The Complete Roman Legions by Nigel Pollard and Joanne Berry, Thames & Hudson '12, in oversized format on glossy stock, $39.95, 240 pages, ASIN #0500251835. Index, further reading, glossary, chronology, scores of b&w and color glossy images.
The authors have prepared a spectacular coffee table-sized volume, featuring every Roman legion guarding the Empire for nearly a half-millenium. It seems that American troops have been fighting its nation's wars for eons, yet that span is only half that of the Roman legions.
Gathered in one volume are units which "took part in great victories as those that were disastrously defeated, such as the three legions wiped out in the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9". The text is divided into three sections: Part 1 -- The Legions in the Republican Period; Part II -- The Legions in the Imperial Age; and Part III -- The Legions in Late Antiguity."
"Full accounts are given of Roman army reforms, legionary equipment, battle tactics and the legionaries as builders and engineers....Data files on each legion and detailed box features on major sites and events add depth to the main discussion." And if that isn't enough, the book is packed with 212 illustrations, of which 204 are in color.
Co-authors Nigel Pollard and Joanne Berry both lecture in Roman history and archaeology at Swansea University.
China's Search for Security by Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell, Columbia UP '12, $32.95, 406 pages, ASIN #0231140509. Index, notes, no bibliography or illustrations.
From the book jacket:
"Despite its impressive size and population, economic vitality, and drive to upgrade its military, China remains a vulnerable nation surrounded by powerful rivals and potential foes. Understanding China's foreign policy means fully appreciating these geostrategic challenges, which persist even as the country gains increasing inflluence over its neighbors.
"Andrew J. Nathan and Andrew Scobell analyze China's security concerns on four fronts: at home, with its immediate neighbors, in surrounding regional systems, and in the world beyond Asia. By illuminating the issues driving Chinese policy, they offer a new perspective on the country's rise and a strategy for balancing Chinese and American interests in Asia."
The authors have divided their narrative into five sections: Part I -- Interest and Identity in Chinese Foreign Policy, Part II -- Security Challenges and Strategies, Part III -- Holding Together: Territorial Integrity and Foreign Policy, Part IV -- Instruments of Power; and Part V -- Conclusion.
Co-author Andrew J. Nathan is Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. He has written several previous books on China and Asia. Co-author Andrew Scobell is senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He has written two previous books about China and has edited more than a dozen books on the Chinese military and Asian security.
The Art of Philosophy -- Wisdom as a Practice by Peter Sloterdijk, Columbia UP '12, 107 pages, ASIN #0231158718. Name index, notes, unillustrated.
From the back cover:
"In his best-selling book You Must Change Your Life, Peter Sloterdijk argued exercise and practice were critical to the human condition. In The Art of Philosophy, he extends this critique to academic science and scholarship, casting the training processes of academic study as key to the production of sophisticated thought.
"Sloterdijk begins with Plato's description of Socrates, whose internal monologues were so absorbing they often rooted the philospher in place. The original academy, Sloterdijk argues, taught scholars to lose themselves in thought, and today's universities continue this tradition by offering scope for Plato's 'accommodations for absences." By training scholars to practice thinking as an occupation transcending daily time and space, universities create the environment in which thought makes wisdom possible.
"Traversing the history of asceticism, the concept of suspended animation, and the theory of the neutral observer, Sloterdijk traces the evolution of philosophical practice from ancient times to today, showing how scholars can remain true to the tradition of 'the examined life' even when the temporal dimension no longer corresponds to the eternal. Building on the work of Husserl, Heidegger, Nietzsche, Arendt, and other practitioners of the life of theory, Sloterdijk launches a posthumanist defense of philosophical inquiry and its everyday, therapeutic value."
Author Peter Sloterdijk teaches aesthetics and philosophy at the Institute of Design in Karlsruhe and teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Translator Karen Margolis is a writer and translator living in Berlin.