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Five facts you need to know in 2014

At the end of each year, people around the world look back on what’s passed and what they’ve accomplished — including the books they’ve read and the knowledge they’ve learned. And then in January, the rest of us try to catch up and figure out what we need to know in the new year. Several Oxford University Press titles landed on prestigious Book of the Year lists in 2013, covering everything from the history of strategy, the dissection of austerity policies, to the ascendance of China in the global political arena. So we pulled together a quick list of illuminating facts to give you a jump start on 2014.

“Washington must see the security of its allies in Asia as being as vital as America itself. The challenge for the US government is whether America can convince China that it will accept a nuclear strike on Los Angeles rather than allow Beijing to take Taiwan. The answer is: probably not.”
        — The China Choice: Why We Should Share Power by Hugh White 
              (The Economist’s Book of the Year list for 2013)Books

“Since the 2008 crisis, banks that file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission have awarded themselves $2.2 trillion in compensation.”
        — Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth
              (Financial Times’ Book of the Year list for 2013)

“China’s aggregate economy is due to surpass the United States’ by 2025.”
        — China Goes Global: The Partial Power by David Shambaugh
              (The Economist’s Book of the Year list for 2013)

“Britain’s Fifth Battle Squadron was composed of battleships equipped with eight 15-inch guns that could fire a 1,920-pound shell accurately up to about 24,000 yards.”
        — The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War by Peter Hart
              (The Economist’s Book of the Year list for 2013)

“The word ‘strategy’ only came into general use at the start of the nineteenth century, though its origins predate Napoleon. It became a reflection of the Age of Enlightenment’s growing confidence in empirical science and the application of reason.”
        — Strategy: A History by Lawrence Freedman
              (Financial Time’s Book of the Year list for 2013)

A selection of Oxford University Press titles made the ‘Best of 2013’ lists from the Guardian, New Scientist, Times Literary Supplement, History Today, Financial Times, New Statesman, the Spectator, and Bloomberg.

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Image: Book stack by Ginny. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

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