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9780199661268_140

What’s so great about being the VSI commissioning editor?

With the 400th Very Short Introduction on the topic of ‘Knowledge’ publishing this month, I’ve been thinking about how long this series has been around, and how long I have been a commissioning editor for the series, from before the 200th VSI published (number 163 – Human Rights in fact), through number 300 and 400, and how undoubtedly I’ll still be here for the 500th VSI!

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A year in Very Short Introductions: 2013

By Chloe Foster
2013 has been a busy year for the Very Short Introductions (VSIs). Keeping our authors busy with weekly VSI blog posts is not the only thing we’ve been up to. Here’s a reminder of just some of the highlights from our VSI year.

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US Independence Day author Q&A: part four

Happy Independence Day to our American readers! In honor of Independence Day in the United States, we asked some of our influential American history and politics VSI authors to ask each other some pointed questions related to significant matters in America. Their passionate responses inspired a four day series leading up to America’s 237th birthday today.

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US Independence Day author Q&A: part three

In honor of Independence Day in the United States, we asked some of our influential American history and politics VSI authors to ask each other some pointed questions related to significant matters in America. Their passionate responses have inspired a four day series leading up to America’s 237th birthday.

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US Independence Day author Q&A: part two

In honor of Independence Day in the United States, we asked some of our influential American history and politics VSI authors to ask each other some pointed questions related to significant matters in America. Their passionate responses have inspired a four day series leading up to America’s 237th birthday. Today Donald A. Ritchie, author of The US Congress: A Very Short Introduction shares his answers.

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9780199661268_140

Why do you love the VSIs?

The 400th Very Short Introduction, ‘Knowledge’, was published this week. In order to celebrate this remarkable series, we asked various colleagues at Oxford University Press to explain why they love the VSIs.

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US Independence Day author Q&A: part one

In honor of Independence Day in the U.S., we asked some of our influential American history and politics VSI authors to ask each other some pointed questions related to significant matters in America. Their passionate responses have inspired a four day series leading up to America’s 237th birthday.

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Very short talks

By Chloe Foster
We have seen an abundance of Very Short Introductions (VSI) authors appearing at UK festivals this year. Appearances so far have included at Words by the Water festival in Keswick, Oxford Literary Festival, and Edinburgh Science festival. The versitility of the series and its subjects means our author talks are popular at a variety of different types of festivals

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Medical Law: A Very, Very, Very, Very Short Introduction

By Charles Foster
By the standards of most books, the Very Short Introduction to Medical law is indeed very short: 35,000 or so words. As every writer of a VSI knows, it is hard to compress your subject into such a tiny box. But I wonder if I could have been much, much shorter. 88 words, in fact.

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The Demise of the Toff

By William Doyle
Born to tenants of a country squire in Yorkshire, I knew about what my grandmother called ‘toffs’ at an early age. The squire was a toff. As a child I scarcely realised that the squire and his lifestyle were already relics of a fast-disappearing pattern of society.

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DSM-5 and psychiatric progress

By Tom Burns
National Mental Health week in May this year will see the launch of the eagerly anticipated DSM-5. This is the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual which defines all psychiatric diagnoses and is often referred to as ‘the psychiatrists’ bible’. How can something so dry and dull sounding as a classificatory manual generate such fevered excitement? Indeed how did the DSM compete for space in a short book such as the VSI to Psychiatry?

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Very Short Introductions go online

By Luciana O’Flaherty
All those who have read and loved a Very Short Introduction know that they offer a short but sophisticated route into a new or slightly familiar topic. The series was launched in 1995 and has continued to offer new books each year (around 30 a year, at the last count) for students, scholars, and the avidly curious.

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Globalization: Q&A with Manfred Steger

How has globalization changed in the last ten years? We asked Manfred Steger, author of Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, how he felt it has been affected by world events in the decade since the first edition of his Very Short Introduction was published.

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How to make a transmedia documentary: three takeaways

By Patricia Aufderheide
What happens to documentary when media goes interactive? It’s not always a welcome question. Documentarians aren’t necessarily thrilled at the idea of someone poking at their precious work on a smartphone, rather than settling into a seat at a theater or on a couch. But they’re going to have to get used to it. Media users want to do more than just watch these days.

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How are cures invented?

By Jonathan Slack
When I arrived in the USA as a professor I was surprised to find how specialized American scientists are. Most US biomedical labs just seem to work on one molecular pathway or even one molecule.

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The ingenious problem-solving of the modern-day engineer

By David Blockley
Engineering is everywhere. We rely on it totally and yet, most of us tend to take it for granted. Do you ever stop to wonder how the water gets to your taps or the electricity to your home? From the water we drink, the food we eat, the electricity we use, the tools we work with, the gadgets that entertain us, to the cars, trains and aeroplane we travel in, we all too often fail to think about the engineers who make it happen, the skills they need and the challenges they face.

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