Science & Technology Book Reviews (page 2)

HISTORY
Released: Jan. 16, 2016

"A must-read for anyone interested in the early history of space exploration."
Spaceflight didn't start with Neil Armstrong, or even with Sputnik, as this well-researched account of the early days of rocketry makes clear.Read full book review >
WHY WE SNAP by R. Douglas Fields
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"The interplay between conscious and unconscious cognition is not unfamiliar territory, as readers of Daniel Kahneman or Malcolm Gladwell will recognize, but Fields' personal experience adds a fresh viewpoint to an intriguing subject."
A neuroscientist asks, "what triggers [our] deadly switch for violence and killing?" Read full book review >

PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A fine exploration of the brain's ability to draw the story of our life, from experience and from thin air."
A neurologist tours current research on the mysteries of perception, habit, learning, memory, and language—our very selfhood and identity—and their underlying brain mechanics. Read full book review >
THE IDEALIST by Justin Peters
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"A hard look at Internet culture and the wunderkind it failed in the end."
The spectacular life and tragic downfall of an American iconoclast. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 12, 2016

"Nelson adds another chapter to the somber history of injustice toward African-Americans, but it is one in which science is enriching lives by forging new identities and connections to ancestral homelands."
Genealogical studies by black Americans have grown in popularity once companies were able to provide DNA analyses "direct to consumers." Has it helped civil rights? Social justice? Legal claims? Yes and no, writes Nelson (Sociology and Gender Studies/Columbia Univ.; Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, 2011, etc.) in this meticulously detailed study.Read full book review >

HISTORY
Released: Jan. 11, 2016

"An unusual and vastly entertaining journey into the world of mysterious plant life as experienced by a gifted nature writer."
A prolific and talented British nature writer explores 40 plant species and how they have influenced the human imagination over the centuries. Read full book review >
A CRUDE LOOK AT THE WHOLE by John H. Miller
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A valuable companion to confusion, though it's not without a few tangles of its own."
The world is complicated and getting more so. Or, as Miller (Economics and Social Sciences/Carnegie Mellon Univ.; co-author: Complex Adaptive Systems, 2007) puts it, more cheerfully, "complexity abounds."Read full book review >
COSMOSAPIENS by John Hands
HISTORY
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"A compendious work that will intrigue serious readers; others may find it overlong and too comprehensive."
Hands has spent the last 10 years assembling a critical overview of scientific orthodoxy in an attempt to answer the fundamental questions "what are we?" and "why are we here?" Read full book review >
THE BOY WHO COULD CHANGE THE WORLD by Aaron Swartz
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"An important record of forward-looking thought cut short."
Collected writings of Aaron Swartz (1986-2013), prescient programmer and technology critic. Read full book review >
THE LUCKY YEARS by David B. Agus
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"Practical health information fortified with exciting news from the forefront of modern medical technology."
A pioneering oncologist explores the latest advancements in general medicine. Read full book review >
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Jan. 1, 2016

"A well-rounded discussion of common mental problems and strategies for dealing with them."
The chief psychiatrist at Amen Clinics offers a holistic approach to treating an array of mental disorders. Read full book review >
HOME by John S. Allen
HISTORY
Released: Dec. 29, 2015

"Excellent supplementary reading for a variety of college courses, but the book's scope and accessibility make this one for general readers, too."
A neuroanthropologist tackles the questions of how home came to be a central feature of human life and what we mean when we say that we feel at home. 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 >