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World history

sapiensSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari
(UK: Vintage, 2015; USA: HarperCollins, 2015)

Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us… We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens?

In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going. Sapiens is a thrilling account of humankind’s extraordinary history – from the Stone Age to the Silicon Age – and our journey from insignificant apes to rulers of the world

Recommended by:
Christopher NorrisJolabokaflod Book Campaign

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Available in the USA at Amazon (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)

lastsupperWho Cooked the Last Supper? The Women’s History of the World
Rosalind Miles
(UK: Broadway Books, 2001; USA: Broadway Books, 2001)

Men dominate history because men write history. There have been many heroes, but no heroines. This is the book that overturns that ‘phallusy of history’, giving voice to the true history of the world – which, always and forever, must include the contributions of millions of unsung women. Here is the history you never learned – but should have!

Without politics or polemics, this  book overturns centuries of preconceptions to restore women to their rightful place at the centre of culture, revolution, empire, war, and peace. Spiced with tales of individual women who have shaped civilisation, celebrating the work and lives of women around the world, distinguished by a wealth of research, Who Cooked the Last Supper? redefines our concept of historical reality.

Recommended by:
Paul Atherton, Managing Director, Simple (TV) Productions Ltd (film/television)
Paul says: ‘Rosalind Miles is a feminist who was at Oxford University at the same time as Germaine Greer; Miles takes a fresh look at women and power through history.’

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Who Cooked the Last Supper? The Women’s History of the World)
Available in the USA at Amazon (Who Cooked the Last Supper? The Women’s History of the World)

Paul is currently involved in a campaign to raise awareness of the Homeless in London by Living in a Car: for a year. You can follow his progress via Twitter @LondonersLondon using the hashtag #LivingInACar

hiddenfiguresHidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race
Margot Lee Shetterly
(UK: William Collins, 2016; USA: William Morrow, 2016)

Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program.

Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these ‘colored computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of mankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of four courageous women whose work forever changed the world.

Recommended by:
Dr Karen O’Donnell, Research Fellow for Digital Pedagogy, CODEC Research Centre for Digital Theology Karen says: ‘This brilliant book looks at the lives of African-American women working at NASA during the Space Race.’

Available in the UK via ‘My Local Bookshop‘ search engine or Amazon (Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race)
Available in the USA at Amazon (Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race)

Karen’s latest book (as editor) is published in the UK (2016) by Inter-Disciplinary Press:
Ruptured Voices: Trauma and Recovery (UK: download PDF ebook)