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Bill Gray (1971, Modern Languages)
Fantasy, Myth and the Measure of Truth offers a detailed examination and discussion of the highly contested tradition of epic or high fantasy culminating in Pullman's His Dark Materials. This trajectory of mythopoeia or myth-making has its roots in the quest by a range of Romantic writers to transpose certain spiritual and moral values, once believed to be the prerogative of organized religion, into new myths. Critical of myths that are merely escapist fantasies, this study is also suspicious of totalizing 'grand narratives' that repress dissenting voices. The study nevertheless argues that, at its best, this mythopoeic tradition, which includes E.T.A. Hoffmann, George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Philip Pullman and - debatably - J.K. Rowling, can show the power of the creative imagination to generate, through stories that are imaginatively true, a renewed spiritual and moral vision.
This book can be purchased on the publisher's website here.
Updated: Thursday 21st January 2010 16:32
Dr Gareth Rhys Chapman (2005, Medicine)
Pocket Emergency Medicine is a bedside handbook written by a previous medical student at the House. Gareth Chapman is now practising medicine in Brighton, and came to realise that there was no easily portable well-researched compact text for doctors to refer to in an emergency for a brief refresher of management plans for patients. This quick-reference guide zeroes in on the most common clinical emergencies - the breathless patient, hypotension/falling blood pressure, disordered consciousness, metabolic emergencies, poisoning, low urine output, acute chest pain, the acute abdomen, the agitated patient, and advanced life support - to supply critical information when it is most needed. Including tabbed subsections for easy navigation of the key presentations, with emergency drug doses, algorithms, helpful graphs and tables, Pocket Emergency Medicine is the perfect aid for the on-call medical student and junior doctor.
Published by Wiley-Blackwell publishing, and available from January 2010 RRP £7.99.
Updated: Thursday 21st January 2010 16:30
Peter Raina, SCR Member
Albert Venn Dicey (1835-1922) was elected to the Vinerian professorship of English Law in the University of Oxford in 1882. Dicey established himself as a great expert on constitutional history when in 1885 he published his Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, a major classic on the British constitutional system. Dicey's writings have achieved an almost canonical status, and his views are judged almost entirely on this volume. However Dicey developed his views further and extensively in a series of lectures he delivered in the late 1890s in which he focused his thoughts on the sovereignty of Parliament, the relationship between Parliament and the people, and the role of constitutional conventions. Dicey would not defend every detail of the British Constitution, but was quite prepared to consider certain constitutional innovations, such as the principle of referendum to give special status to Constitutional Acts, or that the House of Lords should have more representative legitimacy. Dicey also toyed with the idea of a Constitutional Convention as a basic form of protection for constitutional rules: he argued about constitutional safeguards to remedy the defects of the party system and recognised the adaptability of an unwritten constitution to changed circumstances. All these aspects of Dicey's thought are reflected in these lectures, published here for the first time.
You can purchase a copy of this book on the publishers website here.
Updated: Thursday 21st January 2010 15:36
David Livingston (2001, Biology)
The Boat Race is one of the most divisive events in amateur sport. For me personally, every year it causes a rupture within my family as my older brother James dons his light blue (Cambridge) jacket and I put on my dark blue (Oxford) jacket to support our respective teams. We once again become part of warring factions.
James and I have just released a co-authored book about our Boat Race experiences, called Blood Over Water which was published by Bloomsbury publishing. On an overcast day back in April 2003 James and I raced each other in the 149th Oxford Cambridge Boat Race. It was the first time brothers had battled each other in this gladiatorial and quintessentially British tradition for over 100 years. Sitting on the start line back then we knew that only one of us could be victorious.
Told in alternative narratives we have given a locker-room insight into one of the least understood national sporting occasions, normally on view for only one day a year. It is an emotional and searching joint self-portrait of our relationship which was tested to breaking point and explores the darker side of sibling rivalry. The race itself was the closest in history; it was decided by just one foot after four and a quarter miles. Video of the race
Blood Over Water is available to purchase from www.amazon.co.uk and has already received excellent reviews.
Updated: Thursday 21st January 2010 15:28
Adrian Fort (Law, 1966)
Archibald Wavell was born a few years before Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, at the zenith of the British Empire, and died shortly after the end of the Second World War. During that time Great Britain changed beyond recognition, undergoing fundamental revision in the attitudes, expectations, prejudices and hopes of the British people. Consequently, Wavell’s life epitomises that of a generation of famous men whose education and upbringing equipped them for a future that was to prove an illusion.
At seventeen, Wavell joined the army and as a young officer saw action in the Boer War and on the North West Frontier. In the Great War he fought in the trenches, was decorated for bravery and lost an eye. Between the wars his meteoric career included command of the British forces in Palestine as revolt swept the country. His victorious campaigns early in the Second World War were emblazoned around the world; but he also tasted bitter defeat and rejection, both in North Africa and as commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in the Far East, as the furious Japanese onslaught engulfed Malaya, Singapore and Burma. In 1943 he was appointed Viceroy of India, where he held the ring between Muslims, Hindus and the British Government, guiding India’s destiny as it slipped from the heart of Empire into the turmoil of independence.
In this authoritative biography Adrian Fort chronicles the remarkable life of a talented and complex man – a famous imperial servant whose life was often beset by controversy. For more information about the book click here.
Updated: Thursday 21st January 2010 15:18
Ophelia Field (English, 1990)
The Kit-Cat Club was founded in the late 1690s when Jacob Tonson, publisher and bookseller, forged a partnership with the pie-maker Christopher (Kit) Cat. What began as an eccentric publishing rights deal developed into a unique gathering of intellects and interests, including John Vanbrugh, William Congreve, Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Robert Walpole.
Field describes the Whig-Tory ‘paper wars’, the London theatres’ battles over sexual morality, the making of Union with Scotland, Dublin society as governed by Kit-Cats, and the hurly-burly of Westminster politics. The book unravels the deceit, rivalry, friendships, and fortunes lost and found through the Club, alongside descriptions of how its alcohol-fuelled, all-male meetings were conducted.
Tracing the Club’s far-reaching influence, as an unofficial centre of Whig power and patronage throughout the reigns of William & Mary, Anne and George I, this group biography illuminates a period when Englishmen were searching for a new national identity.
If you would like to find out more or order a copy of the book please click here.
Updated: Thursday 21st January 2010 15:15
Edited by Neil Sherlock (PPE, 1981)
Can Labour and the Liberal Democrats redefine politics to make the 21st Century a progressive century? Can the centre-left find a common cause to tackle the alienation from politics, the globalisation of power, the need to modernise public services and the will to face up to the environmental challenges? Will the centre-left unite to change the voting system and win the case for Britain entering the single currency? Will the centre-left give real priority to family life and the tackling of discrimination against women?These are some of the questions that are tackled in this topical and controversial book, which brings together leading politicians, journalists, academics and thinkers.
Contributors include Robin Cook, Menzies Campbell, Lord Ashdown, Harriet Harman, Ruth Kelly, Peter Mandelson, Don MacIntyre, Steve Richards, Anna Coote, Polly Toynbee, Matthew Taylor, Kirsty Milne, Don Foster and Chris Huhne.
For more information please click here.
Updated: Thursday 21st January 2010 15:12
Michael Honeybone (Modern History, 1959)
‘Done to death by wicked practise & sorcerye’ claims the inscription on the splendid tomb of the Sixth Earl of Rutland in Bottesford church, Leicestershire, describing the death of his two sons. Michael Honeybone’s book investigates this witchcraft accusation against the Flower family in the Vale of Belvoir in 1619, resulting in the sisters’ execution at Lincoln Castle.
His research puts this Jacobean story into the context of modern witchcraft studies. The bookinvestigates local arguments which caused resentment against the Flowers, political marriages which endangered the Earl’s aim to pass on his inheritance and attempts to cure the children by calling in the most famous physicians. He contrasts popular superstitions with contemporary clergy’s denunciations of witchcraft and considers the influence of King James I, a frequent visitor to hunt with the Earl at Belvoir Castle. The account of the trial draws on a pamphlet and ballad from1619, both reprinted in this fully illustrated book.
Special price for past and present members of Christ Church: £12.50 hardback, including postage and packing, direct from the author: Michael Honeybone, 36 The Close, Norwich NR1 4EG telephone: 01603 621 431 Cheques payable to: Dr Michael Honeybone.
Updated: Thursday 20th May 2010 15:12
John Mole (Modern Languages, 1964)
Hopeful oligarchs, hopeless biznismyen, scientists, muggers, conmen, mafia and (extra) ordinary Russians in a world turned inside out. And John Mole setting up a baked potato take-away...
He also corners the market in business names and pizza cheese. He is taken for a Red Square demonstrator, a vampire's victim and unwillingly invents the new sport of pig-surfing. While he is trying to sell British fast food to Russians, Russians try to sell things to him. Fireworks, seashells, tungsten, the scrapings of baby reindeer horn. And advanced biotechnology, using bacteria to purify the air in submarines…
A journey under the (potato) skin of the New Russia by a traveller who gets his hands as well as his boots dirty.
funny and perceptive, a vivid and sympathetic picture of what Russians are really like Rodric Braithwaite – British ambassador to Moscow 1988-1992
£9.99 Paperback Original from all good bookshops
For more see www.johnmole.com
Updated: Thursday 21st January 2010 15:04
Barnaby Powell (Law, 1962)
China has broadcast its message. Calling on Africa, Australia and South America for resources, on the West for support, and on the world for understanding, its role in the global hierarchy is established yet pivotal. But that communist blink in the Imperial eye should not deceive you. China has a well shod foot in the global door of capitalism.
Western politicians, financiers and consumers have allowed opportunistic strategies to dominate global trade for the ultimate benefit of China. Yet the driving forces behind China’s border and expansionary controls are often misunderstood and not fully appreciated.
Mackinnon and Powell show how China is adapting its traditional values and practices to target strategic investments worldwide. Understanding China’s very different approaches to problem solving permits an effective engagement with modern China as it seeks competitive advantage globally. The authors contend that both China and the West must acknowledge reciprocal and mutually beneficial obligations – if confrontation is to be averted. To order a copy of China Calling click the link below.
Updated: Thursday 21st January 2010 15:01