Leslie, Stephen. The New Horse-Powered Farm: Tools and Systems for the Small-Scale, Sustainable Market Grower. Chelsea Green. Apr. 2013. 368p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781603584166. pap. $39.95. AGRI
Readers will quickly find this work, far from a nostalgic look at using horses to farm, to be an excellent, practical guide to incorporating horses into sustainable farming practices. Leslie has used draft horses to farm and garden for several years and currently manages an organic farm at the Cobb Hill Ecovillage in Hartland, Vermont. In this comprehensive work, the author successfully covers the selection of draft breeds (from minis to full size) based on the amount and kinds of work to be accomplished, types of harnesses and hitches (single and multi-horse), advances in horse-powered equipment, best practices for creating fertile soils and working the land for a variety of crops, necessary training for both humans and horses, the economics aspects, and other uses of horses on the farm. The book includes numerous stories of how horses have been incorporated into a variety of production systems by farmers other than the author, further demonstrating the variety of ways in which human, horse, and tractor systems can be combined to create more sustainable farming systems. Verdict This book is highly recommended for both public and academic libraries, particularly those in rural settings.—Kyrille Goldbeck-DeBose, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ. Lib., Blacksburg
Tychonievich, Joseph. Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener: How To Create Unique Vegetables & Flowers. Timber. 2013. 216p. illus. index. ISBN 9781604693645. pap. $19.95. GARDENING
Creating new plant varieties sounds like an activity that should be carried out by botanists in sterile labs, but Tychonievich (nursery manager, Arrowhead Alpines) skillfully explains how anyone can develop new plants in a backyard garden. The book covers the history of plant breeding, plant genetics, breeding goals, evaluating and selecting plants, how to make a cross (i.e., cross breed or hybridize plants), and advanced plant-breeding techniques. The final chapter includes directions for breeding particular flowers and vegetables. Despite the specialized topic, the author has written an accessible, easy-to-read book, one that novice gardeners will be able to use to create tastier tomatoes or more fragrant carnations. Concepts, ideas, and steps are clearly described, and line illustrations are included where useful. Tychonievich also includes recommended readings, useful websites, and a list of plant sources. VERDICT New and seasoned gardeners will appreciate this nicely presented book. It could even spur caregivers or teachers to get kids into the garden, growing their very own varieties of vegetables.—Lisa Ennis, Univ. of Alabama, Birmingham, Lib.
Lieberman, Philip. The Unpredictable Species: What Makes Humans Unique. Princeton Univ. May 2013. 248p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691148588. $29.95. SCI
Traditional evolutionary psychology teaches that humans maintain predictable behavior patterns based on genetics. Lieberman (biology, Brown Univ.; Toward an Evolutionary Biology of Language) argues against this assertion and refutes the argument that language is innate. He uses evidence from physical anthropology, neuroscience, and genetics to demonstrate how human language has enhanced human evolution. He surmises that information transferred through cultural contexts is responsible for the variety of human inventions rather than just through biological triggers. Lieberman reasons that human creativity, not genes, gives humans the ability to change and maneuver—that our very “unpredictability” makes us unique. A recognized expert on the evolution of human language and the relationship of language to the brain, Lieberman successfully conveys his ideas and intention. While this book will likely arouse controversy, it is also likely to generate great support for its viewpoint. It’s relatively easy to read but requires basic familiarity with the scholarly concepts involved. VERDICT This reviewer is not aware of another book quite in this category. Those who enjoy reading about evolution, cognition, biology, and the brain will find this a compelling and enjoyable book. Recommended as a highly engaging and thought-provoking work of popular science. —Gloria Maxwell, Metropolitan Community Coll.-Penn Valley, Kansas City, MO
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The following titles are reviewed in the April 1, print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Lapp, Laura Anne. An Amish Garden: A Year in the Life of an Amish Garden. Good Bks. Apr. 2013. 205p. photogs. ISBN 9781561487929. $24.95. GARDENING
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Bender, Stephanie & Treacy Colbert. End Your Menopause Misery: The 10-Day Self-Care Plan. Conari. 2013. 148p. ISBN 9781573245852. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781609256791. HEALTH
Edwards, Laurie. In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of Chronic Illness in America. Bloomsbury. Apr. 2013. 256p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780802718013. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780802778277. MED
Hadler, Nortin M. The Citizen Patient: Reforming Health Care for the Sake of the Patient, Not the System. Univ. of North Carolina. Apr. 2013. 272p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781469607047. $28. MED
Parina, Sam. Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death. HarperOne. 2013. 336p. bibliog. ISBN 9780062080608. $25.99. MED
Quivers, Robin. The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life. Avery: Penguin Group (USA). Apr. 2013. 257p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781583334737. $35. HEALTH
Rousso, Harilyn. Don’t Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back. Temple. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9781439909379. pap. $24.95. HEALTH
Kroonenberg, Salomon. Why Hell Stinks of Sulfur: Mythology and Geology of the Underworld. Univ. of Chicago. Apr. 2013. 304p. trans. from Dutch by Andy Brown. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781780230450. $38. SCI
Moskowitz, David. Wolves in the Land of Salmon. Timber. 2013. 332p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781604692273. $29.95. NAT HIST
Wiens, Roger. Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity. Basic Bks: Perseus. 2013. 224p. index. ISBN 9780465055982. $25. SCI