If one were to glide over the Dutch countryside via helicopter in the springtime, the beauty below them would seem almost surreal. The rolling rectangular fields are composed of immaculately neat horizontal stripes in vibrant swatches of scarlet, pink, lavender, cream white, and midnight blue. The ethereal sight is even more breathtaking when one takes a stroll along these fields, surrounded by endless carpets of bright color. These world-famous three-petal, three-sepal flowers, all craning their necks toward the dazzling sun, are none other than Dutch tulips. The Netherlands is now the world´s leading commercial producer of tulips, shipping out more than three billion of these colorful beauties each year. Standard tulips, depending on where one is based, typically sell for anywhere between one dollar to $3.50 US dollars per stem today. They are a creative alternative to roses, lilies, and other traditional flowers. Needless to say, like every other floral breed, special tulips - such as hybrids, or ones with unique multicolored streaks and patterns - will cost buyers a pretty penny, but a bouquet is certainly not going to break the bank. Legend has it, however, that this was not always the case. As a matter of fact, these delightful ´´harbingers of spring” were supposedly once so rabidly sought after that it wasn´t just more valuable than gold - men threw themselves into financial ruin all for the sake of attaining just one of these sacred flowers. At the crescendo of what is now remembered as ´´Tulip Mania”, or the ´´Tulip Craze”, a single shallot-like bulb of an unripe tulip was worth 20 times the annual salary of a skilled laborer. This aggressively volatile period, marked by convoluted and careless market speculation, inevitably culminated in the disastrous bursting of one of the world´s first financial bubbles, an example of the perils of herd mentality. But how much truth is there to this oft-repeated story of the Tulpe 1. Language: English. Narrator: Dan Gallagher. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/123396/bk_acx0_123396_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
He swore to take a bullet for the President and left it all behind to take a bullet for the American people. Why would a successful, twelve-year Secret Service agent resign his position in the prime of his career to run for political office against all the odds? New York Times bestseller, Life Inside the Bubble is an intimate look at life inside the presidential ´´bubble,´´ a haze of staffers, consultants, cronies, acolytes, bureaucrats and lobbyists that creates the ´´alternate reality´´ in which monumental policy decisions are made. And it is the story of a dedicated Secret Service professional who, after years inside the ´´bubble,´´ walked away in favor of sounding a clarion call to the American people in defense of sane government and the U.S. Constitution. Finally, why the Fast & Furious scandal, the bombings in Boston and the terrorist attacks in Benghazi are harbingers of what´s to come without a bold change in direction. Take the journey with Dan Bongino from the tough streets of New York City where he was raised, and later patrolled as a member of the NYPD, to the White House as a member of the elite Presidential Protective Division, through his ultimate decision to resign from the Secret Service - during the Obama Administration - in the prime of his career to run for the United States Senate against the feared Maryland Democratic machine. Follow his experiences inside the Washington, D.C., matrix and discover why a government filled with some incredibly dedicated people nevertheless continues to make such frequent and tragic mistakes. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Mark F. Smith. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/017329/bk_adbl_017329_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The abridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Niall Ferguson´s epic history, The Ascent of Money. Behind each great historical phenomenon there lies a financial secret - Niall Ferguson uncovers the hidden stories behind history. Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot. Call it what you like, it matters now more than ever. In The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson shows that finance is the foundation of all human progress and the lifeblood of history. From the cash injection that funded the Italian Renaissance to the stock market bubble that sparked the French Revolution, from the bonds that fuelled Britain´s war effort to the Wall Street Crash and today´s meltdown, this is the story of boom and bust as it´s never been told before. Whether you´re scraping by or rolling in it, there´s no better time to understand the ascent of money. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Gareth Armstrong. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/pauk/000922/bk_pauk_000922_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Economists have called the South Sea bubble ´´one of the most famous and dramatic episodes in the history of speculation´´. The company´s spectacular fall impacted not only its investors, but public confidence in corporations, investments, and even banking worldwide. How did the directors of one of the most successful joint-stock companies at the time, sought after in social circles as financiers and masterminds, come to be called before Parliament to testify? The anger over the dishonesty of the directors of the company resulted in one member of the House of Lords suggesting that the South Sea Company directors ´´be sewn up in sacks, along with snakes and monies, and then drowned.´´ Though the history of the South Sea Company is obscure and unfamiliar to most, the regular references to the company and the scandal that surrounded it have lead it to be regularly referenced by economists, historians, and even investors today. It is a story centered around England´s history of debt, loans, and banking, all against the backdrop of modern history´s most famous empire. The South Sea Company: The History of the British Empire´s South American Stock Company examines the history and legacy of one of England´s most notorious trading companies. You will learn about the South Sea Company like never before, in no time at all. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Scott Clem. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/085626/bk_acx0_085626_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Sprightly swing music spills across the dimly lit club. The grayish curtains of cigarette smoke part every once in a while to reveal a sparkling stage and tables upon tables of patrons, some incurably inebriated, and others high on the fast-paced nightlife. Fabulous flappers in shimmery cocktail dresses and stylish feather headbands throw their hands up and stomp their feet to the addictive beat on the dance floor. Smartly dressed men, their hair neatly parted and slicked back, toss fistfuls of dice onto the plush green baize of the craps tables. Some hover over roulette wheels, staring intently at the spinning flashes of silver, while others finger their playing cards as they sip on tumblers of whiskey, eyeing both the river and the tower of tokens next to them.Frisky tunes, chic fashion, and American gambling are nostalgic, rose-tinted images most choose to project when visualizing the Roaring Twenties, but the other side of the coin brought an uninviting, much harsher reality that most would prefer to sweep under the rug. The first real estate bubble was on the brink of bursting, and progress was evident, but painfully slow, which gave way to yet another era of violent riots, lynchings, and other forms of oppression imposed on minorities.The Chicago Outfit: The History and Legacy of the Organized Crime Syndicate Led by Al Capone profiles how the group rose in the criminal underworld, and all the controversies that ensued. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Scott Clem. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/146882/bk_acx0_146882_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
We are of a single nation, of the same blood, but forcibly divided. - attributed to Kim Il-sung North Korea has long been the butt of jokes, and it has been a longstanding target of international criticism, but the startling satellite image was anything but amusing, for it demonstrated the truly catastrophic conditions North Koreans find themselves in. Statistics show that the average South Korean uses up to 10,162 kilowatt hours of power per year, whereas their neighbors in the north consume only 739. This is only one among a slew of stumbling blocks affecting the state, impeding it from proper progress. The mismatching network of sprawling yet lifeless cities and squalid, poverty-stricken provinces stands eerily silent next to the bustling metropolises on either side of it. North Korea is trapped in an impenetrable, soundproof bubble, the entire state frozen in time. Notwithstanding a fractional sliver of the capital, where the Supreme Commander and the North Korean elites resided, the faded Pyongyang skyline and its blocky, monotone buildings - while a vast improvement from the rest of the state - seem to be lifted straight out of the ´70s at best. So why is North Korea so starkly different from its neighbors when nothing more but mere borders separate them? A tyrannical lineage secured by nepotism. An entire nation indoctrinated by chilling, mind-boggling propaganda, molded by fear and forced ignorance. Mass purges doled out seemingly on whims, without fair trials. Unparalleled paranoia and cold-blooded assassinations left and right, seemingly around every curve and corner. An impoverished sphere of barren wastelands inhabited by malnourished masses, orbiting a world glittering with the gross opulence and superfluous riches of the elite. These sound like the elements of a particularly perilous period of autocracy enforced by some mad monarch of a bygone era, or perhaps a generic blurb for a far-fetched thriller set in a dystopian fut 1. Language: English. Narrator: Dan Gallagher. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/103672/bk_acx0_103672_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
On Wednesday, March 28, 1979, 36 seconds after the hour of 4:00 a.m., several water pumps stopped working in the unit 2 nuclear power plant on Three Mile Island, 10 miles southeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Thus began the accident at Three Mile Island. In the minutes, hours, and days that followed, a series of events - compounded by equipment failures, inappropriate procedures, and human errors and ignorance - escalated into the worst crisis yet experienced by the nation´s nuclear power industry. The accident focused national and international attention on the nuclear facility at Three Mile Island and raised it to a place of prominence in the minds of hundreds of millions. For the people living in such communities as Royalton, Goldsboro, Middletown, Hummelstown, Hershey, and Harrisburg, the rumors, conflicting official statements, a lack of knowledge about radiation releases, the continuing possibility of mass evacuation, and the fear that a hydrogen bubble trapped inside a nuclear reactor might explode were real and immediate. ...The reality of the accident, the realization that such an accident could actually occur, renewed and deepened the national debate over nuclear safety and the national policy of using nuclear reactors to generate electricity. - Findings in a report by the Presidential Commission established to investigate the accident. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Dennis E. Morris. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/036081/bk_acx0_036081_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
A narrative thriller about the battle royale surrounding Barack Obama´s quest for a second term amid widespread joblessness and one of the most poisonous political climates in American history. The election of 2012 will be remembered as a hinge of history. With huge victories in the 2010 midterm elections, the Republican Party had blocked President Obama at every turn and made plans to wrench the country sharply to the right. The 2012 contest offered the GOP a clear shot at controlling all three branches of government and repealing much of the social contract that dated back to the New Deal. Facing free-spending billionaires, Fox News, and a concerted effort in 19 states to rig the election by suppressing Democratic votes, Obama repelled the assault and navigated the nation back toward the center. In The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies, Jonathan Alter uses his unmatched access and deep knowledge of politics and history to produce the first full account of America at the crossroads. He pierces the bubble of the White House and of the presidential campaigns with exclusive reporting and rare historical insight. More than a campaign book, this is the epic story of an embattled president facing a historic moment he considered more pivotal than 2008. Alter relates the untold story behind Obama´s highs and lows, from his daring decision to raid Osama bin Laden´s compound to the frustration of the debt ceiling fiasco to his run-ins with black and Latino activists he expected to be his firm allies. There are fresh details about the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, Roger Ailes, and the online haters who suffer from ´´Obama Derangement Syndrome´´. Alter takes us inside the GOP ´´clown car´´ primaries as well as Obama´s disastrous preparation for the first debate. We meet Obama´s analytics geeks working out of ´´The Cave´´ and the man who secretly videotaped Mitt Romney´s infamous comments on the ´´47 percent´´. The Center Holds, 1. Language: English. Narrator: Jonathan Alter. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/sans/006325/bk_sans_006325_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In a riveting novel rooted in one of American history´s great ´´what ifs,´´ Jim Lehrer tells the story of two men haunted by the events leading up to John F. Kennedy´s assassination. November 22, 1963. As Air Force One touches down in Dallas, ambitious young newspaper reporter Jack Gilmore races to get the scoop on preparations for President Kennedy´s motorcade. Will the bubble top on the presidential limousine be up or down? Down, according to veteran Secret Service agent Van Walters. The decision to leave the top down and expose JFK to fire from above will weigh on Van´s conscience for decades. But will it also change the course of history? Five years after the assassination, Jack gets an anguished phone call from Van´s daughter Marti. Van Walters is ravaged by guilt, so convinced that his actions led to JFK´s death that he has lost the will to live. In a desperate bid to deliver her father from his demons, Marti enlists Jack´s help in a risky reenactment designed to prove once and for all what would have happened had the bubble top stayed in place on that grim November day. For Jack, it´s a chance to break a once-in-a-lifetime story that could make his career. But for Van the stakes are even higher. The outcome of a ballistics test conducted on the grounds of a secluded estate in upstate New York might just save his life - or push him over the edge. A historical audiobook with the beating heart of a thriller, Top Down could only have sprung from the fertile imagination of Jim Lehrer. Drawing on his own experience as an eyewitness to the events described, one of America´s most respected journalists has crafted an engrossing story out of the emotional aftershocks of a national tragedy. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Christian Rummel. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/016054/bk_adbl_016054_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.