Who were the ancient Greeks? They gave us democracy, philosophy, poetry, rational science, the joke. But what was it that enabled them to achieve so much? The ancient Greeks were a geographically disparate people whose civilization lasted over twenty cent
"The Invention of Nature: the adventures of Alexander von Humboldt", by Andrea Wulf - Alexander was an intrepid explorer, his restless life packed with adventure and discovery. Wulf shows how Humboldt created our understanding of the natural world, and champions a renewed interest in this vital player in environmental history and science.
(Adult) In this engaging and passionate memoir, Hope Jahren chronicles her love affair with science and plants, living with mental illness, and her twenty year friendship with her research assistant, a somewhat strange one-handed man named Bill.
"Salt: a world history", by Mark Kurlansky - Homer called it a divine substance. Plato described it as especially dear to the gods. As Mark Kurlansky so brilliantly relates here, salt has shaped civilisation from the beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of mankind.
"Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World", by Laura Spinney - With a death toll of between 50 and 100 million people the Spanish flu of 1918–1920 was perhaps the greatest human disaster of the twentieth century. And yet, in our popular conception it exists largely as a footnote to World War I. In Pale Rider, Laura Spinney recounts the story of an overlooked pandemic, tracing it from Alaska to Persia. Telling the story from the point of view of those who lived through…