New Books Network

Zachary Dorner, “Merchants of Medicine: The Commerce and Coercion of Health in Britain’s Long 18th Century” (U Chicago Press, 2020)
In Merchants of Medicine: The Commerce and Coercion of Health in Britain’s Long Eighteenth Century (The University of Chicago Press), medicines embody the hopes of those who prepared, sold, and ingested them. By investigating the different contexts and practices associated with the British long-distance trade in patent medicines, Zachary Dorner... Read More
Nick Chater, “The Mind Is Flat: The Remarkable Shallowness of the Improvising Brain” (Yale UP, 2019)
Psychologists and neuroscientists struggle with how best to interpret human motivation and decision making. The assumption is that below a mental “surface” of conscious awareness lies a deep and complex set of inner beliefs, values, and desires that govern our thoughts, ideas, and actions, and that to know this depth... Read More
Carl Safina, “Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace” (Henry Holt, 2020)
Some people insist that culture is strictly a human accomplishment. What are those people afraid of? Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace (Henry Holt and Co.) looks into three cultures of other-than-human beings in some of Earth’s remaining wild places. It shows how if... Read More
Gerald Posner, “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America” (Simon and Schuster, 2020)
Today’s guest is investigative journalist and author, Gerald Posner. His new book, Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America (Simon and Schuster), explores the fascinating and complex history of pharmaceutical and bio-tech industries. It is an industry like no other and a story like no other. Gerald Posner is... Read More
Angèle Christin, “Metrics at Work: Journalism and the Contested Meaning of Algorithms” (Princeton UP, 2020)
How are algorithms changing journalism? In Metrics at Work: Journalism and the Contested Meaning of Algorithms (Princeton University Press), Angèle Christin, an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford University, explores the impact of metrics and analytics on the newsrooms of New York and Paris. Using an ethnography of... Read More
Jessica Pierce, “Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of Keeping Pets” (U Chicago Press, 2016)
A life shared with pets brings many emotions. We feel love for our companions, certainly, and happiness at the thought that we’re providing them with a safe, healthy life. But there’s another emotion, less often acknowledged, that can be nearly as powerful: guilt. When we see our cats gazing wistfully... Read More
S. J. Potter, “Wireless Internationalism and Distant Listening: Britain, Propaganda, and the Invention of Global Radio, 1920-1939” (Oxford UP, 2020)
In the aftermath of the First World War, many people sought to use the new mass medium of radio as a tool for world peace, believing that it could promote understanding across national boundaries. In his book Wireless Internationalism and Distant Listening: Britain, Propaganda, and the Invention of Global Radio,... Read More
Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, “NeuroScience Fiction” (Benbella Books, 2020)
In NeuroScience Fiction (Benbella Books, 2020), Rodrigo Quian Quiroga shows how the outlandish premises of many seminal science fiction movies are being made possible by new discoveries and technological advances in neuroscience and related fields. Along the way, he also explores the thorny philosophical problems raised as a result, diving into... Read More
David Haig, “From Darwin to Derrida: Selfish Genes, Social Selves, and the Meanings of Life” (MIT Press, 2020)
In his book, From Darwin to Derrida: Selfish Genes, Social Selves, and the Meanings of Life (MIT Press), evolutionary biologist David Haig explains how a physical world of matter in motion gave rise to a living world of purpose and meaning. Natural selection is a process without purpose, yet gives... Read More
Emily Anthes, “The Great Indoors” (Scientific American, 2020)
Modern humans are an indoor species. We spend 90 percent of our time inside, shuttling between homes and offices, schools and stores, restaurants and gyms. And yet, in many ways, the indoor world remains unexplored territory. For all the time we spend inside buildings, we rarely stop to consider: How... Read More