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Deserts A Very Short Introduction

Author: Nick Middleton
Publisher: OUP Oxford
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Deserts make up a third of the planet's land surface, but if you picture a desert, what comes to mind? A wasteland? A drought? A place devoid of all life forms? Deserts are remarkable places. Typified by drought and extremes of temperature, they can be harsh and hostile; but many deserts are also spectacularly beautiful, and on occasion teem with life. Nick Middleton explores how each desert is unique: through fantastic life forms, extraordinary scenery, and ingenious human adaptations. He demonstrates a desert's immense natural beauty, its rich biodiversity, and uncovers a long history of successful human occupation. This Very Short Introduction tells you everything you ever wanted to know about these extraordinary places and captures their importance in the working of our planet. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


Rivers A Very Short Introduction

Author: Nick Middleton
Publisher: OUP Oxford
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Rivers have played an extraordinarily important role in creating the world in which we live. They create landscapes and provide water to people, plants and animals, nourishing both town and country. The flow of rivers has enthused poets and painters, explorers and pilgrims. Rivers have acted as cradles for civilization and agents of disaster; a river may be a barrier or a highway, it can bear trade and sediment, culture and conflict. A river may inspire or it may terrify. This Very Short Introduction is a celebration of rivers in all their diversity. Nick Middleton covers a wide and eclectic range of river-based themes, from physical geography to mythology, to industrial history and literary criticism. Worshipped and revered, respected and feared, rivers reflect both the natural and social history of our planet. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


Reptiles A Very Short Introduction

Author: T. S. Kemp
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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For millions of years reptiles have walked, crawled, and slithered over the face of our Earth. From the mighty dinosaurs who dominated the land, the pterosaurs who took to the air, and the marine adapted ichthyosaurs, to the living reptiles today such as the lizards, snakes, crocodiles, and turtles, plus the single species of tuatara in New Zealand, reptiles have come in all shapes and sizes. In this Very Short Introduction Tom Kemp discusses the adaptations reptiles made to first leave the sea and colonise the land in dry conditions, such as their waterproof skin, their ability to expel almost dry waste products, their efficient use of external heat for maintaining their body temperature, and the amniotic egg that is laid and develops on dry land. Considering the different living groups of reptiles today, Kemp then describes how their respective bodies are adapted for their different ways of life, from snake feeding patterns to the way crocodiles breathe. Finally, Kemp assesses the threat of extinction to reptile species due to over-exploitation, habitat destruction, and climate change, and considers what can be done. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


Glaciation a Very Short Introduction

Author: David J. A. Evans
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
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Vast, majestic, and often stunningly beautiful, glaciers lock up some 10% of the world's freshwater. These great bodies of ice play an important part in the Earth system, carving landscapes and influencing climate on regional and hemispheric scales, as well as having a significant impact on global sea level. Throughout time, the Earth has experienced various major glaciations in its deep history, long before the ice ages of the Quaternary, and the observed effects of climate change on glaciers have recently brought them to the forefront of public attention. This Very Short Introduction offers an overview of glaciers and ice sheets as systems, considering the role of geomorphology and sedimentology in studying them, and their impacts on our planet in terms of erosional and depositional processes. Looking at our glaciers today, and their ongoing processes, David Evans considers the extent to which we can use this knowledge in reconstructing and interpreting ancient glacial landscapes. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


Landscapes and Geomorphology A Very Short Introduction

Author: Andrew Goudie
Publisher: OUP Oxford
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What were the landscapes of the past like? What will landscapes look like in the future? Landscapes are all around us, but most of us know very little about how they have developed, what goes on in them, and how they react to changing climates, tectonics and human activities. Examining what landscape is, and how we use a range of ideas and techniques to study it, Andrew Goudie and Heather Viles demonstrate how geomorphologists have built on classic methods pioneered by some great 19th century scientists to examine our Earth. Using examples from around the world, including New Zealand, the Tibetan Plateau, and the deserts of the Middle East, they examine some of the key controls on landscape today such as tectonics and climate, as well as humans and the living world. They also discuss some key 'landscape detectives' from the past, including Charles Darwin who did some important, but often overlooked, research on landscape. Concluding with the cultural importance of landscape, and exploring how this has led to the conservation of much 'earth heritage', they delve into the future and look at how we can predict the response of landscapes to climate change in the future. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


Christianity A Very Short Introduction

Author: Linda Woodhead
Publisher: OUP Oxford
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At a time when Christianity is flourishing in the Southern hemisphere but declining in much of the West, this Very Short Introduction offers an important overview of the world's largest religion. Exploring the cultural and institutional dimensions of Christianity, and tracing its course over two millennia, Linda Woodhead provides a fresh, lively, and candid portrait of Christianity's past and present. Addressing topics including the competition for power between different forms of Christianity, the churches' use of power, and its struggles with modernity, this new edition includes up to date information on the growth and geographical spread of Eastern Christianity, reflecting the global nature of Christianity in our ever-shifting contemporary culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


The Silk Road A Very Short Introduction

Author: James A. Millward
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction is a new look at an ancient subject: the silk road that linked China, India, Persia and the Mediterranean across the expanses of Central Asia. James A. Millward highlights unusual but important biological, technological and cultural exchanges over the silk roads that stimulated development across Eurasia and underpin civilization in our modern, globalized world.


Archaeology A Very Short Introduction

Author: Paul Bahn
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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The explorations of archaeology encompass the whole globe, survey 2.5 million years, and range from deserts to jungles, from deep caves to mountain tops, and from pebble tools to GPS. Its efforts to reconstruct and understand the past do not fail to fascinate us. Paul Bahn explores the importance of archaeology in this entertaining introduction.


Terrorism

Author: Charles Townshend
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Is one person's terrorist another's freedom fighter? Is terrorism crime or war? Can there be a "War on Terror"? For many, the terrorist attacks of September 2001 changed the face of the world, pushing terrorism to the top of political agendas, and leading to a series of world events including the war in Iraq and the invasion of Afghanistan. The recent terror attacks in various European cities have shown that terrorism remains a crucial issue today. Charting a clear path through the efforts to understand and explain modern terrorism, Charles Townshend examines the historical, ideological, and local roots of terrorist violence. Starting from the question of why terrorists find it so easy to seize public attention, this new edition analyzes the emergence of terrorism as a political strategy, and discusses the objectives which have been pursued by users of this strategy from French revolutionaries to Islamic jihadists. Considering the kinds of groups and individuals who adopt terrorism, Townshend discusses the emergence of ISIS and the upsurge in individual suicide action, and explores the issues involved in finding a proportionate response to the threat they present, particularly by liberal democratic societies. Analyzing the growing use of knives and other edged weapons in attacks, and the issue of "cyberterror," Townshend details the use of counterterrorist measures, from control orders to drone strikes, including the Belgian and French responses to the Brussels, Paris, Nice, and Rouen attacks. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


Alexander the Great

Author: Hugh Bowden
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
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In 336 BC Alexander the Great became king of Macedon. During his twelve-year reign he conquered the Achaemenid Persian Empire, the largest to have yet existed, and in the process had a profound effect on the world he moved through. In this examination of his life and career, Hugh Bowden explores his cultural and historical legacy.