Science & Technology Book Reviews

RISE OF THE MACHINES by Thomas Rid
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: June 28, 2016

"Not a history of computers but an ingenious look at how brilliant and not-so-brilliant thinkers see—usually wrongly but with occasional prescience—the increasingly intimate melding of machines and humans."
A fascinating study of the "seductive power of the cybernetic mythos." Read full book review >
THE TYRANNOSAUR CHRONICLES by David Hone
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: July 5, 2016

"Hone successfully integrates two equally fascinating stories: how our knowledge of these fabulous creatures was pieced together over time and what we can infer about them."
Our fascination with Tyrannosaurus rex, the aptly named king of the dinosaurs, has been fed by Jurassic Park and other films, but the reality is equally entrancing. Read full book review >

UNLATCHED by Jennifer Grayson
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 5, 2016

"Persuasive arguments backed by scientific research that clearly demonstrate the benefits of breast-feeding for as long as possible."
A new analysis of the controversy surrounding women breast-feeding their children. Read full book review >
THE UNKNOWN UNIVERSE by Stuart Clark
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: July 5, 2016

"Since satisfying results have yet to turn up, Clark's book ends on a cliffhanger, but readers will be entirely pleased with the experience."
Updates on the universe continue to pour from the presses, but since new discoveries appear regularly, cosmology aficionados may read one every few years. They will be wise to read this latest from New Scientist contributor Clark (The Day Without Yesterday, 2013, etc.), a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: July 5, 2016

"A convincing argument that the most secure way to communicate is via snail mail."
The history of cyberespionage, combining "related stories like encryption and code-breaking [and] the rise of the computer industry and its complex relationship with the secret world." Read full book review >

HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: July 12, 2016

"A book in which the author's fascinating, well-researched ideas regarding holistic health may presage a paradigm shift in medicine."
Fully 90 percent of human cells are microbial. This astonishing fact means that we are not merely human but a superorganism whose "microbiome" plays a major role in health and disease. Read full book review >
THE GRID by Gretchen Bakke
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: July 12, 2016

"A lively analysis of the challenges renewables present to the production and distribution of electricity."
A primer on the challenges facing a power industry in transition. Read full book review >
HOW THE WORLD BREAKS by Stan Cox
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 12, 2016

"Though short on a clear thesis, the book is strong on examples of human adaptation in the face of catastrophe."
A frightening, from-the-trenches overview of "natural" and man-made disasters—and responses to them—across the globe. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: July 19, 2016

"The book reads like an extended game of Trivial Pursuit, featuring some who play very well and many more who play very poorly."
The story of the dumbing-down of the American brain, as we have all become increasingly dependent on letting our computers think for us. Read full book review >
IDIOT BRAIN by Dean Burnett
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: July 26, 2016

"Burnett should give a TED talk. His book will appeal immensely to general readers and deserves a place on college reading lists."
A neuroscientist's irreverent guide to the brain. Read full book review >
BIG DATA by Timandra Harkness
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Aug. 1, 2016

"A readable guide for the non-IT set."
A pleasing excursion into the daunting terrain of computer-driven information. Read full book review >
WILD SEX by Carin Bondar
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Aug. 1, 2016

"A fascinating peek into the intimate behavior of our animal cousins that provides new insight into the benefits of being human."
A lively exploration of "the nitty-gritty of the diverse sex life of animals." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Chris Cleave
June 14, 2016

In bestseller Chris Cleave’s latest novel Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, it’s London, 1939. The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided. Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget. Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary. And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams. “Among all the recent fictions about the war, Cleave’s miniseries of a novel is a surprising standout,” our reviewer writes, “with irresistibly engaging characters who sharply illuminate issues of class, race, and wartime morality.” View video >