Science & Technology Book Reviews (page 4)

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 >

The Dance of the Moon by Pari Spolter
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Feb. 16, 2015

"A complex collection of lunar data that invites interpretation and consideration."
A book that attempts to explain the motion of the moon—a phenomenon that has baffled astronomers for quite some time. Read full book review >
AT THE EDGE OF UNCERTAINTY by Michael Brooks
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Feb. 12, 2015

"The edgy edge of scientific investigation presented with verve."
New Statesman columnist Brooks (Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science, 2012, etc.) details research being conducted on the extreme frontiers of science.Read full book review >
SAPIENS by Yuval Noah Harari
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"The great debates of history aired out with satisfying vigor."
Harari (History/Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem) provides an immersion into the important revolutions that shaped world history: cognitive, agricultural and scientific. The book was originally published in Israel in 2011 and became a best-seller. Read full book review >

HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"A revealing work that validates the statement that watching policy being made is like watching sausage being made—not a sight for the squeamish."
A well-researched history of Reye's syndrome that explores how science, medicine and politics interact. Read full book review >
ENERGY REVOLUTION by Mara Prentiss
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"In a genre rife with forecasts of doom and exhortations in favor of frugal living, Prentiss provides impressive evidence that things may work out just fine."
A surprisingly optimistic analysis of the world's unsustainable, wasteful energy consumption. Read full book review >
TO EXPLAIN THE WORLD by Steven Weinberg
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"While Weinberg confines most mathematics to a 95-page appendix, readers will strain to comprehend some of the lengthy nuts-and-bolts explanations, but those who persist will come away with a stimulating view of how humans learn from nature."
Histories of science celebrate great thinkers of the past. In this ingenious account, theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Weinberg (Chair in Science/Univ. of Texas; Lectures on Quantum Mechanics, 2012, etc.) celebrates generously but gives equal emphasis to why they often missed the mark.Read full book review >
THE POWERHOUSE by Steve LeVine
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Feb. 5, 2015

"A book with built-in appeal to both scientific minds and those thinking about sustainable transportation options."
The history and progression of the lithium-ion battery and its critical role in modern technology. Read full book review >
TALES FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE BRAIN by Michael S. Gazzaniga
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A lively appreciation of both the complexity of the human mind and the scientific enterprise."
"How on earth does the brain enable mind?" That is the still-to-be-answered question posed by Gazzaniga (Who's in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain, 2011, etc.), the director of the SAGE Center for the Study of Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara.Read full book review >
HALF-LIFE by Frank Close
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A fine account, heavy on science and politics, of a long, productive, peripatetic and ultimately inexplicable life."
Months after the 1950 arrest of British nuclear physicist Klaus Fuchs, Bruno Pontecorvo (1913-1993) vanished behind the Iron Curtain. Everyone assumed that he was also a Soviet spy, but extensive investigation found no evidence that he provided secrets to the Soviets. Read full book review >
THE MAN WHO TOUCHED HIS OWN HEART by Rob Dunn
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"Credit Dunn with a valuable text that offers something for everyone—patients, practitioners, medical students, historians and policymakers."
The heart was a black box up until a century ago, writes Dunn (Ecology and Evolution/North Carolina State Univ.; The Wild Life on Our Bodies, 2011, etc.). His well-researched text chronicles how the box was opened.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fatima Bhutto
April 14, 2015

Set during the American invasion of Afghanistan, Fatima Bhutto’s debut novel The Shadow of the Crescent Moon begins and ends one rain-swept Friday morning in Mir Ali, a small town in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas close to the Afghan border. Three brothers meet for breakfast. Soon after, the eldest, Aman Erum, recently returned from America, hails a taxi to the local mosque. Sikandar, a doctor, drives to the hospital where he works, but must first stop to collect his troubled wife, who has not joined the family that morning. No one knows where Mina goes these days. But when, later in the morning, the two are taken hostage by members of the Taliban, Mina will prove to be stronger than anyone could have imagined. Our reviewer writes that The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is “a timely, earnest portrait of a family torn apart by the machinations of other people’s war games and desperately trying to survive.” View video >