A serviceable introduction both to this CSI-related field and to the relevant human anatomy.

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FORENSIC IDENTIFICATION

PUTTING A NAME AND FACE ON DEATH

How does science work to identify corpses of the unknown?

Murray’s compact, textbook look at the basics of forensic anthropology provides comprehensible introductions to individually unique anatomical and physiological characteristics and to the timetable for the decay or decomposition of each. Eight “case files” are presented to provide a story to illustrate the techniques of post-mortem identification in practical contexts and to provide human interest to accompany the straightforward text. Unsurprisingly gruesome, each involves the discovery of a body (or in one, the separate limbs and severed head of a young woman) of an unknown person whose identification is challenged by decomposition. Three main chapters look at current forensic technology from the outside in—the first describes skin, hair, scars, tattoos, fingerprints and their reconstruction, while the second provides a look at how bones, teeth and implants provide structural identification. Murray describes the gold standard of identification—nuclear DNA profiling—in the last chapter with satisfyingly clear instruction in the essential features of forensic DNA. About 20 percent of the text is printed in white on a dark background, including all of the case-file narratives. File photos are used throughout to illustrate the points being made.

A serviceable introduction both to this CSI-related field and to the relevant human anatomy. (index, bibliography, sources for more information) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6696-6

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of.

SCARED STIFF

50 PHOBIAS THAT FREAK US OUT

Part browsing item, part therapy for the afflicted, this catalog of irrational terrors offers a little help along with a lot of pop psychology and culture.

The book opens with a clinical psychologist’s foreword and closes with a chapter of personal and professional coping strategies. In between, Latta’s alphabetically arranged encyclopedia introduces a range of panic-inducers from buttons (“koumpounophobia”) and being out of cellphone contact (“nomophobia”) to more widespread fears of heights (“acrophobia”), clowns (“coulroiphobia”) and various animals. There’s also the generalized “social anxiety disorder”—which has no medical name but is “just its own bad self.” As most phobias have obscure origins (generally in childhood), similar physical symptoms and the same approaches to treatment, the descriptive passages tend toward monotony. To counter that, the author chucks in references aplenty to celebrity sufferers, annotated lists of relevant books and (mostly horror) movies, side notes on “joke phobias” and other topics. At each entry’s end, she contributes a box of “Scare Quotes” such as a passage from Coraline for the aforementioned fear of buttons.

Sympathetic in tone, optimistic in outlook, not heavily earnest: nothing to be afraid of. (end notes, resource list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936976-49-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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FIVE THOUSAND YEARS OF SLAVERY

Sandwiched between telling lines from the epic of Gilgamesh (“…the warrior’s daughter, the young man’s bride, / he uses her, no one dares to oppose him”) and the exposure of a migrant worker–trafficking ring in Florida in the mid-1990s, this survey methodically presents both a history of the slave trade and what involuntary servitude was and is like in a broad range of times and climes. Though occasionally guilty of overgeneralizing, the authors weave their narrative around contemporary accounts and documented incidents, supplemented by period images or photos and frequent sidebar essays. Also, though their accounts of slavery in North America and the abolition movement in Britain are more detailed than the other chapters, the practice’s past and present in Africa, Asia and the Pacific—including the modern “recruitment” of child soldiers and conditions in the Chinese laogai (forced labor camps)—do come in for broad overviews. For timeliness, international focus and, particularly, accuracy, this leaves Richard Watkins’ Slavery: Bondage Throughout History (2001) in the dust as a first look at a terrible topic. (timeline, index; notes and sources on an associated website) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-88776-914-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2010

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