Author: Bathroom Readers' Institute
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Whether it’s B.C. or A.D., you’ll be wondering WTF! This exciting title from the folks at the Bathroom Readers' Institute contains the strangest short history articles from over 30 Bathroom Readers—along with 50 all-new pages. From the 20th century to the Old West, from the Age of Enlightenment to the Dark Ages, from ancient cultures all the way back to the dawn of time, Strange History is overflowing with mysterious artifacts, macabre legends, kooky inventions, reality-challenged rulers, boneheaded blunders, and mind-blowing facts. Read about… The curse of Macbeth Stupid history: Hollywood style The secret LSD experiments of the 1960s In search of the lost “Cloud People” of Peru The Swedish queen who declared war on fleas Unearthing the past with the Outhouse Detectives The Apollo astronaut who swears he saw a UFO How to brew a batch of 5,000-year-old beer The brutal bloodbaths at Rome’s Coliseum Ghostly soup from ancient China The bathroom of the 1970s And much, much more!
Exotic, seductive, and doomed: the antebellum mixed-race free woman of color has long operated as a metaphor for New Orleans. Commonly known as a "quadroon," she and the city she represents rest irretrievably condemned in the popular historical imagination by the linked sins of slavery and interracial sex. However, as Emily Clark shows, the rich archives of New Orleans tell a different story. Free women of color with ancestral roots in New Orleans were as likely to marry in the 1820s as white women. And marriage, not concubinage, was the basis of their family structure. In The Strange History of the American Quadroon, Clark investigates how the narrative of the erotic colored mistress became an elaborate literary and commercial trope, persisting as a symbol that long outlived the political and cultural purposes for which it had been created. Untangling myth and memory, she presents a dramatically new and nuanced understanding of the myths and realities of New Orleans's free women of color.
Here is the true story of Bonnie Parker (1910-1934) and Clyde Barrow (1909-1934), a young sociopathic Southern couple gunned down by authorities after a two-year crime spree that left twelve people dead. This history cuts through hype and mythology and examines the outlaws' liberal and dysfunctional sex life, their astonishing ability to elude a 1000-man posse, the contradictory accounts of the mythic ambush that resulted in their deaths and the extraordinary growth of Bonnie and Clyde legend.
Sun in a Bottle
Author: Charles Seife
With his knack for translating science into understandable, anecdotal prose and his trademark dry humor, award-winning science writer Charles Seife presents the first narrative account of the history of fusion for general readers in more than a decade. Tracing the story from its beginning into the twenty-first century, Sun in a Bottle reveals fusion's explosive role in some of the biggest scientific scandals of all time. Throughout this journey, he introduces us to the daring geniuses, villains, and victims of fusion science. With the giant international fusion project ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) now under construction, it's clear that the science of wishful thinking is as strong as ever. This book is our key to understanding why.
Buckingham Palace is one of the most familiar buildings in the world, but who knows the real tales hidden behind its ceremonial gates? Who was the witch that once lived in the royal courtyard? How could courtesans once have plied their trade in front of the present royal windows? How dare a prime minister call the palace a monstrous insult to the nation? This text presents a detailed exploration of the ordinary and sometimes extraordinary people who owned or lived on the land now occupied by the Palace, and of the royal occupants who later inhabited it. The book reveals how Buckingham Palace came to be the place it is today, from the time when it probably formed the escape route from a Roman battle nearly 2,000 years ago, to the establishment of the first gentleman's house there in the 17th century, and on into a checkered royal history, which includes an ambitious Saxon queen and James I's plan to found an English silk industry in the Palace gardens.
Author: Joe Rhatigan
This is history served up high-octane, with all of the fun and none of the boredom. It's not about memorizing lists of dates or names, or remembering which general won what battle. Instead, BIZARRE HISTORY merrily digs up the scandals, the strangeness, and the scintillating details that illuminate personalities, events, and real life. Think of it not as a textbook, but as history?s juicy unauthorized biography--a historical document in which relevance never gets in the way of a good read. There are humorous quotes from famous figures such as Mark Twain and Napoleon ("History is a myth that men agree to believe"), as well as witty commentary about leaders of the past. After all, while you're probably familiar with William the Conquerer, have you heard of Charles the Simple, ruler of France and son of Louis the Stammerer? What about the emperor who entered Rome in a chariot drawn by 50 naked slaves?and invented the first whoopee cushion, too? But you can find lots of wildness closer to home: George Washington wrote love letters to a married woman; "Old Hickory" Andrew Jackson had been in at least seven duels before becoming president; and Benjamin Franklin fathered an illegitimate child. Paranoia also plagued a few of our presidents: the only thing Franklin Roosevelt had to fear was the number 13: he wouldn't invite 13 guests to a dinner party or travel on the 13th. And both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan had encounters with UFOs! The fun facts span the globe, covering the crazy acts of Caligula in the Roman Empire; the "Dog Shogun" in 17th century Japan; the "Pork and Beans" war between the US and Canada; and even details about fashion, medicine, sports, and the real Dracula. It's a wild journey that no one could resist!
Author: Inga Saffron
Publisher: Broadway Books
In the tradition of Cod and Olives: a fascinating journey into the hidden history, culture, and commerce of caviar. Once merely a substitute for meat during religious fasts, today caviar is an icon of luxury and wealth. In Caviar, Inga Saffron tells, for the first time, the story of how the virgin eggs of the prehistoric-looking, bottom-feeding sturgeon were transformed from a humble peasant food into a czar’s delicacy–and ultimately a coveted status symbol for a rising middle class. She explores how the glistening black eggs became the epitome of culinary extravagance, while taking us on a revealing excursion into the murky world of caviar on the banks of the Volga River and Caspian Sea in Russia, the Elbe in Europe, and the Hudson and Delaware Rivers in the United States. At the same time, Saffron describes the complex industry caviar has spawned, illustrating the unfortunate consequences of mass marketing such a rare commodity. The story of caviar has long been one of conflict, crisis, extravagant claims, and colorful characters, such as the Greek sea captain who first discovered the secret method of transporting the perishable delicacy to Europe, the canny German businessmen who encountered a wealth of untapped sturgeon in American waters, the Russian Communists who created a sophisticated cartel to market caviar to an affluent Western clientele, the dirt-poor poachers who eked out a living from sturgeon in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse and the “caviar Mafia” that has risen in their wake, and the committed scientists who sacrificed their careers to keep caviar on our tables. Filled with lore and intrigue, Caviar is a captivating work of culinary, natural, and cultural history. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Nathan Belofsky
This extraordinary true account of bad science, oafish behavior and nauseating procedures takes readers on a wild ride through medical history's dubious ideas, bizarre treatments and biggest blunders. Original.
Author: Stephen Paul DeVillo
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing Inc.
From peglegged Peter Stuyvesant to CBGB’s, the story of the Bowery reflects the history of the city that grew up around it. It was the street your mother warned you about—even if you lived in San Francisco. Long associated with skid row, saloons, freak shows, violence, and vice, the Bowery often showed the worst New York City had to offer. Yet there were times when it showed its best as well. The Bowery is New York’s oldest street and Manhattan’s broadest boulevard. Like the city itself, it has continually reinvented itself over the centuries. Named for the Dutch farms, or bouweries, of the area, the path’s lurid character was established early when it became the site of New Amsterdam’s first murder. A natural spring near the Five Points neighborhood led to breweries and taverns that became home to the gangs of New York—the “Bowery B’hoys,” “Plug Uglies,” and “Dead Rabbits.” In the Gaslight Era, teenaged streetwalkers swallowed poison in McGurk’s Suicide Hall. A brighter side to the street was reflected in places of amusement and culture over the years. A young P.T. Barnum got his start there, and Harry Houdini learned showmanship playing the music halls and dime museums. Poets, singers, hobos, gangsters, soldiers, travelers, preachers, storytellers, con-men, and reformers all gathered there. Its colorful cast of characters includes Peter Stuyvesant, Steve Brodie, Carry Nation, Stephen Foster, Stephen Crane, and even Abraham Lincoln. The Bowery: The Strange History of New York’s Oldest Street traces the full story of this once notorious thoroughfare from its pre-colonial origins to the present day.
A Kingdom Strange
Author: James Horn
In 1587, John White and 117 men, women, and children landed off the coast of North Carolina on Roanoke Island, hoping to carve a colony from fearsome wilderness. A mere month later, facing quickly diminishing supplies and a fierce native population, White sailed back to England in desperation. He persuaded the wealthy Sir Walter Raleigh, the expedition's sponsor, to rescue the imperiled colonists, but by the time White returned with aid the colonists of Roanoke were nowhere to be found. He never saw his friends or family again.In this gripping account based on new archival material, colonial historian James Horn tells for the first time the complete story of what happened to the Roanoke colonists and their descendants. A compellingly original examination of one of the great unsolved mysteries of American history, A Kingdom Strange will be essential reading for anyone interested in our national origins.
A Long Strange Trip
Author: Dennis McNally
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
The complete history of one of the most long-lived and legendary bands in rock history, written by its official historian and publicist–a must-have chronicle for all Dead Heads, and for students of rock and the 1960s’ counterculture. From 1965 to 1995, the Grateful Dead flourished as one of the most beloved, unusual, and accomplished musical entities to ever grace American culture. The creative synchronicity among Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan exploded out of the artistic ferment of the early sixties’ roots and folk scene, providing the soundtrack for the Dionysian revels of the counterculture. To those in the know, the Dead was an ongoing tour de force: a band whose constant commitment to exploring new realms lay at the center of a thirty-year journey through an ever-shifting array of musical, cultural, and mental landscapes. Dennis McNally, the band’s historian and publicist for more than twenty years, takes readers back through the Dead’s history in A Long Strange Trip. In a kaleidoscopic narrative, McNally not only chronicles their experiences in a fascinatingly detailed fashion, but veers off into side trips on the band’s intricate stage setup, the magic of the Grateful Dead concert experience, or metaphysical musings excerpted from a conversation among band members. He brings to vivid life the Dead’s early days in late-sixties San Francisco–an era of astounding creativity and change that reverberates to this day. Here we see the group at its most raw and powerful, playing as the house band at Ken Kesey’s acid tests, mingling with such legendary psychonauts as Neal Cassady and Owsley “Bear” Stanley, and performing the alchemical experiments, both live and in the studio, that produced some of their most searing and evocative music. But McNally carries the Dead’s saga through the seventies and into the more recent years of constant touring and incessant musical exploration, which have cemented a unique bond between performers and audience, and created the business enterprise that is much more a family than a corporation. Written with the same zeal and spirit that the Grateful Dead brought to its music for more than thirty years, the book takes readers on a personal tour through the band’s inner circle, highlighting its frenetic and very human faces. A Long Strange Trip is not only a wide-ranging cultural history, it is a definitive musical biography.
A Strange Eventful History
Author: Michael Holroyd
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EBOOK DOES NOT CONTAIN PHOTOS INCLUDED IN THE PRINT EDITION. Deemed "a prodigy among biographers" by The New York Times Book Review, Michael Holroyd transformed biography into an art. Now he turns his keen observation, humane insight, and epic scope on an ensemble cast, a remarkable dynasty that presided over the golden age of theater. Ellen Terry was an ethereal beauty, the child bride of a Pre-Raphaelite painter who made her the face of the age. George Bernard Shaw was so besotted by her gifts that he could not bear to meet her, lest the spell she cast from the stage be broken. Henry Irving was an ambitious, harsh-voiced merchant's clerk, but once he painted his face and spoke the lines of Shakespeare, his stammer fell away to reveal a magnetic presence. He would become one of the greatest actor-managers in the history of the theater. Together, Terry and Irving created a powerhouse of the arts in London's Lyceum Theatre, with Bram Stoker—who would go on to write Dracula—as manager. Celebrities whose scandalous private lives commanded global attention, they took America by stormin wildly popular national tours. Their all-consuming professional lives left little room for their brilliant but troubled children. Henry's boys followed their father into the theater but could not escape the shadow of his fame. Ellen's feminist daughter, Edy, founded an avant-garde theater and a largely lesbian community at her mother's country home. But it was Edy's son, the revolutionary theatrical designer Edward Gordon Craig, who possessed the most remarkable gifts and the most perplexing inability to realize them. A now forgotten modernist visionary, he collaborated with the Russian director Stanislavski on a production of Hamlet that forever changed the way theater was staged. Maddeningly self-absorbed, he inherited his mother's potent charm and fathered thirteen children by eight women, including a daughter with the dancer Isadora Duncan. An epic story spanning a century of cultural change, A Strange Eventful History finds space for the intimate moments of daily existence as well as the bewitching fantasies played out by its subjects. Bursting with charismatic life, it is an incisive portrait of two families who defied the strictures of their time. It will be swiftly recognized as a classic. Please note: This ebook edition does not contain photos and illustrations that appeared in the print edition.
Author: Susan Jacoby
In a groundbreaking historical work that focuses on the long, tense convergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with an uncompromising secular perspective, Susan Jacoby illuminates the social and economic forces that have shaped individual faith and the voluntary conversion impulse that has changed the course of Western history--for better and for worse. Covering the triumph of Christianity over paganism in late antiquity, the Spanish Inquisition, John Calvin's dour theocracy, American plantations where African slaves had to accept their masters' religion--along with individual converts including Augustine of Hippo, John Donne, Edith Stein, Muhammad Ali, George W. Bush and Mike Pence--Strange Gods makes a powerful case that nothing has been more important in struggle for reason than the right to believe in the God of one's choice or to reject belief in God altogether.
Spanning a century, from Kate Chopin and Fannie Hurst to J. California Cooper and Elana Dykewomon, this bold and deeply satisfying anthology of women's stories explores women's relationships to, and perceptions of, their physical selves. Addressing the peculiarities, the pleasures, and the shames of body politics, these stories of bodies that refuse to be contained offer a variety of perspectives on fully inhabiting the flesh. Whether celebrating bodies deemed transgressive or simply daring to acknowledge that such bodies exist, these diverse literary representations of fatness render the excessive body brilliantly, unapologetically visible. Book jacket.
A Haunt of Fears
Author: Martin Barker
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi