The Soviet Union: A 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.
International law lies at the heart of our interaction with the global community. It protects rights, imposes duties, and establishes a framework for the conduct of almost every social, political, and economic activity. Vaughan Lowe explains the basic structural principles of international law, and looks at its potential and its limitations.
From the trial of Galileo through to today's controversy over the teaching of 'Intelligent Design' in schools, there has been a long history of conflict between science and religion. This balanced and thought-provoking account avoids polemic, to explore the key philosophical arguments on both sides of this fascinating and complex debate.
Is our sexuality a product of our genes, or of society, culture, and politics? How have views of sexual norms changed over time? And how have feminism, religion, and HIV/AIDS affected our attitudes to sex? This Very Short Introduction examines these questions and many more, exploring what shapes our sexuality, and how our sexuality shapes us.
Explains the basic concepts of Jungian psychology, and examines Jung's views on such disparate subjects as myth, religion, alchemy, 'sychronicity', and the psychology of gender differences. This book also discusses the stages of life, Jung's theory of psychological types, the interpretation of dreams, and the practice of Jungian analysis.
The Quakers are a fascinating religious group both in their origins and in the variety of reinterpretations of the faith since. This Very Short Introduction charts the history of Quakerism and its present-day diversity, and outlines its approach to worship, belief, theology and language, and ecumenism.
The heritage of literature in the French language is rich, varied, and extensive in time and space. This Very Short Introduction presents this lively literary world by focusing on texts (epics, novels, plays, poems, screenplays) that concern protagonists whose adventures and conflicts reveal shifts in literary and social practices.
The Etruscans (c. 900 - 400 BC) were a highly sophisticated and wealthy elite. Christopher Smith explores their archaeological record and the myths that remain about their existence. Placing the Etruscans within the context of the historical period and geographical location, he looks at how they have been perceived and received throughout history.
Environmental politics is an established part of the political landscape, covering a host of different issues and impacting society, businesses, and individuals. Andrew Dobson explores the various actions, ideas, and dimensions that shape environmental politics - both on a local and global scale - and considers the role it will play in our future.
What is a family? What makes someone a parent? What rights should children have? In this Very Short Introduction Jonathan Herring provides an insight not only into what the law is, but why it is the way it is. It also looks at the future to consider what families will look like in the years ahead, and what new dilemmas the courts may face.
Human beings naturally desire knowledge. But what is knowledge? Is it the same as having an opinion? Highlighting the major developments in the theory of knowledge from Ancient Greece to the present day, Jennifer Nagel uses a number of simple everyday examples to explore the key themes and current debates of epistemology.
Hormones are vital to the workings of the body, and while many people are aware of what hormones do, few have an appreciation of the nature and importance of the endocrine system. In this Very Short Introduction, Martin Luck explains what hormones are, what they do, where they come from, and how they work.
In this Very Short Introduction Normon Soloman explores Judaism as a religion and as a way of life, including its festivals, prayers, customs, and sects. Exploring both how it has developed through the centuries and what defines it as a religion, Solomon explores the key issues and debates of contemporary Judaism in the twenty first century.
In this Very Short Introduction Linda Woodhead explores the cultural and institutional dimensions of Christianity and its course over two millennia, including its geographical spread and struggles with modernity. This new edition is a candid portrait of Christianity's past and present, and its importance in the twenty-first century.
Whether we recognise it or not, virtually every aspect of our life today has been influenced in part by the aesthetic legacy of Modernism. In this Very Short Introduction Christopher Butler examines how and why Modernism began, explaining what it is and showing how it has gradually informed all aspects of 20th and 21st century life.
A study of the thought and works of Alexis de Tocqueville written by one of the premier political scientists of our time. Exploring his observations of contemporary democratic politics and his predictions for the triumph and pitfalls of democracy in the future, the volume features the new liberalism of Tocqueville's masterpiece, Democracy in America.
This book begins with the emergence of peoples in North America and traces their stories to the beginning of the early twenty-first century. The narrative rests on the premise that indigenous nations retain sovereign rights, and it explores the ways in which contests over those rights shaped their histories.
Are we born with our fears or do we learn them? Why do our fears persist? What purpose does anxiety serve? In this Very Short Introduction we discover what anxiety is, what causes it, and how it can be treated. Looking at six major anxiety disorders, the authors introduce us to this most ubiquitous and essential of emotions.
The issues of microeconomics - including individuals' financial choices and firms' decisions about hiring and firing - have a large impact on the economic world, arguably as much, if not more than, macroeconomics. In this Very Short Introduction Avinash Dixit clearly explains what microeconomics is by using examples from around the world.
This Very Short Introduction to hermeneutics demonstrates the central role of interpretation in our daily lives. By considering the historic developments in hermeneutic theory as well as its contemporary relevance, Zimmermann explains how humans continue to draw knowledge from the world around them.
Tax revenues pay for many public services, including roads, health care, and education. However, it has become a contentious political issue of public debate. In this Very Short Introduction, Stephen Smith explains its history and its main principles; arguing that we'd all benefit from an understanding of the role of taxation in society.
In this Very Short Introduction Ian Walmsley introduces the physics of light. Beginning with the earliest conceptions of the nature of light he traces the growth of our understanding, through competing particle and wave theories to wave-particle duality and quantum theory, and the latest exciting applications such as optoelectronics.
In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Land introduces all aspects of the eye and vision in both human and animals. He looks at the features of the human eye and retina, explores the evolution of eyes, and considers aspects of visual perception, including eye movements, vision in three dimensions, colour vision, and visual recognition.
Shows that Continental philosophy encompasses a distinct set of philosophical traditions and practices. This book discusses the ideas and approaches of various philosophers, and introduces key concepts such as existentialism, nihilism, and phenomenology, by explaining their place in the Continental tradition.
Do animals have moral rights? If so what does this mean? What sorts of mental lives do animals have, and how should we understand their welfare? After addressing these questions, DeGrazia explores their implications in contexts such as food consumption, zoos, and research.
Discusses the development of politics from the ancient world to the twentieth century. The author prompts the reader to consider why political systems evolve, how politics offers both power and order in the society, whether democracy is always a good thing, and what future politics may have in the twenty-first century.
Provides an introduction to the main issues and findings in brain research. This book describes the historical developments behind our understanding of what the brain is and what it does, and explores the key questions neuroscientists face concerning the relationship between the brain and thought, memories, perceptions, and actions.
For a century, Nietzsche has been among the most controversial of modern writers. Since his death in 1900, he has been appropriated as an icon by a diverse spectrum of people, whose interpretation of his philosophy have been equally varied. This work examines the ambiguities in is writings, traces his development, and explodes many misconceptions.
The ancient Egyptians are an enduring source of fascination - mummies and pyramids, curses and rituals have captured the imagination of generations. We all have a mental picture of ancient Egypt, but is it the right one? How much do we really know about this great civilization?
Guides the readers through the complex information that Buddhist texts give about the life and teaching of the Buddha. The author discusses the social and political background of India in the Buddha's time, and traces the development of his thought. He also assesses the rapid and widespread assimilation of Buddhism and its contemporary relevance.
Paul is the most powerful human personality in the history of the Church. A missionary, theologian, and religious genius, in his epistles he laid the foundations on which later Christian theology was built.
In this new offering from Stanley Wells comes an exploration of one of the world's greatest dramatists: William Shakespeare. Written with enthusiasm and flair, Wells looks at both the world Shakespeare lived in and all of his major works, to show how and why he continues to be so influential and important to society today.
In this Very Short Introduction Frank Close describes the historical development of nuclear physics, our understanding of the nucleus, how nuclei form, and the applications of the field in medicine. Exploring key concepts, Frank Close shows how nuclear physics brings the physics of the stars to Earth.
In the new edition of Climate Change: A Very Short Introduction (previously titled Global Warming), Mark Maslin explores all of the key debates. Examining the most recent scientific research, he looks what climate change is, its impact on our planet, and why it's such a complex problem to solve.
Around 71% of the Earth's surface is covered in water. In this Very Short Introduction John Finney explores the science of water, its structure and remarkable properties, and its vital role for life on Earth.
Examines Shakespeare's plays, showing how he dramatized moral and intellectual issues in such a way that his audience became dazzlingly aware of an imaginative dimension to daily life. This book argues that as long as Shakespeare's work remains central to English cultural life, it will retain the values, which make it unique in the world.
Describes what schizophrenia is really like, how the illness progresses, and the treatments applied. This book summarizes the knowledge about the biological bases of this disorder. It attempts to give some idea of what it is like to have schizophrenia, and what this disorder tells us about the relationship between the mind and the brain.
Kant is arguably the most influential modern philosopher, but also one of the most difficult. Roger Scruton tackles his exceptionally complex subject with a strong hand, exploring the background to Kant's work, and showing why the Critique of Pure of Reason has proved so enduring.
An innovative and lively account of both the history and key debates in postcolonialism. Robert Young situates it in a wide cultural context, discussing its importance as an historical condition, and as a means of changing the way that we think about the world.
Drawing on research on the history of Ireland since 1800, this book challenges some of the assumptions which underpin this research. It explores the 'Irish Question' and argues that there were in fact many Irish Questions articulated and assessed according to the particular social, political, and economic conditions in which they developed.
A clear, compact, and accessible introduction to the United Nations. In this fully updated edition, Hanhimaki examines the UN's history and future prospects. The book evaluates the UN's successes and failures, aiming to debunk some of the persistent myths that swirl around what is ultimately an indispensable global organization.
Covers the major aspects of linguistics. This guide begins at the 'arts' end of the subject and finishes at the 'science' end, with the discoveries regarding language in the brain. It looks at the prehistory of languages and their common origins, language and evolution, language in time and space, grammar and dictionaries and phonetics.
This book introduces readers to the concepts of political philosophy - authority, democracy, freedom and its limits, justice, feminism, multiculturalism, and nationality. Accessibly written and assuming no previous knowledge of the subject, it encourages the reader to think clearly and critically about the leading political questions of our time.
This book provides an historical account of feminism, exploring its earliest roots and key issues such as voting rights and the liberation of the sixties. Margaret Walters brings the subject completely up to date by providing a global analysis of the situation of women, from Europe and the United States to Third World countries.
Highlights Foucault's life and thought, showing his impact on society. Beginning with a brief biography to set the social and political stage, this VSI then tackles Foucault's thoughts on literature, in particular the avant-garde scene; his philosophical and historical work; and his treatment of knowledge and power in modern society.
Provides an overview of the works of Jurgen Habermas, an influential German philosopher. This book analyses the theoretical underpinnings of Habermas's social theory, and its applications in ethics, politics, and law. It examines how his social and political theory informs his writing on contemporary, political, and social problems.
An introduction to the fundamental constituents of the universe. Beginning with a guide to what matter is made of and how it evolved, the author goes on to describe the techniques used to study it. He discusses quarks, electrons, and the neutrino, exotic matter, and antimatter. He also investigates the forces of nature, accelerators, and more.
Traces the history and cultural impact of the elements on humankind, and examines why people have long sought to identify the substances around them. Looking beyond the Periodic Table, the author takes us on a tour: from the Greek philosophers who propounded a system with four elements to the modern-day scientists who are able to create their own.