Category Archives: book reviews

Readers’ wildlife photos

Here’s the second batch of photos taken by Rachel Wilmoth on a trip to Kruger National Park last October (first batch of photos here). Her notes and IDs are indented; some creatures are unidentified and readers are invited to give their take. Here are bird pictures. I am not a birder and don’t know what […]

How to read authors of earlier times who expressed views or created characters that we find repugnant today

There has been a lot of debate about how—or whether—to read authors whose views (or language) may not comport with today’s mores. Morality evolves, usually for the better, leaving older books bearing attitudes or characters that we find repugnant. The usual result is to either denigrate or ban these books, and such opprobrium has involved […]

The strange case of Alice Walker: the dilemma of black anti-Semitism and its promotion by the New York Times

Here we have one more example of “intersectionalism” that, instead of dealing with combined oppressions, pits one marginalized group against another. This, of course, has fractured the Left in the last few years. There are two notable examples of how liberal values have collided. The first involves the collision between Muslims on the one hand, and […]

A critical review of Prum’s “The Evolution of Beauty” in Evolution

Richard Prum’s 2017 book on sexual selection, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us, has gotten a lot of popular press, and a fair number of positive reviews, but it hasn’t fared very well in the scientific community.  Prum’s thesis, which is that the “runaway” model […]

Short review: Lukianoff and Haidt’s new book, and request for book suggestions

I’ve just finished reading a book that’s closely connected with many of our interests: Greg Lukianoff and Jon Haidt’s new volume, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. Click on the screenshot to go to the Amazon site: The issue is why so many students […]

New book by Lukianoff and Haidt on the fragility of the young

Cooling my heels at the airport, I call your attention to a new book by Greg Lukianoff, president and CEO of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at New York University. The book: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up […]

Another uncritical review of David Quammen’s new book

David Quammen, an acclaimed science writer, recently published the book below (click on screenshot to go to Amazon site). It’s basically a three-part book, dealing with Carl Woese and his discovery of the Archaea, a major branch of life; telling the story of Lynn Margulis and her revival of the theories that mitochondria and chloroplasts, […]

A new review (and critique) of Richard Prum’s book on sexual selection

I’ve now read Richard O. Prum’s new book, The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us (I’d highlighted the work earlier in my critique of his NY Times article about the book). Click on the screenshot to go to the book’s Amazon site. (Prum is a professor of ornithology, ecology, […]

My WaPo review of David Quammen’s new book on evolutionary trees (and a comparison with other reviews)

I’ve just reviewed David Quammen’s new book, The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life, for the Washington Post. Click on the screenshot to see my review. (Note that the original title, which was a bit misleading, has been changed to the new one below.) It will be in the paper version of Sunday’s […]

A relatively new anti-creationist book

It’s a slow news day here at WEIT, and my brain is equally slow. Let me just call your attention to a new review of an anticreationist book by Darren Naish at his Sci Am site Tetrapod Zoology. The review is new but the book has aged a bit: it’s the 15-month-old God’s Word or Human Reason?: An […]