Science & Technology Reviews | February 1, 2014

Blau, Melinda & Tracy Hogg. Family Whispering: The Baby Whisperer’s Commonsense Strategies for Communicating and Connecting with the People You Love and Making Your Whole Family Stronger. Atria. Feb. 2014. 336p. index. ISBN 9781451654462. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781451654516. CHILD REARING

“Baby whisperer” Hogg (Secrets of the Baby familywhispering021414Whisperer) died of cancer in 2004 but provided part of the prolog and some of the principles that coauthor Blau presents here. Their aim is to help parents examine the household and then use that understanding to handle whatever life brings, such as chores, change, sibling rivalry, and hardship. The balance of the We (the family) and the I (individuals) is a constant theme. Relationships with caregivers and extended kin are discussed. Stories of families illustrate the interplay of the three factors of family life: individuals, relationships, and context. Throughout the book are acronyms like REAL (responsibility, empathy, authenticity, leading with love), quizzes, and “For Your Notebook” questions to stimulate reflection. Each chapter ends with a blank page for notes. Some ideas from the authors’ previous books, such as the importance of routines, are repeated here. ­VERDICT Recommended for fans of the Baby Whisperer books and for readers looking for guidance on how to strengthen their families.—Janet Clapp, N. Clarendon, VT

redstarde Queiroz, Alan. The Monkey’s Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life. Basic: Perseus. 2014. 304p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780465020515. $27.99. SCI

monkey'svoyage021414Evolutionary biologist de Queiroz (adjunct faculty, Univ. of Nevada, Reno) presents a fascinating exploration of the field of biogeography—the study of the distribution of living things—and one of its most fundamental concerns: What explains the presence of closely related lineages on land masses separated by oceans or seas? According to de Queiroz, two schools of thought have battled for decades about the answer, one claiming that these species are ancient “relicts” of the breakup of the Mesozoic supercontinent Gondwana and the other arguing that all sorts of plants and animals have actually crossed ocean barriers, in some cases floating on mats of vegetation. He concludes with a discussion of how such chance events as ocean crossings can have massive effects on the diversification of life forms. An excellent storyteller, de Queiroz dramatically weaves the historical development of various scientific tropes—continental drift, plate tectonics, molecular dating, and mass extinctions—together with his own research interests and details of his far-flung travels. VERDICT This provocative book will appeal to fans of the late paleontologist and evolutionary scientist Stephen Jay Gould’s writing (e.g., Wonderful Life) and to non­specialists interested in the long history of life on Earth.—Cynthia Lee Knight, formerly with Hunterdon Cty. Lib., Flemington, NJ

redstarLochbaum, David & others. Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster. New Pr. Feb. 2014. 320p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9781595589088. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781595589279. SCI

Lochbaum (head scientist, Nuclear Safety fukushimaProject, Union of Concerned Scientists [UCS]; Nuclear Waste Disposal Crisis), Edwin Lyman (senior scientist, Global Security Program, UCS), and science writer Susan Q. Stranahan (Susquehanna, River of Dreams), with the UCS itself as an additional author, write compellingly of why the tsunami-driven Fukushima tragedy of March 2011 happened and how to avert future nuclear disasters. During the ordeal, Masao ­Yoshida, the nuclear engineer in charge of the ­Fukushima Daiichi power plant, inspired his workers to persevere despite miscommunications from authorities and a litany of errors: water hoses too short to reach reactors, insufficient backup batteries, missing instruction manuals, and more. Japan’s emergency plans included plenty of redundancies but did not anticipate a 42-foot tsunami. They should have, say the authors, who explain why the disaster was compounded by human error and corruption. They detail how nations suffer a too-cozy relationship between their regulatory agencies and their nuclear industry, underestimating disaster modeling with the refrain, “It can’t happen here.” Yet it does. VERDICT There are other books on Fukushima, but the only one covering this ground is David Elliott’s Fukushima: Impacts and Implications, which takes a more global and policy-related approach. Told with economy, drama, and scientific accuracy, this book is a must for anyone involved in energy assessment or concerned about nuclear energy issues.—Michal Strutin, Santa Clara Univ. Lib., CA

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Horvath, Brent. The Plant Lover’s Guide to Sedums. Timber. (Plant Lover’s Guides). Apr. 2014. 232p. photos. index. ISBN 9781604693928. $24.95. GARDENING

Pruitt, Gayle (text) & Joe Grisham (photos). Dog-Gone Good Cuisine: More Healthy, Fast, and Easy Recipes for You and Your Pooch. Griffin: St. Martin’s. Feb. 2014. 208p. photos. index. ISBN 9781250037138. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250037145. PETS

Walliser, Jessica. Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control. Timber. 2014. 444p. illus. ISBN 9781604693881. pap. $24.95. GARDENING

Health & Medicine

Drago, Dorothy A. Living Safely, Aging Well: A Guide to Preventing Injuries at Home. Johns Hopkins. 2014. 216p. illus. index. ISBN 9781421411514. $45; pap. ISBN 9781421411521. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781421411538. HEALTH

Freudenberg, Nicholas. Lethal but Legal: Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health. Oxford Univ. Feb. 2014. 336p. illus. index. ISBN 9780199937196. $29.95. HEALTH

Kresser, Chris. Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan To Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life. Little, Brown. 2013. 320p. index. ISBN 9780316322898. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316323086. HEALTH

Mincolla, Mark. Whole Health: A Holistic Approach to Healing for the 21st Century. Tarcher. 2014. 336p. ISBN 9780399165016. $27.95. HEALTH

Reno, Tosca. The Start Here Diet: Three Simple Steps That Helped Me Transition from Fat to Slim…for Life. Ballantine. 2013. 272p. illus. index. ISBN 9780345548016. $25. HEALTH

Sadeghi, Habib. Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss. Premier Digital. 2014. 292p. ISBN 9781624671807. pap. $18.99; ebk. ISBN 9781624671791. HEALTH

Shainberg, Catherine. Dreambirth: Transforming the Journey of Childbirth Through Imagery. Sounds True. 2014. 342p. notes. ISBN 9781622030903. pap. $18.95. HEALTH

Smith, Pamela Wartian. What You Must Know About Memory Loss & How You Can Stop It: A Guide to Proven Techniques and Supplements To Maintain, Strengthen, or Regain Memory. Square One. 2013. 240p. illus. index. ISBN 9780757003868. pap. $15.95. HEALTH

Home Economics

Eighmey, Rae Katherine. Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View of Lincoln’s Life and Times. Smithsonian. Feb. 2014. 288p. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9781588344557. $21.95. COOKING

Forgione, Marc & Olga Massov (text) & Evan Sung (photos). Marc Forgione: Recipes and Stories from the Acclaimed Chef and Restaurant. Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2014. 416p. photos. ISBN 9781118302781. $40; ebk. ISBN 9780544187283. COOKING

Martin, Daniella. Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope To Save the Planet. New Harvest. Feb. 2014. 272p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780544114357. $23. HOME ECON

Ward, Cole & Karen Coshof. The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat: How To Source It Ethically, Cut It Professionally, and Prepare It Properly. Chelsea Green. Feb. 2014. 336p. photos. index. ISBN 9781603584685. $49.95 w/CD. HOME ECON


Dvorak, John. Earthquake Storms: The Fascinating History and Volatile Future of the San Andreas Fault. Pegasus. Mar. 2014. 272p. photos. index. ISBN 9781605984957. $27.95. SCI

Jackson, Tom. Physics: An Illustrated History of the Foundations of Science. Shelter Harbor. (Ponderables). 2013. 144p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780985323066. $24.95. SCI

Meredith, Leda. Northeast Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Beach Plums to Wineberries. Timber. Mar. 2014. 316p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781604694178. pap. $24.95. NAT HIST

Palumbi, Stephen R. & Anthony R. Palumbi. The Extreme Life of the Sea. Princeton Univ. Mar. 2014. 256p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780691149561. $27.95. NAT HIST


The review of Shaun Gallagher’s Experimenting with Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid (LJ 11/15/13, p. 76ff.) listed the author as an affiliate of philosophy, Univ. of Central Florida, and coeditor of Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. He is neither. We regret the error.

Animals Among Us

McArthur, Jo-Anne. We Animals. Lantern Bks. 2014. 208p. photos. bibliog. ISBN 9781590564264. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781590564271. NAT HIST

Photojournalist McArthur ( explores the complex relationships between humans and other animals around the globe, presenting more than 100 photographs she has taken over the last 15 years, with ample text calmly describing the contexts of her images. The book is divided into categories—“Fashion and Entertainment,” “Food,” “Research,” and “Mercy,” the latter highlighting animal rights activism around the world—describing our use of animals. Throughout, McArthur includes images of animals relegated to different roles from those Westerners usually think of for them, e.g., live dogs for sale as food in Asia. Showcasing species from across the animal kingdom, the photographs throughout this oversize volume range from cute to extremely disturbing. The concluding chapter, “Notes from the Field 2009–2013,” gives an inside look at McArthur’s journal entries as she captures the images in the book. VERDICT McArthur’s work complements Hal Herzog’s Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard To Think Straight About Animals and Melanie Joy’s Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. Compelling, yet very unsettling, this is recommended for animal rights activists and those interested in human cultures of animal use.—Diana Hartle, Univ. of Georgia Science Lib., Athens

Masson, Jeffrey Moussaieff. Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil. Bloomsbury. Mar. 2014. 224p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781608196159. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781608199914. NAT HIST

Masson (When Elephants Weep) explores here what animals can teach us about good and evil. He argues that humans have often categorized animals as “beasts” to imply that they are immoral and uncivilized. However, he continues, animals have a kind of morality and are in fact generally much less violent than humans. In some cases where animals are violent—such as cases of chimpanzee-on-chimpanzee attack—Masson argues the aggression may be owing to human inter­ference. He views agriculture and domestication of animals as unfortunate developments in human history leading to an unhealthy relationship between humans and animals, one that he believes has led to a psychological traumatization that perpetuates human violence. Masson’s animal rights philosophy and veganism clearly influence how he frames his argument, and in some places the case seems too simplistic. He does admit that some facts don’t fit with his views. Nonetheless, this is a thought-­provoking look into animal behavior and violence, with some new observations on the subject, demonstrating that animal behavior is a field of study in which much more research awaits. VERDICT Recommended to readers interested in animal rights and human-animal behavior.—Scott Vieira, Sam Houston State Univ. Lib., Huntsville, TX

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