New Books Network

Maki Fukuoka, “The Premise of Fidelity: Science, Visuality, and Representing the Real in 19th-Century Japan”  (Stanford UP, 2012)
Zograscope. Say it with me: zograscope. ZooooOOOOOoooograscope. There are many optical wonders in Maki Fukuoka’s new book The Premise of Fidelity: Science, Visuality, and Representing the Real in 19th-Century Japan  (Stanford University Press, 2012), the zograscope not least among them. The book opens with Fukuoka’s account of stumbling upon a manuscript of... Read More
Clive Hamilton, “Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering” (Yale UP, 2013)
It’s getting warmer, there ain’t no doubt about it. What are we going to do? Most folks say we should cut back on bad things like carbon emissions. That would probably be a good idea. The trouble is we would have to cut back on all the good things that... Read More
Dominic Pettman, “Human Error” (UMinnesota, 2011)/”Look at the Bunny” (Zero Books, 2013)
“The humans are dead.” Whether or not you recognize the epigram from Flight of the Conchords (and if not, there are worse ways to spend a few minutes than by looking here, and I recommend sticking around for the “binary solo”), Dominic Pettman‘s Human Error: Species-Being and Media Machines (University... Read More
Joseph November, “Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States” (Johns Hopkins UP, 2012)
There are pigeons, cats, and Martians here. There are CT scanners, dentures, computers large enough to fill rooms, war games, and neural networks. In Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), Joe November mobilizes this ecology of instruments and objects, people and programs, in... 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
Nicholas Popper, Walter Ralegh’s History of the World and the Historical Culture of the Late Renaissance (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
Nicholas Popper‘s new book is a thoughtfully crafted and rich contribution to early modern studies, to the history of history, and to the history of science. Walter Ralegh’s History of the World and the Historical Culture of the Late Renaissance (University of Chicago Press, 2012) takes readers into the texture... Read More