Science & Technology Book Reviews

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 >

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 >
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 >
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 >

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: June 14, 2016

"A thoughtful examination of the role of aging and death in supporting life."
An advancement of the challenging theory that, along with growth and puberty, aging also unfolds "on a schedule programmed into the regulatory portion of our DNA." Read full book review >
ECCENTRIC ORBITS by John Bloom
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: June 7, 2016

"A tour de force history of a star-crossed technological leap."
A spellbinding history of a massively impressive work of technology. Read full book review >
ORDINARILY WELL by Peter D. Kramer
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: June 7, 2016

"Written with the compassion, verve, and style that are the author's trademark, this book offers an invaluable overview on the state of treatment and the options available."
The 1993 publication of Kramer's Listening to Prozac set off a controversy about the use of mind-altering drugs in the treatment of mental illness that has still to be resolved, a situation the author finds deplorable. Read full book review >
THE INEVITABLE by Kevin Kelly
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: June 7, 2016

"Kelly's arguments ring true, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Readers will enjoy the ride provided they forget that he has disobeyed his warning against assuming that today's trends will continue."
That futurists have a terrible record hasn't discouraged them, and this delightful addition to the genre does not deny that predictions have been wildly off-base. Read full book review >
MAGIC AND LOSS by Virginia Heffernan
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: June 7, 2016

"A thoroughly engrossing examination of the Internet's past, present, and future."
New York Times Magazine writer Heffernan considers the mighty Internet in all its terrible beauty and power. Read full book review >
STRANGER IN THE MIRROR by Robert V. Levine
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: June 1, 2016

"A provocative and convincing case of the malleability of what we think of as 'our self, which in reality is a multiplicity of characters' developed through time and circumstances."
A multiangled exploration of the slippery notion of self-identity. Read full book review >
THE GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION by Kameron Hurley
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: May 31, 2016

"Passion and commitment permeate the writing as Hurley illuminates the online cultural vanguard from a feminist's perspective."
A feminist manifesto from the front lines of fantasy fiction, Internet flaming, and Gamergate battles. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Nancy Isenberg
author of WHITE TRASH
July 19, 2016

Poor Americans have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, in White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. “A riveting thesis supported by staggering research,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >