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Civilizing American Cities, Autokind vs. Mankind and Anatomy of a Park

Paul J. Mitarachi

A 1972 review of Civilizing American Cities, by Frederick Law Olmstead, edited by S. B. Sutton; Autokind vs. Mankind, by Kenneth R. Schneider; and Anatomy of a Park, by Albert J. Rutledge


Patterning of Time

Ernest R. Hilgard

A 1972 review of Patterning of Time, by Leonard W. Doob


Clouds of the World

Barry Saltzman

A 1973 review of Clouds of the World: A Complete Color Encyclopedia, by Richard Scorer


Alternatives to the Internal Combustion Engine

John B. Heywood

A 1973 review of Alternatives to the Internal Combustion Engine: Impacts on Environmental Quality, by Robert U. Ayres and Richard P. McKenna


Ecology and Environment

Jay Martin Anderson

A 1974 review of Ecology and Environment: Civilized Man’s Eight Deadly Sins, by Konrad Lorenz, translated by Marjorie Kerr Wilson


Machine Takeover

Peter M. Will

A 1978 review of Machine Takeover: The Growing Threat to Human Freedom in a Computer-Controlled Society, by Frank George


The Ultimate Experiment: Man-Made Evolution

Yaakou Schechter

A 1978 review of The Ultimate Experiment: Man-Made Evolution, by Nicholas Wade


Food Production and Its Consequences

Margaret Dittemore

A 1978 review of Food Production and Its Consequences, by Philip E. L. Smith


Doctors Wanted: No Women Need Apply and The Hidden Malpractice

Elizabeth C. Patterson

A 1978 review of Doctors Wanted: No Women Need Apply: Sexual Barriers in the Medical Profession, 1835–1975, by Mary Roth Walsh, and The Hidden Malpractice:How American Medicine Treats Women as Patients and Professionals, by Gena Corea


In a Class by Itself

Veit Elser

A review of The Nature of Computation, by Cristopher Moore and Stephan Mertens. The authors "have produced one of the most successful attempts to capture the broad scope and intellectual depth of theoretical computer science as it is practiced today," says Elser


Fortean Flora

Andrea Wills

A review of What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses, by Daniel Chamovitz. Plants’ ability to sense and respond to their surrounding environment is stranger and more surprising than one might think, and Chamovitz recounts the stories of scientists’ discoveries in plant biology with wit and charm, says Wills


Making the Land Our Own

Christine Casson

A review of American Georgics: Writings on Farming, Culture, and the Land, edited by Edwin C. Hagenstein, Sara M. Gregg, and Brian Donahue. The United States has always embodied the tension between the ideals of agrarianism and industrialism, says Casson, and this book provides a compelling history of that tension


Chemical Innocence?

Emily Monosson

A review of Legally Poisoned: How the Law Puts Us at Risk from Toxicants, by Carl F. Cranor. Cranor notes that it’s not enough for individual citizens to try to avoid chemicals that are known to be toxic; to offer substantive protection, legislation must be improved


A Portrait of the Economy

Brian Hayes

A review of Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, by Sylvia Nasar. This work is essentially a biography of economics, says Hayes. Nasar reveals the history and the nature of the field through captivating portraits of economists


The Rocks Don't Lie

David Schoonmaker

A brief review of The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood, by David R. Montgomery


A Field Guide to Radiation

Fenella Saunders

A brief review of A Field Guide to Radiation, by Wayne Biddle


Classic Book Reviews: The Early Years

Anna Lena Phillips

We take a look back at reviews published during the first 20 years of the Scientists' Bookshelf


The Sea Around Us, by Rachel L. Carson

Kirtley F. Mather


Silicones and Their Uses, by Rob Roy McGregor

Kirtley F. Mather


The Piltdown Forgery, by J. S. Weiner

Kirtley F. Mather


Book Reviewing in the Sciences: A Conversation

Carl Zimmer, Phillip Manning, Anna Lena Phillips

Three science writers and editors consider the state of science book reviews


Trouble at the Back End

Allison Macfarlane

A review of Fuel Cycle to Nowhere: U.S. Law and Policy on Nuclear Waste, by Richard Burleson Stewart and Jane Bloom Stewart. This comprehensive book details efforts to manage nuclear waste in the United States and, in doing so, offers useful lessons for policy makers and the public


Mathematical Road Trips

Brian Hayes

A review of In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman: Mathematics at the Limits of Computation, by William J. Cook. The traveling salesman problem falls into that set of mathematical problems that are very difficult, but not impossible, to solve, says Hayes. This book celebrates its idiosyncrasies


Insect Escape Artists

Elsa Youngsteadt

A review of How Not to Be Eaten: The Insects Fight Back, by Gilbert Waldbauer. Waldbauer has written another book that delights in the intricacies of the insect world. Seasoned entomologists will find no revelations here, says Youngsteadt, but the book may help convince their friends and family members of the wonders of the field


A “Simple” Piece of Plastic

Emily Willingham

A review of The Global Politics of the IUD: How Science Constructs Contraceptive Users and Women’s Bodies, by Chikako Takeshita. The scientific and social history of the group of birth-control devices known as IUDs (intrauterine devices) is fraught with instances of design under- or uninformed by empirical knowledge of how IUDs work and even of how the uterus is shaped, says Takeshita


Turning Scientific Perplexity into Ordinary Statistical Uncertainty

Cosma Shalizi

A review of Principles of Applied Statistics, by D. R. Cox and Christl A. Donnelly. Cox and Donnelly’s book “stands as a summary of an entire tradition of using statistics to address scientific problems,” says Shalizi. The lessons the book contains will allow those entering the field to “make original mistakes”





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