Science & Technology Reviews, March 15, 2012

starred review starCarey, Nessa. The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance. Columbia Univ. Mar. 2012. c.352p. illus. index. ISBN 9780231161169. $26.95. MED

Why doesn’t DNA completely determine our destiny? The answer may lie in the new biological frontier of epigenetics‚ the changes to our genetic material that change the way genes are switched on or off, but which don’t alter the genes themselves. Recent research has revealed how these changes occur‚ or, as former genetics professor and biotech/pharmaceutical industry veteran Carey explains: We are finally starting to unravel the missing link between nature and nurture; how our environment talks to us and alters us, sometimes forever. She takes readers inside the genome, showing how epigenetic phenomena occur at the molecular level and what that means for the entire organism, be it worm, mouse, or human. Early chapters introduce key concepts in epigenetics, while subsequent chapters highlight major findings in epigenetic research and the role of epigenetic phenomena in cancer, mental illness, and aging. VERDICT Throughout, Carey’s clear prose, well-chosen analogies, and simple, clear diagrams help the scientifically literate lay reader understand complicated concepts and processes. This book provides an excellent introduction to a fascinating new field that may revolutionize our understanding of human health and disease. Highly recommended.‚ Janet A. Crum, City of Hope, Duarte, CA

starred review starRosenberg, Martha. Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks, and Hacks Pimp the Public Health. Prometheus. Apr. 2012.
c.300p. ISBN 9781616145934. $24. HEALTH

Freelance reporter and cartoonist Rosenberg takes on both Big Pharma and Big Food in her first book. Although its title is misleading, this exposé is a well-written, well-documented, and well-referenced attempt to shine a spotlight on pharmaceutical scare tactics, fabricated research data, media- generated drug hype, and the horrific treatment of farm animals. Rosenberg’s sharp, cynical prose and witty cartoons will likely leave readers feeling both betrayed by these industries and stupid for failing to recognize their machinations. Although she reserves her greatest criticism for government agencies, large-scale farming enterprises, and pharmaceutical companies, she makes clear the impact of the ignorance, indifference, and complicity of the American public. VERDICT More technical and less personal than Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, this book is nonetheless enlightening and compelling. Rosenberg’s work will appeal especially to the health conscious, but any consumer who cares about corporate wrongdoing, the politics of medicine and food, and especially our responsibility for the welfare of animals will want to read it. Highly recommended.‚ Linda F. Petty, Wimberley, TX

starred review starZickefoose, Julie. The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds. Houghton Harcourt. Mar. 2012. c.368p. illus. index. ISBN 9780547003092. $28. NAT HIST

Naturalist and NPR contributor Zickefoose (Letters from Eden: A Year at Home, in the Woods) here discusses 25 bird species, many of which she has nurtured on her extensive Ohio property. She is unabashedly anthropomorphic, humane, maternal, and often sentimental, all qualities that have gained increasing respect among clinical scientists. It is hard not to get mushy reading about her bluebird‚ beautiful and gentle, its wing permanently injured by a hawk‚ who survives in the wild to sire 53 nestlings over a seven-year period. Such tales fill this beautifully illustrated journal of the seasons, greatly enhanced by her 216 evocative paintings and sketches (although her ospreys don’t meet the high standards of the rest of her art), many of which are accompanied by attractive, handwritten captions. Backing up her chronicles of wildlife rehabilitation and travel are her decades of experience as a birder. She is a mainstay of Bird Watcher’s Digest, the premier birding magazine, in which some of her chapters first appeared, and her art has been featured in major ornithological publications. VERDICT Highly recommended for all bird-watchers and enthusiasts. [Look for a Q&A with Zickefoose online.‚ Ed.]‚ Henry Armistead, formerly with Free Lib. of Philadelphia

The following titles are reviewed in the March 15 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


Eierman, Colby (text) & Erin Kunkel (photogs.). Fruit Trees in Small Spaces: Abundant Harvests from Your Own Backyard. Timber. 2012. c.264p. illus. photogs. index. ISBN 9781604691900.
pap. $24.95. GARDENING

Galloway, Willi (text) & Jim Henkens (photogs.). Grow Cook Eat: A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening, Including 50 Recipes, Plus Harvesting and Storage Tips. Sasquatch. 2012. 304p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781570617317. pap. $29.95. GARDENING

Martyn, Trea. Queen Elizabeth in the Garden: A Story of Love, Rivalry, and Spectacular Gardens. Bluebridge, dist. by IPG. 2012. c.336p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781933346366. $22.95. GARDENING

Nasser, Dave with Lynne Barrett-Lee. Giant George: Life With the World’s Biggest Dog. Grand Central Life & Style. Apr. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9781455511457. $24.99. PETS

Steiner, Lynn. The Complete Guide to Lower Midwest Gardening: Techniques for Growing Landscape & Garden Plants in Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Southern Michigan & Southern Ontario. ISBN 9781589236509.

Steiner, Lynn. The Complete Guide to Lower South Gardening: Techniques for Growing Landscape & Garden Plants in Louisiana, Florida, Southern Mississippi, Southern Alabama, Southern Arkansas, Southern Georgia, Eastern Texas, Coastal South Carolina & Coastal North Carolina. ISBN 9781589236530.

Steiner, Lynn. The Complete Guide to Mid-Atlantic Gardening: Techniques for Growing Landscape & Garden Plants in Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Eastern Massachusetts, Connecticut, Southeastern & Northwestern New York. ISBN 9781589236516.

Steiner, Lynn. The Complete Guide to Northeast Gardening: Techniques for Growing Landscape & Garden Plants in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Western Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut, Southern Quebec, New Brunswick & Eastern Ontario.
ISBN 9781589236493.

Steiner, Lynn. The Complete Guide to Northwest Coast Gardening: Techniques for Growing Landscape & Garden Plants in Northern California, Western Oregon, Western Washington & Southwestern British Columbia. ISBN 9781589236561.

Steiner, Lynn. The Complete Guide to Upper Midwest Gardening: Techniques for Growing Landscape & Garden Plants in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Northern Michigan & Southwestern Ontario. ISBN 9781589236479.

Steiner, Lynn. The Complete Guide to Western Plains Gardening: Techniques for Growing Landscape & Garden Plants in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Northern Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Southern Manitoba, Southern Saskatchewan & Southern Alberta.
ISBN 9781589236486.
Ea. vol.: Creative Pub: Quayside. (Black & Decker). 2012. 239p. photogs. index. pap. $24.99. GARDENING

Health & Medicine

Beck, Meryl Hershey. Stop Eating Your Heart Out: The 21-Day Program To Free Yourself from Emotional Eating. Conari: Red Wheel/Weiser. Apr. 2012. c.256p. ISBN 9781573245456. pap. $16.95. HEALTH

Chang, Raymond. Beyond the Magic Bullet: The Anti-Cancer Cocktail; A New Approach To Beating Cancer. Square One. 2012. c.208p. illus. index. ISBN 9780757002328. pap. $16.95. HEALTH

Farnan, Rose M. & Maithe Enriquez. What Nurses Know…HIV/AIDS. Demos. Mar. 2012. c.208p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781936303199. pap. $16.95. MED

May, Michelle with Megrette Fletcher. Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes: A Mindful Eating Program for Thriving with Prediabetes or Diabetes. New Harbinger. Apr. 2012. c.240p. ISBN 9781608822454. pap. $17.95. HEALTH

Rennie, Julie. The Metabolic Clock: Speed Up Your Metabolism and Lose Weight Easily. Rockpool, dist. by Trafalgar Square. 2012. 176p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781921295317. pap. $19.95. HEALTH

Timberg, Craig & Daniel Halperin. Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome It. Penguin. Mar. 2012. c.432p. illus. index. ISBN 9781594203275. $29.95. MED

Home Economics

Arellano, Gustavo. Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. Scribner. Apr. 2012. c.320p. photogs. ISBN 9781439148617. $25. COOKING

Graham, Colleen (text) & Shannon Graham (photogs.). ¬°Hola Tequila!: Ninety Creative Cocktails and Inspired Shooters. Sellers. Apr. 2012. 128p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781416206910. pap. $15.95. BEVERAGES

Prince, Thane (text) & Diana Miller (photogs.) & Sue Robson (illus.). Ham, Pickles & Jam: Traditional Skills for the Modern Kitchen Larder. Pavilion, dist. by Trafalgar Square. May 2012. 272p. illus. index. ISBN 9781862059283. $34.95. COOKING


Gould, James L. & Carol Grant Gould. Nature’s Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation. Princeton Univ. (Science Essentials). Jun. 2012. c.320p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691140452. $29.95. SCI

Hengeveld, Rob. Wasted World:
How Our Consumption Challenges the Planet.
Univ. of Chicago. Apr. 2012. c.360p. ISBN 9780226326993. $30. SCI

Kean, Sam. The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code. Little, Brown. Jul. 2012. c.400p. ISBN 9780316182317. $25.99. SCI

Koch, Christof. Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. MIT. Apr. 2012. c.184p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780262017497. $24.95. SCI

March, Ray A. River in Ruin: The Story of the Carmel River. Univ. of Nebraska. Apr. 2012. c.192p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780803238343. $24.95. NAT HIST

Mitov, Michel. Sensitive Matter: Foams, Gels, Liquid Crystals, and Other Miracles. Harvard Univ. Apr. 2012.
c.196p. tr. from French by Giselle Weiss. ISBN 9780674064560. $22.95. SCI

Wilson, Edward O. The Social Conquest of Earth. Liveright: Norton. Apr. 2012. c.352p. ISBN 9780871404138. $27.95. SCI


Rheingold, Howard. Net Smart: How To Thrive Online. MIT. Apr. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9780262017459. $24.95. TECH