Organic chemistry concerns the properties and synthesis of carbon-based molecules. Carbon atoms can concatenate into long chains and cyclic compounds, bonding with a variety of other elements, so the possible structures are almost limitless. Graham Patrick explores the world of organic chemistry and its wide applications.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most important finds in biblical archaeology, and have profound implications for our understanding of Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. Timothy Lim discusses the leading interpretations of the scrolls, and how they have changed the way we understand the emergence of the Old Testament.
The Habsburg Empire reached at various times across most of Europe and the New World. At all the critical moments of European history it is there - confronting Luther, launching the Thirty Years War, repelling the Ottomans, and taking on Napoleon. Martin Rady introduces the fascinating and colourful history of the Habsburgs.
Drawing on a mixture of science and history, Prof Lord John Krebs looks at the development of food and the four great transitions that affected the way we eat. From issues such as the obesity crisis and sustainable agriculture to food scares and the role of new technologies, Krebs provides a fascinating exploration of the history of human food.
Behavioural economics blends insights from economics and psychology to explain how people make everyday decisions. Analysing the forces that drive everyone's behaviour it helps us understand what people are motivated by, our impulse purchases, why we struggle to save, and how supermarkets can manipulate what and how much we buy.
This Very Short Introduction adapts Clausewitz's framework to highlight the dynamic relationship between the main elements of strategy: purpose, method, and means. Drawing on historical examples, Echevarria discusses the major types of military strategy and how emerging technologies are affecting them.
What is depression? What is bipolar disorder? How are they diagnosed and how are they treated? This Very Short Introduction gives a history of these two disorders and considers how they are experienced and understood today. Scott and Tacchi also discuss how mood disorders can influence creativity.
The weather affects everyone on Earth, influencing both our day-to-day decisions and long term plans for leisure and work. But the Earth's weather systems are extremely complex, and conditions and events may have an effect 'half a world away'. Storm Dunlop explores the processes at work behind our daily weather.
Gravity is the most immediately familiar of the four fundamental forces of nature, and its effects dominate many of the phenomena commonly observed. Timothy Clifton looks at the development of our understanding of gravity, from Newton's apple to gravitational waves and efforts such as string theory to combine gravity with quantum mechanics.
Looking at the long history of navigation at sea, Jim Bennett discusses the scientific and technological developments that have enabled the accurate measurement of position and setting of directions in the oceans.
There are many interpretations of the word 'Gothic'. Nick Groom explores the rich history and chronology of the term, bringing together various underlying and disparate elements to clarify its meaning. By examining its history, he argues that we can better interpret and understand society today.
From the schools of ancient times to the present day, Gary Thomas looks at how and why education evolved as it has. By exploring some of the big questions, he examines the ways in which schools work, considers the differences around the world, and concludes by considering the future of education worldwide.
Society's attitudes to rhetoric are often very negative. Here, Richard Toye provides an engaging, historically informed introduction to rhetoric, from Ancient Greece to the present day. Wide-ranging in its scope, this Very Short Introduction is the essential starting point for understanding the art of persuasion.
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.
In this easy-to-understand introduction, Stephen Mumford explores one of the four main branches of philosophy: metaphysics. Using practical examples to explore the main issues, he presents the ideas in a clear and simple way, helping to clarify and unravel the basic questions of this complex and abstract concept.
The explorations of archaeology encompass the whole globe, survey 2.5 million years, and range from deserts to jungles, from deep caves to mountain tops, and from pebble tools to GPS. Its efforts to reconstruct and understand the past do not fail to fascinate us. Paul Bahn explores the importance of archaeology in this entertaining introduction.
Spanning the divide between Europe and Asia, Russia is a multi-ethnic empire with a huge territory. In this Very Short Introduction, Geoffrey Hosking discusses all aspects of Russian history, from the struggle by the state to control society, Russia's relationship with the West/Europe, the Soviet experience, and the post-Soviet era.
The Devil has fascinated writers and theologians since the time of the New Testament, and inspired many dramatic and haunting works of art. Today he remains a potent image in popular culture. The Devil: A Very Short Introduction presents an introduction to the Christian Devil through the history of ideas and the lives of real people.
For over a hundred years 'the avant-garde' has been the most influential concept in modern art; its impact on the history of modern culture has been profound. In this Very Short Introduction, David Cottington explores why the avant-garde carries so much authority, and places it within the context of western modernity and capitalist culture.
Magna Carta has long been considered the foundation stone of the British Constitution, yet few people today understand either its contents or its context. With a full English translation of the 1215 charter, Nicholas Vincent introduces the document to a modern audience; explaining its origins and tracing the significance of its role in our history.
Organization happens in the act of working with others to accomplish a desired future state. It can happen through intentionally designed activity, spontaneous improvisation, or some combination of the two, but it always requires coordinated effort. This Very Short Introduction provides a lively and thought provoking introduction to the topic.
What do anaesthetists do? How do anaesthetics 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.
Nuclear power is a highly topical issue and there is widespread debate concerning future energy budgets and how to replace our dependence on fossil fuels. Here, Maxwell Irvine provides an introduction to the nature of nuclear energy, looking at the risks, the relevance of nuclear power, and the potential of nuclear fusion.
Martyrdom is a controversial topic, with a long history of provoking fierce debate. In this Very Short Introduction Jolyon Mitchell provides a historical analysis to understand the contemporary debates surrounding martyrdom. Using examples from a variety of contexts around the world, he explores how it has evolved, and what it means today.
Astrobiologists study the origin and evolution of life on Earth and the possibility of life beyond Earth; a question that has fascinated scientists for hundreds of years. In this Very Short Introduction, David C. Catling introduces the latest scientific understanding of astrobiology, incorporating aspects of microbiology, geology, and astronomy.
Since the end of the Cold war, the international security agenda has become increasingly important. This Very Short Introduction considers traditional topics such as war and peace, military strategy and nuclear weapons, alongside other issues such as climate change, international migration, poverty, and international terrorism.
Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) was an English cleric whose ideas on population and political economy have had a profound influence on modern economic thought. In this Very Short Introduction, Donald Winch considers the context in which Malthus wrote, examines why his work matters, and why it remains so controversial.
In this revised and updated edition of The Tudors: A Very Short Introduction, John Guy offers a compelling and authoritative guide to all aspects of the Tudor period. From politics, religion, and economics, to gender, art, and culture, this is a fascinating exploration of the leaders of the day and the culture of the time.
In this Very Short Introduction, David Ford provides a balanced survey, for both believers and non-believers, to the central questions of contemporary theology. In this new edition, Ford includes updates to a number of areas, including theology between faiths, theological responses to science, and the effect of globalization and technology.
Fascism is notoriously hard to define. In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Kevin Passmore unravels the paradoxes of one of the most important phenomena in the modern world, to make sense of its ideology and place in the modern world.
In this new edition of the Very Short Introduction to Journalism, Ian Hargreaves considers the role and place of journalism in our constantly evolving digital world. Exploring issues relating to privacy, democracy, the entertainment industry, and global social media, Hargreaves explores the shape and influence of journalism in years to come.
Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction offers insights into theories about the nature of language and meaning, human identity, and the power of language. Fully updated for 2011 and including a new chapter on 'Ethics and aesthetics', it steers a clear and lucid path through an often impenetrable subject.
Radioactivity - the breakdown of unstable atomic nuclei, releasing radiation - is a fundamental process in nature, and used to provide important applications in science, medicine, and energy production. But it remains misunderstood and feared. In this Very Short Introduction, Claudio Tuniz explains the nature and mechanisms of radioactivity.
Robotics is a key technology in the modern world. Yet, despite these successes, robots have failed to live up to the predictions of the 1950s and 60s. In this Very Short Introduction, Alan Winfield considers how robotics can be both a success story and a disappointment, and how robots can be both ordinary and quite remarkable.
Antarctica attracts great interest from political leaders, journalists, and public audiences around the world. In this Very Short Introduction, Klaus Dodds presents a modern account of Antarctica, looking closely at contemporary developments in commerce, science, sovreignty, and governance.
The British constitution has grown organically in response to changes in its economic, political, and social environment, and is not contained in a single authoritative text. In this Very Short Introduction, Martin Loughlin examines the nature and authority of the constitution, and its challenging prospects for the future.
In this Very Short Introduction, Thomas Forrest Kelly frames chapters on the forms, techniques, and repertories of the medieval, Renaissance, and baroque periods with discussion of why old music has been and should be revived, along with a short history of early music revivals.
Borders: A Very Short Introduction offers insights into the form and function of historical and contemporary political and social boundaries. The authors show how and why borders have been, are currently, and will undoubtedly remain controversial topics and at the forefront of global headlines for years to come.
For thirty years, Linda Greenhouse chronicled the activities of the justices as the Supreme Court correspondent for the New York Times. In this concise volume, she draws on her deep knowledge of the court's history as well as of its written and unwritten rules to show the reader how the Supreme Court really works.
Using a combination of archaeological data, textual analysis, and ancient documents, this Very Short Introduction to the Trojan War investigates whether or not the war actually took place, whether archaeologists have correctly identified and been excavating the ancient site of Troy, and what has been found there.
The Orchestra: A Very Short Introduction considers the structure, roots, and day-to-day functioning of the modern philharmonic society. Far from an anachronistic organization that cannot long survive, it is shown to be powerful political and social force, occupying critical positions in cultural diplomacy, national identity, and civic pride.
In this Very Short Introduction, Alan Taylor presents the current scholarly understanding of colonial America to a broader audience. He focuses on the transatlantic and a transcontinental perspective, examining the interplay of Europe, Africa, and the Americas through the flows of goods, people, plants, animals, capital, and ideas.
This book offers a concise overview of the social, cultural, and aesthetic sensibilities of the Beat Generation, explaining how their drastic visions and radical styles challenged postwar America's dominant values in ways that can still be felt in literature, cinema, music, theatre, and the visual arts.
Diaspora: A Very Short Introduction examines the origins of diaspora as a concept, its changing meanings over time, its current popularity, and its utility in explaining human migration. The book proposes a flexible approach to diaspora based on examples drawn mainly from Jewish, African, Irish, and Asian history.
This Very Short Introduction deals with the social life of language, presenting a succinct account of the most important aspects - both "micro" and "macro" - of sociolinguistics, such as language variation, language attitudes, and the relationship between language and identity.