Science & Technology Book Reviews

HISTORY
Released: July 7, 2015

"A fascinating biography of a physicist who transformed how science is done."
Europe's Large Hadron Collider cost more than $10 billion, paid for by a consortium of nations. Its success owes much to charismatic physicist Ernest Lawrence (1901-1958), who invented the cyclotron, the Collider's ancestor. Read full book review >
LIFE’S GREATEST SECRET by Matthew Cobb
HISTORY
Released: July 7, 2015

"The greatest milestone in 20th-century biology received an iconic account in Horace Freeland Judson's The Eighth Day of Creation (1979). Much has happened since that publication, and Cobb's gripping, insightful history, often from the mouths of the participants themselves, updates the story, bringing it all the way into the present."
Animal breeders have always known that "like breeds like," but no one, Charles Darwin included, knew why offspring resemble parents except, sometimes, when they don't. Cobb (Zoology/Univ. of Manchester; Eleven Days in August: The Liberation of Paris 1944, 2014, etc.) describes how they learned.Read full book review >

UNFAIR by Adam Benforado
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 16, 2015

"An original and provocative argument that upends our most cherished beliefs about providing equal justice under the law."
A law professor sounds an explosive alarm on the hidden unfairness of our legal system. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: June 9, 2015

"An opinionated, authoritative, and delightfully provocative account of efforts to make sense of human fossil discoveries."
Despite his 2012 history of Homo sapiens, Masters of the Planet, Tattersall, curator emeritus in the anthropology division of the American Museum of Natural History, revisits the subject from another angle, with equally superb results.Read full book review >
THE THEFT OF MEMORY by Jonathan Kozol
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 2, 2015

"A compassionate, cathartic, and searingly intimate chronicle of a crippling condition."
An errant son memorializes the devastating impact of his father's struggle with Alzheimer's disease. 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 >
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 >
HISTORY
Released: May 5, 2015

"A breathtaking survey of the human mind exponentially accelerating the accumulation of knowledge, from pratfalls to ventures beyond the veil."
A selective, guided tour of the human accumulation of knowledge from American physicist and former CalTech instructor Mlodinow (Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior, 2012, etc.).Read full book review >
10% HUMAN by Alanna Collen
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: May 5, 2015

"Everything you wanted to know about microbes but were afraid to ask."
This state-of-the-science survey explores and explains what is known about the microbial community that lives within us and what we have yet to learn. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 28, 2015

"Superior science writing that eschews the usual fulsome biographies of eccentric geniuses, droll anecdotes and breathless prognostication to deliver a persistently fascinating portrait of an odd but routine feature of the cosmos."
Black holes enthrall physicists and astronomers, as well as Hollywood filmmakers, and readers of this fine popular science account will understand why. Read full book review >
TERMS OF SERVICE by Jacob Silverman
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: March 17, 2015

"Intelligent, provocative and illuminating in the author's argument that social media companies must examine their ethics and find business models that don't depend on perpetual surveillance of customers."
Freelancer Silverman, a celebrated Jeopardy! champion and contributor to Slate, the Atlantic and other publications, debuts with a deep and disquieting plunge into digital culture.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sabaa Tahir
August 4, 2015

Sabaa Tahir’s novel An Ember in the Ashes reveals a world inspired by ancient Rome and defined by brutality. Seventeen-year-old Laia has grown up with one rule for survival: Never challenge the Empire. But when Laia’s brother Darin is arrested for treason, she leaves behind everything she knows, risking her life to try and save him. She enlists help from the rebels whose extensive underground network may lead to Darin. Their help comes with a price, though. Laia must infiltrate the Empire’s greatest military academy as a spy. Elias is the Empire’s finest soldier—and its most unwilling one. Thrown together by chance and united by their hatred of the Empire, Laia and Elias will soon discover that their fates are intertwined—and that their choices may change the destiny of the entire Empire. We talk to An Ember in the Ashes author Sabaa Tahir this week on Kirkus TV. View video >