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The Mongols A Very Short Introduction

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The Mongols

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The Mongols by Morris Rossabi Book Summary:

The Mongols carved out the largest land-based empire in world history, stretching from Korea to Russia in the north and from China to Syria in the south in the thirteenth century. Along with their leader Chinggis Khan they conjure up images of plunder and total destruction. Although this book does not ignore the devastation and killings wrought by the Mongols, it also reveals their contributions to governance, arts, culture, and the promotion of trade. The Mongol peace resulted in considerable travel and relations among numerous merchants, scientists, artists, missionaries, and entertainers of different ethnic groups. It is no accident that Europeans, including Marco Polo, first reached China in this period. Eurasian and perhaps global history starts with the Mongol empire.

The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction

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The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction by James A. Millward Book Summary:

The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction is a new look at an ancient subject: the silk road that linked China, India, Persia and the Mediterranean across the expanses of Central Asia. James A. Millward highlights unusual but important biological, technological and cultural exchanges over the silk roads that stimulated development across Eurasia and underpin civilization in our modern, globalized world.

Russian History: A Very Short Introduction

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Russian History: A Very Short Introduction by Geoffrey Hosking Book Summary:

A leading international authority discusses all aspects of Russian history, from the struggle by the state to control society to the transformation of the nation into a multi-ethnic empire, Russia's relations with the West and the post-Soviet era. Original.

Iran

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Iran by Ali M. Ansari Book Summary:

Ali Ansari provides a radical reinterpretation of Iranian history and politics, placing the Islamic Revolution in the context of a century of political change and social transformation, to gain a fuller understanding of Iran's identity, culture, and politics

Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

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Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction by Matthew T. Kapstein Book Summary:

What does Tibetan Buddhism teach? Just what is the position of the Dalai Lama, and how will his succession be assured? This Very Short Introduction offers a brief account responding to these questions and more, in terms that are easily accessible to those who are curious to learn the most essential features of Tibetan Buddhist history, teachings, and practice.

Philosophy in the Islamic World

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Philosophy in the Islamic World by Peter Adamson Book Summary:

In the history of philosophy, few topics are so relevant to today's cultural and political landscape as philosophy in the Islamic world. Yet, this remains one of the lesser-known philosophical traditions. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Adamson explores the history of philosophy among Muslims, Jews, and Christians living in Islamic lands, from its historical background to thinkers in the twentieth century. Introducing the main philosophical themes of the Islamic world, Adamson integrates ideas from the Islamic and Abrahamic faiths to consider the broad philosophical questions that continue to invite debate: What is the relationship between reason and religious belief? What is the possibility of proving God's existence? What is the nature of knowledge? Drawing on the most recent research in the field, this book challenges the assumption of the cultural decline of philosophy and science in the Islamic world by demonstrating its rich heritage and overlap with other faiths and philosophies. 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.

Korea: a Very Short Introduction

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Korea: a Very Short Introduction by Michael J. Seth Book Summary:

Having spent centuries in the shadows of its neighbours China and Japan, Korea is now the object of considerable interest for radically different reasons-- the South as an economic success story and for its vibrant popular culture; the North as the home to one of the world's most repressive regimes, at once both bizarre and menacing. This Very Short Introduction explores the history, culture, and society of a deeply divided region. Michael Seth considers what it means to be Korean, and analyses how the various peoples of the Korean peninsula became one of the world's most homogeneous nations, before exploring how this nation evolved, in a single lifetime, into today's sharply contrasting societies. He also discusses how Korea fits into the larger narrative of both East Asian and world history, economically, politically, and socially. 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.

Islamic History: A Very Short Introduction

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Islamic History: A Very Short Introduction by Adam J. Silverstein Book Summary:

Does history matter? This book argues not that history matters, but that Islamic history does. This Very Short Introduction introduces the story of Islamic history; the controversies surrounding its study; and the significance that it holds - for Muslims and for non-Muslims alike. Opening with a lucid overview of the rise and spread of Islam, from the seventh to twenty first century, the book charts the evolution of what was originally a small, localised community of believers into an international religion with over a billion adherents. Chapters are also dedicated to the peoples - Arabs, Persians, and Turks - who shaped Islamic history, and to three representative institutions - the mosque, jihad, and the caliphate - that highlight Islam's diversity over time. Finally, the roles that Islamic history has played in both religious and political contexts are analysed, while stressing the unique status that history enjoys amongst Muslims, especially compared to its lowly place in Western societies where history is often seen as little more than something that is not to be repeated. Some of the questions that will be answered are: · How did Islam arise from the obscurity of seventh century Arabia to the headlines of twenty first century media? · How do we know what we claim to know about Islam's rise and development? · Why does any of this matter, either to Muslims or to non-Muslims? 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 Crusades: A Very Short Introduction

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The Crusades: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Tyerman Book Summary:

Crusading fervour gripped Europe for over 200 years, creating one of the most extraordinary, vivid episodes in world history. Whether the Crusades are regarded as the most romantic of Christian expeditions, or the last of the barbarian invasions, they have fascinated generations ever since, and their legacy of ideas and imagery has resonated through the centuries, inspiring Hollywood movies and great works of literature. Even today, to invoke the Crusades is to stir deep cultural myths, assumptions and prejudices. Yet despite their powerful hold on our imaginations, our knowledge of them remains obscured an distorted by time. Were the Crusaders motivated by spiritual rewards, or by greed? Were the Crusades an experiment in European colonialism, or a manifestation of religious love? How were they organized and founded? With customary flair and originality, Christopher Tyerman picks his way through the many debates to present a clear and lively discussion of the Crusades; bringing together issues of colonialism, cultural exchange, economic exploitation, and the relationship between past and present. 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.

Thomas Aquinas: A Very Short Introduction

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Thomas Aquinas: A Very Short Introduction by Fergus Kerr Book Summary:

Thomas Aquinas, an Italian Catholic priest in the early thirteeth century, is considered to be one of the great Christian thinkers who had, and who still has, a profound influence on Western thought. He was a controversial figure who was exposed and engaged in conflict. This Very Short Introduction looks at Aquinas in a historical context, and explores the Church and culture into which Aquinas was born. It considers Aquinas as philosopher, and looks at the relationship between philosophy and religion in the thirteenth century. Fergus Kerr, in this engaging and informative introduction, will make The Summa Theologiae, Aquinas's greatest single work, accessible to new readers. It will also reflect on the importance of Thomas Aquinas in modern debates and asks why Aquinas matters now. 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 Vikings: A Very Short Introduction

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The Vikings: A Very Short Introduction by Julian D. Richards Book Summary:

The Viking reputation is of bloodthirsty seafaring warriors, repeatedly plundering the British Isles and the North Atlantic throughout the early Middle Ages. Yet Vikings were also traders, settlers, and farmers, with a complex artistic and linguistic culture, whose expansion overseas led them to cross the Atlantic for the first time in European history. Highlighting the latest archaeological evidence, Julian Richards reveals the whole Viking world: their history, society and culture, and their expansion overseas for trade, colonization, and plunder. We also look at the Viking identity, through their artistic expression, rune stones, their ships, and their religion. The Viking story is also brought up to date, by examining their legacy from the medieval Icelandic sagas to 19th Century nationalism, Wagner, and the Nazis. 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.

Fascism: A Very Short Introduction

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Fascism: A Very Short Introduction by Kevin Passmore Book Summary:

What is fascism? Is it revolutionary? Or is it reactionary? Can it be both? Fascism is notoriously hard to define. How do we make sense of an ideology that appeals to streetfighters and intellectuals alike? That is overtly macho in style, yet attracts many women? That calls for a return to tradition while maintaining a fascination with technology? And that preaches violence in the name of an ordered society? In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Kevin Passmore brilliantly unravels the paradoxes of one of the most important phenomena in the modern world—tracing its origins in the intellectual, political, and social crises of the late nineteenth century, the rise of fascism following World War I, including fascist regimes in Italy and Germany, and the fortunes of 'failed' fascist movements in Eastern Europe, Spain, and the Americas. He also considers fascism in culture, the new interest in transnational research, and the progress of the far right since 2002. 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.

Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction

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Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan Slack Book Summary:

There is much public interest in stem cells, but also much confusion and misinformation. Developmental biologist Jonathan Slack explains the biology behind stem cells - what they are what scientists do with them, what stem cell therapies are available today, and what can be expected to happen in the future.

Magnetism: A Very Short Introduction

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Magnetism: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen J. Blundell Book Summary:

Magnetism is a strange force, mysteriously attracting one object to another apparently through empty space. It has been claimed as a great healer, with magnetic therapies being proposed over the centuries and still popular today. Why are its mysterious important to solve? In this Very Short Introduction, Stephen J. Blundell explains why. For centuries magnetism has been used for various exploits; through compasses it gave us navigation and through motors, generators, and turbines it has given us power. Blundell explores our understanding of electricity and magnetism, from the work of Galvani, Ampere, Faraday, and Tesla, and goes on to explore how Maxwell and Faraday's work led to the unification of electricity and magnetism, thought of as one of the most imaginative developments in theoretical physics. With a discussion of the relationship between magnetism and relativity, quantum magnetism, and its impact on computers and information storage, Blundell shows how magnetism has changed our fundamental understanding of the Universe. 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 Mongolia

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Modern Mongolia by Morris Rossabi Book Summary:

Land-locked between its giant neighbors, Russia and China, Mongolia was the first Asian country to adopt communism and the first to abandon it. When the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, Mongolia turned to international financial agencies—including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank—for help in compensating for the economic changes caused by disruptions in the communist world. Modern Mongolia is the best-informed and most thorough account to date of the political economy of Mongolia during the past decade. In it, Morris Rossabi explores the effects of the withdrawal of Soviet assistance, the role of international financial agencies in supporting a pure market economy, and the ways that new policies have led to greater political freedom but also to unemployment, poverty, increasingly inequitable distribution of income, and deterioration in the education, health, and well-being of Mongolian society. Rossabi demonstrates that the agencies providing grants and loans insisted on Mongolia's adherence to a set of policies that did not generally take into account the country's unique heritage and society. Though the sale of state assets, minimalist government, liberalization of trade and prices, a balanced budget, and austerity were supposed to yield marked economic growth, Mongolia—the world's fifth-largest per capita recipient of foreign aid—did not recover as expected. As he details this painful transition from a collective to a capitalist economy, Rossabi also analyzes the cultural effects of the sudden opening of Mongolia to democracy. He looks at the broader implications of Mongolia's international situation and considers its future, particularly in relation to China.

Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

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Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction by Damien Keown Book Summary:

Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to the teachings of the Buddha and to the workings of Buddhism in daily life. Damien Keown looks at the distinctive features of Buddhism, examining who the Buddha was and what his teachings were. By considering how Buddhist thought has developed over the centuries, Keown considers how contemporary dilemmas can be faced from a Buddhist perspective. In this new edition Keown provides new perspectives on Buddhist thought, including up-to-date material about the evolution of Buddhism throughout Asia, the material culture of Buddhism and its importance, new teachings on the ethics of war and peace, and changes to ethnicity, class, and gender. 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.

Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction

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Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction by Philip Sheldrake Book Summary:

It has been suggested that 'spirituality' has become a word that 'can define an era'. Why? Because paradoxically, alongside a decline in traditional religious affiliations, the growing interest in spirituality and the use of the word in a variety of contexts is a striking aspect of contemporary western cultures. Indeed, spirituality is sometimes contrasted attractively with religion, although this is problematic and implies that religion is essentially dogma, moralism, institutions, buildings, and hierarchies. The notion of spirituality expresses the fact that many people are driven by goals that concern more than material satisfaction. Broadly, it refers to the deepest values and sense of meaning by which people seek to live. Sometimes these values are conventionally religious. Sometimes they are associated with what is understood as 'the sacred' in a broader sense - that is, of ultimate rather than merely instrumental importance. This Very Short Introduction, written by one of the most eminent scholars and writers on spirituality, explores the historical foundations of the thought and considers how it came to have the significance it is developing 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.

American History: A Very Short Introduction

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American History: A Very Short Introduction 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.

Chinese Literature: A Very Short Introduction

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Chinese Literature: A Very Short Introduction by Sabina Knight Book Summary:

Perhaps nowhere else has literature been as conscious a collective endeavor as in China, and China's survival over three thousand years may owe more to its literary traditions than to its political history. This Very Short Introduction tells the story of Chinese literature from antiquity to the present, focusing on the key role literary culture played in supporting social and political concerns. Embracing traditional Chinese understandings of literature as encompassing history and philosophy as well as poetry and poetics, storytelling, drama, and the novel, Sabina Knight discusses the philosophical foundations of literary culture as well as literature's power to address historical trauma and cultivate moral and sensual passions. From ancient historical records through the modernization and globalization of Chinese literature, Knight draws on lively examples to underscore the close relationship between ethics and aesthetics, as well as the diversity of Chinese thought. Knight also illuminates the role of elite patronage; the ways literature has served the interests of specific groups; and questions of canonization, language, nationalism, and cross-cultural understanding. The book includes Chinese characters for names, titles, and key terms.

The Aztecs

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The Aztecs by David Carrasco Book Summary:

Illuminates the complexities of Aztec life. Readers meet a people highly skilled in sculpture, astronomy, city planning, poetry, and philosophy, who were also profoundly committed to cosmic regeneration through the thrust of the ceremonial knife and through warfare.

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 Unions' 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? Taking a fresh approach to the study of the Soviet Union, this Very Short Introduction blends political history with an investigation into the society and culture at the time. Stephen Lovell examines aspects of patriotism, political violence, poverty, and ideology; and provides answers to some of the big questions about the Soviet experience. 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.

Anaesthesia: A Very Short Introduction

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Anaesthesia: A Very Short Introduction by Aidan O'Donnell Book Summary:

What do anaesthetists do? How does anaesthesia work? What are the risks? And how does the anaesthetist know if you are really asleep? Anaesthesia is a mysterious and sometimes threatening process. In this Very Short Introduction, Aidan O'Donnell takes the reader on a tour through the whole of the modern anaesthetic practice. He begins by explaining general anaesthesia: what it is, how it is produced, and how it differs from natural sleep and other forms of unconsciousness. He goes on to consider the main categories of anaesthetic drugs, including anaesthetic vapours, intravenous agents, muscle relaxants, and analgesics, together with explanations of how they work and what their purpose is. Set against the historical background of anaesthetic and surgical practice, O'Donnell examines the large role anaesthetists play in specialised areas such as intensive care medicine, pain medicine, and childbirth; and finally, he considers the risks of anaesthesia, putting in to context that anaesthesia is a very safe process. 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.

Symmetry: A Very Short Introduction

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Symmetry: A Very Short Introduction by Ian Stewart Book Summary:

Symmetry is an immensely important concept in mathematics and throughout the sciences. In this Very Short Introduction, Ian Stewart highlights the deep implications of symmetry and its important scientific applications across the entire subject.

Languages: A Very Short Introduction

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Languages: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Anderson Book Summary:

How many languages are there? What differentiates one language from another? Are new languages still being discovered? Why are so many languages disappearing? The diversity of languages today is varied, but it is steadily declining. In this Very Short Introduction, Stephen Anderson answers the above questions by looking at the science behind languages. Considering a wide range of different languages and linguistic examples, he demonstrates how languages are not uniformly distributed around the world; just as some places are more diverse than others in terms of plants and animal species, the same goes for the distribution of languages. Exploring the basis for linguistic classification and raising questions about how we identify a language, as well as considering signed languages as well as spoken, Anderson examines the wider social issues of losing languages, and their impact in terms of the endangerment of cultures and peoples. 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.

Causation: A Very Short Introduction

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Causation: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Mumford,Rani Lill Anjum Book Summary:

Without cause and effect, there would be no science or technology, no moral responsibility, and no system of law. Causation is therefore the most fundamental connection in the universe and a core topic of philosophical thought. This Very Short Introduction introduces all of the main theories of causation and its key debates.

Borders: A Very Short Introduction

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Borders: A Very Short Introduction by Alexander C. Diener,Joshua Hagen Book Summary:

Compelling and accessible, this Very Short Introduction challenges the perception of borders as passive lines on a map, revealing them instead to be integral forces in the economic, social, political, and environmental processes that shape our lives. Highlighting the historical development and continued relevance of borders, Alexander Diener and Joshua Hagen offer a powerful counterpoint to the idea of an imminent borderless world, underscoring the impact borders have on a range of issues, such as economic development, inter- and intra-state conflict, global terrorism, migration, nationalism, international law, environmental sustainability, and natural resource management. Diener and Hagen demonstrate how and why borders have been, are currently, and will undoubtedly remain hot topics across the social sciences and in the global headlines for years to come. This compact volume will appeal to a broad, interdisciplinary audience of scholars and students, including geographers, political scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, historians, international relations and law experts, as well as lay readers interested in understanding current events.

Anxiety: A Very Short Introduction

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Anxiety: A Very Short Introduction by Daniel Freeman,Jason Freeman Book Summary:

Are we born with our fears or do we learn them? Why do our fears persist? What purpose does anxiety serve? How common are anxiety disorders, and which treatments are most effective? What's happening in our brain when we feel fear? And what are Colombian worry dolls? This Very Short Introduction draws on the best scientific research to offer a highly accessible explanation of what anxiety is, why it is such a normal and vital part of our emotional life, and the key factors that cause it. Insights are drawn from psychology, neuroscience, genetics, epidemiology, and clinical trials. Providing a fascinating illustration of the discussion are two interviews conducted specifically for the book, with the actor, writer, director, and television presenter Michael Palin and former England football manager Graham Taylor. The book covers in detail the six major anxiety disorders: phobias; panic disorder and agoraphobia; social anxiety; generalised anxiety disorder; obsessive compulsive disorder; and post-traumatic stress disorder. With a chapter devoted to each disorder, Daniel and Jason Freeman take you through the symptoms, prevalence, and causes of each one. A final chapter describes the treatments available for dealing with anxiety problems. 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.

Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

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Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction by Andrew Robinson Book Summary:

Without writing, there would be no records, no history, no books, and no emails. Writing is an integral and essential part of our lives; but when did it start? Why do we all write differently and how did writing develop into what we use today? All of these questions are answered in this Very Short Introduction. Starting with the origins of writing five thousand years ago, with cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs, Andrew Robinson explains how these early forms of writing developed into hundreds of scripts including the Roman alphabet and the Chinese characters. He reveals how the modern writing symbols and abbreviations we take for granted today - including airport signage and text messaging - resemble ancient ones much more closely than we might think. 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 Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction

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The Ancient Near East: A Very Short Introduction by Amanda H. Podany Book Summary:

The ancient Near East is defined, for the purposes of this book, as the cuneiform lands," the regions of the ancient world where the cuneiform script, written on clay tablets, was used as the most common medium for written communication. These lands comprise Mesopotamia (with its variously named regions: Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, and Assyria); Syria, Elam (later known as Persia), and Anatolia. The three thousand years to be covered by this book - from around 3500 BCE, with the founding ofthe first Mesopotamian cities (which coincide with the invention of writing) to the conquest of the Near East by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE - encompass an era of remarkable innovation and achievement. Many of the creations of the people of the ancient Near East are still with us, from fundamental inventions such as the wheel and the plow to intellectual feats such as the inventions of astronomy, law, and diplomacy. The region is known as the "cradle of civilization" for good reason. Here, men and women first tried to live peacefully together in densely urban cities, and found ways, through law and custom, to thrive and prosper. The popular image of history as a story of progress from primitive barbarism to modern sophistication is completely belied by the study of the ancient Near East. For example, women had many rights and freedoms; they could own property, run businesses, and represent themselves in court. Diplomats traveled between the capital cities of major powers ensuring peace and friendship between the kings. Scribes and scholars studied the stars and could predict eclipses and the movements of the planets. These achievements were lost in subsequent centuries, only to be reborn in more modern times. Perhaps the most obvious legacy from the ancient Near East is seen in some of our units of measurement. The Mesopotamians invented a mathematical system based on the number 60, and all the 60-based units in our modern world (including seconds, minutes, and degrees) have come down, unaltered, directly from Mesopotamia. Taking a chronological view, the book will include what we know, ideas about what we don't yet know (but perhaps will in the future), evidence used for discerning the history of the region, and approaches taken to the evidence by scholars of the ancient Near East. Each chapter will focus on one or two archaeological sites that have contributed extensive evidence (both textual and archaeological) to our understanding of an era and expanding from that evidence to a broader view of the era as a whole."

Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction

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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.

Nutrition: A Very Short Introduction

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Nutrition: A Very Short Introduction by David Bender Book Summary:

Nutrition is a topic of wide interest and importance. In spite of growing understanding of the underlying biochemistry, and health campaigns such as 'five-a-day', increasing obesity and reported food allergies and eating disorders, as well as the widely advertised 'supposed' benefits of food supplements mean that a clear explanation of the basic principles of a healthy diet are vital. In this Very Short Introduction, David Bender explains the basic elements of food, the balance between energy intake and exercise, the problems of over- and under-nutrition, and raises the question of safety of nutritional supplements. 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.

Work: A Very Short Introduction

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Work: A Very Short Introduction by Stephen Fineman Book Summary:

The image of a job captures our imagination from an early age, usually prompted by the question 'What do you want to be when you grow up?'. Work — paid, unpaid, voluntary, or obligatory — is woven into the fabric of all human societies. For many of us, it becomes part of our identity. For others it is a tedious necessity. Living is problematic without paid work, and for many it is catastrophic. Steve Fineman tells the fascinating story of work - how we strive for security, reward, and often, meaning. Looking at how we classify 'work'; the cultural and social factors that influence the way we work; the ethics of certain types of work; and the factors that will affect the future of work, from globalization to technology, this Very Short Introduction considers work as a concept and as a practical experience, drawing upon ideas from psychology, sociology, management, and social history. 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 Politics: A Very Short Introduction

The Mongols A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

American Politics: A Very Short Introduction by Richard M. Valelly Book Summary:

American politics seems to grow more contentious and complicated by the day, and whether American democracy works well is hotly debated. Amidst all this roiling partisan argument and confusing claims and counterclaims, there has never been a greater need for an impartial primer on the basics of the American political system. This Very Short Introduction gives readers a concise, accessible, and sophisticated overview of the vital elements of American democracy, emphasizing both how these elements function, their historical origins, and how they have evolved into their present forms. Richard Valelly covers all facets of America's political system: the bicameral Congress and the place of the filibuster, the legislative-executive process, the role of the Supreme Court, political parties and democratic choice, bureaucracy, the partisan revival, and the political economy. He offers as well an original analysis of the evolution of the American presidency and a fascinating chapter on the effects of public polling on political decision-making and voter representation. Valelly shows that the American political system is, and always has been, very much a work in progress--unfolding within, and also constantly updating, an eighteenth-century constitutional framework. In a refreshingly balanced and judicious assessment, he explores the strengths of American democracy while candidly acknowledging both gaps in representation and the increasing income inequality have sparked protest and intense public discussion. Finally, Valelly considers the remarkable persistence, for more than two centuries, of the basic constitutional forms established in 1787, despite the dramatic social changes that have reshaped virtually all aspects of American life. For anyone wishing to understand the nuts and bolts of how our political system works--and sometimes fails to work--this Very Short Introduction is the very best place to start. 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.

Colonial America: A Very Short Introduction

The Mongols 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.

Marine Biology: A Very Short Introduction

The Mongols A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Marine Biology: A Very Short Introduction by Philip V. Mladenov Book Summary:

The marine environment is the largest, most important, and yet most mysterious habitat on our planet. It contains more than 99% of the world's living space; produces half of its oxygen; plays a critical role in regulating its climate; and supports a remarkably diverse and exquisitely adapted array of life forms, from microscopic viruses, bacteria, and plankton to the largest existing animals. As the 21st century progresses human activities, such as overfishing, coastal development, plastic pollution, oil spills, nutrient pollution, the spread of exotic species, and the emission of climate changing greenhouse gases are posing a significant threat to the marine environment and to many of its life forms. In this unique Very Short Introduction, Philip Mladenov provides a comprehensive overview of marine biology, providing a tour of marine life and marine processes that ranges from the polar oceans to tropical coral reefs; and from the intertidal to the hydrothermal vents of the deep sea. 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.

Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction

The Mongols A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Fundamentalism: A Very Short Introduction by Malise Ruthven Book Summary:

Malise Ruthven tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomenon - one that eludes sim today, a conclusion impossible to ignore since the events in New York on September 11 2001. But what does 'fundamentalism' really mean? Since it was coined by American Protestant evangelicals in the 1920s, the use of the term 'fundamentalist' has expanded to include a diverse range of radical conservatives and ideological purists, not all religious. Fundamentalism could now mean both militant Israeli settlers as well as the Islamist radicals who oppose them, it can mean Christians, Hindus, animal liberationists, and even Buddhist nationalists. Ruthven investigates fundamentalism's historical, social, religious, political, and ideological roots, and tackles the polemic and stereotypes surrounding this complex phenomenon - one that eludes simple definition, yet urgently needs to be understood. 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.

Mao: A Very Short Introduction

The Mongols A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Mao: A Very Short Introduction by Delia Davin Book Summary:

As a giant of 20th century history, Mao Zedong played many roles: peasant revolutionary, patriotic leader against the Japanese occupation, Marxist theoretician, modernizer, and visionary despot. This Very Short Introduction chronicles Mao's journey from peasant child to ruler of the most populous nation on Earth. He was a founder of both the Chinese Communist Party and the Red Army, and for many years he fought on two fronts, for control of the Party and in an armed struggle for the Party's control of the country. His revolution unified China and began its rise to world power status. He was the architect of the Great Leap Forward that he hoped would make China both prosperous and egalitarian, but instead ended in economic disaster resulting in millions of deaths. It was Mao's growing suspicion of his fellow leaders that led him to launch the Cultural Revolution, and his last years were dogged by ill-health and his despairing attempts to find a successor whom he trusted. Delia Davin provides an invaluable introduction to Mao, showing him in all his complexity; ruthless, brutal, and ambitious, a man of enormous talent and perception, yet a leader who is still detested by some and venerated by others. 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.

Globalization: A Very Short Introduction

The Mongols A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

Globalization: A Very Short Introduction by Manfred Steger Book Summary:

'Globalization' has become one of the defining buzzwords of our time - a term that describes a variety of accelerating economic, political, cultural, ideological, and environmental processes that are rapidly altering our experience of the world. It is by its nature a dynamic topic - and this Very Short Introduction has been fully updated for a third edition, to include recent developments in global politics, the global economy, and environmental issues. Presenting globalization in accessible language as a multifaceted process encompassing global, regional, and local aspects of social life, Manfred B. Steger looks at its causes and effects, examines whether it is a new phenomenon, and explores the question of whether, ultimately, globalization is a good or a bad thing. 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 Cultural Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

The Mongols A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

The Cultural Revolution: A Very Short Introduction by Richard Curt Kraus Book Summary:

China's decade-long Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution shook the politics of China and the world. Even as we approach its fiftieth anniversary, the movement remains so contentious that the Chinese Communist Party still forbids fully open investigation of its origins, development, and conclusion. Drawing upon a vital trove of scholarship, memoirs, and popular culture, this Very Short Introduction illuminates this complex, often obscure, and still controversial movement. Moving beyond the figure of Mao Zedong, Richard Curt Kraus links Beijing's elite politics to broader aspects of society and culture, highlighting many changes in daily life, employment, and the economy. Kraus also situates this very nationalist outburst of Chinese radicalism within a global context, showing that the Cultural Revolution was mirrored in the radical youth movement that swept much of the world, and that had imagined or emotional links to China's red guards. Yet it was also during the Cultural Revolution that China and the United States tempered their long hostility, one of the innovations in this period that sowed the seeds for China's subsequent decades of spectacular economic growth.

In the Wake of the Mongols

The Mongols A Very Short Introduction [Pdf/ePub] eBook

In the Wake of the Mongols by Jinping Wang Book Summary:

"The Mongol conquest of north China between 1211 and 1234 inflicted terrible wartime destruction, wiping out more than one-third of the population and dismantling the existing social order. In the Wake of the Mongols recounts the riveting story of how northern Chinese men and women adapted to these trying circumstances and interacted with their alien Mongol conquerors to create a drastically new social order. To construct this story, the book uses a previously unknown source of inscriptions recorded on stone tablets.Jinping Wang explores a north China where Mongol patrons, Daoist priests, Buddhist monks, and sometimes single women—rather than Confucian gentry—exercised power and shaped events, a portrait that upends the conventional view of imperial Chinese society. Setting the stage by portraying the late Jin and closing by tracing the Mongol period’s legacy during the Ming dynasty, she delineates the changing social dynamics over four centuries in the northern province of Shanxi, still a poorly understood region."