Photo: Qurna is in present-day Iraq, whose cultural history is among the most ancient on Earth. Here: The Lion of Babylon from a portion of the Ishtar Gate, a prominent symbol of Iraqi culture.
Image: Battle of Ashkelon between the Crusaders and the Saracens.
Indiana Hoenlein, @conf_of_pres, Conference of Presidents, in re: An attack on Ashkelon eight centuries ago created a rampart against the city walls; it was abandoned, and prevented the desert from taking over the town, permitting the Ashkelon we stand in today.
Col. Wesley Fox is a Medal of Honor recipient who wrote two widely respected accounts of his wartime experiences in the Marine Corps. His books, Marine Rifleman: Forty-Three Years in the Corps and Courage and Fear: A Primer, are both considered classic war memoirs.
Drawing on over four decades of leadership experience, both during two wars and peacetime, Fox insists that a good leader must focus on building an organization based on the bonds of comradeship. Successful leaders are those who are actively concerned with the health, happiness, and daily lives of those who follow them. He contends that those who have such leaders will be better prepared to cope with any challenge because they are part of a group built on loyalty and trust.
Fox defines the six essential elements of successful leadership as care, personality, knowledge, motivation, commitment, and communication. He presents a chapter on each element, recounts how his views of leadership were forged, and offers impressive examples of leadership displayed by his fellow Marines. While drawn directly from his military experience, Fox contends that these six elements apply to all who want to pursue effective leadership. His book is certain to inspire and motivate both civilians and members of the military.
Photo: The key concept of the space elevator appeared in 1895 when the brilliant Russian scientist Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. He considered a similar tower that reached all the way into space and was built from the ground up to the altitude of 35,786 kilometers, the height of geostationary orbit. He noted that the top of such a tower would be circling Earth as in a geostationary orbit. Objects would acquire horizontal velocity due to the Earth's rotation as they rode up the tower, and an object released at the tower's top would have enough horizontal velocity to remain there in geostationary orbit. Tsiolkovsky's conceptual tower was a compression structure, while modern concepts call for a tensile structure (or "tether").
Photo: Underground habitation in Cappadocia, Turkey. Room for a full city of over 10,000 people to live; cut from volcanic rock.
In its 4.5 billion–year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful megavolcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How?
As a species, Homo sapiens is at a crossroads. Study of our planet’s turbulent past suggests that we are overdue for a catastrophic disaster, whether caused by nature or by human interference.
It’s a frightening prospect, as each of the Earth’s past major disasters—from meteor strikes to bombardment by cosmic radiation—resulted in a mass extinction, where more than 75 percent of the planet’s species died out. But in Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, Annalee Newitz, science journalist and editor of the science Web site io9.com explains that although global disaster is all but inevitable, our chances of long-term species survival are better than ever. Life on Earth has come close to annihilation—humans have, more than once, narrowly avoided extinction justduring the last million years—but every single time a few creatures survived, evolving to adapt to the harshest of conditions.
This brilliantly speculative work of popular science focuses on humanity’s long history of dodging the bullet, as well as on new threats that we may face in years to come. Most important, it explores how scientific breakthroughs today will help us avoid disasters tomorrow. From simulating tsunamis to studying central Turkey’s ancient underground cities; from cultivating cyanobacteria for “living cities” to designing space elevators to make space colonies cost-effective; from using math to stop pandemics to studying the remarkable survival strategies of gray whales, scientists and researchers the world over are discovering the keys to long-term resilience and learning how humans can choose life over death.
Newitz’s remarkable and fascinating journey through the science of mass extinctions is a powerful argument about human ingenuity and our ability to change. In a world populated by doomsday preppers and media commentators obsessively forecasting our demise, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a compelling voice of hope. It leads us away from apocalyptic thinking into a future where we live to build a better world—on this planet and perhaps on others. Readers of this book will be equipped scientifically, intellectually, and emotionally to face whatever the future holds.
The Last Viking unravels the life of the man who stands head and shoulders above all those who raced to map the last corners of the world. In 1900, the four great geographical mysteries--the Northwest Passage, the Northeast Passage, the South Pole, and the North Pole--remained blank spots on the globe. Within twenty years Roald Amundsen would claim all four prizes. Renowned for his determination and technical skills, both feared and beloved by his men, Amundsen is a legend of the heroic age of exploration, which shortly thereafter would be tamed by technology, commerce, and publicity. FÃ©d in his lifetime as an international celebrity, pursued by women and creditors, he died in the Arctic on a rescue mission for an inept rival explorer.
Stephen R. Bown has unearthed archival material to give Amundsen's life the grim immediacy of Apsley Cherry-Garrard's The Worst Journey in the World, the exciting detail of The Endurance, and the suspense of a Jon Krakauer tale. The Last Viking is both a thrilling literary biography and a cracking good story.
Benghazi, Libya. 9/11/2012. Just over a year after the fall of Gaddafi, and on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a group of heavily armed Islamic terrorists had their sights set on the U.S. diplomatic and intelligence presence in the city.
In the prolonged attack, four Americans died, including the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, the Information Officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, working for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Based on confidential eyewitness sources within the intelligence, diplomatic, and military communities, Under Fire is the terrifying account of that night, and of a desperate last stand amid the chaos of rebellion.
Donald Maclean was one of the most treacherous spies of the Cold War era, a member of the infamous “Cambridge Five” spy ring, yet the extent of this shrewd, secretive man’s betrayal has never fully been explored. Drawing on formerly classified files, A Spy Named Orphan documents the extraordinary story of a model diplomat leading a chilling double-life until his exposure and defection to the USSR.
Philipps describes a man prone to alcoholic rages, who rose through the ranks of the British Foreign Office while secretly transmitting through his Soviet handlers reams of diplomatic and military intelligence on the atom bomb and the shape of the postwar world. A mesmerizing tale of blind faith and fierce loyalty alongside dangerous duplicity and human vulnerability, Philipps’s narrative will stand as the definitive account of the man codenamed “Orphan.”
Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of WWII
Award-winning former Boston Globe reporter Mitchell Zuckoff unleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War II rescue mission, where a plane crash in the South Pacific plunged a trio of U.S.military personnel into a land that time forgot. Fans of Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers, Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor, and David Grann’s The Lost City of Z will be captivated by Zuckoff’s masterfully recounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery injungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.