Science & Technology Book Reviews

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"A fascinating account of extreme efforts to stave off extinction, the ethics of these efforts, and an unsettling, not-terribly-optimistic analysis of their chances of success."
Everyone sympathizes with endangered species, and few object to traditional conservation measures (limits on hunting, habitat preservation) that work—but they don't work if habitats disappear or if numbers dwindle or vanish entirely. Radical measures are necessary, writes journalist O'Connor. Read full book review >
LET THERE BE WATER by Seth M. Siegel
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"A major contribution to this hotly debated issue and to broader questions of environmental policy.
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An in-depth report on how Israel has combined technological innovation with conservation to achieve a water surplus at home and become a world leader in water management. Read full book review >

CHILLED by Tom Jackson
FOOD & COOKING
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"There's much to wonder at in Jackson's captivating book."
The lively history of refrigeration from British science writer Jackson (Mathematics: An Illustrated History of Numbers, 2012, etc.).Read full book review >
THE LAWS OF MEDICINE by Siddhartha Mukherjee
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A splendid exploration of how medicine might be transformed."
Oncologist and Pulitzer Prize winner Mukherjee (Medicine/Columbia Univ.; The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, 2010) skillfully dives into the hidden side of medicine in this elaboration of the author's 18-minute TED talk.Read full book review >
DARK MATTER AND THE DINOSAURS by Lisa Randall
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A top-notch science book from a leading researcher."
Randall (Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology/Harvard Univ.; Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World, 2011, etc.) explores the causes of the fifth major extinction event, which occurred 66 million years ago and wiped out terrestrial dinosaurs and three-quarters of all other species living on Earth.Read full book review >

THE EVOLUTION OF EVERYTHING by Matt Ridley
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"Like Malcolm Gladwell, Ridley's taste for counterintuitive arguments often oversimplifies and ignores contradictory evidence, but he provides a wild ride, almost too thought-provoking to read for long stretches but difficult to put down."
Evolution, a phenomenon without an underlying plan that explains life's development, has convinced scientists, if not the general public, but authorities still debate whether Darwin's theory applies to human society. Veteran science writer Ridley (The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, 2010) investigates.Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"An endlessly surprising foray into the current mother of physics' many knotty mysteries, the solving of which may unveil the weirdness of quantum particles, black holes, and the essential unity of nature."
Two particles behave identically and instantaneously though separated by great space and with no force passing between them. How? Award-winning Scientific American contributing editor Musser (The Complete Idiot's Guide to String Theory, 2008) probes the riddle.Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"One of the most absorbing and empowering science histories to hit the shelves in recent years."
One of the world's most renowned and forward-thinking oncologists recounts 35 years of cancer research and tells us why we should be optimistic about the future. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"A scintillating popular account of the interplay between mathematical physics and astronomical observations."
Levenson (Science Writing/MIT; Newton and the Counterfeiter: The Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist, 2009, etc.) connects Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity to Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. In their day, each provided "a radical new picture of gravity" that ultimately depended on astronomical confirmation.Read full book review >
THE PLANET REMADE by Oliver Morton
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"An important account of cutting-edge research that will fascinate serious readers and demand the attention of policymakers."
Economist briefings editor Morton (Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet, 2008, etc.) offers a calm, rational discussion of deliberate technological interventions to cool the planet's climate system.Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Vanessa Diffenbaugh
September 1, 2015

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the New York Timesbestselling author of The Language of Flowers; her new novel, We Never Asked for Wings, is about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds. For 14 years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now 15, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life. “Diffenbaugh’s latest confirms her gift for creating shrewd, sympathetic charmers,” our reviewer writes. View video >