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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER â¢ The bestselling author of Zealot and host of Believer explores humanityâs quest to make sense of the divine in this concise and fascinating history of our understanding of God. Â In Zealot, Reza Aslan replaced the staid, well-worn portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth with a startling new image of the man in all his contradictions. In his new book, Aslan takes on a subject even more immense: God, writ large. Â In layered prose and with thoughtful, accessible scholarship, Aslan narrates the history of religion as a remarkably cohesive attempt to understand the divine by giving it human traits and emotions.Â According to Aslan, this innate desire to humanize God is hardwired in our brains, making it a central feature of nearly every religious tradition. As Aslan writes, âWhether we are aware of it or not, and regardless of whether weâre believers or not, what the vast majority of us think about when we think about God is a divine version of ourselves.â Â But this projection is not without consequences. We bestow upon God not just all that is good in human natureâour compassion, our thirst for justiceâbut all that is bad in it: our greed, our bigotry, our penchant for violence. All these qualities inform our religions, cultures, and governments. Â More than just a history of our understanding of God, this book is an attempt to get to the root of this humanizing impulse in order to develop a more universal spirituality.Â Whether you believe in one God, many gods, or no god at all, God: A Human History will challenge the way you think about the divine and its role in our everyday lives.
Praise for God
âTimely, riveting, enlightening and necessary.ââHuffPost
âTantalizing . . . Driven by [Reza] Aslanâs grace and curiosity, God . . . helps us pan out from our troubled times, while asking us to consider a more expansive view of the divine in contemporary life.ââThe Seattle Times
âA fascinating exploration of the interaction of our humanity and God.ââPittsburgh Post-Gazette
â[Aslanâs] slim, yet ambitious book [is] the story of how humans have created God with a capital G, and itâs thoroughly mind-blowing.ââLos Angeles Review of Books
âAslan is a born storyteller, and there is much to enjoy in this intelligent survey.ââSan Francisco Chronicle
Why did the first civilizations emerge when and where they did? How did Islam become a unifying force in the world of its birth? What enabled the West to project its goods and power around the world from the fifteenth century on? Why was agriculture invented seven times and the steam engine just once?
World-historical questions such as these, the subjects of major works by Jared Diamond, David Landes, and others, are now of great moment as global frictions increase. In a spirited and original contribution to this quickening discussion, two renowned historians, father and son, explore the webs that have drawn humans together in patterns of interaction and exchange, cooperation and competition, since earliest times. Whether small or large, loose or dense, these webs have provided the medium for the movement of ideas, goods, power, and money within and across cultures, societies, and nations. From the thin, localized webs that characterized agricultural communities twelve thousand years ago, through the denser, more interactive metropolitan webs that surrounded ancient Sumer, Athens, and Timbuktu, to the electrified global web that today envelops virtually the entire world in a maelstrom of cooperation and competition, J. R. McNeill and William H. McNeill show human webs to be a key component of world history and a revealing framework of analysis. Avoiding any determinism, environmental or cultural, the McNeills give us a synthesizing picture of the big patterns of world history in a rich, open-ended, concise account.
20,000 B.C., the peak of the last ice age--the atmosphere is heavy with dust, deserts, and glaciers span vast regions, and people, if they survive at all, exist in small, mobile groups, facing the threat of extinction.
But these people live on the brink of seismic change--10,000 years of climate shifts culminating in abrupt global warming that will usher in a fundamentally changed human world. After the Ice is the story of this momentous period--one in which a seemingly minor alteration in temperature could presage anything from the spread of lush woodland to the coming of apocalyptic floods--and one in which we find the origins of civilization itself.
Drawing on the latest research in archaeology, human genetics, and environmental science, After the Ice takes the reader on a sweeping tour of 15,000 years of human history. Steven Mithen brings this world to life through the eyes of an imaginary modern traveler--John Lubbock, namesake of the great Victorian polymath and author of Prehistoric Times. With Lubbock, readers visit and observe communities and landscapes, experiencing prehistoric life--from aboriginal hunting parties in Tasmania, to the corralling of wild sheep in the central Sahara, to the efforts of the Guila Naquitz people in Oaxaca to combat drought with agricultural innovations.
Part history, part science, part time travel, After the Ice offers an evocative and uniquely compelling portrayal of diverse cultures, lives, and landscapes that laid the foundations of the modern world.
Hidden History is a detective novel as much as a scholarly tour de force. But the murder is not the butler. Neither is the victim a rich old man with many heirs. The victim is man himself, and the role of the assassin is played by numerous scientists. Dr. Michael Rothstein, Politiken Newspaper, Denmark
Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author Richard Rhodes reveals the fascinating history behind energy transitions over timeâwood to coal to oil to electricity and beyond.
People have lived and died, businesses have prospered and failed, and nations have risen to world power and declined, all over energy challenges. Ultimately, the history of these challenges tells the story of humanity itself.
Through an unforgettable cast of characters, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes explains how wood gave way to coal and coal made room for oil, as we now turn to natural gas, nuclear power, and renewable energy. Rhodes looks back on five centuries of progress, through such influential figures as Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, Benjamin Franklin, Herman Melville, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Ford.
In Energy, Rhodes highlights the successes and failures that led to each breakthrough in energy production; from animal and waterpower to the steam engine, from internal-combustion to the electric motor. He addresses how we learned from such challenges, mastered their transitions, and capitalized on their opportunities. Rhodes also looks at the current energy landscape, with a focus on how wind energy is competing for dominance with cast supplies of coal and natural gas. He also addresses the specter of global warming, and a population hurtling towards ten billion by 2100.
Human beings have confronted the problem of how to draw life from raw material since the beginning of time. Each invention, each discovery, each adaptation brought further challenges, and through such transformations, we arrived at where we are today. In Rhodesâs singular style, Energy details how this knowledge of our history can inform our way tomorrow.
The Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg,Â now available as a beautifully packaged paperback
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanityâs creation and evolutionâa #1 international bestsellerâthat explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be âhuman.â
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only oneâhomo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?
Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
Todayâs scientists are radically exceeding theÂ boundaries of evolution and engineeringÂ entirely novel creatures. Cutting edgeÂ âsynthetic biologyâ may lead to solutions toÂ some of the worldâs most pressing crises andÂ pave the way for inventions once relegated toÂ science fiction.
Meanwhile, these advances are shedding new light on the biggest mystery of allâhow didÂ life begin? As we come closer and closer toÂ understanding the ancient root that connectsÂ all living things, Adam Rutherford shows howÂ we may finally be able to achieve the creationÂ of new life where none existed before.