What are you reading?

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

August 4, 2011

Roger Brown is professor of higher education policy and co-director of the Centre for Research and Development in Higher Education, Liverpool Hope University. "I'm currently reading Gary W. Gallagher's The Union War (Harvard University Press, 2011). He argues, convincingly, that what Federal soldiers, especially, were fighting (and dying) for in the Civil War was to preserve the Union on the basis that it was a republic of free men rather than oligarchic slave-owners; emancipation, although important, was secondary as well as a means to that end."

Biancamaria Fontana, professor of the history of political ideas, University of Lausanne, Switzerland, is reading Adrienne Mayor's The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates (Princeton University Press, 2009). "This beautifully illustrated biography presents a fascinating portrait of Mithradates IV Eupator, King of Ponthus. A formidable enemy of the Roman republic, he appears in Western historiography, literature and art as the archetype of the corrupt Oriental despot. Yet in the Eastern tradition he is remembered as the defender and liberator of Asia threatened by Roman domination."

E. Stina Lyon, professor emeritus of sociology, London South Bank University, is reading Ann Oakley's A Critical Woman: Barbara Wootton, Social Science and Public Policy in the Twentieth Century (Bloomsbury Academic, 2011). "This immensely readable biography combines the personal story of an outstanding public person with the intellectual story of social research in the past century. It rescues from oblivion a woman social scientist who, like so many of her generation, unstintingly devoted her life to improving social knowledge, only to be forgotten by new waves of political and intellectual fashions. Unputdownable!"

Martin McQuillan, dean of arts and social sciences at Kingston University, is reading David Willetts' The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children's Future - And Why They Should Give It Back (Atlantic Books, 2010). "Written while Willetts was shadow spokesman for education, work and pensions, this book has surprisingly little, indeed almost nothing, to say about universities. It's almost as if he was not thinking about universities at all during his long years in opposition. It prefers anecdote to evidence and economic game theory to reading the literature on inequality. Third-class, must do better."

Ann Pulsford is executive editor of Marine Biodiversity, the journal of the Marine Biological Association. She is reading Myfanwy Cook's Historical Fiction Writing: A Practical Guide and Tool-kit (ActiveSprite, 2011). "An excellent guide for aspiring writers of historical novels. It is full of practical activities and techniques to facilitate authentic, satisfying historical fiction writing. There are tips from leading academics and professionals, including Bernard Cornwell, Harry Sidebottom and Bernard Knight, as well as non-fiction writers such as Elizabeth Maslen."

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy