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Book shelf

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

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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.

Front cover, a patchwork of paintings by different great masters.
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.  

Front cover showing half of a female face with one eye showing, on a broken-glass style abstract pattern in orange and green
Tracy Darnton (Jesus 1986)

Shared family holidays at Creek House have been the backdrop to Millie's summers since forever. Hanging out with the other kids - Matt, Charlie, Jem and her best friend Kat - has made it her favourite time of the year. But this holiday things are different - the childhood games that once filled their days have lost their appeal to everyone except Millie. It's not until the final night that the others agree to a game of hide and seek. But in the time it takes Millie to count to twenty, Kat vanishes.

Title on a background of books open with pages splayed on a crimson backdrop.
C.J.S. Hayward (St Edmund's 2002)

It's a good feeling being a big fish in a small pond. How proud! How strong! It's a bit of a different feeling being a shark in an inflatable wading pool. This book is written to address the special needs of how to live with society when, in the words of one psychologist, "The average Harvard PhD has never met someone as talented as you," with corresponding inappropriate behavior by teachers. It offers a collection of wisdom literature gathered together in one anthology, and it offers insight for people who are interested in looking into the world of the profoundly gifted.

Half the front cover is a closeup of a pin stripe suit, the other half is an abstract patchwork of green, red and yellow
James Farwell (Trinity 1971)

To succeed as a corporate leader and strategist, you’re constantly facing life-or-death business wars. In the battleground of competitive business, there’s no better way to learn winning survival and growth strategies than from victorious, front-line military leaders! The Corporate Warrior: Lessons From Military Leaders to Win Your Business Battles provides you with powerful, direct, actionable strategies.

Front cover showing the chapel of King's College Cambridge from the backs at dusk
James Hayes (Homerton 2017)

Drugs, sex, and violence. Not the typical lifestyle of a Cambridge University student, but then again, Harry isn’t a typical student. As a hyper-intelligent finalist, Harry thrives in an academic environment and bottles away his wild lifestyle for the good of his degree. But what happens when the pressures of Cambridge get too much for Harry, and he succumbs to temptations? Harry starts falling down a slippery slope into a life of debauchery, from which he can’t escape. He lusts over a fresher, Elizabeth, who already has a boyfriend. Harry is determined to win her. But at what cost?

Front cover showing two cartoon figures on a colourful background showing a tree on a hill
Abbie Greaves (Pembroke 2011)

For the last seven years, Mary O'Connor has waited for her first love. Every evening she arrives at Ealing Broadway station and stands with a sign which simply says: 'Come Home Jim'. Commuters might pass her by without a second thought, but Mary isn't going anywhere. Until an unexpected call turns her world on its head. It will take the help of a young journalist called Alice, and a journey across the country for Mary to face what happened all those years ago, and to finally answer the question: where on earth is Jim?

Front cover showing a man in a face mask in a protest doing the Black Lives Matter fist signal
Thomas J. Sugrue (King's 1984)

Some years—1789, 1929, 1989—change the world suddenly. Or do they? In 2020, a pandemic converged with an economic collapse, inequalities exploded, and institutions weakened. Yet these crises sprang not from new risks but from known dangers. The world—like many patients—met 2020 with a host of preexisting conditions, which together tilted the odds toward disaster. Perhaps 2020 wasn’t the year the world changed; perhaps it was simply the moment the world finally understood its deadly diagnosis.

Front cover depicting a painting of a road leading to the horizon in orange, red and yellow colours
Rebecca Lowe (Emmanuel 2000)

One woman, one bike and one richly entertaining, perception-altering journey of discovery. In 2015, as the Syrian War raged and the refugee crisis reached its peak, Rebecca Lowe set off on her bicycle across the Middle East. Driven by a desire to learn more about this troubled region and its relationship with the West, Lowe's 11,000-kilometre journey took her through Europe to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Sudan, the Gulf and finally to Iran.

Front cover showing the White House in a circle, made to look like a coronavirus.
Danielle Allen (King's 1993)

From Danielle Allen—Harvard professor, leading political thinker, and candidate for the Governor of Massachusetts—an invaluable playbook for meeting our current moment and a stirring reflection on the future of democracy itself. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated some of the strengths of our society, including the rapid development of vaccines.


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