Category Archives: book reviews

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 […]

Andrew Sullivan reviews two books on whether Trump can be impeached

In today’s New York Times, writer Andrew Sullivan reviews two books by Cass Sunstein (one authored, one edited) about whether Trump is impeachable given what we know. The verdict is “probably not.” Here are the two books, and click on the screenshot below them to read Sullivan’s take. As a highly respected Constitutional lawyer and […]

Susan Jacoby’s biography of Ingersoll

On my train rides up to and back from Madison, I polished off Susan Jacoby’s 2013 short (211 small pages) book on Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899). Ingersoll was an author, freethinker, and perhaps America’s most spellbinding orator of the 19th century, despite the fact that he was absolutely godless and spent much of his writing […]

Pinker gets plaudits in NYT Sunday Book Review

I’m about 175 pages (about 40%) into Steve Pinker’s new book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, and I like it a lot.  It’s best thought of as a continuation and expansion of his previous book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, for in this book Pinker fleshes out his presentation of […]