Twelve Against the Gods: The Story of Adventure

Diversion Books
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"It's really quite good." - Elon Musk

Twelve Against the Gods was an instant bestseller when it first published in 1929. In his trademark journalist style, author William Bolitho details the lives of twelve great adventurers—Alexander the Great, Casanova, Christopher Columbus, Mahomet, Lola Montez, Cagliostro (and Seraphina), Charles XII of Sweden, Napoleon I, Lucius Sergius Catiline, Napoleon III, Isadora Duncan, and Woodrow Wilson. Bolitho shines light on both the struggles and successes that made these figures so iconic, and demonstrates how they all battled convention and conformity to achieve enduring fame and notoriety.

“We are born adventurers,” Bolitho writes, “and the love of adventures never leaves us till we are very old; old, timid men, in whose interest it is that adventure should quite die out. This is why all the poets are on one side, and all the laws on the other; for laws are made by, and usually for, old men." Though his essays are nearly one hundred years old, they encompass the timeless values of perseverance, bravery, and strength of spirit that have proven to resonate with the pioneers and thought leaders of today.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Diversion Books
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Published on
Sep 25, 2018
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Pages
407
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ISBN
9781635765045
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Essays
History / Revolutionary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A Business Week, New York Times Business, and USA Today Bestseller

"Ambitious and readable . . . an engaging introduction to the oddsmakers, whom Bernstein regards as true humanists helping to release mankind from the choke holds of superstition and fatalism."
—The New York Times

"An extraordinarily entertaining and informative book."
—The Wall Street Journal

"A lively panoramic book . . . Against the Gods sets up an ambitious premise and then delivers on it."
—Business Week

"Deserves to be, and surely will be, widely read."
—The Economist

"[A] challenging book, one that may change forever the way people think about the world."
—Worth

"No one else could have written a book of such central importance with so much charm and excitement."
—Robert Heilbroner author, The Worldly Philosophers

"With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it."
—John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University

In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the distant past. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today.

"An extremely readable history of risk."
—Barron's

"Fascinating . . . this challenging volume will help you understand the uncertainties that every investor must face."
—Money

"A singular achievement."
—Times Literary Supplement

"There's a growing market for savants who can render the recondite intelligibly-witness Stephen Jay Gould (natural history), Oliver Sacks (disease), Richard Dawkins (heredity), James Gleick (physics), Paul Krugman (economics)-and Bernstein would mingle well in their company."
—The Australian
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Turn: Washington’s Spies, now an original series on AMC

Based on remarkable new research, acclaimed historian Alexander Rose brings to life the true story of the spy ring that helped America win the Revolutionary War. For the first time, Rose takes us beyond the battlefront and deep into the shadowy underworld of double agents and triple crosses, covert operations and code breaking, and unmasks the courageous, flawed men who inhabited this wilderness of mirrors—including the spymaster at the heart of it all.

In the summer of 1778, with the war poised to turn in his favor, General George Washington desperately needed to know where the British would strike next. To that end, he unleashed his secret weapon: an unlikely ring of spies in New York charged with discovering the enemy’s battle plans and military strategy.

Washington’s small band included a young Quaker torn between political principle and family loyalty, a swashbuckling sailor addicted to the perils of espionage, a hard-drinking barkeep, a Yale-educated cavalryman and friend of the doomed Nathan Hale, and a peaceful, sickly farmer who begged Washington to let him retire but who always came through in the end. Personally guiding these imperfect everyday heroes was Washington himself. In an era when officers were gentlemen, and gentlemen didn’ t spy, he possessed an extraordinary talent for deception—and proved an adept spymaster.

The men he mentored were dubbed the Culper Ring. The British secret service tried to hunt them down, but they escaped by the closest of shaves thanks to their ciphers, dead drops, and invisible ink. Rose’s thrilling narrative tells the unknown story of the Revolution–the murderous intelligence war, gunrunning and kidnapping, defectors and executioners—that has never appeared in the history books. But Washington’s Spies is also a spirited, touching account of friendship and trust, fear and betrayal, amid the dark and silent world of the spy.
This edition also includes an illustrated history of BOTH the RISE AND FALL of the Roman Empire from its very beginning. HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE COMPLETE VOLUMES 1 - 6 (sometimes shortened to "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire") is a book of history written by the English historian Edward Gibbon, which traces the trajectory of the Roman Empire—and Western civilization as a whole—from the late first century AD to the fall of the Eastern or Byzantine Empire. Published in six volumes, volume I was published in 1776 and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788-89. The original volumes were published in quarto sections, a common publishing practice of the time. The work covers the history of the Roman Empire, Europe, and the Catholic Church from 98 to 1590 and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, at the time its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first "modern historian of ancient Rome". Gibbon offers an explanation for why the Roman Empire fell, a task made difficult by a lack of comprehensive written sources, though he was not the only historian to tackle the subject. According to Gibbon, the Roman Empire succumbed to barbarian invasions in large part due to the gradual loss of civic virtue among its citizens. They had become weak, outsourcing their duties to defend their Empire to barbarian mercenaries, who then became so numerous and ingrained that they were able to take over the Empire. Romans, he believed, had become effeminate, unwilling to live a tougher, "manly" military lifestyle. In addition, Gibbon argued that Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire. He also believed its comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit. Finally, like other Enlightenment thinkers, Gibbon held in contempt the Middle Ages as a priest-ridden, superstitious, dark age. It was not until his own age of reason and rational thought, it was believed, that human history could resume its progress. Gibbon sees the Praetorian Guard as the primary catalyst of the empire's initial decay and eventual collapse, a seed planted by Augustus at the establishment of the empire. He cites repeated examples of the Praetorian Guard abusing their power with calamitous results, including numerous instances of imperial assassination and incessant demands for increased pay.
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