The Bottom Billion is an elegant and impassioned synthesis from one of the world's leading experts on Africa and poverty. It was hailed as "the best non-fiction book so far this year" by Nicholas Kristoff of The New York Times.
'Globalization' is one of the defining buzzwords of our time - a term describing a variety of accelerating economic, political, and cultural processes that are changing our experience of the world. Fully updated for 2009, this Very Short Introduction provides an accessible exploration of both the causes and effects of the phenomenon.
King Arthur is probably the most famous and certainly the most legendary medieval king. From the early ninth century through the middle ages, to the Arthurian romances of Victorian times, the tales of this legendary figure have blossomed and multiplied. And in more recent times, there has been a continuous stream of books claiming to have discovered the 'facts' about, or to unlock the secret or truth behind, the 'once and future king'.
Broadly speaking, there are two Arthurs. On the one hand is the traditional 'historical' Arthur, waging a doomed struggle to save Roman civilization against the relentless Anglo-Saxon tide during the darkest years of the Dark Ages. On the other is the Arthur of myth and legend - accompanied by a host of equally legendary people, places, and stories: Lancelot, Guinevere, Galahad and Gawain, Merlin, Excalibur, the Lady in the Lake, the Sword in the Stone, Camelot, the Round Table.
The big problem with all this is that 'King Arthur' might well never have existed. And if he did exist, it is next to impossible to say anything at all about him. As this challenging new look at the Arthur legend makes clear, all books claiming to reveal 'the truth' behind King Arthur can safely be ignored. Not only the 'red herrings' in the abundant pseudo-historical accounts, even the 'historical' Arthur is largely a figment of the imagination: the evidence that we have - whether written or archaeological - is simply incapable of telling us anything detailed about the Britain in which he is supposed to have lived, fought, and died. The truth, as Guy Halsall reveals in this fascinating investigation, is both radically different - and also a good deal more intriguing.
The full story of the Anglo-American intelligence relationship, ranging from the deceits of World War I to the mendacities of 9/11 - now told for the first time.
The story of how Stalin ruthlessly built his 'Red Empire' in the aftermath of World War II - and what inspired him to build it.
From the bestselling author of The End of Lawyers?, this book predicts fundamental and irreversible changes in the legal world and offers essential practical advice for those who intend to build careers and businesses in law. A definitive guide to the future for aspiring lawyers, and for all who want to modernize today's legal and justice systems.
An authoritative, single-volume introduction to cybersecurity addresses topics ranging from phishing and electrical-grid takedowns to cybercrime and online freedom, sharing illustrative anecdotes to explain how cyberspace security works and what everyday people can do to protect themselves. Simultaneous.
This title narrates the history of English spelling from the Anglo-Saxons to the present-day. It also examines the changing attitudes to spelling, including numerous proposals for spelling reform, ranging from the introduction of new alphabets to more modest attempts to rid English of its silent letters, and the differing agendas they reveal.
This book traces the development of English slang from the earliest records to the latest tweet. It explores why and how slang is used, and traces the development of slang in English-speaking nations around the world. The records of the Old Bailey and machine-searchable newspaper collections provide a wealth of new information about historical slang, while blogs and tweets provide us with a completely new perspective on contemporary slang. Based on inside information from real live slang users as well as the best scholarly sources, this book is guaranteed to teach you some new words that you shouldn't use in polite company. Teachers, politicians, broadcasters, and parents characterize the language of teenagers as sloppy, repetitive, and unintelligent, but these complaints are nothing new. In 1906, an Australian journalist overheard some youths on a street-corner: Things will be bally slow till next pay-day. I've done in nearly all my spond. Here, now; cheese it, or I'll lob one in your lug. Lend us a cigarette. Lend it; oh, no, I don't part. Look out, here's a bobby going to tell us to shove along. What, he wondered, was the world coming to. For the 411, read on ...
If the twentieth century witnessed the triumph of democracy then something appears to have gone seriously wrong. Citizens around the world have become distrustful of politicians, sceptical about democratic institutions, and disillusioned about the capacity of democratic politics to resolve pressing social concerns. This shift in global attitudes has been explored in a vast body of writing that examines the existence of 'disaffected democrats' and 'democratic deficits'. Defending Politics meets this contemporary pessimism about the political process head on. In doing so, it aims to cultivate a shift from the bland and fatalistic 'politics of pessimism' that appears to dominate public life towards a more buoyant and engaged 'politics of optimism'. Matthew Flinders makes a highly unfashionable but incredibly important argument of almost primitive simplicity: democratic politics delivers far more than most members of the public appear to acknowledge and understand. If more and more people are disappointed with what modern democratic politics delivers then is it possible that the fault lies with those who demand too much, fail to acknowledge the essence of democratic engagement and ignore the complexities of governing in the twentieth century rather than with democratic politics itself? Is it possible that the public in many advanced liberal democracies have become 'democratically decadent' in the sense that they take what democratic politics delivers for granted? Would politics be interpreted as failing a little less if we all spent a little less time emphasising our individual rights and a little more time reflecting on our responsibilities to society and future generations? Democratic politics remains 'a great and civilizing human activity... something to be valued almost as a pearl beyond price in the history of the human condition', as Bernard Crick stressed in his classic In Defence of Politics fifty years ago. But it is also a far more fragile system of governing than many people appear to realize. By returning to and updating Crick's arguments, this book provides an honest account of why democratic politics matters and why we need to reject the arguments of those who would turn their backs on 'mere politics' in favour of more authoritarian, populist or technocratic forms of governing. In rejecting fashionable fears about the 'end of politics' and daring to suggest that the public, the media, pressure groups, academics and politicians are all part of the problem as well as part of the cure, this book provides a fresh, provocative, and above all optimistic view of the achievements and future potential of democratic politics.
The financial crisis caused many genuinely to reconsider the desirability and feasibility of capitalism. In Why Capitalism?, renowned economist Allan Meltzer addresses what he feels are key issues that critics of capitalism routinely fail to adequately recognize . These include the power of incentives and capitalism's adaptability to varying morals, ideals, and cultures. Meltzer argues that while capitalism is not perfect, it is the best option for providing growth and personal freedom. Citing Kant, he stresses that most of the faults and flaws on which critics dwell are human faults and are not systemically inherent to capitalism. Other topics he addresses include the regulated welfare state and how it invites corruption, arbitrary decisions, and circumvention; and irresponsible deficit spending and the unsustainable, unfunded promises by politicians eager to please. Why Capitalism? is a short, powerful book that will raise the level of the current debate among politicians, scholars in the political sciences, and general readers interested in the political issues brought to light by the recent financial crisis, written by one of the strongest voices the public dialogue on the fundamental economic ideas on which the United States economy is based.
A User's Guide to Thought and Meaning presents a profound and arresting integration of the faculties of the mind - of how we think, speak, and see the world. Ray Jackendoff starts out by looking at languages and what the meanings of words and sentences actually do. He shows that meanings are more adaptive and complicated than they're commonly given credit for, and he is led to some basic questions: How do we perceive and act in the world? How do we talk about it? And how can the collection of neurons in the brain give rise to conscious experience? As it turns out, the organization of language, thought, and perception does not look much like the way we experience things, and only a small part of what the brain does is conscious. Jackendoff concludes that thought and meaning must be almost completely unconscious. What we experience as rational conscious thought - which we prize as setting us apart from the animals - in fact rides on a foundation of unconscious intuition. Rationality amounts to intuition enhanced by language. Written with an informality that belies both the originality of its insights and the radical nature of its conclusions, A User's Guide to Thought and Meaning is the author's most important book since the groundbreaking Foundations of Language in 2002.
It is said to be the most frequently spoken (or typed) word on the planet, more common than an infant's first word ma or the ever-present beverage Coke. It was even the first word spoken on the moon. It is "OK"--the most ubiquitous and invisible of American expressions, one used countless times every day. Yet few of us know the hidden history of OK--how it was coined, what it stood for, and the amazing extent of its influence. Allan Metcalf, a renowned popular writer on language, here traces the evolution of America's most popular word, writing with brevity and wit, and ranging across American history with colorful portraits of the nooks and crannies in which OK survived and prospered. He describes how OK was born as a lame joke in a newspaper article in 1839--used as a supposedly humorous abbreviation for "oll korrect" (ie, "all correct")--but should have died a quick death, as most clever coinages do. But OK was swept along in a nineteenth-century fad for abbreviations, was appropriated by a presidential campaign (one of the candidates being called "Old Kinderhook"), and finally was picked up by operators of the telegraph. Over the next century and a half, it established a firm toehold in the American lexicon, and eventually became embedded in pop culture, from the "I'm OK, You're OK" of 1970's transactional analysis, to Ned Flanders' absurd "Okeley Dokeley!" Indeed, OK became emblematic of a uniquely American attitude, and is one of our most successful global exports. "An appealing and informative history of OK." --Washington Post Book World "After reading Metcalf's book, it's easy to accept his claim that OK is 'America's greatest word.'" --Erin McKean, Boston Globe "Entertaininga treat for logophiles." --Kirkus Reviews "Metcalf makes you acutely aware of how ubiquitous and vital the word has become." --Jeremy McCarter, Newsweek
Human progress and prosperity depend on a peaceful environment, and most people have always sought to live in peace, yet our perception of the past is dominated too often by a narrative that is obsessed with war. In this ground breaking study, former Guardian journalist John Gittings demolishes the myth that peace is dull and that war is in our genes, and opens an alternative window on history to show the strength of the case for peace which has been argued from ancient times onwards. Beginning with a new analysis of the treatment of peace in Homer's Iliad, he explores the powerful arguments against war made by classical Chinese and Greek thinkers, and by the early Christians. Gittings urges us to pay more attention to Erasmus on the Art of Peace, and less to Machiavelli on the Art of War. The significant shift in Shakespeare's later plays towards a more peace-oriented view is also explored. Gittings traces the growth of the international movement for peace from the Enlightenment to the present day, and assesses the inspirational role of Tolstoy and Gandhi in advocating non-violence. Bringing the story into the twentieth century, he shows how the League of Nations in spite of its "failure" led to high hopes for a stronger United Nations, but that real chances for peace were missed in the early years of the cold war. And today, as we approach the centenary of the First World War, Gittings argues that, instead of being obsessed by a new war on terror, we should be focusing our energies on seeking peaceful solutions to the challenges of nuclear proliferation, conflict and extremism, poverty and inequality, and climate change.
In his famous book A Night to Remember, historian Walter Lord described the sinking of the Titanic as 'the last night of a small town'. Now, a hundred years after her sinking, John Welshman reconstructs the fascinating individual histories of twelve of the inhabitants of this tragically short-lived floating town. They include members of the crew; passengers in First, Second, and Third Class; women and men; adults and children; rich and poor. Among them are a ship's Captain, a Second Officer, an Assistant Wireless Operator; a Stewardess, an amateur military historian, a governess, a teacher, a domestic servant, a mother, and three children. What were their earlier histories? Who survived, and why, and who perished? And what happened to these people in the years after 1912? Titanic: The Last Night of a Small Town answers all these questions and more, while offering a minute-by-minute depiction of events aboard the doomed liner through the eyes of a broad and representative cross-section of those who sailed in her - both those who survived and those who didn't.
The story of how psychoanalysis was used in the war against Nazi Germany - in the crucial quest to understand the Nazi mind. Daniel Pick brings both the skills of the historian and the trained psychoanalyst to weave together the story of clinical encounters with leading Nazis and the Allies' broader interpretations of the Nazi high command and the mentality of the wider German public who supported them. Following the bizarre capture of Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess in 1941, Pick follows closely the story of how leading British psychiatrists assessed their new charge, in an attempt to understand both the man himself and the psychological bases of his Nazi convictions. At the same time, he uncovers the story of how a team of American officers working for the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA, were engaged in an attempt to understand Hitler's personality from afar, using the theories and techniques of Sigmund Freud. Drawing upon a large cache of archives on both sides of the Atlantic, Pick asks what such psychoanalytical and psychiatric investigations set out to do, showing how Freud's famous 'talking cure' was harnessed to the particular needs of military intelligence during the war and the task of post-war reconstruction that followed. Looking beyond this, he then shows just how deeply post-war Western understandings of how minds work and groups operate were influenced by these wartime attempts to interpret the psychopathology of Nazism.
Conservatives today have succeeded in casting government spending as useless profligacy that has made the economy worse, centering the policy debate in the wake of the financial crisis on draconian budget cuts. We are told that we need to live in an age of austerity since we have all lived beyond our means and now need to tighten out belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, and adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, and the burden on the taxpayer. That burden now takes the form of a global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices to restore competitiveness and balance the budget. The problem, according to political economist Mark Blyth, is that austerity is a very dangerous idea. First of all, it doesn't work. As the past two years of trying and countless other historical examples show, while it makes sense for any one state to try and cut its way to growth, it simply cannot work when all states try it simultaneously: all we do is shrink the economy. Second, it relies upon those who didn't make the mess to clean it up, which is always bad politics. Third, it rests upon a tenuous and thin body of evidence and argumentation that acts more to prop up dead economic ideas and preserve astonishingly skewed income and wealth distributions than to restore prosperity for all. In Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, Blyth demolishes the conventional wisdom, marshaling an army of facts to demand that we recognize austerity for what it is, and what it costs us.
When South Africa's apartheid government charged Nelson Mandela with planning its overthrow in 1963, most observers feared that he would be sentenced to death. But the support he and his fellow activists in the African National Congress received during his trial not only saved his life, but also enabled him to save his country. In Saving Nelson Mandela, South African law expert Kenneth S. Broun recreates the trial--called the "Rivonia" Trial after the Johannesburg suburb where police seized Mandela. Based upon interviews with many of the case's primary figures and portions of the trial transcript, Broun situates readers inside the courtroom at the imposing Palace of Justice in Pretoria. Here, the trial unfolds through a dramatic narrative that captures the courage of the accused and their defense team, as well as the personal prejudices that colored the entire trial. The Rivonia trial had no jury and only a superficial aura of due process, combined with heavy security that symbolized the apartheid government's system of repression. Broun shows how outstanding advocacy, combined with widespread public support, in fact backfired on apartheid leaders, who sealed their own fate. Despite his 27-year incarceration, Mandela's ultimate release helped move his country from the racial tyranny of apartheid toward democracy. As documented in this inspirational book, the Rivonia trial was a critical milestone that helped chart the end of Apartheid and the future of a new South Africa.
Provides help for writing needs - letter writing, business writing, creative writing - with boxed lists providing information on a range of subjects. The alternative words presented in this book cover everyday vocabulary, as well as more unusual and specialist words. It also includes labeling of informal, dialect, literary, and technical items.
Lists the origins and sense developments of more than eleven thousand English words and idioms, in a resource that provides first recorded dates and boxed elements that define word relationships.