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Banking on Small Business

Microfinance in Contemporary Russia

How do you prime the well of economic growth? First, put a negligible amount of money into exactly the right hands. Then, step back. A vibrant and rapidly expanding national economy needs an active small business sector, but small entrepreneurs need loans to expand their businesses. Microfinance also has potential to be an engine of economic growth, although this prospect has been overshadowed by its image as a tool for alleviating poverty.

In Banking on Small Business, Gail Buyske analyzes three themes in economic development: the global growth of microfinance, banking sector development, and Russian entrepreneurship. These three themes intersect at KMB, the Russian Small Business Bank, where Buyske chaired the board of directors for six years. This book is in part an account of KMB's role in initiating great changes through a series of apparently small actions.

In reviewing Russian entrepreneurship and banking since the advent of perestroika in the mid-1990s, Buyske stresses that Russian entrepreneurship is more dynamic than usually perceived and that the historic lack of small-business and start-up finance was largely owing to the practices of the Russian banking sector rather than to any failing on the part of Russian entrepreneurs. Buyske's conclusions have important implications for policy worldwide; she is confident that a broad understanding of microfinance as a profitable, rather than a charitable, endeavor will contribute to the commercial involvement needed to maximize global microfinance growth.

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Barriers to Bioweapons

The Challenges of Expertise and Organization for Weapons Development

by Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley

In both the popular imagination and among lawmakers and national security experts, there exists the belief that with sufficient motivation and material resources, states or terrorist groups can produce bioweapons easily, cheaply, and successfully. In Barriers to Bioweapons, Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley challenges this perception by showing that bioweapons development is a difficult, protracted, and expensive endeavor, rarely achieving the expected results whatever the magnitude of investment. Her findings are based on extensive interviews she conducted with former U.S. and Soviet-era bioweapons scientists and on careful analysis of archival data and other historical documents related to various state and terrorist bioweapons programs.

Bioweapons development relies on living organisms that are sensitive to their environment and handling conditions, and therefore behave unpredictably. These features place a greater premium on specialized knowledge. Ben Ouagrham-Gormley posits that lack of access to such intellectual capital constitutes the greatest barrier to the making of bioweapons. She integrates theories drawn from economics, the sociology of science, organization, and management with her empirical research. The resulting theoretical framework rests on the idea that the pace and success of a bioweapons development program can be measured by its ability to ensure the creation and transfer of scientific and technical knowledge. The specific organizational, managerial, social, political, and economic conditions necessary for success are difficult to achieve, particularly in covert programs where the need to prevent detection imposes managerial and organizational conditions that conflict with knowledge production.

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Base Politics

Democratic Change and the U.S. Military Overseas

by Alexander Cooley

According to the Department of Defense's 2004 Base Structure Report, the United States officially maintains 860 overseas military installations and another 115 on noncontinental U.S. territories. Over the last fifteen years the Department of Defense has been moving from a few large-footprint bases to smaller and much more numerous bases across the globe. This so-called lily-pad strategy, designed to allow high-speed reactions to military emergencies anywhere in the world, has provoked significant debate in military circles and sometimes-fierce contention within the polity of the host countries.

In Base Politics, Alexander Cooley examines how domestic politics in different host countries, especially in periods of democratic transition, affect the status of U.S. bases and the degree to which the U.S. military has become a part of their local and national landscapes. Drawing on exhaustive field research in different host nations across East Asia and Southern Europe, as well as the new postcommunist base hosts in the Black Sea and Central Asia, Cooley offers an original and provocative account of how and why politicians in host countries contest or accept the presence of the U.S. military on their territory.

Overseas bases, Cooley shows, are not merely installations that serve a military purpose. For host governments and citizens, U.S. bases are also concrete institutions and embodiments of U.S. power, identity, and diplomacy. Analyzing the degree to which overseas bases become enmeshed in local political agendas and interests, Base Politics will be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the extent-and limits-of America's overseas military influence.

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The Beaver

Its Life and Impact, Second Edition

by Dietland Müller-Schwarze

This book is designed to satisfy the curiosity and answer the questions of anyone with an interest in these animals, from students who enjoy watching beaver ponds at nature centers to homeowners and land managers. Color and black-and-white photographs document every aspect of beaver behavior and biology, the variety of their constructions, and the habitats that depend on their presence.

A second edition of The Beaver: Ecology and Behavior of a Wetland Engineer, published by Cornell University Press under its Comstock Publishing Associates imprint in 2003, this book has been revised throughout and includes a new section on population genetics and features updated data about the beaver's range in North America, reintroduction efforts in Europe, and information about the world's largest beaver dam, discovered in northern Alberta in 2010 and visible from space, as well as the most current bibliography on the subject.

As this book shows, the beaver is a keystone species-their skills as foresters and engineers create and maintain ponds and wetlands that increase biodiversity, purify water, and prevent large-scale flooding. Biologists have long studied their daily and seasonal routines, family structures, and dispersal patterns. As human development encroaches into formerly wild areas, property owners and government authorities need new, nonlethal strategies for dealing with so-called nuisance beavers. At the same time, the complex behavior of beavers intrigues visitors at parks and other wildlife viewing sites because it is relatively easy to observe.

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Becoming American under Fire

Irish Americans, African Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship during the Civil War Era

by Christian G. Samito

In Becoming American under Fire, Christian G. Samito provides a rich account of how African American and Irish American soldiers influenced the modern vision of national citizenship that developed during the Civil War era. By bearing arms for the Union, African Americans and Irish Americans exhibited their loyalty to the United States and their capacity to act as citizens; they strengthened their American identity in the process. Members of both groups also helped to redefine the legal meaning and political practices of American citizenship.

For African American soldiers, proving manhood in combat was only one aspect to their quest for acceptance as citizens. As Samito reveals, by participating in courts-martial and protesting against unequal treatment, African Americans gained access to legal and political processes from which they had previously been excluded. The experience of African Americans in the military helped shape a postwar political movement that successfully called for rights and protections regardless of race.

For Irish Americans, soldiering in the Civil War was part of a larger affirmation of republican government and it forged a bond between their American citizenship and their Irish nationalism. The wartime experiences of Irish Americans helped bring about recognition of their full citizenship through naturalization and also caused the United States to pressure Britain to abandon its centuries-old policy of refusing to recognize the naturalization of British subjects abroad.

As Samito makes clear, the experiences of African Americans and Irish Americans differed substantially-and at times both groups even found themselves violently opposed-but they had in common that they aspired to full citizenship and inclusion in the American polity. Both communities were key participants in the fight to expand the definition of citizenship that became enshrined in constitutional amendments and legislation that changed the nation.

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Becoming Bourgeois

Love, Kinship, and Power in Provincial France, 1670–1880

by Christopher H. Johnson

Becoming Bourgeois traces the fortunes of three French families in the municipality of Vannes, in Brittany—Galles, Jollivet, and Le Ridant—who rose to prominence in publishing, law, the military, public administration, and intellectual pursuits over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Revisiting complex issues of bourgeois class formation from the perspective of the interior lives of families, Christopher H. Johnson argues that the most durable and socially advantageous links forging bourgeois ascent were those of kinship. Economic success, though certainly derived from the virtues of hard work and intelligent management, was always underpinned by marriage strategies and the diligent intervention of influential family members.

Johnson's examination of hundreds of personal letters opens up a whole world: the vicissitudes of courtship; the centrality of marriage; the depths of conjugal love; the routines of pregnancy and the drama of childbirth; the practices of child rearing and education; the powerful place of siblings; the role of kin in advancing the next generation; tragedy and deaths; the enormous contributions of women in all aspects of becoming bourgeois; and the pleasures of gathering together in intimate soirées, grand balls, country houses, and civic and political organizations. Family love bound it all together, and this is ultimately what this book is about, as four generations of rather ordinary provincial people capture our hearts.

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Becoming Muslim in Imperial Russia

Conversion, Apostasy, and Literacy

by Agnès Nilüfer Kefeli

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Bees

Their Vision, Chemical Senses, and Language

by Karl von Frisch

Over half a century of brilliant scientific detective work, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist Karl von Frisch learned how the world, looks, smells, and tastes to a bee. More significantly, he discovered their dance language and their ability to use the sun as a compass. Intended to serve as an accessible introduction to one of the most fascinating areas of biology, Bees (first published in 1950 and revised in 1971), reported the startling results of his ingenious and revolutionary experiments with honeybees.

In his revisions, von Frisch updated his discussion about the phylogenetic origin of the language of bees and also demonstrated that their color sense is greater than had been thought previously. He also took into consideration the electrophysiological experiments and electromicroscopic observations that have supplied more information on how the bee analyzes polarized light to orient itself and how the olfactory organs on the bee's antennae function.

Now back in print after more than two decades, this classic and still-accurate account of the behavior patterns and sensory capacities of the honeybee remains a book “written with a simplicity, directness, and charm which all who know him will recognize as characteristic of its author. Any intelligent reader, without scientific training, can enjoy it.”—Yale Review

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Before the Gregorian Reform

The Latin Church at the Turn of the First Millennium

by John Howe

Historians typically single out the hundred-year period from about 1050 to 1150 as the pivotal moment in the history of the Latin Church, for it was then that the Gregorian Reform movement established the ecclesiastical structure that would ensure Rome's dominance throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. In Before the Gregorian Reform John Howe challenges this familiar narrative by examining earlier, "pre-Gregorian" reform efforts within the Church. He finds that they were more extensive and widespread than previously thought and that they actually established a foundation for the subsequent Gregorian Reform movement.

The low point in the history of Christendom came in the late ninth and early tenth centuries—a period when much of Europe was overwhelmed by barbarian raids and widespread civil disorder, which left the Church in a state of disarray. As Howe shows, however, the destruction gave rise to creativity. Aristocrats and churchmen rebuilt churches and constructed new ones, competing against each other so that church building, like castle building, acquired its own momentum. Patrons strove to improve ecclesiastical furnishings, liturgy, and spirituality. Schools were constructed to staff the new churches. Moreover, Howe shows that these reform efforts paralleled broader economic, social, and cultural trends in Western Europe including the revival of long-distance trade, the rise of technology, and the emergence of feudal lordship. The result was that by the mid-eleventh century a wealthy, unified, better-organized, better-educated, more spiritually sensitive Latin Church was assuming a leading place in the broader Christian world.

Before the Gregorian Reform challenges us to rethink the history of the Church and its place in the broader narrative of European history. Compellingly written and generously illustrated, it is a book for all medievalists as well as general readers interested in the Middle Ages and Church history.

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Benjamin's Library

Modernity, Nation, and the Baroque

by Jane O. Newman

In Benjamin's Library, Jane O. Newman offers, for the first time in any language, a reading of Walter Benjamin's notoriously opaque work, Origin of the German Tragic Drama that systematically attends to its place in discussions of the Baroque in Benjamin's day. Taking into account the literary and cultural contexts of Benjamin's work, Newman recovers Benjamin's relationship to the ideologically loaded readings of the literature and political theory of the seventeenth-century Baroque that abounded in Germany during the political and economic crises of the Weimar years.

To date, the significance of the Baroque for Origin of the German Tragic Drama has been glossed over by students of Benjamin, most of whom have neither read it in this context nor engaged with the often incongruous debates about the period that filled both academic and popular texts in the years leading up to and following World War I. Armed with extraordinary historical, bibliographical, philological, and orthographic research, Newman shows the extent to which Benjamin participated in these debates by reconstructing the literal and figurative history of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century books that Benjamin analyzes and the literary, art historical and art theoretical, and political theological discussions of the Baroque with which he was familiar. In so doing, she challenges the exceptionalist, even hagiographic, approaches that have become common in Benjamin studies. The result is a deeply learned book that will infuse much-needed life into the study of one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century.

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