Nature & Travel Book Reviews

Released: March 31, 2015

"Generally sympathetic to its subject and well-written but to be consulted only after William Kahrl's Water and Power (1982) and Marc Reisner's Cadillac Desert (1986)."
Dutiful story of a man who, not having finished high school, "let alone set foot in an engineering class," designed a metropolitan water system that is still in use today. Read full book review >
CUCKOO by Nick Davies
Released: March 26, 2015

"'My hope is that this reads like a nature detective story,' writes Davies. He has achieved his goal and more in this fascinating study of 'an evolutionary arms race.'"
Davies (Behavioral Ecology/Univ. of Cambridge; Cambridge Cuckoos, Cowbirds and Other Cheats, 2000, etc.) chronicles his 30-year attempt to solve what he calls "an enduring puzzle: how does the cuckoo get away with such outrageous behavior?"Read full book review >

Released: March 24, 2015

"The book features occasionally salacious details, but there is never a dull moment."
The globe-trotting adventures of former magazine editor Podell (co-author: Who Needs a Road?: The Story of the Longest and Last Motor Journey Around the World, 1967).Read full book review >
Released: March 24, 2015

"Some first-rate detective work sometimes obscured by excessively thick historical shrubbery."
A former journalist and current professor searches for the rare porcelain buried by his great-great-grandfather in 1938, when Japanese invaders approached his property in Xingang, China. Read full book review >
FIRE AND ICE by Jonathan Mingle
Released: March 24, 2015

"If you weren't worried about climate change before, this is just the book to kindle your angst. A promising debut."
A searching, sobering, sometimes-scary look at an overlooked carrier of climate change. Read full book review >

Released: March 24, 2015

"A shocking, aggressively written marine park exposé."
A former SeaWorld killer whale trainer dispenses serious allegations against the company and the industry at large. Read full book review >
Released: March 24, 2015

"An earnest, eye-opening, important account for Western readers."
A brave, excoriating exposé of the systematic ruination of resource-rich countries of Africa, leaving "penury and strife" for its millions of inhabitants. Read full book review >
Released: March 24, 2015

"A fine addition to the single-issue science genre."
"From tropical rain forests to alpine meadows and arctic tundra, seed plants dominate landscapes and define ecosystems." In fact, they make up more than 90 percent of land flora. Read full book review >
ORCHARD HOUSE by Tara Austen Weaver
Released: March 24, 2015

"Honest and moving, one woman's initiation into intensive gardening with her mother, which changed a neglected space into something beautiful and bountiful and shifted their relationship as well."
How a novice gardener became a permaculturalist and found community in the process. Read full book review >
EATING VIET NAM by Graham Holliday
Released: March 17, 2015

"Readers are likely to run out of patience before the author has run out of pages."
A celebration of Vietnamese street food, with some offerings that will make readers squirm as much as the author initially did. Read full book review >
THE NEXT SPECIES by Michael Tennesen
Released: March 17, 2015

"In a mostly engaging book, Tennesen concludes that evolution will again drive survivors into a burst of creativity that will repopulate the planet, but it's uncertain if this will include Homo sapiens."
In the past, five mass extinctions have destroyed at least 75 percent of all living species. It is no secret that we are now in the midst of another. Read full book review >
RUST by Jonathan Waldman
Released: March 10, 2015

"Waldman is a bright and curious companion in this lively adventure in search of the scourge of rust and its ingenious opponents."
How the world turns to rust. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Frank Bruni
March 31, 2015

Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. In Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. “Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions,” our reviewer writes. View video >