New Nonfiction eBooks I Got Recently [Nov. 2020]

Yesterday I posted about fiction ebooks that I got recently. This time I’m sharing some non-fiction titles that I added to my Kindle collection!

Photo by Sam Farallon

Photo by Sam Farallon

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton

I used to love reading about mythology when I was younger, and for a while I’ve been meaning to do it again.

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes link

Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes link

This 75th anniversary edition of a classic bestseller is stunningly illustrated and designed to enchant fans of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology at all ages.

How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity by Rodney Stark

How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity link

How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity link

Click to see summary

Modernity developed only in the West—in Europe and North America. Nowhere else did science and democracy arise; nowhere else was slavery outlawed. Only Westerners invented chimneys, musical scores, telescopes, eyeglasses, pianos, electric lights, aspirin, and soap.

The question is, Why?

Unfortunately, that question has become so politically incorrect that most scholars avoid it. But acclaimed author Rodney Stark provides the answers in this sweeping new look at Western civilization.

How the West Won demonstrates the primacy of uniquely Western ideas—among them the belief in free will, the commitment to the pursuit of knowledge, the notion that the universe functions according to rational rules that can be discovered, and the emphasis on human freedom and secure property rights.

Taking readers on a thrilling journey from ancient Greece to the present, Stark challenges much of the received wisdom about Western history. How the West Won shows, for example: · Why the fall of Rome was the single most beneficial event in the rise of Western civilization · Why the “Dark Ages” never happened · Why the Crusades had nothing to do with grabbing loot or attacking the Muslim world unprovoked · Why there was no “Scientific Revolution” · Why scholars’ recent efforts to dismiss the importance of battles are ridiculous: had the Greeks lost at the Battle of Marathon, we probably would never have heard of Plato or Aristotle

Stark also debunks absurd fabrications that have flourished in the past few decades: that the Greeks stole their culture from Africa; that the West’s “discoveries” were copied from the Chinese and Muslims; that Europe became rich by plundering the non-Western world. At the same time, he reveals the woeful inadequacy of recent attempts to attribute the rise of the West to purely material causes—favorable climates, abundant natural resources, guns and steel.

How the West Won displays Rodney Stark’s gifts for lively narrative history and making the latest scholarship accessible to all readers. This bold, insightful book will force you to rethink your understanding of the West and the birth of modernity—and to recognize that Western civilization really has set itself apart from other cultures.

Atlas Obscura, 2nd Edition: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer

From the same author of Moonwalking With Einstein, which I was reading before and loving it.

Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer link

Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer link

Click to see summary

Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura is a phenomenon of a travel book that shot to the top of bestseller lists when it was first published and changed the way we think about the world, expanding our sense of how strange and marvelous it really is.

This second edition takes readers to even more curious and unusual destinations, with more than 100 new places, dozens and dozens of new photographs, and two very special features: twelve city guides, covering Berlin, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Cairo, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Moscow, New York City, Paris, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Plus a foldout map with a dream itinerary for the ultimate around-the-world road trip. More a cabinet of curiosities than traditional guidebook, Atlas Obscura revels in the unexpected, the overlooked, the bizarre, and the mysterious. Here are natural wonders, like the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can sit and drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M. C. Escher–like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby-Jumping Festival in Spain—and no, it’s not the babies doing the jumping, but masked men dressed as devils who vault over rows of squirming infants.

Every page gets to the very core of why humans want to travel in the first place: to be delighted and disoriented, uprooted from the familiar and amazed by the new. With its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, and new city guides, it is a book you can open anywhere and be transported. But proceed with caution: It’s almost impossible not to turn to the next entry, and the next, and the next.