Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall... In America, kings are not born, they are made. Men with ambition build their own empires and it is their heirs who carry the torch of tradition, generation by generation. The Vasser Hotel Empire rose out of the ashes of an Industrial era, cementing itself in the very heart of America's greatest city, New York. Through the drive and courage of one man, a legacy was born that would last more than a hundred years. That is, until word got out that one of their own was murdered. Sixty years of lies will come crashing down in flames of treachery and blood, and the truth will send shockwaves through an entire nation. Now the newest generation of Vasser heirs will have to deal with the consequences, or else allow their legacy to burn to the ground. But dark secrets are buried deep within the family itself, and everyone has an agenda. Love of family and forbidden passion will set off sparks in a powder keg ready to annihilate the empire, but it may also be the only thing keeping them whole. When reputation is everything, it will take all they've got to save themselves from their own undoing.
Charts are best viewed on a tablet. Picking up where Liar’s Poker left off (literally, in the bond dealer’s desks of Salomon Brothers) the story of Long-Term Capital Management is of a group of elite investors who believed they could beat the market and, like alchemists, create limitless wealth for themselves and their partners.
We are what we eat: this aphorism contains a profound truth about civilization, one that has played out on the world historical stage over many millennia of human endeavor. Using the colorful diaries of a sixteenth-century merchant as a narrative guide, Empires of Food vividly chronicles the fate of people and societies for the past twelve thousand years through the foods they grew, hunted, traded, and ate—and gives us fascinating, and devastating, insights into what to expect in years to come. In energetic prose, agricultural expert Evan D. G. Fraser and journalist Andrew Rimas tell gripping stories that capture the flavor of places as disparate as ancient Mesopotamia and imperial Britain, taking us from the first city in the once-thriving Fertile Crescent to today’s overworked breadbaskets and rice bowls in the United States and China, showing just what food has meant to humanity. Cities, culture, art, government, and religion are founded on the creation and exchange of food surpluses, complex societies built by shipping corn and wheat and rice up rivers and into the stewpots of history’s generations. But eventually, inevitably, the crops fail, the fields erode, or the temperature drops, and the center of power shifts. Cultures descend into dark ages of poverty, famine, and war. It happened at the end of the Roman Empire, when slave plantations overworked Europe’s and Egypt’s soil and drained its vigor. It happened to the Mayans, who abandoned their great cities during centuries of drought. It happened in the fourteenth century, when medieval societies crashed in famine and plague, and again in the nineteenth century, when catastrophic colonial schemes plunged half the world into a poverty from which it has never recovered. And today, even though we live in an age of astounding agricultural productivity and genetically modified crops, our food supplies are once again in peril. Empires of Food brilliantly recounts the history of cyclic consumption, but it is also the story of the future; of, for example, how a shrimp boat hauling up an empty net in the Mekong Delta could spark a riot in the Caribbean. It tells what happens when a culture or nation runs out of food—and shows us the face of the world turned hungry. The authors argue that neither local food movements nor free market economists will stave off the next crash, and they propose their own solutions. A fascinating, fresh history told through the prism of the dining table, Empires of Food offers a grand scope and a provocative analysis of the world today, indispensable in this time of global warming and food crises.
A Historical Survey of the Many Ways Empires have Succumbed to External and Internal Pressures There are no self-proclaimed empires today. After the twentieth century, with its worldwide wave of decolonizing and liberation movements, the very word "empire" conjures images of slavery, war, repression, and colonialism. None of this is to say that empires are confined to the past, however. By at least some reasonable definitions, empires do exist today. Many articles and books speak about the decline of the "American Empire," for example, or compare the history of the United States to that of Rome or the British Empire. Yet no public official would speak candidly of American "imperial" interests in the Middle East or use the word "empire" in discussions of the nation's future the same way British politicians did in the twentieth century. In addition, empires don't have to fit the classical Roman mold; there are many kinds of empire and varieties of international authority, such as cultural imperialism and economic imperialism. But it is clear empires do not last, even those that once harnessed great wealth, strong armies, and sophisticated legal systems. InThe Fall of Empires: A Brief History of Imperial Collapse, historian Chad Denton describes the end of seventeen empires throughout world history, from Athens to Qin China, from the Byzantium to the Mughals. He reveals--through stories of conquest, corruption, incompetence, assassination, bigotry, and environmental crisis--how even the most seemingly eternal of empires declined. For Athens and Britain it was military hubris; for Qin China and Russia it was alienating their subjects through oppression; Persia succumbed with the loss of its capital; the Khmer faced ecological catastrophe; while the Aztecs were destroyed by colonial exploitation. None of these events alone explains why the empires fell, but they do provide a glimpse into the often-unpredictable currents of history, which have so far spared no empire. A fascinating and instructive survey, The Fall of Empiresprovides compelling evidence about the fate of centralized regional or global power.
Empires and Barbarians presents a fresh, provocative look at how a recognizable Europe came into being in the first millennium AD. With sharp analytic insight, Peter Heather explores the dynamics of migration and social and economic interaction that changed two vastly different worlds--the undeveloped barbarian world and the sophisticated Roman Empire--into remarkably similar societies and states. The book's vivid narrative begins at the time of Christ, when the Mediterranean circle, newly united under the Romans, hosted a politically sophisticated, economically advanced, and culturally developed civilization--one with philosophy, banking, professional armies, literature, stunning architecture, even garbage collection. The rest of Europe, meanwhile, was home to subsistence farmers living in small groups, dominated largely by Germanic speakers. Although having some iron tools and weapons, these mostly illiterate peoples worked mainly in wood and never built in stone. The farther east one went, the simpler it became: fewer iron tools and ever less productive economies. And yet ten centuries later, from the Atlantic to the Urals, the European world had turned. Slavic speakers had largely superseded Germanic speakers in central and Eastern Europe, literacy was growing, Christianity had spread, and most fundamentally, Mediterranean supremacy was broken. Bringing the whole of first millennium European history together, and challenging current arguments that migration played but a tiny role in this unfolding narrative, Empires and Barbarians views the destruction of the ancient world order in light of modern migration and globalization patterns.
The question of why empires decline and fall has attracted the attention of historians for centuries, but remains fundamentally unsolved. This unique collection is concerned with the purely economic aspects of decline. It can be observed of empires in the process of decline that their economies are generally faltering. Here the similarities in different cases of economic decline are identified, bearing in mind that individual histories are characterized by important elements of originality. In his introduction, Professor Cipolla points out that improvements in standards of living brought about by a rising economy lead to more and more people demanding to share the benefits. Incomes increase and extravagances develop, as new needs begin to replace those which have been satisfied. Prosperity spreads to neighbouring countries, which may become a threat and force the empire into greater military expenditure. For these and other reasons, public consumption in mature empires has a tendency to rise sharply and outstrip productivity and, in general, empires seem to resist change. The ten articles in this collection, first published in 1970, examine separate cases of economic decline, from Rome and Byzantium to the more recent histories of the Dutch and Chinese empires, and demonstrate both the resemblances and the peculiarly individual characteristics of each case.
What went wrong in imperial Rome, and how we can avoid it: “If you want to understand where America stands in the world today, read this.” —Thomas E. Ricks The rise and fall of ancient Rome has been on American minds since the beginning of our republic. Depending on who’s doing the talking, the history of Rome serves as either a triumphal call to action—or a dire warning of imminent collapse. In this “provocative and lively” book, Cullen Murphy points out that today we focus less on the Roman Republic than on the empire that took its place, and reveals a wide array of similarities between the two societies (The New York Times). Looking at the blinkered, insular culture of our capitals; the debilitating effect of bribery in public life; the paradoxical issue of borders; and the weakening of the body politic through various forms of privatization, Murphy persuasively argues that we most resemble Rome in the burgeoning corruption of our government and in our arrogant ignorance of the world outside—two things that must be changed if we are to avoid Rome’s fate. “Are We Rome? is just about a perfect book. . . . I wish every politician would spend an evening with this book.” —James Fallows
Perhaps no other Western writer has more deeply probed the bitter struggle in the Muslim world between the forces of religion and law and those of violence and lawlessness as Noah Feldman. His scholarship has defined the stakes in the Middle East today. Now, in this incisive book, Feldman tells the story behind the increasingly popular call for the establishment of the shari'a--the law of the traditional Islamic state--in the modern Muslim world. Western powers call it a threat to democracy. Islamist movements are winning elections on it. Terrorists use it to justify their crimes. What, then, is the shari'a? Given the severity of some of its provisions, why is it popular among Muslims? Can the Islamic state succeed--should it? Feldman reveals how the classical Islamic constitution governed through and was legitimated by law. He shows how executive power was balanced by the scholars who interpreted and administered the shari'a, and how this balance of power was finally destroyed by the tragically incomplete reforms of the modern era. The result has been the unchecked executive dominance that now distorts politics in so many Muslim states. Feldman argues that a modern Islamic state could provide political and legal justice to today's Muslims, but only if new institutions emerge that restore this constitutional balance of power. The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State gives us the sweeping history of the traditional Islamic constitution--its noble beginnings, its downfall, and the renewed promise it could hold for Muslims and Westerners alike. In a new introduction, Feldman discusses developments in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and other Muslim-majority countries since the Arab Spring and describes how Islamists must meet the challenge of balance if the new Islamic states are to succeed.
Taking a journey through some of history’s most climactic turns of fate, The Fall of Empires charts sixteen ancient empires from glory to ruin. Impeccably researched and featuring many colour photographs and drawings of locations and artifacts, this book offers a fresh, colourful look at the distant past and at the fascinating subject of imperial mortality.
The gripping story of how the end of the Roman Empire was the beginning of the modern world The fall of the Roman Empire has long been considered one of the greatest disasters in history. But in this groundbreaking book, Walter Scheidel argues that Rome's dramatic collapse was actually the best thing that ever happened, clearing the path for Europe's economic rise and the creation of the modern age. Ranging across the entire premodern world, Escape from Rome offers new answers to some of the biggest questions in history: Why did the Roman Empire appear? Why did nothing like it ever return to Europe? And, above all, why did Europeans come to dominate the world? In an absorbing narrative that begins with ancient Rome but stretches far beyond it, from Byzantium to China and from Genghis Khan to Napoleon, Scheidel shows how the demise of Rome and the enduring failure of empire-building on European soil launched an economic transformation that changed the continent and ultimately the world.
This is the full, post-glasnost critical biography of Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940), a great comic writer whose works are now regarded as modern classics both in the Soviet Union and in the West. It is only very recently that all Bulgakov's works have been published in the Soviet Union, where his literary rehabilitation is regarded as an important barometer of glasnost. A flood of hitherto concealed biographical information has also emerged. This account of Bulgakov's career as playwright and prose-writer makes full use of these new sources. It examines all his works in the context of the changing demands put upon artists in the Soviet Union of the 1920s and 1930s, who were faced with the choice of integrity at the price of silence, or publication and production at the price of conformism with the totalitarian state. Lesley Milne traces through Bulgakov's career an ethical concept of the writer's role, his response to his time, and his search for an audience in and beyond that time.
In ten succinct chapters, Paul Strathern sheds new light on major civilisations, from the military might af the Mongols, who ruled over the largest but most short-lived land empire in history, to the ambitious architecture of the Akkadians. We meet the ruthless leaders of Ancient Rome, discover the imperial dreams of Middle Eastern caliphates and witness the power struggles of twentieth-century America. With insight into the progress of humankind, Rise and fall shows how the story of an empire lies not only in its creation, but also in its downfall.
Argues that the key to the formation of an empire lies in a society's capacity for collective action, resulting from people banding together to confront a common enemy, and describing how the growth of empires leads to a growing dichotomy between rich and poor, increasing conflict instead of cooperation, and inevitable dissolution. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.
Presents a history and an ecological overview of the South Asian continent, specifically focusing on the impact, both positive and negative, that humans have have had on its environment.
A psychology professor examines what the survivors of the airplane crash hailed “The Miracle of the Andes” can show us about human evolution. On December 21, 1972, sixteen young survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 were rescued after spending ten weeks stranded at the crash site of their plane, high in the remote Andes Mountains. The incident made international headlines and spawned several best-selling books, fueled partly by the fact that the young men had resorted to cannibalism to survive. Matt Rossano examines this story from an evolutionary perspective, weaving together findings and ideas from anthropology, psychology, religion, and cognitive science. During their ordeal, these young men broke “civilized” taboos to fend off starvation and abandoned “civilized” modes of thinking to maintain social unity and individual sanity. Through the power of ritual, the survivors were able to endure severe emotional and physical hardship. Rossano ties their story to our story, seeing in the mortal rituals of this struggle for survival a reflection of what it means to be human. “[Rossano’s] narrative describes a “microcosm of human evolution,” and I think this book will grab the interest of many readers―students as well as the general public―as it teaches essential facts about the way Homo sapiens evolved.”—David Hicks, Stony Brook University and Clare College, Cambridge University “[Rossano] masterfully weaves a moving contemporary drama with a compelling account of the evolutionary history of ritual and religion. An impressive accomplishment and a truly captivating read from start to finish.”—Richard Sosis, University of Connecticut, cofounder and coeditor of Religion, Brain, & Behavior
War. Famine. Conquest. Death. Explore the rise and fall of history's greatest empires. History Of Empires: Rise and Fall of the Greatest Empires in History! Understanding The Roman Empire, American Empire, British Empire, & Much More is a thrilling study of empires whose leaders lost sight of their civic obligations, leading to revolts, social disruption, and inescapable destruction. Explore the rise and fall of dynasties in Imperial China including the Mandate of Heaven and the dawn of the Zhou dynasty; the rise of China's First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang; brutal civil war, and the reign of the Han; and the First Opium War and the Qing Empire. Investigate the rise of Sparta and its culture of courage and discipline, the defeat of Athens, the helot revolts that eroded Sparta's might and Sparta's decline into backwater obscurity following defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra. Witness the faith and folly of the Ottoman Empire as it grew into one of the most powerful states in the world, reigned supreme for over 600 years, and fell into stagnation and decline because of degenerate, lackadaisical or incompetent rulers. Glimpse the growth, consolidation, repeated defeat, and eventual dissolution of the Roman Empire. Examine Hammurabi's elevation of Babylon, The Gate of the Gods, to peace and prosperity and centuries of conflict that led to the city repeatedly being sacked, rebuilt, razed, and reborn, and eventually buried beneath the sands of time, literally and figuratively. Watch the sun rise and set on the British Empire as it rose to a dominant world superpower then plunged into war and financial ruin. Observe the colonization of North America and America's growth from humble beginnings, through civil unrest and socio-economic upheaval, to emerge somehow stronger. Journey through war, famine, conquest, and death with History Of Empires: Rise and Fall of the Greatest Empires in History! Understanding The Roman Empire, American Empire, British Empire, & Much More. Scroll up to get your copy now.