No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
Browse audiobooks narrated by Tom Perkins, listen to samples and when you're ready head over to Audiobooks.com where you can get 3 FREE audiobooks on us
When Stephen Hawking died, he was widely recognized as the world's best physicist, and even its smartest person. He was neither. In Hawking Hawking, science journalist Charles Seife explores how Stephen Hawking came to be thought of as humanity's greatest genius. Hawking spent his career grappling with deep questions in physics, but his renown didn't rest on his science. He was a master of self-promotion, hosting parties for time travelers, declaring victory over problems he had not solved, and wooing billionaires. Confined to a wheelchair and physically dependent on a cadre of devotees, Hawking still managed to captivate the people around him-and use them for his own purposes. A brilliant expose and powerful biography, Hawking Hawking uncovers the authentic Hawking buried underneath the fake. It is the story of a man whose brilliance in physics was matched by his genius for building his own myth.Show more
Today, Germantown is a busy neighborhood in Philadelphia. On October 4, 1777, it was a small village on the outskirts of the colonial capital whose surrounding fields and streets witnessed one of the largest battles of the American Revolution. The bloody battle represented George Washington's attempt to recapture Philadelphia, but has long been overshadowed by better-known events like Brandywine, Saratoga, and Valley Forge. General Sir William Howe launched his campaign to capture Philadelphia in late July 1777, with an army of 16,500 British and Hessian soldiers aboard a 265-ship armada sailing from New York. Six difficult weeks later, Howe's expedition landed near Elkton, Maryland, and moved north into Pennsylvania. Washington's rebel army did all it could to harass Howe and fought and lost a major battle at Brandywine on September 11. Philadelphia fell to the British. On October 4, obscured by darkness and a heavy morning fog, Washington launched a surprise attack on the British garrison at Germantown. His early attack found initial success and drove the British legions before him. The recapture of the colonial capital seemed within Washington's grasp until poor decisions by the American high command brought about a reversal of fortune and a clear British victory.Show more
Walter Tschinkel has spent much of his career investigating the hidden subterranean realm of ant nests. This book takes you inside an unseen world where thousands of ants build intricate homes in the soil beneath our feet. Tschinkel describes the ingenious methods he has devised to study ant nests, showing how he fills a nest with plaster, molten metal, or wax and painstakingly excavates the cast. He guides you through living ant nests chamber by chamber, revealing how nests are created and how colonies function. How does nest architecture vary across species? Do ants have 'architectural plans'? How do nests affect our environment? As he delves into these and other questions, Tschinkel provides a one-of-a-kind natural history of the planet's most successful creatures and a compelling firsthand account of a life of scientific discovery. Offering a unique look at how simple methods can lead to pioneering science, Ant Architecture addresses the unsolved mysteries of underground ant nests while charting new directions for tomorrow's research, and reflects on the role of beauty in nature and the joys of shoestring science.Show more
More than three million American men, many of them volunteers, joined the AEF in the first twenty months of US involvement in the First World War. Of these, over 50,000 were killed on European soil. These were the Doughboys, the young men recruited from the cities and farms of the United States, who travelled across the Atlantic to aid the allies in the trenches and on the battlefields. Without their courage and determination, the outcome of the war would have been very different. Why did America become involved in the First World War? What was the fighting experience of the AEF in France and Russia? Most importantly, why has the vital contribution made by the Americans been largely neglected by historians of the Great War? In this fascinating study, based on original research, Gary Mead adjusts the balance of history in favor of these unsung heroes. Drawing on a rich selection of engaging personal accounts, he brings us the stories of the young men whose courage and tenacity changed the course of the war.Show more
From the beginning, American cinema has been both a powerful mythmaker and a social critic. D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, arguably the first feature film, shows us just how early in its history cinema had established its influence. Birth of a Nation famously portrayed the Klu Klux Klan in a favorable light, a portrayal that contributed to the modern resurgence of the group and brought racist depictions of African Americans imported from the minstrel show to the silver screen. In response, filmmakers of color have created nuanced and indelible portraits of race, as in Ava DuVernay's Selma or Barry Jenkin's Moonlight. Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman shows us just how far into our culture Birth of a Nation has reached. In this powerful new book, Greg Garrett brings his signature brand of theologically motivated cultural criticism to bear on this history. After more than a century of cinema, he argues, movies have altered our cultural perspectives in the same way that religious narratives have. And in fact, religious traditions offer powerful correctives to our cultural narratives. A Long, Long Way incorporates both cinematic and religious truth-telling to the subject of race and reconciliation. In acknowledging the racist history of America's national art form, Garrett offers the possibility of hope for the future.Show more
During his years as a public official, Mitchell Weiss was told that government can't do new things or solve tough challenges-it's too big and slow and bureaucratic. Sadly, this is what so many of us have come to believe. But in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, he and his city hall colleagues raced to support survivors in new, innovative ways. This kind of entrepreneurial spirit and savvy in government is growing, transforming the public sector's response to big problems at all levels. In this inspiring and instructive book, Weiss argues that we must shift from a mindset of 'Probability Government'-overly focused on performance management and on mimicking 'best' practices-to 'Possibility Government.' This means a leap to public leadership and management that embraces more imagination and riskier projects. Weiss shares the basic tenets of this new way of governing in the book's three sections: Government that can imagine, Government that can try new things, and Government that can scale. At a crucial moment in the evolution of government's role in our society, We the Possibility provides both inspiration and a positive model to help shape progress for generations to come.Show more
Albert Einstein is often viewed as the icon of genius, and his theories are admired for their beauty and correctness. Yet the final judge of any theory is the rigorous test of experiment, not the fame of its inventor or the allure of its mathematics. For decades, general relativity has passed test after test with flying colors, including some remarkable new tests using the recently detected gravitational waves. Still, there are reasons for doubt. Einstein's theory of gravity, as beautiful as it is, seems to be in direct contradiction with another theory he helped create: quantum mechanics. Until recently, this was considered to be a purely academic affair. But as more and more data pour in from the most distant corners of the universe, hinting at bizarre stuff called 'dark energy' and 'dark matter,' some scientists have begun to explore the possibility that Einstein's theory may not provide a complete picture of the cosmos. From the explosions of neutron stars and the collisions of black holes to the modern scientific process as a means to seek truth and understanding in the cosmos, this book takes the listener on a journey of learning and discovery that has been 100 years in the making.Show more
Logic puzzles were first introduced to the public by Lewis Carroll in the late nineteenth century and have been popular ever since. Games like Sudoku and Mastermind are fun and engrossing recreational activities, but they also share deep foundations in mathematical logic and are worthy of serious intellectual inquiry. In this informative and entertaining book, Jason Rosenhouse begins by introducing listeners to logic and logic puzzles and goes on to reveal the rich history of these puzzles. He shows how Carroll's puzzles presented Aristotelian logic as a game for children, yet also informed his scholarly work on logic. He reveals how another pioneer of logic puzzles, Raymond Smullyan, drew on classic puzzles about liars and truthtellers to illustrate Kurt Gödel's theorems and illuminate profound questions in mathematical logic. Rosenhouse then presents a new vision for the future of logic puzzles based on nonclassical logic, which is used today in computer science and automated reasoning to manipulate large and sometimes contradictory sets of data. Featuring a wealth of sample puzzles ranging from simple to extremely challenging, this lively and engaging book brings together many of the most ingenious puzzles ever devised, including the 'Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever,' metapuzzles, paradoxes, and the logic puzzles in detective stories.Show more
The Education of John Adams is the first biography of John Adams by a biographer with legal training. It examines his origins in colonial Massachusetts, his education, and his struggle to choose a career and define a place for himself in colonial society. It explores the flowering of his legal career and the impact that law had on him and his understanding of himself; his growing involvement with the American Revolution as polemicist, as lawyer, as congressional delegate, and as diplomat; and his commitment to defining and expounding ideas about constitutionalism and how it should work as the body of ideas shaping the new United States. The book traces his part in launching the government of the United States under the US Constitution; his service as the nation's first vice president and second president; and his retirement years, during which he was first a vexed and rejected ex-president and then became the revered Sage of Braintree. It describes the relationships that sustained him-with his wife, the brilliant and eloquent Abigail Adams; with his children; with such allies and supporters as Benjamin Rush and John Marshall; with such sometime friends and sometime adversaries as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson; and with such foes as Alexander Hamilton and Timothy Pickering.Show more
When did the first vertebrates emerge, and how did they differ from their invertebrate ancestors? When did vertebrates evolve jaws, paired fins, pattern vision, or a neocortex? How have evolutionary innovations such as these impacted vertebrate behavior and success? Georg Striedter and R. Glenn Northcutt answer these fundamental questions about all major vertebrate lineages. Highlighting the key innovations of each major taxonomic group, they review how evolutionary changes in vertebrate genetics, anatomy, and physiology are reflected in the nervous system. Brains Through Time examines how vertebrate nervous systems evolved in conjunction with other organ systems and the planet's ecology. Surveying an enormous range of information on genes and proteins, sensory and motor systems, central neural circuits, physiology, and animal behavior, the authors reconstruct the major changes that occurred as vertebrates emerged and then diversified. In the process, listeners are transported back in time to key stages of vertebrate evolution, notably the origin of vertebrates, the evolution of paired fins and jaws, the transition to life on land, and the origins of warm-blooded mammals and birds.Show more
The Civil War was the first 'modern war.' Because of the rapid changes in American society, Abraham Lincoln became president of a divided United States during a period of technological and social revolution. Among the many modern marvels that gave the North an advantage was the telegraph, which Lincoln used to stay connected to the forces in the field in almost real time. No leader in history had ever possessed such a powerful tool to gain control over a fractious situation. An eager student of technology, Lincoln had to learn to use the power of electronic messages. Without precedent to guide him, Lincoln began by reading the telegraph traffic among his generals. Then he used the telegraph to supplement his preferred form of communication-meetings and letters. He did not replace those face-to-face interactions. Through this experience, Lincoln crafted the best way to guide, reprimand, praise, reward, and encourage his commanders in the field. By paying close attention to Lincoln's 'lightning messages,' we see a great leader adapt to a new medium. No listener of this work of history will be able to miss the contemporary parallels. Watching Lincoln carefully word his messages-and follow up on those words with the right actions-offers a striking example for those who spend their days tapping out notes on computers and BlackBerrys.Show more
No single American could personify what Henry Luce called the American Century. But over his eighty-one years, Isaac Stern came closer than most. Russian-Jewish parents brought him to San Francisco at ten months; practice and talent got him to Carnegie Hall, critical acclaim, and the attention of the legendary impresario Sol Hurok at twenty-five. As America came of age, so too did Stern. He would go on to make music on five continents, records in formats from 78 rpm to digital, and friends as different as Frank Sinatra and Sir Isaiah Berlin. An unofficial cultural ambassador for Cold War America, he toured the world from Tokyo to Tehran and Tbilisi. He also shaped public policy from New York and Washington to Jerusalem and Shanghai. His passion for developing young talents-including Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, and Midori-led him to loan instruments to needy players, broker gigs for Soviet emigres, and reply in person to inquiring fifth-graders. David Schoenbaum traces Stern's sixty-year career from his formative years in San Francisco to concurrent careers as an activist, public citizen, chairman, and cultural leader in the Jewish community. Wide-ranging yet intimate, The Lives of Isaac Stern is a portrait of an artist and statesman who began as an American dreamer and left a lasting inheritance to his art, profession, and the world.Show more
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.