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.
In this Very Short Introduction, Martin Price addresses the role of mountains in global ecosystems and within human culture. Considering the global effects of melting glaciers, and the conservation of mountain regions and peoples, he discusses the future of mountainous regions and the implications for all of us.
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.
This stimulating Very Short Introduction throws open the doors on a remarkably diverse musical genre, with a world-wide reach that goes far beyond America's shores to discuss folk music of every possible kind and in every corner of the globe.
Aristocracies dominated the social, economic, and institutional history of all European countries until only a few generations ago. William Doyle strips away the myths and beliefs which have always surrounded them, looking at how these very distinctive governing elites held onto power, and analyses when, how, and why they eventually lost it.
This Very Short Introduction introduces the ways in which Spanish literature has been read, in and outside Spain, explaining misconceptions, outlining the insights of recent scholarship, and suggesting new readings. It explores the relationship between Spanish literature and modernity and issues of gender and sexuality.
From Botticelli to birdsong, Mozart, and the Turner Prize, Roger Scruton explores what it means for something to be beautiful. This thought-provoking introduction to the philosophy of beauty draws conclusions that some may find controversial, but, as Scruton shows, help us to find greater sense of meaning in the beautiful objects around us.
In this Very Short Introduction to Italian Literature, Peter Hainsworth and David Robey examine Italian literature from the Middle Ages up to the present day, looking at themes and issues which have recurred throughout its history and continue to be of importance today.
From its origins to the present day, Owen Davies explores ideas about paganism that have existed over the last two millennia. He takes a chronological look at changing attitudes towards its beliefs, its practices, and its relationship with the Church.
Throughout history, to the present day, witchcraft raises questions about the distinction between reality and fantasy, faith and proof. This Very Short Introduction explores witchcraft, both as a contemporary phenomenon and a historical subject. It looks at witch-beliefs and accusations around the world, from pre-history to the present.
The Druids have been known and discussed for over 2,000 years; few figures flit so elusively through history. Enigmatic and puzzling, the lack of knowledge about them has resulted in a wide spectrum of interpretations. Barry Cunliffe examines their origins, the evidence for their beliefs and practices, and how we interpret them today.
Epidemiology is the study of the changing patterns of disease. It is a vital field, central to the health of society, to the identification of causes of disease, and to their management and prevention. This Very Short Introduction dispels some of the myths relating to clinical trials, vaccination campaigns, and statistics concerning disease.
How did Islam arise from the obscurity of seventh century Arabia to the headlines of the twenty first century? This Very Short Introduction answers that question; exploring the cultural and religious diversity of Islamic history. Adam Silverstein explains its significance and considers its impact on Islamic society today.
Has multiculturalism failed? Is it time to move on? What is the alternative? Ali Rattansi explores the issues, from national identity and social cohesion to cultural fragmentation and 'political correctness'. Providing a balanced assessment of the truth and falsity of the charges against multiculturalism, he explores new ideas for the future.
The time known as Late Antiquity (c.300-c.800) was a fascinatingly diverse and important period which saw the 'Fall of Rome' and the growth of Christianity and Islam. Gillian Clark explores its historical controversies, introducing the main characters and themes, and demonstrating the transition between the medieval and ancient.
What are angels? Where were they first encountered? Can we distinguish angels from gods, fairies, ghosts, and aliens? And why do they remain so popular? This Very Short Introduction investigates stories and speculations about angels in religions old and new, in art, literature, film, and the popular imagination.
Lie detection, offender profiling, insanity in the law, the minds of serial killers, and many other topics that fill news and fiction are all aspects of the rapidly developing area of Forensic Psychology. David Canter shows how these often controversial topics bridge the gaps between academics and practitioners, behavioural sciences, and the law.
Luciano Floridi unpacks this fundamental concept - what information is, how it is measured, its value and meaning - cutting across the sciences and humanities, from DNA to the Internet, and the ethical issues related to privacy, copyright, and accessibility.
The collapse of communism was one of the most defining moments of the twentieth century. This Very Short Introduction examines the history behind the political, economic, and social structures of communism as an ideology.
What is humanism? Can there be morality without God? Without religion, are our lives left without meaning? Stephen Law considers all these questions in this Very Short Introduction. Discussing the arguments for and against religious belief, and examining the value and meaning of life, he explores humanism as a positive alternative to religion.
David Seed examines how science fiction has emerged as a popular genre of literature in the 20th century, and discusses it in relation to themes such as science and technology, space, aliens, utopias, and gender. Looking at some of the most influential writers of the genre he also considers the wider social and political issues it raises.
Forensic science, with its connections to crime and detective work, is a subject of wide fascination. This Very Short Introduction looks at the nature of forensic science, how forensic scientists work, the different techniques involved, and the broader legal issues it raises.
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.
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.
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.
From the contours of coastlines to the outlines of clouds, fractal shapes can be found regularly in nature. This Very Short Introduction explains the basic concepts, presents the 'new geometry' of fractals, explores its wide range of applications, and shows the central place fractals have gained in mathematics and science in recent years.
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.
In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Freeden explores the concept of liberalism, one of the longest-standing and central political theories and ideologies. Combining a variety of approaches, he distinguishes between liberalism as a political movement, as a system of ideas, and as a series of ethical and philosophical principles.
What is entrepreneurship? Is it important? What do entrepreneurs actually do? These are a few of the key questions considered in this Very Short Introduction. Paul Westhead and Mike Wright provide a clear guide to all aspects of the process of entrepreneurship, including the diversity of the people involved and the benefits it brings to society.
Teeth are a vital component of vertebrate anatomy and a fundamental part of the fossil record. It was the evolution of teeth, associated with predation, that drove the evolution of the wide array of fish, amphibians, reptiles, and then mammals. Peter S. Ungar looks at how, without teeth, none of these developments could have occurred.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) represents the social accountability a company holds for society. This Very Short Introductions looks at how and why it developed, how it is implemented in practice, and the benefits and controversies it raises for companies, governments, and society worldwide.
Using examples from around the world, including the Shard in London and jumbo jets like the A380, David Blockley explores the world of structural engineering. This Very Short Introduction considers the crucial role structural engineering has on issues such as cost and energy efficiency to long-term sustainability and safety.