Genre: History

Book Review: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Posted February 27, 2015 in Reviews / 21 Comments
Book Review: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

For hundreds of thousands of years, humans were just like any other animal. They lived in small groups, foraged for food, hunted, and were prayed upon by larger animals. When homo sapiens was born 200,000 years ago, there was nothing to separate them from other species of humans like neanderthals and homo floresiensis or from our cousins the apes. But 70,000 years ago, things began to change. As sapiens developed language, they underwent a cognitive revolution that set them on the path to […]

A Book and a Podcast About Fascinating Medical History

Posted February 12, 2015 in Reviews / 11 Comments
A Book and a Podcast About Fascinating Medical History

Confession: I have a thing for weird medical history. It started with Mary Roach’s Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex and has deepened over the last year as I have listened to the Sawbones podcast, a marital tour of misguided medicine. It’s so much fun to learn about the bizarre fumblings of people who were SUPER wrong about how our bodies work, and then to see how we gradually began to get things right. When I saw The Man Who Touched His […]

Book Review: Flappers by Judith Mackrell (#JazzAgeJan)

Posted January 29, 2015 in Reviews / 7 Comments
Book Review: Flappers by Judith Mackrell (#JazzAgeJan)

The 1920s were a decade of massive social change. Prosperity and excess abounded in the wake of WWI, jazz swung into popularity, and new attitudes about art and sex were on the rise. Amid this atmosphere of adventure, the flapper was born. She wore provocative clothing, attended wild parties, challenged social norms, and was sexually liberated. Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell shines a light on the lives of six women who defined the Roaring Twenties: Diana […]

Book Review: In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides

Posted August 6, 2014 in Reviews / 3 Comments
Book Review: In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides

In 1879, the USS Jeannette set sail from San Francisco with the mission of becoming the first naval expedition to reach the North Pole. Funded by eccentric newspaper mogul James Gordon Bennett and captained by George Washington de Long, the Jeannette expedition captured the imaginations of people around the world. De Long and his crew of 32 men cast off amid much fanfare and sailed north into the arctic, hoping to make history. However, within a few months the ship was trapped […]

Book Review: A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead

Posted January 21, 2013 in Reviews / 14 Comments
Book Review: A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead

In January 1943, a train carried 230 women members of the French Resistance from a prison in occupied France to the extermination camp at Auschwitz. Of this number, 49 survived to return to France more than two years later. Although this seems like a woefully small number, it is miraculous that so many of them survived the starvation, brutality, and illness of the camp. What saved so many of these women was the close friendship, intimacy, and camaraderie between them. A Train […]