Science & Technology Book Reviews

DATA AND GOLIATH by Bruce Schneier
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 2, 2015

"An accessible, detailed look at a disturbing aspect of contemporary life."
A jeremiad suggesting our addiction to data may have made privacy obsolete. Read full book review >
CLIMATE SHOCK by Gernot Wagner
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 1, 2015

"Specialized and a touch rarified but useful for policy workers in helping shape dollars-and-cents arguments about the environment and global climate."
"Most everything we know tells us climate change is bad. Most everything we don't know tells us it's probably much worse." So observe Environmental Defense Fund economist Wagner (But Will the Planet Notice?: How Smart Economics Can Save the World, 2011, etc.) and Weitzman (Economics/Harvard Univ.; Income, Wealth, and the Maximum Principle, 2003, etc.) in this dismal-science look at a very dismal subject indeed.Read full book review >

VITAMANIA by Catherine Price
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"Though Price doesn't provide much new information, the reading is easy and the message is clear and significant."
A catchy title that captures our obsession with vitamins and our belief that getting plenty of them will ensure our good health. Read full book review >
P53 by Sue Armstrong
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"A well-written examination of the complex world of scientific research, focusing on a specific gene in the human body."
The scientific history of the gene that regulates cancer in humans. Read full book review >
AIDS BETWEEN SCIENCE AND POLITICS by Peter Piot
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"Somewhat arid, as medical policy works tend to be, but of considerable use to readers with an interest in public health issues."
Adaption of a lecture series at the Collège de France by Piot (No Time to Lose: A Life in Pursuit of Deadly Viruses, 2012, etc.), the founding executive director of the Joint U.N. Programme on HIV/AIDS.Read full book review >

THE INTERSTELLAR AGE by Jim Bell
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"Uninterested in sending men into space (China is the only nation with an ongoing manned program), Congress remains willing to finance unmanned projects with strictly scientific objectives. These have yielded rich rewards, and Bell delivers an exuberant account of one of the most rewarding."
An expensive, taxpayer-financed project designed by committee and employing thousands of government workers turned out beautifully. This was the first of many miracles of the Voyager mission, two space probes that conducted one of the greatest scientific explorations of the 20th century. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"A vital piece of work that demands attention."
Truthdig Editor-in-Chief Scheer (Communication and Journalism/Univ. of Southern California; The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street, 2010, etc.) examines how online convenience has supplanted bedrock American values of personal freedom and the right to privacy.Read full book review >
THE UTOPIA OF RULES by David Graeber
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"A sharp, oddly sympathetic and highly readable account of how big government works—or doesn't work, depending on your point of view."
Hate bureaucrats? Then stop supporting violent states. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"A powerful wake-up call to pay attention to our online lives."
An alarming view of the burgeoning dark side of the Internet. Read full book review >
WOMEN AFTER ALL by Melvin Konner
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 23, 2015

"Insightful and bound to spark controversy."
Konner (Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology/Emory Univ.; The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind, 2010, etc.) examines why he believes women are superior to men "in most ways that will matter in the future."Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 17, 2015

"For Mimi Baird, the book serves as closure; for general readers, it's a sobering account of how little we knew and how much we still have to learn about mental illness—especially how not to treat it."
The author was 6 in 1944 when her father, Perry Baird, was remanded to Westborough State Hospital in Massachusetts, diagnosed with manic-depressive psychosis and disappearing from her life. Here, she reconstructs the past in a moving, melancholy memoir. Read full book review >
THIS IDEA MUST DIE by John Brockman
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Feb. 17, 2015

"Although they often beat dead or nonexistent horses, these ingenious cerebral tidbits will stimulate, provoke and confuse (in a good way) intelligent readers."
New science has a difficult time. As physicist Max Planck said long ago, a good idea does not automatically replace a bad one; "opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Gabrielle Zevin
March 3, 2015

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew. “Zevin writes characters who grow and prosper,” our reviewer writes, “in a narrative that is sometimes sentimental, sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining.” View video >