IS ANYONE OUT THERE?

THE SCIENTIFIC SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE

The answer is ``yes,'' says Drake (Astronomy/UC at Santa Cruz), founder of the modern search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), in this likable autobiography told with the assistance of Sobel, former science editor for The New York Times. Drake, who was born in 1930, describes how adolescent rebellion against religion drove him to science, where he developed an early fascination with life in outer space. At Harvard, he became a radio astronomer, and realized that this fledgling science would allow him to scan the heavens for extraterrestrials. At 26, he thought he heard their signals: ``I could barely breathe from excitement, and soon after my hair started to turn white.'' Despite this false alarm, in 1960 he started Project Ozma, the first serious SETI endeavor, and soon after joined forces with young Carl Sagan, dolphin expert John Lilly, and others in a professional SETI study group known as ``The Order of the Dolphin.'' Drake became director of the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, where he encountered terrorists and vampire bats; coined the term ``pulsars''; and, with Sagan, visited an incarcerated Timothy Leary, who requested help in designing spacecraft. In time, bigger and better SETIs ensued, including the infamous plaque of a nude man and woman aboard Pioneer 10, for which Drake incurred the wrath of American prudes and the British Astronomer Royal, who feared that our location had been divulged to bloodthirsty aliens. In Drake's view, the culmination of SETI is the upcoming NASA project to eavesdrop on 28 million radio channels simultaneously. His enthusiasm is infectious as he predicts the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence by the year 2000, which ``will profoundly change the world.'' Since SETI has shown only negative results after 30 years, this serves as testimony to both scientific pluck and eternal optimism. A fascinating life, rich with odd opinions (``I suspect that immortality may be quite common among extraterrestrials'') and a sense of cosmic awe. (Line art and photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 1992

ISBN: 0-385-30532-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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