What We Are Reading Today: Unfabling the East 

What We Are Reading Today: Unfabling the East 
Updated 30 August 2018

What We Are Reading Today: Unfabling the East 

What We Are Reading Today: Unfabling the East 

During the long 18th century, Europe’s travelers, scholars, and intellectuals looked to Asia in a spirit of puzzlement, irony, and openness. In this panoramic and colorful book translated to English by Robert Savage, Jürgen Osterhammel tells the story of the European Enlightenment’s nuanced encounter with the great civilizations of the East, from the Ottoman Empire and India to China and Japan.

Here is the acclaimed book that challenges the notion that Europe’s formative engagement with the non-European world was invariably marred by an imperial gaze and presumptions of Western superiority. Osterhammel shows how major figures such as Leibniz, Voltaire, Gibbon, and Hegel took a keen interest in Asian culture and history, and introduces lesser-known scientific travelers, colonial administrators, Jesuit missionaries, and adventurers who returned home from Asia bearing manuscripts in many exotic languages, huge collections of ethnographic data, and stories that sometimes defied belief. 

Osterhammel brings the sights and sounds of this tumultuous age vividly to life, from the salons of Paris and the lecture halls of Edinburgh to the deserts of Arabia, the steppes of Siberia, and the sumptuous courts of Asian princes. He demonstrates how Europe discovered its own identity anew by measuring itself against its more senior continent, and how it was only toward the end of this period that cruder forms of Eurocentrism — and condescension toward Asia — prevailed.

A momentous work by one of Europe’s most eminent historians, Unfabling the East takes readers on a thrilling voyage to the farthest shores, bringing back vital insights for our own multicultural age.


What We Are Reading Today: Breath Taking

What We Are Reading Today: Breath Taking
Updated 24 January 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Breath Taking

What We Are Reading Today: Breath Taking

Author: Michael J. Stephen

In Breath Taking, pulmonologist Michael Stephen takes us on a journey to shed original and much-needed light on our neglected and extraordinary lungs, at a most critical societal moment.
Stephen’s overriding concern seems to be maintaining our lungs and airways in tiptop shape.
“The health of our lungs in the absence of disease rests not in a pill or an injection, but in ensuring above all a healthy environment for our breath,” he writes.
The book explores the crucial role of breathing in human existence, discussing evidence of how breathing practices can contribute to healing of numerous illnesses.
“He explains in lay terms the links our lungs have with our immune system and with society at large,” said a review in goodreads.com.
The science is clearly explained in a conversational tone and with emotion appropriate to the subject matter.
Stephen incorporates patients and his own experiences as a pulmonologist into the story, which creates a closer bond between author and reader.