Related to: 'Democracy: All That Matters'

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Hodder & Stoughton

Morality

Jonathan Sacks
Authors:
Jonathan Sacks

In today's world of cultural climate change, argues Jonathan Sacks, we have outsourced morality to the markets on the one hand, and to government on the other. If the market rewards it, it must be OK - unless the law says not to.Yet while the markets have brought wealth to many and the state has done much to contain the worst excesses of inequality, neither is capable of bearing the moral weight of showing us how to live.On the one hand, traditional values no longer hold, yet recent political swings show that modern ideals of tolerance have left many feeling rudderless and adrift. In this environment we see things fall apart in unexpected ways - toxic public discourse that makes true societal progress almost unattainable; the rise of religious extremism on the one hand and of aggressive atheism on the other; a drive for respect of all that establishes 'safe space' only where true debate is off limits.How can we build - or rebuild - a collective culture that is able to both respect difference and draw us together to work for the common good? Talking to key modern influences and thinkers, and drawing inspiration from the Bible and the historical experience of the Jewish people, Sacks argues that there are eight key factors in establishing, maintaining and passing on resilient moral values within a broad group, among them attitudes of lifelong learning and of thanksgiving, the importance of family life and community, and a culture of positive argument in place of destructive conflict.Combining his passionate belief in a positive way forward with a careful weighing of the realities and challenges of the position in which we find ourselves, Jonathan Sacks sets out a clear picture of a world in which we can all find our place and build a future worth working for.

Sceptre

The Delusions of Certainty

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt
Teach Yourself

Philosophy for Life: Teach Yourself

Mel Thompson
Authors:
Mel Thompson

Philosophy For Life is the definitive introduction to the history of Western thought, but more than that, it is a toolkit for using philosophy in your daily life. As you read, you will develop your own critical and creative thinking, exploring the key ideas in Western Philosophy and the arguments that continue to shape our world. You will discover what philosophy is really about, learn to be a sceptic, meet Plato and Aristotle, explore the concept of mind, question free will, use philosophy to be happy, find out about Marx and materialism, see how philosophy relates to everything from comics to coffee, and ask whether god exists. Philosophy is a life-tool, a set of skills for engaging with any subject, and in Philosphy For Life, you will discover a body of wisdom and a way to develop your own critical and creative thinking.ABOUT THE SERIESPeople have been learning with Teach Yourself since 1938. With a vast range of practical, how-to guides covering language learning, lifestyle, hobbies, business, psychology and self-help, there's a Teach Yourself book for whatever you want to do. Join more than 60 million people who have reached their goals with Teach Yourself, and never stop learning.

Sceptre

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

Internationally acclaimed as a novelist, Siri Hustvedt is also highly regarded as a writer of non-fiction whose insights are drawn from her broad knowledge in the arts, humanities, and sciences. In this trilogy of works collected in a single volume, Hustvedt brings a feminist, interdisciplinary perspective to a range of subjects. Louise Bourgeois, Pablo Picasso, Susan Sontag and Knut Ove Knausgaard are among those who come under her scrutiny. In the book's central essay, she explores the intractable mind-body problem and in the third section, reflects on the mysteries of hysteria, synesthesia, memory, perception, and the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard. With clarity, wit, and passion, she exposes gender bias, upends received ideas, and challenges her reader to think again.

Nicholas Brealey Publishing

SuperHubs

Sandra Navidi
Authors:
Sandra Navidi

A BLOOMBERG BEST BOOK OF THE YEARWINNER - SILVER MEDAL, AXIOM BUSINESS BOOK AWARDS 2018 FOREWORD BY NOURIEL ROUBINISuperHubs is a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the global financial system and the powerful personal networks through which it is run, at the centre of which sit the Elites - the SuperHubs.Combining an insider's knowledge with principles of network science, Sandra Navidi offers a startling new perspective on how the financial system really operates. SuperHubs reveals what happens at the exclusive, invitation-only platforms - The World Economic Forum in Davos, the meetings of the International Monetary Fund, think-tank gatherings, power lunches, charity events, and private parties. This is the most vivid portrait to date of the global elite: the bank CEOs, fund managers, billionaire financiers and politicians who, through their interlocking relationships and collective influence are transforming the future of our financial system and, for better or worse, shaping our world.

Nicholas Brealey Publishing

50 Politics Classics

Tom Butler-Bowdon
Authors:
Tom Butler-Bowdon
Hodder & Stoughton

Democracy: All That Matters

Steven Beller
Authors:
Steven Beller

Democracy is in crisis. This is a crisis of growth on the one hand, with the Arab Spring and possible change in Burma and elsewhere, but also a crisis of alienation and stagnation in the more established democracies, in the United States and in Europe, where apathy and the uncontrolled power exerted by financial markets and the wealthy are threatening the core of democratic effectiveness and democratic values. We can no longer take democracy for granted, if we ever could, because it is both more powerful and widespread than it has ever been, and more under threat. This short book, of about 25,000 words, spells out the basic characteristics of modern-day democracy, its origins, its history, its current practice and problems, and its potential future.

Hodder & Stoughton

Political Philosophy: All That Matters

Johanna Oksala
Authors:
Johanna Oksala

What is political philosophy? A philosophical study of political ideas such as authority, freedom, justice and democracy? An inquiry into the best form of government? An attempt to rationally justify forms of authority? Johanna Oksana asks exactly these questions as she opens this brilliant new guide to political philosophy. Rather than attempting to provide the reader with a definite answer, the book invites readers to recognize many of the issues encountered in everyday life as political, the outcome of human practices that incorporate power relations, social norms and obligations. it suggests that political philosophy should be understood as an open-ended, critical project that to some extent concerns everyone.The book employs an original structure which will be a huge help to both students and general readers seeking to understand the topic. Each chapter, which moves chronologically from antiquity to the twentieth century, focuses on selected classic texts in political philosophy, which are briefly introduced and analysed. The texts then function as a springboard for a discussion of central contemporary issues in political philosophy.

Hodder & Stoughton

Political Philosophy: All That Matters

Johanna Oksala
Authors:
Johanna Oksala
Sceptre

Mafia Republic: Italy's Criminal Curse. Cosa Nostra, 'Ndrangheta and Camorra from 1946 to the Present

John Dickie
Authors:
John Dickie

In MAFIA REPUBLIC, John Dickie, Professor of Italian Studies at University College, London and author of the international bestsellers COSA NOSTRA and MAFIA BROTHERHOODS, shows how the Italian mafias have grown in power and become more and more interconnected, with terrifying consequences. The Financial Times described John Dickie's MAFIA BROTHERHOODS as 'Powered by the sort of muscular prose that one associates with great detective fiction' and in MAFIA REPUBLIC John Dickie again marries outstanding scholarship with compelling storytelling.In 1946, Italy became a democratic Republic, thereby entering the family of modern western nations. But deep within Italy there lurked a forgotten curse: three major criminal brotherhoods, whose methods had been honed over a century of experience. As Italy grew, so did the mafias. Sicily's Cosa Nostra, the camorra from Naples, and the mysterious 'ndrangheta from Calabria stood ready to enter the wealthiest and bloodiest period of their long history.Italy made itself rich by making scooters, cars and handbags. The mafias carved out their own route to wealth through tobacco smuggling, construction, kidnapping and narcotics. And as criminal business grew exponentially, the mafias grew not just more powerful, but became more interconnected.By the 1980s, Southern Italy was on the edge of becoming a narco-state. The scene was set for a titanic confrontation between heroic representatives of the law, and mafiosi who could no longer tolerate any obstacle to their ambitions. This was a war for Italy's future as a civilized country. At its peak in 1992-93, the 'ndrangheta was beheading people in the street, and the Sicilian mafia murdered its greatest enemies, investigating magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, before embarking on a major terrorist bombing campaign on the Italian mainland.Today, the long shadow of mafia history still hangs over a nation wracked by debt, political paralysis, and widespread corruption. While police put their lives on the line every day, one of Silvio Berlusconi's ministers said that Italy had to 'learn to live with the mafia'; suspicions of mafia involvement still surround some of the country's most powerful media moguls and politicians. The latest investigations show that its reach is astonishing: it controls much of Europe's wholesale cocaine trade, and representatives from as far away as Germany, Canada and Australia come to Calabria to seek authorisation for their affairs. Just when it thought it had finally contained the mafia threat, Italy is now discovering that it harbours the most global criminal network of them all.

Teach Yourself

Political Philosophy: A Complete Introduction: Teach Yourself

Phil Parvin, Clare Chambers
Authors:
Phil Parvin, Clare Chambers

Written by Phil Parvin and Clare Chambers, who are current political philosophy lecturers and leading researchers, Political Philosophy - The Essentials is designed to give you everything you need to succeed, all in one place. It covers the key areas that students are expected to be confident in, outlining the basics in clear jargon-free English, and then providing added-value features like summaries of key thinkers, and even lists of questions you might be asked in your seminar or exam. The book's structure follows that of most university courses on political philosophy, by looking at the essential concepts within political philosophy (freedom, equality, power, democracy, rights, the state, political obligation), and then looking at the ways in which piolitical philosophers have used these fundamental concepts in order to tackle a range of normative political questions such as whether the state has a responsibility to alleviate inequalities, and what interest liberal and demovratic states should take in the cultural or religious beliefs of citizens. Teach Yourself titles employ the 'Breakthrough method', which is designed specifically to overcome problems that students face. - Problem: 'I find it difficult to remember what I've read.'; Solution: this book includes end-of-chapter questions and summaries, - Problem: 'Most books mention important other sources, but I can never find them in time.'; Solution: this book includes key texts and case studies are summarised, complete with fully referenced quotes ready to use in your essay or exam. - Problem: 'Lots of introductory books turn out to cover totally different topics than my course.'; Solution: this book is written by a current university lecturer who understands what students are expected to know.

Hodder & Stoughton

Essential Political Philosophy: Flash

Mel Thompson
Authors:
Mel Thompson

The books in this bite-sized new series contain no complicated techniques or tricky materials, making them ideal for the busy, the time-pressured or the merely curious. Essential Political Philosophy is a short, simple and to-the-point guide to political philosophy. In just 96 pages, the reader will discover all the key ideas, from altruism to utilitarianism. Ideal for the busy, the time-pressured or the merely curious, Essential Political Philosophy is a quick, no-effort way to break into this fascinating topic.

Teach Yourself

Understand Political Philosophy: Teach Yourself

Mel Thompson
Authors:
Mel Thompson
Hodder & Stoughton

In God We Doubt

John Humphrys
Authors:
John Humphrys

'All the erudition and pithy wit you would expect from Humphrys, but there is also a charming, genuine enquiry that shines through' MAIL ON SUNDAY* * * * * *Bestselling author, radio presenter and national treasure John Humphrys tackles the big question of God through his own personal journey and argues that doubt is the only credible belief. Throughout the ages believers have been persecuted - usually for believing in the "wrong" God. So have non-believers who have denied the existence of God as superstitious rubbish. Today it is the agnostics who are given a hard time. They are scorned by believers for their failure to find faith and by atheists for being hopelessly wishy-washy and weak-minded. But John Humphrys is proud to count himself among their ranks. In this book he takes us along the spiritual road he himself has travelled. He was brought up a Christian and prayed every day of his life until his growing doubts finally began to overwhelm his faith. As one of the nation's most popular and respected broadcasters, he had the rare opportunity in 2006 of challenging leaders of our three main religions to prove to him that God does exist. The Radio Four interviews - Humphrys In Search of God - provoked the biggest response to anything he has done in half a century of journalism. The interviews and the massive reaction from listeners had a profound effect on him - but not in the way he expected. Doubt is not the easy option. But for the millions who can find no easy answers to the most profound questions it is the only possible one.

John Humphrys

John Humphrys has reported from all over the world for the BBC and presented its frontline news programmes on both radio and television, in a broadcasting career spanning forty years. He has won a string of national awards and been described as a 'national treasure'. He owned a dairy farm for ten years and has homes in Greece and London.

Siri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt's first novel, The Blindfold, was published by Sceptre in 1993. Since then she has published The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, What I Loved, The Sorrows of an American, The Summer Without Men and The Blazing World, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014 and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of the poetry collection Reading To You, and four collections of essays -Yonder, Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting, A Plea for Eros and Living, Thinking, Looking, as well as the memoir The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves. Born in Minnesota, Siri Hustvedt now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has a PhD in English from Columbia University and in 2012 was awarded the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities. She delivered the Schelling Lecture in Aesthetics in Munich in 2010, the Freud Lecture in Vienna in 2011 and the opening keynote at the conference to mark Kierkegaard's 200th anniversary in Copenhagen in 2013, while her latest honorary doctorate is from the University of Gutenburg in Germany. She is also Lecturer in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and has written on art for the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph and several exhibition catalogues.

Tom Butler-Bowdon

Tom Butler-Bowdon is recognised as an expert on personal development literature. His 50 Classics series has been hailed as the definitive guide to the literature of possibility, and has won numerous awards including the Benjamin Franklin Self-Help Award and Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year Award. A graduate of the London School of Economics and the University of Sydney, he lives and works in both the Oxford, UK and Australia. www.butler-bowdon.com

My South Africa

Deon Meyer on the new South Africa

If books are windows on the world,1 crime fiction mostly provides a view of the underbelly and back alleys of cities and countries. This is my only genuine regret writing as an author in this genre. Because the real South Africa, the one that I love so passionately, is very different from the narrow and dim view my books probably allow. It is also quite unlike the one you see in those pessimistic fifteen second television news reports in the UK, Europe or Australia. So let me try and set the record straight. My country is breathtakingly beautiful – from the lush, sub-tropical east coast of Kwazulu-Natal, to the serene semi-desert stretching along the Atlantic in the west (which blooms in inde- scribable colour and splendour in Spring). In between, there’s the magnificence of the Lowveld, the Bushveld, the Highveld, the towering Drakensberg mountains, the aching vastness of the Karoo and the dense silence of the Knysna forests . . . Diversity is everywhere. In the climate (mostly perfect sunshine and balmy weather, but we have extremes too, summer highs of more than 50°C in Upington, and winter lows of -15°C in Sutherland – both in the same Northern Cape province), and in the cities (Durban is an intoxicating fusion of Zulu, Indian and British colonial cultures, Cape Town is a heady mix of Malay, Dutch-Afrikaans and Xhosa, Johannesburg is . . . well, modern African-cosmopolitan, utterly unique, and always exciting). The biodiversity of South Africa is truly astonishing. “With a land surface area of 1.2 million square kilometres representing just 1% of the earth’s total land surface, South Africa boasts six biospheres, and contains almost 10% of the world’s total known bird, fish and plant species, and over 6% of the world’s mammal and reptile species.”2 Of course we are also world-famous for our huge collection of wildlife regions and game parks – both public and private – encompassing every possible landscape from deserts to forests, mountains to coast, teeming with wildlife species, including Africa’s Big Five: Leopard, Lion, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhinoceros.3 But most of all, the diversity is in the people who constitute the Rainbow Nation. Our black ethnic groups include the Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Bapedi, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi and Ndebele.The so-called ‘coloured’ (no, it’s not a derogatory term over here) population is mainly concentrated in the Western Cape region, and come from a combination of ethnic backgrounds including Malay, White, Khoi, San, and Griqua. White South Africans are descendants of Dutch, German, French Huguenots, English and other European and Jewish settlers. And our Indian population came to South Africa as indentured labourers to work in the sugar plantations in the British colony of Natal in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The population of more than fifty million people is made up of African (40.2 million, or 79.5%),White (4.6 million, or 9.0%), Coloured (4.5 million, or 9.0%), and Indian/Asian (1.3 million, or 2.5%). And, having travelled most of the world, I can confidently say, you won’t find friendlier, more hospitable and accommodating people anywhere, irrespective of their race, culture, language or creed. We have nine provinces (Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu- Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West, Free State, and Western Cape) and eleven official languages: Afrikaans (13%), English (8%), isiNdebele (1.6%), isiXhosa (18%), isiZulu (24%), Sesotho sa Leboa (9%), Sesotho (8%), Setswana (8%), siSwati (3%),Tshivenda (2%), and Xitsonga (4%).4 Throw all of this together in a democracy not quite twenty years old (a tempestuous teenager, if ever there was one), and you get an effervescent, energetic, dynamic, and often a little chaotic, melting pot – of cultures, people, views, politics, opinions, and circumstance. After the tragedy and oppression of Apartheid, we are still very much coming to terms with – and are sometimes a little overwhelmed by – all the facets of the freedom-diamond. Which means that we argue incessantly, shout, point fingers, blame, accuse, denounce, complain, and criticize, mostly loudly and publicly, like all enthusiastic democrats should. But when our beloved Bafana-Bafana (the national football team), Springboks (our twice World Cup-winning rugby team) or Proteas (the cricket guys) walk onto the field, we stand united, shoulder to shoulder. And mostly, in our day-to-day-lives, we get along rather well. We increasingly study and work and live and love and socialise together, in great harmony. Of course, we have our problems. Poverty is the major one. “There is a consensus amongst most economic and political analysts that approximately 40% of South Africans are living in poverty – with the poorest 15% in a desperate struggle to survive.” However, we are making steady progress. The percentage of the South African population with access to clean drinking water has increased from 62% in 1994, to 93% in 2011. Access to electricity has increased from 34% in 1994, to 84% in 2011.5 In 2010, 13.5 million South Africans benefited from access to social grants, 8.5 million of whom were children, 3.5 million pensioners and 1.5 million people with disabilities. In 1994, only 2.5 million people had access to social grants, the majority of whom were pensioners. And since 1994, 435 houses have been built every day for the poor.6 And you might have heard about our other challenge – South Africa has a bit of a reputation when it comes to crime. I am most definitely going out on a limb here, but having studied the statistics, and looked at the (often unfair) comparisons over the past five years, I honestly believe we don’t quite deserve it. “. . . in relation to the overall risk of victimisation, South Africans are not much more likely to become victims of crime than people in other parts of the world,” Anthony Altbeker recently wrote in a carefully considered and exhaustively researched contribution to the marvellous Opinion Pieces by South African Thought Leaders.7 To put the matter into further perspective: In the two years leading up to the FIFA World Cup held in South Africa in 2010, almost every British, French and German journalist who interviewed me, asked the same question, more or less: “How big a slaughter is it going to be for fans attending the games?” Some were downright accusatory: “How dare you host this magnificent event in such a hazardous country?” A British tabloid even predicted a ‘machete race war’ waiting for visitors.8 And how many soccer fans died during the tournament? None.9 Furthermore, the attendees who were affected by crime-related incidents represented a very meagre 0.009% of the fans. That is far, far less than, for instance, the crime rate in Wales. When World Cup tourists were asked if they would consider visiting South Africa again, 96% said ‘yes’. As a matter of fact, if you are a tourist from the Northern Hemisphere visiting my beautiful country, your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime is less than 0.67%.10 (Compare this to the fact that “the 2011 British Behaviour Abroad Report published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) noted that the death rate (including murder and natural causes) of Britons in Thailand was forty-one per 100,000 tourists and for those visiting Germany was twenty-four. Tourists from the UK are far safer visiting South Africa”11 – with just 14.6 per 100,000.12) South Africa’s murder rate dropped by 6.5% in 2010-2011, attempted murder by 12.2%, robbery with aggravating circumstances was down by 12%, and house robberies by 10%.13 Our police services are slowly but surely turning the tide. We struggle with inadequate service delivery, our politicians don’t always live up to our expectations, and our unemployment rate is too high. But our economy is robust, and easily out-performs first-world countries like Greece (no surprise there), Italy, and Spain. South African Tax Revenue has increased from R100 billion in 1994 to R640 billion in 2010. Our debt to GDP ratio is 32% (USA 100%, Japan 200%, UK 90%). (The World Bank recommends a ratio of 60%.) And we are ranked first out of 142 countries in respect of regulation of security exchanges by the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12.14 According to the Open Budget Index, South Africa has the most transparent budget in the world. We are the only African country that is a member of the G20. In the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Survey of Democratic Freedom, South Africa ranks 31st out of 184 countries. And according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2010/11, South Africa has the 34th most efficient government out of the 139 countries ranked.15 The number of tourists visiting South Africa has grown from 3.9 million in 1994 to 11.3 million in 2010. South Africa is ranked among the top five countries in the world in respect of tourism growth (growing at three times the global average).16 I could go on. South Africa’s learner-to-teacher ratio improved from 1:50 in 1994 to 1:31 in 2010. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12, South Africa is ranked 13th out of 142 countries for its quality of management schools. 61% of South African primary school children and 30% of high school children receive free meals as part of the school feeding scheme.17 But none of these facts and figures, as inspiring as they are, will reveal the real reason why I am so unwaveringly optimistic about my country’s future. It is one of the major reasons for the peaceful transition miracle of 1994, it is something woven into the texture of everyday South African life, hidden from the fleeting eyes of foreign journalists on a flying visit, mostly talking only to important folks: The goodwill of ordinary people. Every day, in cities, towns, and tiny villages, small acts of kindness happen between human beings. Individuals who extend a helping hand across racial, cultural, political and linguistic divides, who extend friendship and kindness and empathy. I have been witnessing this for more than forty years, and I absolutely believe it is this goodwill that will carry us through, no matter how challenging the future may be. 1 “Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. They are engines of change, windows on the world, lighthouses erected in the sea of time.” - Barbara W. Tuchman, American popular historian and author, 1912-1989. 2 http://www.bcb.uwc.ac.za/envfacts/facts/biosa.htm 3 http://www.sa-venues.com/game_lodges_nationwide_south_afr.htm
 4 http://www.safrica.info/about/facts.htm (percentages rounded off)
 5 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/fast_facts_and_quick_stats/index.html
 6 Ibid. 7 Penguin, 2011. p. 47.
 8 http://www.dailystar.co.uk/posts/view/129402/WORLD-CUP-MACHETE- THREAT/
 9 http://www.truecrimexpo.co.za/
 10 http://www.info.gov.za/issues/crime/crime_aprsept_ppt.pdf
 11 http://www.issafrica.org/iss_today.php?ID=1394
 12 Ibid.
 13 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/crime/crime_statistics_show_drop_in_ murder_rate.html
 14 http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/fast_facts_and_quick_stats/index.html 15 Ibid.
 16 Ibid. 17 Ibid.

Extract

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