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Altan Tobči
A Brief History of the Mongols
Harvard University Press

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Bartolomé de las Casas and the Defense of Amerindian Rights
A Brief History with Documents
Edited by Lawrence A. Clayton and David M. Lantigua
University of Alabama Press, 2020
An accessible reader of both popular and largely unavailable writings of Bartolomé de las Casas
With the exception of Christopher Columbus, Bartolomé de las Casas is arguably the most notable figure of the Encounter Age. He is remembered principally as the creator of the Black Legend, as well as the protector of American Indians. He was one of the pioneers of the human rights movement, and a Christian activist who invoked law and Biblical scripture to challenge European colonialism in the great age of the Encounter. He was also one of the first and most thorough chroniclers of the conquest, and a biographer who saved the diary of Columbus’s first voyage for posterity by transcribing it in his History of the Indies before the diary was lost.
Bartolomé de las Casas and the Defense of Amerindian Rights: A Brief History with Documents provides the most wide-ranging and concise anthology of Las Casas’s writings, in translation, ever made available. It contains not only excerpts from his most well-known texts, but also his largely unavailable writings on political philosophy and law, and addresses the underappreciated aspects of his thought. Fifteen of the twenty-six documents are entirely new translations of Las Casas’s writings, a number of them appearing in English for the first time.
This volume focuses on his historical, political, and legal writings that address the deeply conflicted and violent sixteenth-century encounter between Europeans and indigenous peoples of the Americas. It also presents Las Casas as a more comprehensive and systematic philosophical and legal thinker than he is typically given credit for. The introduction by Lawrence A. Clayton and David M. Lantigua places these writings into a synthetic whole, tracing his advocacy for indigenous peoples throughout his career. By considering Las Casas’s ideas, actions, and even regrets in tandem, readers will understand the historical dynamics of Spanish imperialism more acutely within the social-political context of the times.

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Best Little Town
A Brief History of Tuckerman, Arkansas
Wayne Boyce
Mockingbird Press, 2015
In this well-researched developmental history of his hometown in Arkansas, author Wayne Boyce successfully documents the early beginnings of Tuckerman and accurately depicts how middle America was established.

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A Brief History
Nigel Hamilton
Harvard University Press, 2010

For thousands of years we have recorded real lives--the lives of others, and of ourselves. For what purpose and for whom has this universal and timeless pursuit endured? What obstacles have lain in the path of biographers in the past, and what continues to confound biographers today? Above all, how is it that biographies and autobiographies play such a contested, popular role in contemporary Western culture, from biopics to blogs, from memoir to docudrama?

Award-winning biographer and teacher Nigel Hamilton addresses these questions in an incisive and vivid narrative that will appeal to students of human nature and self-representation across the arts and sciences. Tracing the remarkable and often ignored historical evolution of biography from the ancient world to the present, this brief and fascinating tour of the genre conveys the passionate quest to capture the lives of individuals and the many difficulties it has entailed through the centuries. From the Epic of Gilgamesh to American Splendor, from cuneiform to the Internet, from commemoration to deconstruction, from fiction to fact--by way of famous biographical artists such as Plutarch, Saint Augustine, Sir Walter Raleigh, Samuel Johnson, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Lord Byron, Sigmund Freud, Lytton Strachey, Abel Gance, Virginia Woolf, Leni Riefenstahl, Orson Welles, Julian Barnes, Ted Hughes, Frank McCourt, and many others--Nigel Hamilton's Biography: A Brief History will change the way you think about biography and real lives.


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A Brief History of American Sports
Elliott J. Gorn and Warren Goldstein
University of Illinois Press, 2013
Elliott J. Gorn and Warren Goldstein show us where our games and pastimes came from, how they developed, and what they have meant to Americans. The great heroes of baseball and football are here, as well as the dramatic moments of boxing and basketball. Beyond this, the authors show us how sports fit into the larger contours of our past.
For this new edition, the authors have updated the book to include discussion of performance-enhancing drugs; player salaries, unions, and the business of internationalizing sport; Title IX and gender in American sports; race, especially the entry of Latino and Asian athletes; and the corporatization of amateur athletics. A Brief History of American Sports reveals that from colonial times to the present, sports have been central to American culture, and a profound expression of who we are.


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A Brief History of Death
W. M. Spellman
Reaktion Books, 2014
As humans, death—its certainty, its inevitability—consumes us. We make it the subject of our literature, our art, our philosophy, and our religion. Our feelings and attitudes toward our mortality and its possible afterlives have evolved greatly from the early days of mankind. Collecting these views in this topical and instructive book, W. M. Spellman considers death and dying from every angle in the Western tradition, exploring how humans understand and come to terms with the end of life.
Using the work of archaeologists and paleoanthropologists, Spellman examines how interpreting physical remains gives us insight into prehistoric perspectives on death. He traces how humans have died over the centuries, both in the causes of death and in the views of actions that lead to death. He spotlights the great philosophical and scientific traditions of the West, which did not believe in an afterlife or see the purpose of bereavement, while also casting new light on the major religious beliefs that emerged in the ancient world, particularly the centuries-long development of Christianity. He delves into three approaches to the meaning of death—the negation of life, continuity in another form, and agnosticism—from both religious and secular-scientific perspectives.
Providing a deeper context for contemporary debates over end-of-life issues and the tension between longevity and quality of life, A Brief History of Death is an illuminating look at the complex ways humans face death and the dying.

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A Brief History of Islam in Europe
Thirteen Centuries of Creed, Conflict and Coexistence
Maurits S. Berger
Leiden University Press, 2014
The relationship between Europe and Islam has been complicated, if not troubled, throughout the thirteen centuries since Muslims first began playing a part in European history. This volume offers a compact, yet comprehensive look at the entire history of the interaction of Islam and Eureopean culture, religion, and politics.

Maurits S. Berger focuses in particular on the transformations that the figure of the Muslim and the image of Islam have undergone in the European mind. Conqueror, Antichrist, scholar, benign ruler, corsair, tradesman, fellow citizen—the Muslim has been all of those and more, and even today, as Muslims make up a substantial portion of Europe’s citizenry, they remain all too often a source of undeserved anxiety for ordinary people and politicians alike. Through Berger’s clear prose and incisive analysis, the story of Islam and Europe is seen as one of interaction and mutual influence rather than perpetual antagonism.

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A Brief History of Nakedness
Philip Carr-Gomm
Reaktion Books, 2010

As one common story goes, Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, had no idea that there was any shame in their lack of clothes; they were perfectly confident in their birthday suits among the animals of the Garden of Eden. All was well until that day when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and went scrambling for fig leaves to cover their bodies. Since then, lucrative businesses have arisen to provide many stylish ways to cover our nakedness, for the naked human body now evokes powerful and often contradictory ideas—it thrills and revolts us, signifies innocence and sexual experience, and often marks the difference between nature and society. In A Brief History of Nakedness psychologist Philip Carr-Gomm traces our inescapable preoccupation with nudity.

            Rather than studying the history of the nude in art or detailing the ways in which the naked body has been denigrated in the media, A Brief History of Nakedness reveals the ways in which religious teachers, politicians, protesters, and cultural icons have used nudity to enlighten or empower themselves as well as entertain us. Among his many examples, Carr-Gomm discusses how advertisers and the media employ images of bare skin—or even simply the word “naked”—to garner our attention, how mystics have used nudity to get closer to God, and how political protesters have discovered that baring all is one of the most effective ways to gain publicity for their cause. Carr-Gomm investigates how this use of something as natural as nakedness actually gets under our skin and evokes complicated and complex emotional responses.

            From the naked sages of India to modern-day witches and Christian nudists, from Lady Godiva to Lady Gaga, A Brief History of Nakedness surveys the touching, sometimes tragic and often bizarre story of our relationships with our naked bodies. 


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A Brief History of the Bodleian Library
Mary Clapinson
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2020

How did a library founded over four hundred years ago grow to become the world-renowned institution it is today, home to over thirteen million items? From its foundation by Sir Thomas Bodley in 1598 to the opening of the Weston Library in 2015, this illustrated account shows how the Library’s history has been involved with the British monarchy and political events throughout the centuries. The history of the Library is also a history of collectors and collections, and this book traces the story of major donations and purchases, making use of the Library’s own substantial archives to show how it came to house key items such as early confirmations of the Magna Carta, Shakespeare’s First Folio, and the manuscript of Jane Austen’s earliest writings, among many others.  

This revised edition brings the history of the Bodleian Library up to the present moment. Beautifully illustrated with prints, portraits, manuscripts, and archival material, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of libraries and collections.


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A Brief History of the Bodleian Library
Mary Clapinson
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2015
The University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library has become one of the most celebrated libraries in the world, boasting a collection of nearly twelve million books and manuscripts and a fascinating history that spans more than four hundred years.
A Brief History of the Bodleian Library takes readers through the Library’s history, from its founding in 1602 by Sir Thomas Bodley to the present day. Along the way, the book traces the development of the Library’s incomparable collection, complete with details that reveal the eccentricities of those who have helped shape it, including Bodley himself, who conceived of the Library as a “republic of the learned,” and King George VI, who inadvertently delayed the opening of the New Bodleian in 1946 when he broke the key in the lock. Covering the major moments in the Library’s history and with a great many fun facts—How did the Library come to own not one of Shakespeare’s First Folios but two?—the book also apprises readers of its present concerns, including the building of individual subject libraries across Oxford, the use of underground passages, and the perennial search for more space.

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A Brief History of the Harvard University Cyclotrons
Richard Wilson
Harvard University Press, 2004
In 1937, Harvard University built its first cyclotron, which was subsequently requisitioned by the U.S. Army and taken to Los Alamos in 1943. The second cyclotron, one of the world's longest-running accelerators, was finished in 1949 and operated until 2002. In its first 20 years, the cyclotron's primary use was for nuclear physics, particularly for understanding the interaction between two nucleons. During the next 30 years, the emphasis switched to treating patients with proton radiotherapy. A total of 9,115 patients were treated by this method and the treatment has been copied all over the world. This book describes the work of the Harvard cyclotron during its 50 years of operation and includes references to about 500 publications and 40 student theses from the work.

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A Brief History of the Spanish Language
David A. Pharies
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Spanish is the fourth most widely spoken language in the world and a language of ever-increasing importance in the United States. In what will likely become the introduction to the history of the Spanish language, David Pharies clearly and concisely charts the evolution of Spanish from its Indo-European roots to its present form. An internationally recognized expert on the history and development of this language, Pharies brings to his subject a precise sense of what students of Spanish linguistics need to know.

After introductory chapters on what it means to study the history of a language, the concept of linguistic change, and the nature of language families, Pharies traces the development of Spanish from its Latin roots, all with the minimum amount of technical language possible.  In the core sections of the book, readers are treated to an engaging and remarkably succinct presentation of the genealogy and development of the language, including accounts of the structures and peculiarities of Latin, the historical and cultural events that deeply influenced the shaping of the language, the nature of Medieval Spanish, the language myths that have become attached to Spanish, and the development of the language beyond the Iberian Peninsula, especially in the Americas. Focusing on the most important facets of the language’s evolution, this compact work makes the history of Spanish accessible to anyone with a knowledge of Spanish and a readiness to grasp basic linguistic concepts.

Available in both English and Spanish editions, A Brief History of the Spanish Language provides a truly outstanding introduction to the exciting story of one of the world’s great languages.

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A Brief History of the Spanish Language
Second Edition
David A. Pharies
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Since its publication in 2007, A Brief History of the Spanish Language has become the leading introduction to the history of one of the world’s most widely spoken languages. Moving from the language’s Latin roots to its present-day forms, this concise book offers readers insights into the origin and evolution of Spanish, the historical and cultural changes that shaped it, and its spread around the world.

A Brief History of the Spanish Language focuses on the most important aspects of the development of the Spanish language, eschewing technical jargon in favor of straightforward explanations. Along the way, it answers many of the common questions that puzzle native speakers and non-native speakers alike, such as: Why do some regions use while others use vos? How did the th sound develop in Castilian? And why is it la mesa but el agua?

David A. Pharies, a world-renowned expert on the history and development of Spanish, has updated this edition with new research on all aspects of the evolution of Spanish and current demographic information. This book is perfect for anyone with a basic understanding of Spanish and a desire to further explore its roots. It also provides an ideal foundation for further study in any area of historical Spanish linguistics and early Spanish literature.

A Brief History of the Spanish Language is a grand journey of discovery, revealing in a beautifully compact format the fascinating story of the language in both Spain and Spanish America.

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A Brief History of Pregnancy Advice
Marika Seigel
University of Chicago Press, 2013
As long as there have been pregnancies, there have been suggestions for how best to bring a child into the world: from tips for homeopathic care and natural childbirth to the circulation of old wives’ tales, those who deliver advice to pregnant women are often influenced as much by their own agendas as what is best, or most comfortable, for a new mother. In Expecting, Marika Seigel, author of The Rhetoric of Pregnancy, provides a list of recommended reading and considers the history of pregnancy advice. Opening with her own birthing histories and careful explanation of how she first became interested in the topic, Seigel then casts a skeptical eye over the pregnancy guides that have circulated from the Enlightenment to the present day. Encouraging women to remain empowered when they are pregnant and to collaborate with their health care providers, Seigel articulates how best to have a healthy and affirming birth experience.

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The Last Thirty Seconds
A Brief History of the Evolution of Hit-to-Kill Technology
David K. Stumpf
University of Arkansas Press, 2024
In March 1983, as the world’s superpowers continued aggressively stockpiling nuclear weapons, President Ronald Reagan described his vision for a world no longer confronted with the concept of mutually assured destruction. A year later the Strategic Defense Initiative was established, followed soon after by the creation of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO). The SDIO was tasked with the development and coordination of missile technologies designed for the strategic defense against civilization’s most dangerous invention, one that carried with it the threat of nuclear destruction—intercontinental ballistic missiles.
In The Last Thirty Seconds: A Brief History of the Evolution of Hit-to-Kill Technology, David K. Stumpf details the development of one of many possible solutions for ballistic missile defense commonly known as hit-to-kill. Hit-to-kill is a nonnuclear technique using kinetic energy, rather than explosives, to destroy reentry vehicles carrying chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads. It is the centerpiece of the United States’ current ballistic missile defense systems and has proven invaluable in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia as well as in the ongoing conflict with the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. While much of the subject remains classified, this detailed study will be welcomed for its substantial references and the inclusion of newly declassified material.

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Manitoba Medicine
A Brief History
Ian Carr
University of Manitoba Press, 1999
For many Canadians, the state of our health care and medical system is at the top of the public agenda. By following the growth and development of modern medicine in one Canadian province, Manitoba Medicine provides an insight into where our present medical system came from and how it developed .Beginning with a description of some early Aboriginal healing practices and of the physicians of the Red River Settlement, Manitoba Medicine follows the struggles in the 1870s to establish what would become the first medical college and the first major hospitals in Western Canada. It chronicles the fight for public health in the 1920s, the development of health insurance and medicare after WWII, and medicine's role in fighting the 1950 Winnipeg Flood and the polio epidemic of the late 1950s. Manitoba Medicine also provides vivid accounts of many of the individuals who built Manitoba's medical system, including early educators like Swale Vincent, pioneering women physicians such as Charlotte Ross, important researchers like Bruce Chown, and colourful private practitioners such as Murrough O'Brien.

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On Social Mobility
A Brief History of First-Generation College Students@Michigan: 2007 to 2019
Dwight Lang
Michigan Publishing Services, 2019
In On Social Mobility: A Brief History of First Generation College Students@Michigan: 2007-2019 Dwight Lang examines experiences and conditions of student upward mobility in higher education, in general,  and on one public, selective college campus: The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He documents the origins and growth of an undergraduate group for students who are first in their families to attend and graduate from college. Starting in 2007 we see early years of the group’s establishment in the Department of Sociology. As First-gens@Michigan evolves over the next decade we better understand how a grassroots, student movement helps inspire a university to publicly acknowledge the complexities of social class heritage and diversity. On Social Mobility explores various institutional changes that eventually lead to the establishment of a new student center: First Generation Student Gateway.

Lang describes how working and lower class students openly acknowledge and struggle with challenging experiences on a predominantly middle and upper middle class campus. We appreciate how first generation students are risk takers, boundary crosser, and successful social class immigrants. Resourceful first-gen efforts become the basis of connection and community as students begin their social mobility journeys. Overtime a public story emerges: stories making the invisible visible; stories of courage and persistence; stories of structural changes; a thoughtful student movement that is hard to ignore. We come to better understand the power of shared determination.  

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Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum
A Brief History
Stephen A. Harris
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2017
The Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest surviving botanic garden in Britain, occupying the same location in central Oxford since 1621. Designed as a nursery for growing medicinal plants amid the turmoil of the civil war, and nurtured through the restoration of the monarchy, it has, perhaps unsurprisingly, a curious past.
This book tells the story of the garden through accounts of each of its keepers, tracing their work and priorities, from its founding keeper, Jacob Bobart, through to the early nineteenth-century partnership of gardener William Baxter and academic Charles Daubeny, who together gave the garden its greenhouse and ponds and helped ensure its survival to the present. Richly illustrated, this book offers a wonderful introduction to a celebrated Oxford site.

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A Brief History of Life
Ian Tattersall
Templeton Press, 2010

"Endlessly absorbing and informative. It would be hard to imagine a better introduction to this most important and fascinating field.”—Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything


Paleontology: A Brief History of Life is the fifth title published in the Templeton Science and Religion Series, in which scientists from a wide range of fields distill their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties.
In this volume, Ian Tattersall, a highly esteemed figure in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and paleontology, leads a fascinating tour of the history of life and the evolution of human beings.
Starting at the very beginning, Tattersall examines patterns of change in the biosphere over time, and the correlations of biological events with physical changes in the Earth’s environment. He introduces the complex of evolutionary processes, situates human beings in the luxuriant diversity of Life (demonstrating that however remarkable we may legitimately find ourselves to be, we are the product of the same basic forces and processes that have driven the evolutionary histories of all other creatures), and he places the origin of our extraordinary spiritual sensibilities in the context of the exaptational and emergent acquisition of symbolic cognition and thought.
Concise and yet comprehensive, historically penetrating and yet up-to-date, responsibly factual and yet engaging, Paleontology serves as the perfect entrée to science's greatest story.



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The Paris Commune
A Brief History
Carolyn J. Eichner
Rutgers University Press, 2022
At dawn on March 18, 1871, Parisian women stepped between cannons and French soldiers, using their bodies to block the army from taking the artillery from their working-class neighborhood. When ordered to fire, the troops refused and instead turned and arrested their leaders. Thus began the Paris Commune, France’s revolutionary civil war that rocked the nineteenth century and shaped the twentieth.  Considered a golden moment of hope and potential by the left, and a black hour of terrifying power inversions by the right, the Commune occupies a critical position in understanding modern history and politics. A 72-day conflict that ended with the ferocious slaughter of Parisians, the Commune represents for some the final insurgent burst of the French Revolution’s long wake, for others the first “successful” socialist uprising, and for yet others an archetype for egalitarian socio-economic, feminist, and political change. Militants have referenced and incorporated its ideas into insurrections across the globe, throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first centuries, keeping alive the revolution’s now-iconic goals and images.  Innumerable scholars in countless languages have examined aspects of the 1871 uprising, taking perspectives ranging from glorifying to damning this world-shaking event.  The Commune stands as a critical and pivotal moment in nineteenth-century history, as the linchpin between revolutionary pasts and futures, and as the crucible allowing glimpses of alternate possibilities.  Upending hierarchies of class, religion, and gender, the Commune emerged as a touchstone for the subsequent century-and-a-half of revolutionary and radical social movements.

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A Brief History
Roger D. Simon
Temple University Press, 2017

Understanding Philadelphia’s history requires that we understand that nothing is inevitable; history is not made by abstract forces, but by the decisions of real individuals as they conduct their lives. With its insightful analysis and engaging prose, Philadelphia provides an accessible and readable overview of the history of the Quaker City from its founding by William Penn to the deindustrialization and gentrification of the early twenty-first century. Roger Simon asserts that the history of Philadelphia is a story of the efforts to sustain economic prosperity while fulfilling community needs, and the continued tension between those priorities.

Philadelphia devotes considerable attention to the evolving physical development of the city and to the social conditions and class structure of the people. Three dozen maps and illustrations enrich this edition, which has been fully updated and revised to reflect new scholarship on Philadelphia’s role in the post-industrial present and the diverse communities that incorporated women and minorities into the economic and social fabric of the city. 

Published in association with the Pennsylvania Historical Association


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Saving the World
A Brief History of Communication for Devleopment and Social Change
Emile G. McAnany
University of Illinois Press, 2012
This far-reaching and long overdue chronicle of communication for development from a leading scholar in the field presents in-depth policy analyses to outline a vision for how communication technologies can impact social change and improve human lives. Drawing on the pioneering works of Daniel Lerner, Everett Rogers, and Wilbur Schramm as well as his own personal experiences in the field, Emile G. McAnany builds a new, historically cognizant paradigm for the future that supplements technology with social entrepreneurship.
McAnany summarizes the history of the field of communication for development and social change from Truman's Marshall Plan for the Third World to the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals. Part history and part policy analysis, Saving the World argues that the communication field can renew its role in development by recognizing large aid-giving institutions have a difficult time promoting genuine transformation. McAnany suggests an agenda for improving and strengthening the work of academics, policy makers, development funders, and any others who use communication in all of its forms to foster social change.

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A Brief History
Peter Stearns
University of Illinois Press, 2017
Shame varies as an individual experience and in its manifestations across time and cultures. Groups establish identity and enforce social behaviors through shame and shaming, while attempts at shaming often provoke a social or political backlash. Yet historians often neglect shame’s power to complicate individual, international, cultural, and political relationships.

Peter N. Stearns draws on his long career as a historian of emotions to provide the foundational text on shame’s history and how this history contributes to contemporary issues around the emotion. Summarizing current research, Stearns unpacks the major debates that surround this complex emotion. He also surveys the changing role of shame in the United States from the nineteenth century to today, including shame’s revival as a force in the 1960s and its place in today’s social media. Looking ahead, he maps the abundant opportunities for future historical research and historically informed interdisciplinary scholarship.

Written for interested readers and scholars alike, Shame combines significant new research with a wider synthesis.


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Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off!
A Brief History of the Prisoners’ Digest International
Joseph W. Grant
Michigan State University Press, 2012

The final book in the groundbreaking Voices from the Underground series, Stop the Presses! I Want to Get Off!, is the inspiring, frenetic, funny, sad, always-cash-starved story of Joe Grant, founder and publisher of Prisoners’ Digest International, the most important prisoners’ rights underground newspaper of the Vietnam era. From Grant’s military days in pre-Revolutionary Cuba during the Korean War, to his time as publisher of a pro-union newspaper in Cedar Rapids and his eventual imprisonment in Leavenworth, Kansas, Grant’s personal history is a testament to the power of courage under duress. One of the more notorious federal penitentiaries in the nation, Leavenworth inspired Grant to found PDI in an effort to bring hope to prisoners and their families nationwide.


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The University of Oxford
A Brief History
Laurence Brockliss
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2018
The University of Oxford is the third-oldest university in Europe and remains one of the greatest universities in the world. Institutions have waxed and waned over the centuries, but Oxford has always succeeded in reinventing itself to meet the demands of a new age.

This book offers a succinct illustrated account of the university’s colorful and controversial eight-hundred-year history, from medieval times through the Reformation and on to the nineteenth century, in which the foundations of the modern tutorial system were laid. It describes the extraordinary and influential people who shaped the development of the institution and helped to create today’s world-class research university.

Richly illustrated with archival material, prints, and portraits, this book explores how a university in a small provincial town rose to become one of the top universities in the world at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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