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The American West A Very Short Introduction

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The American West

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The American West by Stephen Aron Book Summary:

Part geographical location, part time period, and part state of mind, the American West is a concept often invoked but rarely defined. Though popular culture has carved out a short and specific time and place for the region, author and longtime Californian Stephen Aron tracks "the West" from the building of the Cahokia Mounds around 900 AD to the post-World War II migration to California. His Very Short Introduction stretches the chronology, enlarges the geography, and varies the casting, providing a history of the American West that is longer, larger, and more complicated than popular culture has previously suggested. It is a history of how portions of North America became Wests, how parts of these became American, and how ultimately American Wests became the American West. Aron begins by describing the expansion of Indian North America in the centuries before and during its early encounters with Europeans. He then explores the origins of American westward expansion from the Seven Years' War to the 1830s, focusing on the western frontier at the time: the territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. He traces the narrative - temporally and geographically - through the discovery of gold in California in the mid-nineteenth century and the subsequent rush to the Pacific Slope. He shows how the passage of the Newlands Reclamation Act in 1902 brought an unprecedented level of federal control to the region, linking the West more closely to the rest of the United States, and how World War II brought a new rush of population (particularly to California), further raising the federal government's profile in the region and heightening the connections between the West and the wider world. Authoritative, lucid, and ranging widely over issues of environment, people, and identity, this is the American West stripped of its myths. The complex convergence of peoples, polities, and cultures that has decisively shaped the history of the American West serves as the key interpretive thread through this Very Short Introduction. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

American History

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American History by Paul S. Boyer Book Summary:

This volume in Oxford's A Very Short Introduction series offers a concise, readable narrative of the vast span of American history, from the earliest human migrations to the early twenty-first century when the United States loomed as a global power and comprised a complex multi-cultural society of more than 300 million people. The narrative is organized around major interpretive themes, with facts and dates introduced as needed to illustrate these themes. The emphasis throughout is on clarity and accessibility to the interested non-specialist.

African History: A Very Short Introduction

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African History: A Very Short Introduction by John (School of Oriental and African Studies Parker, University of London),John Parker,Richard (Honorary Professor of History Rathbone, University of Aberystwyth),Richard Rathbone Book Summary:

Intended for those interested in the African continent and the diversity of human history, this work looks at Africa's past and reflects on the changing ways it has been imagined and represented. It illustrates key themes in modern thinking about Africa's history with a range of historical examples.

International Security: A Very Short Introduction

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International Security: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher S. Browning Book Summary:

An accessible, succinct introduction to the complicated issues surrounding today's international security considers such factors as climate change, migration, poverty, health and international terrorism while exploring the nature of key debates as reflected by a broad range of international examples. Original.

American Women's History

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American Women's History by Susan Ware Book Summary:

"This Very Short Introduction explores the major transformations in American women's lives, ranging from political activism to popular culture, the workforce, and the family. Beginning in early America, it places gender at the center of American history, making it clear that women's experiences were not always the same as men's. Susan Ware shows how women's domestic and waged labor shaped the northern economy and how slavery affected the lives of both free and enslaved southern women. She moves through the tumultuous decades of industrialization and urbanization, describing the nineteenth-century movements led by women (temperance, moral reform, and suffrage). The book culminates in twentieth-century female activism for civil rights and successive waves of feminism. From Anne Bradstreet to Ida B. Wells to Eleanor Roosevelt, this book recognizes women as a force in American history and, more important, tells women's history as American history." -- Front cover flap.

Management: A Very Short Introduction

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Management: A Very Short Introduction by John Hendry Book Summary:

In this Very Short Introduction, John Hendry provides a lively introduction to the nature and principles of management. Tracing its development over the past century, Hendry looks not only at the jobs managers do today and their place in the culture of work, but also provides an insight into modern management theory.

The Blues: A Very Short Introduction

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The Blues: A Very Short Introduction by Elijah Wald Book Summary:

Praised as "suave, soulful, ebullient" (Tom Waits) and "a meticulous researcher, a graceful writer, and a committed contrarian" (New York Times Book Review), Elijah Wald is one of the leading popular music critics of his generation. In The Blues, Wald surveys a genre at the heart of American culture. It is not an easy thing to pin down. As Howlin' Wolf once described it, "When you ain't got no money and can't pay your house rent and can't buy you no food, you've damn sure got the blues." It has been defined by lyrical structure, or as a progression of chords, or as a set of practices reflecting West African "tonal and rhythmic approaches," using a five-note "blues scale." Wald sees blues less as a style than as a broad musical tradition within a constantly evolving pop culture. He traces its roots in work and praise songs, and shows how it was transformed by such professional performers as W. C. Handy, who first popularized the blues a century ago. He follows its evolution from Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith through Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix; identifies the impact of rural field recordings of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton and others; explores the role of blues in the development of both country music and jazz; and looks at the popular rhythm and blues trends of the 1940s and 1950s, from the uptown West Coast style of T-Bone Walker to the "down home" Chicago sound of Muddy Waters. Wald brings the story up to the present, touching on the effects of blues on American poetry, and its connection to modern styles such as rap. As with all of Oxford's Very Short Introductions, The Blues tells you--with insight, clarity, and wit--everything you need to know to understand this quintessentially American musical genre.

World Music: a Very Short Introduction

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World Music: a Very Short Introduction by Philip V. Bohlman Book Summary:

The term 'world music' encompasses both folk and popular music across the globe, as well as the sounds of cultural encounter and diversity, sacred voices raised in worship, local sounds, and universal values. It emerged as an invention of the West from encounters with other cultures, and holds the power to evoke the exotic and give voice to the voiceless. Today, in both sound and material it has a greater presence in human societies than ever before. The politics of which world music are a part - globalization, cosmopolitanism, and nationalism - play an increasingly direct role in societies throughout the world, but are at the same time also becoming increasingly controversial. In this new edition of his Very Short Introduction, Philip Bohlman considers questions of meaning and technology in world music, and responds to the dramatically changing political world in which people produce and listen to world music. He also addresses the different ways in which world music is created, disseminated, and consumed, as the full reach of the internet and technologies that store and spread music through the exchange of data files spark a revolution in the production and availability of world music. Finally, Bohlman revises the way we think of the musician, as an increasingly mobile individual, sometimes because physical borders have fallen away, at other times because they are closing. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction

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Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction by Robert C. Allen Book Summary:

The gap between the rich and the poor can be vast. Robert C. Allen considers the main factors that contribute to this gap, looking at the interconnections between economic growth, culture, technology, and income distribution. Exploring the historical processes that have created the unequal world of today, he takes a global look at wealth worldwide.

Feminism: A Very Short Introduction

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Feminism: A Very Short Introduction by Margaret Walters Book Summary:

How much have women's lives really changed? In the West women still come up against the 'glass ceiling' at work, most earning considerably less than their male counterparts. What are we to make of the now commonplace insistence that feminism deprives men of their rights and dignities? And how does one tackle the issue of female emancipation in different cultural and economic environments - in, for example, the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent, and Africa? This book provides an historical account of feminism, exploring its earliest roots as well as key issues including voting rights, the liberation of the sixties, and its relevance today. Margaret Walters touches on the difficulties and inequities that women still face more than forty years after the 'new wave' of 1960s feminism, such as how successful women are at combining domesticity, motherhood, and work outside the house. She brings the subject completely up to date by providing an analysis of the current situation of women across the globe, from Europe and the United States to Third World countries. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Asian American History: a Very Short Introduction

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Asian American History: a Very Short Introduction by Madeline Y. Hsu Book Summary:

A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center reported that Asian Americans are the best-educated, highest-income, and best-assimilated racial group in the United States. Before reaching this level of economic success and social assimilation, however, Asian immigrants' path was full of difficult, even demeaning, moments. This book provides a sweeping and nuanced history of Asian Americans, revealing how and why the perception of Asian immigrants changed over time. Asian migrants, in large part Chinese, arrived in significant numbers on the West Coast during the 1850s and 1860s to work in gold mining and on the construction of the transcontinental Railroad. Unlike their contemporary European counterparts, Asians, often stigmatized as "coolies," challenged American ideals of equality with the problem of whether all racial groups could be integrated into America's democracy. The fear of the "Yellow Peril" soon spurred an array of legislative and institutional efforts to segregate them through immigration laws, restrictions on citizenship, and limits on employment, property ownership, access to public services, and civil rights. Prejudices against Asian Americans reached a peak during World War II, when Japanese Americans were interned en masse. It was only with changes in the immigration laws and the social and political activism of the 1960s and 1970s that Asian Americans gained ground and acceptance, albeit in the still stereotyped category of "model minorities." Madeline Y. Hsu weaves a fascinating historical narrative of this "American Dream." She shows how Asian American success, often attributed to innate cultural values, is more a result of the immigration laws, which have largely pre-selected immigrants of high economic and social potential. Asian Americans have, in turn, been used by politicians to bludgeon newer (and more populous) immigrant groups for their purported lack of achievement. Hsu deftly reveals how public policy, which can restrict and also selectively promote certain immigrant populations, is a key reason why some immigrant groups appear to be more naturally successful and why the identity of those groups evolves differently from others.

American Slavery

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American Slavery by Heather Andrea Williams Book Summary:

"This short introduction to American slavery begins with the Portuguese capture of Africans in the 1400s and, drawing upon the scholarship of numerous historians as well as the analysis of primary documents, explores the development of slavery in the American colonies and later, the United States of America. It analyzes early legislation in Virginia that differentiated Indians and Africans from Europeans and began the process of stratifying society based on racial categories. Unlike some recent scholarship, it is attentive to the actual labor that enslaved people performed, reminding us that more than anything else, slavery was a system of forced labor that produced wealth for a new nation. And, it considers the tensions that arose between enslaved and enslavers as they interacted with one another, exerting control and undermining efforts at domination. Throughout, it explores slavery within the context of moral contradiction that included the development of an ideology that valorized freedom alongside a practice and justification of slavery that deemed inferior and denied freedom to a large swath of the population. The book explores conflicts between abolitionists who worked to eliminate slavery and pro-slavery advocates who worked doggedly to sustain the power and wealth they derived from the institution. It ends with the abolition of slavery in America following the Civil War"--

Modern Japan: A Very Short Introduction

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Modern Japan: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Goto-Jones Book Summary:

Japan is arguably today's most successful industrial economy, combining almost unprecedented affluence with social stability and apparent harmony. Japanese goods and cultural products are consumed all over the world, ranging from animated movies and computer games all the way through to cars, semiconductors, and management techniques. In many ways, Japan is an icon of the modern world, and yet it remains something of an enigma to many, who see it as a confusing montage of the alien and the familiar, the ancient and modern. The aim of this Very Short Introduction is to explode the myths and explore the reality of modern Japan - by taking a concise look at its history, economy, politics, and culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Human Evolution

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Human Evolution by Bernard Wood Book Summary:

The study of human evolution is advancing rapidly. Newly discovered fossil evidence is adding ever more pieces to the puzzle of our past, whilst revolutionary technological advances in the study of ancient DNA are completely reshaping theories of early human populations and migrations.In this Very Short Introduction Bernard Wood traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to the very latest fossil finds. In this new edition he discusses how Ancient DNA studies have revolutionized how we view the recent (post-550 ka) human evolution, andthe process of speciation. The combination of ancient and modern human DNA has contributed to discoveries of new taxa, as well as the suggestion of "ghost" taxa whose fossil records still remain to be discovered. Considering the contributions of related sciences such as paleoclimatology,geochronology, systematics, genetics, and developmental biology, Wood explores our latest understandings of our own evolution.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Soviet Union: A Very Short Introduction

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The Soviet Union: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Lovell Book Summary:

Almost twenty years after the Soviet Union's end, what are we to make of its existence? Was it a heroic experiment, an unmitigated disaster, or a viable if flawed response to the modern world? What was the Soviet Union like? How did it evolve over seven decades? What was the relationship between the regime and the general population? This introduction blends political history with an investigation into the society and culture at the time. The author examines aspects of patriotism, mass culture, political violence, poverty, and ideology; and provides answers to some of the big questions about the Soviet experience.

Progressivism

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Progressivism by Walter Nugent Book Summary:

After decades of conservative dominance, the election of Barack Obama may signal the beginning of a new progressive era. But what exactly is progressivism? What role has it played in the political, social, and economic history of America? This very timely Very Short Introduction offers an engaging overview of progressivism in America—its origins, guiding principles, major leaders and major accomplishments. A many-sided reform movement that lasted from the late 1890s until the early 1920s, progressivism emerged as a response to the excesses of the Gilded Age, an era that plunged working Americans into poverty while a new class of ostentatious millionaires built huge mansions and flaunted their wealth. As capitalism ran unchecked and more and more economic power was concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, a sense of social crisis was pervasive. Progressive national leaders like William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert M. La Follette, and Woodrow Wilson, as well as muckraking journalists like Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell, and social workers like Jane Addams and Lillian Wald answered the growing call for change. They fought for worker's compensation, child labor laws, minimum wage and maximum hours legislation; they enacted anti-trust laws, improved living conditions in urban slums, instituted the graduated income tax, won women the right to vote, and laid the groundwork for Roosevelt's New Deal. Nugent shows that the progressives—with the glaring exception of race relations—shared a common conviction that society should be fair to all its members and that governments had a responsibility to see that fairness prevailed. Offering a succinct history of the broad reform movement that upset a stagnant conservative orthodoxy, this Very Short Introduction reveals many parallels, even lessons, highly appropriate to our own time. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Inter-war years ;The Second World War begins ;War in the West 1940 ;Barbarossa: the German invasion of the Soviet Union ;Japan expands its war with China ;The turning tide: fall 1942-spring 1944 ;Developments on the home front and in technical and medical fields ;Allied victory 1944-45 ;Further reading ;Index

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

The Inter-war years ;The Second World War begins ;War in the West 1940 ;Barbarossa: the German invasion of the Soviet Union ;Japan expands its war with China ;The turning tide: fall 1942-spring 1944 ;Developments on the home front and in technical and medical fields ;Allied victory 1944-45 ;Further reading ;Index by Gerhard L. Weinberg Book Summary:

The enormous loss of life and physical destruction caused by the First World War led people to hope that there would never be another such catastrophe. How then did it come about that there was a Second World War causing twice the 30 million deaths and many times more destruction as had been caused in the previous conflict? In this Very Short Introduction, Gerhard L. Weinberg provides an introduction to the origins, course, and impact of the war on those who fought and the ordinary citizens who lived through it. Starting by looking at the inter-war years and the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, he examines how the war progressed by examining a number of key events, including the war in the West in 1940, Barbarossa, The German Invasion of the Soviet Union, the expansion of Japan's war with China, developments on the home front, and the Allied victory from 1944-45. Exploring the costs and effects of the war, Weinberg concludes by considering the long-lasting mark World War II has left on society today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Magic: A Very Short Introduction

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Magic: A Very Short Introduction by Owen Davies Book Summary:

Defining 'magic' is a maddening task. Over the last century numerous philosophers, anthropologists, historians, and theologians have attempted to pin down its essential meaning, sometimes analysing it in such complex and abstruse depth that it all but loses its sense altogether. For this reason, many people often shy away from providing a detailed definition, assuming it is generally understood as the human control of supernatural forces. 'Magic' continues to pervade the popular imagination and idiom. People feel comfortable with its contemporary multiple meanings, unaware of the controversy, conflict, and debate its definition has caused over two and a half millennia. In common usage today 'magic' is uttered in reference to the supernatural, superstition, illusion, trickery, religious miracles, fantasies, and as a simple superlative. The literary confection known as 'magical realism' has considerable appeal and many modern scientists have ironically incorporated the word into their vocabulary, with their 'magic acid', 'magic bullets' and 'magic angles'. Since the so-called European Enlightenment magic has often been seen as a marker of primitivism, of a benighted earlier stage of human development. Yet across the modern globalized world hundreds of millions continue to resort to magic - and also to fear it. Magic provides explanations and remedies for those living in extreme poverty and without access to alternatives. In the industrial West, with its state welfare systems, religious fundamentalists decry the continued moral threat posed by magic. Under the guise of neo-Paganism, its practice has become a religion in itself. Magic continues to be a truly global issue. This Very Short Introduction does not attempt to provide a concluding definition of magic: it is beyond simple definition. Instead it explores the many ways in which magic, as an idea and a practice, has been understood and employed over the millennia. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Modern War: A Very Short Introduction

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Modern War: A Very Short Introduction by Richard English Book Summary:

In this accessible and authoritative Very Short Introduction, Richard English considers what modern warfare is and what it achieves. Addressing our assumptions about war in the modern period, and drawing upon direct accounts of warfare, he considers its impact on society, culture, economics, as well its future.

The Mexican Revolution

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The Mexican Revolution by Alan Knight Book Summary:

The Mexican Revolution was a 'great' revolution, decisive for Mexico, important within Latin America, and comparable to the other major revolutions of modern history. Alan Knight offers a succinct account of the period, from the initial uprising against Porfirio Díaz and the ensuing decade of civil war, to the enduring legacy of the Revolution.

Postcolonialism: a Very Short Introduction

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Postcolonialism: a Very Short Introduction by Robert J. C. Young Book Summary:

Since the 1960s, many people around the world have challenged the idea that western perspectives are the only ones that count. This book examines the history of that challenge, outlining the ideas behind it, and showing the ways in which the histories and the cultures of the world can be rethought in new, different and productive directions.

Paganism: A Very Short Introduction

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Paganism: A Very Short Introduction by Owen Davies Book Summary:

'Paganism' is an evocative word that, even today, conjures up deep-seated emotions and prejudices. Until recently, it was primarily a derogatory term used by Christians to describe the non-Christian cultures confronted and vanquished by their Churches. For some it evokes images of sacrifice and barbaric behaviour, while for others it symbolises a peace-loving, nature-worshipping spiritual relationship with the earth. This Very Short Introduction explores the meaning of paganism - through a chronological overview of the attitudes towards its practices and beliefs - from the ancient world through to the present day. Owen Davies largely looks at paganism through the eyes of the Christian world, and how, over the centuries, notions and representations of its nature were shaped by religious conflict, power struggles, colonialism, and scholarship. Despite the expansion of Christianity and Islam, Pagan cultures continue to exist around the world, whilst in the West new formations of paganism constitute one of the fastest-growing religions. Focussing on paganism in Europe, but exploring the nature of paganism globally, Davies looks at how Europeans discovered new cultures through colonial expansion, missionary work, and anthropological study. Contemporary social paganism can be a liberating and social force, and the idea of a global Pagan theology is now on the religious map. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

American Business History: a Very Short Introduction

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American Business History: a Very Short Introduction by Walter A. Friedman Book Summary:

By the early twentieth century, it became common to describe the United States as a "business civilization." President Coolidge in 1925 said, "The chief business of the American people is business." More recently, historian Sven Beckert characterized Henry Ford's massive manufactory as the embodiment of America: "While Athens had its Parthenon and Rome its Colosseum, the United States had its River Rouge Factory in Detroit..." How did business come to assume such power and cultural centrality in America? This volume explores the variety of business enterprise in the United States and analyzes its presence in the country's economy, its evolution over time, and its meaning in society. It introduces readers to formative business leaders (including Elbert Gary, Harlow Curtice, and Mary Kay Ash), leading firms (Mellon Bank, National Cash Register, Xerox), and fiction about business people (The Octopus, Babbitt, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit). It also discusses Alfred Chandler, Joseph Schumpeter, Mira Wilkins, and others who made significant contributions to understanding of America's business history. This VSI pursues its three central themes - the evolution, scale, and culture of American business - in a chronological framework stretching from the American Revolution to today. The first theme is evolution: How has U.S. business evolved over time? How have American companies competed with one another and with foreign firms? Why have ideas about strategy and management changed? Why did business people in the mid-twentieth century celebrate an "organizational" culture promising long-term employment in the same company, while a few decades later entrepreneurship was prized? Second is scale: Why did business assume such enormous scale in the United States? Was the rise of gigantic corporations due to the industriousness of its population, or natural resources, or government policies? And third, culture: What are the characteristics of a "business civilization"? How have opinions on the meaning of business changed? In the late nineteenth century, Andrew Carnegie believed that America's numerous enterprises represented an exuberant "triumph of democracy." After World War II, however, sociologist William H. Whyte saw business culture as stultifying, and historian Richard Hofstadter wrote, "Once great men created fortunes; today a great system creates fortunate men." How did changes in the nature of business affect popular views? Walter A. Friedman provides the long view of these important developments.

Film Music: A Very Short Introduction

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Film Music: A Very Short Introduction by Kathryn Kalinak Book Summary:

Film music is as old as cinema itself. Years before synchronized sound became the norm, projected moving images were shown to musical accompaniment, whether performed by a lone piano player or a hundred-piece orchestra. Today film music has become its own industry, indispensable to the marketability of movies around the world. Film Music: A Very Short Introduction is a compact, lucid, and thoroughly engaging overview written by one of the leading authorities on the subject. After opening with a fascinating analysis of the music from a key sequence in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, Kathryn Kalinak introduces readers not only to important composers and musical styles but also to modern theoretical concepts about how and why film music works. Throughout the book she embraces a global perspective, examining film music in Asia and the Middle East as well as in Europe and the United States. Key collaborations between directors and composers--Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann, Akira Kurosawa and Fumio Hayasaka, Federico Fellini and Nino Rota, to name only a few--come under scrutiny, as do the oft-neglected practices of the silent film era. She also explores differences between original film scores and compilation soundtracks that cull music from pre-existing sources. As Kalinak points out, film music can do many things, from establishing mood and setting to clarifying plot points and creating emotions that are only dimly realized in the images. This book illuminates the many ways it accomplishes those tasks and will have its readers thinking a bit more deeply and critically the next time they sit in a darkened movie theater and music suddenly swells as the action unfolds onscreen. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction

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The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction by Robert J. McMahon Book Summary:

The massive disorder and economic ruin following the Second World War inevitably predetermined the scope and intensity of the Cold War. But why did it last so long? And what impact did it have on the United States, the Soviet Union, Europe, and the Third World? Finally, how did it affect the broader history of the second half of the twentieth century - what were the human and financial costs? This Very Short Introduction provides a clear and stimulating interpretive overview of the Cold War, one that will both invite debate and encourage deeper investigation. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Ghetto: a Very Short Introduction

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The Ghetto: a Very Short Introduction by Bryan Cheyette Book Summary:

For three hundred years the ghetto defined Jewish culture in the late medieval and early modern period in Western Europe. In the nineteenth-century it was a free-floating concept which travelled to Eastern Europe and the United States. Eastern European "ghettos", which enabled genocide, were crudely rehabilitated by the Nazis during World War Two as if they were part of a benign medieval tradition. In the United States, the word ghetto was routinely applied to endemic black ghettoization which has lasted from 1920 until the present. Outside of America "the ghetto" has been universalized as the incarnation of class difference, or colonialism, or apartheid, and has been applied to segregated cities and countries throughout the world. In this Very Short Introduction Bryan Cheyette unpicks the extraordinarily complex layers of contrasting meanings that have accrued over five hundred years to ghettos, considering their different settings across the globe. He considers core questions of why and when urban, racial, and colonial ghettos have appeared, and who they contain. Exploring their various identities, he shows how different ghettos interrelate, or are contrasted, across time and space, or even in the same place. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Contemporary Art: a Very Short Introduction

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Contemporary Art: a Very Short Introduction by Julian Stallabrass Book Summary:

Contemporary art has never been so popular - but the art world is changing. In a landscape of increasing globalization there is growing interest in questions over the nature of contemporary art today, and the identity of who is controlling its future. In the midst of this, contemporary art continues to be a realm of freedom where artists shock, break taboos, flout generally received ideas, and switch between confronting viewers with works of great emotional profundity and jaw-dropping triviality. In this Very Short Introduction Julian Stallabrass gives a clear view on the diverse and rapidly moving scene of contemporary art. Exploring art's striking globalisation from the 1990s onwards, he analyses how new regions and nations, such as China, have leapt into astonishing prominence, over-turning the old Euro-American dominance on aesthetics. Showing how contemporary art has drawn closer to fashion and the luxury goods market as artists have become accomplished marketers of their work, Stallabrass discusses the reinvention of artists as brands. This new edition also considers how once powerful art criticism has mutated into a critical and performative writing at which many artists excel. Above all, behind the insistent rhetoric of freedom and ambiguity in art, Stallabrass explores how big business and the super-rich have replaced the state as the primary movers of the contemporary art scene, especially since the financial crisis, and become a powerful new influence over the art world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Philosophical Method: a Very Short Introduction

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Philosophical Method: a Very Short Introduction by Timothy Williamson Book Summary:

What are philosophers trying to achieve? How can they succeed? Does philosophy make progress? Is it in competition with science, or doing something completely different, or neither? Timothy Williamson tackles some of the key questions surrounding philosophy in new and provocative ways, showing how philosophy begins in common sense curiosity, and develops through our capacity to dispute rationally with each other. Discussing philosophy's ability to clarify our thoughts, he explains why such clarification depends on the development of philosophical theories, and how those theories can be tested by imaginative thought experiments, and compared against each other by standards similar to those used in the natural and social sciences. He also shows how logical rigour can be understood as a way of enhancing the explanatory power of philosophical theories. Drawing on the history of philosophy to provide a track record of philosophical thinking's successes and failures, Williams overturns widely held dogmas about the distinctive nature of philosophy in comparison to the sciences, demystifies its methods, and considers the future of the discipline. From thought experiments, to deduction, to theories, this Very Short Introduction will cause you to totally rethink what philosophy is. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable. Previously published in hardback as Doing Philosophy

Number Theory: a Very Short Introduction

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Number Theory: a Very Short Introduction by Robin Wilson Book Summary:

Number theory is the branch of mathematics primarily concerned with the counting numbers, especially primes. It dates back to the ancient Greeks, but today it has great practical importance in cryptography, from credit card security to national defence. This book introduces the main areas of number theory, and some of its most interesting problems.

The History of Astronomy: A Very Short Introduction

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

The History of Astronomy: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Hoskin Book Summary:

Astronomy, perhaps the first of the sciences, was already well developed by the time of Christ. Seventeen centuries later, after Newton showed that the movements of the planets could be explained in terms of gravitation, it became the paradigm for the mathematical sciences. In the nineteenth century the analysis of star-light allowed astrophysicists to determine both the chemical composition and the radial velocities of celestial bodies, while the development of photography enabled distant objects invisible to the human eye, to be studied and measured in comfort. Technical developments during and since the Second World War have greatly enlarged the scope of the science by permitting the study of radiation. This is a fascinating introduction to the history of Western astronomy, from prehistoric times to the origins of astrophysics in the mid-nineteenth century. Historical records are first found in Babylon and Egypt, and after two millennia the arithmetical astronomy of the Babylonians merged with the Greek geometrical approach to culminate in the Almagest of Ptolemy. This legacy was transmitted to the Latin West via Islam, and led to Copernicus's claim that the Earth is in motion. In justifying this Kepler converted astronomy into a branch of dynamics, leading to Newton's universal law of gravity. The book concludes with eighteenth- and nineteenth-century applications of Newton's law, and the first explorations of the universe of stars. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction by Harry Sidebottom Book Summary:

Greek and Roman warfare differed from other cultures and was unlike any other forms of warfare before and after. The key difference is often held to be that the Greeks and Romans practised a 'Western Way of War', where the aim is an open, decisive battle, won by courage instilled in part by discipline. Harry Sidebottom looks at how and why this 'Western Way of War' was constructed and maintained by the Greeks and Romans, why this concept is so popular and prevalent today, and at whether or not this is an accurate interpretation. All aspects of ancient warfare are thoroughly examined - from philosophy and strategy to the technical skills needed to fight. He looks at war in the wider context - how wars could shape classical society, and how the individual's identity could be constructed by war, for example the Christian soldier fighting in God's name. He also explores the ways in which ancient society thought about conflict: Can a war be just? Why was siege warfare particularly bloody? What role did divine intervention play in the outcome of a battle? Taking fascinating examples from the Iliad, Tacitus, and the Persian Wars, Sidebottom uses arresting anecdotes and striking visual images to show that the any understanding of ancient war is an ongoing process of interpretation. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction by Paul Langford Book Summary:

Part of The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, this book spans from the aftermath of the Revolution of 1688 to Pitt the Younger's defeat at attempted parliamentary reform.

Pandemics

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Pandemics by Christian W. McMillen Book Summary:

Machine generated contents note: -- Introduction -- Chapter 1: Plague -- Chapter 2: Smallpox -- Chapter 3: Malaria -- Chapter 4: Cholera -- Chapter 5: Tuberculosis -- Chapter 6: Influenza -- Chapter 7: HIV/AIDS -- References -- Further Reading -- Index

Colonial America: A Very Short Introduction

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Colonial America: A Very Short Introduction by Alan Taylor Book Summary:

In the traditional narrative of American colonial history, early European settlements, as well as native peoples and African slaves, were treated in passing as unfortunate aberrations in a fundamentally upbeat story of Englishmen becoming freer and more prosperous by colonizing an abundant continent of "free land." Over the last generation, historians have broadened our understanding of colonial America by adopting both a trans-Atlantic and a trans-continental perspective, examining the interplay of Europe, Africa, and the Americas through the flow of goods, people, plants, animals, capital, and ideas. In this Very Short Introduction, Alan Taylor presents an engaging overview of the best of this new scholarship. He shows that American colonization derived from a global expansion of European exploration and commerce that began in the fifteenth century. The English had to share the stage with the French, Spanish, Dutch, and Russians, each of whom created alternative Americas. By comparing the diverse colonies of rival empires, Taylor recovers what was truly distinctive about the English enterprise in North America. He focuses especially on slavery as central to the economy, culture, and political thought of the colonists and restores the importance of native peoples to the colonial story. To adapt to the new land, the colonists needed the expertise, guidance, alliance, and trade of the Indians who dominated the interior. This historical approach emphasizes the ability of the diverse natives to adapt to the newcomers and to compel concessions from them. This Very Short Introduction describes an intermingling of cultures and of microbes, plants, and animals--from different continents that was unparalleled in global history. Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

Christianity

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Christianity by Linda Woodhead Book Summary:

At a time when Christianity is flourishing in the Southern hemisphere but declining in much of the West, this Very Short Introduction offers an important overview of the world's largest religion. Exploring the cultural and institutional dimensions of Christianity, and tracing its course over two millennia, Linda Woodhead provides a fresh, lively, and candid portrait of Christianity's past and present. Addressing topics including the competition for power between different forms of Christianity, the churches' use of power, and its struggles with modernity, this new edition includes up to date information on the growth and geographical spread of Eastern Christianity, reflecting the global nature of Christianity in our ever-shifting contemporary culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Progressivism: A Very Short Introduction

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Progressivism: A Very Short Introduction by Walter Nugent Book Summary:

After decades of conservative dominance, the election of Barack Obama may signal the beginning of a new progressive era. But what exactly is progressivism? What role has it played in the political, social, and economic history of America? This very timely Very Short Introduction offers an engaging overview of progressivism in America--its origins, guiding principles, major leaders and major accomplishments. A many-sided reform movement that lasted from the late 1890s until the early 1920s, progressivism emerged as a response to the excesses of the Gilded Age, an era that plunged working Americans into poverty while a new class of ostentatious millionaires built huge mansions and flaunted their wealth. As capitalism ran unchecked and more and more economic power was concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, a sense of social crisis was pervasive. Progressive national leaders like William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert M. La Follette, and Woodrow Wilson, as well as muckraking journalists like Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell, and social workers like Jane Addams and Lillian Wald answered the growing call for change. They fought for worker's compensation, child labor laws, minimum wage and maximum hours legislation; they enacted anti-trust laws, improved living conditions in urban slums, instituted the graduated income tax, won women the right to vote, and laid the groundwork for Roosevelt's New Deal. Nugent shows that the progressives--with the glaring exception of race relations--shared a common conviction that society should be fair to all its members and that governments had a responsibility to see that fairness prevailed. Offering a succinct history of the broad reform movement that upset a stagnant conservative orthodoxy, this Very Short Introduction reveals many parallels, even lessons, highly appropriate to our own time. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

Crystallography

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Crystallography by A. M. Glazer Book Summary:

Crystals have fascinated us for centuries with their beauty and symmetry, and have often been invested with magical powers. The use of X-ray diffraction, first pioneered in 1912 by father and son William and Lawrence Bragg, enabled us to probe the structure of molecules, and heralded the scientific study of crystals, leading to an understanding of their atomic arrangements at a fundamental level. The new discipline, called X-ray crystallography, has subsequently evolved into a formidable science that underpins many other scientific areas. Starting from the determination of the structures of very simple crystals, such as that of common salt, today it has become almost routine to determine the positions of tens of thousands of atoms in a crystal. In this Very Short Introduction Mike Glazer shows how the discoveries in crystallography have been applied to the creation of new and important materials, to drugs and pharmaceuticals and to our understanding of genetics, cell biology, proteins, and viruses. Tracing the history of crystallography, he analyses astonishing developments in new sources of X-rays, as well as of neutrons, and in electron microscopy, and considers the impact they have on the study of crystals today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Diaspora: A Very Short Introduction

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Diaspora: A Very Short Introduction by Kevin Kenny Book Summary:

What does diaspora mean? Until quite recently, the word had a specific and restricted meaning, referring principally to the dispersal and exile of the Jews. But since the 1960s, the term diaspora has proliferated to a remarkable extent, to the point where it is now applied to migrants of almost every kind. This Very Short Introduction explains where the concept of diaspora came from, how its meaning changed over time, why its usage has expanded so dramatically in recent years, and how it can both clarify and distort the nature of migration. Kevin Kenny highlights the strength of diaspora as a mode of explanation, focusing on three key elements--movement, connectivity, and return--and illustrating his argument with examples drawn from Jewish, Armenian, African, Irish, and Asian diasporas. He shows that diaspora is not simply a synonym for the movement of people. Its explanatory power is greatest when people believe that their departure was forced rather than voluntary. Thus diaspora would not really explain most of the Irish migration to America, but it does shed light on the migration compelled by the Great Famine. Kenny also describes how migrants and their descendants develop diasporic cultures abroad--regardless of the form their migration takes--based on their connections with a homeland, real or imagined, and with people of common origin in other parts of the world. Finally, most conceptions of diaspora feature the dream of a return to a homeland, even when this yearning does not involve an actual physical relocation. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

North American Indians: A Very Short Introduction

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

North American Indians: A Very Short Introduction by Theda Perdue,Michael D. Green Book Summary:

When Europeans first arrived in North America, between five and eight million indigenous people were already living there. But how did they come to be here? What were their agricultural, spiritual, and hunting practices? How did their societies evolve and what challenges do they face today? Eminent historians Theda Perdue and Michael Green begin by describing how nomadic bands of hunter-gatherers followed the bison and woolly mammoth over the Bering land mass between Asia and what is now Alaska between 25,000 and 15,000 years ago, settling throughout North America. They describe hunting practices among different tribes, how some made the gradual transition to more settled, agricultural ways of life, the role of kinship and cooperation in Native societies, their varied burial rites and spiritual practices, and many other features of Native American life. Throughout the book, Perdue and Green stress the great diversity of indigenous peoples in America, who spoke more than 400 different languages before the arrival of Europeans and whose ways of life varied according to the environments they settled in and adapted to so successfully. Most importantly, the authors stress how Native Americans have struggled to maintain their sovereignty--first with European powers and then with the United States--in order to retain their lands, govern themselves, support their people, and pursue practices that have made their lives meaningful. Going beyond the stereotypes that so often distort our views of Native Americans, this Very Short Introduction offers a historically accurate, deeply engaging, and often inspiring account of the wide array of Native peoples in America. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

Viruses: A Very Short Introduction

The American West A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Viruses: A Very Short Introduction by Dorothy H. Crawford Book Summary:

Viruses are big news. From pandemics such as HIV, to swine flu, and SARS, we are constantly being bombarded with information about new lethal infections. In this Very Short Introduction Dorothy Crawford demonstrates how clever these entities really are. From their discovery and the unravelling of their intricate structures, Crawford demonstrates how these tiny parasites are by far the most abundant life forms on the planet. With up to two billion of them in each litre of sea water, viruses play a vital role in controlling the marine environment, and are essential to the ocean's delicate ecosystem. In this fully updated edition, Crawford recounts stories of renowned killer viruses such as the recent Ebola and Zika epidemics, as well as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and considers the importance of air travel in facilitating the international spread of viruses in the twenty first century. Discussing the impact of global warming, which is increasing the range of vector-transmitted viruses such as dengue, yellow fever, and West Nile virus, she also considers the effect this will have on native populations in subtropical and temperate climates of the Americas, Australasia, and Europe. By examining our lifestyle in the 21st century, Crawford looks to the future to ask whether we can ever live in harmony with viruses, and considers the ways in which we may need to adapt to prevent emerging viruses with devastating consequences. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.