Nature & Travel Book Reviews (page 2)

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 15, 2015

"First-rate reporting and erudition underlie this successful effort to re-establish the reputation of an indispensable scientist."
A United States Geological Survey scientist returns with a rich account of one of his predecessors: Thomas Jaggar (1871-1953), a somewhat forgotten pioneer in volcanology. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Dec. 1, 2015

"A thoughtfully observed travel memoir and history."
A filmmaker and writer tells the story of the historical figures and ordinary people who have attempted to "control, adapt to, or explore" the largely wild and untamed Andes cordillera. Read full book review >

THE ART OF GRACE by Sarah L. Kaufman
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 16, 2015

"An insightful, intelligent examination of grace, which often 'seems to elude fixed meaning.'"
Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post dance critic Kaufman reflects on the meaning of grace in modern society.Read full book review >
THE HIDDEN HALF OF NATURE by David R. Montgomery
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Nov. 16, 2015

"A must-read for avid gardeners, those interested in bolstering our precarious food supply, or anyone remotely concerned about their health and the soil under their feet."
A geologist and a biologist and environmental planner chronicle the transformation of their desolate Seattle backyard into a fertile garden and how they learned about the importance of beneficial microbes in their newly revived soil. Read full book review >
SOUTH OF THE CLOUDS by Bill Porter
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"As satisfying as any trip by Paul Theroux but with a much less prickly and much more forgiving narrator."
Journalist/translator and intrepid traveler Porter (Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China, 2008, etc.) takes readers on another virtual journey into the China few Westerners know.Read full book review >

TRACE by Lauret Savoy
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"Springing from the literal Earth to metaphor, Savoy demonstrates the power of narrative to erase as easily as it reveals, yielding a provocative, eclectic exposé of the palimpsest historically defining the U.S. as much as any natural or man-made boundary."
An earth scientist explores the broad historical branches extending from her own roots. Read full book review >
THE PLANET REMADE by Oliver Morton
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"An important account of cutting-edge research that will fascinate serious readers and demand the attention of policymakers."
Economist briefings editor Morton (Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet, 2008, etc.) offers a calm, rational discussion of deliberate technological interventions to cool the planet's climate system.Read full book review >
THE ONLY STREET IN PARIS by Elaine Sciolino
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 2, 2015

"A pungent evocation of the conflict and compromise between tradition and innovation that define modern urbanism."
After taking a tart look at her adopted country in La Seduction (2011, etc.), Sciolino shows a softer side in this affectionate portrait of her Ninth Arrondissement neighborhood.Read full book review >
Sacred Mountains of China by Ryan Pyle
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Nov. 2, 2015

"Weekend warriors who crave physical challenges can use Pyle's colorful account to kick-start their own adventures."
Photographer and filmmaker Pyle (The India Ride, 2014, etc.) returns with a fast-paced travel memoir about four months that changed his life. Read full book review >
LONDON FOG by Christine L. Corton
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 2015

"An eye-opening and highly readable picture of London's reactions to the killer fog that has characterized it for centuries."
Most readers would doubt that an entire book about fog could be interesting, but Corton, in her first publication, presents an intriguing biography of the weather effect that defined a national character. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 29, 2015

"Those who've seen the Catskills will love how the authors capture its magic. Those who haven't will start planning a trip."
A history that demonstrates "the color, charm, and even lunacy that for the past four hundred years have characterized the Catskill Mountains and the people attracted to them." Read full book review >
RICE, NOODLE, FISH by Matt Goulding
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A food connoisseur expertly unravels the intricate dance surrounding food in Japan."
A gourmand's tour through Japan. 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 >