Science & Technology Book Reviews

HOMO DEUS by Yuval Noah Harari
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"A relentlessly fascinating book that is sure to become—and deserves to be—a bestseller."
In an intellectually provocative follow-up to Sapiens (2015), Harari (History/Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) looks to the future. Read full book review >
CONVERGENCE by Peter Watson
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

"Those who reject the idea of convergence outright may not get far in this book, but readers with no objection to a sweeping, entirely fascinating history of science during the last 200 years will find an abundance of enlightening material."
The journalist and polymath delivers a delightful exploration of "the deepest idea in the universe." Read full book review >

THE VACCINE RACE by Meredith Wadman
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 7, 2017

"An important story well told, featuring the drama and characters needed to make this a candidate for film adaptation."
A dramatic medical history that reveals the progress and the stumbles, the personalities and the rivalries, in the race to find a vaccine for rubella, or German measles. Read full book review >
THE BOOK THAT CHANGED AMERICA by Randall Fuller
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 24, 2017

"A fresh, invigorating history of philosophical and political struggles."
A vibrant history of the reception of Charles Darwin's ideas by American minds and spirits. Read full book review >
FOOD FIGHT by McKay Jenkins
FOOD & COOKING
Released: Jan. 24, 2017

"Impressive research into a complex situation presented in a highly readable form."
There are no easy answers to questions about genetically modified foods, but environmental journalist Jenkins lays out the promise and the peril of the contemporary industrialization of food production. Read full book review >

WHIPLASH by Joi Ito
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"This exhilarating and authoritative book actually makes sense of our incredibly fast-paced, high-tech society. A standout among titles on technology and innovation, it will repay reading—and rereading—by leaders in all fields."
Two cybergurus offer a "user's manual to the twenty-first century." Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 22, 2016

"Required reading for a generation that's 'going to be asked to dance in a hurricane.'"
The celebrated New York Times columnist diagnoses this unprecedented historical moment and suggests strategies for "resilience and propulsion" that will help us adapt. Read full book review >
THE UNNATURAL WORLD by David Biello
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Nov. 15, 2016

"In this well-written, significant book, Biello insists that humans, the world's most successful invasive species, have the ability to engage in planetary protection and human survival, but it will require wisdom, innovation, and restraint."
In his first book, Scientific American editor Biello argues that it is not a lack of money or technology that prevents our addressing environmental and societal ills but rather a lack of motivation. Read full book review >
SPACEMAN by Mike Massimino
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"A vivid, engrossing, and enthusiastically written memoir of aeronautic ambition."
A seasoned astronaut charts the trajectory of his love affair with space and astronomy. Read full book review >
POWER AT GROUND ZERO by Lynne Sagalyn
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 9, 2016

"The narrative's sheer bulk will likely intimidate some readers, and that would be a shame, because Sagalyn has produced a definitive history and an urban studies classic."
A superbly qualified scholar thoroughly deconstructs the tortured story behind the rebuilding of the World Trade Center complex. Read full book review >
THE CURE FOR CATASTROPHE by Robert Muir-Wood
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"Readers will find it hard to stop reading this excellent book and will share the author's perhaps futile yearning that elected officials have the courage to pass inconvenient laws and spend the electorate's money to prevent disasters."
A fascinating examination of the "forensics of disasters." Read full book review >
WHAT THE LUCK? by Gary Smith
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A welcome, widely applicable follow-up to the author's equally useful first book."
Another delightful addition to the stuff-you-think-you-know-that's-wrong genre, á la Freakonomics, Outliers, and The Black Swan. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Yoojin Grace Wuertz
February 27, 2017

In Yoojin Grace Wuertz’s debut novel Everything Belongs to Us, the setting is Seoul in 1978. At South Korea’s top university, the nation’s best and brightest compete to join the professional elite of an authoritarian regime. Success could lead to a life of rarefied privilege and wealth; failure means being left irrevocably behind. For childhood friends Jisun and Namin, the stakes couldn’t be more different. Jisun, the daughter of a powerful business mogul, grew up on a mountainside estate with lush gardens and a dedicated chauffeur. Namin’s parents run a tented food cart from dawn to curfew; her sister works in a shoe factory. Now Jisun wants as little to do with her father’s world as possible, abandoning her schoolwork in favor of the underground activist movement, while Namin studies tirelessly in the service of one goal: to launch herself and her family out of poverty. But everything changes when Jisun and Namin meet an ambitious, charming student named Sunam, whose need to please his family has led him to a prestigious club: the Circle. Under the influence of his mentor, Juno, a manipulative social climber, Sunam becomes entangled with both women, as they all make choices that will change their lives forever. “Engrossing,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. “Wuertz is an important new voice in American fiction.” View video >