Powerful and indispensable—a serious antidote to the recent feel-good murmurings voiced on nuclear power’s behalf.




Nuclear-power researcher Brack presents an enlightening survey of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis and its context within recent nuclear-power disasters and snafus.

This vital resource is the fruit of Brack’s years investigating and writing on nuclear power and “the industrial history of a nation that perfected the manufacture of hand tools and atomic weapons but failed to design and build safe nuclear reactors, including those it exported to other countries such as Japan.” It starts with a synopsis of the Fukushima Daiichi accident that resulted from the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan in March 2011. The book intends to allow nonexperts to get a handle on the flood of information regarding the event, and to gauge the meaning of microsieverts, nanograys and becquerels when one is trying to understand the health physics involved. The author takes a slow stroll through the event sequence at Fukushima Daiichi, exploring architectural design and estimated release data, and sets them against the radiological impact of the Chernobyl meltdown. Before he closely examines the effects of Chernobyl, Brack tenders a concise, readable number of definitions and concepts related to nuclear technology—from the gamma camera to quick-release accidents to stochastic and nonstochastic effects to transuranic elements to cold shutdown and vitrification. Readers will need this understanding to negotiate the waters of the Chernobyl-derived contamination history, with radiological evidence from lichen to mother’s milk, and the author provides enough well-vetted source material—most of it available on the Internet—to keep readers busy and terrified for years to come. Then he gives a close reading of the decommissioning of the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Plant—a facility close to his home base in Hulls Cove, Maine—and how it exemplifies the “significant loss of radiological controls” that occur during everyday nuclear-reactor operation. Brack’s revelations in this radical tome will make readers’ skin crawl.

Powerful and indispensable—a serious antidote to the recent feel-good murmurings voiced on nuclear power’s behalf.

Pub Date: May 31, 2011

ISBN: 978-0982995167

Page Count: 380

Publisher: Pennywheel

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2011

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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