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The Fortune Hunter: A German Prince in Regency England

Peter James Bowman (1990, Modern Languages)

The two decades after Waterloo marked the great age of foreign fortune hunters in England. Each year brought a new influx of impecunious Continental noblemen to the world’s richest country, and the more brides they carried off, the more alarmed society became.

The most colourful of these men was Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau (1785-1871), remembered today as Germany’s finest landscape gardener. In the mid-1820s, however, his efforts to turn his estate into a magnificent park came close to bankrupting him. To save his legacy his wife Lucie devised an unusual plan: they would divorce so that Pückler could marry an heiress who would finance further landscaping and, after a decent interval, be cajoled into accepting Lucie’s continued residence. In September 1826, his marriage dissolved, Pückler set off for London.

The UK Banking System and its Regulatory and Supervisory Framework

Carlo Gola (1984, Economics)

The banking industry has witnessed a fundamental technological breakthrough, with the new paradigm based on the 'originate-to-distribute' model. These developments posed new challenges for both regulators and market players. Describing the evolution of the UK banking industry, including the effects of the sub-prime mortgage market crisis and the collapse of the Northern Rock, the book offers a convenient background for non-specialist readers to recent developments, such as the over-the-counter (OTC) derivative market and the credit risk transfer (CRT).

Godley Gifts

Christ Church, Oxford is commemorated in the name of Christchurch, New Zealand. The Province of Canterbury with its principal centre at Christchurch was founded in 1850 and so-named by John Robert Godley, an Irishman from Killegar in County Antrim. J. R. Godley (Harrow and Christ Church) matriculated in 1832 and in 1848 established a colonising society (The Canterbury Association) in Whitehall, London, which arranged the passage to New Zealand of the first 3,500 'Canterbury Pilgrims'. Godley himself went to New Zealand two years later to found Canterbury and Christchurch, taking with him his wife Charlotte and his 2-year old son, Arthur (later first Baron Kilbracken of Killegar).


How Parables Work

Humphrey Palmer (1949, Classics)

This book tries to explain just how Jesus made use of 'parables'. A parable is, of course, a sort of comparison: Look, B is just like A! Our question is, how did Jesus put this relationship to work. In the book this 'way of working' is explained, and then applied to the 70-odd parables which have come down to us. The book claims that it fits them all, i.e. makes good sense of them. This occupies chapters 2 - 9. Other approaches to the parables, of which there are many, are not considered in these chapters; but some are briefly presented in chapter ten.

The book is aimed at a 'general reader'; someone who has come across some of the parables, maybe took a shine to them; or, indeed, has got let in for leading a study group on this subject. The reader of this book would, no doubt, be glad to discover what Jesus meant by the parables, what he used them for. This book seeks to answer just that question. Other meanings - symbolic, prophetic, eschatological ... have been also looked for, in the parables. But did Jesus mean them in those ways? Price is £15 post free; from Palmer, 82 Plymouth Rd, Penarth, Wales, CF64 5DL. Further details, and ways to buy, on website:

China Counting

Barnaby Powell (1962, Jurisprudence)

China is now the global counting house, trading Western debt and cashing Western obligations – financially, socially and diplomatically. By 'buying' its own democratic electorate with easy credit, the West has ceded power to the Chinese. China's primary goal, however, is internal stability and external security, aiming neither for international dominance nor military confrontation. Its governing Party has a national mandate – of, by and for the people – a main street mandate for a resurgent China.

Mackinnon and Powell show how China is determining its destiny. This book interprets China's policy of gradual global expansion and the alternatives it offers to open capitalism and liberal democracy. It sifts constants from variables to reveal a China positioning itself for recognition as an equal.

This book is available to purchase on the publisher's website here.

Fantasy, Myth and the Measure of Truth

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.

Pocket Emergency Medicine

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.

A.V. Dicey

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.

Blood Over Water

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 and has already received excellent reviews.

Archibald Wavell

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.

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