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ASHOKA IN ANCIENT INDIA

Author: LAHIRI, NAYANJOT
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In the third century BCE, Ashoka ruled an empire encompassing much of modern-day India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. During his reign, Buddhism proliferated across the South Asian subcontinent, and future generations of Asians came to see him as the ideal Buddhist king. Disentangling the threads of Ashoka's life from the knot of legend that surrounds it, Nayanjot Lahiri presents a vivid biography of this extraordinary Indian emperor and deepens our understanding of a legacy that extends beyond the bounds of Ashoka's lifetime and dominion.

At the center of Lahiri's account is the complex personality of the Maurya dynasty's third emperor--a strikingly contemplative monarch, at once ambitious and humane, who introduced a unique style of benevolent governance. Ashoka's edicts, carved into rock faces and stone pillars, reveal an eloquent ruler who, unusually for the time, wished to communicate directly with his people. The voice he projected was personal, speaking candidly about the watershed events in his life and expressing his regrets as well as his wishes to his subjects.

Ashoka's humanity is conveyed most powerfully in his tale of the Battle of Kalinga. Against all conventions of statecraft, he depicts his victory as a tragedy rather than a triumph--a shattering experience that led him to embrace the Buddha's teachings. Ashoka in Ancient India breathes new life into a towering figure of the ancient world, one who, in the words of Jawaharlal Nehru, "was greater than any king or emperor."

ASHOKA: Search for India's Lost Emperor

ASHOKA: Search for India's Lost Emperor

Author: ALLEN, CHARLES
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Yet, a few mysterious stone monuments and inscriptions miraculously survived the purge. In Ashoka: The Search for India's Lost Emperor, historian Charles Allen tells the incredible story of how a few enterprising archaeologists deciphered the mysterious lettering on keystones and recovered India's ancient past. Drawing from rich sources, Allen crafts a clearer picture of this enigmatic figure than ever before.
ATOMIC FRAGMENTS: A Daughter's Questions

ATOMIC FRAGMENTS: A Daughter's Questions

Author: PALEVSKY, MARY
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More than most of us, Mary Palevsky needed to come to terms with the moral complexities of the atomic bomb: Her parents worked on its development during World War II and were profoundly changed by that experience. After they died, unanswered questions sent their daughter on a search for understanding. This compelling, sometimes heart-wrenching chronicle is the story of that quest. It takes her, and us, on a journey into the minds, memories, and emotions of the bomb builders.

Scientists Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, Joseph Rotblat, Herbert York, Philip Morrison, and Robert Wilson, and philosopher David Hawkins responded to Palevsky's personal approach in a way that dramatically expands their previously published statements. Her skill and passion as an interlocutor prompt these men to recall their lives vividly and to reexamine their own decisions, debating within themselves the complex issues raised by the bomb.

The author herself, seeking to comprehend the widely differing ways in which individual scientists made choices about the bomb and made sense of their work, deeply reconsiders those questions of commitment and conscience her parents faced. In personal vignettes that complement the interviews, she captures other remembrances of the bomb through commemorative events and chance encounters with people who were "there." Her concluding chapter reframes the crucial moral questions in terms that show the questions themselves to be the abiding legacy we all share. This beautifully written book bridges generations to make its readers participants in the ongoing dialogue about science and philosophy, war and peace.
AXEMAKER'S GIFT

AXEMAKER'S GIFT

Author: BURKE, JAMES
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At the close of this century of creativity and discovery, humanists and scientists alike wonder: How could human beings in all their brilliance - those "axemakers" with the genius to invent, lead, inspire, heal, design - have brought the world to the brink of destruction? The answers can be found in The Axemaker's Gift, an imaginative and brilliantly informed double-edged history of human culture. James Burke, a leading expert on the interaction of technology and society, and Robert Ornstein, a pioneer in charting the evolution of consciousness, show how the interaction between innovation and the brain has continually reshaped the world and, more important, the way we think.
BACK ON THE ROAD

BACK ON THE ROAD

Author: GUEVARA, ERNESTO CHE
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The fascinating travel diaries and photographs that make up Back on the Road are a vital complement to The Motorcycle Diaries, described by the London Times as Das Kapital meets Easy Rider. These journals chronicle Che Guevara's second trip through Latin America as his youthful idealism was developing into the political fervor that made him a revolutionary icon. More than any of his peers in the Cuban revolution, Che had a continental sense of justice, first conceptualized during his travels as a young man. He saw the mountains and deserts of Bolivia, the Inca remains at Machu Picchu and Cuzco, the forests of Guatemala; he sailed up the Pacific coast from Ecuador to Panama and met his first wife in Honduras. He witnessed the CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and, in Mexico, he was introduced to an ambitious young man named Fidel Castro. Back on the Road provides a vital link between The Motorcycle Diaries and the Cuban Revolution, offering an indispensable portrait of the gestation of a revolutionary mind. A wonderful glimpse into the maturing mind of a great man and a vital companion to the previous Che diaries. -- Michael McCaughan, Irish Times
BASILICA: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's

BASILICA: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's

Author: SCOTTI, R. A.
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In this dramatic journey through religious and artistic history, R. A. Scotti traces the defining event of a glorious epoch: the building of St. Peter's Basilica. Begun by the ferociously ambitious Pope Julius II in 1506, the endeavor would span two tumultuous centuries, challenge the greatest Renaissance masters--Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bramante--and enrage Martin Luther. By the time it was completed, Shakespeare had written all of his plays, the Mayflower had reached Plymouth--and Rome had risen with its astounding basilica to become Europe's holy metropolis. A dazzling portrait of human achievement and excess, Basilica is a triumph of historical writing.
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BEFORE AND AFTER MUHAMMAD: THE FIRST MILLENNIUM REFOCUSED

Author: FOWDEN, GARTH
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Islam emerged amid flourishing Christian and Jewish cultures, yet students of Antiquity and the Middle Ages mostly ignore it. Despite intensive study of late Antiquity over the last fifty years, even generous definitions of this period have reached only the eighth century, whereas Islam did not mature sufficiently to compare with Christianity or rabbinic Judaism until the tenth century. Before and After Muhammad suggests a new way of thinking about the historical relationship between the scriptural monotheisms, integrating Islam into European and West Asian history.

Garth Fowden identifies the whole of the First Millennium--from Augustus and Christ to the formation of a recognizably Islamic worldview by the time of the philosopher Avicenna--as the proper chronological unit of analysis for understanding the emergence and maturation of the three monotheistic faiths across Eurasia. Fowden proposes not just a chronological expansion of late Antiquity but also an eastward shift in the geographical frame to embrace Iran.

In Before and After Muhammad, Fowden looks at Judaism, Christianity, and Islam alongside other important developments in Greek philosophy and Roman law, to reveal how the First Millennium was bound together by diverse exegetical traditions that nurtured communities and often stimulated each other.

BICYCLE: THE HISTORY

BICYCLE: THE HISTORY

Author: HERLIHY, DAVID
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The first comprehensive history of the bicycle--lavishly illustrated with images spanning two centuries

During the nineteenth century, the bicycle evoked an exciting new world in which even a poor person could travel afar and at will. But was the "mechanical horse" truly destined to usher in a new era of road travel or would it remain merely a plaything for dandies and schoolboys? In Bicycle: The History (named by Outside magazine as the #1 book on bicycles), David Herlihy recounts the saga of this far-reaching invention and the passions it aroused. The pioneer racer James Moore insisted the bicycle would become "as common as umbrellas." Mark Twain was more skeptical, enjoining his readers to "get a bicycle. You will not regret it--if you live."

Because we live in an age of cross-country bicycle racing and high-tech mountain bikes, we may overlook the decades of development and ingenuity that transformed the basic concept of human-powered transportation into a marvel of engineering. This lively and engrossing history retraces the extraordinary story of the bicycle--a history of disputed patents, brilliant inventions, and missed opportunities. Herlihy shows us why the bicycle captured the public's imagination and the myriad ways in which it reshaped our world.

BILL MOYERS ON AMERICA

BILL MOYERS ON AMERICA

Author: MOYERS, BILL
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During the fifty years he has been variously a reporter, a political spokesperson, and a broadcaster, Bill Moyers has demonstrated a deep commitment to understanding the workings of our government and the role of the individual in society. His essays and commentaries, such as the recent "Shivers Down the Spine," "A Time for Anger," and "Journalism Under Fire," are argued over and passed along as soon as they appear in print or on the Internet. Identifying what he sees as a political system increasingly at the mercy of a corporate ruling class, he urges a reengagement with the spirit of community that makes the work of democracy possible. Not only a trenchant critique of what is wrong, Moyers on America is also a call to arms for the progressive promise of the people of America, in whom his faith is strong.
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BLACK BANNERS OF ISIS: THE ROOTS OF THE NEW CALIPHATE

Author: WASSERSTEIN, DAVID J.
$26.00
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In this eye-opening book, a historian of Islam offers a penetrating portrait of ISIS, looking closely at its medieval roots. He shows how the group is not only a military and political movement but also, and primarily, a religious one, possessing a coherent worldview, a patent strategy, and a clear goal: the re-creation of a medieval caliphate.