History and Travel

20 Day Trips in and Around the Shawnee National Forest

20 Day Trips in and Around the Shawnee National Forest

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One of the unique and most scenic treasures in the Midwest, the Shawnee National Forest spans more than 279,000 acres deep in southern Illinois. The natural beauty, stunning vistas, and diverse flora and fauna of this picturesque region invite exploration by all who love nature. This easy-to-use guidebook highlights 20 exciting day or weekend trips within and near the Shawnee National Forest, making it easy to take advantage of the forest's myriad opportunities for outdoor recreational activity.

Intended for those without extensive hiking or camping experience, the guide provides all of the information necessary to safely and proficiently explore all the forest has to offer. Entertaining narratives describe each journey in vivid detail, offering advice on needed supplies, pointing out shortcuts, and spotlighting not-to-miss views. Entries also include thorough directions, GPS coordinates, trail difficulty ratings, landform descriptions, exact distances between points, and a list of available facilities at each location.

From biking and bird watching to hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing, the Shawnee National Forest is home to an abundance of possibilities for outdoor fun. With this practical guide in hand, adventure seekers and nature lovers alike can make the most of southern Illinois's own natural treasure.

Best Travel Guide of the Year by Booklist, 2013

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today's most pressing issues.

"Fascinating . . . a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the twenty-first century."--Bill Gates, The New York Times Book Review

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FINANCIAL TIMES AND PAMELA PAUL, KQED

How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?

Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today's most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive.

In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis?

Harari's unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading.

"If there were such a thing as a required instruction manual for politicians and thought leaders, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century would deserve serious consideration. In this collection of provocative essays, Harari . . . tackles a daunting array of issues, endeavoring to answer a persistent question: 'What is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?'"--BookPage (top pick)

A Short History of Humanity

A Short History of Humanity

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"Thrilling . . . a bracing summary of what we have learned [from] 'archaeogenetics'--the study of ancient DNA . . . Krause and Trappe capture the excitement of this young field."--Kyle Harper, The Wall Street Journal

Johannes Krause is the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and a brilliant pioneer in the field of archaeogenetics--archaeology augmented by DNA sequencing technology--which has allowed scientists to reconstruct human history reaching back hundreds of thousands of years before recorded time.

In this surprising account, Krause and journalist Thomas Trappe rewrite a fascinating chapter of this history, the peopling of Europe, that takes us from the Neanderthals and Denisovans to the present. We know now that a wave of farmers from Anatolia migrated into Europe 8,000 years ago, essentially displacing the dark-skinned, blue-eyed hunter-gatherers who preceded them. This Anatolian farmer DNA is one of the core genetic components of people with contemporary European ancestry. Archaeogenetics has also revealed that indigenous North and South Americans, though long thought to have been East Asian, also share DNA with contemporary Europeans.

Krause and Trappe vividly introduce us to the prehistoric cultures of the ancient Europeans: the Aurignacians, innovative artisans who carved flutes and animal and human forms from bird bones more than 40,000 years ago; the Varna, who buried their loved ones with gold long before the Pharaohs of Egypt; and the Gravettians, big-game hunters who were Europe's most successful early settlers until they perished in the ice age.

Genetics has earned a reputation for smuggling racist ideologies into science, but cutting-edge science makes nonsense of eugenics and "pure" bloodlines. Immigration and genetic exchanges have always defined our species; who we are is a question of culture, not biological inheritance. This revelatory book offers us an entirely new way to understand ourselves, both past and present.

After Everest: An Autobiography (Inscribed 1st printing; includes signed letter)
After Everest: An Autobiography (Inscribed 1st printing; includes signed letter)
After Everest: An Autobiography (Inscribed 1st printing; includes signed letter)
After Everest: An Autobiography (Inscribed 1st printing; includes signed letter)

After Everest: An Autobiography (Inscribed 1st printing; includes signed letter)

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Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986) was the Tibetan mountaineer who led Sir Edmund Hilary to the top of Mount Everest in 1953. The two men became the first people to set foot on the summit of the world's highest peak. After Everest is Norgay's autobiography, as told to Malcom Barnes.

Vikas Publishing, New Delhi, India, 1977 first printing. Dust jacket in protective cover; head of spine torn and missing; bottom of spine chipped; top edges and corners creased and chipped; dark green cloth with yellow lettering on spine; area of fading at head of spine and top front cover; endpapers tanned; autographed signed letter laid in; inscribed on half-title; binding good; text clean. G+/G-

Among Flowers

Among Flowers

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In this travel memoir, the acclaimed novelist Jamaica Kincaid chronicles a three-week trek through Nepal, the spectacular and exotic Himalayan land, where she and her companions are gathering seeds for planting at home. The natural world and, in particular, plants and gardening are central to Kincaid's work; in addition to such novels as Annie John and Lucy, Kincaid is the author of My Garden (Book): a collection of essays about her love of cultivating plants and gardens throughout her life. Among Flowers intertwines meditations on nature and stunning descriptions of the Himalayan landscape with observations on the ironies, difficulties, and dangers of this magnificent journey.

For Kincaid and three botanist friends, Nepal is a paradise, a place where a single day's hike can traverse climate zones, from subtropical to alpine, encompassing flora suitable for growing at their homes, from Wales to Vermont. Yet as she makes clear, there is far more to this foreign world than rhododendrons that grow thirty feet high. Danger, too, is a constant companion--and the leeches are the least of the worries. Unpredictable Maoist guerillas live in these perilous mountains, and when they do appear--as they do more than once--their enigmatic presence lingers long after they have melted back into the landscape. And Kincaid, who writes of the looming, lasting effects of colonialism in her works, necessarily explores the irony of her status as memsahib with Sherpas and bearers.

A wonderful blend of introspective insight and beautifully rendered description, Among Flowers is a vivid, engrossing, and characteristically frank memoir from one of our most striking voices.

An American Martyr in Persia: The Epic Life and Tragic Death of Howard Baskerville

An American Martyr in Persia: The Epic Life and Tragic Death of Howard Baskerville

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Little known in America but venerated as a martyr in Iran, Howard Baskerville was a twenty-two-year-old Christian missionary from South Dakota who traveled to Persia (modern-day Iran) in 1907 for a two-year stint teaching English and preaching the gospel. He arrived in the midst of a democratic revolution--the first of its kind in the Middle East--led by a group of brilliant young firebrands committed to transforming their country into a fully self-determining, constitutional monarchy, one with free elections and an independent parliament.

The Persian students Baskerville educated in English in turn educated him about their struggle for democracy, ultimately inspiring him to leave his teaching post and join them in their fight against a tyrannical shah and his British and Russian backers. "The only difference between me and these people is the place of my birth," Baskerville declared, "and that is not a big difference."

In 1909, Baskerville was killed in battle alongside his students, but his martyrdom spurred on the revolutionaries who succeeded in removing the shah from power, signing a new constitution, and rebuilding parliament in Tehran. To this day, Baskerville's tomb in the city of Tabriz remains a place of pilgrimage. Every year, thousands of Iranians visit his grave to honor the American who gave his life for Iran.

In this rip-roaring tale of his life and death, Aslan gives us a powerful parable about the universal ideals of democracy--and to what degree Americans are willing to support those ideals in a foreign land. Woven throughout is an essential history of the nation we now know as Iran--frequently demonized and misunderstood in the West. Indeed, Baskerville's life and death represent a "road not taken" in Iran. Baskerville's story, like his life, is at the center of a whirlwind in which Americans must ask themselves: How seriously do we take our ideals of constitutional democracy and whose freedom do we support?

Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition

Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition

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Discover wonder.

"A wanderlust-whetting cabinet of curiosities on paper."-- New York Times

Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura is a phenomenon of a travel book that shot to the top of bestseller lists when it was first published and changed the way we think about the world, expanding our sense of how strange and marvelous it really is.

This second edition takes readers to even more curious and unusual destinations, with more than 100 new places, dozens and dozens of new photographs, and two very special features: twelve city guides, covering Berlin, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Cairo, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Moscow, New York City, Paris, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Plus a foldout map with a dream itinerary for the ultimate around-the-world road trip. More a cabinet of curiosities than traditional guidebook, Atlas Obscura revels in the unexpected, the overlooked, the bizarre, and the mysterious. Here are natural wonders, like the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can sit and drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M. C. Escher-like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby-Jumping Festival in Spain--and no, it's not the babies doing the jumping, but masked men dressed as devils who vault over rows of squirming infants.

Every page gets to the very core of why humans want to travel in the first place: to be delighted and disoriented, uprooted from the familiar and amazed by the new. With its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, and new city guides, it is a book you can open anywhere and be transported. But proceed with caution: It's almost impossible not to turn to the next entry, and the next, and the next.

Black Lamb And Grey Falcon (USED)

Black Lamb And Grey Falcon (USED)

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"Rebecca West's magnum opus . . . one of the great books of our time." --The New Yorker

Written on the brink of World War II, Rebecca West's classic examination of the history, people, and politics of Yugoslavia illuminates a region that is still a focus of international concern. A magnificent blend of travel journal, cultural commentary, and historical insight, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon probes the troubled history of the Balkans and the uneasy relationships among its ethnic groups. The landscape and the people of Yugoslavia are brilliantly observed as West untangles the tensions that rule the country's history as well as its daily life.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War

Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War

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Traditional accounts of the making of the modern world afford a place of primacy to European history. Some credit the fifteenth-century Age of Discovery and the maritime connection it established between West and East; others the accidental unearthing of the "New World." Still others point to the development of the scientific method, or the spread of Judeo-Christian beliefs; and so on, ad infinitum. The history of Africa, by contrast, has long been relegated to the remote outskirts of our global story. What if, instead, we put Africa and Africans at the very center of our thinking about the origins of modernity?

In a sweeping narrative spanning more than six centuries, Howard W. French does just that, for Born in Blackness vitally reframes the story of medieval and emerging Africa, demonstrating how the economic ascendancy of Europe, the anchoring of democracy in the West, and the fulfillment of so-called Enlightenment ideals all grew out of Europe's dehumanizing engagement with the "dark" continent. In fact, French reveals, the first impetus for the Age of Discovery was not--as we are so often told, even today--Europe's yearning for ties with Asia, but rather its centuries-old desire to forge a trade in gold with legendarily rich Black societies sequestered away in the heart of West Africa.

Creating a historical narrative that begins with the commencement of commercial relations between Portugal and Africa in the fifteenth century and ends with the onset of World War II, Born in Blackness interweaves precise historical detail with poignant, personal reportage. In so doing, it dramatically retrieves the lives of major African historical figures, from the unimaginably rich medieval emperors who traded with the Near East and beyond, to the Kongo sovereigns who heroically battled seventeenth-century European powers, to the ex-slaves who liberated Haitians from bondage and profoundly altered the course of American history.

While French cogently demonstrates the centrality of Africa to the rise of the modern world, Born in Blackness becomes, at the same time, a far more significant narrative, one that reveals a long-concealed history of trivialization and, more often, elision in depictions of African history throughout the last five hundred years. As French shows, the achievements of sovereign African nations and their now-far-flung peoples have time and again been etiolated and deliberately erased from modern history. As the West ascended, their stories--siloed and piecemeal--were swept into secluded corners, thus setting the stage for the hagiographic "rise of the West" theories that have endured to this day.

"Capacious and compelling" (Laurent Dubois), Born in Blackness is epic history on the grand scale. In the lofty tradition of bold, revisionist narratives, it reframes the story of gold and tobacco, sugar and cotton--and of the greatest "commodity" of them all, the twelve million people who were brought in chains from Africa to the "New World," whose reclaimed lives shed a harsh light on our present world.

Chelsea  Reach:  The  Brutal  Friendship  of  Whistler  and  Walter  Greaves
Chelsea  Reach:  The  Brutal  Friendship  of  Whistler  and  Walter  Greaves
Chelsea  Reach:  The  Brutal  Friendship  of  Whistler  and  Walter  Greaves

Chelsea Reach: The Brutal Friendship of Whistler and Walter Greaves

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London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1970. 1st edition. Signed by author on title page. Dust jacket in protective cover; head of spine lightly creased and chipped; corners chipped; price clipped; flaps lightly toned; fore-edge of text has a few ink light ink marks; blue cloth with read title label on spine; illustrated endpapers; binding good; text clean. G+/G+