New Books Network

Leonard Wapner, “Unexpected Expectations: The Curiosities of a Mathematical Crystal Ball” (A.K. Peters, 2012)
Today I talked to Leonard Wapner about his new book Unexpected Expectations: The Curiosities of a Mathematical Crystal Ball (A.K. Peters, 2012).  Prof. Wapner’s previous book, The Pea and the Sun, was an in-depth investigation of the Banach-Tarski Theorem, one of the most counterintuitive results in mathematics.  Expectation is an extension... Read More
Paul Barrett, “Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun” (Broadway, 2013)
History is in many respects the story of humanity’s quest for transcendence: to control life and death, time and space, loss and memory. When inventors or companies effectively tap into these needs products emerge that help define their times. The Kodak ‘Brownie’ allowed average consumers – without the knowledge of... Read More
Alexandra Hui, “The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840-1910” (MIT Press, 2013)
In The Psychophysical Ear: Musical Experiments, Experimental Sounds, 1840-1910 (MIT Press, 2013), Alexandra Hui explores a fascinating chapter of that history in a period when musical aesthetics and natural science came together in the psychophysical study of sound in nineteenth century Germany. Though we tend to consider the performing arts... Read More
Andrew Koppelman, “The Tough Luck Constitution and the Assault on Health Care Reform” (Oxford UP, 2013)
Every hundred years or so, the Supreme Court decides a question with truly vast economic implications. In 2012 such a decision was handed down, in a case that had the potential to affect the economy in the near term more than any court case ever had. The substance of the... Read More
David Hochfelder, “The Telegraph in America, 1832-1920” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2012)
In The Telegraph in America, 1832-1920 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), David Hochfelder provides a taut and consistently intelligent history of the telegraph in American life. The book is notable for both its topical breadth—encompassing war, politics, business, journalism, and everyday life—as well as its focused, argument-driven chapters. Hochfelder describes... Read More
Marlene Zuk, “Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live” (Norton, 2013)
The Hebrews called it “Eden.” The Greeks and Romans called it the “Golden Age.” The philosophes–or Rousseau at least–called it the “State of Nature.” Marx and Engels called it “Primitive Communism.” The underlying notion, however, is the same: there was a time, long ago, when things were much better than... Read More
Kathleen M. Vogel, “Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?: A New Framework for Assessing Bioweapons Threats” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2012)
Kathleen M. Vogel‘s new book is enlightening and inspiring. Phantom Menace or Looming Danger?: A New Framework for Assessing Bioweapons Threats (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012) uses an approach grounded in deep ethnographic analysis of exemplary case studies to explore the recent and contemporary practices performed by US governmental and... Read More