Recommend a Book

odyssey06

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Origins: How the Earth Made Us by Lewis Dartnell.

A broad sweeping book, in the style of "Guns, Germs & Steel" on the interaction between human evolution, history and the planet's geological forces.

Some random tidbits of information:
Had the King of Portugal sponsored Christopher Columbus rather than Spain, the voyage would have been doomed as it would have set forth from the Azores - where the wind blew towards Europe. He set sail from Spanish Canaries, where the wind blew towards the America.
How the silver mined in Spanish South America was shipped back to Europe, and then traded to China and India for spices and silk, and funded the building of the Taj Mahal.
There was no grass during the time of the dinosaurs, it hadn't evolved yet.
There was no fire until 600 million years ago as not enough available oxygen in the atmosphere - also a necessary component for animal life.
 

cremeegg

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I often wonder about these books, while they contain lots of interesting info. sometimes the authors ability to interpret it does not keep up, or they just fall to the temptation of making a neat point which the info. does not support.

Jared Diamond for example makes a point about the potato not providing as much nutrition as wheat per kilo. Which is perfectly true. He misses the point that potatoes produce more nutrition per acre and so are a much more valuable food crop. Growing space being a constraining resource which weight is not.

The discovery of the new world might have been delayed a few years, but the improvements in shipbuilding and especially in navigation would have brought some other explorer there soon enough.

That South American silver indirectly funded the Taj Mahal, I can see might be true. However that didn't provide any extra resources to the Mughals, and as they weren't importing either the materials or the labour I cannot see how the silver made any difference to their building projects.
 

Purple

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I'm reading The Lost Enlightenment; Central Asia's golden age. Fascinating book and reinforces my view that the history we teach our children is ridiculously Eurocentric.
I never heard of the city of Myra which, in the 12th century was the biggest city in the world. At the time London had a population of 18,000. Myra had a population on a half a million.
 

odyssey06

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I'm reading The Lost Enlightenment; Central Asia's golden age. Fascinating book and reinforces my view that the history we teach our children is ridiculously Eurocentric.
I never heard of the city of Myra which, in the 12th century was the biggest city in the world. At the time London had a population of 18,000. Myra had a population on a half a million.
Interesting list...
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/dec/06/world-largest-cities-mapped-through-history-data-viz

I have never heard of Myra (or is it Merv?) but I have recently been reading about the 'Great Silk Road', for what it's worth... it has a chapter in Origins.
 

Firefly

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2,995
So, I'm going on my holibobs soon.

So far I have:

The new Tiger Woods book
Michelle Obama "Becoming"
The Spy and the Traitor
Bad Blood

I usually get through 5 books so looking for a recommendation!

I also bought The Second World War by A. Beevor. I've started reading this and it's very good but it's a bit big to be lugging around..
 

TarfHead

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I'm tempted to read the James O'Brien book "How to be right .." but I think I need more escape from the toilet flush of Trumpism and Brexitism.
 

odyssey06

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1,530
BBC podcast series, Noise a Human History.

Ventures all over the place, but 'ear opening' in that it really does get you thinking about sound and noise and the things we take for granted in our 'soundscape'.
 

Betsy Og

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I managed to finish Tinker, Tailor.... and agree Leper that I really didn't enjoy the writing of le Carré. I found it complex for the sake of complexity and really did not enjoy it, it was a real struggle to complete it in the hope that it might improve ... it didn't.
A godawful film as well....I happened to see it in Leicester Square (where cinema is more expensive), so not impressed a'tall a'tall.
 

Jazz01

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I think you're thinking of tea bagging
With your knowledge of such and Purple's on going reference to "toilet porn" - I'm wondering if there should be another forum under the "The Depths" which could be set up (with exclusive access only of course!!) :D
 

Firefly

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2,995
With your knowledge of such and Purple's on going reference to "toilet porn" - I'm wondering if there should be another forum under the "The Depths" which could be set up (with exclusive access only of course!!) :D
There is, but you need to be invited first ;):cool:
 
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