Science & Technology Book Reviews

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2015

"A dense but accessible discussion of the metaphysical role of time in human affairs."
In 1922, at a meeting of the French Society of Philosophy, Henri Bergson (1859-1941), "one of the most respected philosophers of his era," expressed unhappiness with Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, which discarded the concept of absolute time and denied the reality of simultaneity. Present in the audience, Einstein disagreed. Read full book review >
THE ORDINARY SPACEMAN by Clayton C. Anderson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2015

"A spaceman delivers an overlong chronicle of his adventures that may prove engaging to ardent space fans."
An astronaut's memoir from "a small-town boy from Nebraska—nothing special, just an ordinary American." Read full book review >

DO NO HARM by Henry Marsh
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: May 26, 2015

"Beautifully written and deeply moving—one of the best physician memoirs in recent memory."
A British neurosurgeon delivers fascinating, often harrowing stories of several dozen cases intermixed with compelling digressions into his travels, personal life, and philosophy. Read full book review >
ALL YOU CAN PAY by Anna Bernasek
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: May 26, 2015

"Well informed and useful. The authors stress that the ultimate answer is 'you,' but will you read all the fine print to educate yourself?"
There have been plenty of warnings about corporations profiting from data and compromising privacy, but this straightforward analysis never succumbs to alarmism while letting the facts speak for themselves. Read full book review >
GEEK HERESY by Kentaro Toyama
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: May 26, 2015

"A white paper largely of interest to education theorists and aid specialists, with occasional asides for the Jaron Lanier/Nicholas Carr crowd."
A well-meaning but arid argument, by a former Microsoft executive and current MIT fellow, against the presumed Trojan horses of technology. Read full book review >

DOMESTICATED by Richard C. Francis
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: May 25, 2015

"A highly illuminating look at the cross-species biological basis for human culture and sociability."
"The human population explosion has been bad for most other living things, but not so for those lucky enough to warrant domestication," writes science journalist Francis (Epigenetics: The Ultimate Mystery of Inheritance, 2011, etc.) in this provocative account of the latest developments in the field of evolutionary biology.Read full book review >
LEAVING ORBIT by Margaret Lazarus Dean
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 19, 2015

"One of those books you can't put down, don't want to finish, and won't soon forget."
Beguiled at an early age by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Dean (English/Univ. of Tennessee; The Time It Takes to Fall, 2007) deftly chronicles the history of American spaceflight and what the end of the space program means for American culture.Read full book review >
ELON MUSK by Ashlee Vance
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 19, 2015

"Despite Vance's best efforts, Musk comes off as another megalomaniacal hypercapitalist whose stock in trade is luxury goods and services for luxury clients."
A look at aerospace/automotive mogul Elon Musk. Read full book review >
FAITH VERSUS FACT by Jerry A. Coyne
RELIGION
Released: May 19, 2015

"Deeply religious readers may not even pick it up, but this is an important book that deserves an open-minded readership."
A scientist assails superstition and irrationality. Read full book review >
THE WELL-TUNED BRAIN by Peter C. Whybrow
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: May 18, 2015

"'To reshape the future we need first to better understand and reshape ourselves,' writes Whybrow, and he offers a running start."
Whybrow (Director, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior/UCLA; American Mania: When More Is Not Enough, 2005) addresses significant issues related to the navigation toward a more meaningful life.Read full book review >
THE BURNING ANSWER by Keith Barnham
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: May 15, 2015

"An admirable addition to the growing genre maintaining that global warming may not lead to Armageddon."
Humans once obtained all energy directly from the sun and will do so again, writes Barnham (Emeritus, Physics/Imperial Coll. London) in an optimistic, heavily science-based polemic. Read full book review >
THE THIRTEENTH STEP by Markus Heilig
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: May 12, 2015

"An informative and compassionate chronicle of Heilig's own growth as a physician and researcher."
Heilig sums up what he has learned during his 20 years as a physician and researcher in the treatment of alcohol and other addictive disorders. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Ace Atkins
June 2, 2015

P.I. Spenser, knight-errant of the Back Bay, returns in Kickback, the latest in the iconic New York Times–bestselling series from author Ace Atkins. What started out as a joke landed 17-year-old Dillon Yates in a lockdown juvenile facility in Boston Harbor. When he set up a prank Twitter account for his vice principal, he never dreamed he could be brought up on criminal charges, but that’s exactly what happened. This is Blackburn, Massachusetts, where zero tolerance for minors is a way of life. Leading the movement is tough-as-nails Judge Joe Scali, who gives speeches about getting tough on today’s wild youth. But Dillon’s mother, who knows other Blackburn kids who are doing hard time for minor infractions, isn’t buying Scali’s line. She hires Spenser to find the truth behind the draconian sentencing. “It’s great to see Spenser tackle a social evil with its roots in real life,” our reviewer writes. View video >