Book cover of How the Victorians Took Us to the Moon: The Story of the 19th-Century Innovators Who Forged Our Future by Iwan Rhys Morus
Computers & Technology

How the Victorians Took Us to the Moon: The Story of the 19th-Century Innovators Who Forged Our Future

The rich and fascinating history of the scientific revolution of the Victorian Era, leading to transformative advances in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The Victorians invented the idea of the future. They saw it as an undiscovered country, one ripe for exploration and colonization. And to get us there, they created a new way of ordering and transforming nature, built on grand designs and the mass-mobilization of the resources of the British Empire. […Learn More]

Book cover of Porcelain: A History from the Heart of Europe by Suzanne L. Marchand
Biography & History

Porcelain: A History from the Heart of Europe

Porcelain was invented in medieval China—but its secret recipe was first reproduced in Europe by an alchemist in the employ of the Saxon king Augustus the Strong. Saxony’s revered Meissen factory could not keep porcelain’s ingredients secret for long, however, and scores of Holy Roman princes quickly founded their own mercantile manufactories, soon to be rivaled by private entrepreneurs, eager to make not art but profits […Learn More]

Book cover of Postcards: The Rise and Fall of the World’s First Social Network by Lydia Pyne
History

Postcards: The Rise and Fall of the World’s First Social Network

Although postcards are usually associated with cheeky seaside tableaus and banal holiday pleasantries, they are made possible by sophisticated industries and institutions, from printers to postal services. When they were invented postcards established what is now taken for granted in modern times: the ability to send and receive messages around the world easily and inexpensively. […Learn More]

Book cover of Inventing Disaster: The Culture of Calamity from the Jamestown Colony to the Johnstown Flood by Cynthia Kierner
Colonial Period

Inventing Disaster: The Culture of Calamity from the Jamestown Colony to the Johnstown Flood

When hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and other disasters strike, we count our losses, search for causes, commiserate with victims, and initiate relief efforts. Amply illustrated and expansively researched, Inventing Disaster explains the origins and development of this predictable, even ritualized, culture of calamity over three centuries, exploring its roots in the revolutions in science, information, and emotion that were part of the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and America. […Learn More]

Book cover of Jozef Pilsudski: Founding Father of Modern Poland by Joshua Zimmerman
Biography & Autobiography

Jozef Pilsudski: Founding Father of Modern Poland

The story of the enigmatic Jozef Pilsudski, the founding father of modern Poland: a brilliant military leader and high-minded statesman who betrayed his own democratic vision by seizing power in a military coup.

In the story of modern Poland, no one stands taller than Jozef Pilsudski. From the age of sixteen he devoted his life to reestablishing the Polish state that had ceased to exist in 1795. […Learn More]

Book cover of Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat Remade the World by Scott Reynolds Nelson
Biography & History

Oceans of Grain: How American Wheat Remade the World

To understand the rise and fall of empires, we must follow the paths traveled by grain—along rivers, between ports, and across seas. In Oceans of Grain, historian Scott Reynolds Nelson reveals how the struggle to dominate these routes transformed the balance of world power. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Howe Dynasty: The Untold Story of a Military Family and the Women Behind Britain's Wars for America by Julie Flavell
Biography & Autobiography

The Howe Dynasty: The Untold Story of a Military Family and the Women Behind Britain’s Wars for America

Finally revealing the family’s indefatigable women among its legendary military figures, The Howe Dynasty recasts the British side of the American Revolution.

In December 1774, Benjamin Franklin met Caroline Howe, the sister of British General Sir William Howe and Richard Admiral Lord Howe, in a London drawing room for “half a dozen Games of Chess.” But as historian Julie Flavell reveals, these meetings were about much more than board games: they were cover for a last-ditch attempt to forestall the outbreak of the American War of Independence. […Learn More]

Book cover of Queens of Jerusalem: The Women Who Dared to Rule  by Katherine Pangonis
Biography & Autobiography

Queens of Jerusalem: The Women Who Dared to Rule 

The untold story of a trailblazing dynasty of royal women who ruled the Middle East  and how they persevered through instability and seize greater power.

In 1187 Saladin’s armies besieged the holy city of Jerusalem. He had previously annihilated Jerusalem’s army at the battle of Hattin, and behind the city’s high walls a last-ditch defence was being led by an unlikely trio – including Sibylla, Queen of Jerusalem. They could not resist Saladin, but, if they were lucky, they could negotiate terms that would save the lives of the city’s inhabitants. […Learn More]