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The Professor and the Madman
Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061807605
Pages: 288
Year: 2009-10-13
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New York Times Bestseller Simon Winchester’s classic about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary—soon to be a major motion picture starring Sean Penn and Mel Gibson. The making of the Oxford English Dictionary was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken. As definitions were collected, the overseeing committee, led by Professor James Murray, was stunned to discover that one man, Dr. W. C. Minor, had submitted more than ten thousand. But their surprise would pale in comparison to what they were about to discover when the committee insisted on honoring him. For Dr. Minor, an American Civil War veteran, was also an inmate at an asylum for the criminally insane. Masterfully researched and eloquently written, The Professor and the Madman is an extraordinary tale of madness, genius, and the incredible obsessions of two remarkable men that led to the making of the Oxford English Dictionary—and literary history. “The linguistic detective story of the decade.... Winchester does a superb job of historical research.”—William Safire, New York Times Magazine
The Meaning of Everything
Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 019517500X
Pages: 260
Year: 2004
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Traces the history of the Oxford English Dictionary from its earliest inception through its long path to completion, describes the process of creating a dictionary, and includes anecdotes about its creators and their work.
The Men Who United the States
Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 006207962X
Pages: 512
Year: 2013-10-15
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Simon Winchester, the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Atlantic and The Professor and the Madman, delivers his first book about America: a fascinating popular history that illuminates the men who toiled fearlessly to discover, connect, and bond the citizenry and geography of the U.S.A. from its beginnings. How did America become “one nation, indivisible”? What unified a growing number of disparate states into the modern country we recognize today? To answer these questions, Winchester follows in the footsteps of America’s most essential explorers, thinkers, and innovators, such as Lewis and Clark and the leaders of the Great Surveys; the builders of the first transcontinental telegraph and the powerful civil engineer behind the Interstate Highway System. He treks vast swaths of territory, from Pittsburgh to Portland, Rochester to San Francisco, Seattle to Anchorage, introducing the fascinating people who played a pivotal role in creating today’s United States. Throughout, he ponders whether the historic work of uniting the States has succeeded, and to what degree. Featuring 32 illustrations throughout the text, The Men Who United the States is a fresh look at the way in which the most powerful nation on earth came together.
Krakatoa
Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062277464
Pages: 464
Year: 2013-02-05
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Simon Winchester, New York Times bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, examines the legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa, which was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogotá and Washington, D.C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all -- in view of today's new political climate -- the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims, one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere. Krakatoa gives us an entirely new perspective on this fascinating and iconic event. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Caught in the Web of Words
Author: Katherine Maud Elisabeth Murray
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300089198
Pages: 386
Year: 2001
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This unique and celebrated biography describes how a largely self-educated boy from a small village in Scotland entered the world of scholarship and became the first editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, and a lexicographer greater by far than Dr. Johnson. It also provides an absorbing account of how the dictionary was written, the personalities of the people working on it, and the endless difficulties which nearly led to the whole enterprise being abandoned.
Outposts
Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061978329
Pages: 400
Year: 2009-10-27
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Simon Winchester, struck by a sudden need to discover exactly what was left of the British Empire, set out across the globe to visit the far-flung islands that are all that remain of what once made Britain great. He traveled 100,000 miles back and forth, from Antarctica to the Caribbean, from the Mediterranean to the Far East, to capture a last glint of imperial glory. His adventures in these distant and forgotten ends of the earth make compelling, often funny reading and tell a story most of us had thought was over: a tale of the last outposts in Britain's imperial career and those who keep the flag flying. With a new introduction, this updated edition tells us what has happened to these extraordinary places while the author's been away.
The Perfectionists
Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062652575
Pages: 416
Year: 2018-05-08
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The revered New York Times bestselling author traces the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to explore the single component crucial to advancement—precision—in a superb history that is both an homage and a warning for our future. The rise of manufacturing could not have happened without an attention to precision. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in eighteenth-century England, standards of measurement were established, giving way to the development of machine tools—machines that make machines. Eventually, the application of precision tools and methods resulted in the creation and mass production of items from guns and glass to mirrors, lenses, and cameras—and eventually gave way to further breakthroughs, including gene splicing, microchips, and the Hadron Collider. Simon Winchester takes us back to origins of the Industrial Age, to England where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden, and Joseph Whitworth. It was Thomas Jefferson who later exported their discoveries to the fledgling United States, setting the nation on its course to become a manufacturing titan. Winchester moves forward through time, to today’s cutting-edge developments occurring around the world, from America to Western Europe to Asia. As he introduces the minds and methods that have changed the modern world, Winchester explores fundamental questions. Why is precision important? What are the different tools we use to measure it? Who has invented and perfected it? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art, and high culture? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society?
The Word Detective
Author: John Simpson
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465096522
Pages: 384
Year: 2016-10-25
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"A charmingly full, frank, and humorous account of a career dedicated to rigorous lexicographic rectitude. . . .[John Simpson] is an absolute hero." --Lynne Truss, New York Times Can you drink a glass of balderdash? And what do you call the part of a dog's back it can't scratch? The answers to these questions can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary. There is no better guide to the dictionary's many wonderments than its former chief editor, John Simpson. In The Word Detective, an intensely personal memoir and a joyful celebration of English, he weaves a story of how words come into being, how culture shapes language, and how technology transforms words. A brilliant and deeply humane expedition through the world of words, The Word Detective will delight and inspire any lover of language.
Skulls
Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal
ISBN: 1579129129
Pages: 255
Year: 2012-10-09
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Shares photographs of a variety of skulls, including those of mammals, birds, and fish.
Pacific
Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 0062315439
Pages: 512
Year: 2015-10-27
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One of Library Journal’s 10 Best Books of 2015 Following his acclaimed Atlantic and The Men Who United the States, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester offers an enthralling biography of the Pacific Ocean and its role in the modern world, exploring our relationship with this imposing force of nature. As the Mediterranean shaped the classical world, and the Atlantic connected Europe to the New World, the Pacific Ocean defines our tomorrow. With China on the rise, so, too, are the American cities of the West coast, including Seattle, San Francisco, and the long cluster of towns down the Silicon Valley. Today, the Pacific is ascendant. Its geological history has long transformed us—tremendous earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis—but its human history, from a Western perspective, is quite young, beginning with Magellan’s sixteenth-century circumnavigation. It is a natural wonder whose most fascinating history is currently being made. In telling the story of the Pacific, Simon Winchester takes us from the Bering Strait to Cape Horn, the Yangtze River to the Panama Canal, and to the many small islands and archipelagos that lie in between. He observes the fall of a dictator in Manila, visits aboriginals in northern Queensland, and is jailed in Tierra del Fuego, the land at the end of the world. His journey encompasses a trip down the Alaska Highway, a stop at the isolated Pitcairn Islands, a trek across South Korea and a glimpse of its mysterious northern neighbor. Winchester’s personal experience is vast and his storytelling second to none. And his historical understanding of the region is formidable, making Pacific a paean to this magnificent sea of beauty, myth, and imagination that is transforming our lives.
Dreaming with the Ancestors
Author: Shirley Boteler Mock
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
ISBN: 0806186089
Pages: 400
Year: 2012-10-09
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Indian freedmen and their descendants have garnered much public and scholarly attention, but women's roles have largely been absent from that discussion. Now a scholar who gained an insider's perspective into the Black Seminole community in Texas and Mexico offers a rare and vivid picture of these women and their contributions. In Dreaming with the Ancestors, Shirley Boteler Mock explores the role that Black Seminole women have played in shaping and perpetuating a culture born of African roots and shaped by southeastern Native American and Mexican influences. Mock reveals a unique maroon culture, forged from an eclectic mixture of religious beliefs and social practices. At its core is an amalgam of African-derived traditions kept alive by women. The author interweaves documentary research with extensive interviews she conducted with leading Black Seminole women to uncover their remarkable history. She tells how these women nourished their families and held fast to their Afro-Seminole language — even as they fled slavery, endured relocation, and eventually sought new lives in new lands. Of key importance were the "warrior women" — keepers of dreams and visions that bring to life age-old African customs. Featuring more than thirty illustrations and maps, including historic photographs never before published, Dreaming with the Ancestors combines scholarly analysis with human interest to open a new window on both African American and American Indian history and culture.
The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King
Author: Michael Craig
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 0446539635
Pages: 288
Year: 2008-06-17
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In 2001, a stranger from Texas entered the high-stakes poker room in the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas. A self-made billionaire, he challenged some of poker's greatest players to a series of heads-up matches. By the end, there was more than $20 million on the table. For the first time ever, here is the detailed, true account of the legendary Big Game that shocked the poker world. Putting you railside to observe the pulse-pounding action, it takes you inside the iron-nerved mind of the professional gambler. Filled with vivid characters, sensational tales, and riveting human drama, this is a unique, suspenseful journey into the world of people who live on the razor's edge of fortune-where incredible wealth or utter ruin turn on the flip of a card.
The Map That Changed the World
Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061978272
Pages: 368
Year: 2009-10-27
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In 1793, a canal digger named William Smith made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, one could follow layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell—clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world—making it possible, for the first time ever, to draw a chart of the hidden underside of the earth. Smith spent twenty-two years piecing together the fragments of this unseen universe to create an epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map. But instead of receiving accolades and honors, he ended up in debtors' prison, the victim of plagiarism, and virtually homeless for ten years more. The Map That Changed the World is a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man's dedication in the face of ruin. With a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery.
A Crack in the Edge of the World
Author: Simon Winchester
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062277456
Pages: 512
Year: 2013-02-05
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Unleashed by ancient geologic forces, a magnitude 8.25 earthquake rocked San Francisco in the early hours of April 18, 1906. Less than a minute later, the city lay in ruins. Bestselling author Simon Winchester brings his inimitable storytelling abilities to this extraordinary event, exploring the legendary earthquake and fires that spread horror across San Francisco and northern California in 1906 as well as its startling impact on American history and, just as important, what science has recently revealed about the fascinating subterranean processes that produced it—and almost certainly will cause it to strike again.
Born To Kvetch
Author: Michael Wex
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1429909900
Pages: 320
Year: 2007-04-01
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As the main spoken language of the Jews for more than a thousand years, Yiddish has had plenty to lament, plenty to conceal. Its phrases, idioms, and expressions paint a comprehensive picture of the mind-set that enabled the Jews of Europe to survive a millennium of unrelenting persecution: they never stopped kvetching---about God, gentiles, children, food, and everything (and anything) else. They even learned how to smile through their kvetching and express satisfaction in the form of complaint. In Born to Kvetch, Michael Wex looks at the ingredients that went into this buffet of disenchantment and examines how they were mixed together to produce an almost limitless supply of striking idioms and withering curses (which get a chapter all to themselves). Born to Kvetch includes a wealth of material that's never appeared in English before. You'll find information on the Yiddish relationship to food, nature, divinity, and humanity. There's even a chapter about sex. This is no bobe mayse (cock-and-bull story) from a khokhem be-layle (idiot, literally a "sage at night" when no one's looking), but a serious yet fun and funny look at a language that both shaped and was shaped by those who spoke it. From tukhes to goy, meshugener to kvetch, Yiddish words have permeated and transformed English as well. Through the idioms, phrases, metaphors, and fascinating history of this kvetch-full tongue, Michael Wex gives us a moving and inspiring portrait of a people, and a language, in exile.