The Etruscans

A Very Short Introduction

The Etruscans

"Between c. 900-400 BC the Etruscans were the innovative, powerful, wealthy, and sophisticated elite of Italy. Their archaeological record is both substantial and fascinating, including tomb paintings, sculpture, jewellery, and art."

Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Without writing, there would be no records, no history, no books, and no emails. Writing is an integral and essential part of our lives; but when did it start? Why do we all write differently and how did writing develop into what we use today? All of these questions are answered in this Very Short Introduction. Starting with the origins of writing five thousand years ago, with cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs, Andrew Robinson explains how these early forms of writing developed into hundreds of scripts including the Roman alphabet and the Chinese characters. He reveals how the modern writing symbols and abbreviations we take for granted today - including airport signage and text messaging - resemble ancient ones much more closely than we might think. 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 Roman Republic: A Very Short Introduction

The Roman Republic: A Very Short Introduction

The rise and fall of the Roman Republic occupies a special place in the history of Western civilization. From humble beginnings on the seven hills beside the Tiber, the city of Rome grew to dominate the ancient Mediterranean. Led by her senatorial aristocracy, Republican armies defeated Carthage and the successor kingdoms of Alexander the Great, and brought the surrounding peoples to east and west into the Roman sphere. Yet the triumph of the Republic was also its tragedy. In this Very Short Introduction, David M. Gwynn provides a fascinating introduction to the history of the Roman Republic and its literary and material sources, bringing to life the culture and society of Republican Rome and its ongoing significance within our modern 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.

Complexity: A Very Short Introduction

Complexity: A Very Short Introduction

The importance of complexity is well-captured by Hawking's comment: "Complexity is the science of the 21st century". From the movement of flocks of birds to the Internet, environmental sustainability, and market regulation, the study and understanding of complex non-linear systems has become highly influential over the last 30 years. In this Very Short Introduction, one of the leading figures in the field, John Holland, introduces the key elements and conceptual framework of complexity. From complex physical systems such as fluid flow and the difficulties of predicting weather, to complex adaptive systems such as the highly diverse and interdependent ecosystems of rainforests, he combines simple, well-known examples — Adam Smith's pin factory, Darwin's comet orchid, and Simon's 'watchmaker' — with an account of the approaches, involving agents and urn models, taken by complexity theory. 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.

Fascism: A Very Short Introduction

Fascism: A Very Short Introduction

What is fascism? Is it revolutionary? Or is it reactionary? Can it be both? Fascism is notoriously hard to define. How do we make sense of an ideology that appeals to streetfighters and intellectuals alike? That is overtly macho in style, yet attracts many women? That calls for a return to tradition while maintaining a fascination with technology? And that preaches violence in the name of an ordered society? In the new edition of this Very Short Introduction, Kevin Passmore brilliantly unravels the paradoxes of one of the most important phenomena in the modern world—tracing its origins in the intellectual, political, and social crises of the late nineteenth century, the rise of fascism following World War I, including fascist regimes in Italy and Germany, and the fortunes of 'failed' fascist movements in Eastern Europe, Spain, and the Americas. He also considers fascism in culture, the new interest in transnational research, and the progress of the far right since 2002. 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.

Microbiology: A Very Short Introduction

Microbiology: A Very Short Introduction

In recent decades we have come to realize that the microbial world is hugely diverse, and can be found in the most extreme environments. Fungi, single-celled protists, bacteria, archaea, and the vast array of viruses and sub-viral particles far outnumber plants and animals. Microbes, we now know, play a critical role in ecosystems, in the chemistry of atmosphere and oceans, and within our bodies. The field of microbiology, armed with new techniques from molecular biology, is now one of the most vibrant in the life sciences. In this Very Short Introduction Nicholas P. Money explores not only the traditional methods of microscopy and laboratory culture but also the modern techniques of genetic detection and DNA sequencing, genomic analysis, and genetic manipulation. In turn he demonstrates how advances in microbiology have had a tremendous impact on the areas of medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology. 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.

Hormones: A Very Short Introduction

Hormones: A Very Short Introduction

Hormones play an integral part in the balance and workings of the body. While many people are broadly aware of their existence, there are many misconceptions and few are aware of the nature and importance of the endocrine system. In this Very Short Introduction, Martin Luck explains what hormones are, what they do, where they come from, and how they work. He explains how the endocrine system operates, highlighting the importance of hormones in the regulation of water and salt in the body, how they affect reproduction and our appetites, and how they help us adjust to different environments, such as travel across time zones. In this fresh and modern treatment, Luck also touches on the ethical and moral issues surrounding research methods, testing on animals, and hormone misuse. 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.

Corporate Social Responsibility: A Very Short Introduction

Corporate Social Responsibility: A Very Short Introduction

Corporate social responsibility has been defined as 'the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society'. Is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) just window dressing or is it a contradiction in terms? In this Very Short Introduction, Jeremy Moon shows that CSR holds much more value than it first appears, and shows how it has come of age in recent years. Illustrating the sorts of CSR investments companies make, the ways in which they practice CSR, and the challenges this brings, Moon considers how the principles migrated from their US roots to become a global business phenomenon. Exploring the place of CSR in different economic, social, political, and managerial contexts, this short guide considers the many positives, but also challenges, that CSR can present for companies, societies, and governments worldwide. 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 Celts: A Very Short Introduction

The Celts: A Very Short Introduction

Savage and bloodthirsty, or civilized and peaceable? The Celts have long been a subject of enormous fascination, speculation, and misunderstanding. From the ancient Romans to the present day, their real nature has been obscured by a tangled web of preconceived ideas and stereotypes. Barry Cunliffe seeks to reveal this fascinating people for the first time, using an impressive range of evidence, and exploring subjects such as trade, migration, and the evolution of Celtic traditions. Along the way, he exposes the way in which society's needs have shaped our visions of the Celts, and examines such colourful characters as St Patrick, Cú Chulainn, and Boudica. 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.

Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction

Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction

Greek and Roman warfare differed from other cultures and was unlike any other forms of warfare before and after. The key difference is often held to be that the Greeks and Romans practised a 'Western Way of War', where the aim is an open, decisive battle, won by courage instilled in part by discipline. Harry Sidebottom looks at how and why this 'Western Way of War' was constructed and maintained by the Greeks and Romans, why this concept is so popular and prevalent today, and at whether or not this is an accurate interpretation. All aspects of ancient warfare are thoroughly examined - from philosophy and strategy to the technical skills needed to fight. He looks at war in the wider context - how wars could shape classical society, and how the individual's identity could be constructed by war, for example the Christian soldier fighting in God's name. He also explores the ways in which ancient society thought about conflict: Can a war be just? Why was siege warfare particularly bloody? What role did divine intervention play in the outcome of a battle? Taking fascinating examples from the Iliad, Tacitus, and the Persian Wars, Sidebottom uses arresting anecdotes and striking visual images to show that the any understanding of ancient war is an ongoing process of interpretation. 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.