What with the current hue and cry about letting the Concorde land in the U.S. a book on noise pollution is certainly timely. This short volume, the latest in a series of Franklin Institute science books, deals briefly with the nature of sound, then moves quickly on to noise. Grey makes it clear that noise is both subjective (you like rock) and objective--a matter of frequencies and pressures. The most useful scales of noise take both into consideration, however, and thus compensate for the fact that high-pitched screeches are more annoying to human ears than low drones at the same sound level. Grey pinpoints the major sources of unwanted sound in the world around us, neatly explains sonic booms, thunder, or how Caruso could crack champagne glasses. He also documents the hearing losses and general body stress that accompanies continued exposure to loud noise. Unfortunately too many people associate noise with power so the poor lawn mower manufacturer who came up with a product that purred instead of roared lost sales. It took the jet age to spark consumerism, and, surprisingly, it is the jet-engine makers' who are getting better marks for the improvements they've made. But there's still a way to go and Grey urges audience participation to bring, if not peace, at least quiet, to our cities.