The Very Short Introduction didactic book series covers a varied list of topics and subjects and provides an overview of the theme so the reader can become familiar with the basics before going on to more in-depth material. Published by Oxford University Press, the series began in 1995 and is now comprised of over 500 titles. Each book is traditionally no longer than 200 pages, which translates to an average of 4 or 5 hours of listening time. The series offers titles in the arts and humanities, science and math, social science, law, medicine and health. At the time of this writing, NLS has added 167 titles from the Very Short Introduction series to BARD, and will continue to add more as resources permit. Below we have listed a sample of the titles currently available for download on BARD:
American Slavery: a Very Short Introduction by Heather Andrea Williams DB 85576
Beginning with origins before the birth of Columbus, professor of African studies explores the forced transatlantic migrations from Africa to Europe and eventually to the Americas. Examines the legislation supporting enslavement systems and the conflicts between pro-slavery advocates and abolitionists. 2014.
Agriculture: a Very Short Introduction by Paul Brassley and R. J. Soffe DB 85585
Surveys agricultural production around the world, from multinational agribusinesses to family farmers. Topics include soils and crops, care and breeding of farm animals, modern and traditional farming methods, and the impacts of climate change and genetic modification. 2016.
Aristotle: a Very Short Introduction by Johnathan Barnes DB 85617
Explores life and writings of fourth century BC Greek who “bestrode antiquity like an intellectual colossus.” In his science and philosophy, he tackled fundamental questions of the nature of reality and change. Barnes describes Aristotle’s timeless philosophy, the vast influence of the structure and content of his thought. 2000.
The Blues: a Very Short Introduction by Elijah Wald DB 85838
Musician traces a tradition permeating many forms of music. Blues reflects deep emotion but is not limited to heartache. Examines the broad variety of blues music and performers, the close relationship with jazz and country music, and the influence on rock, pop, and rap. 2010.
Computer Science a Very Short Introduction by Subrata Dasgupta DB 86095
Scholar and writer explains one of the most consequential new sciences of the modern era, involved in problem solving across many disciplines–social, economic, technological, and cultural. Explains differentiation of knowledge, information, and data. Discusses symbol structures, computational artifacts, algorithms, compilers, programming, and heuristics. 2016.
Crime Fiction: a Very Short Introduction by Richard Bradford DB 85624
Examines the genre’s characteristics, origins, and development in Britain, the United States, France, and elsewhere, discussing categories of hard-boiled (noir), espionage, thriller, and legal drama, among others. Investigates women’s roles as authors and characters. Questions crime fiction’s relegation to inferior status compared to the mainstream literary novel. 2015.
Forensic Psychology: a Very Short Introduction by David V. Canter DB 86467
Leader in the field describes the tools forensic psychologists use to try to understand criminals and their behavior. Considers the mix of biological, psychological, and social factors underlying criminality; techniques for working with offenders; and topics such as the insanity defense, false confessions, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 2010.
Microeconomics: a Very Short Introduction by Avinash K. Dixit DB 86143
Princeton University emeritus professor uses common examples to explain the small economic transactions that have big impacts on people’s day-to-day lives. Discusses the roles of consumers, producers, and markets; concepts such as supply and demand and pricing strategies; and what happens when markets and policies fail. 2014.
The Middle Ages: a Very Short Introduction by Miri Rubin DB 86162
Diverse overview of Europe between roughly 500 and 1500. Topics include family and community life in cities and rural settlements, the spread of Christian culture and the often violent relationship between Christians and Jews, the exploitation of natural resources, and the ongoing legacy of the Middle Ages, 2014.
North American Indians: a Very Short Introduction by Theda Perdue and Michael D. Green DB 86321
Historians describe how indigenous North Americans shaped their cultures so that they could flourish on the land. Perdue and Green stress the diversity and resilience of native societies and describe the ways Native Americans have struggled to maintain their integrity against attacks by European colonists and the United States government. 2010.