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Very Short Introductions... -
"Very Sharp
Very Inspiring
Very Intelligent
Very Successful.

Ever wanted to know what happened during the Spanish Civil War? What the Koran really says? Or why Plato's ideas still matter today?

Ideal for train journeys, holidays, and as a quick catch-up for busy people who want something intellectually stimulating, Very Short Introductions combine authoritative analysis, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make often challenging topics highly readable.

These books can change the way you think about the things that interest you, and are the perfect introduction to subjects you previously knew nothing about. Because of this, they have proven to be extremely popular with general readers, as well as undergraduate students and their lecturers.

So, where's the gap in your knowledge? ..."
(~ Oxford University Press)

Related categories:
Related booklists: 'Introducing...' Guides, 'For Beginners...' Guides, Teach Yourself... Guides,

This website can't tell you if a book is in our shop right now or not. Most books can be ordered within 7-10 days, subject to availability. You can always call us or use the enquiry links to ask if a book is in stock or how long it would take to order. (Note: we do our best to keep information up to date, but occasionally prices may have changed.)

Books are listed in order of year of publication - newest titles are at the top. There are 30 books in this booklist

  • Cover image of book Foucault: A Very Short Introduction by Gary Gutting
    Foucault: A Very Short Introduction - by Gary Gutting

    £8.99   paperback   (2019) - ISBN 13: 9780198830788 | ISBN 10: 0198830785

    Foucault is one of those rare philosophers who has become a cult figure. Born in 1926 in France, over the course of his life he dabbled in drugs, politics, and the Paris SM scene, all whilst striving to understand the deep concepts of identity, knowl ... more

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  • Cover image of book Fairy Tale: A Very Short Introduction by Marina Warner
    Fairy Tale: A Very Short Introduction - by Marina Warner

    £7.99   paperback   (2018) - ISBN 13: 9780199532155 | ISBN 10: 019953215x

    From wicked queens, beautiful princesses, elves, monsters, and goblins, to giants, glass slippers, poisoned apples, magic keys, and mirrors, the characters and images of fairy tales have cast a spell over readers and audiences, both adults and childr ... more

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  • Cover image of book Jewish History: A Very Short Introduction by David N. Myers
    Jewish History: A Very Short Introduction - by David N. Myers

    £7.99   paperback   (2017) - ISBN 13: 9780199730988 | ISBN 10: 0199730989

    How have the Jews survived? For millennia, they have defied odds by overcoming the travails of exile, persecution, and recurring plans for their annihilation. Many have attempted to explain this singular success as a result of divine intervention.  ... more

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  • Cover image of book Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction by Andrew Clapham
    Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction - by Andrew Clapham

    £7.99   paperback   (2015) - ISBN 13: 9780198706168 | ISBN 10: 0198706162

    Today it is usually not long before a problem gets expressed as a human rights issue. An appeal to human rights in the face of injustice can be a heartfelt and morally justified demand for some, while for others it remains merely an empty slogan. &nb ... more

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  • Cover image of book Antisemitism: A Very Short Introduction by Steven Beller
    Antisemitism: A Very Short Introduction - by Steven Beller

    £8.99   paperback   (2015) - ISBN 13: 9780198724834 | ISBN 10: 0198724837

    This Very Short Introduction examines and untangles the various strands of antisemitism seen throughout history, from medieval religious conflict to 'new' antisemitism in the 21st century. †Steven Beller reveals how the phenomenon grew as a political ... more

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  • Cover image of book The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction by Martin Bunton
    The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction - by Martin Bunton

    £8.99   paperback   (2013) - ISBN 13: 9780199603930 | ISBN 10: 0199603936

    The conflict between Palestine and Israel is one of the most highly publicized and bitter struggles in history. In this accessible and stimulating Very Short Introduction, Martin Bunton clearly explains the history of the problem, reducing it to its ... more

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  • Cover image of book The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction by David Carrasco
    The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction - by David Carrasco

    £7.99   paperback   (2012) - ISBN 13: 9780195379389 | ISBN 10: 0195379381

    This Very Short Introduction employs the disciplines of history, religious studies, and anthropology as it illuminates the complexities of Aztec life.   Readers meet a people highly skilled in sculpture, astronomy, city planning, poetry, and ... more

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  • Cover image of book Organizations: A Very Short Introduction by Mary Jo Hatch
    Organizations: A Very Short Introduction - by Mary Jo Hatch

    £7.99   paperback   (2011) - ISBN 13: 9780199584536 | ISBN 10: 0199584532

    Most of us recognize that organizations are everywhere. You meet them on every street corner in the form of families and shops, study in them, work for them, buy from them, pay taxes to them. But have you given much thought to where they came from, w ... more

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  • Cover image of book Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan A.C. Brown
    Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction - by Jonathan A.C. Brown

    £8.99   paperback   (2011) - ISBN 13: 9780199559282 | ISBN 10: 0199559287

    As the founder of Islam Muhammad is one of the most influential figures in history. The furor surrounding the Satanic Verses and the Danish cartoon crisis reminded the world of the tremendous importance of the prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Learning abo ... more

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  • Cover image of book Conscience: A Very Short Introduction by Paul Strohm
    Conscience: A Very Short Introduction - by Paul Strohm

    £7.99   paperback   (2011) - ISBN 13: 9780199569694 | ISBN 10: 019956969x

    Where does our conscience come from? How reliable is it?   In the West conscience has been relied upon for two thousand years as a judgement that distinguishes right from wrong. It has effortlessly moved through every period division and ... more

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  • Cover image of book Madness: A Very Short Introduction by Andrew Scull
    Madness: A Very Short Introduction - by Andrew Scull

    £7.99   paperback   (2011) - ISBN 13: 9780199608034 | ISBN 10: 0199608032

    Madness is something that frightens and fascinates us all. It is a word with which we are universally familiar, and a condition that haunts the human imagination. Through the centuries, in poetry and in prose, in drama and in the visual arts, its dep ... more

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  • Cover image of book Aristocracy: A Very Short Introduction by William Doyle
    Aristocracy: A Very Short Introduction - by William Doyle

    £7.99   paperback   (2010) - ISBN 13: 9780199206780 | ISBN 10: 0199206783

    Aristocracies or nobilities dominated the social, economic, and institutional history of all European counties until only a few generations ago. The relics of their power, in traditions and behaviour, in architecture and the arts, are still all aroun ... more

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  • Cover image of book Modernism: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Butler
    Modernism: A Very Short Introduction - by Christopher Butler

    £7.99   paperback   (2010) - ISBN 13: 9780192804419 | ISBN 10: 0192804413

    * Provides a coherent account of Modernism across various aesthetic and cultural fields † * Considers several aspects of Modernism including some classic modernist works, movements and notions of the avant garde, and the idea of 'progress' in art † ... more

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  • Cover image of book Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction by Nigel Warburton
    Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction - by Nigel Warburton

    £7.99   paperback   (2009) - ISBN 13: 9780199232352 | ISBN 10: 0199232350

    'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it'  This slogan, attributed to Voltaire, is frequently quoted by defenders of free speech. Yet it is rare to find anyone prepared to defend all expression in every ... more

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  • Cover image of book Nothing: A Very Short Introduction by Frank Close
    Nothing: A Very Short Introduction - by Frank Close

    £7.99   paperback   (2009) - ISBN 13: 9780199225866 | ISBN 10: 0199225869

    What is 'nothing'? What remains when you take all the matter away? Can empty space - a void - exist? This Very Short Introduction explores the science and the history of the elusive void: from Aristotle who insisted that the vacuum was impossible, vi ... more

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  • Cover image of book Scotland: A Very Short Introduction by Rab Houston
    Scotland: A Very Short Introduction - by Rab Houston

    £7.99   paperback   (2008) - ISBN 13: 9780199230792 | ISBN 10: 019923079x

    Since Devolution in 1999 Scotland has become a focus of intense interest both within Britain and throughout the wider world.   In this Very Short Introduction, Rab Houston explores how an independent Scottish nation emerged in the Middle Ages ... more

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  • Cover image of book The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction by Terry Eagleton
    The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction - by Terry Eagleton

    £7.99   paperback   (2008) - ISBN 13: 9780199532179 | ISBN 10: 0199532176

    'Philosophers have an infuriating habit of analysing questions rather than answering them', writes Terry Eagleton, who, in these pages, asks the most important question any of us ever ask, and attempts to answer it. So what is the meaning of life? &n ... more

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  • Cover image of book Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction by Ken Binmore
    Game Theory: A Very Short Introduction - by Ken Binmore

    £7.99   paperback   (2007) - ISBN 13: 9780199218462 | ISBN 10: 0199218463

    Games are everywhere: Drivers manoeuvring in heavy traffic are playing a driving game. Bargain hunters bidding on eBay are playing an auctioning game. A firm negotiating next year's wage is playing a bargaining game. The opposing candidates in an ele ... more

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  • Cover image of book Chaos: A Very Short Introduction by Leonard Smith
    Chaos: A Very Short Introduction - by Leonard Smith

    £7.99   paperback   (2007) - ISBN 13: 9780192853783 | ISBN 10: 0192853783

    Chaos exists in systems all around us. Even the simplest system of cause and effect can be subject to chaos, denying us accurate predictions of its behaviour, and sometimes giving rise to astonishing structures of large-scale order. Our growing under ... more

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  • Cover image of book Racism: A Very Short Introduction by Ali Rattansi
    Racism: A Very Short Introduction - by Ali Rattansi

    £7.99   paperback   (2007) - ISBN 13: 9780192805904 | ISBN 10: 0192805908

    From subtle discrimination in everyday life and scandals in politics, to incidents like lynchings in the American South, cultural imperialism, and 'ethnic cleansing', racism exists in many different forms, in almost every facet of society. But what a ... more

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  • Cover image of book African History: A Very Short Introduction by John Parker and Richard Rathbone
    African History: A Very Short Introduction - by John Parker and Richard Rathbone

    £8.99   paperback   (2007) - ISBN 13: 9780192802484 | ISBN 10: 0192802488

    Essential reading for anyone interested in the African continent and the diversity of human history, this Very Short Introduction looks at Africa's past and reflects on the changing ways it has been imagined and represented.   Key themes in c ... more

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  • Cover image of book International Relations: A Very Short Introduction by Paul Wilkinson
    International Relations: A Very Short Introduction - by Paul Wilkinson

    £7.99   paperback   (2007) - ISBN 13: 9780192801579 | ISBN 10: 0192801570

    Of undoubtable relevance today, in a post-9-11 world of growing political tension and unease, this Very Short Introduction covers the topics essential to an understanding of modern international relations.   Paul Wilkinson explains the theori ... more

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  • Cover image of book Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction by Joseph Dan
    Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction - by Joseph Dan

    £7.99   paperback   (2007) - ISBN 13: 9780195327052 | ISBN 10: 0195327055

    In Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, offers a concise and highly accurate look at the history and character of the various systems developed by the adherents of the Kabbalah. ... more

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  • Cover image of book The First World War: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Howard
    The First World War: A Very Short Introduction - by Michael Howard

    £7.99   paperback   (2007) - ISBN 13: 9780199205592 | ISBN 10: 0199205590

    By the time the First World War ended in 1918, eight million people had died in what had been perhaps the most apocalyptic episode the world had known. This very short introduction provides a concise and insightful history of the 'Great War', focusin ... more

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  • Cover image of book Socialism: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Newman
    Socialism: A Very Short Introduction - by Michael Newman

    £8.99   paperback   (2005) - ISBN 13: 9780192804310 | ISBN 10: 0192804316

    What is socialism? Does it have a future, or has it become an outdated ideology in the 21st century? Michael Newman examines and explains the successes and failures of modern socialism by taking an international perspective - ranging from communism i ... more

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  • Cover image of book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction by Julian Baggini
    Atheism: A Very Short Introduction - by Julian Baggini

    £7.99   paperback   (2003) - ISBN 13: 9780192804242 | ISBN 10: 0192804243

    Julian Baggini sets out to dispel the myths that surround atheism and to show how a life without religious belief can be positive, meaningful and moral. He also confronts the failure of officially atheist states in the twentieth century, such as the ... more

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  • Cover image of book Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction by Edward Craig
    Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction - by Edward Craig

    £7.99   paperback   (2002) - ISBN 13: 9780192854216 | ISBN 10: 0192854216

    How ought we to live? What really exists? How do we know?  This book introduces important themes in ethics, knowledge, and the self, via readings from Plato, Hume, Descartes, Hegel, Darwin, and Buddhist writers. It emphasizes throughout the poin ... more

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  • Cover image of book Kierkegaard: A Very Short Introduction by Patrick Gardiner
    Kierkegaard: A Very Short Introduction - by Patrick Gardiner

    £7.99   paperback   (2002) - ISBN 13: 9780192802569 | ISBN 10: 0192802569

    Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55), one of the most original thinkers of the nineteenth century, wrote widely on religious, psychological, and literary themes. This book shows how Kierkegaard developed his views in emphatic opposition to prevailing opinions ... more

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  • Cover image of book History: A Very Short Introduction by John Arnold
    History: A Very Short Introduction - by John Arnold

    £7.99   paperback   (2000) - ISBN 13: 9780192853523 | ISBN 10: 019285352x

    There are many stories we can tell about the past, and we are not, perhaps, as free as we might imagine in our choice of which stories to tell, or where those stories end.   John Arnold's Very Short Introduction is a stimulating essay about h ... more

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  • Cover image of book The Koran: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Cook
    The Koran: A Very Short Introduction - by Michael Cook

    £7.99   paperback   (2000) - ISBN 13: 9780192853448 | ISBN 10: 0192853449

    The Koran has constituted a remarkably strong core of identity and continuity for a religious tradition that is now in its fifteenth century. This Very Short Introduction explores the significance of the Koran both in the modern world and in traditio ... more

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