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BOOKS
HISTORY

1.
Barbara D. Metcalf
A Concise History of Modern India

In a second edition of their successful Concise History of Modern India, Barbara Metcalf and Thomas Metcalf explore India’s modern history afresh and update the events of the last decade. These include the takeover of Congress from the seemingly entrenched Hindu nationalist party in 2004, India’s huge advances in technology and the country’s new role as a major player in world affairs.

2.
Kriston R. Rennie
The Foundations of Medieval Papal Legation

As the pope’s alter ego, the medieval papal legate was the crucial connecting link between Rome and the Christian provinces. Commissioned with varying degrees of papal authority and jurisdiction, these hand-picked representatives of the Roman Church were nothing less than the administrative, legal, and institutional embodiment of papal justice, diplomacy, government, and law during the Middle Ages. By examining the origins and development of this ecclesiastical office in the early Middle Ages, this book defines the papacy’s early contribution to medieval European law and society.

Presenting a pioneering inquiry into the field, The Foundations of Medieval Papal Legation demonstrates the growth of papal government and its increasing reliance on representation beyond Rome, explaining how this centralized position was achieved over time, going further to legitimize the papacy’s burgeoning need for increased supervision, mediation, and communication throughout western Christendom. In so doing, it contributes to a wider administrative, legal, and institutional understanding of papal government in early medieval Europe as a whole.

3.
Loch K. Johnson
America’s Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society

How should we define the role of secret agencies in a democratic society? Can a balance be struck between civil liberties and national security? These are questions addressed in Loch Johnson’s book, an overview of the CIA and its activities in American affairs, both domestic and foreign.

4.
Medieval Ships and Shipping

During the Middle Ages in Europe, water transport was of vital importance, on inland waterways, along the coast and overseas. Archaeological discoveries made over the last few years are providing new insights into medieval ships and shipping. The great expansion in shipping activity during the medieval period was matched by rapid developments in technology and accompanied by the growth of seaports.This comprehensive new synthesis examines the maritime scene from a British perspective, and sets the evidence provided by the material remains into its social and economic context.

5.
Scott H. Hendrix
Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer

The sixteenth-century German friar whose public conflict with the medieval Roman Church triggered the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther was neither an unblemished saint nor a single-minded religious zealot according to this provocative new biography by Scott Hendrix. The author presents Luther as a man of his time: a highly educated scholar and teacher and a gifted yet flawed human being driven by an optimistic yet ultimately unrealized vision of “true religion.”

This bold, insightful account of the life of Martin Luther provides a new perspective on one of the most important religious figures in history, focusing on Luther’s entire life, his personal relationships and political motivations, rather than on his theology alone. Relying on the latest research and quoting extensively from Luther’s correspondence, Hendrix paints a richly detailed portrait of an extraordinary man who, while devout and courageous, had a dark side as well. No recent biography in English explores as fully the life and work of Martin Luther long before and far beyond the controversial posting of his 95 Theses in 1517, an event that will soon be celebrated as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

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