Quel rapport entre l'extraction de l'alun dans le Yorkshire, les fantômes dans la roche et la naissance de la géologie ? Entre les voyages de James Cook et l'évolution ? Roger Osborne dresse, dans un époustouflant diaporama, les péripéties, parfois drolatiques, qui ont conduit à la naissance de la géologie en Angleterre. Que savait-on des déboires de William Smith, cet ingénieur qui, en découpant l'Angleterre pour y creuser des canaux, a le premier lié les fossiles aux couches de roche où on peut les trouver ? Et créé la première carte géologique de Grande-Bretagne, s'endettant au point d'y gagner un long séjour en prison ? Des extravagances irrésistibles du pasteur et fameux géologue Buckland ? Et de son ingéniosité diabolique de détective géologue, découvrant dans une grotte, pleine de vestiges de hyènes, les preuves contraires à celles qu'il venait chercher ? Ou des petites misères de négociants qui ont permis ou entravé l'achat des reptiles fossiles, facilitant ou non l'étude paléontologique, et par rebond la géologie ? Arrivés au terme de cette odyssée jubilatoire à travers documents, journaux, relations en tout genre, ce n'est pas à l'accouchement intellectuel d'une science qu'on a été convié, mais à son surgissement dans l'histoire du monde.
Un livre impossible à oublier.
The Floating Egg begins with the search for an alchemist's secret, and ends with the re-imagination of a past world. Each chapter is connected to a particular corner of north-east England, and each explores the uncertain line where myth is dissolved into science, and belief gives way to knowledge. Different episodes show how the fall of Constantinople converted the common rock of the Yorkshire cliffs into a source of extraordinary wealth and power, and how this in turn uncovered the inhabitants of a succession of past worlds; how a stone falling from the sky near this same coast changed the minds of all the natural philosophers of Europe; and how a new science was born on the top of the tower of York Minster. We learn about the cloak-and-dagger world of fossil trading in the town of Whitby; and we see the entire life-work of a forgotten scientific genius who died from consumption at the age of twenty-five, having revolutionised his science. The stories move from documentary accounts to fictional recreations of historic events, from contemporary writing and illustrations to present-day reflection. By using different ways of describing the world of scientific endeavour, the author has produced a fascinating visually beautiful and highly entertaining book which allows us to witness the birth of a new science - the science of geology.
Ever since the attacks of 11th September, western leaders have described a world engaged in 'a fight for civilization'. But what do we mean by civilization? We believe in a western tradition of openness and freedom that has produced a good life for many millions of people and a culture of enormous depth and creative power. But the history of our civilisation is also filled with unspeakable brutality - for every Leonardo there is a Mussolini, for every Beethoven symphony a concentration camp, for every Chrysler building a My Lai massacre. How can we come to the defence of a civilisation whose benefits seem so questionable? In this ambitious and important book Roger Osborne shows that we can only truly understand our civilization by re-examining and confronting our past, with all its glories and catastrophes. Sweeping in its scope and comprehensive in its coverage, Civilzation tells the story of the western world from its origins to the present. At such a dangerous time in the world's history, this brilliant book is required reading.
'Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.'Churchill had more reason than most to rue the power of democracy, having been thrown out of office after leading Britain to victory in 1945. Democracy, when viewed from above, has always been a fickle master; from below it is a powerful but fragile friend.Most books on democracy focus on political theory and analysis, in a futile attempt to define democracy. Of The People, By The People takes the opposite approach, telling the stories of the different democracies that have come into existence during the past two and half millennia. From Athens to Rhaetia, Jamestown to Delhi, and Putney to Pretoria, the book shows how democratic systems are always a reflection of the culture and history of their birthplaces, and come about through seizing fleeting opportunities. Democracy can only be understood through the fascinating and inspiring stories of the peoples who fought to bring it about.
In late eighteenth-century Britain a handful of men brought about the greatest transformation in human history. Inventors, industrialists and entrepreneurs ushered in the age of powered machinery and the factory, and thereby changed the whole of human society, bringing into being new methods of social and economic organisation, new social classes, and new political forces. The Industrial Revolution also dramatically altered humanity's relation to the natural world and embedded the belief that change, not stasis, is the necessary backdrop for human existence.Iron, Steam and Money tells the thrilling story of those few decades, the moments of inspiration, the rivalries, skulduggery and death threats, and the tireless perseverance of the visionaries who made it all happen. Richard Arkwright, James Watt, Richard Trevithick and Josiah Wedgwood are among the giants whose achievements and tragedies fill these pages. In this authoritative study Roger Osborne also shows how and why the revolution happened, revealing pre-industrial Britain as a surprisingly affluent society, with wealth spread widely through the population, and with craft industries in every town, village and front parlour. The combination of disposable income, widespread demand for industrial goods, and a generation of time-served artisans created the unique conditions that propelled humanity into the modern world.The industrial revolution was arguably the most important episode in modern human history; Iron, Steam and Money reminds us of its central role, while showing the extraordinary excitement of those tumultuous decades.
Spell-binding, horrific, poetic, apocalyptic, heart-rending, disturbing, prophetic, seditious, compelling and utterly fascinating - the dreams of Lucrecia de Leon have lain virtually undisturbed in the archives of the Spanish Inquisition for more than four hundred years. Lucrecia was a nineteen-year-old Madrilena when, in 1587, her dreams began to be recorded and published by a disaffected group of clerics. Over the next three years they transcribed four hundred of Lucrecia's dreams which they considered to be messages from God. The dreams warned of the defeat of the Armada, of the death of King Philip II, of the fall of Spain and of a new beginning under a new king - all told in bold and highly original visions. As some of her prophecies came true and as the Spanish court grew more discontented, she fell foul of the authorities and was arrested by the Holy Order. The Dreamer of the Calle de San Salvador produces thirty-five of Lucrecia's most captivating dreams. The imagery and inventiveness of her visions are astonishing, while the stories that they tell are compelling and of immense historical significance. Roger Osborne weaves a commentary around each dream, which allows us to see the world through the eyes of Lucrecia and helps us to understand the nature of her visions and the time and place she inhabited. This pioneering work shows us what history is like seen from the inside out.
Detective story, social history, human drama, The Deprat Affair recreates the hothouse atmosphere of colonial Indochina in the early twentieth century. Among its cliques, its bitter rivalries, its nepotism and favours, how are we to disentangle the scientific, the moral and the legal 'truths' of the affair? Most of all, the story centres on one compelling individual - Jacques Deprat. En route to a golden future as one of France's greatest geologists, he is suddenly accused of fraud and plunged into a desperate fight to save his reputation. Convicted of placing European fossils among samples collected in Indochina, he is dismissed from his job, and expelled from the Société Géologique de France. Thrown out of the science to which he has given everything, he re-invents himself, changes his name, and begins not one, but two fascinating new lives - each as extraordinary and colourful as the one he left behind. And even in the manner of his premature death, Deprat proved his ability to shake the world. Eighty years on from his conviction, the truth of the Deprat affair is still in doubt - and is still passionately debated among French scientists. But innocent or guilty, Jacques Deprat is an astonishing figure, whose capacity to overcome the world's disgrace and the dissolution of his dreams makes an amazing and captivating story.
The Rough Guide to Denmark is the essential travel guide to one of Europe's most appealing destinations with coverage of all the unmissable Danish attractions. From the stunning baroque waterside palace Valdemars Slot and cosmopolitan Copenhagen to the abundance of fascinating historic sites from Viking fortresses to royal castles, discover Denmark's highlights inspired by dozens of photos. You'll find specialist coverage of Danish history, culture and cutting-edge design, as well as a sections on traditional Danish cuisine and making the most of Denmark's great outdoors, with extended coverage of the best biking and canoe routes. Explore every corner of Denmark with practical advice on getting around by train, bus, boat and car whilst relying on up-to-date descriptions of the best hotels, bars, clubs, shops, restaurants and resorts for all budgets. Whether you're heading to the world-famous Roskilde festival or the Hans Christian Andersen trail, don't miss the unmissable relying on a handy language section and the clearest maps of any guide.
Make the most of your holiday with The Rough Guide to Denmark.