Friday, February 23, 2007

Featured Book - Hogarth

Mark Hallett

Phaidon, 2000, 709 HOG/HAL

A comprehensive collection of works by William Hogarth has recently gone on display in a major new exhibition at the Tate Britain Gallery.

As well as a a substantial collection of contemporary art and design books supporting current RSA projects such as our Arts & Ecology programme or our recent Art for Architecture project, the RSA Library also contains works on British and international art throughout history.

Hogarth is an comprehensive analysis of the life and work of William Hogarth, exploring both what Hogarth had to say about the rapidly changing eighteenth century society in which he worked, and what he still has to offer modern art and society as a whole. Mark Hallett examines the circumstances and meaning of the 'moral pieces' for which Hogarth is perhaps best known, illustrating the role he played as a witty and highly observant social commentator. Yet he also pays tribute to Hogarth's talent as painter of portraits and group scenes, and the versatility he demonstrated in being able to work with paint, ink and engraving.

Why not use the book as an accompaniment to a tour of the Hogarth Exhibition or a visit to Hogarth's House in west London.

Read the British Museum's William Hogarth Fact sheet.

Read an article about Hogarth from The Guardian newspaper.

Friday, February 16, 2007

RSA Library Update - February 2007

What follows is a complete list of RSA library acquisitions for the month of February 2007. Fellows are welcome to e-mail if they wish to borrow any of these items, or search the library catalogue for thousands of other titles....

000s – Generalities

100s – Philosophy & Psychology

Michael Frayn
The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of a Universe
Faber and Faber, 2006, 120 FRA
What would that universe be like if human being were not here to observe it? Would there be still be numbers, or scientific laws? Would the universe even be vast, without our tininess to give it scale? Written by the author of award winning novels, such as "Spies", this book aims to confront these mind boggling ideas head-on.

Roger Steare
Ethicability: (n) How to Decide What's Right and Find the Courage to do it
Roger Steare Consulting Limited, 2006, 170 STE
Based on a clear, concise and robust model which combines insights from 3,000 years of moral philosophy and the latest scientific research into human psychology and behaviour, Ethicability enables us to understand and resolve a wide range of moral dilemmas

George Gaskell
Genomics and Society: Legal, Ethical and Social Dimensions
Earthscan, 2006, 174.957 GAS
Genomics and Society presents a series of comparative perspectives on the social, ethical and legal implications of genomics. This book, encapsulates the lessons to be learned from the controversies of the 1990s, and raises the level of debate on the societal implications of developments in genomics. It includes a range of case study material.

200s – Religion

300s – Social Sciences

David Edgerton
The Shock of the Old: Technology in Global History Since 1900
Profile Books Ltd, 2007, 303.483 EDG
The Shock of the Old offers a global account of the place of technology in twentieth century history. This book aims to challenge the idea that we live in an era of ever increasing change, and so dismisses naivety’s about 'the information age'. Interweaving political and cultural history, it shows what it means to think critically about technology and its importance.

Mark Kurlansky
Non-Violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea
Jonathan Cape, 2006, 303.66 KUR
The conventional history of nations, even continents, is a history of warfare. According to this view, all the important ideas and significant changes of humankind were put forward in an effort to win one violent bloody conflict or another. In this exploration of pacifism, various views are discussed alongside several non-violence theorists.

David Cameron
Social responsibility: the Big Idea for Britain's Future
The Conservative Party, 2007, 320.52 CAM
In this collection of speeches, Conservative Party leader David Cameron outlines his visions for a more socially responsible society and the future of British politics.

Ronald Dworkin
Is Democracy Possible Here?: Principles for a New Political Debate
Princeton University Press, 2006, 320.973 DWO
Is Democracy Possible Here? identifies and defends core principles of personal and political morality that all citizens can share. This work shows that recognizing such shared principles can make substantial political argument possible and help replace contempt with mutual respect.
thuRSdAy related item: "Professor Ronald Dworkin", Thursday 1 February 2007.

Duncan Watts & Colin Pilkington
Britain in the European Union Today
Manchester University Press, 2005, 327.41 PIL
Duncan Watts, the author of three previous books on the European Union and Britain's relationship with it, has produced a new account of this 'uneasy partnership'. This edition is based on the original by Colin Pilkington and provides a review of how European Unity has been handled by British governments and politics. The content has been updated to include all new developments including the proposed new constitution and the euro-elections of 2004, as well as additional material considering issues such as the role of pressure groups.

P. M Strong & Anne Murcott (ed.)
Sociology and medicine: Selected Essays by P.M. Strong
Ashgate Publishing Co., 2006, 362.104 STR
Doctors and patients, inter-professional rivalries, how sociologists tackle the study of vital topics in health - all these are themes in medical sociology. Posthumously gathered together, this book contains 13 of Philip Strong's essays, which looks at these themes and allows the reader to trace the development in Strong's thought over his career.

RSA Fellows' donation.

Mark Lynas
Carbon Counter
Collins, 2007, 363.738 LYN
What effect are you having on the environment? If you buy Kenyan green beans what is the CO2 cost? What about your journey to work, your fridge or your clothes? Starting with your home gas and electricity supplies and usage, this work takes you through each part of your life and helps you add up the impact you are making on the environment.

400s – Language

500s – Natural Sciences &

600s – Technology (Applied Sciences)

Richard Lynch
Corporate Strategy
FT Prentice Hall, 2006, 658.401 LYN
Corporate Strategy provides a balanced and in-depth exploration of rational and creative approaches to strategy development from around the globe.

Debbie Weil
The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to get it Right
Portfolio, 2007, 659.202 WEI
A guide to corporate blogging and its potential benefits for today's organizations, The corporate blogging book cites the effectiveness and affordability of well-orchestrated blogs, addressing key questions in the areas of legal risks, time requirements, and the techniques of the corporate world's top-rated blog examples.

700s – The Arts

Paul Barker (ed.)
Arts in Society
Five leaves Publications, 2007, 700.941 BAR
Arts in Society comprises a set of lucid essays on photography and painting, films, design, TV and theatre, buildings and towns – discussion points about culture in the 60s and 70s. Contributors include: Angela Carter, John Berger and Michael Wood.
RSA Fellows’ donation.

800s – Literature

900s – Geography & History

David L. Phillips
Losing Iraq: Inside the Post-War Reconstruction Fiasco
BasicBooks, 2006, 956.704 PHI
According to David L. Phillips things didn't go wrong in postwar Iraq because the US lacked a plan. Things went wrong because the US was blinded by ideology and ignored planning that was already underway. Losing Iraq tells the story of the tragedy of Iraq, from the first discreet meetings to plan the political transition through the debacle the US finally created.


The 45th Civil Service Yearbook
The Stationery Office Books, 2007, REF 351.025
This is the official guide to the Civil Service. It lists all ministries and departments in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and tells you where they are, what they do and who is in charge.

Claudia Rios (ed.)
Charities Digest 2007: Selected Charities and Voluntary Organisations
Waterlow, 113th edition, 2006, REF 361.7
A comprehensive, up to date guide to registered charities in Britain.


Who Do You Think You Are?: Series Two (DVD)

Explore the world of genealogy and learn how to trace your family history. Who Do You Think You Are follows celebrities such as Jeremy Paxman, Sheila Hancock and Stephen Fry as they search into their past and find out interesting and surprising facts about their ancestors

Morgan Freeman [Narrator]
March of the Penguins: As Told by Morgan Freeman (DVD)
Warner Independent Pictures, 2005, DVD FRE
Narrated in soothing tones by actor Morgan Freeman, this heart-warming film focuses on a colony of hundreds of Emperors as they return, in a single-file march of 70 miles or more, to their frozen breeding ground, far inland from the oceans where they thrive.

Al Gore
An Inconvenient Truth: a Global Warning (DVD)
Paramount Classics, 2006, DVD GOR
An Inconvenient truth offers a passionate and inspirational look at the fervent crusade of former US presidential candidate Al Gore to halt global warming's deadly progress in its tracks by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it.

Martin Scorsese
No Direction Home: Bob Dylan
Paramount Home Entertainment, 2005, DVD SCO
In this historical PBS documentary, director Martin Scorsese crafts an unprecedented exploration of Bob Dylan’s creative process during his ground breaking five-year period between 1961 and 1966.

Stern launches climate change review at the RSA

Nicholas Stern
The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review
Cambridge University Press, 2007, 363.738 STE

In October 2006, Sir Nicholas Stern published the ground-breaking and much discussed 'Stern review' of the cost of climate change.

On 15 January 2007, Stern presented to a packed audience in the Great Room of the RSA in London, as he discussed the nature of the economic challenges we face and how they can be met, in the UK and globally. The event generated significant political and media interest and featured contributions from a high profile panel of experts including Stephanie Flanders who is BBC Newsnight’s Economics Editor, Charlie Kronick who is Senior Policy Adviser to Greenpeace and has also been involved in the RSA Arts & Ecology project's "No Way Back" Conference, as well as Dr Jon Gibbins of Imperial College.

This RSA book launch event marked the publication of the report in book form for the first time. The Economics of Climate Change argues that there is now clear scientific evidence that emissions from economic activity are causing changes to Earth's climate, tying in with the RSA's CarbonLimited Project which examines the potential for personal carbon trading in tackling climate change.
For more information about the RSA's work on personal carbon trading, visit:

Friday, February 09, 2007

Matthew Taylor - Pro-Social Behaviour

Matthew Taylor

Pro-Social Behaviour - the Future: it's up to us

In his first full lecture since joining the RSA as Chief Executive in November 2006, former Downing Street adviser Matthew Taylor has opened up a new avenue of action for the RSA programme department.

Entitled Pro-Social Behaviour - the Future: it's up to us, and featuring contributions from Minister for the Third Sector Ed Miliband and Professor Stephen Coleman of Leeds University, the lecture was presented to a full house in the RSA's Great Room on 7 February 2007.

Emphasising the power of socially accepted norms in shaping the way we behave as a society, and advocating a more citizen-centric approach to government and social change, the lecture gave a strong indication of the broad society changing issues that Matthew Taylor clearly wants the RSA to engage in under his leadership.

To listen to Matthew Taylor's lecture as an audio file or to read a pdf of his full essay, please visit the RSA website.

Read an interview with Matthew Taylor from The Daily Telegraph, and his personal views on Tony Blair handing over power from the Guardian Website.

Friday, February 02, 2007

New Book - Losing Iraq

David L. Phillips
Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco
Basic Books, 2005, 956.704 PHI

Like the fighting itself, the battle over the best way bring lasting peace to Iraq continues to rage. George W. Bush has created even more controversy recently by going against the recommendations of the
Iraq Study Group Report, and committing a further 20,000 troops as part of a new Iraq strategy.

Middle East expert David Phillips was part of the
State Department's Future of Iraq group which planned out the plan for the reconstruction of Iraq in great detail, and is therefore in anexcellentt position to explore how the disregard of this planning has lead to the failures of reconstruction up to now. Losing Iraq doesn't just criticize the policies of unilateralism, preemption, and possible deception that launched the war; it documents the process of returning sovereignty to an occupied Iraq.

The problems encountered in Iraq are troubling not only in themselves but also because they bode ill for other nation-building efforts in which the United States may become mired through this administration's doctrine of unilateral, preemptive war. Losing Iraq looks into the future of America's foreign policy with a clear-eyed critique of the problems that loom ahead.

Read a general
analysis of the current post Iraq war literature by Mark Leonard in Prospect Magazine.
Read a short
analysis of the effort to reconstruct Iraq by K M Pollack, Director of Research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.