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The Crusades: A Very Short Introduction

The Crusades: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Christopher Tyerman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780192806550

Category: History

Page: 185

View: 502

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"This Very Short Introduction, originally published as Fighting in Christendom, presents a clear and lively discussion of the Crusades and the debates and the controversies that surround them. Bringing together issues of colonialism, cultural exchange, and economic exploitation, Tyerman challenges our assumptions about the Crusades and encourages us to re-evaluate the relationship between past and present."--BOOK JACKET.

The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction

The U.S. Congress: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Donald A. Ritchie

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199746217

Category: Political Science

Page: 170

View: 937

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Many scholars believe that the framers of the Constitution intended Congress to be the preeminent branch of government. Indeed, no other legislature in the world approaches its power. Yet most Americans have only a murky idea of how it works. In The U.S. Congress, Donald A. Ritchie, a congressional historian for more than thirty years, takes readers on a fascinating, behind-the-scenes tour of Capitol Hill--pointing out the key players, explaining their behavior, and translating parliamentary language into plain English. No mere civics lesson, this eye-opening book provides an insider's perspective on Congress, matched with a professional historian's analytical insight. After a swift survey of the creation of Congress by the constitutional convention, he begins to unscrew the nuts and pull out the bolts. What is it like to campaign for congress? To attract large donors? To enter either house with no seniority? He answers these questions and more, explaining committee assignments (and committee work), the role of staffers and lobbyists, floor proceedings, parliamentary rules, and coalition building. Ritchie explores the great effort put into constituent service--as representatives and senators respond to requests from groups and individuals--as well as media relations and news coverage. He also explores how the grand concepts we all know from civics class--checks and balances, advise and consent, congressional oversight--work in practice, in an age of strong presidents and a muscular Senate minority (no matter which party is in that position). In this sparkling addition to Oxford's Very Short Introduction series, Donald Ritchie moves beyond the cynicism and the platitudes to provide a gem of a portrait of how Congress really works.

The American Presidency: A Very Short Introduction

The American Presidency: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Charles O. Jones

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199743803

Category: Political Science

Page: 194

View: 655

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The expansion of executive powers amid the war on terrorism has brought the presidency to the center of heated public debate. Now, in The American Presidency, presidential authority Charles O. Jones provides invaluable background to the current controversy, in a compact, reliable guide to the office of the chief executive. This marvelously concise survey is packed with information about the presidency, some of it quite surprising. We learn, for example, that the Founders adopted the word "president" over "governor" and other alternatives because it suggested a light hand, as in one who presides, rather than rules. Indeed, the Constitutional Convention first agreed to a weak chief executive elected by congress for one seven-year term, later calling for independent election and separation of powers. Jones sheds much light on how assertive leaders, such as Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, and FDR enhanced the power of the presidency, and illuminating how such factors as philosophy (Reagan's anti-Communist conservatism), the legacy of previous presidencies (Jimmy Carter following Watergate), relations with Congress, and the impact of outside events have all influenced presidential authority. He also explores the rise of federal power and the dramatic expansion of federal agencies, showing how the president takes a direct hand in this vast bureaucracy, and he examines the political process of selecting presidents, from the days of deadlocked conventions to the rise of the primary after World War II. "In 200 years," he writes, "the presidency had changed from that of a person--Washington followed by Adams, then Jefferson--to a presidential enterprise with a cast of thousands." Jones explains how this remarkable expansion has occurred and where it may lead in the future. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

The History of Life: A Very Short Introduction

The History of Life: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Michael J. Benton

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191578786

Category: Science

Page: 184

View: 950

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There are few stories more remarkable than the evolution of life on earth. This Very Short Introduction presents a succinct guide to the key episodes in that story - from the very origins of life four million years ago to the extraordinary diversity of species around the globe today. Beginning with an explanation of the controversies surrounding the birth of life itself, each following chapter tells of a major breakthrough that made new forms of life possible: including sex and multicellularity, hard skeletons, and the move to land. Along the way, we witness the greatest mass extinction, the first forests, the rise of modern ecosystems, and, most recently, conscious humans. Introducing ideas from a range of scientific disciplines, from evolutionary biology and earth history, to geochemistry, palaeontology, and systematics, Michael Benton explains how modern science pieces the evidence in this vast evolutionary puzzle together, to build up an accessible and up-to-date picture of the key developments in the history of life on earth. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Relativity: A Very Short Introduction

Relativity: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Russell Stannard

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 019157404X

Category: Mathematics

Page: 128

View: 399

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100 years ago, Einstein's theory of relativity shattered the world of physics. Our comforting Newtonian ideas of space and time were replaced by bizarre and counterintuitive conclusions: if you move at high speed, time slows down, space squashes up and you get heavier; travel fast enough and you could weigh as much as a jumbo jet, be squashed thinner than a CD without feeling a thing - and live for ever. And that was just the Special Theory. With the General Theory came even stranger ideas of curved space-time, and changed our understanding of gravity and the cosmos. This authoritative and entertaining Very Short Introduction makes the theory of relativity accessible and understandable. Using very little mathematics, Russell Stannard explains the important concepts of relativity, from E=mc2 to black holes, and explores the theory's impact on science and on our understanding of the universe. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction

Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Gerald O'Collins

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191579103

Category: Religion

Page: 162

View: 124

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Despite a long history of external threats and internal strife, the Roman Catholic Church and the broader reality of Catholicism remain a vast and valuable presence into the third millennium of world history. What are the origins of the Catholic Church? How has Catholicism changed and adapted to such vast and diverse cultural influences over the centuries? What great challenges does the Catholic Church now face in the twenty-first century, both within its own life and in its relation to others around the world? In this Very Short Introduction, Gerald O'Collins draws on the best current scholarship available to answer these questions and to present, in clear and accessible language, a fresh introduction to the largest and oldest institution in the world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Superconductivity: A Very Short Introduction

Superconductivity: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Stephen J. Blundell

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191579097

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 168

View: 346

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Superconductivity is one of the most exciting areas of research in physics today. Outlining the history of its discovery, and the race to understand its many mysterious and counter-intuitive phenomena, this Very Short Introduction explains in accessible terms the theories that have been developed, and how they have influenced other areas of science, including the Higgs boson of particle physics and ideas about the early Universe. It is an engaging and informative account of a fascinating scientific detective story, and an intelligible insight into some deep and beautiful ideas of physics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

African History: A Very Short Introduction

African History: A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Parker

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191577642

Category: History

Page: 184

View: 540

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Essential reading for anyone interested in the African continent and the diversity of human history, this Very Short Introduction looks at Africa's past and reflects on the changing ways it has been imagined and represented. Key themes in current thinking about Africa's history are illustrated with a range of fascinating historical examples, drawn from over 5 millennia across this vast continent. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction

Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Nigel Warburton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199232352

Category: Philosophy

Page: 130

View: 941

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This introduction to free speech offers a thought-provoking guide to questions concerning how important free speech is and whether it should be defended at all costs. It explores both the traditional philosophical arguments as well as the practical issues and controversies facing modern society.

The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction

The Reformation: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Peter Marshall

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191578885

Category: Religion

Page: 168

View: 785

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The Reformation transformed Europe, and left an indelible mark on the modern world. It began as an argument about what Christians needed to do to be saved, but rapidly engulfed society in a series of fundamental changes. This Very Short Introduction provides a lively and up-to-date guide to the process. It explains doctrinal debates in a clear and non-technical way, but is equally concerned to demonstrate the effects the Reformation had on politics, society, art, and minorities. Peter Marshall argues that the Reformation was not a solely European phenomenon, but that varieties of faith exported from Europe transformed Christianity into a truly world religion. The complex legacy of the Reformation is also assessed; its religious fervour produced remarkable stories of sanctity and heroism, and some extraordinary artistic achievements, but violence, holy war, and martyrdom were equally its products. A paradox of the Reformation - that it intensified intolerance while establishing pluralism - is one we still wrestle with today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Brain: A Very Short Introduction

The Brain: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Michael O'Shea

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780192853929

Category: Health & Fitness

Page: 149

View: 945

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"How does the brain work? Michael O'Shea provides an accessible introduction to the key questions and current state of brain research, and shows that, though we know a surprising amount, we are still far from having a complete understanding. The topics he discusses range from how we sense things and how memories are stored, to the evolution of brains and nervous systems from primitive organisms, as well as altered mental states, brain-computer hybrids, and the future of brain research."--BOOK JACKET.

The Renaissance: A Very Short Introduction

The Renaissance: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jerry Brotton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780192801630

Category: Art

Page: 160

View: 264

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Exploring the Renaissance as a time of unprecedented intellectual excitement & cultural experimentation & interaction on a global scale, this book guides the reader through the key issues that defined the period, from art, architecture, & literature, to the advances in science, trade & travel.