Published this week

October 9, 2008

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE

- A Mechanistic Approach to Plankton Ecology

By Thomas Kirboe, research professor, Danish Institute for Fisheries Research. Princeton University Press, £23.95. ISBN 9780691134222

A mechanistic approach to the study of ocean ecology that explores biological interactions in plankton at the individual level, focusing on encounter mechanisms.

ECONOMICS

- The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It

By Paul Collier, professor of economics, University of Oxford. Oxford University Press, £8.99. ISBN 9780195374636

The crisis facing about 50 failing states, the bottom billion, whose problems defy traditional approaches to alleviating poverty. Collier posits the causes of failure, pointing to a set of traps that snare these countries, and proposes the way forward.

GENERAL SCIENCE

- The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation

By Stephen Shapin, Franklin L. Ford professor of the history of science, Harvard University. University of Chicago Press, £15.00. ISBN 9780226750248

How radically novel aspects of late modern science have unexpectedly deep historical roots, encouraging readers to reconsider the very nature of the technical and moral worlds in which we now live.

HISTORY

- Reassessing Suez 1956: New Perspectives on the Crisis and its Aftermath

Edited by Simon C. Smith, senior lecturer in international history, University of Hull. Ashgate, £60.00. ISBN 9780754661702

Much has been written on the nationalisation of the Suez Canal and the subsequent military action, but this study provides fresh perspectives via the latest research from international authorities.

LITERATURE

- Queer (Re)Readings in the French Renaissance: Homosexuality, Gender, Culture

By Gary Ferguson, professor of French, University of Delaware. Ashgate, £55.00. ISBN 9780754663775

Reading works of Renaissance literature against their classical sources, this book examines representations of homosexuality in 16th-century France.

MATHEMATICS

- Plato's Ghost: The Modernist Transformation of Mathematics

By Jeremy Gray, professor of the history of mathematics, The Open University. Princeton University Press, £26.95. ISBN 9780691136103

The growth of mathematical modernism from its roots in problem-solving and theory to its interactions with physics, philosophy, theology, psychology and ideas about real and artificial languages.

MEDICINE

- Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure

By Paul A. Offit, professor of paediatrics, University of Pennsylvania. Columbia University Press, £14.95. ISBN 9780231146364

A challenge to the modern-day false prophets who have so egregiously misled the public.

POLITICS

- Uncivil Disobedience: Studies in Violence and Democratic Politics

By Jennet Kirkpatrick, lecturer in political science, University of Michigan. Princeton University Press, £13.50. ISBN 9780691138770

Exposure of the threats to democracy that occur when citizens seek to control government, this book demonstrates the importance of laws and institutions.

SOCIAL SCIENCES

- Nightshift NYC

By Russell Leigh Sharman, associate professor of anthropology, Brooklyn College. University of California Press, £14.95. ISBN 97805202514

Cultural critique, vivid reportage, and arresting photographs are woven together to trace the inverted logic of the city at night.

Economics

Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of Nations

By Raymond Fisman, Lambert Family professor of social enterprise, Columbia University and Edward Miguel, associate professor of economics, University of California, Berkeley

Princeton University Press, £14.95

ISBN 9780691134543

Fisman and Miguel use economics to get inside the heads of “economic gangsters”, and propose solutions that can make a difference to the world’s poor, including cash infusions to defuse violence in times of drought, and steering the World Bank away from aid programmes most susceptible to corruption.

History

The Art, Science, and Technology of Medieval Travel

Edited by Robert Bork, associate professor in the department of art and art history, University of Iowa

Ashgate, £55.00

ISBN 9780754663072

This volume considers medieval travel from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, placing the physical practice of transportation in the larger context of medieval thought about the world and its meaning.

Archaeology and History in Roman, Medieval and Post-Medieval Greece: Studies on Method and Meaning in Honor of Timothy E. Gregory

Edited by William R. Caraher, assistant professor of history, University of North Dakota, Linda Jones Hall, assistant professor of history, St Mary’s College of Maryland, and R. Scott Moore, associate professor of history, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Ashgate, £60.00

ISBN 9780754664420

Bringing together studies of archaeological method and analysis with detailed work of historical interpretation, this volume shows how the study of the material culture of post-classical Greece has made significant contributions to both the larger archaeological and historical discourse.

The Oxford Companion to Family and Local History

Edited by David Hey, emeritus professor of family and local history, University of Sheffield

Oxford University Press, £25.00

ISBN 9780199532988

This comprehensive guide contains more than 2,000 entries associated with family and local research in the British Isles and also provides a new beginner’s guide to researching your family tree.

The Oxford Companion to Black British History

Edited by David Dabydeen, professor of Caribbean studies, John Gilmore, senior lecturer in Caribbean studies and Cecily Jones, senior lecturer in Caribbean studies, all at the University of Warwick

Oxford University Press, £16.99

ISBN 9780199238941

This comprehensive guide to Black British history includes entries for landmark figures, key events, concepts and historical accounts, and wide-ranging coverage from medicine and warfare to art, music, sport and education.

The Sorcerer’s Tale: Faith and Fraud in Tudor England

By Alec Ryrie, reader in church history, Durham University

Oxford University Press, £12.99

ISBN 9780199229963

A lively history set in 16th-century England, detailing the hitherto unknown case of an extraordinary physician, magician and con man named Gregory Wisdom – and the London underworld to which he belonged.

Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity

By Gary Cross, distinguished professor of modern history, Pennsylvania State University

Columbia University Press, £17.50

ISBN 9780231144308

Cultural historian Gary Cross identifies the boy-man and his habits, examining the attitudes and practices of three generations to make sense of this gradual but profound shift in American masculinity.

Shanghai Splendor: Economic Sentiments and the Making of Modern China, 1843-1949

By Wen-hsin Yeh, professor of history, University of California, Berkeley

University of California Press, £14.95

ISBN 9780520258174

This multifaceted social and cultural history of China’s leading metropolis in the twentieth century offers a kaleidoscopic view of Shanghai as the major site of Chinese modernisation.

Mathematics

Mathematics in Ancient Iraq: A Social History

By Eleanor Robson, senior lecturer in the department of history and philosophy of science, University of Cambridge and a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford

Princeton University Press, £29.95

ISBN 9780691091822

This book traces the origins and development of mathematics in the ancient Middle East, from its earliest beginnings in the fourth millennium BCE to the end of indigenous intellectual culture in the second century BCE when cuneiform writing was gradually abandoned.

The Princeton Companion to Mathematics

Edited by Timothy Gowers, Rouse Ball professor of mathematics, University of Cambridge

Princeton University Press, £60.00

ISBN 9780691118802

The world’s leading mathematicians survey the most active and exciting branches of pure mathematics, providing the context and broad perspective that are vital at a time of increasing specialisation in the field.

Literature

From Byzantium to Modern Greece: Medieval Texts and their Modern Reception

By Roderick Beaton, Koraes professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine history, literature and language, King’s College London

Ashgate, £65.00

ISBN 9780754659693

The papers collected in this book explore the relation between literary texts and collective consciousness, scrutinising the evidence of the texts themselves in their late- or post-Byzantine context, and assessing how their reception both influenced and was influenced by the processes of nation-building in Modern Greece.

Kissing Cousins: A New Kinship Bestiary

By Frances Bartkowski, associate professor of English, Rutgers University

Columbia University Press, £16.50

ISBN 9780231144520

Focusing on narratives of kinship as they are defined in contemporary film, literature and news media, Frances Bartkowski discusses the impact of “stories of origin” on our regard for nonhuman species.

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