Imagine, if you will, the study of history without reading — how much a sense of the past could you possibly have? The first chapter from World History For Dummies by Peter Haugen. A review of The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium. An interview with Judith Herrin on books on Byzantium. A review of Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades by Jonathan Phillips. The introduction to Power over Peoples: Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present by Daniel Headrick. An interview with Simon Young on books on the Celts. A review of The Hammer and the Cross: A New History of the Vikings by Robert Ferguson (and more and more). A review of The Virgin Warrior: The Life and Death of Joan of Arc by Larissa Juliet Taylor. A talk with Michael Haag, author of The Templars: The History and the Myth. A review of 1492: The Year the World Began by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. The European discovery of America opened possibilities for those with eyes to see; but Columbus was not one of them. A review of Amerigo: The Man Who Gave His Name to America by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. A review of 1688: The First Modern Revolution by Steve Pincus (and more and more and more). The introduction to Before the Deluge: Public Debt, Inequality, and the Intellectual Origins of the French Revolution by Michael Sonenscher. A review of Danton: The Gentle Giant of Terror by David Lawday. The first chapter from Legitimacy and Power Politics: The American and French Revolutions in International Political Culture by Mlada Bukovansky.

From Collegium, a special issue on Happiness: Cognition, Experience, Language. A review of Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness by Ariel Gore. Although no one can be happy who is determined not to be, happiness is not achieved by merely wanting it, much less by getting what you thought you wanted. A review of Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project (and more and more and more). From the mundane to the metaphysical, it may mean different things to different people, but everyone's united in trying to crack the happiness code. Oprah-style pursuit of happiness: As cute as it may be to suggest, Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant will never be an Oprah’s Book Club selection. Where happiness lies: A review essay on books about positive thinking. The miserable results of our quest for happiness: Those who pillage rich traditions for contemporary tastes take the easy but shallow route to happiness. State of joy: Why your country needs you to be happy. Happiness Is: Today, the idea that happiness can indeed be measured and quantified remains at the heart of a new science of happiness. Carol Graham on the economics of happiness. Economists (don’t) prove that money can buy you happiness and news outlets prove they’re crap — actually, maybe economists did prove money can buy happiness. As we begin a new decade with the debris of a once-revered financial system at our feet, we have the chance to re-evaluate our relationship with the money god or risk becoming enslaved to it all over again. Johann Hari on how there is an alternative to our unhealthy culture of overwork.

From The Saturday Evening Post, a look at why America should care about the World Cup. From BBC Magazine, could America take to cricket? From the Navy Times, a look at the perils of being a pirate. An interview with Helen Nissenbaum, author of Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life. Beyond Comprehension: We know that genocide and famine are greater tragedies than a lost dog — at least, we think we do. Garry Kasparov reviews Chess Metaphors: Artificial Intelligence and the Human Mind by Diego Rasskin-Gutman. Martha Nussbaum on sexual orientation and religion. Schtuppin’ with the Stars: The celebrity sex video became a brand enhancer for the likes of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, but the current crop, from an Eric Dane three-way to Colin Farrell’s talky romp, is just plain pathetic. The introduction to Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts by Jonathan Gray. A review of Out of Athens: The New Ancient Greeks by Page duBois. A review of On the Spartacus Road: A Spectacular Journey through Ancient Italy by Peter Stothard. Scientists are arguing that tedium is good for your brain, but some novelists argue that it’s good for your soul. Are we in danger of knowing too much?: Paul Parsons on the dangers of a high-information diet. "21st century syndrome"?: An intriguing diagnosis posits that we live in an age so stressful we can no longer cope. With the absurd, Bushian overreaction to the Christmas Day terrorist attempt, Tyler Brule has come up with a remedy for American stupidity that is altogether brilliant: Boycott the United States.

From Colloquy, a special issue on Violence and Critique, including Carlo Salzani (Melbourne): Violence as Pure Praxis: Benjamin and Sorel on Strike, Myth and Ethics; and Adam Lodders (Monash): Between Violence and Law, Is There a Place for Justice? From Cultura, Nicolae Rambu (Cuza): Nihilism as Axiological Illness; and Alexandru Petrescu (Western): The Rehabilitation of Philosophy as Therapeutics: Martin Heidegger. The debate over Heidegger's politics rages every decade or so, but how did he make it into the curriculum in the first place? (and more and more and more). A review of Holderlin after the Catastrophe: Heidegger — Adorno — Brecht by Robert Savage. From Telos, Alexander Garcia Duttmann on Adorno's American Dream. A review of Emmanuel Levinas on the Priority of Ethics by Joshua James Shaw. From, you can download Walter Benjamin and the Architecture of Modernity; and download The Italian Difference: Between Nihilism and Biopolitics. A review of Commonwealth by Hardt and Negri (and more) and First as Tragedy, Then as Farce by Slavoj Zizek (and more and more). Slavoj Zizek on multiculturalism, the reality of an illusion. A review of Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New. A review of Who Was Jacques Derrida? An Intellectual Biography by David Mikics (and more). A review of Foucault's Law by Ben Golder and Peter Fitzpatrick. A review of Identity Politics in Deconstruction: Calculating with the Incalculable by Carolyn D’Cruz. Simon Critchley, Judith Butler and Jacques Ranciere discuss the importance of critical theory to social movements today.