Thursday, February 16, 2012
New and Recent Titles
1) Figes, Orlando. The Crimean War: A History. 2012. Picador. Paperback: 575 pages. Price: $22.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: The Charge of the Light Brigade, Florence Nightingale—these are the enduring icons of the Crimean War. Less well-known is that this savage war (1853-1856) killed almost a million soldiers and countless civilians; that it enmeshed four great empires—the British, French, Turkish, and Russian—in a battle over religion as well as territory; that it fixed the fault lines between Russia and the West; that it set in motion the conflicts that would dominate the century to come.
In this masterly history, Orlando Figes reconstructs the first full conflagration of modernity, a global industrialized struggle fought with unusual ferocity and incompetence. Drawing on untapped Russian and Ottoman as well as European sources, Figes vividly depicts the world at war, from the palaces of St. Petersburg to the holy sites of Jerusalem; from the young Tolstoy reporting in Sevastopol to Tsar Nicolas, haunted by dreams of religious salvation; from the ordinary soldiers and nurses on the battlefields to the women and children in towns under siege..
Original, magisterial, alive with voices of the time, The Crimean War is a historical tour de force whose depiction of ethnic cleansing and the West's relations with the Muslim world resonates with contemporary overtones. At once a rigorous, original study and a sweeping, panoramic narrative, The Crimean War is the definitive account of the war that mapped the terrain for today's world.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in European/Russian and/or military history.
2) Van Nieuwenhuyse, Dries et al.. The Little Owl: Conservation, Ecology, and Behavior of Athene noctua. 2011. Cambridge University Press. Paperback: 574 pages. Price: $39.99 U.S.
SUMMARY: Our understanding of the basic biology of owls is poor compared to that of other bird species. The Little Owl, Athene noctua, has become one of the best models for biological and conservation research, due to its commonness and the fact that it occupies nest-boxes very easily. In this unique book the authors synthesise the substantial literature, and detail current information regarding the Little Owl. They discuss its wide-ranging ecology, genetics and subspecies and population status by country. In addition, they outline a strategy and monitoring program for its conservation. The book features an outstanding bibliography of literature on the Little Owl, listing publications dated from 1769 to 2007, in many languages, including Russian, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch. Whilst being an invaluable resource for academic researchers, its straightforward style holds undoubted appeal for amateurs and enthusiasts.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those with an interest in the Little Owl or in owls in general.