Revolutions have shaped world politics for the last three hundred years. This volume shows why revolutions occur, how they unfold, and where they created democracies and dictatorships. Jack A. Goldstone presents the history of revolutions from America and France to the collapse of the Soviet Union, 'People Power' revolutions, and the Arab revolts.
Familiar figures - missionaries, explorers, trappers, traders, prospectors, gunfighters, cowboys, and Indians - appear in these pages. So do renowned individuals such as Daniel Boone, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and John Wayne. But their stories contribute to a history of the American West that is longer, larger, and more complicated than we were once told.
In this Very Short Introduction, Barry Stephenson approaches ritual from theoretical and historical perspectives, detailing the efforts to understand the nature and function of ritual, and developing a narrative of ritual's place in social and cultural life.
Sport is one of the largest industries in the world and the global reach of major sporting events is enormous. In this Very Short Introduction, Mike Cronin explores the historical development of sport. Exploring a variety of activities from rugby and cricket to tennis, athletics, and skiing, he considers the central role it plays in modern society.
In this Very Short Introduction, the eminent scholar Gerhard L. Weinberg explores one of the most important events in history. Examining the origins, course, and impact of the World War II - through both the soldiers and the ordinary citizens who lived through it - he considers the long-lasting impact it continues to have around the world.
In this Very Short Introduction Benjamin Bolker and Marta L. Wayne explore the world of infectious disease, from viruses and bacteria to protists and fungi. Taking an ecological and evolutionary viewpoint, they use case studies to explore how outbreaks are managed and how newly emergent strains might be controlled.
In this essential guide for students of chemistry, Peter Atkins' Very Short Introduction explains the principles and phenomena of physical chemistry. Using few formulas, Atkins shows how physical chemistry draws its ideas from physics, quantum mechanics, and mathematics, and how it has contributed to our understanding of the natural world.
The rise of psychotherapy has been one of the defining features of the 20th century. In this Very Short Introduction, Tom Burns and Eva Burns-Lundgren trace the development of psychotherapy and counselling, from its origins in Freud's psychoanalysis to the variety of different approaches on offer today.
Corruption one of the biggest issues facing the contemporary international community. In this Very Short Introduction, Leslie Holmes explores the problem - how it is defined, the impact it has on society, politics, and the economy, its various causes - and considers how we might deal with it globally.
In this Very Short Introduction, Philip Mladenov provides a fascinating overview of marine biology. Including a tour of marine life and marine processes that ranges from the polar oceans to tropical coral reefs, he outlines the principles of marine biology whilst demonstrating the fundamental impact humans have on the oceans and their ecology.
The Middle Ages (c.500-1500) includes a thousand years of European history. In this Very Short Introduction Miri Rubin tells the story of the times through the people and their lifestyles. Including stories of kingship and Christian salvation, agriculture and trade, Rubin demonstrates the remarkable nature and legacy of the Middle Ages.
Katherine Hawley explores the key ideas about trust in this Very Short Introduction. Drawing on a wide range of disciplines including philosophy, psychology, and evolutionary biology, she emphasizes the nature and importance of trusting and being trusted, from our intimate bonds with significant others to our relationship with the state.
Work is deeply embedded in the moral and political character of most societies. For many, work becomes fused with our personal and social identities - who we are and how we define ourselves. Steve Fineman explores the key debates about work and the factors that affect it including topics such as globalization, feminism, and technology.
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.
This Very Short Introduction demonstrates the pivotal role of law in American life. Chapters focus on the legal history of Indian tribes, slavery, property rights, the relationship of law to entrepreneurial activity, crimes and punishments, domestic relations, civil injuries and tort law, as well as legal education and the legal profession.
African Religions examines religious traditions on the African continent and diaspora. It focuses on the diversity of people, ethnic groups, languages, cultures, ethos, and worldviews. The book provides balanced and in-depth material that enables the reader to comprehend the breadth, depth, and range of African religious traditions.
Jennifer Roberts introduces the background and writing of the 5th century Greek thinker and researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus, who invented the genre of historical investigation. She discusses all aspects of his work, including his fascination with his origins; his travels; his interest in seeing the world; and the recurring themes of his work.
Risk is everywhere - from genetically modified crops, dams, and stem-cell therapy to heartbreak, online predators, inflation, and robbery. This Very Short Introduction examines what science has learned about how people deal with risks, what we can learn through decision theory, and how we can evaluate risk in our own lives.
Civil engineering produces the structures of all human settlements worldwide. In this Very Short Introduction, David Muir Wood demonstrates the nature and importance of civil engineering; not only in the history of civilization and urbanization, but its range of facets today, and its challenges for the future.
Engineering is part of almost everything we do - from the water we drink and the food we eat, to the buildings we live in and the roads and railways we travel on. In this Very Short Introduction, David Blockley explores the nature and practice of engineering, its history, its scope, and its relationship with art, science, and technology.
Lawrence M. Principe takes a fresh approach to the story of the scientific revolution, emphasising the historical context of the society and its world view at the time. From astronomy to alchemy and medicine to geology, he tells this fascinating story from the perspective of the historical characters involved.
In this Very Short Introduction D. Stephen Long examines the sources, history and contemporary theorists involved in the study of Christian ethics. Using examples of specific practical matters such as sex, money, and power, Long argues that Christian ethics are the cultivation of practical wisdom that comes from many diverse sources.
Michael Ferber considers Romanticism in its time of growth in Western Europe, examining various types of Romantic literature, music, painting, religion, and philosophy. He provides examples and quotations throughout to demonstrate the diverse nature of the movement.
Advertising is riddled with myths and misunderstandings. It is believed to be both immensely powerful yet immensely wasteful, to increase economic prosperity and to be morally questionable. Neither its historic origins nor its modern operations are well understood. This Very Short Introduction will tell the truth about how advertising works.
German philosophy remains the core of modern philosophy. This Very Short Introduction discusses the idea that German philosophy forms one of the most revealing responses to the problems of modernity. Including many significant German philosophers, and other more neglected thinkers, he provides an insight into German philosophical traditions.
Where does our conscience come from, and how reliable is it? Exploring its deep historical roots, Paul Strohm considers what conscience has meant to successive generations. Using examples from popular culture and contemporary politics he demonstrates that conscience is as important today as it has ever been.
What is leadership? Are leaders born or bred? How do leaders lead? In this Very Short Introduction, Keith Grint considers these questions, prompting the reader to rethink their understanding of what leadership is. He examines the way leadership has evolved over time and explores how it is perceived, and used, in society today.
Among the many laws of science, there are four laws that direct and constrain everything that happens in the Universe. From the sudden expansion of a cloud of gas to the unfurling of a leaf they help us understand the course of life itself. In this Very Short Introduction Peter Atkins' explains what the four laws are and how they work.
There are many debates about utopia - What constitutes a utopia? Are utopias benign or dangerous? The idea of utopia has become commonplace in social and political thought, both negatively and positively. This Very Short Introduction explores utopianism, its history, and its role in modern debates.
This Very Short Introduction discusses the nature of planets and gas giants, and their rings and moons. It also looks beyond Pluto, in the Kuiper Belt, at the knowledge we have about planets around other stars. With many striking photos to illustrate the details, it demonstrates the unique world of every planet.
Known as the 'father' of electrical engineering, Michael Faraday is one of the best known scientific figures of all time. In this Very Short Introduction, Frank A.J.L James looks at Faraday's life and works, examining the institutional context in which he lived and worked, his scientific research, and his continuing legacy in science today.
This Very Short Introduction presents Martin Luther as historians now see him. Instead of singling him out as a modern hero, the book emphasizes the context in which Luther worked, the colleagues who supported him, and the opponents who adamantly opposed his agenda for change.
Despite secular trends in many western countries, religion continues to be a powerful force globally. The Pentecostal movement began early in the 20th century and there are now almost 450 million supporters around the world. Despite this, it is riddled with prejudice and misinformation. William K. Kay reveals the truth about Pentecostalism.
What is agnosticism? Is it a belief, or just the absence of belief? What is the 'agnostic' principle? Robin Le Poidevin takes a philosophical approach to the issue of agnosticism, challenging some of the common assumptions, arguing in favour of the agnostic attitude, and considering its place in society and education.
In this fresh and clear history of Protestantism, Mark A. Noll looks at the era from Martin Luther to the present day. Focussing on developments worldwide and including a range of well-known figures including Luther, John Calvin, and F.D.E Schleiermacher, he considers the recent decline of Protestantism in the West and its expansion elsewhere.
Landscapes are all around us, but most of us know very little about how they have developed, what goes on in them, and how they react to changing climates, tectonics, and human activities. This Very Short Introduction discusses the key ideas and methods used to study and examine landscapes, and their importance in cultural terms.
Adolescence can be a turbulent period. Encompassing both classic and modern research, Smith explores its cultural and historical context, the biological changes to the adolescent brain, and the difficulties - the search for identity, relationship changes, risk-taking and anti-social behaviours - that adolescence brings.
The concept of law lies at the heart of our social and political life, shaping the character of our community and underlying issues from racism and abortion to human rights and international war. The revised edition of this Very Short Introduction examines the central questions about law's relation to justice, morality, and democracy.
Simon Glendinning explores Jacque Derrida's work, from his engagement with the history of metaphysics to his views on law and justice and ethics and politics. Confronting and refuting claims that Derrida was an irresponsible 'postmodernist' or 'nihilist' he instead reveals Derrida's significant contributions to philosophy.
Film is considered to be the dominant art form of the twentieth century. It can be considered many other things; a record of events, a modern mythology, a career, an industry, an art, a hobby, and much else. Michael Wood explores the history of film, its venture into the digital age, and its role and impact on modern society.
Postmodernism has been a buzzword of contemporary society for the last decade. But how can it be defined? In this Very Short Introduction Christopher Butler challenges and explores the key ideas of postmodernists, and their engagement with theory, literature, the visual arts, film, architecture, and music.
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.
An account of the history of the doctrine and practice of democracy, from ancient Greece and Rome through the American, French, and Russian revolutions, and of the usages and practices associated with it in the modern world. This book argues that democracy is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for good governance.
In simple language, without mathematics, this book explains the strange and exciting ideas that make the subatomic world so different from the world of the every day. It offers the general reader access to one of the greatest discoveries in the history of physics and one of the oustanding intellectual achievements of the twentieth century.