Science & Technology Book Reviews (page 168)

CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE by Richard Dawkins
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"Wonderful metaphorical trees examined in minute detail (including a tour de force on actual fig trees and their pollinating wasps), but Dawkins's evolutionary forest may be just a bit overpopulated with complex and improvable species."
Dawkins (River Out of Eden, 1995, etc.), who now holds a Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, is at pains in this new work to refute creationists, who have long championed the argument that organs like the human eye could never have arisen "by chance" and that therefore a "Designer" must be at work. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 14, 1996

"This narrative history should please computer insiders and academics but may leave the lay reader seeking relief with the nearest video game. (photos, not seen)"
A comprehensive history of the computer, much of it standard but with some surprising interpretations. Read full book review >

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 14, 1996

"A highly readable mixture of true crime and popular science that is much stronger on the former than the latter."
A compelling examination of a frontier where science meets the law. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 12, 1996

"Burke pulls off that neatest of tricks: to amuse and instruct. (28 pages illustrations, not seen)"
Another of Burke's (The Axemaker's Gift, 1995, etc.) customary grand tours of the human experience, this time unraveling the serendipitous effects of innovation. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 2, 1996

"Behe is a Roman Catholic), but it is neither necessary nor sufficient for many other practicing scientists."
Behe (Biochemistry/Lehigh Univ.) offers the thesis that biochemistry provides so many examples of ``irreducible complexity'' in nature that not even Darwinian gradualism can explain their evolution and existence. Read full book review >

HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

"This verbose book would have benefitted by being pruned into a stylistically far tighter essay, less declamatory and more reflective. (Author tour)"
What set of factors most influence the course of an individual human life? Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

"A comprehensive, passionate, and thought-provoking look through the door into a brave new world in which we may find ourselves before we realize it."
The perfectibility of the human species remains one of the most controversial subjects in science, and Maranto, an award- winning science writer, explains why. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

"Still, saw this book in half, suspend some of Aveni's credulity, and presto chango, you just might conjure up a highly readable book. (illustrations, not seen)"
For an anthropologist and astronomer, Aveni (Conversing with the Planets, 1992, etc.) displays an encouraging though sometimes excessive openness of mind about things magical in this dash through the history of Western mysticism and hokum, from the Gnostics to the alchemists to the New Age. Read full book review >
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

"An important contribution to the growing literature of environmental degradation and racism, and a fine case study in local politics. (b&w photos, not seen)"
A blow-by-blow account of a rural southern community's fight to keep toxic waste out of its backyard. Read full book review >
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

"While there is plenty here to give a susceptible late-night reader a good case of the chills, there is little for the intellect to grapple with."
Another here-come-the-aliens book that one might be willing to dismiss as mindless entertainment if it weren't so determined to pretend it's serious. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: July 3, 1996

"A fascinating tour of scientific history, concluding with a vision of a future that is at once exhilarating and profoundly unsettling."
Computer-aided math is now at a point where unaided human intelligence cannot follow the proofs, a fact that has profound implications for future science, according to James (a former executive at Thinking Machines Corp.). Read full book review >
THE FORGOTTEN POLLINATORS by Stephen Buchmann
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: July 1, 1996

"Another of nature's elegant loops. (b&w illustrations) (Author tour)"
Pollinators are the Rodney Dangerfields of the animal world: They just don't get no respect. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Frances Stroh
author of BEER MONEY
May 5, 2016

Frances Stroh’s earliest memories are ones of great privilege: shopping trips to London and New York, lunches served by black-tied waiters at the Regency Hotel, and a house filled with precious antiques, which she was forbidden to touch. Established in Detroit in 1850, by 1984 the Stroh Brewing Company had become the largest private beer fortune in America and a brand emblematic of the American dream itself; while Stroh was coming of age, the Stroh family fortune was estimated to be worth $700 million. But behind the beautiful façade lay a crumbling foundation. As their fortune dissolved in little over a decade, the family was torn apart internally by divorce and one family member's drug bust; disagreements over the management of the business; and disputes over the remaining money they possessed. “The author’s family might have successfully burned through a massive fortune, but they squandered a lot more than that,” our reviewer writes about Stroh’s debut memoir, Beer Money. “A sorrowful, eye-opening examination of familial dysfunction.” View video >