and in the process touching on virtually all of the best-known pieces in the museum, and many more besides. His is a personal tour, driven by his enthusiasm and a ceaseless curiosity to see riches of The Metropolitan Museum of Art unknown even to him.

Your journey begins in Lecture 1 with a brief history of the museum, Central Park, and the city itself. Then you proceed up the broad steps facing Fifth Avenue and into the museum's Great Hall. Lectures 2–5 take you to the complex of galleries at the front of the building, dealing with the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome, ancient Egypt, Asia, the ancient Near East, and the Islamic world.

Then in Lectures 6–9 you return to the Great Hall and ascend the grand staircase to The Metropolitan Museum of Art's outstanding collection of European paintings, covering the Renaissance to the 19th century. Here you find masterpieces by Giotto, Raphael, Dürer, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, and many others. Lectures 10 and 11 cover the nearby Department of Drawings and Prints, which has the largest holdings in the museum, plus the Department of Photographs; these collections are largely in storage, and you will see treasures that are normally not on display.

Lectures 12–15 take you to galleries in the heart of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on the first floor, devoted to European decorative arts and sculpture, along with the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the ancient New World. These four lectures present a study in contrasts, covering the height of European culture represented by its rooms, furniture, statues, and other objects, followed by a survey of some of the world's most powerful non-European art, including masks, figures, and ritual vessels produced on three continents and countless islands over a span of 3,500 years.

Lecture 16 is a study in contrasts itself, featuring musical instruments, arms, and armor. Then in Lecture 17 you descend to The Metropolitan Museum of Art's ground floor to investigate fashion and fabrics at the Costume Institute and the Antonio Ratti Textile Center, whose extensive holdings are rarely seen by most visitors.

In a great sweep across the back of the museum, you study American art in Lectures 18 and 19; you sample 20th-century art in Lectures 20 and 21; and you tour the Robert Lehman Collection in Lectures 22 and 23, exploring a wing devoted to one of the most extraordinary gifts of art by a single individual. These six lectures feature scores of artists such as Sargent, Whistler, Picasso, Matisse, Goya, and Renoir. Lecture 24 concludes the course with a look at some of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's most illustrious donors and directors.

You would have to move through the museum at superhuman speed to take in all of the works investigated in detail in the 12-hour running time of this course. Yet the experience with Professor Brettell is one of a relaxed stroll with a very knowledgeable, very personable, and ceaselessly curious companion. The course is truly a user-friendly guide to a mammoth institution that has amassed astonishing treasures.

Where Did All These Masterpieces Come From?

One of the fascinating aspects of this course is that Professor Brettell provides insights from the curator's point of view. For instance, he notes that museum directors and curators have an idiosyncratic way of reading labels: They start at the bottom, which lists the donor and year of acquisition. "Those of us in the profession are interested in the stories of the formation of the great American art institutions, which are stories about donors." Some of these stories include:

  • In 1946 Gertrude Stein spurred the museum to start collecting modern art in earnest by bequeathing the famous portrait of her by Picasso.
  • The year 1969 saw the donation of an entire museum by Nelson Rockefeller: The Museum of Primitive Art, which formed the nucleus for the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
  • In 1971 the museum used donated funds to pay a record price for Velázquez's remarkable portrait Juan de Pareja—a likeness "so quiveringly alive," says Professor Brettell, "that you can't believe that the man won't walk out of the picture!"

Feed Your Imagination

A great art collection like The Metropolitan Museum of Art's is a place for dreamers, thinkers, and time travelers. It is a world where you can connect to people and cultures that are long vanished. "Great works of art communicate across time," says Professor Brettell. They evoke distinctive people, ways of life, and points of view that are both familiar and strange, and that put the present into a more universal context. A brooding sculpture, an intricate piece of jewelry, a reconstructed room with meticulous period furnishings, a powerfully painted portrait or landscape—these and other works of human craft and genius feed the imagination and satisfy the soul in ways that are hard to pin down, but that open a limitless vista of learning and enjoyment.

Museum Masterpieces: The Metropolitan Museum of Art [TTC Video]

Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre [TTC Video]

Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre [TTC Video]
Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre [TTC Video] by Richard Brettell
Course No 7175 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 256 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 3.6GB

Do you dream of exploring the masterpieces of the Louvre Museum in Paris? Whether you're planning your first visit to this world-class museum, returning for a second look, or simply playing the role of armchair art critic, you'll enjoy the pleasures that await you in this tour of France's greatest treasures.

In Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre, expert art critic and historian Richard Brettell takes you on an unforgettable journey through one of the world's greatest museums. This 12-lecture series begins with an overview of the Louvre's colorful history as royal palace, art academy, and national showcase. Then you'll explore some of the most beautiful and renowned examples from the museum's remarkable collection of European paintings from the late medieval period through the early 19th century, including masterworks by Raphael, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Watteau, Rubens and Vermeer.

Guided by Professor Brettell's expert commentary, you'll browse world-famous masterpieces and hidden gems as they come alive in luminous, full-color illustrations. What is the mystery behind Mona Lisa's smile? What does Jusepe Ribera's painting of the Clubfooted Boy seem to say about the proper subject of art? From the art novice to the expert, everyone will find something to enlighten and surprise.

You'll also retrace the steps of aristocrats and artisans who over eight centuries have come to this beautiful structure for inspiration. See how succeeding generations built on the aesthetic foundation of those who came before, and forged new styles and forms out of the works of the past.

Whether you're new to the world of art, or a long-time admirer of the masters of European painting, you'll be inspired and enchanted by Museum Masterpieces.

A Fascinating Façade

Your journey begins with a tour of the Louvre itself. A famously massive structure, the Louvre can be intimidating to a first-time visitor—and even to those who have already walked its many halls and corridors.

Professor Brettell offers an overview of this complicated structure, highlighting the most popular galleries and departments. You'll also get a guided tour of the building's colorful past as it has grown and changed from a palace to an art academy to a public museum over the course of its 800-year history. Here's a sampling of the fascinating facts you'll learn:

  • The original building that stood on the site of the modern Louvre was constructed as a walled defensive castle in the 12th century.
  • France's King Henry IV linked the original Louvre with the Tuileries, the palace of Catherine de Medici.
  • Many of the treasures of the Louvre's collection of ancient art can be traced from Napoleon's conquests.

You'll also learn about the most recent development in the Louvre's construction, which transformed these sprawling buildings into a unified museum and included the addition of the famous pyramid entrance designed by acclaimed American architect I. M. Pei.

With the aspiring traveler in mind, Professor Brettell provides practical tips designed to bring this spectacular showcase within reach—from the best times to visit the most popular galleries to commonsense strategies for avoiding "museum fatigue."

Every Picture Tells a Story

After the introductory lecture, Professor Brettell offers a selective sampling of the grand masterpieces and lesser known gems that make up the museum's collection of European paintings, including religious artwork, portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and scenes of everyday life. From beggars to kings, merchants to goddesses, miniature treasures to massive altarpieces, you'll sample the full range of the Louvre's rich collection of paintings and portraiture.

Professor Brettell provides a helpful framework for understanding and appreciating this rich collection by focusing on different time periods, schools, or regions in each lecture. Explore the influence of Italian art on French sensibilities, then sample the museum's remarkable holdings in Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, and German paintings. The latter half of the course focuses on French painters, tracing their development from the 17th century through the French Revolution, the Napoleonic era, and the early 19th century.

Each lecture opens with a featured work, a representative masterpiece that serves as an anchor for the discussion to follow. Through these featured works, Professor Brettell introduces many of the relevant themes and historical issues that will dominate each lecture, and demonstrates how close observation of an artist's techniques and compositional style can enhance our enjoyment of these paintings. From there, Professor Brettell expands on these themes and topics by exploring other key works from the same period or region. The lectures also serve as an introduction to art appreciation, as Professor Brettell demonstrates some of the most rewarding methods for examining these masterworks.

Throughout, the discussion is enlivened by fascinating anecdotes about the world of art captured in the Louvre's collection:

  • You'll learn about the Caravaggio masterpiece, The Death of the Virgin, which was commissioned for the Roman Church of Santa Maria della Scala a Trastevere, but was rejected by the clergy because the model for Mary was identified as a prostitute.
  • You'll examine the frenetic work of Jean-Honoré Fragonard, and hear how he boasted of painting a master work in only one hour.
  • You'll hear how Jacques-Louis David's rendition of a scene from classical Roman history helped spur the French Revolution.
  • You'll ponder the implications of Jean-Antoine Watteau's portrait of the clown character Pierrot, and consider the theory that the painting was actually the artist's melancholy self-portrait.

From engaging stories such as these, to insights into the techniques and methods of bygone masters, Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre offers an intriguing introduction to one of the world's finest museums.

Museum Masterpieces: The Louvre [TTC Video]

The Meaning of Flowers: Myth, Language & Lore [EPUB]

The Meaning of Flowers: Myth, Language & Lore [EPUB]
The Meaning of Flowers: Myth, Language & Lore by Gretchen Scoble, Ann Field
1998 | EPUB | 11.67MB

Should you send a rose of crimson or of white to the one you love? What gift of flowers best expresses thanks to a dear friend? From ancient days, long before words complicated what we say to one another, flowers have been our messengers, invested with our most cherished feelings. Illustrated with luscious collages by acclaimed artist Ann Field, this enchanting tribute to the power and symbolism of flowers offers a contemporary introduction to an age-old tradition.

The text draws on botanical, historical, and mythological sources worldwide, from ancient Rome to Victorian England, from Asia to the Americas, presenting portraits of almost 50 blossoms favored for all time. In Persia, for instance, the black medulla of the red tulip was said to represent the lover's heart, burnt to a coal by love's passion. To Victorians, lavender signified a broken trust, hollyhocks fertility, and nasturtiums a jest or whimsy. Blending fact, folktale, natural history, and original art, The Meaning of Flowers explores the language and lore of nature's most intimate and beautiful gifts.

How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft [EPUB]

How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft [EPUB]
How America Lost Its Secrets: Edward Snowden, the Man and the Theft by Edward Jay Epstein
2017 | EPUB | 8.28MB

A groundbreaking exposé that convincingly challenges the popular image of Edward Snowden as hacker turned avenging angel, while revealing how vulnerable our national security systems have become--as exciting as any political thriller, and far more important.

After details of American government surveillance were published in 2013, Edward Snowden, formerly a subcontracted IT analyst for the NSA, became the center of an international controversy: Was he a hero, traitor, whistle-blower, spy? Was his theft legitimized by the nature of the information he exposed? When is it necessary for governmental transparency to give way to subterfuge? Edward Jay Epstein brings a lifetime of journalistic and investigative acumen to bear on these and other questions, delving into both how our secrets were taken and the man who took them. He makes clear that by outsourcing parts of our security apparatus, the government has made classified information far more vulnerable; how Snowden sought employment precisely where he could most easily gain access to the most sensitive classified material; and how, though he claims to have acted to serve his country, Snowden is treated as a prized intelligence asset in Moscow, his new home.

The Language of Things: Understanding the World of Desirable Objects [EPUB]

The Language of Things: Understanding the World of Desirable Objects [EPUB]
The Language of Things: Understanding the World of Desirable Objects by Deyan Sudjic
2009 | EPUB | 10.53MB

We live in a world drowning in objects. But what do they tell us about ourselves?

In The Language of Things, Deyan Sudjic charts our relationship - both innocent and knowing - with all things designed. From the opulent excesses of the catwalk, or the technical brilliance of a laptop computer, to the subtle refinement of a desk lamp, he shows how we can be manipulated and seduced by our possessions.

Sudjic delivers an exhilarating insider’s history of design as he introduces us to the world's most original innovators and reveals the hidden meanings in their work. How did the design of a pistol influence a car? Why did a chair make a cafe the most fashionable place in Paris? What can we learn from a banknote, a police uniform or a typeface? And why can't any of us decide what size to wear our trousers? In an age when the word ‘designer’ has become synonymous with the cynical and manipulative, Sudjic examines the qualities behind successful design and explores the conflicting tensions between high art and mass production.

Brilliant and courageous, The Language of Things defines the visual vocabulary of our time and gives us a powerful new way of seeing the world.