Nature & Travel Book Reviews

THE ROAD TAKEN by Henry Petroski
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Anyone with an interest in the way things work will want this book—and will doubtless emerge as a fan of the ever curious author."
Noted engineer and writer Petroski (Civil Engineering/Duke Univ.; To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure, 2012, etc.) gives readers a characteristically eye-opening look at America's infrastructure.Read full book review >
ELEPHANT COMPLEX by John Gimlette
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 18, 2016

"An exuberant, eye-opening travel quest."
An intrepid journey to the famously reclusive island unearths a paradise amid trauma and obfuscation. Read full book review >

MEATHOOKED by Marta Zaraska
FOOD & COOKING
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"A well-researched, refreshingly optimistic look at a serious issue, free of ideological preconceptions."
With an open mind, a vegetarian journalist examines our "love affair with meat." Read full book review >
DREAMING OF LIONS by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 26, 2016

"A candid and humane memoir of a fascinating life."
A novelist and bestselling nonfiction writer's account of her life and how she became a respected observer of the natural world. Read full book review >
LOCALLY LAID by Lucie B. Amundsen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2016

"Don't let Amundsen's self-deprecating humor fool you into taking this book lightly. In between capers, she makes a nuanced plea to respect local farms and the animals that populate them."
One family's attempt to get out of the rat race and into the poultry race. Read full book review >

ERUPTION by Steve Olson
HISTORY
Released: March 7, 2016

"A riveting trek combining enthralling nature writing with engaging social history."
A National Book Award finalist unravels the compelling back story of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Read full book review >
THE END OF KARMA by Somini Sengupta
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 7, 2016

"A compelling portrait of what will soon be the world's most populous nation, one on the verge of great change—for better or worse."
India's young population is growing dramatically, writes Indian-American journalist Sengupta—and it's growing impatient with the roadblocks its elders have erected. Read full book review >
MY BRAIN ON FIRE by Leonard Pitt
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 8, 2016

"From start to finish, Pitt's memoir is a lively autodidactic romp through a life well-lived in both mind and body."
A theater actor's memoir of a life and way of thinking permanently altered by the seven years he spent as a young man living in 1960s Paris. Read full book review >
RIGHTFUL HERITAGE by Douglas Brinkley
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 15, 2016

"Overlong, as are so many of Brinkley's books, but a brightly written, highly useful argument, especially in a time when the public domain is under siege."
Brinkley (History/Rice Univ.; Cronkite, 2012, etc.) returns with the provocative argument that Theodore Roosevelt was not the only environmentalist in the Roosevelt clan—far from it.Read full book review >
TILL WE HAVE BUILT JERUSALEM by Adina Hoffman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 5, 2016

"Lovers of Jerusalem will feel right at home as Hoffman brings a small bit of its history to life."
Hoffman (My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet's Life in the Palestinian Century, 2009, etc.) studies three very different architects responsible for the look of Jerusalem.Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 5, 2016

"A captivating history of two men who dramatically changed their contemporaries' view of the past."
Daring adventurers unearth a buried civilization. Read full book review >
ANIMAL INTERNET by Alexander Pschera
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: April 12, 2016

"A truly thought-provoking book for animal lovers and technology enthusiasts alike."
In a "postdigital" era in which the Internet shapes much of our interaction with others, German media writer Pschera argues that animals can help us see the digital revolution in a new light—and situate ourselves within it more comfortably. 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 >