The male couple
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From the author of 1491—the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas—a deeply engaging new history of the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs. More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed radically different suites of plants and animals. When Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, he ended that separation at a stroke. Driven by the economic goal of establishing trade with China, he accidentally set off an ecological convulsion as European vessels carried thousands of species to new homes across the oceans. The Columbian Exchange, as researchers call it, is the reason there are tomatoes in Italy, oranges in Florida, chocolates in Switzerland, and chili peppers in Thailand. More important, creatures the colonists knew nothing about hitched along for the ride. Earthworms, mosquitoes, and cockroaches; honeybees, dandelions, and African grasses; bacteria, fungi, and viruses; rats of every description—all of them rushed like eager tourists into lands that had never seen their like before, changing lives and landscapes across the planet. Eight decades after Columbus, a Spaniard named Legazpi succeeded where Columbus had failed. He sailed west to establish continual trade with China, then the richest, most powerful country in the world. In Manila, a city Legazpi founded, silver from the Americas, mined by African and Indian slaves, was sold to Asians in return for silk for Europeans. It was the first time that goods and people from every corner of the globe were connected in a single worldwide exchange. Much as Columbus created a new world biologically, Legazpi and the Spanish empire he served created a new world economically. As Charles C. Mann shows, the Columbian Exchange underlies much of subsequent human history. Presenting the latest research by ecologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians, Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of ecological and economic exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City—where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted—the center of the world. In such encounters, he uncovers the germ of today’s fiercest political disputes, from immigration to trade policy to culture wars. In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination. From the Hardcover edition.
Life and a Half
Listed as one of the 100 best books on Africa, Life and a Half was Sony Labou Tansi's response to the death of close friends during a bloody military and political crackdown in Congo. The novel takes place in an imaginary African country run by the latest in a series of cannibalistic dictators who has captured Martial, the leader of the opposition, and his family. Though shot, knifed, butchered, and bled, Martial's spirit lives on to guide his followers in their fight against the dictators. Facing censorship, Tansi insisted that his book was a fable and that if he were ever given the opportunity to write about real events, he would be much more direct rather than follow the torturous paths of a novel. This crisp translation by Alison Dundy maintains the fast-paced action and bitingly satiric tone of the original.
An artists falls in love with his young model.
Rising Suns Rising Daughters
Japan has been a colonial power and has also been subject to early forms of colonisation, has been both an ally and an enemy of the west, and has moved from an inward-looking society to a major player in the global political economy. Using a new conceptual framework, the authors demonstrate how gender relations are crucially related to the construction of class, and show how women and gender relations are used as a resource in the struggle for power between nations.
The Qumran Mystery
A man robbed and brutally murdered: not such a rare event in late 1990s Jerusalem. But this victim was crucified. And suspected of having stolen an undiscovered Dead Sea Scroll that may touch on another crucifixion, nearly two millennia ago...For Ary Cohen and his palaeographer father, David, it is the start of a terrifying quest to find the Scroll. Their search will lead them to New York, England, Paris - and deep into the Judaean desert where an obscure Essene sect once made their home between the inhospitable Dead Sea and the forbidding cliffs of Qumran. And wherever they go, death follows. An extraordinary blend of contemporary adventure and Biblical learning that took France by storm, The Qumran Mystery is a compelling multi-layered thriller. It engrosses you in both Ary and David's plight, and equally in the central question of Jesus's existence and death. Its solution is so persuasively plotted, so daringly original, that it will continue to haunt you long after the last page has been turned.
A desperate man frantically flees France in the closing months of World War II.