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Marek Kohn is the author of The Race Gallery, A Reason for Everything, Dope Girls and Trust. He lives in Sussex. 'Kohn is a wonderful writer', said AC Grayling, and Andrew Brown called him 'one of the best of our science writers'.
This book is a precise and fiercely honest projection of what we know about climate change into the future of one small corner of the planet: the islands of Britain and Ireland. Kohn looks closely at six landscapes and one city to show how our world will have altered over the course of the century. These islands will, compared with the parched Mediterranean lands, let alone a devastated Africa, be fairly benign places to live. But we will have paid a terrible price for our relative good fortune. Our parks will be arid brown fields; private automobile use unheard of; water will be severely rationed; significant stretches of our beloved coastline will have been sacrificed to the sea. Some of our flora and fauna will have vanished; and, exotic animals and pests will flourish. Vast numbers of marginalised human migrants will be here. Surveillance and restriction of our movements will be taken for granted. Walking in what is left of 'nature' will be nearly impossible. Terrible summer fires in our upland areas will be commonplace. This is a report from the near future that we cannot afford to ignore.
A compelling argument about the importance of using more than one language in today's world In a world that has English as its global language and rapidly advancing translation technology, it's easy to assume that the need to use more than one language will diminish-but Marek Kohn argues that plural language use is more important than ever. In a divided world, it helps us to understand ourselves and others better, to live together better, and to make the most of our various cultures. Kohn, whom the Guardian has called one of the best science writers we have, brings together perspectives from psychology, evolutionary thought, politics, literature, and everyday experience. He explores how people acquire languages; how they lose them; how they can regain them; how different languages may affect people's perceptions, their senses of self, and their relationships with each other; and how to resolve the fundamental contradiction of languages, that they exist as much to prevent communication as to make it happen.
'A marvellous book.' New Scientist. 'A real triumph.' Guardian Marek Kohn's A Reason for Everything is a brilliant and surprising fusion of science and biography. It is a very human book about the Englishness of evolutionary theory and the lives and personalities - often eccentric and controversial - of those who made it. With portraits of Richard Dawkins and Alfred Russel Wallace, amongst others, it moves beyond Charles Darwin to produce a gripping account of the men and scientists behind one of the most important ideas humanity has yet produced. 'Marek Kohn has written yet another brilliant book about great debates in science.' Neal Ascherson, Observer 'A well-written and carefully researched account of some of the main British players in the world of evolution. Every evolutionist should read it.' Steve Jones, Nature 'An educative and fascinating tale . . . Kohn is a wonderful writer.' A. C. Grayling, Literary Review
A drug panic. Murder. Terrifying and mysterious black and Chinese immigrants. Dope Kings. Jazz. War. An actress dead of an overdose. Dope Girls is about the transformation of drug use into a national menace. It revolves around the death in 1918, in the last furious stages of the First World War, of Billie Carleton, a West End-musical actress. Its cast of characters includes Brilliant Chang, a Chinese restaurant proprietor, and Edgar Manning, a jazz drummer from Jamaica. Around them, in the streets off Shaftesbury Avenue and in Chinatown, swirled a raffish group of seedy and rebellious hedonists. And so the drug problem was born amid a gush of exotic tabloid detail.
As We Know It is an account of how the human mind has evolved. It is a theory of mind: it tells us how our immediate ancestors might have thought and seen the world in the absence of language, gods or culture. Marek Kohn relates that ancient heritage to our humanity and examines the influence of our hominid past on our own behaviour, as creatures who speak, symbolize and create. Central to the book is a meditation on the handaxe, crafted again and again for hundreds of thousands of years by our proto-human ancestors. In his reconstruction of the uses and meaning of the handaxe, Kohn takes us into an alien world that is strangely close to our own. This is a work of sociobiology insofar as it applies Darwinism to human culture. Unlike almost all works of 'evolutionary psychology', however, it seeks to recapture Darwinism from the political right and to show that a better understanding of our evolutionary history need not lead to an imposing of limits on who we are and what we may become.