History & Biography

  • 1001 Historic Sites You Must See Before You Die

    From heritage sites that preserve wonders of the ancient world, such as the Great Wall of China, to memorials that commemorate significant moments in the twentieth century, and from the Sterkfontein Caves, near Johannesburg in South Africa – the 'cradle of the human race' – to Checkpoint Charlie, the variety of historic sites featured in 1001 Historic Sites You Must See Before You Die is immense...

    There are reviews and images of the seats of power, from Versailles to the White House; the world's major battlefields, from Gettysburg to the Somme; and significant monuments and places of worship, such as the Wailing Wall, the Chatmohar Mosque in Pakistan, and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome...

    It is unlikely that one reader will get around to visiting all 1001 sites in person. However, after reading this book, they will know which are their personal must-see sites, which they absolutely must visit in their lifetime.

    $39.99
  • 3 Minute JRR Tolkien
    3-Minute JRR Tolkien celebrates the enduring influence of the world's most revered fantasy writer. It offers a readable, absorbing structure, dividing Tolkien's life and cultural contribution into 60 neat portions, every one digestible in a mere three minutes: 20 mini-sections each on Life, Work and Influence.

    From a childhood inventing new languages in the sylvan landscape of the Severn valley, through a First World War that saw him witness the horrors of the Somme, to academic success founded on a passion for Old English tales, we trace Tolkien's life and look at the way in which it informs his creation of imaginary worlds.
    $24.99
  • 30-Second Ancient China

    In the West, the story of Ancient China is less familiar to us than that of Ancient Egypt or Rome, but it is no less absorbing, and its rollcall of achievements is easily as impressive.

    30-Second Ancient China unlocks the secrets of China's Bronze Age glories and offers summaries of everything from the lost cities of the Zhou kings and the elaborate oracle-bone rituals that were practiced at their courts to the exquisite bronze vessels that gave the age its name, and the birth of Confucianism.

    Add topics dealing with everyday life in Ancient China, and succinct biographies of some powerful figures – from Wu Ding, king of the Shang, to Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War, the first ever treatise on military strategy – and this book becomes the perfect introduction to one of the great ancient civilizations.

    The 50 most significant aspects, no matter how complex, are explained in 300 words and one image, all digestible in just 30 seconds.

    $31.99
  • 30-Second Ancient Greece

    30-Second Ancient Greece offers an engrossing tour of the Hellenic world, appealingly served up in easily absorbed nuggets.

    Ancient Greek civilization laid the foundations for so many aspects of modern western life, from architecture to philosophy. But can you recite the Classical orders with confidence (are you sure what an order actually is?), and would you be able to define the key contributions of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle?

    $19.99
  • 30-Second Ancient Rome

    You know that Rome wasn't built in a day, but just how did a cluster of small hilltop villages expand to become one of the greatest empires in history? Why did Romulus kill his brother Remus? How was a legion organized? Did people really speak Latin? What entertainment could you see at the Colosseum? And what was daily life like for a Roman citizen?

    This book takes a novel approach to answering all these questions and more. 30-Second Ancient Rome presents a unique insight into one of the most brilliantly governed societies, where military might and expansive empire paved the way for technological advances that helped shape our modern existence. Each entry is summarized in just 30 seconds using nothing more than two pages, 300 words and a single picture.

    From aqueducts to sewers, from mosaics to medical diagnoses, this is the straightest road toward understanding the 50 key innovations and ideas that developed and defined one of the worlds great civilizations.

    $29.99
  • 30-Second Biology

    30-Second Biology tackles the vital science of life, dissecting the 50 most thought-provoking theories of our ecosystem and ourselves.

    At a time when discoveries in DNA allow us to feel more connected than ever to the natural world, this is the fastest route to an understanding of the tree of life. Whether you're dipping into the gene pool, unlocking cells or conversing on biodiversity, this is all the knowledge you need to bring life to the dinner-party debate.

    $19.99
  • 30-Second Einstein

    Spend 30 seconds a day in the company of a colossus from the world of science, and you will soon have his whole story – both his scientific attainments and his extraordinary life – in your head.

    Einstein was not only an unparalleled scientific genius, but also a human rights campaigner, a political activist and the iconic archetype of the mad professor. Is it any wonder that he continues to fascinate scientists and non-scientists alike? 30-Second Einstein will show you why.

    $19.99
  • 30-Second Evolution

    Evolution is the unifying force in modern biology, bringing together such diverse fields as microbiology, genetics and palaeontology. It provides a powerfully persuasive explanation for the staggering diversity of life on Earth but remains a source of controversy and throws up several bones of contention.How life has evolved has taxed the very best of brains, from Da Vinci to Darwin and, in our own time, Richard Dawkins...

    30-Second Evolution unlocks the laboratory of life, dissecting it into the 50 most significant topics that provide the missing links to understand the natural world's four-billion-year ancestry and the process of natural selection in which species either adapt in myriad ways – mutation, ingenuity and intelligence – to meet the challenges of a changing environment, or die.

    $19.99
    $12.99
  • 30-Second Twentieth Century

    30-Second Twentieth Century presents a unique approach to modern history. It condenses 100 years of innovation and art, politics and conflict, triumph and disaster, into 50 graphic snapshots that offer an instant appreciation of the way the world revolves and evolves. It invites the reader to consider which events define a period of history and why.

    From the Red Army to Black Monday, from Woodstock to the World Wide Web, this is the fastest way to travel through time.

    $19.99
  • Amazing Rare Things

    In Amazing Rare Things, Sir David Attenborough explores the history of natural history. With expert curators from the Royal Library, he examines the contributions of four great artists and one pre-eminent collector to this era of extraordinary scientific advances.

    Beautifully illustrated with a selection of exquisite drawings and watercolours by Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Marshal, Maria Sibylla Merian and Mark Catesby; and with works collected by Cassiano dal Pozzo, this book examines the engagement between art and nature, from Renaissance Italy to the New World of the Americas. This unique and fascinating book shines a light on the role of artists in our exploration of the natural world.

    $39.99
  • Antarctica: An Absent Presence

    This beautiful volume of soundscape compositions, images and words from Philip Samartzis is an invitation to share in a remarkable journey of enquiry.

    Antarctica is a paradox of the sublime and prosaic: with its vast expanses of ice, snow and mountains – and traces of human habitation, from weathered huts to abandoned machinery. Samartzis travelled south with the Australian Antarctic Division on several occasions and his recordings of the unique sounds of Antarctica have been used to create soundscape compositions which are meticulously realised on three CDs of the music included in this book.

    $59.99
  • Atlas of Cursed Places

    This alluring read includes 40 locations that are rife with disaster, chaos, paranormal activity and death.

    The locations gathered here include the dangerous Strait of Messina, home of the mythical sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis; the coal town of Jharia, where the ground burns constantly with fire; Kasanka National Park in Zambia, where 8 million migrating bats darken the skies; the Nevada Triangle in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where hundreds of aircraft have disappeared; and Aokigahara Forest near Mount Fuji in Japan, the world's second most popular suicide location following the Golden Gate Bridge.

    $44.99
  • Atlas of Improbable Places

    A journey into the world's lost cities, remote corners and extraordinary environments, Atlas of Improbable Places shows the modern world from surprising new vantage points that will inspire urban explorers and armchair travellers alike to consider a new way of understanding the world we live in.

    From deserted cities and strange settlements to remote islands and underground labyrinths, Travis Elborough uncovers our planet's most unique, intriguing and often unknown places and explores unusual and perplexing locations. Spanning centuries and reaching all around the globe, each entry provides key information, wittily observed, and accompanied by beautiful illustrations that evoke both the habitat and our relationship to it.

    $39.99
  • Australia's Quarter Acre
    Timms traces the development of the 1/4 acre block (1790-2006), its plantings & its hidden meanings, explaining how we have used our gardens for pleasure, relaxation & growing our own food. He uncovers how we became the world's first great suburban nation & how social & economic developmentsaltered the layouts of front & back gardens. Plots to plants, a richly illustrated, riveting read.
    $39.95
    $35.95
  • Australians of the Year 1960-2010
    This title celebrates 50 years of inspiring Australians by taking a close look at the lives and achievements of each of these talented and admirable recipients. It reveals the role models we can indeed be proud of and will perhaps inspire future Australians of the Year.

    Among a fascinating collection of scientists, sportspeople, entertainers, leaders, doctors, soldiers and environmentalists you will meet opera diva Dame Joan Sutherland, war hero Sir Ernest Edward 'Weary' Dunlop and athlete Catherine Freeman.
    $39.95
    $9.99
  • Between the Flags
    Since 1907, surf lifesavers have been making the beach a safer place, helping us to enjoy the surf, and playing an integral part in creating Australian beach life.

    Decade by decade, photo essays capture the events, the personalities of these ordinary people doing extraordinary jobs voluntarily, and the innovations that have made Australian surf lifesaving the vibrant movement it is today. Pull-out panorama.
    $14.95
    $4.99
  • Bogie
    In this expert and enticing survey of Bogart's life and work, veteran writers and critics of film assess his career and enduring legacy, and review in detail the 75 films he made over three decades, with particular focus on his key roles.

    Lavishly illustrated with stunning full- and double-page photos of Bogie on and off screen, this official celebration is a fitting tribute to a much-loved star.
    $49.95
    $9.99
  • Campaign
    Photographic survey through Australian political campaigns 1971–2007.

    In both behind-the-scenes and formal shots, an award-winning photographer has created a brilliant, unbiased essay that captures the changing mood of campaigns from the parochial early 70s to today's far more orchestrated events.
    $59.95
    $9.99
  • Celtic Myths

    The Celtic Myths introduces the world of the Celts, their gods and goddesses, heroes, monsters and villains.

    As well as vividly exploring the tales, the author brings her expertise in the archaeology of the Iron Age and particularly shamanism to bear on the mythical worlds she describes, with evidence as diverse as the Gundestrup Cauldron and the famous bog bodies. Starting with a discussion of how myths are transmitted and by whom, the author continues with an account of the Irish and Welsh myths and their key actors and motifs, before moving on to consider themes such as heroes, animals, women, environment and the Otherworld.

    In her finale, the author asks how the myths survived the Christianization of Europe and looks at the influence of monastic chroniclers on the tales, which they preserved and adapted.

    $24.99