Science & Technology Book Reviews

HAIR by Kurt Stenn
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 15, 2016

"A spirited, informative history of a fascinating fiber."
A hair-follicle scientist offers an edifying look at the biology, physiology, and history of hair. Read full book review >
THE MYSTERIOUS WORLD OF THE HUMAN GENOME by Frank Ryan
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"An enlightening account of past and present knowledge and the future possibilities of human heredity."
The information revolution in silicon gets the headlines, but a revolution in genetics has been running in parallel and will soon affect our lives even more profoundly. Plenty of authors are paying attention, but British physician and researcher Ryan (Metamorphosis: Unmasking the Mystery of How Life Transforms, 2011, etc.) delivers an up-to-date history that will be definitive—at least for a few years.Read full book review >

PANDEMIC by Sonia Shah
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"This is not fun reading, but it's necessary—one can only hope that it drives more effective surveillance and rapid response to tomorrow's plagues."
Vibrio cholerae was once a species of marine bacteria attached to some plankton in the coastal wetlands of the Bay of Bengal. In grim detail, science journalist Shah (The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, 2010, etc.) demonstrates how it became the global source of horrendous deaths and how the story of cholera is paradigmatic of how pandemics happen. Read full book review >
SMALL DATA by Martin Lindstrom
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Feb. 23, 2016

"Lindstrom's uncanny ability to detect and decipher seemingly unrelated clues will inspire reporters and detectives as well as companies looking for ways to develop new products and ideas."
A leading marketing guru recounts his firsthand experiences investigating the lives of consumers to develop global branding strategies. Read full book review >
IMBECILES by Adam Cohen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2016

"A shocking tale about science and law gone horribly wrong, an almost forgotten case that deserves to be ranked with Dred Scott, Plessy, and Korematsu as among the Supreme Court's worst decisions."
Attorney, journalist, and bestselling author Cohen (Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days that Created Modern America, 2009, etc.) revisits an ugly chapter in American history: the 1920s mania for eugenics.Read full book review >

HERDING HEMINGWAY'S CATS by Kat Arney
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: March 1, 2016

"A robust, bouncy, pellucid introduction to DNA and genetics."
A survey of recent research and thinking on genes. Read full book review >
SEVEN BRIEF LESSONS ON PHYSICS by Carlo Rovelli
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: March 1, 2016

"An intriguing meditation on the nature of the universe and our attempts to understand it that should appeal to both scientists and general readers."
Italian theoretical physicist Rovelli (General Relativity: The Most Beautiful of Theories, 2015, etc.) shares his thoughts on the broader scientific and philosophical implications of the great revolution that has taken place over the past century.Read full book review >
THROWING ROCKS AT THE GOOGLE BUS by Douglas Rushkoff
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 1, 2016

"A powerful exposé of an underdiscussed downside to the digital revolution."
Rushkoff (Theory and Digital Economics/CUNY, Queens; Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now, 2013, etc.) looks behind marketing hype to examine the nexus of digital technology and the economy.Read full book review >
STRANGE GLOW by Timothy J. Jorgensen
HISTORY
Released: March 1, 2016

"A seismic piece of scientific inquiry, top shelf in narrative style and illumination."
An examination of the nature of radiation and the history of our understanding of the process. Read full book review >
DARK TERRITORY by Fred Kaplan
HISTORY
Released: March 1, 2016

"An important, disturbing, and gripping history arguing convincingly that, as of 2015, no defense exists against a resourceful cyberattack."
For centuries, spies could only listen to enemy communications. In this thoughtful, opinionated history, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist warns that in today's cyberage, "once they hacked a computer, they could prowl the entire network…they could not only read and download scads of information, they could change its contents—disrupt, corrupt, or erase it—and mislead or disorient the officials who relied on it." Read full book review >
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: March 8, 2016

"An authoritative account of the challenges facing progressives wishing to fuse better governance with economic justice."
An energetic if grim discussion of inequality and the coming era of underemployment, viewed through the lens of the forgotten American progressive narrative. Read full book review >
13.8 by John Gribbin
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: March 8, 2016

"An exciting chronicle of a monumental scientific accomplishment by a scientist who participated in the measuring of the age of the universe."
Astrophysicist Gribbin (Erwin Schrodinger and the Quantum Revolution, 2013, etc.) clearly explains how the accidental discovery of "the cosmic microwave background radiation" in the mid-1960s led to the assignment of a definitive date for the origin of the universe.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 >