Charleson, Susannah. The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of “Unadoptables” Taught Me about Service, Hope, and Healing. Houghton Harcourt. Jun. 2013. 288p. photogs. ISBN 9780547734934. $27. PETS
Charleson (Scent of the Missing) takes readers on a new journey after a particularly gruesome search-and-rescue case involving 40 dogs that had been tortured, which left her suffering from PTSD. After noticing that Puzzle, her search-and-rescue dog, was helping her through these episodes, and following a chance encounter with a firefighter suffering from traumatic brain injury, Charleson became curious about psychiatric service dogs. This deeply moving and personal story chronicles the author’s experiences learning to identify potential service dogs in shelters and discovering her own need for therapy dogs, especially as she also struggles with kidney disease. Eventually, Charleson forms a service dog nonprofit called Possibility Dogs. Her story not only underlies the strength of the human-dog connection but also shows that rescued dogs from all sorts of backgrounds and breeds (Charleson’s therapy dog is a pit bull mix she rescued), even those with limitations (Ollie, a blind and deaf terrier, helps children overcome anxiety) can fill critical roles for humans in need. VERDICT A touching and inspirational story that will appeal to animal lovers.—Lisa Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham
Offit, Paul A. Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine. Harper: HarperCollins. Jun. 2013. 336p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062222961. $26.99. MED
Offit (chief, infectious diseases, Children’s Hosp. of Philadelphia; Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All) examines alternative medical therapies that are popular today: acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, herbs and supplements, and cancer cures. He discusses the history of these treatments and states that there is no evidence for their effectiveness. He also looks at celebrities such as Dr. Oz, Andrew Weil, Oprah Winfrey, Suzanne Somers, and Jenny McCarthy who endorse and sell alternative treatments. Using case histories to show the sometimes tragic outcomes of abandoning modern medicine, the author separates the therapies that work from those that are useless. Some alternative therapies do work in select cases, although the placebo effect may be involved. Offit notes that the placebo effect is a valid one, saying, “There’s no such thing as alternative medicine. There’s only medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t.” VERDICT This excellent, easy-to-read look at the alternative-medicine industry is highly recommended.—Barbara Bibel, Oakland P.L.
Bogard, Paul. The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light. Little, Brown. Jul. 2013. 304p. photogs. notes. index. ISBN 9780316182904. $26.99. SCI
Bogard (creative nonfiction, James Madison Univ.; editor, Let There Be Night) gives us a world tour of the night, both its darkness and our lighting of our way through it. He takes us from perhaps the darkest place in the United States, in the Nevada desert, to one of the brightest, not far away in Las Vegas; to a Cape Cod, MA, beach for stargazing and the natural sounds of night; and to a bridge in Austin, TX, that hosts a huge colony of bats. He offers delightful insights from experts on the activities of nature during the night—the “ecology of darkness”— e.g., with foxes hunting and nocturnal migrations of geese. Readers will not be immune to Bogard’s wonder and appreciation, which are evident in every paragraph. He further engages us with stories of different kinds of lighting, their uses (e.g., the lighting of Paris), our artistic interpretations of light, and the effects upon us (some dire) of artificial lighting. He shows how the loss of natural darkness has harmed Earth’s ecology as the worlds of darkness slip away. Today, many human populations have never experienced night vision or the complete darkness. VERDICT Bogard will leave readers in awe of darkness and in admiration of his book. For discerning naturalists.—Margaret F. Dominy, Drexel Univ. Lib., Philadelphia
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The following titles are reviewed in the June 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
HEALTH & MEDICINE
MacGregor, Kino. The Power of Ashtanga Yoga: Developing a Practice That Will Bring You Strength, Flexibility, and Inner Peace. Shambhala, dist. by Random. Jun. 2013. 240p. photogs. bibliog. ISBN 9781611800050. pap. $21.95. HEALTH
Ofri, Danielle. What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine. Beacon. Jun. 2013. 240p. notes. index. ISBN 9780807073322. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780807073339. MED
Scrinis, Gyorgy. Nutritionism: The Science and Politics of Dietary Advice. Columbia Univ. Jun. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780231156561. $32.95; ebk. ISBN 9780231527149. HEALTH
Paves, Ken. You Are Beautiful: A Beauty Guide for Real Women. Sterling. Jun. 2013. 272p. photogs. ISBN 9781402797088. $24.95. PERSONAL GROOMING
Ball, Philip. Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything. Univ. of Chicago. 2013. 480p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780226045795. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780226045825. SCI
Hirsh, Aaron. Telling Our Way to the Sea: A Voyage of Discovery in the Sea of Cortez. Farrar. Aug. 2013. 432p. maps. index. ISBN 9780374272845. $30. NAT HIST
Monk, Ray. Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center. Doubleday. 2013. 848p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780385504072. $37.50. SCI
Newman, James L. Encountering Gorillas: A Chronicle of Discovery, Exploitation, Understanding, and Survival. Rowman & Littlefield. Jul. 2013. 224p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781442219557. $39; ebk. ISBN 9781442219571. NAT HIST
White, Curtis. The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers. Melville House. 2013. 224p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781612192000. $23.95. SCI
Evans, Michelle. The X-15 Rocket Plane: Flying the First Wings into Space. Univ. of Nebraska. (Outward Odyssey: A People’s History of Spaceflight). Jun. 2013. 488p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780803228405. $36.95. TECH