A winning, enlightening investigation into wind engineering and the man who made the airwaves speak.

WIND WIZARD

ALAN G. DAVENPORT AND THE ART OF WIND ENGINEERING

A richly drawn portrait of Alan Davenport (1932–2009), the maestro of “balancing the wind’s fickle forces.”

Davenport was not just a wind engineer, writes freelance science journalist Roberts (King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, the Man Who Saved Geometry, 2006); “he set the agenda for investigating the effects of wind on the natural and built environments,” chiefly through his path-breaking dedicated boundary layer wind tunnel. The tunnel measures the effects of wind from the earth’s surface to 3,000 feet in altitude, where it is at its most turbulent, churning in eddies, or, as Roberts puts it, “marbled striations of air.” This is only one example of the author’s lovely way with words, her artful ability to give the mind’s eye entry into difficult scientific terrain. She is at ease writing pure popular science—how Davenport put his wind tunnel to use to help understand sail design or the winds at Augusta National Golf Club’s famous 12th hole—as well as the dark matter of wind correlation and buffeting theory. There is a fine introduction to the history of wind theory and limpid explanations of such phenomena as viscosity, before Roberts goes on to detail a number of Davenport’s more famous projects, such as the World Trade Center, the Sears Tower, Shanghai’s World Financial Center, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and Florida’s Sunshine Skyway. A final chapter testifies to Davenport’s forward thinking as he tackled disaster mitigation, again with his wind tunnel, using models of local topography to avoid obvious landscape traps in the event of natural disasters.

A winning, enlightening investigation into wind engineering and the man who made the airwaves speak.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-691-15153-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Princeton Univ.

Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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