Book cover of Persians: The Age of the Great Kings by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones
Ancient Civilizations

Persians: The Age of the Great Kings

The Achaemenid Persian kings ruled over the largest empire of antiquity, stretching from Libya to the steppes of Asia and from Ethiopia to Pakistan. From the palace-city of Persepolis, Cyrus the Great, Darius, Xerxes, and their heirs reigned supreme for centuries until the conquests of Alexander of Macedon brought the empire to a swift and unexpected end in the late 330s BCE.  […Learn More]

Book cover of The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic Wars by Kathryn Lomas
Ancient Civilizations

The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic Wars

By the third century BC, the once-modest settlement of Rome had conquered most of Italy and was poised to build an empire throughout the Mediterranean basin. What transformed a humble city into the preeminent power of the region? In The Rise of Rome, the historian and archaeologist Kathryn Lomas reconstructs the diplomatic ploys, political stratagems, and cultural exchanges whereby Rome established itself as a dominant player in a region already brimming with competitors. […Learn More]

Book cover of Phoenicians and the Making of the Mediterranean by Carolina Lopez Ruiz
Ancient Civilizations

Phoenicians and the Making of the Mediterranean

The first comprehensive history of the cultural impact of the Phoenicians, who knit together the ancient Mediterranean world long before the rise of the Greeks.

Imagine you are a traveler sailing to the major cities around the Mediterranean in 750 BC. You would notice a remarkable similarity in the dress, alphabet, consumer goods, and gods from Gibraltar to Tyre. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Rise and Reign of the Mammals: A New History, from the Shadow of the Dinosaurs to Us by Steve Brusatte
Biological Sciences

The Rise and Reign of the Mammals: A New History, from the Shadow of the Dinosaurs to Us

We humans are the inheritors of a dynasty that has reigned over the planet for nearly 66 million years, through fiery cataclysm and ice ages: the mammals. Our lineage includes saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, armadillos the size of a car, cave bears three times the weight of a grizzly, clever scurriers that outlasted Tyrannosaurus rex, and even other types of humans, like Neanderthals. Indeed humankind and many of the beloved fellow mammals we share the planet with today—lions, whales, dogs—represent only the few survivors of a sprawling and astonishing family tree that has been pruned by time and mass extinctions. How did we get here? […Learn More]

Book cover of Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine by Barry Strauss
Biography & Autobiography

Ten Caesars: Roman Emperors from Augustus to Constantine

In this essential and “enlightening” (The New York Times Book Review) work, Barry Strauss tells the story of the Roman Empire from rise to reinvention, from Augustus, who founded the empire, to Constantine, who made it Christian and moved the capital east to Constantinople.

During these centuries Rome gained in splendor and territory, then lost both. By the fourth century, the time of Constantine, the Roman Empire had changed so dramatically in geography, ethnicity, religion, and culture that it would have been virtually unrecognizable to Augustus. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece -- and Western Civilization by Barry Strauss
Ancient Civilizations

The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter that Saved Greece — and Western Civilization 

On a late September day in 480 B.C., Greek warships faced an invading Persian armada in the narrow Salamis Straits in the most important naval battle of the ancient world. Overwhelmingly outnumbered by the enemy, the Greeks triumphed through a combination of strategy and deception. More than two millennia after it occurred, the clash between the Greeks and Persians at Salamis remains one of the most tactically brilliant battles ever fought. […Learn More]

Book cover of A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters by Henry Gee
Biological Sciences

A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Pithy Chapters

In the tradition of Richard Dawkins, Bill Bryson, and Simon Winchester―An entertaining and uniquely informed narration of Life’s life story.

In the beginning, Earth was an inhospitably alien place―in constant chemical flux, covered with churning seas, crafting its landscape through incessant volcanic eruptions. Amid all this tumult and disaster, life began. The earliest living things were no more than membranes stretched across microscopic gaps in rocks, where boiling hot jets of mineral-rich water gushed out from cracks in the ocean floor. [ […Learn More]

Book cover of The Huns by Hyun Jin Kim
Asia

The Huns

This volume is a concise introduction to the history and culture of the Huns. This ancient people had a famous reputation in Eurasian Late Antiquity. However, their history has often been evaluated as a footnote in the histories of the later Roman Empire and early Germanic peoples. Kim addresses this imbalance and challenges the commonly held assumption that the Huns were a savage people who contributed little to world history, examining striking geopolitical changes brought about by the Hunnic expansion over much of continental Eurasia and revealing the Huns’ contribution to European, Iranian, Chinese and Indian civilization and statecraft. […Learn More]

Book cover of Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors by Adrian Goldsworthy
Ancient Civilizations

Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors

This definitive biography of one of history’s most influential father-son duos tells the story of two rulers who gripped the world — and their rise and fall from power.

Alexander the Great’s conquests staggered the world. He led his army across thousands of miles, overthrowing the greatest empires of his time and building a new one in their place. He claimed to be the son of a god, but he was actually the son of Philip II of Macedon. […Learn More]