New Books Network

Daniel Macfarlane, “Fixing Niagara Falls: Environment, Energy, and Engineers at the World’s Most Famous Waterfall” (UBC Press, 2020)
Water and diplomatic historian Dan MacFarlane has written a fascinating book on a fundamental debate in environmental history: What is a natural landscape? Fixing Niagara Falls: Environment, Energy, and Engineers at the World’s Most Famous Waterfall (UBC Press, 2020) argues that one of the world’s most famous natural attractions is... Read More
Eric Weiner, “The Geography of Genius: Lessons from the World’s Most Creative Places” (Simon and Schuster, 2016)
Living, as we do, in a time in which a U.S. president anoints himself “a very stable genius”, we are particularly appreciative of Eric Weiner, a former foreign correspondent for NPR who writes with humility and humor, as he brings us along with him on his travels to times and... Read More
Jeremy England, “Every Life is on Fire: How Thermodynamics Explains the Origins of Living Things” (Basic Books, 2020)
“How did life begin? Most things in the universe aren’t alive, and yet if you trace the evolutionary history of plants and animals back far enough, you will find that, at some point, neither were we. Scientists have wrestled with the problem through the ages, and yet they still don’t... Read More
Thom van Dooren, “The Wake of Crows: Living and Dying in Shared Worlds” (Columbia UP, 2019)
Crows can be found almost everywhere that people are, from tropical islands to deserts and arctic forests, from densely populated cities to suburbs and farms. Across these diverse landscapes, many species of crow are doing well: their intelligent and adaptive ways of life have allowed them to thrive amid human-driven... Read More
Robert M. Geraci, “Temples of Modernity: Nationalism, Hinduism, and Transhumanism in South Indian Science” (Lexington, 2018)
What is the relationship between science, religion and technology in Hinduism? We speak with Robert M. Geraci about his research into religious ideas and practices in Indian science and engineering circles. Temples of Modernity: Nationalism, Hinduism, and Transhumanism in South Indian Science (Lexington, 2018) uses ethnographic data to investigate the... Read More
Yves Citton, “Mediarchy” (Polity Press, 2019)
We think that we live in democracies: in fact, we live in mediarchies. Our political regimes are based less on nations or citizens than on audiences shaped by the media. We assume that our social and political destinies are shaped by the will of the people without realizing that ‘the... Read More
James L. Nolan, Jr., “Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age” (Harvard UP, 2020)
After his father died, James L. Nolan, Jr., took possession of a box of private family materials. To his surprise, the small secret archive contained a treasure trove of information about his grandfather’s role as a doctor in the Manhattan Project. Dr. Nolan, it turned out, had been a significant figure.... Read More
Durba Mitra, “Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought” (Princeton UP, 2020)
During the colonial period in India, European scholars, British officials, and elite Indian intellectuals—philologists, administrators, doctors, ethnologists, sociologists, and social critics—deployed ideas about sexuality to understand modern Indian society. In Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought (Princeton UP, 2020), Durba Mitra shows how deviant... Read More
Robert Kolker, “Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of An American Family” (Doubleday, 2020)
Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of An American Family (Doubleday, 2020) is the story of a midcentury American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand the disease. Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the... Read More
Joseph E. Davis, “Chemically Imbalanced: Everyday Suffering, Medication, and Our Troubled Quest for Self-Mastery” (U Chicago Press, 2020)
Everyday suffering—those conditions or feelings brought on by trying circumstances that arise in everyone’s lives—is something that humans have grappled with for millennia. But the last decades have seen a drastic change in the way we approach it. In the past, a person going through a time of difficulty might... Read More