A true tale of high adventure in the South Seas. The tiny island of Run is an insignificant speck in the Indonesian archipelago. Just two miles long and half a mile wide, it is remote, tranquil, and, these days, largely ignored. Yet 370 years ago, Run's harvest of nutmeg (a pound of which yielded a 3,200 percent profit by the time it arrived in England) turned it into the most lucrative of the Spice Islands, precipitating a battle between the all-powerful Dutch East India Company and the British Crown. The outcome of the fighting was one of the most spectacular deals in history: Britain ceded Run to Holland but in return was given Manhattan. This led not only to the birth of New York but also to the beginning of the British Empire. Such a deal was due to the persistence of one man. Nathaniel Courthope and his small band of adventurers were sent to Run in October 1616, and for four years held off the massive Dutch navy. Nathaniel's Nutmeg centers on the remarkable showdown between Courthope and the Dutch Governor General Jan Coen, and the brutal fate of the mariners racing to Run--and the other corners of the globe--to reap the huge profits of the spice trade. Written with the flair of a historical sea novel but based on rigorous research, Giles Milton's Nathaniel's Nutmeg is a brilliant adventure story by Giles Milton, a writer who has been hailed as the "new Bruce Chatwin" (Mail on Sunday).
'To write a book that makes the reader sit in a trance, lost in his passionate desire to pack a suitcase and go to the fabulous place - that, in the end, is something one would give a sack of nutmeg for' Philip Hensher, The Spectator In 1616, an English adventurer, Nathaniel Courthope, stepped ashore on a remote island in the East Indies on a secret mission - to persuade the islanders of Run to grant a monopoly to England over their nutmeg, a fabulously valuable spice in Europe. This infuriated the Dutch, who were determined to control the world's nutmeg supply. For five years Courthope and his band of thirty men were besieged by a force one hundred times greater - and his heroism set in motion the events that led to the founding of the greatest city on earth. A beautifully told adventure story and a fascinating depiction of exploration in the seventeenth century, NATHANIEL'S NUTMEG sheds a remarkable light on history
"David Abulafia's new book guides readers along the world's greatest bodies of water to reveal their primary role in human history. The main protagonists are the three major oceans-the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian-which together comprise the majority of the earth's water and cover over half of its surface. Over time, as passage through them gradually extended and expanded, linking first islands and then continents, maritime networks developed, evolving from local exploration to lines of regional communication and commerce and eventually to major arteries. These waterways carried goods, plants, livestock, and of course people-free and enslaved-across vast expanses, transforming and ultimately linking irrevocably the economies and cultures of Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas"--
An eye-opening account of the first encounter between England and Japan, by the acclaimed author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg In 1611, the merchants of London's East India Company received a mysterious letter from Japan, written several years previously by a marooned English mariner named William Adams. Foreigners had been denied access to Japan for centuries, yet Adams had been living in this unknown land for years. He had risen to the highest levels in the ruling shogun's court, taken a Japanese name, and was now offering his services as adviser and interpreter. Seven adventurers were sent to Japan with orders to find and befriend Adams, in the belief that he held the key to exploiting the opulent riches of this forbidden land. Their arrival was to prove a momentous event in the history of Japan and the shogun suddenly found himself facing a stark choice: to expel the foreigners and continue with his policy of isolation, or to open his country to the world. For more than a decade the English, helped by Adams, were to attempt trade with the shogun, but confounded by a culture so different from their own, and hounded by scheming Jesuit monks and fearsome Dutch assassins, they found themselves in a desperate battle for their lives. Samurai William is the fascinating story of a clash of two cultures, and of the enormous impact one Westerner had on the opening of the East.
This is a book about discovery and disaster, exploitation and invention, warfare and science - and the relationship between human beings and the chemical elements that make up our planet. Lars Ohrstrom introduces us to a variety of elements from S to Pb through tales of ordinary and extraordinary people from around the globe. We meet African dictators controlling vital supplies of uranium; eighteenth-century explorers searching out sources of precious metals; industrial spies stealing the secrets of steel-making. We find out why the Hindenburg airship was tragically filled with hydrogen, not helium; why nail-varnish remover played a key part in World War I; and the real story behind the legend of tin buttons and the downfall of Napoleon. In each chapter, we find out about the distinctive properties of each element and the concepts and principles that have enabled scientists to put it to practical use. These are the fascinating (and sometimes terrifying) stories of chemistry in action.
14 Mind-Altering Substances You Can Obtain and Use Without Breaking The Law "A Euphoric, Crazy Trip."--Amanita muscaria mushroom user Everyone can get high...biologically speaking, that is. And it's just plain human nature to want to try it. Although the government stands in the way of this basic right, there are ways around the restrictions. On the road to altered consciousness, there's a perfectly legal route. With each of the fourteen psychoactive substances detailed in this book, you can get high, pass a urine drug test, and never once break the law. "Totally Clear, Intense Hallucinations For Hours."--Ayahuasca user Legally Stoned provides a clear, practical guide for obtaining and using fourteen of the easiest to acquire, legal mind-altering agents. It also includes a description and history of each item, its chemistry and physiological reactions, accounts of its pleasures and perils, and any risks associated with it. Here are a few legal substances and their reported impact: • Amanita muscaria mushroom use leads to feelings of euphoria and auditory hallucinations • Anadenanthera peregrina/colubrina seeds have been known to cause intense visions of psychedelic light and color • Ayahuasca, which originated in South America, often produces visual hallucinations that include the jungle, exotic animals, even ancient native artwork! "Like Watching A Laser Light Show. . .Next Time I'll Take More."--Colubrina seed user "Fascinating . . . You are not merely holding a book; you are holding a key to the doors of perception. Legally Stoned is far more than an excellent, meticulously-researched sourcebook; it is a highly-readable treasure trove of experiments and experiences." --Kinky Friedman, musician, novelist, and politician "Legally Stoned is a well researched sourcebook for anyone interested in psychoactive substances that are currently legal in the United States. Legally Stoned cites scientific research and personal accounts to provide accurate descriptions of each substance's history, physiological effects, and the risks of use. Legally Stoned also challenges the rationality of the drug laws by describing the methods people often use to obtain and prepare each substance." --Krystle Cole, www.NeuroSoup.com, author of Lysergic and After the Trip "I refuse to plunge into paranoid speculation why many of the magical and sacred foods of the gods are made illegal and their communicants vilified. Instead, I bless and give thanks for books such as this, and intelligent and courageous souls such as Dr. Thies for their efforts to keep the doors of perception in full view for all of us to see." --Lon Milo DuQuette, author of My Life with the Spirits and Enochian Vision Magick "Todd Thies is the new millennium's Timothy Leary. His book covers the unexplored, mind-blowing universe outside of the DEA's crosshairs with insight and clarity. Legally Stoned is a fascinating read, a guided journey down the rabbit hole."--M. Chris Fabricant, author of Busted! Drug War Survival Skills So while wondering what the effects might be for you, just know that you have the option to obtain and use any of these, and many other, means of seeking a new level of awareness. It's completely legal; it's human nature; it's your right. What are you waiting for? With 16 pages of photos A Featured Alternate of the Quality Paperback Book Club
This is a seafarer’s book that draws from the accounts of hundreds of sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century ocean voyages to convey the realities of everyday life aboard the galleons sailing between England and the West Indies and beyond. From jacktar to captain, what was life like aboard an Elizabethan ship? How did the men survive tropical heat, storms, bad water, rotten food, disease, poor navigation, shifting cargoes and enemy fire? Would a sailor return to Devon alive? With a whiff of oakum, salt spray and gunpowder, and in the words of Hawkyns, Drake and Ralegh, Tropic Suns follows in the footsteps of the average sailor: first the state of his ship, his food and water, then the weather and climate, the tools and skills for getting from here to there and back again, the way the ship is run at sea, fights against a vastly more powerful enemy fleet’s broadsides, tropical disease and at last, being paid once back in England. Celebrating the extraordinary drive and courage of those early sailors who left the familiarity of their English estuaries for the dangers of the Islas Cabo Verdes and the Caribbean, the Rivers Amazonas and Orinoco, and the Strait of Magellan, and their remarkable achievements, Tropic Suns is essential reading for anyone with an interest in our maritime heritage.
Part travelogue/part historical mystery about the most famous traveler--and chronicler-- in medieval Europe. Giles Milton's first book, The Riddle and the Knight, is a fascinating account of the legend of Sir John Mandeville, a long-forgotten knight who was once the most famous writer in medieval Europe. Mandeville wrote a book about his voyage around the world that became a beacon that lit the way for the great expeditions of the Renaissance, and his exploits and adventures provided inspiration for writers such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Keats. By the nineteenth century however, his claims were largely discredited by academics. Giles Milton set off in the footsteps of Mandeville, in order to test his amazing claims, and to restore Mandeville to his rightful place in the literature of exploration. "Erudite, witty and adventurous" (The Mail on Sunday), The Riddle and the Knight is a brilliant piece of detective work.
In April 1586, Queen Elizabeth I acquired a new and exotic title. A tribe of North American Indians had made her their weroanza - 'big chief'. The news was received with great joy, both by the Queen and her favourite, Sir Walter Ralegh. His first American expedition had brought back a captive, Manteo, whose tattooed face had enthralled Elizabethan London. Now Manteo was returned to his homeland as Lord and Governor. Ralegh's gamble would result in the first English settlement in the New World, but it would also lead to a riddle whose solution lay hidden in the forests of Virginia. A tale of heroism and mystery, Big Chief Elizabeth is illuminated by first-hand accounts to reveal a remarkable and long-forgotten story.