U. of California Press
Among African apes; stories and photos from the field.
The eleven chapters of this marvelous collection describe in vivid detail the families, behaviors, and stories of individual chimpanzees, gonobos, and gorillas living in the wild in Africa. Written by long-term researchers in the field, the stories allude to the challenges and the joys of field work, while giving readers a real familiarity with the apes and their world. A section of color photos are included. Robbins and Boesch are both with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
First life; discovering the connections between stars, cells, and how life began.
Deamer (biomolecular engineering, U. of California, Santa Cruz), one of the top researchers on the origin of life on Earth, is also an engaging writer, able to convey scientific information clearly to the non-specialist and fully keep alive the wonder of story. Part of what makes the book fascinating are the stories describing the inspired ways individual researchers approached difficult questions and discovered answers that provide another link in the chain to the origins of life. Deamer's familiarity with the stories and individuals, with frequent quotes and anecdotes, and his gift for making science interesting, make readers feel part of the ongoing process of this research. The book's epilogue offers a series of frequently asked questions, including several by those who reject Darwin's theory of evolution, and Deamer's lengthy, thoughtful replies. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
The general's slow retreat; Chile after Pinochet.
In this continuation of her previous book (Soldiers in a Narrow Land, Spooner (a journalist based in Latin America since 1977), bring's Chile's story up to the present. This thoroughly researched and well-written account details the rebuilding of the country after 17 years of military rule, the politics of governing in the midst of Pinochet's ongoing power and influence, and current situations with regard to the environment, the economy, and the political system. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
Why geology matters; decoding the past, anticipating the future.
Writing for the popular reader, Macdougall (emeritus, earth sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, U. of California, San Diego) offers a clear description of geology and its study. The volume is filled with fascinating accounts of early scientists and their discoveries, described in connection with specific cases and questions of interest to us all, including what happens when an asteroid hits the Earth, how the geologist Brian Atwater recognized the history of massive earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest, what we know about ice ages, and what brought on the catastrophic warming of the Paleocene. Filled with recent examples of geologic events, and written in an accessible personal style, the book provides an excellent overview of one of the most relevant of all the sciences. (Annotation ©2011 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)