History's Greatest Decisions: And the People Who Made Them

History's Greatest Decisions: And the People Who Made Them

by Bill Price


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One of the defining features of being human is our capacity for rational thought, our ability to find the solution to a problem. Most of the time we deal with mundane concerns, like what to have for breakfast, but occasionally people are faced with much weightier matters. History's Greatest Decisions gathers together some of the most important decisions ever made. In this cynical age, in which we are constantly reminded of our mistakes, perhaps it is worth recognising that we are capable of better. Some of the decision-makers featured in this book were well aware of the gravity of what they were doing; others had no idea at all. Some were rich and powerful; others were ordinary people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances. From our unknown ancestors who first modifies pieces of stone to make better tools, in those people in Northern Ireland who put aside their differences to create a better future, we take a look at fifty stories of people who, when faced with crucial decisions, got them right.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785835219
Publisher: Chartwell Books
Publication date: 01/28/2017
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 8

1 The First Stone Tools 10

2 The Migration Out of Africa 14

3 The First Farmers 20

4 The Sumerians Begin to Write 26

5 The Egyptian and Hittite Peace Treaty 31

6 The Athenians Choose Democracy 36

7 Siddhartha Gotama Goes in Search of Enlightenment 40

8 Ashoka the Great Renounces War 44

9 Julius Caesar Crosses the Rubicon 49

10 Paul on the Road to Damascus 54

11 Constantine Converts to Christianity 60

12 The Magna Carta 65

13 The Medici Open a Bank 71

14 Gutenberg Prints a Bible 76

15 Ferdinand and Isabella Commission Christopher Columbus 82

16 The Siege of Vienna 87

17 Copernicus Publishes On the Revolutions of Celestial Spheres 92

18 Michel de Montaigne Retires from Public Life 96

19 Descartes Finds His Reason 101

20 Newton Goes Back to School 105

21 Peter the Great Reforms Russia 109

22 The Declaration of Independence 113

23 The Storming of the Bastille 119

24 The Louisiana Purchase 125

25 The Congress of Vienna 130

26 Karl Drais and the Laufmaschine 136

27 The Monroe Doctrine 140

28 Darwin Joins the Voyage of HMS Beagle 144

29 Lincoln and Emancipation 150

30 The Wright Brothers Build an Airplane 155

31 D. W. Griffith Makes a Movie in Hollywood 159

32 Gandhi and Civil Disobedience 163

33 Robert Johnson at the Crossroads 168

34 Roosevelt's New Deal 172

35 The British Cabinet Resolves to Fight On 177

36 The Atlantic Charter 183

37 Eisenhower and D-Day 187

38 Norman Borlaug Changes Careers 193

39 The Marshall Plan 198

40 Rosa Parks Refuses to Stand Up 203

41 Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis 208

42 George Martin Signs The Beatles 214

43 Anwar Sadat Flies to Jerusalem 218

44 Deng Xiaoping and Economic Reform in China 222

45 Nelson Mandela Refuses to Give In 226

46 Gorbachev Institutes Perestroika 232

47 Aung San Suu Kyi Returns to Burma 236

48 Tim Berners-Lee Invents the World Wide Web 240

49 Apple Reemploys Steve Jobs 244

50 The Good Friday Agreement 247

Further Reading 252

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