Friday, October 31, 2008

RSA Library Update - October 2008

What follows is a complete list of RSA library acquisitions for the month of October 2008. Fellows are welcome to e-mail the Library if they wish to borrow any of these items.

000s – Generalities

100s – Philosophy & Psychology

200s – Religion

John Cornwell
Darwin’s Angel: An Angelic Riposte to The God Delusion
Profile, 2008, 211.8 COR
Richard Dawkins' apologia for atheism has attracted huge attention, and sales, all over the world. In a telling critique cast in the classical form of a letter to Dawkins John Cornwell takes issue with it. John Cornwell's Darwin's Angel is not so much a combative repudiation of Dawkins' arguments as a playful conversation with them, posing alternative viewpoints, exposing lapses in logic and errors of fact, from the vantage point of a friendly Guardian Angel.

Geoffrey Moorhouse
The Last Office: 1539 and the Dissolution of a Monastery
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2008, 271.0094 MOO
What happened to the monks, their orders and the communities they served after Henry VIII's break with Rome in 1536? In The Last Office, Geoffrey Moorhouse reveals how the Dissolution of the Monasteries affected the great Benedictine priory at Durham, drawing for his sources on material that has lain forgotten in the recesses of one of our great cathedrals.

300s – Social Sciences

Michael Hanlon
Eternity: Humanity’s Next Billion Years
Macmillan Science, 2008, 304.20112 HAN
Humankind is not doomed - we may be around for millions of years yet, having already survived one of the most extraordinary planet-wide catastrophes - the Ice Ages. Michael Hanlon argues that the species will survive as the planet changes around us. Not only is humankind not doomed, but that we may be around for millions, if not hundreds of millions of years. We have already survived one of the most extraordinary planet-wide catastrophes - the great Ice Ages. Equipped with the simplest technology, Homo sapiens sailed through the great glaciations, and profited from them.

Ziauddin Sardar
Balti Britain: Journeys through the British Asian Experience
Granta, 2008, 305.8914041 SAR
Ziauddin Sardar travels to the main Asian communities in the UK, to Leicester and Birmingham, Glasgow and Bradford, Tower Hamlets and Oldham, to tell the history of Asians in Britain - from the arrival of the first Indian in Britain in 1614, through the entagled days of colonialism, to the young extremists in Walthamstow mosque in 2006. He interweaves throughout an illuminating account of his own life, describing his carefree childhood in Pakistan, his family's emigration to racist 1950s Britain, and his adulthood straddling two cultures. Along the way he questions: are arranged marriages a good thing? Does the term 'Asian' obscure more than it conveys? Do Vindaloo and Balti actually exist? How far does 'the disease that is in us is of us and within us' describe Islamic terrorism? And is multiculturalism an impossible dream? Funny, surprising, touching and controversial, Balti Britain is a fascinating blend of history, reportage and memoir, which will make all Britons, Asian or otherwise, see their country through fresh eyes.

Michael Bywater
Big Babies, or, Why Can’t we just Grow Up?
Granta, 2006, 306 BYW
Michael Bywater turns his penetrating eye on the state of Western culture, from politics and the media to show business and science, and concludes we are all Big Babies now. He argues that the Baby-Boom generation is now running the show, and its own commitment to perpetual infantility is reflected in its unstoppable drive to infantilize the rest of us. Ranging from the White House to Buckingham Palace, from MTV to the BBC, from mission statements to Viagra spam, Bywater examines advertising, music, politics, the health industry, education, religion, fashion, sport and publishing, and makes a fierce and often hilarious case that, in almost every area of our lives, we are inexorably becoming...Big Babies.

Francis Gilbert
Yob Nation: The Truth about Britain’s Yob Culture
Piatkus, 2007, 306.10941 GIL
Francis Gilbert's new book shows how the relentless march of yobbery has infected every aspect of our lives; violent crime has quadrupled since 1979, and foul language and abusive behaviour has permeated the whole of society. It's not just football hooligans (and footballers) who've gloried in yobbish behaviour; politicians like Alistair Campbell and John Prescott have played their part. With the old moral codes no longer existing, society has become engulfed with fear and distrust. Francis Gilbert draws on his own experiences (working in a tough inner-city comprehensive), and of people all round Britain, to vividly illustrate his thesis. This item was donated to the Library by its author, a Fellow of the RSA.

Niall Ferguson
The Ascent of Money: A Financial history of the World
Allen Lane, 2008, 330.9 FER
Bread, cash, dosh, dough, loot: Call it what you like, it matters. To Christians, love of it is the root of all evil. To generals, it's the sinews of war. To revolutionaries, it's the chains of labour. But in The Ascent of Money, Niall Ferguson shows that finance is the foundation of human progress. What's more, he reveals financial history as the essential back-story behind all history. The evolution of credit and debt was as important as any technological innovation in the rise of civilization, with banks provided the material basis for the splendours of the Italian Renaissance, while the bond market was the decisive factor in conflicts from the Seven Years' War to the American Civil War. The most important lesson of the financial history is that sooner or later every bubble bursts - sooner or later the bearish sellers outnumber the bullish buyers - sooner or later greed flips into fear. And that's why, whether you're scraping by or rolling in it, there's never been a better time to understand the ascent of money.

Hsiao-Hung Pai
Chinese Whispers: The True Story behind Britain’s Hidden Army of Labour
Penguin, 2008, 331.6251041 PAI
There are hundreds of thousands of undocumented Chinese immigrants in Britain. They've travelled here because of desperate poverty, and must keep their heads down and work themselves to the bone. Hsiao-Hung Pai, the only journalist who knows this community, went undercover to hear the stories of this hidden work force. She reveals a scary, shadowy world where human beings are exploited in ways unimaginable in our civilized twenty-first century. Chinese Whispers exposes the truth behind the lives of a hidden work force here in Britain. You owe it to yourself, and them, to read it.

Selwyn Parker
The Great Crash: How the Stock Market Crash of 1929 Plunged the World into Depression
Piatkus, 2008, 338.54209042 PAR
This is the story of the financial cataclysm that started with the Wall Street stock market crash of 1929, and set in motion a series of economic, political and social events that affected many millions of people in America, Britain, Europe and Australia. The Crash rolled across the world like a tidal wave, toppling governments, spreading the wave of dictatorships in Italy and Germany, infecting entire industries and plunging millions into unemployment and poverty. By the time it began to lift in 1935, the lives of people in scores of countries had changed forever. Selwyn Parker's book also poses the question: could it happen again?

Amar Bhide
The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a more Connected World
Princeton University Press, 2008, 338.926 BHI
Many warn that the next stage of globalization, the offshoring of research and development to China and India, threatens the foundations of Western prosperity. But in The Venturesome Economy, acclaimed business and economics scholar Amar Bhide shows how wrong the doomsayers are. Using extensive field studies on venture-capital-backed businesses to examine how technology really advances in modern economies, Bhide explains why know-how developed abroad enhances, not diminishes, prosperity at home, and why trying to maintain the U.S. lead by subsidizing more research or training more scientists will do more harm than good.

Gilles Kepel
Beyond Terror and Martyrdom: The Future of the Middle East
Belknap, 2008, 363.3250956 KEP
President Bush's War on Terror masks a complex political agenda in the Middle East - enforcing democracy, accessing Iraqi oil, securing Israel, and seeking regime change in Iran. Osama bin Laden's call for martyrs to rise up against the apostate and hasten the dawn of a universal Islamic state papers over a fractured, fragmented Islamic world that is waging war against itself. Beyond Terror and Martyrdom sounds the alarm to the West and to Islam that both of these exhausted narratives are bankrupt - neither productive of democratic change in the Middle East nor of unity in Islam. Gilles Kepel urges us to escape the ideological quagmire of terrorism and martyrdom and explore the terms of a new and constructive dialogue between Islam and the West, one for which Europe, with its expanding and restless Muslim populations, may be the proving ground.

The Howard League for Penal Reform
Community Programmes Handbook
The Howard league for Penal Reform, 2008, 370 HLPR
The Howard League for Penal Reform has compiled Community Programmes Handbook which identifies positive, creative and effective community programmes from around the UK. This handbook has detailed information about more than 20 different schemes: some working with children, others with high-risk offenders; some use restorative justice techniques while others help develop skills or find employment to help reduce the risk of re-offending. This is an essential read for practitioners and students as well as those commissioning and designing services.

Francis Gilbert
Parent Power: The Complete Guide to Getting the Best Education for you Child
Portrait, 2008, 370.941 GIL
Francis Gilbert explains that many schools are actually selective when they pretend not to be, and shows you how to get your child into the best school. He also highlights the bullying and backstabbing that can blight the lives of pupils and their parents, and shows how you can help your children to deal with it. This item was donated to the Library by its author, a Fellow of the RSA.

400s – Language

500s – Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Richard Holmes
The Age of Wonder
HarperPress, 2008, 509.4109033 HOL
Richard Holmes's exuberant group biography celebrates the scientific revolution that preceded and outsoared the political one, changing life, the universe and everything in the last decades of the 18th century, proposing a radical vision of science before Darwin, exploring the earliest ideas of deep time and deep space, the creative rivalry with the French scientific establishment, and the startling impact of discovery on great writers and poets such as Mary Shelley, Coleridge, Byron and Keats.

Rupert Wright
Take Me to the Source: In Search of Water
Harvill Secker, 2008, 553.7 WRI
We cannot live without it, yet it kills six thousand children a day. It is the ultimate renewable resource, but we pollute it on a heroic scale. In this enthralling voyage of discovery, Rupert Wright sets out to discover exactly what water is and why it plays such an important role in history, culture, art and literature. Why, if water is so valuable does nobody want to pay for it unless it comes in a designer bottle? Is it really the oil of the twenty-first century? Will we all soon be fighting over it, or can it lead countries into co-operation rather than conflict? Part cultural history, part reportage and part personal journey, Take Me to the Source is the fascinating story of the substance that makes life on earth possible.

600s – Technology (Applied Sciences)

Scott E. Page
The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies
Princeton University Press, 2007, 658.3008 PAG
In this landmark book, Scott Page redefines the way we understand ourselves in relation to one another. The Difference is about how we think in groups - and how our collective wisdom exceeds the sum of its parts. Why can teams of people find better solutions than brilliant individuals working alone? And why are the best group decisions and predictions those that draw upon the very qualities that make each of us unique? The answers lie in diversity - not what we look like outside, but what we look like within, our distinct tools and abilities. Page changes the way we understand diversity - how to harness its untapped potential, how to understand and avoid its traps, and how we can leverage our differences for the benefit of all.

Tom Himpe
Advertising is Dead - Long Live Advertising!
Thames & Hudson, 2006, 659.1 HIM
As more and more conventional advertising channels become blocked, brands are beginning to renounce routine practice and take alternative and more exclusive routes. Here is a book that provides a comprehensive overview of these revolutionary new techniques, media and ideas. As the only fully illustrated survey of the global shift affecting all kinds of business, this book will be vital reading for every advertising, marketing, design and communication professional and student.

700s – The Arts

Edward W. Said
Music at the Limits
Bloomsbury, 2008, 780.9 SAI
Addressing the work of a wide variety of composers, musicians, and performers, from Mozart to Alfred Brendel, Edward Said analyses music's social, political, and cultural contexts and, as a classically trained pianist, provides rich and often surprising assessments of classical music and opera. This book offers both a fresh perspective on well-known pieces and a celebration of neglected works. Said wrote his incisive critiques as both an insider and an authority. Always eloquent and often surprising, Music at the Limits preserves an important dimension of Said's brilliant intellectual work and cements his reputation as one of the most influential and groundbreaking writers of the twentieth century.

Michael Holroyd
A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and their Remarkable Families
Chatto & Windus, 2008, 792.028092241 HOL
At the Lyceum Theatre in London, Ellen Terry and Henry Irving created a grand Cathedral of the Arts. Their intimately-involved lives exceeded in plot the Shakespearean dramas they performed on stage - and indeed were curiously affected by them. They also influenced the life and work of their remarkable children, Ellen's children in particular. Edy Craig, who founded a feminist theatre group, The Pioneer Players, established a lesbian community whose complex love-affairs make those of the Bloomsbury Group appear quite conventional. Her brother, Edward Gordon Craig, the revolutionary stage designer who collaborated with Stanislavski on a spectacular production of Hamlet in Moscow, is revealed by this book to be the forgotten man of modernism. He had 13 children by 8 women (including the famous American dancer Isadora Duncan) - perhaps the most extraordinary man Michael Holroyd has ever written about.

Katie Salen (ed.)
The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games and Learning
MIT, 2008, 794.8 SAL
This book offers an exploration of games as systems in which young people participate as gamers, producers, and learners. In the many studies of games and young people's use of them, little has been written about an overall ecology of gaming, game design and play - mapping the ways that all the various elements, from coding to social practices to aesthetics, coexist in the game world. This volume looks at games as systems in which young users participate, as gamers, producers, and learners, and aims to expand upon and add nuance to the debate over the value of games - which so far has been vociferous but overly polemical and surprisingly shallow. Game play is credited with fostering new forms of social organization and new ways of thinking and interacting; the contributors work to situate this within a dynamic media ecology that has the participatory nature of gaming at its core. They look at the ways in which youth are empowered through their participation in the creation, uptake, and revision of games; emergent gaming literacies, including modding, world-building, and learning how to navigate a complex system; and how games act as points of departure for other forms of knowledge, literacy, and social organization.

800s – Literature

Umberto Eco
Turning Back the Clock
Vintage, 2008, 854.914 ECO
After the Cold War, the 'Hot War' has made its comeback in Afghanistan and Iraq. Exhuming Kipling's Great Game, we have gone back to the clash between Islam and Christianity. The ghost of the Yellow Peril has been resurrected, the nineteenth-century anti-Darwin debate has been reopened, right-wing governments predominate. It almost seems like history, tired of the big steps forward it has taken in the past two millennia, has gone into reverse. With his customary sharpness and wit, Eco proposes, not so much that we resume a forward march, but at the very least that we cease marching backwards.

900s – Geography & History

Daniel Dorling, Mark Newman and Anna Barford
The Atlas of the Real World: Mapping the Way we Live
Thames & Hudson, 2008, 912 DOR
This is one of the most significant works of reference ever published. Here is our planet as you've never seen it before: 366 digitally modified maps known as cartograms depict the areas and countries of the world not by their physical size, but by their demographic importance on a vast range of topics, ranging from basic data on population, health, wealth and occupation to how many toys we import and who's eating their vegetables. Created by the team behind, this compelling reference is an invaluable resource for anyone involved in understanding the new world order: how trends and statistics determine our planets future and success.

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