Science & Technology Reviews | February 15, 2014

Dawson, Patrick. Vintage Beer: A Taster’s Guide to Brews That Improve over Time. Storey. Mar. 2014. 160p. photos. bibliog. ISBN 9781612121567. pap. $14.95. BEVERAGES

Many wines improve with age. As beer expert and author vintagebeer031414Dawson explains in this clearly written volume, some beers also change favorably or improve over time. He opens with his first experience, a magnum of vintage Duvel, and closes with a select guide to bars offering such tipples. In between, he highlights particular types and brands of beers, comparing in rich detail aged ones to young, fresh examples. Readers will find descriptions of the resulting flavors of fig, toffee, or port alluring enough to follow his steps for cellaring beer themselves. What distinguishes Dawson’s writing is the seamless way in which he blends the science of aging beer with language that most readers can grasp. This work will be both useful and enjoyable for beer drinkers, but those who are more familiar with vintage wine will also relate to much of the content here. ­VERDICT An appealing read for more than just a niche audience of vintage beer enthusiasts. Highly recommended for collections with a focus on alcoholic beverages.—Peter Hepburn, Coll. of the Canyons Lib., Santa Clarita, CA

extrememedicine031414Fong, Kevin. Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the Twentieth Century. Penguin Pr. Feb. 2014. 304p. index. ISBN 9781594204708. $27.95. MED

A woman dies of hypothermia and is revived two hours later. A doctor and his family are in plane crash and a simple, life-­saving mnemonic is developed. Fong, a doctor and codirector of the Aviation Space and Extreme Environment Medicine at University College London, links the history of medicine to extremes. The author draws from history and his own experience to craft an engaging narrative of early burn wards, the destructive and curative promise of hypothermia, crushing pressures of diving, high-altitude sickness, expected health issues of missions to Mars, and the future of elder care. This inspiring read shows how far medicine has advanced the use of ambulances and helicopters, intensive care units, and the other technologies that vastly improve the likelihood of surviving trauma and diseases that otherwise would be fatal. The narrative feels disjointed at times as the author jumps from one story to another but ties together nicely at the conclusion of each chapter. VERDICT Fans of history, medicine, space exploration, and sf will find this book difficult to put down.—­Susanne Caro, Univ. of Montana Lib., Missoula

starred review starKolbert, Elizabeth. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. Holt. Feb. 2014. 352p.sixthextinction031414 notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780805092998. $28. SCI
Evidence of a human-made mass extinction seems everywhere around us: long lists of endangered species, high concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air and oceans, and biodiversity losses from deforestation of the tropics. New Yorker staff writer Kolbert (Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change) traveled all over the world to interview marine biologists, atmospheric scientists, geologists, forest ecologists, and paleontologists about their take on the Sixth Extinction (five other major extinctions have occurred in Earth’s history). Tracing how extinction itself evolved as a scientific concept, Kolbert discusses the great animal extinctions of the past as well as the imminent loss of present-day animals such as the Sumatran rhino and the little brown bat. VERDICT The charm of this book (inasmuch as a book about extinction can have charm) lies in Kolbert’s hands-on approach to her subject—searching for Panamanian frogs in the dark, hunting for graptolite fossils in Scotland, and observing coral spawning at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. This solid, engaging, multidisciplinary science title should appeal to a broad range of science enthusiasts, particularly those interested in environmental conservation.—Cynthia Lee Knight, formerly, Hunterdon Cty. Lib., Flemington, NJ

For all the latest reviews in this subject area and more, check out our new Book Verdict site! Book Verdict is fully accessible to all users, though certain content and functionality are only available to subscribers.

To log in to your account, click here. To view the new subscription options, Get Started With Book Verdict Pro Today.

Don't know if you have an account with us? It's easy to check and verify your email, or create a new account.
The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Farmer, Augustus Jenkins. Deep-Rooted Wisdom: Stories and Skills from Generations of Gardeners. Timber. Mar. 2014. 248p. photos. index. ISBN 9781604694529. pap. $24.95. GARDENING

Green, Kristin. Plantiful: Start Small, Grow Big with 150 Plants That Spread, Self-Sow, and Overwinter. Timber. 2014. 224p. illus. index. ISBN 9781604693874. $24.95. GARDENING

Szabo, Julia. Medicine Dog: The Miraculous Cure That Healed My Best Friend and Saved My Life. Lyons: Globe Pequot. Mar. 2014. 240p. photos. ISBN 9780762796441. $25.95. PETS

Health & Medicine

Ablin, Richard J. & Ronald Piana. The Great Prostate Hoax: How Big Medicine Hijacked the PSA Test and Caused a Public Health Disaster. Palgrave Macmillan. Mar. 2014. 272p. notes. index. ISBN 9781137278746. $27. MED

Benson, Pat & Linda Dackman. The Language of Healing: Daily Comfort for Women Living with Breast Cancer. Conari. Apr. 2014. 156p. ISBN 9781573246316. pap. $14.95. HEALTH

Lake, Nell. The Caregivers: A Support Group’s Stories of Slow Loss, Courage, and Love. Scribner. Feb. 2014. 320p. notes. ISBN 9781451674149. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781451674163. HEALTH

Wahls, Terry & Eve Adamson. The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine. Avery. Mar. 2014. 432p. illus. notes. ISBN 9781583335215. $28. MED

Home Economics

Robinson, Andrea. Toss the Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks, & Truths for Women 50+. Seal: Perseus. Apr. 2014. 224p. illus. ISBN 9781580054904. $24. PERSONAL GROOMING

Stevenson, Tom. Buy the Right Wine Every Time: The No-Fuss, No-Vintage Wine Guide. Sterling Epicure. Mar. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9781402763410. pap. $14.95. BEVERAGES


The Best Writing on Mathematics 2013. Princeton Univ. 2014. 272p. ed. by Mircea Pitici. illus. notes. bibliog. ISBN 9780691160412. pap. $21.95. MATH

Forbes, Nancy & Basil Mahon. Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized Physics. Prometheus. Mar. 2014. 300p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781616149420. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616149437. SCI

Nicholls, Henry. The Galápagos: A Natural History. Basic: Perseus. Apr. 2014. 224p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780465035977. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780465035953. NAT HIST

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.