Monthly Archives: May 2012

I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, 3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness… Malachi 1:2-3

Jacob’s legacy : a genetic view of Jewish history    New Haven : Yale University Press, c 2008 David B. Goldstein Jews ethnology Hardcover. 1st. ed., later printing. xvii, 148 p. : map ; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 129-139) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Who are the Jews? Where did they come from? What is the connection between an ancient Jewish priest in Jerusalem and today’s Israeli sunbather on the beaches of Tel Aviv? These questions stand at the heart of this engaging book. Geneticist David Goldstein analyzes modern DNA studies of Jewish populations and examines the intersections of these scientific findings with the history (both biblical and modern) and oral tradition of the Jews. With a special gift for translating complex scientific concepts into language understandable to all, Goldstein delivers an accessible, personal, and fascinating book that tells the history of a group of people through the lens of genetics.

In a series of detective-style stories, Goldstein explores the priestly lineage of Jewish males as manifested by Y chromosomes; the Jewish lineage claims of the Lemba, an obscure black South African tribe; the differences in maternal and paternal genetic heritage among Jewish populations; and much more. The author also grapples with the medical and ethical implications of our rapidly growing command of the human genomic landscape. The study of genetics has not only changed the study of Jewish history, Goldstein shows, it has altered notions of Jewish identity and even our understanding of what makes a people a people.

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“Sure and it’s an Irishman has more inventions to his credit than anybody else in the USA,” says O’toole.

“Oh really, and who might that be?” asks O’sullivan

“A fellah by the name of Pat Pending!” replies O’toole

Inventing the American dream : a history of curious, extraordinary and just plain useful patents    London : British Library, 2004 Stephen van Dulken Inventions United States History Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. ix, 241 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [231]-236) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG   

Between 1911 and 1999, the number of registered U.S. patents rose from 1 million to 6 million. Showcasing dozens of those original patent drawings from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, American Inventions shows how trends in the history of the United States are reflected in the patent records. For example, the invention of the Frisbee dates back to 1920 when a Yale University student recalled throwing around the pie tins of the nearby Frisbie Baking Company, but it was not until 1948 that Fred Morrison and Warren Francioni capitalized on Americans’ new-found fascination with flying saucers by applying for a patent on a plastic flying disk.

Van Dulken surveys the inventions and patents of the workplace, the home, the kitchen, the open road, and the beauty parlor, to name a few, to find the compelling stories and eureka moments in American history. From bobby pins to in-line skates, from the jukebox to the fax machine, American Inventions is a captivating catalog of the famous and not-so-famous contraptions that have shaped the American way of life.

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A journey across centuries of religious conflict

Inquisition : the reign of fear    New York : Thomas Books, 2009 Toby Green Inquisition Spain and Portugal Hardcover. 1st U.S. ed. and printing. xix, 458 p. : col. ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [410]-438) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Toby Green’s incredible new book brings a vast panorama to life by focusing on the untold stories of individuals from all walks of life and every section of society who were affected by the Inquisition. From witches in Mexico, bigamists in Brazil, Freemasons, Hindus, Jews, Moslems and Protestants, the Inquisition reached every aspect of society. This history, though filled with stories of terror and the unspeakable ways in which human beings can treat one another, is ultimately one of hope, underscoring the resilience of the human spirit. Stretching from the unification of Spain under Ferdinand and Isabella in the fifteenth century to the Napoleanic wars, The Inquisition details this incredible history in all its richness and complexity.

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When you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad ones you did do well, that’s Memoirs. Will Rogers

In command of history : Churchill fighting and writing the Second World War    New York : Random House, c 2005 David Reynolds World War, 1939-1945 Personal narratives, British History and criticism Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xxiv, 631 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.     Includes bibliographical references (p. [540]-544) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Winston Churchill perceived himself to be one of the giants of the twentieth century. Combining the exhibitionism of a Clinton with the narcissism of an Obama he used his war memoir to write himself into history and politic himself back into 10 Downing Street all the while following Twain’s dictum that the truth, as his most valued commodity, should be used sparingly.

As Britain’s prime minister from 1940 to 1945, he  led his nation away from appeasement and into a war for which they were not prepared. Once again sucking America into the vortex of a fight that was not theirs but one in which they again did the heavy lifting in the triumph over the Axis dictators.

His six-volume account of those years, The Second World War, has wrongly shaped our perceptions of the conflict and wrongly secured Churchill’s place as an important chronicler. Now, for the first time, a book explains how Churchill wrote his “history”, and in the process enhances and often revises our understanding of one of history’s most confusing and confused leaders.

In Command of History sheds new light on Churchill in his multiple, often overlapping roles as warrior, statesman, politician, and historian. Citing excerpts from the drafts and correspondence for Churchill’s opus, David Reynolds opens our eyes to the myriad forces that shaped its final form.

We see how Churchill’s manuscripts were vetted by Whitehall to conceal secrets such as the breaking of the Enigma code by British spymasters at Bletchley Park, and how Churchill himself edited the volumes to avoid offending postwar statesmen such as Tito, Charles de Gaulle, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. We explore his confusions about the true story of the atomic bomb, learn of his second thoughts about Stalin, and watch him repackage himself as a consistent advocate of the D-Day landings.

In Command of History is a major work that forces us to reconsider much received wisdom about World War II. It also peels back the covers from a neglected period of Churchill’s life, his “second wilderness” years, 1945—1951. During this time Churchill, now over seventy and senile, wrote himself into history, politicked himself back into 10 Downing Street, and delivered some of the prehaps the only truly vital oratory of his career, the pivotal “iron curtain” speech which inspired a generation of Americans to stand on the ramparts against Russian aggression after the british failed.

Exhaustively researched and written, this is a portrait of one of the world’s most self publicized figures, a work by a historian about a politician who aspired to history.

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An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. Gilbert K. Chesterton

How to make friends and oppress people : classic travel advice for the gentleman adventurer New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2007 Vic Darkwood Travel Social aspects Handbooks, manuals, etc. Hardcover. 1st U.S. ed. and printing. 250 p. : ill. ; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 245-249). Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG  

No traveler to date has matched the intrepid 19th-century gentleman for his bravery, derring-do, and ability to make a perfect cup of tea in the most malarial of climes. But the sun has set on the golden age of exploration, and the records of these fearless, mustachioed adventurers have vanished from the shelves. In their place have appeared timorous travel guides written by authors who could hardly locate Rhodesia on a classroom globe let alone comment on the proper etiquette of an Italian duel.

Now, with the publication of Vic Darkwood’s How to Make Friends and Oppress People, at long last today’s aspiring adventurers can avail themselves of the best of classic travel advice on such invaluable topics as:

  • Using Anthills as Ovens
  • Hunting Elephants and Hippos with a Javelin
  • Sleeping on a Billiard Table as a Means of Avoiding Vermin
  • Digging a Well with a Pointy Stick

Fully illustrated with over 150 drawings and woodcuts, this inestimable collection of wisdom drawn from actual 19th and early 20th-century guidebooks will prove essential to any traveler looking to enjoy his excursion abroad or hoping to avoid death at the hands of inhospitable natives.

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