Book shelf

Book shelf

Explore a selection of publications by alumni and academics, and books with a link to the University or Cambridge

To have your book considered for inclusion, please submit your publication's details

Please note: to have your book considered for inclusion, its publication date must be either upcoming or it must have been published during the last 12 months. Unfortunately, we cannot include any details of books published prior to this time.

Image (cropped) by Jessica Ruscello under CC0 1.0 licence

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Adrian Hon (Trinity 2000)

How games are being harnessed as instruments of exploitation - and what we can do about it. Warehouse workers pack boxes while a virtual dragon races across their screen. If they beat their colleagues, they get an award. If not, they can be fired. Uber presents exhausted drivers with challenges to keep them driving. China scores its citizens so they behave well, and games with in-app purchases use achievements to empty your wallet.

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Jeremy Hudson (Christ's 1973)

Christian converts of the second century CE - writing a century or so after the death of Jesus - engaged in debates with non-Christians educated in classical Graeco-Roman culture, seeking to persuade them of the truth of Christianity. This book shows how they used the ancient Jewish Scriptures (what we call the Old Testament) in their arguments, even though their audiences were unfamiliar with those texts.

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Phillip R Brown (St John's 1972)

Diary of the Last Man is a fictional diary written by an anonymous 'patient' whom is undergoing compulsory experimental trials designed to discover a vaccine to combat a virus, known as the Omega Strain, which is quickly decimating the entire human race. Kept in solitary confinement and under close surveillance, he is permitted to make diary entries in the hope that they may shed light on the cerebral effects of the experimental 'medication' to which he is subjected.

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Philip G Cohen (Peterhouse 1972)

This time-bending novel of Cambridge life breaks all the rules. It's a coming-of-age story in the Cambridge of Aleister Crowley. Like many other books, this book is about a journey. But unlike other books, the destination of the journey is the point where the parallel lines meet. The narrator is locked inside the book. The only way he can get out of it is by persuading one of the other characters in the book to finish off the writing process for him. But before he can do this, he has to make a journey.

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Richard G Derwent (Queens' 1965)

This book identifies four key forms of air pollution: indoor, urban, regional and global. It discusses how these four types of pollution are manifest in today’s society and examines the scientific and policy challenges that stand in the way of progress. Written in a style that balances scientific underpinnings with accessible language, the authors examine the sources and historical context of air pollutants, before dedicating a chapter to each of the key forms.

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Ruth Evans (ed.) (St Catharine's 1981)

In the late 1950’s Bill and Win emerged into adult life from a society ravaged by World War Two. They met at Durham University and fell in love. Together they longed for a faith that would guide them, in their love for one another, from the shadows of the past into a more secure future. They came from very different backgrounds and they had acquired spiritual hopes and queries without certainties. Moved and intrigued by Jesus of Nazareth, neither of them claimed to truly know who He was or to understand Him. Without finding an answer, they got married.

Zulu mask with abstract red impression of a figure holding a sword and spear
Gareth Williams (Queens' 1984)

Serving Shaka is a dramatic evocation of Zulu nation building, immersing the reader in vivid battle scenes, poignant relationships and tense political machinations. Having masterminded Napoleon Bonaparte's escape from St Helena with his friend Emile Beraud in Needing Napoleon, history teacher Richard Davey now finds himself stranded on the African coast. Richard and Emile encounter Shaka Zulu, a leader even more ruthless and ambitious than the former French emperor.

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Barbara Brend (Newnham 1959)

An illustrated reference book for students and scholars of Persian art, poetry, and literature. With this book, Barbara Brend provides thorough consideration of two celebrated Persian manuscripts housed in the British Library. These two copies of the Khamsah (Quintet) a set of five narrative poems by twelfth-century poet Nizami, a master of allegorical poetry in Persian literature, were produced in Herat in the fifteenth century, one of the greatest periods of Persian painting. Although well known, the manuscripts have never before been written about in relation to each other.

Front cover showing an abstract illustration of a crab in an orange circle on a white background
Robin Hesketh (Selwyn 1978)

One in two of us will develop cancer at some point in our lives, and yet many of us don't understand how cancers arise. How many different kinds of cancer are there? What treatments are available? What does the future hold in terms of developing new therapies? This book demystifies cancer by explaining the underlying cell and molecular biology in a clear and accessible style. It answers the questions commonly asked about cancer such as what causes cancer and how cancer develops. It explains how DNA makes proteins and how mutations can corrupt those proteins.

Front cover showing a painting of pupils talking to a teacher under a tree in a playground
Michael Aubrey (Clare 1961)

In Is That Really True, Sir?, the artist, barrister, schoolmaster, musician, journalist and explorer Michael Aubrey negotiates a succession of improbable events and narrow escapes. Starting with a vivid account of his wartime childhood, Aubrey shares the joys, hazards, surprises and often hilarious disasters of his colourful experiences in many countries, encountering a range of unusual people along the way. With a comic lightness of touch, he revels in life's absurdities at the same time as celebrating the beauty and harmony of the various worlds which he has inhabited.

Front cover showing the book title on a colourful image of space
Trevor Rollings (Trinity 1969)

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? These questions form the title of an 1897 painting by the French artist Paul Gauguin. He knew he was pushing the limits of human knowledge by asking them. He also knew they are not new questions. Our ancestors began to ask them on the African savannah. The Roman poet Lucretius posed them in his long poem On the Nature of Things, written just before the Christian era. He sought natural explanations for the behaviour of matter, without recourse to gods. But he also knew that the world we see is largely a creation of our mind.

Front cover showing a photo of two men and a woman having a discussion over an open oven.
Laura Carter (Trinity Hall 2008)

Histories of Everyday Life is a study of the production and consumption of popular social history in mid-twentieth-century Britain. It traces how non-academic historians, many of them women, developed a new breed of social history after the First World War, identified as the ‘history of everyday life’. The ‘history of everyday life’ was a pedagogical construct based on the perceived educational needs of the new, mass democracy. It was popularized to ordinary people in educational settings, through books, in classrooms and museums, and on BBC radio.

Front cover showing an abstract map of Ohio in blue, with the title and author in red
Kevin R. Cox (Downing 1958)

All cities are different, but some are more different than others. American cities are in sharp contrast to those of Western Europe, not least the sprawl. But in the US itself, there is a staggering variety, albeit with some continuities: how to understand cities at that particular intersection? Columbus is a latecomer in American urban history; one of only two rapidly growing cities in the country’s northeast quadrant. It is more like a Sunbelt city in its enhanced sprawl and post-industrial character, so those general characteristics help in understanding.

Plain yellow cover with the title and author's name written.
John Ramsden (Trinity 1969)

Shelley called poets, ‘the unacknowledged legislators of the world’. John Ramsden’s new book, The Poets Guide to Economics describes their now largely forgotten contribution to economics. Concise and witty, the book takes eleven poets – a chapter each – and describes their economic ideas putting them in context. Extracts from the originals allow these great writers to speak for themselves. The tone is by turns eloquent, outraged, elegiac and amused, as we explore the surprisingly fruitful encounter of two very different worlds.

Front cover showing a rocky coastline, two birds, and some flora.
Roger White (Clare 1957)

This is a walking guide to short, long and circular walks at 16 of the best wildlife sites in the Kingsbridge area in Devon, south-west England. There are colour maps and photographs of the sites, and of some of the birds, wildflowers and butterflies that can be seen. Details of access include car parking and GPS.

Front cover showing an abstract blue bird and a sun in the top left corner on a plain white background.
Simon B N Thompson (Darwin 2018)

Blue Monday by Simon B N Thompson is a fictitious account of a boy growing up in fast-changing 1970s Coventry. It is humorous and thought-provoking, taking a route via loves and losses and family caravanning. Battling constantly with a pressurizing father, loving mother and older brother who struggles to lead the way. He shows the city through his eyes, meeting his first girlfriend and making the best of caravanning. A troublesome parental marriage is underlying with constant academic pressure by his father.

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Yangyang Hou (Queens' 2000)

24 works of masters broken down into detailed steps with YouTube videos so you can make your own version at home. On December 21 2020, instead of Santa, we got Lockdown II in London. Looking at the grey British sky outside, anyone who has a 3 year old and two 65 year olds all together would know how dark this winter would be. Crying solved nothing, so I decided to take things the positive way and launched a little project of “One Painting a Day Keeps Depression Away”.

Front cover displaying the title of the book and a portion of a manuscript
Jonathan H Dowson (Queens' 1960)

Queens' College, part of the University of Cambridge, was founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou, wife of the inept and ill-fated Henry VI. The first of its 40 Presidents to date was Andrew Doket, an ambitious Catholic priest, while the latest, the eminent economist Dr Mohamed El-Erian, was installed in 2020, in the midst of the Covid pandemic. This account traces the history of the College through the lives and times of each of the 40 Presidents in chronological order.

Front cover showing a cityscape at dusk, with mountains on the right and a lit up city on the left
Mark Vanhoenacker (Selwyn 1996)

A love letter to the cities of the world, from the bestselling pilot-author of Skyfaring. Growing up in his small hometown, Mark Vanhoenacker spun the illuminated globe in his bedroom and dreamt of elsewhere - of distant, real cities, and a perfect metropolis that existed only in his imagination. These places were sources of endless fascination and escape: streets unspooled, towers shone, and anonymous crowds bustled in cities where Mark could be anyone - perhaps even himself.

Front cover with a Sloth in a tree
Alison Richard (Newnham 1966)

Alison Richard has been immersed in research and conservation on Madagascar for nearly fifty years. Weaving together scientific evidence with her own experiences, and exploring the power of stories to shape our understanding of events, she captures the magic as well as the tensions that swirl around this island nation. ‘Full of wonder and forensic intelligence, The Sloth Lemur’s Song is a love song to the astonishing evolution of Madagascar.’ - Isabella Tree, author of Wilding.