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My method is to hit the online catalog of my local library and search for the string "very short introduction" in titles. Then I check out the first title to appear. My first hit was Plate Tectonics: A Very Short Introduction.
I'd recently run across a few volumes from the series and found them well done. Some are reissues from earlier UOP series with such names as "A Brief Insight."
- LT series page: http://www.librarything.com/publisherseries/Very+Short+Introductions
- OUP series page: https://global.oup.com/academic/content/series/v/very-short-introductions-vsi/
Any opinions on books in this very extensive series?
Beware: You may find yourself using the bibliographies to get more deeply involved in the subject.
I love that series - they are short enough to give you a basic level of understanding on the topic and if you get interested in the topic, it is easy to pick up a longer and more involved book. But do not expect light reading - most of those books pack a lot of information and data - they are dense books. Some of them actually contain more information and details than a 800 pages book on the same topic.
Most of the ones I have read have been theologically oriented. but it is quite possible that the library has others. Must check.
I might just join you in this. I see that my library has a lot of these. Great idea. (But they don't have Plate Tectonics.)
This has invited some reflections on the course of the even younger global warming theory, which has met a headwind of public political opposition after winning the scientific consensus.
Anyway, readers who are impatient with the history of scientific discoveries, or who just want to get The Facts as we now know them, could skip the first chapter and some paragraphs in the second.
The "theologically oriented" ones seem popular at my nearest library branch; someone had checked out Atheism: A Very Short Introduction, but Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction was available. So I guess that's my next title. It will be interesting to compare to Karen Armstrong's Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, which is the only life of Muhammad I've read.
Absolutely agree. I was just trying to convey that the shortness does not make them overviews or shallow looks at things :)
Good reviews, though the latter is from "Great Courses."
I've found one example of a replaced item in the series. The title Muhammad : a very short introduction has been given to two books by two different authors.
1. The first was a 2001 reissue of a 1977 title from the "Past Masters" series: Muhammad by M(ichael) A. Cook.
2. The second, by Jonathan A.C. Brown, is a new work released in 2011.
According to one LT reviewer, the 2001 edition didn’t last very long. I've just started the 2011 book.
I'm trying to stick to random selection, but the cards have dealt me: stem cells, superconductivity, "the cell," and plants. I also drew a few more religion titles: Quakers, Kabbalah, Mormonism. I know the series as a whole doesn't focus so intently on religion, but my library system apparently does. It's probably due to an accurate assessment of patrons' interests.
Personally I'm looking forward to Corruption : a very short introduction. I've been wanting a global and historically informed view of the subject.
Religion is also a good "just enough but not too much" topic. To read one book about XYZ-ianism is to be educated. To read 10 is to be a devotee :)
I agree, but would specify at least three subcategories under "devotee": believer, enemy, scholar.
This is going to be a tough one to keep up to date, no matter how often it's revised.