Books by Ray Spangenburg

Released: Feb. 1, 1997

This volume in the Global Profiles series recounts the achievements and contributions of 12 scientists who have significantly contributed to the eradication of life-threatening diseases of the 20th century. Moser and Spangenburg (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1996, etc.) state that their purpose in telling the stories of today's disease fighters is ``to challenge our readers to join their ranks—either in spirit or in fact.'' Most of the scientists portrayed won Nobel Prizes for their achievements, and all were gifted, self-reliant, with innate incites, and passionately committed to discovering the answers to the problems of diseases. They worked ceaselessly: ``The moment you stop working, you are dead,'' proclaimed Rita Levi-Montalcini. The most famous disease fighter presented is Jonas Salk; others include Dennis Parsons Burkitt, Peter Medawar, Frank Macfarlane Burnet, Gertrude Belle Elion, Susumu Tonegawa, and Lap-Chee Tsui. Each chapter contains a chronology and suggested readings. The biographies are short, lacking a certain weight when covering scientific research; this book is an overview—a good first stop on the way to more in-depth sources. (b&w photos, index, not seen) (Biography. 10+) Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1996

A worthy addition to the Makers of America series, this is a richly detailed and moving biography of one of the 20th century's most influential women. The authors lay out the facts of Eleanor's unhappy childhood—the separation of her parents, her mother's death, life with her reclusive, autocratic grandmother. Marriage to her dashing cousin Franklin seemed to augur well for Eleanor, and they had six children over the following ten years. The bout with polio that left Franklin unable to walk led to the family's moving in with his mother, Sara, a domineering woman who refused to believe he would ever amount to more than a helpless invalid. Eleanor prevailed over Sara, and Franklin returned to the political career that had been interrupted by his illness. Years later, during their life and continuing after Franklin's death, Eleanor maintained her own career as ``First Lady of the World.'' The focus is on Eleanor, the person, but her status as legend—as a voice for the helpless and disenfranchised—also shines through. As this book eloquently reveals, Eleanor's light has not diminished. (b&w photos, index, not seen, further reading) (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 1995

In the Makers of Modern Science series, a readable, somewhat uninspired, biography of the ``father of the atom'' and, as mentor, the central figure in the heroic age of atomic physics. Following an evocative account of Bohr's upbringing in Denmark, Spangenburg and Moser (The History of Science in the Eighteenth Century, 1993) describe the evolution of Bohr's model of the atom, introduce the ideas of Planck and Einstein in the process, then sketch a brief, accessible history of quantum mechanics. In each successive context, Bohr appears as an unparalleled source of influence and inspiration for the people around him, and readers meet a number of them (Rutherford, Einstein, Pauli, Schrîdinger, Heisenberg, Born), as thinkers and as personalities. While the book conveys a coherent impression of the atmosphere in which Bohr worked in the 1920s and '30s, it fizzles in its treatment of the last 20 years of Bohr's life, a dull transcription of his itinerary as lecturer and activist, good only for copying into book reports. Overall, the work is rather spineless, and the whole is less than the sum of its parts: several loosely linked sections, each one pointing in a different direction. In the end, the book does the job; it's a life well worth knowing. (index, bibliography, glossary) (Biography. 11+) Read full book review >