Science & Technology Reviews | November 15, 2012

”LibraryGreenberg, Andy. This Machine Kills Secrets: How Wikileakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World’s Information. Dutton. 2012. c.384p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780525953203. $27.95. TECH

In this compelling work of long-form journalism, Greenberg (staff writer, Forbes) offers a timely overview of the cypherpunk and Wikileaks movements. Relating history through a focus on the personalities involved, he opens with a description of Daniel Ellsberg’s release of the Pentagon Papers to news organizations as an act of conscience and proceeds to outline the interactions between computer scientists, cryptographers, privacy-rights advocates, whistleblowers, and computer hackers that evolved into the Wikileaks organization. His portrayals of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, while less flattering than his description of Ellsberg, offer valuable perspective on current developments. Though his focus is more on the political and social aspects of these movements than on the technical, Greenberg’s explanation of the concepts behind private-key encryption technology is exceedingly clear. ­VERDICT Highly recommended. This book will have a broad appeal to political and policy wonks, newshounds, and to those interested in technology, law enforcement, and freedom of the press.—Candice A. Kail, Columbia Univ. Libs., New York

Pabich, Wendy. Taking on Water: How One Water Expert Challenged Her Inner Hypocrite, Reduced Her Water Footprint (Without Sacrificing a Toasty Shower), and Found Nirvana. Sasquatch. 2012. c.256p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9781570618314. $21.95. SCI

Wendy Pabich’s (founder & president, Water Futures, Inc.; Idaho: An Explorer’s Guide) book mirrors Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man—both trace their author’s journey to have less of an impact on the environment. Pabich, a self-proclaimed water deva, realizes her family’s consumption is incongruous with her role as water conservationist. She challenges the paradox of value in relation to water: while it is deceptively inexpensive, it is a finite resource that is vital to supporting life on earth. Pabich traces where her water comes from; where it goes; and how to conserve as much of it as possible by reducing her family’s direct use, shrinking its water footprint, and making better consumer decisions. Her account illustrates the pitfalls and hard work associated with becoming more conscientious regarding water, but also ultimately demonstrates that everyone can make significant changes to help conserve this precious resource. The appendix includes a water cheat sheet and water-footprint data for selected foods. VERDICT This engaging memoir proves how easy it can be to think at the sink and help conserve water. Recommended for those looking to change wasteful water ways.—Diana Hartle, Univ. of Georgia Science Lib., Athens

Asimov, Eric. How To Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto. WM: HarperCollins. 2012. c.272p. ISBN 9780061802522. $24.99. HOME ECON

Many wine-lovers wonder, as they are poured wine to taste from the bottle they have just ordered, what exactly they are supposed to do. “Wine is one of the coolest things in the world. To love it is a great joy. Why do we make it so hard?” asks Asimov, chief wine critic of the New York Times, as he muses on the anxieties that befall today’s wine lovers who just want to enjoy a pleasant drink. Not only does he share his takes on the changes in the industry, scoring, and tasting, he also highlights key moments that led to his love of the grape, which steered him to his enviable position. VERDICT Well written and interesting; a good choice for beginning wine enthusiasts.—Jane Hebert, Glenside P.L. Dist., Glendale Heights, IL

The following titles are reviewed in the November 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Horan, Richard. Harvest: An Adventure into the Heart of America’s Family Farms. HarperPerennial: HarperCollins. 2012. c.336p. photogs. ISBN 9780062090317. $14.99. AGRI


Dumit, Joseph. Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health. Duke Univ. 2012. 272p. illus. index. ISBN 9780822348603. $84.95. ISBN 9780822348719. pap. $23.95. med


Ballerini, Luigi. A Feast of Weeds: A Literary Guide to Foraging and Cooking Wild Edible Plants. Univ. of California. 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9780520270343. $34.95. HOME ECON

Jackson, Kirstin. It’s Not You, It’s Brie: Unwrapping America’s Unique Culture of Cheese. Perigree: Penguin. Nov. 2012. c.240p. ISBN 9780399537660. $19. HOME ECON


Nahin, Paul J. The Logician and the Engineer: How George Boole and Claude Shannon Created the Information Age. Princeton Univ. Nov. 2012. c.248p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691151007. $24.95. TECH