Health & Medicine Book Reviews

HAIR by Kurt Stenn
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"A spirited, informative history of a fascinating fiber."
A hair-follicle scientist offers an edifying look at the biology, physiology, and history of hair. Read full book review >
THE MYSTERIOUS WORLD OF THE HUMAN GENOME by Frank Ryan
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"An enlightening account of past and present knowledge and the future possibilities of human heredity."
The information revolution in silicon gets the headlines, but a revolution in genetics has been running in parallel and will soon affect our lives even more profoundly. Plenty of authors are paying attention, but British physician and researcher Ryan (Metamorphosis: Unmasking the Mystery of How Life Transforms, 2011, etc.) delivers an up-to-date history that will be definitive—at least for a few years.Read full book review >

REASONS TO STAY ALIVE by Matt Haig
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"A vibrant, encouraging depiction of a sinister disorder."
A British novelist turns to autobiography to report the manifold symptoms and management of his debilitating disease, depression. Read full book review >
PANDEMIC by Sonia Shah
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"This is not fun reading, but it's necessary—one can only hope that it drives more effective surveillance and rapid response to tomorrow's plagues."
Vibrio cholerae was once a species of marine bacteria attached to some plankton in the coastal wetlands of the Bay of Bengal. In grim detail, science journalist Shah (The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, 2010, etc.) demonstrates how it became the global source of horrendous deaths and how the story of cholera is paradigmatic of how pandemics happen. Read full book review >
HERDING HEMINGWAY'S CATS by Kat Arney
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: March 1, 2016

"A robust, bouncy, pellucid introduction to DNA and genetics."
A survey of recent research and thinking on genes. Read full book review >

A BODY, UNDONE by Christina Crosby
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 8, 2016

"A potent memoir that rips open a most human heart."
One moment, she is on her bicycle; the next, she is on the ground, her life forever transformed by an accident that leaves her a quadriplegic. Read full book review >
SWITCHED ON by John Elder Robison
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 22, 2016

"A fascinating companion to the previous memoirs by this masterful storyteller."
The bestselling author shares his experience as a participant in a cutting-edge study of the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on the brains of people on the autism spectrum. Read full book review >
IMMUNITY by Luba Vikhanski
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2016

"A portrait that captures not only the man, but also the end-of-the-19th-century dynamism that fostered revolutions in art, politics, and science."
A resurrection of the life of "one of the founding fathers of immunology," Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916). Read full book review >
UNBROKEN BRAIN by Maia Szalavitz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 5, 2016

"A dense blending of self-exposure, surprising statistics, and solid science reporting that presents addiction as a misunderstood coping mechanism, a problem whose true nature is not yet recognized by policymakers or the public."
A proposal for a new way of looking at drug addiction that offers a fresh approach to managing it. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: April 5, 2016

"Easy-to-read, up-to-date information on the latest research into pregnancy, childbirth, and early childhood."
The latest scientific findings on child-rearing from pregnancy through toddlerhood. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 26, 2016

"Williams delivers a complex tale about a complex disease, and by sharing a narrative rich in detail, personalities, and New York scenes, she will ease the burdens of those immediately affected and inform others of progress in cancer research."
Who would have thought a book about being diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma could be exhilarating and entertaining? Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >