In this Very Short Introduction Bart Van Es analyses Shakespeare's comedic plays, picking out the family resemblances across these works. He considers their shared themes such as confusion and cross dressing, misguided love, twins and substitutions, and explores the bard's verbal artistry and wit.
This Very Short Introduction explores different approaches to myth from several disciplines, including science, religion, philosophy, literature, and psychology. In this new edition, Robert Segal considers both the future study of myth as well as the impact of areas such as cognitive science and the latest approaches to narrative theory.
In this Very Short Introduction, Steven Beller explores the historical and political intricacies of Antisemitism, an issue which has been a worryingly persistent presence in the last millennium, and one that continues to provoke debate and discussion.
This compact volume identifies and tackles some of the controversies and historical mysteries that continue to swirl around Reagan and his legacy, while providing an illuminating look at some of the era's defining personalities, ideas, and accomplishments.
In the middle of the great, global twentieth-century crisis, the Great Depression forced the United States to adopt policies at odds with its political traditions. This very short introduction to that crisis and those policies provides readers with a summary of the global impact and effect of the economic contraction and the American reaction.
Kabbalah has reaped a wealth of attention, but many argue that the form practiced in Hollywood is more New Age than authentic tradition. Dan offers a dependable account of this religious phenomenon and its impact outside of Judaism. He sheds light on misconceptions and examines its fascinating history, including ancient texts of this tradition.
Written by a leading expert on the Puritans, this brief, informative volume offers a wealth of background on this key religious movement. This book traces the shaping, triumph, and decline of the Puritan world,
Rocks are crucial constituents of our lives, not only making the solid ground beneath our feet, but breaking up into the soil that feeds our crops, and providing the metal ores and other materials vital for civilization. This Very Short Introduction introduces the structure and diversity of rocks on Earth, in outer space, and on other planets.
Ageing entails lifelong dynamic changes in biological, psychological, and social functioning. While such changes in later adulthood were somewhat neglected by scientists in the past, recent decades have seen a marked increase in research in this area. Nancy A. Pachana examines the impact of rising numbers of older people worldwide.
Electronic surveillance, biometrics, CCTV, ID cards, online security, the monitoring of employees, the uses of DNA - to name a few - all raise fundamental questions about our right to privacy. In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Raymond Wacks includes a number of recent changes and considers the future of privacy in society.
From the large corporation using enormous machines in the USA, to the woman with her hoe and her plot of cassava in Mozambique, to a Chinese collective farm worker in the rice fields, agriculture is essential for humanity to eat. This book looks at the many different types of agriculture and considers the challenges facing farmers today.
In this Very Short Introduction James Fulcher considers what capitalism is, the forms it can take around the world, and its history of crises and long-term development. In this new edition he discusses the fundamental impact of the global financial crises of 2007-8 and what it has meant for capitalism worldwide.
The history of Ancient Babylonia in ancient Mesopatamia is epic. Trevor Bryce offers an exploration of the rich world of Babylonia, providing insight into the intricacies of this ancient civilization and its important social, historical, and cultural legacies.
This Very Short Introduction considers the history of Italy from the Risorgimento (the movement leading to Italian Unification in 1861) to the present. It also discusses Italy's political system and style of government; economic modernisation; emigration, internal migration and immigration; and the modern Italian culture and lifestyle.
Set against the backdrop of an ever-changing international landscape, this Very Short Introduction explores both the history and politics of nuclear weapons. In this new edition, Joseph M. Siracusa includes a new concluding chapter, highlighting the significant lessons to be learnt from the history of the nuclear weapons era.
HIV/ AIDS continues to be a major public health issue, affecting millions of sufferers worldwide. This Very Short Introduction explains the science, the international and local politics, the demographics, and the devastating consequences of the disease, and addresses some of the big issues that will concern us over the next decade.
Plate tectonics caused a revolution in our understanding of the Earth. It has aided our understanding of why earthquakes and volcanoes are found in distinct locations, how oceans form and disappear, and how mountain ranges were built. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Molnar explores the history and significance of plate tectonics.
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.
This Very Short Introduction invites readers to revisit algebra and appreciate the elegance and power of equations and inequalities. Offering a clear explanation of algebra through theory and example, Higgins shows how equations lead to complex numbers, matrices, groups, rings, and fields.
While the development of Information Technology has been obvious to all, the underpinning computer science has been less apparent. Subrata Dasgupta provides a thought-provoking introduction to the field and its core principles, considering computer science as a science of symbol processing.
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.
Our Solar System contains more moons than planets. They show astonishing variety, and some look more likely than Mars to host microbial life. David Rothery describes these fascinating small worlds, their discovery, names, and what they can tell us about our Solar System.
Can we ever truly influence, predict, and direct our own futures? Are there multiple futures or only one awaiting us? Jennifer Gidley explains our innate fascination with the unknown future, and considers the role of the human consciousness in embracing multiple future possibilities, and creating a world of our choices.
In this Very Short Introduction Chris Shilling considers the social significance of the human body, and the importance of the body to individual and collective identities. He examines how bodies not only shape but are shaped by the social, cultural, and material contexts in which humans live.
In this Very Short Introduction, Kim Knott offers a succinct and authoritative overview of Hinduism and its key beliefs. In this second edition she considers new issues facing Hindus such as the politicization of Hinduism in India, the increasing impact of Hindu nationalism, and the rise and fall of sectarian Hindu movements.
This Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the main themes of contemporary philosophy of science. It explores the fundamental questions and challenges in the field, and looks at philosophical issues in particular sciences, including the problem of classification in biology, and the nature of space and time in physics.
This book explores the lands of the ancient Near East from around 3200 BCE to 539 BCE. The earth-shaking changes that marked this era include such fundamental inventions as the wheel and the plow and intellectual feats such as the inventions of astronomy, law, and diplomacy.
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.
Animal behaviour is a central topic of zoology, and with the development of ideas concerning the role of genes as well as environment the subject has been transformed. Tristram Wyatt gives a modern view, including a sense of the power of gene knock-outs, computing, and image analysis to enable detailed experiments and observations of behaviour.
For centuries Britain was an integral part of the Roman Empire. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter Salway weaves together the latest archaeological investigations and historical scholarship to chart life in Roman Britain from the first Roman invasion under Julius Caesar to the final collapse of the Roman Empire in the West around AD 500.
Social psychology is the quest to understand how our behaviour is influenced by those around us. Richard Crisp introduces the reader to the history of social psychology, covering the thinkers, discussions and the debates which have shaped its first 120 years, and looks forward to the cutting edge ideas in the discipline.
From city state to empire, in the early 2nd millennium BC to the end of the 7th century BC, Assyria was one of the most influential kingdoms of the Ancient Near East. Using archaeological discoveries from across the Middle East, Karen Radner demonstrates the vast, socially diverse, multicultural nature of Ancient Assyria and the Assyrian Empire.
In this Very Short Introduction Bill McGuire explores the potential catastrophes facing our planet. Assessing both the probability of these events happening in the future, and our chances of survival, this new edition brings our understanding of global disasters and risk research up to date, by using recent case studies from around the world.
This Very Short Introduction maps the historical development of chemistry from man's earliest exploration in the Stone Age to the nanotechnology of today's materials science. In this succinct but comprehensive overview Brock balances the approaches to - and interpretations of - the subject, revealing chemistry's rich and diverse history.
In this Very Short Introduction Julian V. Roberts identifies the principal objectives of the criminal justice system and the way in which it works around the world. Analysing a number of case studies about a wide variety of issues, including court processes, sentencing, and prison life, he draws upon the latest research and practice.