Each calendar year a number of titles are purchased through the Thomas T. & Eleanor C. Lyons Library Fund. This is the list of titles purchased during the 2017-2018 Academic year.
Established in 2000 by members of the Class of 1968 in honor of Thomas T. Lyons, instructor in history from 1963 to 1999, and his wife, Eleanor C. Lyons, to support Oliver Wendell Holmes Library acquisitions, with a preference for American and European History and teaching.
In addition the following electronic resources are supported: Ancient Mesoamerica Online and Bibliotheca.
Catherine de Medici : Renaissance queen of France
Summary:From the Publisher : Poisoner, besotted mother, despot, necromancer, engineer of a massacre: the stain on the name of Catherine de Medici is centuries old. In this critically hailed biography, Leonie Frieda reclaims the story of this unjustly maligned queen of France to reveal a skilled ruler battling against extraordinary political and personal odds. Orphaned in infancy, imprisoned in childhood, heiress to an ancient name and vast fortune, Catherine de Medici was brought up in Florence, a city dominated by her ruling family. At age fourteen, the Italian-born young woman became a French princess in a magnificent alliance arranged by her uncle the pope to Henry, son of King Francis I of France. She suffered cruelly as her new husband became bewitched by the superbly elegant Diane de Poitiers. Henry’s influential and lifelong mistress wisely sent her lover to sleep with Catherine, and after an agonizingly childless decade when she saw popular resentment build against her, she conceived the first of ten children. Slowly Catherine made the court her own: she transformed the cultural life of France, importing much of what we now think of as typically Frenchcuisine, art, music, fashionfrom Italy, cradle of the Renaissance. In a freak jousting accident in 1559, a wooden splinter fatally pierced Henry’s eye. Hitherto sidelined, Catherine found herself suddenly thrust into the maelstrom of French power politics, for which she soon discovered she had inherited a natural gift. A contemporary and sometime ally of Elizabeth I of England, Catherine learned to become both a superb strategist and ruthless conspirator. During the rise of Protestantism, her attempts at religious tolerance were constantly foiled, and France was driven by endemic civil wars. Although history has always laid the blame for the infamous St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre by a Catholic mob of thousands of French Protestants at Catherine’s door, Leonie Frieda presents a powerful case for Catherine’s defense. This courageous queen’s fatal flaw was a blind devotion to her sickly and corrupt children, three of whom would become kings of France. Despite their weaknesses, Catherine’s indomitable fight to protect the throne and their birthright ensured the survival of the French monarchy for a further two hundred years after her death, until it was swept away by the French Revolution. Leonie Frieda has returned to original sources and reread the thousands of letters left by Catherine, and she has reinvested this protean figure with humanity. The first biography of Catherine in decades, it reveals her to be one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown.
The ancient Maya : new perspectives
Summary:Temples lost in the rainforest. Strange inscriptions and ritual bloodletting. Such are the images popularly associated with the ancient Maya of Central America. But who really were the people of this lost civilization? How and why did their culture achieve regional dominance? Could such pressing contemporary problems as climate change and environmental degradation hold the key to the collapse of Maya civilization? Of interest to scholars and general readers alike, The Ancient Maya brings the controversies that have divided experts on the ancient Maya to a wider audience. Heather McKillop examines the debates concerning Mayan hieroglyphs, the Maya economy, and the conflicting theories behind the enigmatic collapse of the Maya civilization. The most readable and accessible work in the field, this book brings the general reader up to date with the latest archaeological evidence.
My country, my life : fighting for Israel, searching for peace
Summary:"The definitive memoir of one of Israel’s most influential soldier-statesmen and one-time Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, with insights into forging peace in the Middle East. In the summer of 2000, the most decorated soldier in Israel’s history–Ehud Barak–set himself a challenge as daunting as any he had faced on the battlefield: to secure a final peace with the Palestinians. He would propose two states for two peoples, with a shared capital in Jerusalem. He knew the risks of failure. But he also knew the risks of not trying: letting slip perhaps the last chance for a generation to secure genuine peace. It was a moment of truth. It was one of many in a life intertwined, from the start, with that of Israel. Born on a kibbutz, Barak became commander of Israel’s elite special forces, then army Chief of Staff, and ultimately, Prime Minister. My Country, My Life tells the unvarnished story of his–and his country’s–first seven decades; of its major successes, but also its setbacks and misjudgments. He offers candid assessments of his fellow Israeli politicians, of the American administrations with which he worked, and of himself. Drawing on his experiences as a military and political leader, he sounds a powerful warning: Israel is at a crossroads, threatened by events beyond its borders and by divisions within. The two-state solution is more urgent than ever, not just for the Palestinians, but for the existential interests of Israel itself. Only by rediscovering the twin pillars on which it was built–military strength and moral purpose–can Israel thrive"–
The age of revolution : Europe 1789-1848
Summary:Hobsbawn traces the transformation brought about in every sphere of European life by the Dual Revolution – the 1789 French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution that originated in Britain.
Beijing : from imperial capital to Olympic city
Revolutions and revolutionary movements
Summary:With crucial insights and indispensable information concerning modern-day political upheavals, this work provides a representative cross section of the most significant revolutions of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The fifth edition is revised and updated with a new chapter on the Arab Revolution from its beginning in December 2010 to the present. In this widely used text, students can trace the historical development of eleven revolutions using a five-factor analytical framework. Here the author clearly explains all relevant concepts and events, the roles of key leaders, and the interrelation of each revolutionary movement with international economic and political developments and conflicts, including World Wars I and II, the Cold War, and the War on Terror. Student resources include multiple orienting maps, summary and analysis sections, suggested readings, chronologies, and documentary resources. — Provided by publisher.
Revolutions : a very short introduction
Summary:"This volume places recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan to Tunisia and Egypt in historical context. It provides a history of revolutions and insurgencies, an introduction to the way social scientists think about the causes and outcomes of revolutions, and an explanation of their significance in historical and political change. Jack A. Goldstone begins with a brief history of revolutions and insurgencies, from the revolutions that brought democracy to Greek city-states and led to the founding of Rome through the major peasant revolts of the Middle Ages in Europe and China, and the Independence revolts in the Americas. He also touches upon the insurgencies in Latin America (Zapatistas and FARC) and Asia (in Malaysia and the Philippines), whose failure is instructive in understanding why revolts succeed or fail. The book then discusses types of revolutions and their causes; the radical social revolutions in France, Russia, and China; the revolutions for independence in India and Algeria; revolutions against dictators in Mexico, Cuba, and Iran; and the so-called color revolutions in Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, and Georgia. Goldstone considers some of the key revolutionary leaders of history where they came from, what inspired them, and how they changed their societies. A chapter on insurgency and counter-insurgency covers Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally, Goldstone grapples with the outcomes of revolutions: whether they are associated with the rise of freedom and democracy, devastating ideological dictatorships, or something inconclusive. He examines the historical legacies of revolutions, in the areas of freedom, economic growth, women’s rights, and minority rights. Revolutions have succeeded enough to feed dreams of freedom, but failed often enough to prompt caution"–,"From 1789 in France to 2011 in Cairo, revolutions have shaken the world. In their pursuit of social justice, revolutionaries have taken on the assembled might of monarchies, empires, and dictatorships. They have often, though not always, sparked cataclysmic violence, and have at times won miraculous victories, though at other times suffered devastating defeat. This Very Short Introduction illuminates the revolutionaries, their strategies, their successes and failures, and the ways in which revolutions continue to dominate world events and the popular imagination. Starting with the city-states of ancient Greece and Rome, Jack Goldstone traces the development of revolutions through the Renaissance and Reformation, the Enlightenment and liberal constitutional revolutions such as in America, and their opposite–the communist revolutions of the 20th century. He shows how revolutions overturned dictators in Nicaragua and Iran and brought the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and examines the new wave of non-violent "color" revolutions-the Philippines’ Yellow Revolution, Ukraine’s Orange Revolution–and the Arab Uprisings of 2011-12 that rocked the Middle East. Goldstone also sheds light on the major theories of revolution, exploring the causes of revolutionary waves, the role of revolutionary leaders, the strategies and processes of revolutionary change, and the intersection between revolutions and shifting patterns of global power. Finally, the author examines the reasons for diverse revolutionary outcomes, from democracy to civil war and authoritarian rule, and the likely future of revolution in years to come. About the Series: Oxford’s Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects–from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative–yet always balanced and complete–discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable"–
117 days : an account of confinement and interrogation under the South African 90-day detention law
Summary:An invaluable testimonial of the excesses of the apartheid system, 117 Days presents the harrowing chronicle of journalist Ruth First’s isolation and abuse at the hands of South African interrogators after her arrest in 1963. Upon her arrest, she was detained in solitary confinement under South Africa’s notorious ninety-day detention law. This is the story of the war of nerves that ensued between First and her Special Branch captors-a work that remains a classic portrait of oppression and the dignity of the human spirit.